[books] A Novel's Plot Against the President

Uh... is this even legal? Wasn't it on The Kids in the Hall or The State where they did a skit and one of the actors said, "I'm gonna kill the president," and was suddenly hauled off by secret service guys? ... So you can write it but you can't say it? I wonder what would happen if I said it quietly to myself right now? Hold on... Naw, forget it. I didn't do it, I'm too scared. Besides, I don't actually want to kill the dude, I just want him the hell out of office.

Maybe I'd give him a kidney punch, but that's it.

[via ILB]


[funny] Hello, My Name Is

Today's winner for most unfortunate name.

[books] HP#6 Title

It's going to be Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Rowling didn't say too much else, other than that the Half Blood Prince isn't Harry or Voldemort. Start placing your bets now, but I think it's Neville...

Oh, and still no friggin' release date for book six.

[books] Bullshit

According to a contributor for The New York Times, books make you a boring person. In case you don't have a subscription and can’t get to the article, I'd like to post large chunks of the text:

There's a new piety in the air: the self-congratulation of book lovers. Long considered immune to criticism by virtue of being outnumbered by channel surfers, Internet addicts, video maniacs and other armchair introverts, bookworms have developed a semi-mystical complacency about the moral and mental benefits of reading. ''Books Make You a Better Person,'' a banner outside a Los Angeles school proclaims. Books keep kids off drugs. They keep gang members out of prison. They keep terrorists, for all we know, at the gates. This is what we hear at the 200-odd book festivals that have proliferated across America from San Francisco to New York. This, indeed, is what we hear during the N.B.A. playoffs! City dwellers vote and choose a single book for everyone to read at the same time. ''Read a book, save a life,'' one radio ad intones; and even in the absence of charitable contributions, this is very nearly what we feel we are doing. To be a reader these days is to be a sterling member of society, a thoughtful and sensitive human being, a winner.

It is easy to fetishize things that we imagine are on their way out. In the age of Comcast and America Online, books seem quaint, whimsical, imperiled and therefore virtuous. We assume that reading requires a formidable intellect. We forget that books were the television of previous years -- by which I mean they were the source of passive entertainment as well as occasional enlightenment, of social alienation as well as private joy, of idleness as well as inspiration. Books were a mixed bag, and they still are. Books could be used or misused, and they still can be.

Writers themselves carried on about their danger. From Seneca in the first century to Montaigne in the 16th, Samuel Johnson in the 18th and William Hazlitt and Emerson in the 19th, writers have been at pains to remind their readers not to read too much. ''Our minds are swamped by too much study,'' Montaigne wrote, ''just as plants are swamped by too much water or lamps by too much oil.'' By filling yourself up with too much of other folks' thought, you can lose the capacity and incentive to think for yourself. We all know people who have read everything and have nothing to say. We all know people who use a text the way others use Muzak: to stave off the silence of their minds. These people may have a comic book in the bathroom, a newspaper on the breakfast table, a novel over lunch, a magazine in the dentist's office, a biography on the kitchen counter, a political expose in bed, a paperback on every surface of their home and a weekly in their back pocket lest they ever have an empty moment. Some will be geniuses; others will be simple text grazers: always nibbling, never digesting -- ever consuming, never creating.

The point is this: There are two very different ways to use books. One is to provoke our own judgments, and the other, by far the more common, is to make such conclusions unnecessary. If we wish to embrace the first, we cannot afford to be adulatory of books in the manner of Moskowitz; we must be aggressive. Even a hint of idolatry disables the mind. ''Meek young men grow up in libraries, believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given; forgetful that Cicero, Locke and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote these books,'' Emerson reminded us -- at a time when he was, admittedly, already a middle-aged man in a library.

There's actually more of this garbage, but I don't want to reproduce it all here. The point is, I call "bullshit" on this Christina Nehring. I don't know what kind of book-readers she's been hanging out with but I don't think they're the mindless, self-congratulatory drone that she describes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having “a comic book in the bathroom, a newspaper on the breakfast table, a novel over lunch, a magazine in the dentist's office, a biography on the kitchen counter, a political expose in bed, a paperback on every surface of their home and a weekly in their back pocket lest they ever have an empty moment.” Reading a comic in the bathroom is more fun than reading the ingredients on your tube of toothpaste whilst taking a crap. Reading the daily newspaper is more informative than reading the nutritional information on the side of your Count Chocula cereal box. A novel over lunch is better than being forced to talk to that lecherous co-worker who thinks he’s always getting away with staring at your breasts. A magazine at the dentist’s office? How else am I going to find out that celebrities are now naming their babies after fruit? A biography, a political expose, novels and weeklies… I see nothing wrong with reading these. Fucking hell, what’s wrong with this woman? When I read, I read for entertainment purposes not so that I can feel better/superior to other people.


[books] New Summer Reading

Brand-new young adult book that sounds pretty darn good. While reading through the review, I realized I've been hearing a cliche wrong all my life. It's "Straight out the frying pan, into the fire," not "Straight out the frying pan, into the fryer." I always thought it meant double-cooked good, but now I know it means failure. Hmm. That's like that one guy who always said whip-flash instead of whip-lash.

[amy] Pictures of my widdle kitties

I tried posting the pictures but it's not working out as well as I'd hoped it would. Go here to view them. (Let me know if you can't see them.) (Oh yeah, Griffith is the grey one, Gatsu is the brown one (with scary black lips)).


What an excellent weekend. Seriously. Friday was Engineer Day at work and this is when we have our yearly company cookout. I played for my branch in the volleyball tournament, but didn’t do so good. Hitting the ball so that it goes over the net is harder than it looks.

After that, I went to catch a matinee of Fahrenheit 9/11. I think I cried four times. Actually, “cried” doesn’t do justice to the half-hyperventilating sobbing that was wracking my body. I actually wish I had rocks or eggs with me because there were a couple strong instances where I wanted something to throw at Bush’s face and scream “I HATE YOU!!” at the screen. I think everyone in the country should see this documentary.

While Barbara, Jason, Kyle and I were waiting in line for tickets (and the line was incredibly impressive for a 4:10pm matinee), a guy from The Valley News sauntered over to us to ask some questions: Have we ever seen any other Michael Moore Films? What do we think of his films? What are our expectations for this film? What are our political affiliations? He asked, “Do you know what Michael Moore said he hopes this film accomplishes?” “Yeah,” I said, “To get Bush out of office.” “What do you think about that?” He asked. “I hope it works.” Dude, I’m telling you, I was giving this guy verbal gold to put in the paper. Cut to-

Saturday morning Jason goes out to the get the paper. The article’s on the front page [see: bottom left] and the only quotes in it are from Jason and a couple other people. I’m like What the hell?

Saturday we went strawberry picking and bought three gallons of strawberries for freezing. I think it came to $28.00, which isn’t bad considering it costs $5.00 per quart at the Co-op. Sunday morning I made strawberry muffins. I painted the trim in my dining room (eh, my painting skill aren’t really improving). That night it was strawberry smoothies for supper and I can’t honestly think of anything that tastes better than a strawberry smoothie made with 75% strawberries.

P.S. I forgot to mention that Griffith got sprayed by a skunk Friday night. Poor thing still smells bad after a tomoato juice bath. And the white fur around his neck is now pink...


[vermont] No, fuck you!

Apparently, Vice Asshole President Cheney told Vermont Senator Leahy to fuck off or go fuck himself. Well, well, well... I don't know how many years of debate class Dick has taken, but I don't think it's right to curse at someone just because they call you out on the bad shit you've been doing. I imagine the conversation went a little bit like:

CHENEY: What the hell do you think you're playing at? I used to run Hallliburton and it's a good company. Don't talk shit about things I ever was/will be involved in.

LEAHY: Halliburton was overcharging on oil, man. Like, a lot. I find that highly immoral. Besides that, you're just a evil little toad.

CHENEY: Yeah? Well... go fuck yourself! [Exits]

LEAHY: What a tool.


[funny] Ice Ice Baby (with a side of Farting)

Yo, V.I.P. Check it out...

Ice Ice Baby, the song and the lyrics, will never get old to me. I love it and could listen to it all day. If you're a Star Wars fan and have a secret crush on Vanilla Ice, you're gonna dig it. Go to this page and click the "Ice Man" video on the right-hand sidebar. There are a couple more. [Sugar, you're friend Nick might like it...]

Also, why is the live news never this good around here?


[vermont] Someone put out an APB, this is serious!

More shocking/horrifying news from The Green Mountain State.

Shit, if I knew there was so many nice flowers up around Burlington, I'd go up there to steal flowers (instead of from my mom's poperty down the road). Hey, I have an idea on how to catch the botanical culprit... Why not wait to see who's yard has all kinds of new, pretty flowers in it. Huh? Also, why are people getting so pissed off about it? Shouldn't everyone be enjoying earth's laughter (a.k.a. flowers)? If it was me, I'd put a sign up in my yard that said, "Dear Flower-Digger-Upper, Knock on the front door and ask me for some of my flowers. I'll give them to you but let's talk first."


[funny] Quack quack qua-

All right, guys, let's go. Peter, stop biting your brother. Ellen, keep up. C'mon over the grate and... and... children? ... NOOOOOOO!!!!

But, in the end, it looks like everything is okay. (Although, whether the mother was ever reunited with her kin is questionable...)

[via defective yeti]

POOP! No wonder Matthew has the follow-up scratched out. The "okay" shot is actually different (look at the two grates) from the first. But, you know, I'm sure the little ducklings were fine. The guy taking the picture probably saved them.

[books] My So-Called Life

The hott* crackerjack one this summer is going to be Clinton's My Life (out today!!! WOO!!! go get it!!! it's gonna be a pageturner, muthafuckah!!). This report mentions how snotty Bill gets when people ask him about the whole "affair" thing. Hel-lo? Why are you surprised? That's what people want their summer reading to be like: tantilizing. And Billy only talks about it for 12 pages? 12 pages out of 1000? C'mon, man. You've got to give me something more if you want me to buy your book.

*I will no longer be using the word "hott" anymore after seeing Paris Hilton over-use the word to the extreme at the MTV movie awards. I have no guarantee that the word she was repeating had two t's like mine (which makes mine twice as cool) but I have my image to think about. So, I'll be trying out such words as "crackerjack," "dandy" and (this might be tricky) "recent." Maybe "thermogenic"?


[movies] Weekend Roundup

The Stepford Wives
The only thing I've seen that is shitter than this film is my two cat's litterbox. Only thing I liked about the film? Roger Bart.

Love Actually
I liked it, actually. Lots of interesting stories/people interwoven. Better to see around Christmas, though.

The Tripletes of Belleville
Fucking awesome, man. What a trip. Looks like it'll be boring was it was really, really interesting.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury
Peter Chung and Vin Diesel, together in an animated short? Fanfuckingtastic.

Just Heard About:
Kondom des Grauens (Killer Condom)
"The plot takes place in New York, and in the present. In a Hotel called "Quicky" a professor blackmails a student of his into having sex with him. But when the professor puts on a condom, the carnivorous condom bites off his penis and disappears. Detective Mackaroni who gets the case thinks that the college girl just bit off her teacher's penis! Mackaroni goes to the motel himself to check out the crime scene, in the lobby he finds a gigolo named Bill and he asks him to follow him to crime room, there the two men attempt to have sex when they are suddenly interrupted by the attack of a killer condom."


[art] it's been a long day

New pics up at explodingdog.

[amy] The Drive Home from the Bookstore

AMY: Oh, man. The traffic is so bad.

BARBARA: Why did we have to get stuck behind a school bus? ... Look, they've got a box of icy pops on the floor, there.

AMY: Yeah, they're probably all melted, though.

BARBARA: Hmmm... [Takes out Bust magazine and starts to read.]

[Traffic inches forward.]

AMY: [Takes out containor of Armoral wipes and starts to clean dashboard.]

BARBARA: What are you doing?

AMY: Cleaning. Here, get that spot over there by you.

BARBARA: [Wipes.]

AMY: No. [Pointing.] Right there.

BARBARA: [Wipes.]

[Traffic inches forward.]

AMY: [Wiping steering column.] Hmm hmm hmm... [Wiping around radio.] La la la...

BARBARA: Bust's got an article on Whimpsters...

AMY: I think The Black Table had an article on that a while ago. [Finishes cleaning, throws dirty wipe on car floor.]

[Traffic inches forward.]

AMY: [Looks at back of school bus.] Ohmygodbarbaradontlook.

BARBARA: [Looks at AMY.] What?

AMY: [Looking down at steering wheel.] Don't look but the boys in the back of the bus are looking at... a dirty magazine.

BARBARA: What!? [Waits two seconds before looking at the back of the bus.]

AMY: I told you not to look!

BARBARA: Hm, whatever. [Goes back to reading Bust]

[Traffic inches forward.]

AMY: [Sneaking glances at BOYS blatantly holding up dirty magazine for all of traffic to see.] I mean, isn't there a chaperone on the bus? Wouldn't they not allow something like that?

BARBARA: They're only there to make sure the kids don't set anything on fire.

AMY: What, teachers are only on the bus to make sure fires don't get started?


AMY: That's stupid.

[Traffic inches forward. BOYS in back of bus wave magazine to get AMY's attention.]

AMY: [smiling weakly]

BOYS: [Holding up magazine, giving "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" signs.]

AMY: [Gives "thumbs up"]

BOYS: [Turn the page.]

AMY: [Gives "thumbs down"]

BOYS: [Laughing maniacally]

[Traffic speeds up onto the interstate.]

AMY: Thank God.

BARBARA: Why were you voting on those naked pictures?

AMY: ... I don't know. It seemed the thing to do.


[books] 'Most Borrowed' List, Where?

It looks as though Library Journal is going to start posting a 'most borrowed' list. I think this is a really good idea though try as I might, I went around their website and couldn't find it. I did end up finding something extremely cool/helpful: PrePub Alert. Now I can see a list of all (or most) upcoming releases. They also have bestseller lists at LJ but I always use Booksense's Bestseller List, because it's based on the sales in independant bookstores.


[books] The Craptastic Awards!

Anyone notice how the show Stargate is ALWAYS on the Sci-Fi channel? Well, take the idea of having a magical gate but when you walk through it, you change gender. Behold! The Sex Gate series!

The Sex Gates
Change your sex; change your life! One day thousand of gates suddenly and mysteriously appear on Earth. No one knows where they are from. Some think it's an alien invasion. Others credit God. When the old and the sick go through these gates, they become young again and their illnesses disappear. But there problems. Not everyone makes it through the first time. Some people simply disappear. When you go through a gate, your sex changes -- and no one can go back through the gate a second time. Everyone who tries disappears. When Don accidentally falls through a gate and becomes Donna, he and his friends face a life-changing adventure, for THE SEX GATES are more than they seem to be.

What's that male version of "Amy"? Let's see, my name means 'beloved' and the male name for 'beloved' is "David." I'd be David if I passes through these stupid, lame-idea, not-ever-happening gates. Well.

There are more shitty books by the same author:

Destiny Earth
When shapeshifter Etaoine S'henhess is chosen as the God's Mate, she never dreams that the sexual ritual will change her life forever. While her people watch, waves of desire that sweep her into a trance state where she sees a blue-green planet and hears a command from the goddess: Follow the path of your destiny. Then the face of a man fills her vision. He is not of her race, but his burning amber eyes look into her soul. Lovemate! To reach this man of her vision, Etaoine must steal a starship and venture out into the forbidden stars. But when she finds him, will he accept the sexual passions that drive a shapeshifter?

This book sounds like it's got everything: creepy voyeuristic rituals, heresy, stealing, lovemates. I don't see why I wouldn't want to read it. Oh yeah, it sounds really shitty. I forgot.

But wait, there's more!

In the future...

Marriage is consummated in front of a preacher, friends and family. It is a world where sex slaves, sex drugs and prostitution are carefully monitored and legal. A world where today's traditional values are frowned upon....

When Sex Squad Detective Sky O'Kelley tells her fellow co-worker/fiancé she wants to follow an old tradition of saving her virginity until their wedding night, he dumps her. Angry and hurt at his rejection, Sky undertakes a dangerous assignment. She must go undercover with her ex-fiancé to find out if Loverboy is training sex slaves without the government's permission and to search for their boss's daughter, a woman rumored to be in Loverboy's Sex Slave Course. Caution: Graphic Sex and some coarse language. May not be suitable for sensitive readers.

This sounds so bad, I almost want to get it. Almost.

Winner of the Craptastic with Statutory Rape Undertones Award:
This is just a picture of some guy's hand coming into "Full Contact" with some teenage girl's ass. Totally sick and probably grounds for arrest.

Winner of the Craptastic with Incestuous Undertones Award:
"It's All Relative"?!?! Are these two related? Brother and sister pretending to be Adam and Eve, standing naked in a field, pinching each other's behinds? As if that isn't bad enough, the cover has got to be some of the crappiest CGI I've ever seen in my life.

Winner of the Craptastic with Missing Feet Award:
I suppose if you run around in a black leather bra and panty set in your dreams, this might be the guy you'd want. Personally, his head looks a wee bit too small and those pants... Why is he wearing them so high around his waist? This is truely crapalicious.

Winner of the Craptastic with Sex in a Public Place Award:
So wrong.

Winner of the Cat & Tiny Random Gun Category:

[books] Dress Your Family in Oblivion

The Onion A.V. Club reviews Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Demin and David Foster Wallace's Oblivion.

I think the review of Dress Your Family... was accurate; it felt like Sedaris was running out of material, to some extent. I'd like to amend that, actually. Sedaris may be running out of real life material, but he's proven himself to be a witty fiction writer with Barrel Fever. Those stories were some of the funniest I've ever read.

And as for Wallace... I've been meaning to read Infinite Jest for ages now and the only reason I haven't is because (a) I heard it's the type of book you either hate or adore and (b) it's over 1,000 pages.


[tech] Yet another search tool.

Amazon's not using Google to search anymore. They've got this A9 thing going on. What's up with that? Where have I been? They launched in October 2003. Apparently, though, the web searches are still powered by Google. You really can't beat the best.

Like: "Book results" when you seach. It's a bit random but a good idea. And I like that it keeps my search history.

Dislike: A9 toolbar. No BlogThis functionality there. Or is that what the "Diary" is? I'll have to look into that more. I don't see why I should replace my Google toobar yet... And I dislike the color too. Whassamatter with white?


[amy] A long, tiring weekend

There’s something cool over at Illegal Art:

Wizard People, Dear Reader is an unauthorized re-envisioning of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by Brad Neely. To experience it, viewers need to get a copy of the first Harry Potter movie and watch it with the sound off, replacing Neely's narration with the original soundtrack.

I read about it at The New York Times and it’s meant to be really funny. So, I downloaded it and burned it onto a couple cd’s (before it’s taken off the net forever), hoping I’d get the chance to listen to it over the long weekend. No such luck.

Thursday was Jason’s birthday. I got him some back issues and a year subscription to Counter magazine. Barbara got him a couple Japanese pop cd’s and a whole crapload of gardening tools. In an effort to make his gift-getting more work, we devised a poor scavenger hunt for him to follow. Little notes like “Look at your new tool/Isn’t it cool? The next one’s not soft like a pillow/Go up to the weeping willow” were stuck to the tools and placed in various locations outside the house. “Can you use the next one to cook?/Better go check out the brook!” Pretty lame but it was worth it to see him running back and forth while we screamed, “You have five minutes to find them all or else you don’t get to keep any of them!!” Then we went to see the new Harry Potter movie (second time for me).

Friday was a gov’t holiday in memory of Reagan. I spent the say looking at paint chips for my new place, washing walls/floors, spackling and moving heavy-ass furniture in.

Saturday morning was spent sanding all the spackle spots flat. Half-way done, I realized there was no need to spackle so much. Sure, fill in the holes where nails had been driven in and try to cover-up cracks but I had gone overboard. Then I vacuumed all the white power and went to buy primer and paint. I planned on painting the dining room and living room “firemist” but one silly gallon of paint costs $30.00. I call that highway robbery. I tried taping edges around the dining room where I didn’t want to get paint but the tape was total crap and kept falling off. My sister was helping me out and at one point (after the tape had fallen and gotten in the way of the primer for the 20th time, I said, “Fuck this shit! I don’t even give a shit anymore! Let’s not paint this shit I don’t care stupid fucking tape can’t stay up and I don’t fucking want to do this anymore!” Somehow me managed to get through priming the room and went back up to her house to take a break for a few hours. Later, I went down with masking tape and applied that to all the trim. Much better. My sister came down to help with the “firemist” paint. Finishing up at 10pm, it ended up looking good. The paint bled a little under the tape but I’m going to do the trim in “apple crisp” so it doesn’t really matter.

Sunday morning, as we were heading to the grocery store to get supplies for Jason’s birthday party, we stopped by my place to see how the paint looked with sunlight streaming into the room. Yeah… not so good. You can tell I did the cutting in and you can tell I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. My sister said no one will notice but me. Hel-lo? I’m the one living there so I’ll notice all the time. I don’t see how that’s meant to make me feel better. But the birthday party was nice. A lot of people came over and there was enough food for everyone. It ended up being a really nice day, as well.

No time for Wizard People, Dear Reader tonight, either. When? When???

[books] No longer on my "To Read" list

Jessa posts her answers to discussion quesions over at Bookslut about The Doctor's Wife...

2) Although the thriller plot focuses on the doctor, Michael Knowles, the title suggests the most important character is his wife Annie. Why?

Because Ms. Brundage didn't know what to do with the real meaty characters. Celina starts out interesting, but her actions in the middle and end of the book are baffling. The Reverend is completely underutilized and isn't even sketched out enough to be a stereotype. Michael must be a cold bastard, because look! Instead of going to his son's science fair, he's contributing to the holocaust of the unborn! That asshole! Annie is easy, because she's just the neglected, bored wife. Really, someone should have just given her a vibrator and told her to shut the fuck up.


[politics] Using any opportunity to garner attention.

Ann(orexic) Coulter writes another piece of shit OpEd, this time about Reagan and how two-faced liberals are about seeing him go. What a bitch. Seriously. She's just using Reagan's death to take yet another shot at those who are not right-wing (and therefore, "liars, cowards and hypocrites").

I wonder if she ever wakes up at 3am, looks at her reflection in the bathroom mirror and whispers, What should I do next, Satan?


[amy] It just sounds dirty

My big news is that I’m moving out if my sister’s house into a three bedroom apartment. It’ll be nice but, since I’ve never lived alone, kind of scary. To make me feel better, a co-worker told me, “Now you can have a whole bunch of one-night-stands and no one will know.”


Later, I was chatting with someone on the phone (note: this is only the second time I’ve spoken to him) and a portion of the conversation went:

ME: Oh yeah, how was your birthday?
HIM: I got a massage table from my friends!
ME: That’s a really nice gift.
HIM: So if you get stressed out and need a massage…
ME: …
HIM: …
ME: Yeah, I don’t think so.
HIM: Okay.

Now Bookslut just posted about this book. Looking around the website, I at first tee hee’d, then I blushed and finally I rolled my eyes made derisive noises. Using words like coreplay and saying “stimulation as opposed to penetration” isn’t going to make me want to buy your book. I don’t know, that’s just me. (And I bet that that Ian Kerner dude is a total sexaholic pervert.)

That reminds me: There’s this store in the area called Un-dun and they sell watches, cigars and (generally) kitchy things. In the back of the store, though, in a hidden room they sell bongs and sex toys. No joke. I’ve never been in it but you can hear people talking through the walls and I’ve seen people go in while I was there browsing. Anyway, the young-ish man and woman who own the store are a married and every time I see them, I presume all they do is get high and have nasty sex. I can’t help it! Look at what they sell!

[books] Go Read, Young Adult

BookSense posts their Summer 2004 Book Sense Kids' Picks.

LIONBOY by Zizou Corder
I got this last year at Book Expo America. Tried but I couldn't get into it. The story sounded like: kid has wicked smart parents who go missing; kid tries to find them; kid can talk to cats. I don't know, the only books I like where the kid(s) have genius parents are the A Wrinkle in Time series. Which reminds me, the discussion for A Wrinkle in Time over at BookBlog starts June 21.

This one actually sounds pretty interesting. Plus, I gotta give props to Young Adult books that clock in at over 400 pages. Vistorian propriety mixed with fantasy? Sounds like fun! No word on when the paperback will be released...

CHASING VERMEER by Blue Balliett.
At first look, I thought this book might be a cross between the movie Chasing Liberty and Girl With a Pearl Earring. But, no. It a young adult verson of The Da Vinci Code. (Okay, so I want to read it. I liked The Da Vinci Code. Sue me.)

SO B. IT by Sarah Weeks
"Heidi, her mentally disabled mother, Sophie, and their neighbor Bernadette live a pretty unusual life. Heidi's mother knows 23 words and Bernadette is agoraphobic. Together, the three of them are a family, caring for each other, until the year Heidi turns 12 and begins to wonder about who her father was. Unable to get any information, she decides to try to find out on her own." Okay. I am intrigued...

This is the sequel to The City of Ember, which is now available in paperback for (can you dig it?) $4.99. The City of Ember has been on my TO READ list for a while and there's no excuse not to go out and get it now.

THE VARIOUS by Steve Augarde
Another young adult clock in at over 400 pages. And another in a new trilogy/series. Seriously, what are there so many young adult trilogies coming out [*cough*lordoftherings*cough*]? This book, a couple others I've mentioned here already, Inheritance, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, and the ongoing ones (Spiderwick, Redwall, Series of Unfortunate Incidents, Artemis Fowl, etc.). No, seriously. What's up with that? Anyone? I think these series are just training kids to stick with one author and that's it.

GEOGRAPHY CLUB by Brent Hartinger.
"This story about a group of students forming a gay-straight alliance at their high school is one of the best gay youth books since The Year of Ice." Someone at Amazon reviews this book and says: "A favorite part of mine in the book is when the main character's best friend, Gunner who wants to date this girl. Sets Russle up with her friend, Trish, so Russle dates this girl he doesn't like for his friend, and when he goes to a diner with her, he notices other guys checking his date out. This was the funniest line in the book, 'I didn't know what to do about that. Should I bear my teeth and growl?'" Gee, I think it was a teen who reviewed it. And then Rhonda came over with Michelle, who used to go out with Mike and since Mike was seeing Emily and Emily and Michelle haven't been talking since Michelle's brother puked on Emily's favorite bag, you can imagine it was pretty weird!

GREEN ANGEL by Alice Hoffman.
This is the grown-up author who has written such well known works as The Probably Future, Practical Magic and The River King. I'm not sure if this is her first young adult novel but I remember seeing it out last year and wanting to check it out. Now it's available in a very affordable mass market paperback ($5.99) and you'd probably be able to get through the whole thing during one visit to the bathroom (only 116 pages).

Okay, I just read the synopsis over at Amazon and I have to admit... I'm hooked. Sure it sounds like a Lifetime movie for teenage girls but I gotta admit that even I get sucked into those movies now and then.

Blah blah blah, that's enough for now. Read more and remember: There's plenty of good shit out in paperback; you don't have to buy everything in hardcover.


[amy] Bleep-bleeping bleep bleep censors!

I tend to have a Censored! mouth. That's a given, okay? I've posted twice over at uvScene and already I've been asked to tone down the language. Here's the result. I understand, I do. I shouldn't subject innocent readers to my Censored! bad language. But to whomever wrote in to complain should just go Censored! a Censored! and Censored! Censored! Censored! until their Censored! Censored! turns blue. That is all.

I've since re-edited the post, so the link isn't all that interesting anymore. Sorry.


[cool] Will probably be the trendiest and best looking channel

"Cable programming powerhouse MTV Networks said it's launching the country's first gay network -- called LOGO -- and conservative groups are already vowing to erase it."

That's super but I bet it won't come with regular cable. Just like I don't get M2 and the Fine Living Channel.

[books] The Year that Comics took Flight

This summer, a comic anthology called Flight is coming out. Lots of different artists have participated and it looks like it'll be really good.

[Found via Comic Book Resources]

[cool] See? Not everyone in the Upper Valley is stupid.

Back in 2000, a local mom wrote in to the Valley News concerning the percieved "homosexual menace in Vermont." Good for her.

[Found via Candleblog]



[books] 'Nother Month, 'Nother BookPage

Check out June's BookPage. More about David Sedaris and a new one from Walter Dean Myers.
900 pages? The last 900 page book I read was The Crimson Petal and the White and I only made it through to the end because it had prostitutes in it so... I shouldn't have any trouble getting into your memoir.

The San Franciso Chronicle lists some upcoming summer reads. Looks like the hott one is going to be Bill Clinton's autobiography, My Life. Amazon lists it as having 992 pages. Damn. But at least you can get it for $21.00 there, as opposed to the $35.00 cover price.

Some other highlights:

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (Little, Brown): A new collection of humor from the author of "Me Talk Pretty One Day."

Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories by Chuck Palahniuk (Doubleday): Nonfiction pieces on such topics as being a hospice volunteer driver, the movie production of "Fight Club" and the murder of the author's father and the trial of his killer.

The Coma by Alex Garland (Riverhead): A tale of amnesia and dislocation from the author of the best-seller "The Beach" and the screenwriter of "28 Days Later," with woodblock illustrations by Garland's father, a well-known political cartoonist for the Daily Telegraph UK.

Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's -- Humor Category edited by Dave Eggers, Kevin Shay, Lee Epstein, John Warner and Suzanne Kleid (Knopf): The title pretty much says it all.

NOTE: I think this is the anthology that my Sea Monkey List is appearing in! I'll be published for real now!

And the winner of the "Most Likely to Line your Litterbox With" Award goes to:
Hatchet Jobs by Dale Peck (New Press): A collection of blistering reviews by the notoriously sharp-edged literary critic and novelist.
Oh Lad, Poor Lad

There was a bunch of "Lad lit" (or, as I liked to call it: "dick lit") that came out a while ago. Remember those stupid titles: Love Monkey and Booty Nomad? At The New York Times, Laura Miller compares and contrasts this genre to it's counterpart: Chick Lit.

"Market research firms consistently report that men make up as little as 20 percent of the readership for adult trade fiction, and with the exception of a few franchise authors like Tom Clancy, writers who appeal mostly to men have a tough time of it."

I can't understand why Love Monkey did so bad; there are feet on the cover...
I’m back

I’m still feel jet-lagged but was able to get up at 6:14am this morning and go about my morning duties in a wide-eyed, I’m-so-friggin’-tired-I’m-awake haze. I still can’t seem to get to sleep before 12:30am and my cat is so happy I’m back, he likes to make me up at 4:30am by walking across my midsection.

Why is it so good to be back? Everything is green here. On the plane back from L.A., I didn’t see green on the ground until we were over Pennsylvania. The west is go brown and… hot-looking.

Back at work, I found a smashed copy of Watership Down and a $20.00 gift card to Borders on my desk this morning. It’s signed “Tim” but there are many Tim’s in my building. I can’t decide if it’s from the boss and I’ve been fired (and the card is a really shitty severance package). Maybe I lent the book to another Tim and the gift card is meant as an apology for the shitty state of the book. Whatever, the point is: $20.00 to spend at Borders. All right.