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.