Saturday, June 12, 2010

Birthdays - A Retrospective View of the Future

Too many bloggers fall foul of introspection. Who, apart from their mothers are interested in what they had for dinner last night and the epiphany digested with that Big Mac? Not Ronald McDonald anymore, he's vegetarian. Probably not their mothers either, through I wouldn't want to make them feel guilty by asking.

But once a year, I figure it's okay. Today is my birthday. I am thirty years old for the sixteenth consecutive year. I am excited: the stars have aligned. Today is the second day of the World Cup (I'm talking soccer - a once-every-four-years' extravaganza – you really didn't know?). England, yes I become patriotic once every four years, open their campaign against … the United States of America.

Now, since I still lack my citizenship, I will of course remain neutral. I will only wear that sleek England T-shirt (and every day during the next month until The Three Lions lose) out of obligation to Mrs. Blogger's generosity.

Friends are being coerced to come round, drink warm beer, and watch a game that they have no interest in. Friendship counts.

Watching the endless TV programs about prior World Cups is a remarkable journey into one's past. There is something about following a sport passionately that gives you an anchor in life, almost like leafing through a photo album (remember those?).

Here's a quick plug for a book that truly illustrates the intensity of supporting your soccer team. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby is a hilarious memoir of one young mans' year, as seen through his passion for our team, Arsenal, in a remarkable year. If you are a soccer fan or an Anglophile, it is a must-read lazing in a hammock during the summer. And yes, given that it is my birthday and I feel magnanimous, I forgive you America for rewriting the book about an American baseball fan. But how could you…

While I am promoting other authors, Alan Black is a Scotsman living in this neck of the woods. He tends bar at The Castle on Geary and is the author of Kick The Balls, a side splitting and irreverent look at how we parent our children, gleaned through the eyes of a Little League soccer coach in the US. He also has a new book out for the World Cup - The Glorious World Cup.

Now to the future. For my birthday, the family pooled together and has bought me a Kindle eReader. I'm stoked. Thank you Mrs. Blogger, boys, UK and US Mum and Dad.

I have wanted to enter the technological 21st Century ever since Ebooks surfaced. Honestly, I love my bookshelves, holding a book, the smell when entering the bookstore (quite a sacrifice for one who is allergic to dust), and passing books that mean something to me along to others. I am also apprehensive about reading an E-reader while nodding off in the bathtub.

But I also love this planet, those disappearing tall things - trees, hate the pollution and wasted energy of transportation and storage. And I remain mortified at the archaic and unjust system of publishers over-printing, while bookstores can order large quantities recklessly and then return books to the publisher to pulp or dump in the $5 bin. Never forget: the reader is paying for this wastage, reflected in the ever-rising price of books.

So onward into the digital age. I may not hold any desire for an iPhone, but I can't wait to get tech with the new Christopher Moore book.

Now where is that on switch?

Good Writing,


Wendy Bartlett said...

Hey! Happy Birthday to you! Many Happy Returns of the day!

Kymberlie Ingalls said...

Alon - I agreed with your entire point of view regarding the love of traditional books, versus the reasons to move onward to the next generation.

Well said!