How I Became a Famous Novelist

How I Became a Famous NovelistHow I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was a fun (and funny) quick read. I first heard of it when screenwriter John August announced on his site that he had optioned it to try to make a movie version (as far as I know, nothing has become of that project). I bought it to read on the plane for a trip to Texas, but started reading and didn’t put it down until I reached the end. Highly recommended. In fact, maybe I’ll read it again now.

View all my reviews

Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ready Player One is packed to the brim with geeky references to classic video games and allusions to William Gibson and other titans of the genre. Oh, and there’s a pretty good story in there, too. One of a few dystopian novels I read in 2012, which might say something about my state of mind. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

via Goodreads | Tony Scida (Richmond, VA)’s review of Ready Player One.

How to duplicate a DVD in Mac OS X

I needed to duplicate a DVD at work today (relax, it wasn’t a Hollywood movie or anything, just needed to create a backup of a DVD), which I had never done before. After a few false starts, I found out it was really quite easy. I’m throwing this up here in case it helps someone else facing the same task.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Insert the original DVD you intend to copy
  2. Open Disk Utility
  3. Click “New Image” at the top of the window (the icon looks like a hard drive on a piece of paper with a plus sign next to it)
  4. Choose a format and destination (I chose “DVD/CD master”)
  5. When the image is done being created, it will show up on the left hand side of the window, you can now eject the original DVD
  6. Select the image and click Burn, then follow the prompts to insert a blank writeable DVD

My new site: Qworthy.com

A couple of weeks ago I had an idea for a new site to highlight the best of what can be streamed on services like Netflix and Hulu. I love streaming movies and

TV shows, but it can be hard to find the gems in the sea of dreck that clogs the library of every streaming service. (Understandably, content providers aren’t interested in streaming their best content until they’ve had a change to wring out every dollar of DVD or premium television money).

With help from some friends, I came up with a name, worked through some logo options, got WordPress 3 thrown up on a server, found a template and launched the site this past weekend. Qworthy isn’t a movie review site, so don’t look there for deep analysis of themes and characters or even for simple ratings. It will just feature content I find interesting, presented with a modicum of snark. Because, really, what is life without snark?

I’ve also started up a Twitter account, so follow along and let me know when you find something you think the world needs to know can be streamed. Also, if you’d like to contribute posts for the site, shoot me an email. Right now I’m aiming for one post a day, but if I can get more contributors the limits are only theoretical.

Special thanks to Sharif from 28Media for helping to set everything up and find the theme.

Is Soccer Popular in the U.S.?

Official 2010 FIFA World Cup match ball by mikkelz, on Flickr

I’ve been reading about the World Cup a lot lately, and almost every magazine or newspaper article has asked some form of that question (most of the blogs thankfully seem to have moved on to actually talking about soccer). But, really, that’s the wrong question.

Of course soccer is popular in the U.S., it’s just not as popular as most other professional sports. The average attendance at MLS games was a skosh over 16,000—and the Seattle Sounders FC had a total attendance of almost 500,000. And the notoriously poorly rated broadcasts averaged a 0.2 rating (250,000 or so viewers) weekly.

The point is, people are watching soccer—live and on TV. Whether enough people are watching is above my pay grade to determine.

So, no, these articles aren’t really asking whether soccer is popular in the U.S. What they are really asking, while pointing out the $400 million investment by ABC/ESPN and Univision, is whether soccer is finally mainstream in the U.S.—has it caught the attention of the average citizen, not just the soccer nut?

The answer to that question is “no.” It may well be that more Americans than ever are watching this World Cup. But I predict that soccer—real, international soccer—will never be mainstream in the U.S. until we win a World Cup.

The sad truth is that we prefer winners. If there is more U.S. interest in the World Cup this year (fans from America bought 160,000 tickets to matches, more than any country but South Africa), how much of that is due to U.S. mens’ strong showing in last year’s Confederations Cup?

The baseball team with the most fans in the Yankees. The football team with the most fans is whoever won the most Super Bowls recently (or the Cowboys, which makes me sick as a Redskins fan). I have no idea who the most popular NASCAR driver is, but I bet he wins a lot.

But, as much as I like the beautiful game, it will remain slotted somewhere below obscure winter Olympic sports and above getting run over as an American pastime. And even if we do ever win the World Cup, the best soccer enthusiasts can hope for is to have the same general level of interest as other Olympic events we’re good at.

Who knows, maybe someone will invent an X-Games version of soccer and the next Shaun White will play that.