Sunday

[amy] Dashing through the- AAGGH!

I sprained my ankle on Christmas Eve. Really bad. I've got to wear an air cast for four weeks. How did I do it? Well, I was at my mother's place and saw the FedEx guy drop off a big box. Thinking I'd do something nice for my mother, I went outside to bring it around to the back door. Because the box was so big and heavy, it was in my way of seeing where the edge of the paved driveway ended and I rolled my left ankle. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I was in a extraordinary amount of pain, looking at the big box on the ground next to me, wondering if I'd still be able to get it around to the back door.

Have you ever seen the movie Go? You know that part when Ronna gets hit by a car in the rave parking lot; then her body is dumped off the car into a wet ravine and she's laying down there, shaking? Yeah well imagine that the car hit me in the ankle (it's not a very tall car) and then I'm laying in my mother's driveway, wondering why neighbors aren't running toward me to help.

I hobble inside, get some ice on my ankle and try calling my sister. My mother was out shopping at the time and Richard was home but he's, like, a million years old and wouldn't have been any help in this situation. My sister doesn't answer the phone and I'm sitting on the couch watching a baseball grow on the outside of my left ankle. "Ooohhh, ooohhh, ooohhh," I keep repeating to myself. I look over at Richard- he smiles and says, "Happy New Year." Great. The phone rings and it's Barbara. I tell her to come down, I sprained my ankle- maybe worse. She arrives just as my mother gets back and they both tell me I need to go to the emergency room. It's not that bad, I say, it doesn't hurt so much anymore.

Well, long story short, Barbara thanks me for ruining Christmas (she tried thinking of the most selfish thing she could say and it was particularly funny after two hours of mind-numbing waiting), I get x-rayed, nothing looks broken and the doctor gives me an air cast to wear for three weeks. I also watch a tape he gave me entitled "How to Take Care of Your Sprained Ankle" (which features lots of legs jump roping, dancing and doing numerous other things which, as a person with a sprained ankle, I won't be able to do for ages and only made me feel more depressed). Back at home, I get a call from the doctor telling that he's just noticed a sliver of bone on the inside of my injured ankle, which was why I was so tender there, and if it doesn't get better in a week, I should go see an ortho-special-whatever and have my foot amputated. Oh, and I should wear the air cast for an extra week as well.

Currently, my foot is all black and I'm sure it's going to fall off. The good news is that it only hurts a little but I wish it hurt more because the pain was quite exhilarating.

So, yeah, that was Christmas Eve. Christmas was fun. I knit my mother a scarf and my sister a poncho. I can talk about the poncho now. I was not mentioning it and/or posting pictures of it for fear that my sister might see it. But she was happy with it and couldn't believe I knit it. She didn't knit anything for me (due to her City of Heroes addiction) but her and Jason got me wicked nice speakers for my iPod so now I have a proper portable stereo that still produces awesome sound quality. And it's the size of a hardcover book. I love electronics.

Thursday

[amy] Christmas, Christmas, time is near...

I'm off work for Christmas until after the New Year so my postings are going to be infrequent at best. Having said that, I can't wait for Christmas. Can't wait, can't wait. I love giving presents and force people to shake their presents and guess what might be inside while I repeat, "No, guess again." I also like that this is a time of year for secrets: yours and other people's. You got something for someone and it's killing you not being able to tell them about it when they mention the exact thing that you got. You also might know what one person got another person and when the other person talks about it, it kills you to not be able to tell them what you know. See? It's hard to even understand what I'm talking about because I have to be all cryptic and shit.

In other news, I'm thinking about getting a kitten.

So back to the presents: I like disguising distinctly shaped gifts (e.g. books, cds) as something else. The trick is to put the intended present inside something that gives it a different shape and then wrapping that up. For example, hiding a cd inside a watermelon or a DVD inside the box from that porcelain you got- It gets them every time! The only problem comes from when the person reads the outside of the box ("Rebecca, crafted in Chinese porcelain and sporting an intricate lace-edged gingham dress, will make a darling addition to any doll collection...") and becomes ecstatic ("I've always wanted to collect dolls! This is fantastic!"). Hopefully, though, when they see what's actually inside ("A bong?"), they're relieved and happy ("Thank God. I was totally going to slash your tires over that stupid doll.").

Tuesday

[knitting] Colinette Scarf

 

Just wanted to start posting some of my knitting projects. This is a scarf that I finished a couple nights ago using Colinette Zanziba in Copperbeech (I think) and some novelty yarn that I can't remember the name of at the moment.

Because of Zanziba's thick & thin twist, I chose to use a basic moss stitch for this scarf- the finished texture is nice and pearly. Adding the dark blue/dark brown novelty yarn gave the orange and blue Colinette a nice, earthy overall color.

These pictures kind of make the scarf look purple, but really it looks beige, blue and brown. It's pretty, I swear.

[movies] Sin City redeemed on film... perhaps.

Okay, I didn't really care for the comic and I heard that the movie was going to be a celebrity clusterfu- well, there are lots of famous people in it (which is usually distracting) but GAH! The trailer! So awesome. And sweet, big-eyed, innocent, Tuck Everlasting, Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls as one of the many hookers in the film! Love love love!

[books] The Stupidest Angel

Okay, the discussion for Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel is up (a day late due to password issues). I hope you read it but you probably didn't. It was a fun Christmas story and put me right in the mood for killing Santa, zombies, naked swordplay and fruit bats. See what you missed out on?

Monday

[food] To eat before I die

Yet some more things to worry about doing before I die. BBC posts a list of 50 things to eat before you die. Let's see, I haven't tried:

11. Moreton Bay Bugs

Don't like the sound of that. But they're probably not really bugs, right? It looks like a cross between a lobster and a crab. Hey, I like lobster and I like crab so that would mean I'd love these bugs. Only, I wouldn't call them bugs.

19. Cream tea

Silly me for thinking this was just tea with cream in it. I could easily have said, "Yeah, done it. Thank heavens I tried that before I died." Apparently, cream tea consists of clotted cream, scones, jam and tea. And you have to have it at 4:00 pm. And the clotted cream has to come from Devonshire. And the jam has to be home-made. And the scones still have to be warm from the oven. Uh, I'm getting hives just thinking about it. It sounds too stuffy and uptight.

22. Kangaroo

... Really. So during my inevitable trip to Australia to eat all these things I simply must in order to pass on in peace, I'm meant to have freaky lobsters and kangaroo. Kangaroo. Hey, what if you're a vegetarian? You obviously won't eat all this fish and meat. Are you going to die unhappy/unfulfilled? And if you're a vegan- forget about all that clotted cream, man. Well, I'd try kangaroo. I'll probably be crying while I'm chewing but I'd try it once.

32. Guinea pig

What? No, man, they are too fucking cute. No way am I going to eat something I can pick up at the pet store. No. No way. Forget it. I mean, if I was stuck on an island of New Guinea and there were all these little native guinea pigs running around and I was starving, I would probably catch a couple and roast them over and open fire but only under those dire circumstances.

35. Paella

What is that? Oh yeah, this would kick ass. Finally, something on the list that I might actually be able to make at home. I'll just add this to my list:

- Make some paella
- Be one step closer to dying happily

36. Barramundi

I mean, can we please pick more obscure food? Sautéed rats with a side of krispy ants- you simply have to have that before you die. Let's see what the hell barramundi even is... It's fish. Fish from Australia! What, I have to eat everything alive in and around Australia? It's that great? ... I guess it would be cool to say that I've eaten a hermaphrodite fish. Unless that's common. Are lots of fish hermaphrodites?

40. Australian meat pie

Australia. What a surprise. Let me guess what's in the meat pie: koala, wallabee, platypus and wombat. Oh, just beef. How boring. I swear, if I do end up making it over to Australia, I'll probably leave 20 pounds heavier.

42. Durian fruit

Interesting. Let me guess- can only be found on the island continent of Austra- Oh, it's native to Malaysia and Indonesia. "Described as tasting like heaven and stinking like hell. The fruit is large and covered in spines with a really rich creamy flesh which tastes like cream cheese and onions." Yummy. "It has an extremely offensive odor described as garlic like, similar to stinky feet, and like Limburger cheese. Some countries even ban the presence of durian in hotels and on public transportation due to its offensive smell." Mmm, mmm. But too bad I'm allergic to tropical fruits. Oh well, so sad.

48. Haggis

I'll die happy if I don't ever try this. What is it again? Sheep liver, heart and lung stuffed inside a sheep bladder? I don't ever want to make something that would have be puking all over it during the preparation process. And I don't want to eat it. Ever. Maybe once. Covered in ketchup.

49. Cornish pasty

I love pasties, but I figure- "You tried one pasty, you tried 'em all." I'm not going all the way over to Cornwall just for a stupid meat-filled pasty. Meat and potato and onion and... Mmmm, okay I'm drooling a little.

* * * Amy's Note * * *

An obvious and glaring item missing from this list is kimchi. I'm not trying any of it until they add it.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Wednesday

[knitting] The "playful" womb

this is the blog of the creator of the knitted womb. This chick is clearly insane. She answers some common knitted-womb questions she's been getting:

Q: Why a womb?
A: Why not?


Okay.

Q: Plan on kitting up anything else weird?
A: I'm seeing a lot of expressive potential in the urinary system right now.


O-kay.

Q: Why not a penis?
A: [links to a crocheted penis]


O- Oh my god.

Crazy. This chick is crazy. Look at the purse she made! Cra- Hold on. Okay, this bunny she made is cute. And the Superhero poncho is really cool (I'm going to make my next poncho with a hood!). So... maybe she's only a little crazy. And that's not such a bad thing if you think about it.

Tuesday

[books] The Unmaking of Earthsea

Ursula K. Le Guin isn't too thrilled with the Legend of Earthsea miniseries. I haven't read it (yet) nor seen any of it, so I can't comment on the differences. But I wonder... Once you sell the rights to your writing, how much say do you/can you have over how the film is made and/or what message the film is trying to convey? Can you have that written into the contract? I imagine you could call up the director and say, "No, no, it happened this way," and he could say, "Yes, yes, we'll make the changes" and then not do anything.

I wonder how many authors sell their stories with the highest hopes only to wish, later, that they'd not let go.

That reminds me, there was a question on the recent Guardian Adaptation quiz:

10. Upon seeing a film made from one of his books, what was John Le Carré's quoted reaction?

a) "It's like Christmas and your birthday all at once"
b) "It's like taking a cow and boiling it down to an Oxo cube"
c) "It's like looking into the toilet bowl and remembering the wonderful meal you had the night before"
d) "It's like losing a daughter only to have her return as a whore"

Maybe the answer could be "a" in a best-case scenario, but it's probably more like "d".


UPDATE

Yo, Ursula K. Le Guin is pissed off. Read her op/ed piece at Slate, affectionately titled A Whitewashed Earthsea. She doesn't like that fact that the producers mostly cast White Bread (with Danny Glover filling in as the token black man) when her book and characters display a wide array of races. She gets semi-hysterical about all the different skin colors in her story and how the movie ignored that. I thought she was over-reacting until I read-

"I have heard, not often, but very memorably, from readers of color who told me that the Earthsea books were the only books in the genre that they felt included in- and how much this meant to them, particularly as adolescents, when they'd found nothing to read in fantasy and science fiction except the adventures of white people in white worlds."

I never thought of that. For those of you who read sci-fi/fantasy, how often do you read about main characters who are non-white? And I'm not talking Chewbacca or R2D2 "non-white", I mean African American, Native American, Indian, etc? Ever pick up a sci-fi book and see an ethnic person on the cover? Probably not. I can understand now why the variety of races is a glaring omission on the part of the mini-series creators.

Le Guin also kind-of answers my question about what happens after you sell the rights to your book:

"When I sold the rights to Earthsea a few years ago, my contract gave me the standard status of 'consultant'- which means whatever the producers want it to mean, almost always little or nothing."

[books] "When novel and author stop being polite...

...and start getting real." This is the Real World: Writing. Neil Gaiman is rapidly losing his mind. Recent posts to his online journal center around wrestling imaginary bears, bipolar ups and downs and the following:

"Only...

Only What Happens in the last part of the book is all different now. It feels more like What Happens than what I thought happened in the last half of the book when I started writing this (or, er, this morning). But...

AAARRGH."

He's losing it. The man is losing it. The book sounds to be about 75% done and the honeymoon's well over. At the beginning, when Neil was meeting all his new characters and discovering what they're about, it was all rainbows over a marzipan landscape of smiles and hugs. Now I get the impression he hasn't washed in a while and he's blaming the book. White skin, sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, beard and an insane smile- he looks at himself in a full length mirror, whirls around to face the book and shouts around flecks of spittle flying from his mouth, "How dare you do this to me! I created you and look what you've done! You'll pay for this!" Clackitty clackitty clack on the keyboard (or, scribble scribble on the legal pad as is the case with Neil).

Can't wait for the book, Neil. Hurry up.

Monday

[amy] Weekend Update

I don’t really like dogs. No, I don’t like them at all actually. Guess what I’m doing this week? House- and Dog- sitting. I’ve known this dog for a long time and it’s the only one I feel comfortable around. I’m still afraid, though. It all started when…

[cue flashback harp music]

I was a little girl and my grandpa’s dog bit me in the face.

[cut back to present]

So that’s it. I hate dogs because they hate me. They must know I’m a cat person… So this dog-sitting thing is sweet and sour. The sweet part is that the house has cable and I watched 120 hours of t.v. this past weekend. I caught up on Food Network, MTV, VH1, E!, Bravo and all kinds of crap stations. The sour part is taking the dog on his pee/shit breaks. He’s kind of old and that makes me sad. And he’s kind of stinky, which makes me mad. I try not to pet him but he gets all dejected-looking and I end up petting him but I immediately run to wash my hands afterwards.

I don’t have to stay with him at the house, but I’d feel bad leaving him all alone and coming over just to let him out for five minutes at a time. He’d cry little doggie tears, I know he would.

Other than that, I’m frantically trying to finish a knitting project in time for Christmas. And trying to read Practical Demonkeeping, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Island of the Sequined Love Nun and Lamb in preparation for The Stupidest Angel- the discussion of which starts next Monday. I love to read but, crap, that’s a lot of reading.

Friday

[news] Mel Gibson's Christmas shopping

I knew rich people still bought islands. Someone told me that the world's islands were all sold already but Mel Gibson has just bought his own personal island in the Pacific. And at $15 million, I consider it a bargain. Even so, that's like pocket change to the man now. I'm waiting for him to buy the moon next.

Thursday

[test] flickr

 
This is a test, using flickr to post photo(s)...

[videogames] Girls! Girls! Girls!

Why do guys always outnumber girls when it comes to video games? Not that I'm complaining or anything, heh heh, no but seriously: Why? Guys outnumber the girls 15:1 over at Red vs. Blue. When I play group Halo/Halo 2, there are usually only a couple girls present. Why? Why, God, WHY? Are there no other gaming chicks out there? Where are the other nerdy, unix joking ("Ever try to concatonize the phrase 'a can of food' on the command line? You get 'cat cannot open a can of food'! AHH HAHAHAHAHA!!!"), Penny Arcade reading, hott females. Oh wait, HERE they are. Mmmm, frag-a-licious. It's like the Spice Girls, only better. You can pick your favorite one but they don't sing. Oh yeah, there are also doodz but I doubt they'd look as good in heels.

Wednesday

[boardgames] Holiday game guide... to Carcassonne!

Matthew Baldwin posts his 5th annual Good Gift Game (G3) Guide over at The Morning News. These are good starting games for everyone because they meet the following criteria:

1. Easy to learn, with rules that can be explained in less than five minutes

2. Entertaining, so committed to the fun factor that even the guy who comes in dead last has a great time playing

3. Quick, lacking downtime and requiring no more than an hour to complete.

I haven't been to Funagain or Games Surplus in a while, so hearing about Carcassonne: The City was news to me. I've got the original Carcassonne, plus all the expansions (Inns & Cathedrals, King & Scout, Traders & Builders), Hunters and Gatherers and the two player variant: The Castle. ... Gah! There's a new expansion called The Count of Carcassonne! 12 new starter tiles, which is cool because the river pieces were getting boring and totally give the person who plays the first farmer an unfair advantage.

[knitting] Winter Knitty

The Winter Issue of Knitty is up. The only two things I'd consider making would be the bob & weave (but make it smaller) and the maryella beaded wrist cuffs. I haven't knit with beads before but I'd like to try it out.

My only question is WTF is up with the knit womb. Seriously. ..."a cute, cuddly uterus doll"? I don't want to cuddle with it; do you? Didn't think so. And it's like Action Womb- they've taken pictures of it climbing trees and playing the piano.

If you must knit yourself a doll, why not knit a Rockstar? I'm all over the Henry Rollins one, but I'd do it shirtless and make sure to accurately replicate the "Search and Destroy" sun on his back, as well as all the tattoos on his arm his arms and legs... My only fear is that by the time I finish it, I will have made a voodoo doll.

The only dolls I want are these.

Tuesday

[books] Incoming Call. From: GOD (new number)

I’ve taken the 9/11 Commission Report and Diary of a Teenage Girl from my “Currently Reading” list to the left because, I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know when I’ll get through them and I have a crapload of other reading to do. So.

I finished Tribulation Force last night. This is Book 2 of the Left Behind series, which I find interesting. The rapture has taken place and loads of people have disappeared from earth (and are presumably in heaven). Those left behind have to deal with the upcoming 7 years of trials and tribulations, the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, the antichrist and devil and all that. In the aftermath of the disappearances, there are two witnesses known as Eli and Moishe (a.k.a. Elijah and Moses) who pray/preach at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. They also happen to breathe fire and incinerate anyone who tries to harm them.

A couple of the characters in the book get a chance to get close and talk to Eli and Moishe. It was all, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” It was an intense conversation with these ancient, sweat stained men in tattered robes. The conversation ended with Eli and Moishe speaking directly into the two characters’ hearts.

The next day, one of the characters, a respected Rabbi, gives a surprising and controversial telecast to the world. He runs home for safety and bbbbring bbbbring goes the telephone. Is it the newspapers? Incised orthodox jews? No. It’s Eli. Calling on the telephone: “Hello, Rabbi? Hi, this is Eli. We spoke last night, remember? I was all intimidating and speaking without actually talking and trying to resist the urge to set things on fire with my mouth because, ha ha, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Am I right? So listen, about this telecast you gave- I saw it. Loved it. I think you should come over here aaaand we’ll have a little pow-wow, you know, toss some ideas around about what to do about the inevitable arrival of the devil. How does that sound? Good? All right, you’re brill, love ya, I’ll send a car to pick you up. Toodles.”

The conversation didn’t go exactly like that but I couldn’t believe that Eli called the Rabbi up on the telephone. Up until that point, Eli and Moishe had been very mystical and it all came crashing down with that specific use of technology. You’d think, right?, that if Eli could do all sorts of crazy things and has the will of God on his side, he could just appear in the Rabbi’s living room, like a hologram or something, deliver an important message in a booming/echoy voice and dissipate. Right? On top of that, he’s not meant to move from the Wailing Wall for two years! I’ve never been, but I don’t imagine there are pay phones lining the outside of it. So what did Eli do? Pull out his cell, call up God and ask to be put through to the Rabbi?

A telephone… I can’t believe it…

[videogames] Halo 2: The Reckoning

This past Saturday I spent 8 hours playing Halo 2 with some new people- I can't remember all their human names but I am sure of all their screen names. Ken posts about it here. I didn't do too well the first game because I wasn't used to having my TV all to myself- it was kind of large and kind of freaking me out. But then I started kicking ass. Then, as the day progressed into night, my play got worse and worse. All in all, it was loads of fun. And I liked trying out new games, as opposed to just playing team slayer.

It’s worth mentioning that after playing Halo for so long with my regular crew, it was a bit of culture shock playing with guys who have their own customs. Here are a few differences.

* * *

Old Crew: Play team slayer until 25 kills.

New Crew: Play team slayer until 50 kills.

Initial Reaction: Fuck! This is going to take fucking forever!

Result: This actually is a better way to play for two reasons: (a) You’re on the level for much longer. Going for only 25 kills means you’re done with the level fairly quickly and after 2 hours of game play, you’ve done every level- twice. (b) The winning team will shift back and forth, thus making the game more exciting. With 25 kills, the leading team is usually going to be the winning team.

* * *

Old Crew: Motion Sensor off

New Crew: Want the gaydar and will bitch until they get it turned back on.

Initial Reaction: Babies.

Result: I don’t like having it on because I never use it. When it is on, I forget to use it. So… If I’m not using it, that means no one else can. Plus, it’s just more exciting to not know where people are.

* * *

Old Crew: 3-4 people per TV

New Crew: Refuse to have any more than 2 people per TV.

Initial Reaction: You do know you can play 4 people to an Xbox, yeah?

Result: Maybe they just don’t want to play on 1/4 of a TV screen because it would be too small? But hey, I learned Halo on 1/4 of a TV screen and I think it makes you a stronger player. Like, how your granddad would have walked to school in the middle of winter, barefoot, with only a baked potato in his pocket to keep his hands warm and stomach full for the rest of the week? It’s called hardship. Or poverty. Hardship or poverty. Either way, it makes you stronger.

* * *

Monday

[funny] Shizzy

I love Shizzy. I want to have like 10,000 of his babies. He completely outdoes himself with a email prank focusing on corporate treachery- Starbucks style. Read Part I and Part II. Also, read his interview.

[videogames] WarDevil for Xbox 2

Check out the new trailer for an Xbox 2 title, WarDevil created by Digi-Guys.

"For over 15 months, Digi-Guys has been creating and testing to make this project possible. Recruiting talented new team members from the 4 corners of the globe - which in turn have drawn upon many visual & literary influences, to created one of the first projects that can exist in both mediums - as a movie & a game."

Thursday

[food] Where's the squab?

Hidden inside this unassuming turkey is a chicken, a duck and loads of stuffing. I totally missed out on the Turducken this Thanksgiving. And at $114.95 a pop, I’m kind of glad. Maybe I’ll get it next year for Valentween.

Wednesday

[amy] Hair Dryers

I got a new hair dryer. Or rather, replaced the one I had had for only one week before it broke when I dropped it. Shit just isn’t built to last anymore. I went to K-mart after 7pm, knowing that there wouldn’t be that many people there. I picked out a new (different brand of) hair dryer and decided to wander around.

I looked at all the Christmas stuff, imagining how I’d be wrapping gifts this year. I usually bounce back and forth between Martha Stewart-ish packages in shiny paper, smooth flat ribbons, bows, pretty tags, etc etc etc. With this method, it takes about 20 minutes to wrap one toothbrush. Conversely, there’s the hasty, last-minute book wrapped in paper towels tied up with shoelaces. How ghetto is that? I also perused the Christmas cards, not finding anything I’d want to send out to people. In the end, I picked out a few other things I needed and checked out. I swear, only I can go into the big K-fart, choose SIX things and have the total come to fifty bucks. FIFTY BUCKS.

At home, I gave myself a spa treatment (I got these exfoliating shower mittens that have no thumbs- so they're basically like socks you wear on your hands- and after having them on for two minutes, I realized how much I love/need my thumbs), read a couple reports for work, wound two skeins of yarn into balls and read the instructions to my new super 5 x Ion far-infrared Remington mega-magical hair dryer.

I learned that I’ve never once dried my hair properly in my life. I’ve been doing it all wrong! It’s a highly scientific process involving various heat and speed settings depending upon what style you’re aiming towards and what your hair type is. Don’t even get me started on that cool shot button, it’s too complicated. After carefully reading the WARNING! Safety Instructions! I found out that I should not operate the hair dryer while sleeping. I don’t know why I’d want to dry my hair while I was asleep but this has to be the most obvious safety instruction I’ve ever read in my life. I mean, you can add this warning to anything:

Car: Do not drive while sleeping!

Knives: Do not chop while sleeping!

Frozen Dinners: Do not eat while sleeping!

Clearly, the only thing you should be doing while sleeping is dreaming. Duh.

But this reminds me, I had this dream last night about being trapped under the ocean with a bunch of other people and we couldn’t leave this one place because this shark was going to kill us, but it turned out to be a robotic shark with a sinister man and woman inside it (who wanted to kill us) because they were looking for a big, uncut diamond (which someone in my group had)… It went further from there but involved everyone back on land, dressed clothing from the 1920’s, trying to prevent a forest fire.

Tuesday

[amy] Misc.

NaNoWriMo didn’t work for me. I was doing too many other things. Instead of thinking about it in terms of National Novel Writing Month, I’ll just call it National Novel Writing Whenever Amy Feels Like It Or Has The Time And Or Inclination- NaNoWriWhAmFLItOrHaThTAnOrIn, for short. It’ll get done one of two ways: (1) When I’m guilted into it by someone, (2) During a 10-day peyote/tequila binge.

What was I doing all the time that I could have been writing and creating something unique from the fertile cropland of my gigantic brain? Watching loads of movies/TV shows, I’m afraid. And they are:

Gilmore Girls: Season 1
Love it. Smart dialogue, mildly obscure literary and classic movie references that I don’t quite get, small town living that reminds me of where I live. The show also begs the question: What would I be doing if I had a 10-year-old daughter in my life right now? For some reason the word slave keeps popping up in my head, wanting to be the answer.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Not only is the movie dark and moody and wonderful, the special features disk kicks ass. Don’t you hate “special features” that only offer trailers for your annoyance enjoyment. That’s such a cop-out. These special features, on the other hand, are truly special. I felt special watching them. Like, more special than usual.

Welcome to the Dollhouse
I’m going to kill the person that suggested the movie to me. Stupid. But maybe that’s because I didn’t have such a hard time in junior high; I can’t relate or something. Whatever, complete waste of 87 minutes.

The Chronicles of Riddick
The only thing I liked about this movie was Vin Diesel. And only his voice, at that. Where the first movie was SciFi in a comfortably acceptable way, this movie was over the top SciFi complete with Judi Dench as an Air Elemental (which the former Magic: The Gathering player inside me reluctantly found mildly somewhat interesting), Vin as a Furian (which is the worst obvious name for a race ever- “Furians, these are the Angrians. Meet the Maddikins but don’t talk to the PissedOffians, they’re not very friendly…”) and Kyra played by an actress who looked far too old to be 17-years-old. Interestingly enough, if you’re an Angel fan, the actress played Kyra is the one who played Gwen Raiden (red leather pants, electro-shock powers) in Season 4.

In bookish news, I’m moderating this month’s discussion over at BookBlog. I’ve chosen Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror because it’s that time of the year.

The cleaning and knitting has continued, with knitting coming out the clear victor. I vacuumed this past Sunday and that’s about all I can handle for a while. Although, the tub has been begging to be cleaned for a while now but I keep telling it, “You get cleaned every day- every time I wash my glorious body!” But he goes, “Yeah, but you’re filthy.” And I’m like, “Am not!” But he goes, “Are too.” And I should probably stop talking to my bathtub but the microwave and I had a huge fight (you don’t even want to know what he did to my Thanksgiving leftovers) and we’re not on speaking/button pressing terms anymore.

Monday

[shopping] Marijuana

Now available through Amazon. Shit, man, they really do sell everything.

[thanksgiving] The Aftermath

Thanksgiving: the one time of year when excess is expected. This year we all brought a side dish or two, to help ease the workload on my mother. I brought brussels sprouts (which, in hindsight, wasn’t such a good idea since it smells like feet and after you’ve had a shitload to eat, the stench is suddenly vomit inducing) and roasted carrots & parsnips. Also, my Korean relatives came down from Burlington and they brought a friend (exchange student from Korea), so there were 10 of us total.

Here’s everything we had on the table at my mother’s place on Thursday:

Turkey
Mashed potatoes
Mashed butternut squash
Stuffing (regular)
Stuffing (cornbread)
Brussels Sprouts
Roasted carrots & parsnips
Brushetta
Cornbread
Focaccia
Korean sushi rolls
Jap Chae
Pumpkin pie

The best part was watching the exchange student’s eyes bug out when my mother hefted the turkey out of the oven. It was like a 20lb mascot of gluttony. But I think my mother likes this holiday because it represents prosperity and after her stories about her brother back in Korea shooting small birds out of trees with a slingshot, roasting it over a fire and only giving her a stupid little wing from one, she probably likes getting a huge bird and sharing it with everyone.

Friday, I did some Christmas shopping online. Route 12A, where all the stores are, is going to be backed up until February and I refuse to wait in lines in traffic and/or in lines in stores. I’m not going anywhere near 12A until all the Christmas and post-Christmas shopping has cleared out. Later in the day, my sister and I went up to Northeast Fiber Arts where I dropped too much money. It was all for supplies to make Christmas presents but it still hurts.

The rest of the weekend was a pleasurable (yet mildly lonely) experience consisting mainly of knitting, cleaning and reading comic books, all with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on repeat in my DVD player.

Tuesday

[books] Shitty Book Comprehensive #4

TARGET: Hip Knits! : 65 Easy Designs from Hot Designers

BY: Better Homes and Gardens

PREMISE: * Well-known designers, such as Lily Chin, put their personal spin on today's knitted fashions and accessories. * Easy projects that yield designer results, even for beginners. * "How to knit" primer includes special secrets that bring success even for beginners. * All projects include patterns, step-by-step instructions, and supplies lists.

SURVEY SAYS:

"simply ugly sack sweaters" - Megan Henry

"the patterns are ugly" - Brittany

"anything but 'hip.'" - Heidi M.

"I would not call most of them 'hip'" - Peony

"I guess I should have known, as it was compiled by Better Homes and Gardens, which has a very staid idea of hip, it seems." - Pippi

SCORE: Zero skeins on yarn. This is actually the worst reviews for a knitting book I've seen at Amazon.

Monday

[books] BookBlog

The discussion for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime has begun over at BookBlog. I haven't finished the book yet, but I think I'll be able to tonight. And then I can talk more about it tomorrow. Because, right now, I don't really know what's going on. Other than the fact that Christopher is, like, wicked smart. In maths.

UPDATE

I wasn't able to finish it last night but I'm sure I'll be able to tonight. See, I'm doing this thing... Heh, it's kind of stupid really... I'm trying to get to work at 6:00 am in the morning. That way I can leave by 3:00 pm (which is when I like to leave) and get to the gym before that bitch who is always stealing my elliptical machine. Anyway, this whole I'm-getting-up-early-because-I'm-insane thing is making me crash by 10:00 pm. And last night there was 2 loads of dishes to do (by hand), laundry to put away, sheets to change, mirrors to windex, a stove to clean and 4 episodes of Gilmore Girls to watch in DVD. In completely unrelated news, this speed I'm taking is allowing me to get so much shit done.

Thursday

[laundry] Coolest way to fold your shirt. Ever.

Click me for video.

[Via Fark where one of the comments was "Oh, Orientals... is there anything they don't know?"]

[books] NBA Winners Announced

Here are the winners of the National Book Award, announced last night. I don't recognize any of the titles. At the time of posting, there are only two reviews of Lily Tuck's The News from Paraguay; one calling it a "powerful historical novel" and the other calling it a "compelling historical novel."

As for the youth lit category winner, Godless by Pete Hautman, here's what one review says (I have to copy the whole thing because it's so unbelievable):

"Jason is a smart 15-year-old, an agnostic-leaning-toward-atheism, who resists following in the footsteps of his devoutly Catholic father. Getting clocked under the water tower by the nasty and unpredictable Henry leads Jason and his friend Shin to combine their talents to posit a new religion. "Chutengodianism" sanctifies water, the source of all life, as manifested by the Ten-Legged God, aka that same million-gallon water tower. Creating the creed on the fly, Jason soon gathers a handful of acolytes, including his former nemesis. Their midnight pilgrimage to the top of the tower for worship transmutes into an impromptu baptism when Henry hacksaws through the padlock. Their swim rouses sexy thoughts about Magda, stripped to her panties and bra, balanced soon after by panic when it seems they might be trapped. Regaining the top of the tank, Henry slips and sustains severe injuries crashing onto a catwalk below. Fortunately for him, the authorities have already arrived. The Church is busted and the faithful face new trials and temptations."

Can you please tell me everything that happens in the story? Please? I have to admit, it does sound intriguing, non? And apparently Hautman's other book, Sweetblood, is about "a vampire-obsessed 16-year-old diabetic's steep slide downward as she is intellectually seduced by a middle-aged cybervamp via the Internet." Dude! This guy's books sound crazy!

Wednesday

[cooking] Bookslut reviews

Jessa at Bookslut reviews some Thanksgiving cooking magazines. I agree with most of what she has to say about Gourmet but I think she was a tad harsh on Everyday Food. I don't think they expect you to be a complete idiot in the kitchen. I made the Southwestern Skillet on Saturday (the only alteration I made was adding jalapeños and onions) and it was perfect. I was even kind of worried about the homemade biscuits on top, but they came out perfect. And Sunday I made the shredded brussels sprouts with bacon, sprinkled with cider vinegar and it was delicious. The recipes look good and they're easy & fast. The magazine also has a special section on how to make four meals from one bag of groceries! How can you not like this magazine?

Tuesday

[books] It's Just a Plant

Ha ha haha haa. Read this, click on the picture to move the story along...

"What's that, Mommy?" asked Jackie. "Are you and Daddy smoking a cigarette?"

"Kind of," said her Mother. "This is called a 'joint.' Also known as a 'spliff,' 'doobie' or 'jimmy.' It's made of marijuana."

"Mar-a-whah?" asked Jackie, who turned to her father only to see him trying not to laugh. "What's that?"

"Marijuana," said her Mom, "It's like a... it's like a plant, man. Just a fucking plant. Gateway drug my ass..."

"What kind of plant?"

Jackie's Father whispered something into her Mother's ear and then crawled under the bed.

"Listen," her Mother said, ushering her toward the bedroom door, "That's like way too deep to get into right now and your father's wicked high. He's kind of freaking out right now. Why don't you skip school tomorrow, we'll smoke a couple fat ones and I'll tell you all about everything."

"Okay," said Jackie.

[stars] Clearly brainwashed

This post about Tom Cruise by Defamer had me giggling uncontrollably.

[games] "Church" interviewed by NYT

In an article entitled Virtual Warriors Have Feelings, Too, Greg Allen from the New York Times interviews the father of Red vs. Blue. I've pasted the entire interview for those of you who don't have a NYT account.

On Nov. 9, after three years of development, months of frenzied fan speculation and $75 million in pre-orders, Microsoft launched Halo 2, the sequel to the top-selling title for the Xbox video game console. And from the moment Halo 2 finally went on sale, gamers have burned countless hours mastering Halo 2's fancy new weapons and exploring its expanded humans-repel-alien-invaders narrative. But for filmmakers like Burnie Burns, who work in the emerging medium of machinima, these features are a mere starting point. Instead of playing Halo as intended, Mr. Burns and a crew of machinima peers exploit the game's software quirks to create their online comedy series, Red vs. Blue, within Halo's virtual world. Since its debut in the spring of 2003, Red vs. Blue has rivaled Halo itself in popularity; fans download new episodes (www.redvsblue.com) at a rate of over 900,000 a week.

GREG ALLEN How did you start making short films inside a video game?

BURNIE BURNS I made a 16-millimeter, then the guys I made it with left for L.A. I stayed [in Austin, Tex.] working for a technology company, and basically, I needed a way to write and produce stuff myself. That's when I had the idea.

Q How do you pronounce machinima? It's one of those words that nobody ever says out loud.

A I've heard it pronounced both mah-SHIH-ni-ma and mah-SHEE-ni-ma.

Q What's the basic machinima process?

A One player in a game is literally a cameraman; you're recording through that character's eyes. It looks like animation, but it's really a lot like live action. You block out a scene and do takes. Then you edit it and dub your own dialogue. Machinima kind of starts when you stop playing. Halo is a virtual world; a character's programmed to talk or shoot when a player enters the room, but what happens right after the player leaves? He's still in there.

Q So you're exploring the inner lives of these faceless, armor-clad warriors?

A Exactly. We imagined our own characters and storyline. Sometimes it intersects with the Halo story, like the episode when Sarge calls [their vehicle] the Warthog, and the others think it looks like a puma. But mostly we just tell our own stories.

Q One of the trademarks of Red vs. Blue is Halo's spare, almost Beckettian landscape. How does Halo 2, which is more elaborate, change things for you? Is it like when they try to revitalize a sitcom by redecorating?

A Yeah, or relocating, like when Laverne & Shirley moved to California. [The Halo 2 developers at Bungie] have their own storyline, but we'll still do the absurdist existential comedy. They've upgraded the world; the lighting's different, the rocks are different. They've rendered the characters in much higher detail. But the main thing for us is the new models; now you can control the aliens like you control the marines. So we can do real-world parallels of wars or cultural differences.

Q It's surprising that Microsoft let Red vs. Blue stay alive. They could've choked it in its crib.

A [Laughs] They still could. But the guys from Bungie contacted us right away - they saw it starting at Episode 1 or 2 - and said they liked it a lot and wanted to make sure we were protected. Everyone's got this need to tell a story, and I think more of these big companies recognize that.

Monday

[games] Halo 3?

According to this article, there's something special happening on February 9th. Something is coming. Halo 3? That's too exciting to even contemplate. So what is it? WHAT?!

[via Slashdot; scroll down for comments]

[science] Uncanny Valley

Here's your science for the day. This is very interesting. Human emotional response to robots increases as the robot is anthropomorphized. At a certain point, though, when the robot becomes too real, humans suddenly become repulsed but it. This is the Uncanny Valley.

[via Candleblog via Boing Boing]

I can kind of understand why some people might want to get a Reborn doll; if they aren't able to have kids of their own, but I imagine they'd end up hating the doll after a while. Get a cat or a dog or something that can love you back.

[amy] Back on a Mission

I’m back. Last Thursday was a government holiday and I took Friday off as well, to give myself a four-day weekend. I’ve been playing lots of Halo 2 and it’s freaking amazing. Instead of choosing red or blue as your team color, you can now choose from a kaleidoscope of colors including pink, orange, brown, green, purple and yellow. During play, you can now jump onto moving vehicles and throw people out or shoot them (depending on the vehicle). There are all kinds of personal stats for you to enjoy after gameplay has finished (medals, hit percent, etc…) The new weapons are all right. Duel wielding is the most interesting feature but I still like the two-handed weapons best (sniper rifle, shotgun, grenade launcher). There’s a covenant sword that kills with one stroke but it’s only appropriate for melee fighting. And a few other new ones are okay but seem to overheat a lot.

Other than that, I’ve been knitting. Knitting like crazy. I made a poncho in two days. I started Saturday morning at 8:00 am and finished Sunday night at 5:00 pm. I did take some hours off to cook, eat, go watch a movie and sleep. I think it came out really well except for the hem. I’m not too psyched about the hem… Hem… Hmmm…. But it’s really warm.

The movie I saw was The Incredibles and it was awesome. Completely awesome. Like POWERS but better. The super powers they have are awesome, the CGI is awesome, the story is awesome… I swear, Pixar can’t make a bad movie. Having said that, everyone’s talking about what crap the new teaser trailer for Cars is and I have to agree. But I think this is the last film Pixar has to do with Disney before going their separate ways so maybe they just don’t care anymore.

Tuesday

[misc] Thing to keep you occupied…

…while I go off and play HALO 2!!! Goddamn!! It’s finally the day; THE day! Microsoft is already calling $100 million for today’s sales alone. Oh yeah. This shit is going to rock my world. I’ve been anticipating this game for a year now and… and… I’m sorry. Give me a moment, I’m crying… Go to Bungie to learn more.

Candleblog posts a link to make a Lego version of yourself. It really is Halo 2 how close your Lego image resembles the real you.

This past Friday night (while I was playing Halo, but never again because it’s all Halo 2 all the time from now on), Tara Reid showed off newly implanted boobie but wasn’t even aware of it (yet she wonders why people think she’s a "retard"; see video). Not to be outdone, Paris Hilton shows off… something lower. As Not Safe For Work and nauseating as these images are, this is one of the reason’s I’d like to attend a P. Diddy bash- you never know what’s going to Halo 2!

In less slutterrific and more Vermonterrific news, Fark posts a "sappy" link. Lease a maple tree for $85.00? Pssht, I gots all kinds of Halo 2 around my house, thank you very much.

If you’re a guy, you might want to check out the Cooking to Hook Up quiz. If you’re a guy wanting to cook for me, I’m a combo of Gourmet Girl and Indie Girl. If you’re a guy wanting to cook for me and then suggest we play some Halo 2 and kill each other, I think I love you.

Other than that, I’ve nothing new to report. Today was a good mail day. I got my new Netflix, Gourmet and Amazon order containing many cool things. Of course, I’m not going to watch or read any of it because I'll be finishing up the scarf I've been knitting for a while now. ... Hrruh. ... Huhh.. Ha ha… AHHH HAHAHHAHAHA!!! Not. I’m going to be playing Halo 2.

Smell you jerks later.

Thursday

[books] BBC Books

I haven't been to the BBC's Books Index Page in a while but it has apparently gotten an overhaul. It's awesome now, featuring sections on poetry, writing and other fun things in addtion to books and book club info. I especially liked The Big Read section, where a Top 100 is listed. There were many I had never heard of before and have now added to my Amazon wish list. Most of them seem to be tragi-love stories set around WWII, which sounds so British, don't you think?

"A Town Like Alice tells of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese 'death march' in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her--even at the cost of his life...."

"A story of the difficult loves of insular Englishman Charles Ryder, and his peculiarly intense relationship with the wealthy but dysfunctional family that inhabited Brideshead. Taking place in the years after World War II, Brideshead Revisited shows us a part of upper-class English culture that has been disappearing steadily."

Okay, that's just a couple examples, but there are many others I must check out now. Rebecca:arguably the most famous and well-loved gothic novel of the 20th century; The Woman in White: Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860; Magician: To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. But though his courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, he was ill at ease with the normal ways of wizardry. Yet Pug's strange sort of magic would one day change forever the fates of two worlds. For dark beings from another world had opened a rift in the fabric of spacetime to being again the age-old battle between the forces of Order and Chaos.

There's also a nice link to Gothic Literature.

[voting] Doesn't seem to do any good.

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. After seeing the outcome of the election, I killed myself. But I'm back now, better than ever. Actually, not "better". More like "depressed" and "disappointed" and "mildly angry at the retarded people in the mid-west who can't get their shit together and see that we had one chance to get the bozo out of office and they blew it for all of us; i.e. prepare for a civil war." Yeah that's pretty much how I feel.

On a lighter note, a whole bunch of states voted to ban gay marriage. I mean, is this country great or what? More good new: the republicans now control the House AND Senate. AND, in case you missed it, THERE'S ONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE and he's probably going to have the opportunity to appoint TWO Supreme Court Justices. Hold on a sec while I go kill myself again...

All finished. What bothers me isn't so much that monkey-boy is still the prez, it's his administration that's the problem. Now we can all say bye-bye to any international allies that might have remained, the environment, peace, honesty, etc etc.

Tuesday

[blogs] George Clooney

Defamer posts about A Fly on the Wall's reveal that George Clooney has a politics based blog. More specifically, an anti-Bush blog.

George, George, blogs are no place for politics. I can get that information from MoveOn and AlterNet and Indy Media. I want to know more about the apology to the local Italian people you made due to your frat-boy antics and the "I Have a Small Penis" bumpersticker you put on Brad Pitt's car.

[books] BookPage

New issue of BookPage is up.

Monday

[amy] Candy Lust

Happy [post] Halloween. Did you dress up? My costume consisted solely of a fake moustache. Which fell off after 4 minutes, so that was that. I did get some early trick-or-treaters this year. I should have known that the kids banging on my front door even before it was dark out would be the “greedy little bastards” of the bunch. It was the first group of kids for the evening and I opened the door, holding a bucket of candy, trying to seem interested…

“Oh ho, little… people. Now who are you supposed to- Oh. Hey. Ha ha, all right, come on now- it’s- um… all right. Bye, ha ha.”

The little brats didn’t want to chit chat; they reached into my bucket, started grabbing the candy themselves and putting it into their pillowcases. What the fuck? Serves me right for holding the bucket at thigh level, I guess. But then later I thought about how much easier it would be to let the kids take whatever candy they want, thereby freeing up a hand to hold a drink. In fact, I could just leave the bucket on the stoop and watch a horror movie.

What’s interesting is that this is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with door-to-door candy beggars. I’ve always lived up on a hill no child would ever want to trek up and was really looking forward to the experience. Here are some highlights:

CHILD: Trick or peace.
AMY: Trick or… peace? Ha, well isn’t that nice of you, little… velvet girl.
PARENT: She’s a hippy!
AMY: Whatever. Here’s a Kit Kat, get off my property.

CHILD: Trick or treat!
AMY: Aren’t you a cute little butterfly.
CHILD: I’M NOT A BUTTERFLY!
PARENT: She’s not a butterfly!
AMY: Faerie! I’m sorry, of course you’re a faerie. What was I thinking? Now take your candy and beat it.

CHILD 1: Trishm rrr teeee! [Voice muffled by mask]
AMY: Well! Ha! Look at you… And you’re supposed to be…
CHILD 1: Ahm in ol mah.
AMY: A- a what?
CHILD 1: Ol mah. OL MAH!
AMY: Old man! Okay, old man… Well aren’t you a… old man. Here’s some M&M’s and fuck off.
CHILD 2: [Stepping up to the door]
AMY: I can’t even begin to guess what you are. Here’s your candy, now scram before I get in my car and run all you little shits over.

All in all, it was a pretty good night. I wouldn’t have minded more trick or treaters.

UPDATE

I'm a stingy bitch. I asked someone at work how much candy they hand out and she said, "I usually give each kid three different pieces." Oh. No wonder I was getting all kinds of dirty looks when I handed out one piece each. I would hold the little candy by the corner of the wrapper, drop it into their bucket like I was dropping a turd and I would smile down at them like I was Mother Teresa. My only excuse was that this was my first year giving out candy. Next year I'll give out fist-fulls.

But this explains how the kids had so much freaking candy in their buckets. I would look down and think, "Jesus, kid. There aren't that many house in town..."

Wednesday

[books] NaNoWriMo

This is a reminder reminding you that November is National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words by the end of the month. Is it a contest? Is there a prize? Will you get your book published? No. No. ... Probably not. But it's meant to be "fun" or something. I was going to go it last year but my laziness got in the way.

Monday

[tv/movies] The Good, the Bad and the Stupid

News Flash: Netflix has lowered their prices back down to what they were before they went up. Here’s to people bitching until they get what they want. Now get renting…

Dead Like Me (Season 1)

Georgia dies by flaming toilet seat (don't ask) and becomes a Grim Reaper. Hangs out with other Grim Reapers, must take people's souls before they die. This is actually a pretty decent show with smart dialogue, interesting situations and a good cast (after they got rid Rebecca Gayheart). Plus, this show has Mandy "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die" Patinkin in it. Mandy... I had no idea his name was Mandy. Is it mean to find that funny?

Angel (Season 4)

Just like one long episode, this season. Team Angel doesn't really help people anymore; they're more focused on saving the world from yet another impending apocalypse. Good News: Wesley has gotten really hot. Bad News: Conner is a whiney little a-hole (still).

The Day After Tomorrow

A paleo-climatologist trying to reach his son during a full scale (and frighteningly rapid) ice age? What's not to love? Oh yeah, everything. What a crap movie. Most Believable Part: Weather so frigid, it solidifies Apache helicopter fuel, explodes windows, freezes marble and people (unless you happen to be standing near a fire). Least Believable Part: The Vice Prez transforming from a bureaucratic a-hole into a caring leader. Pssshhht, yeah right.

Saved!

Mandy Moore as a bible thumping goody-two-shoes, Macaulay Culkin in a wheelchair and Jena Malone having sex with her boyfriend to save him from being gay? What's not to love? Seriously man, what’s not to love? Plus, the end of the movie's got a sappy Lifetime moment that had me unabashedly bawling on the couch. But I was PMS'ing, so... yeah. Easter Egg: The uber-Christian father of Jena's gay boyfriend is the same actor who play's Georgia's father on Dead Like Me. Why can't this guy get a break? I mean, he’s good-looking but neither one of his fake wives are. Somebody get his agent on the phone...

Spun

Man oh man, do I love these druggie movies. Movies like Requiem for a Dream, Blow, Trainspotting and Permanent Midnight where the pro-(ant-?)agonist(s) lose their friends / money / family / possessions and end up addicted / in jail / in rehab / dead. This movie features an all star, cracked-out cast consisting of John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Brittany Murphy and Jason Schwartzman. Everyone's getting high on the methamphetamine and- that's about it. They're just getting high. Oh, and there are the obligatory shootings, explosions, handcuffing of girls to beds and psychedelic cartoon transformations of reality (a la Pink Floyd's The Wall). Bonus: It just so happens that Patrick Fugit is in this movie as the gross, pimply faced "Frisbee", which came as a shock after seeing him as the sweet, sk8-boarder for Christ "Patrick" in Saved! You might know him better as the too-young reporter "William" in Almost Famous.

Friday

[politics] Best news I've heard all day

YESSSS!!!

[science] Crazy people celebrate birthday, their own insanity

Wow, I had no idea. Apparently today is the Universe's 6,000th birthday. The universe was born at 6 p.m. on Saturday October 22, 4004 B.C., weighing a trillion-mahzillion pounds, 12 ounces.

But that kind of brings dinosaurs and rocks that are a million years old into question... If- okay, if the universe is only 6,000 years old, that must mean... um...

God dammit, don't call yourself a geologist if you're actually a creationist!

Thursday

[books] Hunter S. Thompson: Drunken Lush or Coolest Guy Ever?

Defamer posts several eye-witness accounts to Hunter S. Thomson's Monday night book signing at Book Soup. Part I: Puking in an alley. Part II: Drunken anti-Bush heckling. Part III: Puking on himself.

Please buy his new book.

[books] Neal Stephenson is the shit.

Neal Stephenson is interviewed by Slashdot.

***
Q) In a fight between you and William Gibson, who would win?

A) You don't have to settle for mere idle speculation. Let me tell you how it came out on the three occasions when we did fight.

The first time was a year or two after SNOW CRASH came out. I was doing a reading/signing at White Dwarf Books in Vancouver. Gibson stopped by to say hello and extended his hand as if to shake. But I remembered something Bruce Sterling had told me. For, at the time, Sterling and I had formed a pact to fight Gibson. Gibson had been regrown in a vat from scraps of DNA after Sterling had crashed an LNG tanker into Gibson's Stealth pleasure barge in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. During the regeneration process, telescoping Carbonite stilettos had been incorporated into Gibson's arms. Remembering this in the nick of time, I grabbed the signing table and flipped it up between us. Of course the Carbonite stilettos pierced it as if it were cork board, but this spoiled his aim long enough for me to whip my wakizashi out from between my shoulder blades and swing at his head. He deflected the blow with a force blast that sprained my wrist. The falling table knocked over a space heater and set fire to the store. Everyone else fled. Gibson and I dueled among blazing stacks of books for a while. Slowly I gained the upper hand, for, on defense, his Praying Mantis style was no match for my Flying Cloud technique. But I lost him behind a cloud of smoke. Then I had to get out of the place. The streets were crowded with his black-suited minions and I had to turn into a swarm of locusts and fly back to Seattle.
***

He later mentions the alternate reality game "I Love Bees", which I had recently read about at Wired News. According to Neal, it's a promo campaign for Halo 2. Slashdot has a little bit on it here.

Wednesday

[books] Who else lost all their money?

I had all my money on Cloud Atlas. It was the odds-on favorite, everyone was talking about it and my Booker bookie told me to put all my retirement/401k/saving on it. Now I've got nothing because this year's winner is some book called The Line of Beauty by some guy named Alan Hollinghurst. What am I going to do? I lost it all!!

Well, let's see what Amazon has to say about this book...

Among its other wonders, this almost perfectly written novel, recently longlisted for the Mann Booker, delineates what's arguably the most coruscating portrait of a plutocracy since Goya painted the Spanish Bourbons. To shade in the nuances of class, Hollingsworth uses plot the way it was meant to be used—not as a line of utility, but as a thematically connected sequence of events that creates its own mini-value system and symbols.

... What? Maybe I've not had enough coffee yet but did anyone else just read blah blah blah-biddy blah?

The book is divided into three sections, dated 1983, 1986 and 1987. The protagonist, Nick Guest, is a James scholar in the making and a tripper in the fast gay culture of the time. The first section shows Nick moving into the Notting Hill mansion of Gerald Fedden, one of Thatcher's Tory MPs, at the request of the minister's son, Toby, Nick's all-too-straight Oxford crush. Nick becomes Toby's sister Catherine's confidante, securing his place in the house, and loses his virginity spectacularly to Leo, a black council worker. The next section jumps the reader ahead to a more sophisticated Nick. Leo has dropped out of the picture; cocaine, three-ways and another Oxford alum, the sinisterly alluring, wealthy Lebanese Wani Ouradi, have taken his place. Nick is dimly aware of running too many risks with Wani, and becomes accidentally aware that Gerald is running a few, too. Disaster comes in 1987, with a media scandal that engulfs Gerald and then entangles Nick. While Hollinghurst's story has the true feel of Jamesian drama, it is the authorial intelligence illuminating otherwise trivial pieces of story business so as to make them seem alive and mysteriously significant that gives the most pleasure. This is Nick coming home for the first and only time with the closeted Leo: "there were two front doors set side by side in the shallow recess of the porch. Leo applied himself to the right hand one, and it was one of those locks that require tender probings and tuggings, infinitesimal withdrawals, to get the key to turn." This novel has the air of a classic.

Again, wha-? This "synopsis" tries a bit too hard for detail. There's this guy, who moves in with another guy and befriends that guy's son's sister's confidante. Blah-biddy blah-biddy blah. Let's take this review and select only the titillating words that will make one want to purchase the book: "fast gay culture... loses his viginity... cocaine, three-ways... running too many risks... Disaster... probings and tuggings..." Now don't you want to buy it?

Saturday

[books] What’s Michael?

I’ve updated my book list to the left. A while ago I ordered the 9th volume of What’s Michael? on a lark. I had read somewhere that it's pretty funny and if you like cats, you'll love it. I got it from Amazon, read it all in one sitting (laughing my ass off) and proceeded to order every copy of What's Michael? that Amazon had available (volumes 5-8). I got them and read all those in one sitting as well. It's really, really, wicked funny.

In a recent What's Michael? story I read in Super Manga Blast, a local head cat (think "The Godfather") is trying to decide who he's going to appoint as his successor. He thinks of Jiro, "But no, Jiro's got the catnip problem." He wonders about Catzilla, "But she's a girl. Can't have a girl, that's just the rules." Finally, he wonders about another male cat and says, "No. He got fixed, went soft." And it shows a cute cat jumping up after a butterfly, with a smile on his face.

I haven't been able to find too many panels online, but there is one about Michael playing with a ribbon. He happens to get his claw snagged in it and he can't seem to shake it off. Then Michael performs the following. Eventually the ribbon falls off and Michael walks away. Just like a cat. Here's what someone says about it:

"The genius of Kobayashi's What's Michael? is that he's able to take such a simple premise and make it so amazingly funny. I'd never consider myself a cat-lover, but there's something really amusing about the situations that Kobayashi comes up with. Something as simple as Michael's food being eaten by the other cats can make one laugh—or something absurd as a parody of "The Fugitive" where the doctor can't keep himself from stopping and helping people with simple cat care. It's extremely silly, but there's something wonderfully universal about Michael's escapades that almost anyone can relate to."

I highly recommend any book in the series. It's funny and all the cats are so fucking cute.

Thursday

[books] News

USA Today profiles Alexander McCall Smith's newest book, The Sunday Philosophy Club. Sounds like Murder, She Wrote with the addition of deep questions. ... Oop, and it looks like 90% of the people who reviewed the book at Amazon hated it. Tee hee.

Nominees for The 2004 National Book Award are up. Winners will be announced on November 17.

Let's not forget about The Man Booker Prize. The winner will be announced next Tuesday (October 19). Who wants to bet it'll be Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell? I know it's a long shot but I've heard good things...

Wednesday

[video games] Mario Party 6

Eeeee!!! Images for Mario Party 6! Set to be released December 6 this year! All right, man. And there's a microphone you can get to play some of the games with... YES!

Tuesday

[books] Shitty Book Comprehensive #3

TARGET: How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)

BY: Satan (aka Ann Coulter)

PREMISE: This forceful, sarcastic, and often hilarious book offers tips on arguing with liberals, which include the following: don't be defensive, always outrage the enemy, and never apologize to, compliment, or show graciousness to a Democrat. Welcome to the world according to Ann Coulter. Ever combative, Coulter is unafraid to court controversy or confront her detractors head-on, whether they are mainstream journalists and talk-show hosts who have misquoted her without apology or "weak and frightened conservatives" craving liberal approval. Though the writing is often over-the-top, the book if full of one-liners that will delight conservatives, such as "the best way to convert liberals is to have them move out of their parents' home, get a job, and start paying taxes." But there is more here than just insults and countless jabs at Bill Clinton, and even her most devoted readers will find much new material in the book. Largely a collection of her syndicated columns from the past decade, How to Talk to a Liberal also includes columns that were never released or were rejected by editors--in Coulter's words, "what you could have read if you lived in a free country."

SURVEY SAYS:

“like listening to the ranting of an angry drunk who keeps making the same half-logical points over and over.” - Starry Vere

“Its all downhill from the cover photo with the leather tank top. She has gone way beyond the bounds of political comment into bizarre self parody.” - Outraged Republican

“The difference between Ann Coulter and her opponents on the left (Al Franken, Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower) is that they make it clear where the line is between fact and satire. Coulter makes no such distinction.” - William S. Harnsberger

“I guess I'm a liberal if only because the right wing of the GOP has become a bastion of deceitful, proto-fascist nutcases. And among this pantheon of Flat-Earther's Anne Coulter has become the reigning queen.” - Stuart Winer

“Ann does what Ann always does - puts out very little effort to make a buck. The more famous she becomes the more vapid her writing.” – proudly conservative

“Coulter is sorta like a Madonna wannabe of books, but with a huge hairy adams apple.” Diva Dome

“When you read this book, replace the word "liberal" with "jew". Sound familiar?” – Cal

“I have NEVER read a book that's so full of venom, hate, spite, condescension, and utter intolerance of someone else's opinion. Coulter has to be, unquestionably, the most self-centered woman on the planet.” – Ron Sullivan

“Another Putrid Fart from the Far Right's Favorite Tart” – Nick Tropiano

SCORE: Off the charts. I wouldn’t even shit on this book.

BONUS MATERIAL: According to a reader named Patrick:

***
This is a comment made by our dear Ms. Coulter last year. Discerning readers can judge for themselves:

"Soldiers are just cowards with their backs against the wall. The lowest IQ men in our society, those incapable of normal careers enlist. Their choice in life; prison or the military. Some will have to die in the support of our cause."-- Ann Coulter, Intervention Magazine, 11/06/03
***

I couldn’t find it but I did find the following article on her: http://www.interventionmag.com/cms/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=666. (I posted the real url because it ends with “666”? Anyone think that’s just a coincidence? I don’t.)

[amy] Two of my favorite things: Food, Art

I hope everyone had a nice weekend. I had Columbus Day off, which I guess isn’t too politically correct but, hey, it’s a government holiday. So what did I do over the long weekend? Yeah… not too much. On Friday night I went to a private opening for a new restaurant in town: The Painted Table. All the tables are painted by local artists and then covered with a protective gloss. Barbara and Jason each did a table. She did really cool one showing stemware filled with water and drops of food coloring starting to dissolve in them and Jason did a smoky gray railroad image. Very cool. When we got there, the artists were mingling with their guests (Barbara brought me and Jason brought Ryan) and walking around, looking at all the tables. It was like a museum. People painted all kinds of things: an oil painting-esque still life, many landscapes, an art deco design, a koi pond, etc. One woman that Barbara works with did, in my opinion, the best table but that’s because I have the mentality of a ten-year-old. It’s a cartoony but intricate underwater scene with all kinds of Disney/Pixar characters in it. I stood looking at the table and then starting pointing, saying, “There’s Nimo! And The Little Mermaid! And The Little Mermaid’s dad! And that fish from Finding Nimo, the one that Dennis Leary did the voice for! The one with the scar down his- Holy Crap! This table rocks!” The food was very good and I think I might go this coming weekend…

Friday

[news] News from the Upper Valley

Turns out, while I was book shopping yesterday after work, an abandoned diner 100 feet from my house exploded. I check my cell phone when I got back to my car and there's a message from my sister. She was up at her house and heard a big boom. She looked out her big picture window and saw smoke coming up from my house. I'm listening, like "What the- Oh my- Did I leave the heat on? What- What- What-" I call her and she's like, "Oh, it's just the Hartford Diner."

Shit, that place was an eye-sore anyway but the cops think the explosion is "suspicious." My neighbor, who was at work at the time, asked me where I was at the time of the incident. Ha, I had already thought of this and showed him my book reciept, placing me at the bookstore at the time when things went down. No way the coppers are gonna pin this on me.

Thursday

[amy] Happy Birthday to Me.

Yesterday was my birthday. I'm not revealing my true age, suffice it to say that I woke up bald and started suffering from chronic joint pain. I took the day off work so that I could examine my face in a magnified mirror all day and silently cry.

I had lunch with my mother, who gave me an Ammolite pendant. Ammolite is a gem that comes from the Ammonite fossil and can only be found in Canada. Its beauty can only be appreciated by "the world's most elegant women and sophisticated men." Feng Shui masters believe it promotes heath, weath and enlightenment. Yeah, it came with this brochure about how great Ammolite is and how it gets its comic enegery from the universe. Something like that. I don’t think my mother would have bought it had the seller not said, "Donald Trump has a big block of Ammonite on his desk." She was sold. If you would like to know more about Ammolite, click here for the minerology info; it’s pretty interesting.

I hung out with my sister and Jason a bit (who got me all kinds of cool things) and then we all went out to dinner with my neighbor. All in all, it was a pretty good day that I didn’t want to end.

Monday

[cooking] Squirrel

Seems as though the Brits have a thing about eating small, cute animals. This was actually a pretty interesting article, considering it had been mention over at I love cooking a while ago and I had been anticipating the results. Bottom line: I'd eat it but I doubt I'd be able to prepare and cook it.

Thursday

[books] The Y.P.R. B-o-t-M Club: Nicholson Baker's Checkpoint.

It has begun.

[liars] Revealed and To-Be-Revealed

Via couple helpful people, I now know that the Bushicane image that was moving around the web is bogus. I thought as much. And the home computer one is a hoax. It's actually a pretty good hoax. Now, before I post anything even mildly interesting, I'm going to check with Snopes first.

And more lies will hopefully be revealed during tonight's Kerry/Bush debate. Tune in to basically any channel at 9pm; you're bound to find it.

Monday

[books] You're fat and ugly He's just not that into you.

Believe it or not, at the time of posting, the #1 selling book at Amazon is He's Just Not That Into You : The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys. Written by a some guy and a writer for Sex and the City, they take a stab at getting women to understand why they should stop obsessing over a guy that isn't that into them. Whatever that means. I can just imagine the Q/A format of the book:

---
Q: Why doesn't he call?

A: He's just not that into you.

Q: What can I do to make him like me?

A: Nothing, he's just not that into you.

Q: But-

A: No, he hates you.

Q: Should I-

A: You should try to find someone that is into you.

Q: Well, how do I-

A: Look, just stop wasting your time. Stop wasting your life, buckle down and really find a man that is into you or you're going to spend the rest of your pathetic existance alone. Like, completely alone.

Q: [sob]
---

I don't see why people need books like this. I really don't. If you've been chasing a man who's not that into you for more than, say, a year and nothing's happened and you need to go out and get this book to figure out that you need to move on with your life, then that's just... Let me lay the blame where it really belongs: men. Chances are, if you've been strung along for that long, thinking something might happen, then it's the man's fault for stringing you along. Right? Yeah, that sounds better. It's all his fault. I feel better.

Thursday

[books] Anne Rice shoves back, gets shoved harder

Anne Rice slams back at her reviews at Amazon (scroll down to her review of Blood Canticle). I can totally understand her outrage at people saying nasty things but for her to fire back with "the sheer outrageous stupidity of many things you've said here that actually touches my proletarian and Democratic soul" and "your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies" just makes her look like an asshole. And it's like pouring gasoline on a fire since nearly all the reviews after are even more nasty:

"I can almost picture you at your keyboard, cackling "I'll show them!" between sips of Merlot and tears of impotent rage as you haul out the big game verbiage to slay the beasts who dare rise against you. But you see, it all explodes in your face and you are left looking pathetic and washed up, an aging icon pining for the glory days when everyone kissed your feet and thanked you for the honor, when every syllable that dropped out of your mouth was slurped up like manna by the masses starving for what only you in your singular brilliance could provide."

Ouch.

UPDATE

The pain continues in cartoon format.

[via Bookslut via some guy named Jeremy]

UPDATE II

I think she deleted her review... I can't find it anymore... Maybe she came down off her meds and wised up?

UPDATE III

A cached copy of her review can be found here. Also, the address she listed at the bottom, for people to send her their books and get their money back (like she offered), goes to her old house. Everyone that took her up on her offer got their books back in the mail with a "return to sender" stamp on them. Ann Rice is so, so, so not cool.

Tuesday

[books] Shitty Book Comprehensive #2

TARGET: How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men

BY: Adam Quan

PREMISE: Written by an Asian with Asian men in mind within the context of a western society. Provided inside are the knowledge, framework and tools necessary for an Asian man to understand, to plan and to put into action the steps to successfully date a white woman. This step-by-step guide includes planning, relationship management and is an easy to read and easy to understand manual. The guidelines presented will help you pursue and succeed with that white woman you are after.

Survey SAYS:

"Being asian, white women automatically assume I have an abnormally small penis. While dead on, this stereotype makes dating difficult... This book has made me realize that I can get a woman to love me for more than my math skills." - Tai Ni Wang

“Chapter 14 'Where to find the white women' or someting like that, helped me find my white women in a nearby housing center for women. She is beautiful, with long face, and has many nice paintings on her body.” - Wong Laundry & Bail Bonds

“I am proud that book tell me how to decieve to get boom boom from white woman without going to street corner and giving $50 bill to woman that missing teeth and smell like wet dog.” - M. Nguyen

“Quan's methods and principle can be applied to any race of man. I'm an extremely fat 45-year-old computer programmer... After I read just 14 pages I was already bagging soccer moms whom I found at my local laundry mat. This after almost 10 years of hopeless celibacy. Not long after I finished the book I was able to step up my game to include 'Grade-A' Wal-mart white meat.” – R. Olds

"I like my women as I like my rice: white, hot and boiled! thats why i loved this cook book." - asian canibal

"my mistake, i originally bought this thinking it was 'how to drug a white woman.' but it turned out to be helpful anyway." nondescriptboy

"Why didn't you write this book sooner Adam Quan you selfish SOB! Do you know how many nights I spent wacking off to Kathy Lee Gifford, Celine Dion, and Barbara Walters?" - Asian Invasion

"I promptly finished the book and before I knew it, I had white women all over me, even the red headed ones with freckles everywhere. Not only had I lost my virginity, I had so much sex I thought I had caught an std." - golden boy

SCORE: 5 pieces of poop. The fact that a book like this could even be published annoys me, but the stellar 5-star reviews are worth it.

[books] You should be dancing reading

John Travolta's autobiography will be out in 2006. I can't wait. I'm guessing it'll be called Dyanetics II or Battlefield Earth and Other Mistakes I've Made in the Name of Scientology... Whatever. Did you see him in The Punisher? How come Johnny T can only play bad guys after joining the [pre-Kaballah] Hollywood A-List cult? Hmmmm.

[news] 7 miles to the gallon

A gallon of diesel that is. There a new truck targeted at "image-conscious contractors, roofers, landscapers and other small-business owners who can use the towing power but also want to draw attention to themselves." It's like a sporty Mac truck. Stupid... At this rate, we'll destroy the earth and all it's natural resources 80% sooner.

Wednesday

[alcohol] Two in One

While Y.P.R. is currently partaking in a "Rosh Hashanah Head Rush", they've posted loads of old pieces to enjoy. Please read Dear Red Bull and giggle uncontrollably like I did. I just hope that the new Red Bull drink comes with warnings on it, like: "You will do STUPID THINGS on this drink!" "You won't puke but you'll wish you could!" "Say BYE BYE to REASON!" ... etc, etc.

Monday

[news] The Bad and the Good

In the morning, I usually abide by the following routine: The alarm goes off at 6:00 am and I hit a seven minute snooze button for about an hour. This morning, after the radio came on for the third or fourth time, I awoke to the following news: The announcer first said that the Federal ban on assault rifles has expired. This means that the average American citizen can go out and buy AK-47s, Uzis and TEC-9s. Machine guns available to anyone, the thought of which made my eyes pop open at stare at my ceiling in fear. I imagined children running up and down the street outside my apartment, gleefully firing off rounds into the sky. Next, the announcer said that apple picking season has arrived a week to ten days early this year because of all the rain we’ve gotten this summer. I relaxed into bed again and thought about huge, crisp McIntosh apples. Yum. Apple pie. Mmmm, I should try to make one this year. I can buy an Uzi and shoot all the apples I want out of a tree. Ahhhhh…