Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Review: The Impostor's Daughter
by Laurie Sandell


Simply put, you really should read this book.

It's a "graphic memoir," but before you start thinking it's manga, it's not. It's fun cartoons or comics, but without the slapstick of Bazooka Joe.

Laurie Sandell tells the story of trying to figure her father out and as a result figures herself out. Sandell's storytelling is straightforward and she doesn't work too hard to bring meaning to her stories--it just happens. She follows the "if I tell my deep dark secrets, they no longer are secrets that I have to haul around" rule (whether she means to or not). Which, is quite refreshing--and I'm sure anyone who has experienced adversity in their life will find it reassuring.

The book, despite being 247 pages, goes very quickly. I read it from start to finish last Friday. So, go get it and start reading! This is the best book I've read in a long time.

T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


So, I haven't seen a "dentist" in 10 years--since I had my braces removed when I was 16 years old. And, really, I haven't had my teeth cleaned in about 12 years (right before I had my braces put on). This was hard for me to admit to anyone as I figured they would think I was slovenly.

My reasons for not going to the dentist for those all-important cleanings are that I was either under-insured, un-insured, or just hesitantly lazy. I never had health insurance when I was in Atlanta because I was working retail. I can't remember if I was offered benefits being a part-time employee, but I would have declined them anyway. Being a full-time student and part-time retail worker, I needed every penny I could get my hands on. That meant taking the risk that I wouldn't break an ankle climbing up the stairs at Amicalola Falls.

But, I've been fully insured since I've been fully employed here in Cincinnati. I've lived in this fine city for one and a half years now. My reason for not going to the dentist was purely laziness and hesitation--ten years, folks. I couldn't imagine what they'd find, not to mention I had a wisdom tooth poke out in July.

Today, I took the trek to a dentist in my neighborhood for a good ol' fashioned cleaning and to hear any bad news. The only bad news I heard: I need my wisdom teeth pulled. Um, I knew that. I knew that when my braces came off and my orthodontist took one last x-ray. All of the teeth were there, waiting patiently in my gums. He recommended they be removed. The good news: my teeth are in pretty darn good shape for not seeing a dentist in 10 years. That is, no cavities, no problems, and such mild build-up that the dentist said I could come in for a cleaning once a year as opposed to every six months, but he said it was up to me. I told the receptionist I'll come in once a year. She'll be mailing me a postcard in about ten months.

This leaves me to wonder: how much will my dental insurance company save on me?

T. Budnik

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What I've Been Reading (and What You Should Be)
I feel like I've been reading a lot of books lately (I'm always Internet reading--which is a whole other thing). But then, maybe I've just been reading a lot of easy books recently. Whatever the case may be, here are three books I read in the fine month of August.
Punching In: The Unauthorized Adventures of a Front-Line Employee
by Alex Frankel
Anyone who has worked or is working retail can appreciate this quote from one of Frankel's Gap co-workers: "Dude, this place fucks with time. It slows down, it crawls, it moves backwards." Amen. I didn't get through my entire high school Algebra 2 class before I was applying the laws of exponential decay to that last hour of work.

I really wanted this book to be a blow to those companies that don't carry their branding to their store employees. Some companies can pull it off, but others aren't. That interaction between the kid/part-time mom/grad student/career retailer wearing a polo at the register is more influential than any marketing dollars poured into billboards, television, and that sneaky thing described as "viral."
This is more of a memoir than a biz book, but it's good.

Next up:
Free-Range Chickens
by Simon Rich
This book is such a quick read, why wouldn't you pick it up? Not all of it is funny, but there are enough funny portions to make it worth your while. You won't get upset about having to read something unfunny.

One note: Simon Rich is a year younger than me. He has published 2 books (one of which I have read and like) and writes for Saturday Night Live. Because of this, I have to hate him, as it is obligatory to hate anyone younger and more successful than yourself.

The Hummer and The Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape
by Robyn Waters
It's good, but feels dated. The book was published in 2006--it's been 3 whole years. There are a lot of good examples in the book that encourage me to think differently about branding and the biz in general, but some of the examples I've seen before. Then again, maybe it's because I read Waters's other book.

Bottom line: read it. While some examples given seem obvious, they'll be classics in 2 more years. Plus, it's a quick, insightful read.

T. Budnik