Jun. 9th, 2007 12:09 am
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So yesterday I spent twenty dollars and two and a half hours at a doctor's office ... to learn exactly four words more than I knew going in.

See, it's an insurance hoop. I told my primary care doc that I was having hearing problems. In the last four or so years, I've started to have: difficulty distinguishing words when they overlap, difficulty distinguishing words against background noise, difficulty pinpointing directionality of noise (I can't tell where the siren is coming from, just whether it's approaching or leaving), total inability to "pick out" one conversation at a loud party (this is hampering me as a grad student because I have to leave receptions because I can't tell what anyone's saying), and most especially the kind of clear gap in hearing that leads me to always be saying "sorry, what did you -- oh, alligators! you saw alligators!" because it takes me five seconds to guess what the word is from what I'm hearing. However, my pitch-and-volume hearing is great: I'm the first person to hear the siren, I just dunno where it is. And I clearly hear the words, because I can usually guess.

So first I had to go to an ENT to take a hearing test. Where I described my symptoms, took a v.v. long hearing test, and we determined that, hey, I'm basically at the perfect top bar of the little chart! ... when it comes to volume and pitch.

Which, you'll note, I knew going in.

On the other hand, I learned ... three whole words. Central Auditory Process. And the audiologist at the ENT's office told me to check on same on wikipedia, where surprise surprise... look! it's me! Except for the part about the association with poor performance in school. And the part about how it (typically) starts in childhood. And about how it's not supposed to get worse over time.

And also how I don't have a diagnosis. I just have a "hey, look, you don't have a problem with your physical hearing, you should go see someone who deals with brains who will maybe tell you you have this thing that I can't tell you anything about myself but you should totally google it. Sorry, we don't deal with brains, because they're squishy and weird."

On the other other hand, I read like a hundred and fifty pages of the hilarious Interred With Their Bones, a da Vinci Code knockoff except with Shakespeare. Here's how it goes: a Harvard-PhD-student-turned-theater-director gets interrupted while directing Hamlet at the Globe. By an old mentor. Who... then is killed with poison in the ear! Our hero must then run around the world following tracking her old mentor's research! Into one of Shakespeare's lost plays! That may prove something about his life! Or also about how the plays weren't really written by Shakespeare! And uncover a conspiracy of the Howard family and the Earl of Northampton! While narrowly avoiding a man who wants to turn her into the "enter Lavinia" stage direction! It's, um, thrilling. In that special hilarious way. Also the author is ALSO a Harvard PhD turned theater director. I think there's a rule about people who leave academia and then write thrillers about the subjects of their dissertations: they are hilarious.

Sadly, I'm not done yet, so I don't know if Shakespeare turns out to be sekritly the son of Queen Elizabeth, or sekritly the lover of Frances Howard, or if the plays were actually really written by the Earl of Oxford (Edward de Vere, who one of the characters is sekritly related to). Also, for some reason the Earl of Suffolk burnt down the Globe in 1613. On Tuesday June 29th -- and then someone in the present burns down the new Globe! On Tuesday! June 29th! And steals the first folio!

See what I mean about the hilarious?


Apr. 24th, 2007 11:31 am
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So the BEA autographing schedule has been posted, and all I have to say is that this is the best fifteen-words-or-less blurb ever: "Gay themed coming-of-age murder mystery based on Pinocchio."

No, really.

Anyway, as you all know by now: this is a three-ish day conference for people in or associated with the book business. This year it's in New York, May 31 - June 3. If you go, you end up coming home with hundreds and hundreds of free books from autographing and from the show floor (after the cost of admission, which is around $75-$100 depending on the kind of person you can register as; if you teach, you can register as an education professional). I'm almost certainly not going this year, because I don't know anyone in NYC and am too cheap to pay even hostel prices for NYC. But! Some of y'all should definitely go.

Even if I'm not going, though, this is always the point in the year at which I go "Alan Alda's written a book about 'living a life of meaning'? Julianne Moore's written a YA book about having freckles?" (Both true, both being signed.) So on that note:

Alison Bechdel signing the pb version of Fun Home!
S.E. Hinton is signing the 40th anniversary edition of the Outsiders!
Judy Blume! New chapter book! Really!
Ann Martin -- of "The Baby-sitters Club" series -- is starting a new series: "Main Street."
Sandra Boynton, with a new book about penguins.
Joyce Carol Oates signing The Gravedigger's Daugher.
Ann Patchett (of Bel Canto) with a new book.
A book called Typo: The Last American Typesetter.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, who writes a new knititng book every year. This one is called Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off
An awesomely hilarious book titled The Camera Phone Book: How to Shoot Like a Pro. No, seriously. By National Geographic. Isn't that the most hilarious thing ever?
The best post-Lemony Snickett pseudonym ever for a chapter book author: Pseudonymous Bosch. I don't expect fifth-graders to get that, but I'm snickering.
Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity: the end? we're over it?
FLOW: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Um. Are we seeing this as a national bestseller?
Hugging Life : A Practical Guide to Artful Hugging Well, mostly I just ... you know, wait until I think other people are okay with me in their personal space, and then I hug them.
Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's third Peter Pan book.
Artemis Fowl graphic novel.
Beowulf graphic novel.
Holly. Black. Two books. No kidding.
OMG The Secret book. By Atria Books. Eewwww.
"Scientific proof of gene regulation by belief, nurturing, and intention!" Riiiiight. *backs away slowly*

Da Vinci Code ripoff count: "A rare-books dealer must unravel a secret that has been hidden in the illuminations of the Gutenberg Bible." And maybe: "A thrilling race to find a lost draft of the Constitution!" and "Who has Pancho Villa's skull? Who will kill for it?" and "Race to uncover the secret of the murder of Hitler's mistress!"

Badly worded blurb count: "Teen author eliminates apprehensions over first-time experiences with Winston, the Squirrel." (Me: Wait, WHAT? First time experiences with... oh, right, by means of a story about. Check.) "Historical story that became most American's first exposure to pedophilia" (Huh? Oh, it's non-fiction. Oh, actually the author is a detective who worked on this case in the 1950s.) "A fantasy adventure that combines actual history, folklore, mythology, and legend." (As opposed to all that fake history.) "Re-telling of Jamestown story in post-apocalyptic future." (Um. What?)

Most hilarious blurbs: " A major hurricane hits NYC in this thriller by the Emmy Award-winning meteorologist!" "An infectiously enthusiastic guide to aprons that are suddenly everywhere." "Suspense novel about a serial killer and the homicide detective determined to catch him." (This is the blurb that describes all thrillers. ALL.) "This book will transform the life of everyone who reads it." (Thanks! What's it about?)

Celebrity signings: Tiki Barber (former Giants running back) with a chapter book and an autobiography; Rupert Boneham (of Survivor) with the Story Of His Fame Etc; the aforementioned Alan Alda and Julianne Moore; John Carter Cash with a book about June Carter Cash; Bruce Dern with a Story of His Fame Etc; Chris Elliott signing what is probably yet another crappy novel masquerading as humor; Charles Grodin signing a self-help book about mistakes; Tim Gunn (of Project Runway) with a book on fashion; Steve Harvey with some sort of superhero novel featuring himself; John Lithgow with a compiled "poetry book for the whole family;" Mandisa of American Idol with a sorta self-help autobiography; Roscoe Orman of Sesame Street (Gordon) again; Karna Small Bodman (apparently a director of the national security council under Reagan) signing a thriller; Anita Thompson (Hunter S.'s wife) with a book on Hunter S.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
So today is my five-year lj-versary. Five years ago today, I finally gave up on keeping track of three friends' ljs individually, and got a livejournal account of my very own. (Thanks for the invite code, [ profile] sineala!) "I won't post to it," I said. "It's just for the friends list." Yeah, right.


Today, on my way to the bigger and further away co-op location (the little one, called "Oasis," doesn't sell crucial things! like, um, Dagoba Xocolatl hot chocolate.) and the Ithaca Bakery, I realized that the Ithaca Friends of the Library Booksale was not only still going on, it was on its last weekend and thus nearly everything was ten cents. (It closes Tuesday, so everything's a dollar a bag then, but whatever: I spent about two dollars a bag today, and there was more stuff to go through.) As ten cents a book is about my speed, I detoured and spent a ridiculous amount of time picking out murder mysteries.

This, apparently, is how to attract the attention of this particular set of the buying public at ten cents a book:
Matte, textured cover (stands out next to all the oooh shiny)
Witty title
Excessively bad bun in title (mediocre puns get an 'eh')
Reference to something written before 1950 in the title

This is how to insure that I won't even pick the book up:
Gold shiny text on spine. (Unreadable, among other things.)
Author photo with big hair. (Sorry, big haired authors of the 80s.)
There are still ten copies of it. (Not sorry at all, Mr. Grisham.)

Picking up books and glancing at the text for about ten seconds, these books go back on the shelf:
"... he interjected."
"... her perky breasts..."
"Sure thing, guv'nor."
"The woman scientist had long, blond hair and beautiful blue eyes..."
Back cover copy mentioning child pornography rings, "best thriller of the year," "vengeance," "the one who got away," ex-CIA assassins, forensic pathologists without knowing what forensic pathologists actually do, "treason," "brutal serial rapist" (the chance of this being handled well is about 0.001%), "terrorists," policemen breaking the law for "justice," and other things I've forgotten.

Things that I will keep (unless they fail one of the premises above):
Meta murders. I have a ridiculous attraction to these, and I'd never buy them at full price, but for ten cents? Bring on the murder mystery in which a murder mystery author is investigating a real murder and then is killed mysteriously! Bring on the murder mystery featuring Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie solving crimes on a cruise ship! And I'll take the one with the author whose work is being transformed into a play when the lead actor is killed, too!
Academic murders. Amanda Cross, yes. But also the ones with "retired physicist turned police consultant..." and "statistician doing copy-editing on prof's magnum opus..." and so on.
Really, really ridiculous historical murders. Again, mediocre ones? Boring! But give me Alexander the Great's tutor solving murders while Alexander is conquering the world, and into the bag it goes.
Anything where the cover design involves a gun made of sashimi. (Honest to god!)
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
This should be it for BEA books, thank heavens. Previous posts are here, here, and here; you can still claim anything in those posts, too. The rules are in part one, but the basics are: claim as much or as little as you want and don't worry about asking for too much. There are duplicates of some of these, so go ahead and ask even if someone else already has. Postage is free, too, but if you want to send us cookies we won't say no.

The Grays. Whitley Strieber. August 2006. Signed. X-Filesish fiction )

Two manga samplers. )

Anne Freaks Volume 1. Yua Kotegawa. March 2006. Manga. This opens with Yuri burying his mom, whom he has just killed; then Anne Freaks shows up, tells him it's a bad place because someone will surely find the body, knocks him out, and does a better job of body disposal.  )

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days Volume 1. Fumino Hayashi. May 2006. Manga. An alternate reality of the original Evangelion )

Missouri Boy. Leland Myrick. September 2006. Graphic novel memoir )

The Way of the Wilderking. Jonathan Rogers. May 2006. I haven't read this; extrapolation from back cover copy follows )

How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years: A Memoir. Kaye Ballard with Jim Hesselman. September 2006. Hollywood Comedian's Memoir With Revealing Anecdotes )

On Christmas Eve. Ann M. Martin. October 2006. Christmas book. Um, obviously. )

SuperVariety Sudoku. James E. Riley, ed. No lj-cut necessary; it's a book of sudoku and dual sudoku and wordoku puzzles.

The following books are signed to one of us, or to some random person. (Some people don't follow directions well, don't take no for an answer, or refuse to just sign their books, for fear that they will turn up on EBay or something. The people most concerned about EBay are frequently the people who have least reason to be concerned.)

Memories of Empire. Django Wexler. September 2005. Haven't read it, but the usually guessing will happen behind the cut )

An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas. Diane Wilson. September 2005. Think Erin Brockovich, only with the county leading the nation in toxic emissions )

The Water Prescription for Health Vitality and Rejuvenation. Christopher Vasey. This isn't someone who was confused about signing; this is someone who would not leave m_shell alone until she agreed to take a copy )

TV Guide: Celebrating an Icon. Stephen Hofer, ed. March 2006. For those interested in pop culture, this contains a color reproduction of every tv guide cover. Ever. )

And sundries: temporary tattoos with the domiKNITrix logo; a set of twenty postcards by Brom, goth but cooler than anticipated from the images I'd previously seen; buttons and pins (I Lie for a Living, Kids Rule, The President's Nemesis, Mindful Politics: It's the Ego, Stupid, etc, good as bases for crafters); a guitar pick; a stretchy bracelet that says "anime wa inochi"; miscellaneous posters; and, for anyone who actually read this far, North-South Books' fab promotion: a Rainbow Fish t-shirt, sized Kids L (6-8). Said t-shirt is text-free; it's just the shiny rainbow fish from the book cover.

ETA: Also we have Arden Shakespeare Books of Quotations. These are cute mini books (with excellent paper) of themed Shakespeare quotes; we have two each of Love, Nature, and the Seven Ages of Man, and six each of Life and Death.
eruthros: Delenn building the crystal machine in season 1  of B5, captioned "foreshadowing" (B5 - Delenn incredible foreshadowing)
For rules of the game, take a look at part one. The basics are: claim as much or as little as you want. There are duplicates of some of these, so go ahead and ask even if someone else already has. Postage is free, too, but if you want to send us cookies we won't say no.

All of the books in this post are signed by the authors.

The Erotic Writer's Market Guide. The Circlet Press Collective. June 2006. market guide + the usual suggestions for writers )

The Dream Thief. Helen Rosburg. Medallion Press, which means historical fiction/romance novel )

The Scroll of Seduction. Gioconda Belli, trans. Lisa Dillman. September 2006. I haven't read it, but this is what I know )

Sharp Objects. Gillian Flynn. October 2006. Thriller featuring a reporter whose first assignment has her returning to her hometown )

Provincetown Follies, Bangkok Blues. Randall Peffer. May 2006. This is the one that was billed as, "Drag queens. Murder. Provincetown, Massachusetts. Vietnam. Thailand." )

Knitting Rules. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. March 2006. Amusing book of knitting tips, tricks, anecdotes, and neat sidebars )

Murder Across the Map. Cindy Daniel, ed. October 2005. Twelve short murder mysteries )

Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas. (This copy still uses "Walendas" throughout rather than Zalindas.) Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin. September 2006. Sherlock Holmes from the POV of the Baker Street Irregulars )

The Pale Blue Eye. Louis Bayard. June 2006. Cadet Edgar Allen Poe + West Point + body with stolen heart + a police detective with a secret )

The Sea of Monsters. Rick Riordan. April 2006. YA. Haven't read it, but here's what I know )

Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (of the Daily Kos). March 2006. Haven't read it, and you probably know more than I do anyway )

The Floating Island. Elizabeth Haydon. September 2006. YA. Haven't read this one either; here's what I know )

And there will be a part four, apparently, with some miscellaneous stuff (manga, Shakespeare quotations, books where an author insisted on signing one to me and one to [ profile] m_shell even if we said "no, we just need the one," that sort of thing).
eruthros: Captain Jack Sparrow gazing into the camera (PotC), captioned "bring me that horizon" (PotC - bring me that horizon)
And there may even be a part three. Oy. For rules of the game, take a look at part one. The basics are: claim as much or as little as you want. There are duplicates of some of these, so go ahead and ask even if someone else already has. Postage is free, too, but if you want to send us cookies we won't say no.

Pornology: One Nice Girl's Quest to Understand Strip Clubs, Sex Toys, Magazines, And Videos Before She Learned to Relax Because After All, It's Just Sex. Ayn Carrillo-Gailey. February 2007. Again, I haven't read it, but [ profile] m_shell has, and she says... )

The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament. Theodore W. Jennings, Jr. May 2003. Haven't read this one either... )

Trust. Charles Epping. June 2006. Another book with the words 'the da vinci code' in the cover copy )

Haters. Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez (author of the Dirty Girls Social Club, but this is YA). October 2006. We're clearly in the 'haven't yet read it' post )

Catalina. Markus Orths; trans. Helen Atkins. October 2006. The usual historic fiction about women. Meaning plenty of cross-dressing. )

Storm Thief. Chris Wooding. September 2006. YA, fantasy. Okay, it's lifted from Douglas Adams, but still: probability storms are a neat concept )

Stone Light. Kai Meyer, trans. Elizabeth Crawford. January 2007. YA fantasy. Winged stone lion army. I need describe no other plot points. )

Firestorm. David Klass. September 2006. YA, adventure/fantasy. Guess what? Haven't read this one either, but [ profile] m_shell has, and she says... )

Passing the Time in the Loo. Steven Anderson, ed. July 2005. Summaries of classic stories, quotes by theme, instructions in the basic rules of soccer, a trivia section: yep, it's a bathroom book. )

Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette. Sena Jeter Naslund. October 2006. Yep, it's a fictional memoir of Marie Antoinette )

Mary: A Novel. Janis Cooke Newman. September 2006. Yep, it's a fictional memoir of Mary Todd Lincoln. It's a theme! )

The Meaning of Night: A Confession. Michael Cox. September 2006. Murder! Revenge! Love! Victorian England! )

Red River. Lalita Tademy (author of Cane River). January 2007. "Epic Work of Fiction" and all that jazz )

And... still more to come tomorrow morning.
eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
It's free book time again! What this means is that [ profile] m_shell and I finally sorted through various BEA books. (Yes, it's been two months. Look, there were a lot of books.) Books and other things listed behind the cut are free for the taking; we'll happily mail them out to you book rate. We're both broke students, though, so we won't say no to anyone who feels a need to send us cookies or pay for postage or whatever.

Claim the books you'd like in the comments (or by IM or email), and send one of us your snail mail address if we don't have it. Feel free to request as many books as you'd like; part of the point of this is to get them out of our apartment. Go ahead and ask even if someone has already claimed something; we have two (!) copies of some of these.

The Interpretation of Murder. Jed Rubenfeld. September 2005. Freud + serial killer + amnesiac woman + kinky sex )

The Looking Glass Wars. Frank Beddor. September 2006. The True Story of Alyss in Wonderland. )

I Could Have Sung All Night. Marni Nixon with Stephen Cole. September 2006. Before I even get to the cut-tag: Marni Nixon is the singer who dubbed for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. The Buffy writer/producer is Marti Noxon. Okay, now that that's over with: Marni Nixon and the Golden Age of the Hollywood Musical )

Bliss. O.Z. Livaneli. October 2006. Turkish morality fable? )

Friends of Meager Fortune. David Adams Richards. February 2007. Love and Lumber )

Comrade Rockstar. Reggie Nadelson. June 2006. Reissue. During the Cold War, an American wanna-be rocker can't make it big in the U.S.... so he tries Russia )

No God In Sight. Altaf Tyrewala. August 2006. Reissue. Fifty connected first-person shorts )

Julius Winsome. Gerard Donovan. October 2006. Yet another one I haven't read! )

Crispin: At the Edge of the World. Avi. September 2006. Crispin: not as cool as Charlotte Doyle, but still fun. )

Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret. Obert Skye. October 2006. So it's obvious from the cover that it's a Harry Potter rip-off but hey, it's a mildly entertaining Harry Potter rip-off. )

Three Shades of Night (World of Darkness). Janet Trautvetter, Sarah Roark, Myranda Sarro. Haven't read it, haven't skimmed it, don't know anything about it )

Typecasting: On the Arts & Sciences of Human Inequality. Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen. September 2006. I haven't read this, but [ profile] m_shell has, and she describes it as a dense, intensively cross-referenced tome that attempts to outline the entire history of western "scientific" support for racism and ethnocentrism. )

Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery. James Benn. September 2006. This one snuck up on me; I knew it was a historical mystery/thriller, like the Poe mystery or the Freud thriller, just from the title, but guess what? It actually fits into that category even better: our main character is the nephew of Dwight Eisenhower. And working for him during WWII. )

>Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable. J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog. Part-graphic novel. June 2006. Abadazad comics turned into part-diary part-graphic novel )

Peter and the Shadow Thieves. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. July 2006. Sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers. We've done Oz and Alice, so let's hit Peter Pan next. )

Escape From the Carnivale: A Neverland Book. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. October 2006. A book-for-younger-readers in the Peter and the Starcatchers series. )

Here, There Be Dragons. James A. Owen. October 2006. Only skimmed it. )

Little Fur: The Legend Begins. Isobelle Carmody (author of the Obernewtyn Chronicles). Haven't read this one, either )

More follow in the next post.
eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
What I've read from this list from the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Apparently, per, said books are selected by "Derek Attridge (world expert on James Joyce), Cedric Watts (renowned authority on Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene), Laura Marcus (noted Virginia Woolf expert), and David Mariott (poet and expert on African-American literature), among some twenty others."

1001 whole books )

Things this says about me:
1. A ridiculous number of bolded books are things I read before I was sixteen, as part of my attempt to read early genre fiction or adventure novels. (The Poe, the H.G. Wells, the E.R. Burroughs, the Scott and the Dumas, and more I'm not remembering right now.)

2. A ridiculous number of the remaining books are things I read for school and despised. (Edith Wharton, Scarlet Letter, and so on.)

3. I still cannot for the life of me remember the titles of Samuel Beckett novels, and I had to look every one of 'em up to remember which was which.

4. Admittedly, I started at the bottom of this list and worked up, so I was starting to get bored up near the top, but still: nearly all of the "great books" that I've read are pre-1970.

Things about this list:
1. Pre-1700 works are hardly represented at all. Only thirteen worthwhile books were written before 1700? I don't think so. And "book" is defined very loosely here; novellas/screenplays are included (Graham Greene's The Third Man), short story collections are included (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), children's stories are included (the Thurber), and works of epic poetry are included (Metamorphoses).

So there's no excuse for leaving out things like Canterbury Tales, the Iliad, the Oddyssey, Beowulf, the Ramayana, Journey to the West (which I always call "you know, the Monkey story"), Dante, Milton, and King Arthur from somewhat earlier than The Once and Future King. They'd fit into the definition just as well.

Oh, and while we're at it? Shakespeare. But apparently today we're defining "book" to include Walden and Metamorphoses, but not Hamlet. I mean, at first I thought it was just novels, so they had an excuse for not including some of the things I mentioned above, but then... Walden! Metamorphoses! WTF!

2. Nine Tailors and Murder Must Advertise are better'n Have His Carcarse and the other DLS books with Harriet Vane? Hmph. Oh, and: Cause for Alarm is the best Eric Ambler? Martin Eden but not Call of the Wild?

3. There's a lot of author repetition: regardless of how much I like Douglas Adams, should both Dirk Gently and Long-Dark Teatime be on the list? Should there be that much Beckett? (Eight novels, and the list doesn't even include Waiting for Godot.) Every Jane Austen novel? Do J.M. Coetzee novels really make up one percent of the books you must read before you die? I mean, one Mark Twain and eight Ian McEwans? More de Sade than P.G. Wodehouse?

4. Based on a cursory glance at the dates, about a third of these were published after 1970, and more than half were published after 1950 . There have been 69 "great books" since the year 2000 -- meaning that there are something like five times as many great books of the 2000s as there are great books before 1700. In other words, this list is top-heavy.
eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
Look, a real American newspaper review of "Life on Mars!" Tim Goodman gives it a little-man-standing-up-in-his-chair-and-clapping, and says "Ultimately, what works best is the entire thing." A really strong statement for a print media critic. Available here; the review spoils some of the plot premise. If you're wondering why this link is here, it's because I think "Life on Mars" rocks.

The Rock Paper Scissors Collective in Oakland, California appears to run the most fabulous arts and crafts classes EVER, and they're all inexpensive. For example, on July 26th, "learn how to make silkscreen prints using your favorite photo image." For a five to ten dollar materials fee. FIVE to TEN dollars. July 30th and 31st, take a two-day course on hardcover bookbinding... for $10 materials fee and a sliding scale $0-10 donation to the collective. There are free courses on using industrial sewing machines, on bike mechanics, "the ancient art of mixtape making," and so on. Very cool.

And, speaking of crafts, this fabulous picture tutorial showing you how to make book-based bookshelves of your very own so's to avoid paying Jim Rosenau $220 for his book bookshelves. (The photo tutorial link is from a craftster post, here. The original poster said: "No book actually worth reading has been harmed in the making of this project."), a picture-based googlemaps mashup. Platial lets you map places with tags, pictures, text, blahblah et cetera, but what's even more cool is that you can then organize said tagged places into maps. So you can make a map that you share with your friends of the best ice cream places in Manhattan, or document your road trip, or whatever. (My map-with-one-thing-on-it is here.)
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
Yes, this is one of those posts that happens when your in-progress file gets too big, weird, and disconnected to do anything with. So why not just post the whole darn thing at once?

Weirdest BEA schwag:

Jelly Belly gummi rat from Coffee House Press. Nothing to do with anything, near's I can tell.
Magnetic Poetry's BEA-themed magnetic poetry, featuring words like schwag and tired and not and another and catalogue.
Red back massage thingy from Elloras Cave.
Inexplicable green alligator filled with water. I don't even remember where it's from. Or why anyone would advertise a book with a squishy water-filled alligator.


So I read Interpretation of Murder, which is... well, it features Freud, and I find the practice of Freudian psychology kinda funny, so it's hard for me to accept it as a thriller. I mean, totally ridiculous dialogue during psychiatric appointments, and Jung and Freud arguing about the supernatural, and Oedipal complexes in Shakespeare, and then at the same time, thriller. With standard death!porn -- you know, the bits where we see a murder from the murderer's pov, and don't give the victim a name, but call her "the young girl" or whatever. Bleh.

The basic problem is that this book doesn't fit in its genre, or even know what the genre is. (You have to know what the genre is to play with it.) I expected it to be a puzzle-thriller: the PR material was all about solving puzzles in Shakespeare and that sort of thing, so I figured it would be the da Vinci Code (which I, um, haven't read) except with Shakespeare and serial killers and Freud. I did not expect the puzzle to be "why does Hamlet act in some instances, and yet find himself incapable of acting on his uncle?" Especially since this puzzle is solved entirely without dialogue or investigation: it's a thought-puzzle in the mind of the narrator. Note to author: thought-puzzles do not make puzzle thrillers.

(Also, there's a bit where they talk about a psychiatrist sleeping with his patient, and there's already been a lot of dialogue about 19th century neurologists are just using sex as a cure, so. It's like the author's trying trying to do both the 19th and 20th century "nervous disorder" cures at once: The talking cure and orgasms. Ickitas.)

... they even made fandom_wank. Not that that takes much on slow wank days. Slow wank days. Heh. -- talking to friede about audiography


Totally disgusting discovery of the day: the Left Behind game. It's... I have no words. Since I have no words, I have attempted to share the horror with everyone I know. For example:
[ profile] eruthros: Oh lordy. Have you seen the PR stuff about the Left Behind game?
[ profile] friede: noooo
[ profile] eruthros: Basically you wander the streets of New York with many large guns, trying to convert or kill Jews, pagans, Buddhists, gays, etc.
[ profile] friede: ...
[ profile] eruthros: And these people call themselves Christians!
[ profile] friede: seriously. gar
[ profile] eruthros: In fact, they protest against violent video games and how they make kids violent!
[ profile] eruthros: And. Wah.
[ profile] friede: *pets*
[ profile] eruthros: posts link to Left Behind Games' website
[ profile] eruthros: You can even play it MULTIPLAYER and try to take territory from other players!
[ profile] friede: omg
[ profile] eruthros: When presumably you're all trying to, you know, convert folks, apocolypse, blahblah etc. And yet.
[ profile] friede: also AHHHHH
[ profile] eruthros: Left Behind was creepy enough before it was, like, Grand Theft Soul.

Also? In this game the UN is a tool of the antichrist. Jesus Mary Mother of God. I ask you. And this, from the president of a Christian marketing organization: "I would assume, if there is violence, it's the cosmic struggle of good versus evil, not gratuitous violence." Right. Of course. It's not gratuitous! You're just killing all the Jews 'cause it's the end times! WAH. From the LA Times: "Ralph Bagley, a spokesman for the Christian Game Developers Foundation in San Diego, said he had seen demand for Christian games grow as parents rejected the escalating violence and explicit sex in mainstream games." And this is... not part of the escalating violence?

Also? Also? Look at what Michael Pachter, an analyst for the investment bank WedbushMorgan, said about this game: "The reason that I think this game has a chance is that it's not particularly preachy. ... I will say some of the dialogue is pretty lame —people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys. I think they're overdoing it a bit. But the message is OK." BUT THE MESSAGE IS OKAY? BUT THE MESSAGE IS OKAY? I swear, I'm going to have an aneurysm over here, if that's what people think is a reasonable message.


eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

May 2017

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