Apocalypse Not Now

I woke up this morning because the windows were rattling. “Damn wind,” I thought, burrowing further into my pillow. It took a few seconds to realize that something was off. There was no wind. Come to think of it, even a strong wind wouldn’t make the walls shake. And they were definitely swaying back and forth. Then I realized that I could feel the bed moving sideways underneath me. Crap. Earthquake.

I lay in my bed and considered my options. “I’m supposed to go and stand in a doorway,” I thought. I turned my head and looked at my bedroom door. It was only a few feet away, but getting there would require getting up. I groaned. I do not like being woken up early. The swaying continued. I looked at my watch. It was around 5:20am. I sighed and continued to ponder my choices. Avoiding imminent death or going back to sleep? It was a tough one. I decided that I should close my eyes to deliberate on the matter further.

I woke up several hours later, ready to face the day. Earthquakes should really come at more convenient times.



I have become a big fan of Pandora, a really excellent music recommendation service. It analyzes songs that you like and recommends tracks which feature similar musical qualities. One of its most amusing features is the explanation of why it is recommending a specific song: “Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this track because it features electronica influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony, repetitive melodic phrasing, mild rhythmic syncopation, and a clear focus on recording studio production.”

The vast majority of pandora’s explanations are completely incomprehensible to me. I seem to like songs with “mild rhythmic syncopation” and “subtle use of vocal harmony.” I just don’t know what that means. To me, “syncopation” sounds like a condition that would cause you to spend an inordinate amount of time on the toilet. I’m just glad it’s mild.

Nevertheless, I’m really excited about this toy, and I wish that more companies would offer similar recommendation engines. Can you imagine a porn recommendation service similar to pandora? “Based on what you’ve told us so far, we’re playing this clip because it features double penetration, interracial elements, and a subtle use of midgets.” I really should patent this idea.