Saturday, January 27, 2007

The enemy of thought

Today, I received an e-mail (not sure how they got my address) from Barnes and Noble announcing the new B&N free online book club. It's a place "where readers and writers meet!"

The bait worked. And with one little push of a button, I was there. The writer-included discussion that I was interested in wasn't up and running yet (unless you count 37 "introductory" messages), so I decided to visit a month-old discussion of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.

A short scan through the first thread convinced me that this book club was not for me. People weren't listening to each other. For the most part, they were just writing gobbledy-gook. At one point, someone replied to the discussion of chapters 1-6 with a message that can be summed up in his first three words: "I hate weddings."

I'm sure there's good stuff in there too. (The moderator seemed to be doing a decent job of responding with helpful information.) But I'm not willing to wade through 44 posts to see it. I'll stick with my neighborhood book club, thank you very much. (I promise to come next month, Kat!)

All of this leads me to a question: are online forums of real value? If so, when? And how? I recently read an article that stated that blogs were the enemy of thought, that no useful discussion can be had on them because of their format and limitations. In a way, I'm testing that idea by even asking these questions here. So what do you think?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Greenville, unite!

After a long day of work, I've found something that motivates me to stop my lazy lounging on a Friday night and actually write something on my blog. And it's this: the possibility that
O-CHA, the tea bar I consider to be the coolest spot in Greenville, is closing its doors.

I recently read in GSA Business that several shops in downtown Greenville had closed just after Christmas. But it hadn't crossed my mind that one of my favorite places would close its doors. Today, however, I got my enewsletter from O-CHA, and the message was a call for customers. Here's part of it:

No business owner wants to put out a plea like this. But, it saddens me further to think that there are many people who will start looking around downtown Greenville and realize that there is nothing unique left open here within a few months! If you believe in local, independent, unique business...then come in and buy just one item from really does make a difference...the difference between us staying open and bringing you even more interesting food/drink items and us closing right along with 8 other businesses downtown.

So this weekend, or sometime soon, go have some bubble tea on Main Street. Don't know where it's located? Never fear.

I'm going right now....

Monday, January 01, 2007

To Banff we go

Every time we visit my husband's family in Canada, we make the trek to Banff, a beautiful resort town on the Canadian Rockies. Here are a few of the things that make this a place we like to visit often.

The view during the hour-and-forty-five-minute drive from Calgary

Earls, a favorite restaurant that offers a variety of food (Between the six of us, we had Thai, Indian, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, and French cuisines.)

Fudge and candy shops where you can get things like sponge toffee and oreo fudge (Yum)

Walking around Banff Springs Hotel (Think Biltmore meets Hilton.)

The view from Banff Springs Hotel

Throw some skiing into the mix, and you have a place that people all over the world come to visit. Maybe someday we'll actually stay there for a weekend.