Adam Reger | Freelance Writer

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer

Month: August, 2010

Friday List

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novels for grown-ups, at Amazon. This seems like an idea many people come up with, independently of everyone else, so it shouldn’t be surprising there are so many. Still, though: damn, there are a lot of these out there already.

The Flushing Office

This has nothing to do with anything, but I have observed that the maintenance manager of the building where I work habitually takes and makes important-sounding work calls while seated in the toilet stall of the men’s room. What’s more, he seems to make no secret, for the benefit of those he’s speaking to, of occupying that space. Today he entered the men’s room already in conversation, went into the stall, apparently did not like what he saw, and gave the toilet a preliminary flush, all while keeping up a conversation about whatever thing had to be done to maintain the building.

It reminded me of this interview that the AV Club did with ex-Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra, in which it turns out, right at the tail end of the interview, that he’d been speaking from the same general location as the office manager. And, moreover, he was kind of proud of it.

Literary fictions not dead

Over at Robert Yune’s internet pad, Sal Pane rounds out the Robert-curated colloquium on the question of whether literary fiction is dead or not.

I was glad to see Sal pick up on the idea of entertainment in other media crowding fiction out. This was a point I felt strongly about, and maybe wanted to hit harder, but didn’t because it was really just an aside in the greater context of my entry in the series.

It’s made me remember a blog post I read not too long ago, arguing the issue of whether reading a book was inherently superior to playing a video game. (As these things go, I can’t pinpoint whose blog it was, much less find the link. I want to say it was the Atlantic blog of Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose writing I like a lot (but whose spelling makes my heart hurt), but I can’t be sure of that.)

The specific argument that sticks in my mind is this hypothetical: Imagine the criticisms of books if video games—the highly evolved, textured, complex and subtle ones that are coming out now; not Duck Hunt—were the dominant medium, and the book was an upstart form. The interface is incredibly passive. A book only stimulates one part of the child’s brain; there’s no visual stimulation. There’s zero motor-skill usage in the act of reading a book. And so on. The argument didn’t even touch on the Wii and the prospect of video games that are exercise, rather than keeping kids from exercising. Read the rest of this entry »

Favre isn’t over, no matter how much you or I may want it

Following, inevitably, off this post and its naive tone of finality, I and every other media outlet was duped by the Brett Favre retirement announcement. It doesn’t take heavy psycho- or media analysis to figure out why: when a good friend says she might leave your party, you inveigle, cajole, persuade her to stay just a little longer; when a jerk says he may leave, you slap your thighs, stand up, and say it was great to see him and here’s his coat. Re: Brett Favre’s retirement, this classic dorm-room poster said it best.

If someone with no interest or background in American sports, and professional football specifically, were to read this, he or she would quite reasonably wonder, whither all the bitterness and schadenfreude? It’s one of those deals where the answer is long and convoluted, if you wanted to really convey the worst of this affair, which—for my money—is the long, drawn-out nature of it; it’s not only lasted through the entire off-season, it’s happened the last three+ seasons.

Now, just in time, there’s an interactive graph that illustrates the absurdity. Via Slate, three years worth of waffling

Day of infamy for bass fishing in America

Not to be confused with Trout Fishing in America. Scandal rocks the bass fishing community.

Super-brief music review

The new Arcade Fire album, The Suburbs, is really awesome. I would recommend it. Tonight they’re doing some kind of webcast of their concert at Madison Square Garden, directed by Terry Gilliam. If it proves to be anything like an Arcade Fire show it will probably be pretty excellent. (I have seen them four times, a personal record, and for good reason. The first time I saw them, they went on second (in a bill of four bands) and are still the only opening band I’ve seen (or heard of) to have the audience call for an encore. Their Philadelphia legend was made even before Funeral was released.)

Favre is over (if you want it)

Let’s just hope this is the end of it. (Yeah, I know it won’t be.)

Marathon training begins (AND, Reason to Love Pittsburgh #5: The Pittsburgh Marathon)

As of yesterday, I am in training for the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon, to beĀ  held November 21. According to the Runner’s World plan I am following this time around, I began my training with . . . a day of rest. I know, anticlimactic.

This will be my second marathon, as I ran the 2010 Pittsburgh Marathon. As you’ll deduce from my running a second one, I loved the marathon. It was rough stuff, but I had fun doing it and was immensely proud of the accomplishment. (My Facebook status several hours after the race: “Holy shit. I ran a marathon.” I feel that still about sums it up.)

I’m pretty excited to train right this time—I had kind of a nebulous training schedule last time, wherein I’d do two weeknight runs per week, of whatever distance I felt like (rarely going above 6 or 7 miles per outing), and steadily upped my Sunday long-run distance, getting as high as 20 before tapering down. It wasn’t a terrible training regimen, and it left me ready to do fairly well in the race (my time was a respectable four hours, fourteen minutes). But it was sort of a lazy way to go about it, and rather unfocused. My goal this time is to break four hours. With proper training I should roll up to the start line (or, you know, a cattle pen half a mile from the line) confident I can hit that target.

Anyway, this post is by way of introducing this topic to the blog, as it will become more and more of a preoccupation over the next 3+ months.

Bonus Marathon News: I also, yesterday, signed up for the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon, which places me among the hooked. I was surprised to see that the race will start at 6:30 a.m.! and 5:30 for walkers! It’s one of those things that can’t dissuade you from signing up for an event that’s more than eight months in the future, but damn, that’s early.