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John Bowe (ed):
Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
Gail Simone:
Birds of Prey
Sarah Vowell:
Take the Cannoli
Howard Zinn:
People's History of the U.S.


The Daily Show
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Kitchen Confidential
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Friday, January 30, 2004

You know, this is just one of those days when you have to tell yourself, more than once, that there's no CONCLUSIVE evidence to suggest you were put on this earth with the sole destiny of dying alone, half-eaten by a Pomerian, in an apartment filled with rotting vegetables.

There's no conclusive evidence. It is not a certain thing.

It's one of those days.

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

An addendum: is available.

Hmmm. Hmmm.

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There was a cool story from NPR this morning about 'The Midnight Disease': Compulsive Writing, which is basically when the words come and come and you can't stop them.

Otherwise known as the best feeling in the world.

Sadly,,, and are already registered. If they weren't, I'd have a new domain name right now.

Man, would be cool.

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So, someday there will be a reckoning, by which I mean that I'm going to completely overhaul the design of this site, including the links in the sidebar. In the meantime, I feel like noting that this new blog I'm following, Burned By The Sun, is pretty awesome, as it's someone with my musical tastes who knows an awful lot more about music than I do. She's been ferociously covering any and all Coachella rumors, which makes me happy - also, she recommended WOXY out of Cincinnati, which has made me happy eighteen times in the past twelve minutes. I mean, they played "Queer" by Garbage. And man, do I miss old-school Garbage.

I've been in a rut when it comes to listening to music. Usually, I find a new artist or two every few months who I can dig -- but not so much, right now. Maybe it's because I don't know what I'm looking for. Or maybe it's because I'm waiting for the next big thing to sweep me away, like Alanis Morrisette did in 1995 (hey, it was high school), and Moby did in 1999.

I'm overdue for a musical revelation. But with the state of music today being what it is, is such a thing likely?

OH GOD. WOXY is now playing Social Distortion's "Ball and Chain."


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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Fear of Flying

It is both a good and a bad thing that, with many thanks to my parents, I spent many grade school summer vacations traveling. A good thing, because it gave me a taste for adventure, a familiarity with the exotic, and priceless memories and stories. A bad thing, because after I came to college, staying in LA during the summers, my jetsetting began to peter out. When I was younger, flying to one new place or another was routine, a part of the yearly cycle. Now, it's strange, distant, surreal to think of stepping foot on an airplane.

It's a bit scary.

The last time I flew was April of 2002, when, in the midst of final projects and insanity, I flew to Disney World to cheer on my brother's robotics team. Before then, it was September 9, 2001, returning from a perfect weekend in Washington, DC.

I haven't been afraid of planes since the age of five, when I clenched the armrests as we flew over the Pacific for the first time. Flying above the ground was fine, I figured, but if what if something happened to us over the ocean? We'd be lost to the waves. And I wasn't a very good swimmer.

Now, of course, I know that you don't walk away from plane crashes, not even ones on land. Instead, I'm afraid of men with nail clippers and other preposterous things. That April flight left me shaky, certain something horrible was going to happen. When I came back to LA, it felt like all the luck in the world rushed into that moment when the wheels touched down.

Since then, I've been driving in search of the buzz I once got from hopping around the world. I've driven or ridden up and down this vast state, with friends or family or sometimes alone -- my feet on the ground, my hands clenched around the steering wheel. In control.

But, see, I'm this employed young woman with vacation days and a decent salary. And there's this country I love called England.

And, as of yesterday, I have a plane ticket to Heathrow for late March. Gonna crash with a gal named Caz, see me some sights. Drink a real Schirmoff Ice and eat fish and chips.

I'm looking forward to it more than I can say, but I'm a little nervous about the flying. It's this morbid streak spreading through me like gray hairs. It makes me touchy. It makes me see death everywhere.

But if I'm going to die, I want to see England again before it happens.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

The Good, The Bad, and the Whuh?

Totally watched the nominees get announced this morning! It was totally awesome! Most awesome part -- not having to get out of bed, and going right back to sleep afterwards. There's really nothing like waking up to Signorney Weaver (looking way too good for 5:30 AM, by the way).

Reasons to be happy:

  • Cold Mountain getting the shaft, especially in the Best Adapted Screenplay category (I'd been dreading that).
  • Interesting screenplay noms overall.
  • Halle Berry really did end racism, at least in the Best Supporting Actor category. Latino, African, Japanese... Has there ever been a more diverse set of nominees?
  • On the feminist side: Four women nominated for screenwriting (six if you count Jim Sheridan's daughters, which I think we can) and one nominated for Best Director. That's like a million times better than last year.
  • It is fitting that The Year Nicole Kidman Sucked is capped by her not being nominated for a thing. I am pleased by this.

Reasons to be sad:

  • The most boring Best Song nominations in my lifetime (only bright light -- A Mighty Wind!)
  • Finding Nemo will have to content itself with Best Animated Feature. I knew my dreams of it getting nominated for Best Picture were fallacy.
  • "There are only two white guys in this category!" = diversity
  • Sean Astin rocked the mike right. He deserved a nod.
  • Love Actually was a better screenplay than it was a movie. I woulda liked to see it get a nod.


  • I like Johnny Depp a whole awful lot. I'm quite happy for him. But Academy Award Nominee Pirates of the Carribean? If you'd heard that a year ago, would you have believed it?

Overall, I'm a lot happier than expected. And now I have to see In America, Mystic River, Master and Commander... There are worse fates.

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Monday, January 26, 2004

What I'm Looking Forward To: Spring 2004

I've made this sort of list twice now, and each time it's been in a desperate effort to make me look forward to movies again.

This time is no exception.

February 27, 2004
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

March 19, 2004
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jersey Girl

April 2, 2004

April 9, 2004
The Alamo
Ella Enchanted

Not really a lot -- and most of that fails to thoroughly excite me. Except for Dirty Dancing 2. That's just gonna rock.

In related news, I'm considering, for the eighth year in a row, attempting to wake up and watch tomorrow's live broadcast of the Oscar nominations. I will not be surprised, however, if this is the eighth straight year I fail to wake up at 5:30 AM. I'm tempted to figure out the alarm clock feature on my TV, but this may be too much effort.

And no, I can't TiVo it. It just isn't the same.

What's sad, though, is that I don't really care. The only things I desire are Finding Nemo to be nominated for Best Picture and Return of the King to win it. Otherwise, there's nothing I'm really passionate about. I was pretty much happy with the Golden Globes results -- I woulda preferred to see Six Feet Under win for drama series, but even then... I just don't care too much.

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Not much to report for the weekend, except -- I totally finished some books! Like, three of them!

I'm going to start my review of How Soon is Never? tonight -- it's a Bookslut book -- but I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I like it when naval-gazing roman a clefs can take on a universal meaning -- it made me think about the music I loved in high school, and how much it meant to me. Things mean an awful lot more in high school.

Nicky gave me Total Sell Out, a Brian Michael Bendis collection, for Christmas, and while I'd been flipping through it off and on, I hadn't sat down and actually read it until Sunday morning. Bendis, of course, has moved from being The Hottest Marvel Comics Writer Ever to being That Guy Who Was Pretty Good Before He Started Doing Twelve Books At Once, but his earlier stuff, alternating between super-noir crime stories and cartoony comic strips, is fresh, human, and funny.

I've had Philosophy Goes to the Movies out of the library for forever, so after I finished Total Sell Out, I put on some pants and walked to a WeHo cafe, where I sat outside, ate French toast, drank coffee, and finally finished the last chapter and a half. For a book that was 200 pages long, it took me forever to read this, but I kept getting mired in Marxist theory while on my lunch breaks. (Note for the future: Marxist theory during lunch breaks -- not so good for employee morale.) I dig philosophy, though, especially as illustrated by Monty Python and the Holy Grail (a key part of the chapter entitled "Critical Reason"). I still don't feel like I have the foundation to tackle serious doorstops like Simulacra and Simulation, but the basic principles of philosophy -- question everything and assume nothing -- are ones I can get behind. I just need to understand existing schools of thought a little bit more.

But I got all the time in the world to figure some of this stuff out.

In the meantime, Salon is serializing Dave Eggers' new novel. As I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't read Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, reading this feels strangely out of order. But if a lifetime of tv watching has taught me anything, it's that I like things that are serial.

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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Man. At this point, I'm not just living for the weekend. I'm living for the Saturday morning, when I can sleep in, read books, and do my damn laundry. Nothing else matters. Just me in bed with books. That's all.

I'm a little low energy this week. No real clue why -- been getting a fair amount of sleep, eating well, drinking the normal amount of coffee and so forth. But everything is effort. And I'm tired. And I'm going out tonight and my hair is unwashed... ::sigh:: Life is tiring. Saturday morning is a forever away.

And I'm running out of clean underwear.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

All last night, I dreamed about being rear-ended. And after every dream, I would have to wake up and remind myself that I didn't actually get rear-ended; my car was still intact.

It got harder and harder to believe, though.

I hate those sorts of dreams.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

News and notes

  • The dotted underline rollovers here look pretty swell.
  • Faith... in... humanity... dwindling...
  • Currently reading books about: oppressed Americans, philosophy in relation to American film, web usability, the Smiths, the Civil War, and the history of French cuisine. At some point, I'm going to have to finish one of these. Then I can update the sidebar. That'll be awesome.
  • Dude, look at this here website. You know your skills are more fly than this. Redesign, girlfriend!
  • I really like this Bookslut gig. I really like getting cool emails from people explaning their thoughts on Cold Mountain and Jude Law's babeliciousness.
  • A question I nearly included in the survey: "Jude Law: Hot or Not?" Followed, of course, by "Nicole Kidman: Hot or Not?" Then I remembered I wasn't shallow.
  • Speaking of, I still really want this.
  • I also want to redesign this page, finish reading my books, go to England, start writing my play about the apocalypse, and finish a first draft of my screenplay.

Someday, I'll have time to do all the things I want to do. And that, more than anything, will be awesome.

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Monday, January 19, 2004

City life

What I always notice about Arizona is the quiet. I know that there are bustling urban centers -- I also know that what I refer to as my hometown is just as sleepy and quiet as Tempe. But the utter stillness of Nicky's house is always startling, marvelously so. On Saturday morning, my first morning there, I woke up and made a bowl of cereal. There were a few birds outside; my spoon would occasionally knock against the bowl. Otherwise, stillness.

The sirens in LA seem louder these days. There always seems to be a helicopter or an ambulance roaring by while I'm watching Sex and the City or making a dent in my pile of magazines. And it's something you get used to, you know? A human being can get used to anything if she puts her mind to it.

The quiet was lovely, however. I had never heard of noise pollution until I was in my late teens, and I didn't understand it because I lived in a town that outlawed sidewalks and streetlights because they were too "urban." But now I understand the concept of too much clutter, too much pushing in around the eardrums. The feeling that there's too much to take in, too much crap to filter out. The overwhelming sensation of just too much. The way drowning feels.

Lately, I've been feeling in the mood for travel, which inexplicably has made me crave a hot dog, just like the ones people get in New York in the movies. When you're a vegetarian and it's been eight years since you last ate red meat, a hot dog manages to gain the allure of the exotic.

Fortunately, this is LA, where lifestyle choices never get in the way of consumerism. So today, after a long drive back and a few hours spent meditating in front of the TiVo, I went for a nice long walk to Pink's Hot Dogs. Say this for the AIDS walk -- my fear of walking in Los Angeles was conquered indeed.

1.5 miles isn't so bad when you have NPR broadcast directly to your ears, pundits carefully explaining what the deal is with caucauses and Dean conceding magnaminously as you walk down Melrose. And there's something to look at, everywhere I turn.

A little girl, demonstrating dance steps for the women getting their hair braided in the salon down the street. Groups of teenage girls gossiping as they flock like birds from one trendy clothing store to the next. Two guys flirting over baskets of clean laundry, one hand dipping into another's back pocket. An elaborate altar to a deceased dog ("fur-person") named Peaches, with Milkbones and lollipops left as offerings. Christmas tree lights, still up in January.

And me in my big black coat and Sketchers and bad hair day, a hot dog rumbling in my stomach, able to walk for miles. The girl everyone hated in junior high school, the girl who never fit in in a town without streetlights. Alone, alert, and unafraid.

The noise is a bother. But I like the life of this place.

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Friday, January 16, 2004

Best news ever!

the futon critic's got the Fox press release announcing that Wonderfalls will finally stumble on air in March.

I'm totally looking forward to this series. It'll die an ignomious death, certainly -- but at least I'll finally find out how the pilot episode ENDS.

And with that, I'm on my way to AZ. Laters!

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I do not know how to shake my boobs

And don't even get me started on my ass.

When I joined the gym, one thing my tour guide mentioned is that there were plenty of options for cardio, so that if I got bored on the machines, I could try a class or two.

Unfortunately, most of the classes are ill-timed for my purposes, and I rather enjoy my half hour of rockin' out on the elliptical trainer. But variety is the spice of life, I had made the decision to go to the gym Thursday night, and Salsa crooked an alluring finger at me. That slut.

So I did my stretching and crunches, then went downstairs to find the music already playing and the way-too-chipper instructor introducing a pre-class salsa. Turns out that even with three years of ballet, one year of swing, and four years of clubbing -- I know bumpkis about dance.

Fifteen minutes later, as I'd managed to figure out how "basic" (the step shouted most often over the music, six steps in four beats) worked, I took a look in the mirror. The other girls were moving fluidly, jiggling along with the beat -- but I was wearing a sports bra and a oversized t-shirt. I tried to shimmy my shoulders, but there was no having it.

Now, to clarify. I'm not going to say that I am the grand high poohbah of mammary glands, but I'm not lacking in that department. I've even occasionally flaunted what He Above saw fit to give me. I have great breasts. I just don't know how to work 'em in the salsa context. Even my ass, which was unhindered by support garments, was like a block of wood, not its normal, perky, jiggly self.

I slumped out of the class worn out and a bit discouraged, unsure if this was a horse worth climbing back onto. There's a reason my dancing is limited to dark crowded spaces -- I am not a natural talent.

But I looked down at my poor, depressed, squashed breasts, hidden inside the baggy t-shirt. And I realized that if nothing else, they deserved another spin around the block.

So I may try again next week. Because the human body doesn't come with an owner's manual. But there are plenty of opportunities to pick up some pointers.

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Lazy days

Damn, but this week of work's been quiet. We were totally expecting crazy, what with it being the first week of class and me being a person who helps put classes online - and instead it's been quiet quiet quiet, with almost everyone in the office concerned with a presentation I have nothing to do with. I've spent most of my time playing around with different ideas for redesigning our primary template. I'm up to six right now. I may have seven by the end of the day.

Because I've been forgetting to jot it down - last weekend was crazy good. Started off with Friday night, when I went to the gym, then showered and filled with delightful post-gym warmth, went to a friend's for Poker Night. Turns out that Texas Hold 'Em is my kind of game.

Saturday, I slept in before going to a cafe and getting some work done on the screenplay. Then I walked to the comic book store and sat in the aisle and sampled the trades. And by sampled the trades, I mean "sat on the floor and read them." Arrived back at the apartment in time to shower for that night's activity -- a monster truck rally.

Yeah, you heard me right.

Monster Jam, at the Edison Field, proved to be a great time, as I am a fan of a) loud bad stadium rock, b) things that go fast, c) male posturing, and d) stuff getting destroyed. All of these things were there in spades. It wasn't the classiest thing I've ever done (if only because when I go to the theater, people don't usually pee in the parking lot afterwards). But it was certainly fun.

Sunday was a bit lazier - slept in, loafed around the apartment before going to a discussion group meeting to talk about the Democratic primary. Turns out, I know a helluva lot more than I thought I did about all of the candidates -- turns out if you spend six straight months listening to NPR and watching the Daily Show, you end up with a pretty solid understanding of policy and position. Plus, you know, the funny.

After the meeting, I went to Barnes and Noble to cash in a gift certificate -- ended up spending a lot more money than planned on books about design (plus a nerdy book about math that was on sale). Books about design, it turns out, cost a lot more money than books I'm used to buying. But given what I spend eight hours a day doing, it makes sense to gain a stronger foundation in the fundamentals. Apparently, there are things to know about color. I should know them.

Went to the gym after that, and after that I picked up some basics from the grocery and went home. Did some more writing, ate couscous and green beans for dinner, watched Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Alias. Got some sleep.

In short -- a near perfect weekend. May they all be half as good.

Going to Arizona has moved from being surreal to being anticipated, highly. So many fun things to watch! So many fun things to do! So much NickyTime!

My, but that was girly.

I'll try to be more careful on that front.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

This LJ discussion on Deferral of Desire in the Romance Genre should not only be fun wacky reading for Mom, but also for myself at some languid point.

Man, so much to read. SO MUCH.

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So I should talk about my weekend at some point, as it was fun-and-a-half, but right now I'm in a museum-y kind of mood. I'm currently trying to finagle and plan my way into a trip to England this spring, March sometime (Caz, if you're reading this -- dates, SVP), because no matter how many times I go, there's always something I miss. Like, for example, the following museums (from the A to Z of London Museums and Exhibitions):

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood
- Britain's only museum highlighting the life of children through the centuries.

Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum
- Everything you ever wanted to know about the importation and consumption of tea and coffee in the UK

Design Museum
- Sir Terence Conran inspired museum 'demonstrates the social, cultural and economic reasons for design'.

Dr Johnson's House
- Off Fleet Street lies home of Johnson who compiled first comprehensive English Dictionary

And my personal favorite:

Fan Museum
-Although it has fallen out of use today, the fan was once an important social and ceremonial tool, used as status symbols and a means of communication between the sexes when private conversation between unmarried ladies and gentlemen was difficult. The fan museum celebrates fans and fan-making, with over 3,000 fans from the 11th century onwards. It is the only museum of its kind in the world, and specialises in fans of the 18th and 19th century, when fan-making was at its zenith.

That's the thing about us damn Americans. We just don't appreciate a good fan museum anymore.

Of course, within Los Angeles, there are wonders yet to behold. I still desire a trip to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, not to mention the sadness I feel at never truly experiencing the Museum of Neon Art. It's the strange, nerdy, off-topic museums I love the most. After all, I've been to the Louvre, I've been to MOMA in New York, but the best museum I've ever been to is still the Frederick's of Hollywood Celebrity Lingerie Museum.

Good times.

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Monday, January 12, 2004

Just taught my spellchecker how to spell "fuck" and "motherfucker." This is a proud day for my command of the English language.

In related news, my current screenplay is going pretty well. I'm hoping to finish the first act this week, as I'm going to Arizona this weekend and will be too busy watching bad movies and stuffing myself at Fresh Choice to work on it.

Eight more pages, I'm estimating it will take. Eight more pages before Friday.


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Thursday, January 08, 2004

Roger Avary, director of several movies I don't much like and writer of one that I do, is having a garage sale in Manhattan Beach this weekend. And he's, you know, posted his address online and invited all the fanboys to see him.

It's just kinda... bizarre.

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So I'm normally a very responsible sort of person. Go to work every morning, pay my bills, call my parents, brush my teeth two times a day. (Still working on the flossing, but what can you do?)

But every once in a while comes a day like today, when the drive home seems endless, I'm starving to death, and they're talking about meat and dead babies on NPR. And on days like today, there's not much left to do but skip going to the gym, eat the leftover omelette from Monday, and watch two hours of TV.

For those who have forgotten, by the way -- Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead is as genius today as it was yesterday. Plus -- Josh Charles! The chick who played the detective on John Doe! And special appearance by David Duchovny as Crazy Yuppie Ponytail Man.

Now, I'm sleepy and there are dishes to be done, words to be written. Will I do the dishes? Will I write the words?

Who knows. Such is the suspence of days like today.

Maybe I just need a nap.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Midseason Roundup

What I was watching this fall:

  • The Daily Show
  • West Wing
  • Angel
  • Ed
  • Alias
  • Scrubs
  • Miss Match
  • Joan of Arcadia
  • Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
  • The O.C.

What I intend to keep for spring:

  • Daily Show
  • Angel
  • Alias
  • Scrubs
  • Joan of Arcadia
  • Queer Eye
  • The O.C.

What I'm dropping:

  • West Wing - I'll keep up with the TWoP recaps, in case there appears to be any reason for me to start watching again, but otherwise I'll wait for summer
  • Ed & Miss Match - I've been watching Ed since it premiered, and liking it as a rule. But NBC did a thing. NBC moved it to Fridays at 8:59 PM. Not 9 PM. 8:59PM. Whether or not this is intentional on the part of NBC (which has previously demonstrated that it knows how to work the TiVo market), it still means that Mr. TiVo refuses to record both Ed and Joan, and I decided a long time ago not to spend Friday night worrying about TV. So. Au revoir, Ed. Maybe we'll meet this summer. Maybe not. And when Miss Match returns to its time slot, I don't know if I'll have the strength to keep up with it. Though I do love me some Nathan Fillion.

What I may add:

  • Sex and the City(I like things with endings)
  • And, in my dream of dreams, Wonderfalls will finally get itself on the air. I saw the first ten minutes at Comic-Con, and those ten minutes were 800 times more delightful than the full hour of Tru Calling I sat through. It's similar on paper to Joan of Arcadia, but tonally it's completely different. And a ton of fun. Man, do I want this show to air.

Actual hours of TV commitment: 8 (accounting for Daily Show's daily-ness). Amount watched regularly during the week: 2.

And thus concludes this entry.

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New Bookslut! With a review by me! And a column by me!

Not to mention some other fine columns. Dug Comicbookslut and Fear Factor, especially. Go forth and read!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Man oh man.

And I thought I was past my Tiger Beat days.

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MOBY DICK is showing up on a lot of peoples' to-be-read lists. I have read MOBY DICK. I have enjoyed MOBY DICK. So I provide you with Liz's Handy Guide for the Enjoyment of MOBY DICK:
  1. Watch and enjoy one of the following: Star Trek: First Contact, Jaws, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Finding Nemo, or the third-season X-Files episode "Quagmire." Weary of not getting the jokes.
  2. Try to get a floppy paperback copy with thin pages. There are many short chapters to this book, meaning that it's perfect dead-time reading, and you'll look tres intelligent while waiting to see Barbershop 2.
  3. Eventually, start reading. Be sure to note the dedication to Nathanial Hawthorne, because...
  4. Around chapter three, start playing Look for the Gay Subtext. This is a very easy game. It gets even easier once Queequeg and Ishmael start cuddling at night.
  5. Soon, you will find yourself enjoying the high-seas adventure. But beware! Many dangers lurk. About halfway through, there be monsters known as Melville on Cetology. You do not need to read the chapters on cetology. No one needs to read the chapters on cetology. Few ever have. And you know why? Nothing happens. NOTHING HAPPENS. Skip 'em and move on.
  6. Like everything presumed boring in life, MOBY DICK is actually pretty funny. Write down your favorite quotes, because later you can quote them in a very cool fashion. And face it -- if you've finished MOBY DICK, you're cool indeed.
  7. In moments of despair, remember how cool Patrick Stewart is. Remember And he piled upon the whale's white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it. That part doesn't come until the end. And it's pretty cool. So, you know, keep reading.
  8. When you finish, go to your local used bookstore and trade in your paperback copy for a cool looking hardback that'll look great on your shelves.

    You've earned it.

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Monday, January 05, 2004

The books not yet read

So this is one of the most high maintenance memes I've seen -- though, I suppose, most people don't bother to annotate. I don't have quite the quantity of Mely, but hopefully the commentary proves enlightening, if only on the issue of HOW I avoid going broke with such a bad book habit (the answer being -- free books are my friends).

So, not including reference books or books in my queue (meaning the depths of my nightstand, which will be read at some point -- honest):

Edwin Abbot, FLATLAND: A ROMANCE OF MANY DIMENSIONS Dover Thrift Edition, accquired for a dollar. A math lover's book, I suspect, and I love math. I just don't remember any of it.

Dick Allen (ed.), SCIENCE FICTION: THE FUTURE Book of essays and fiction. Some big names -- Asimov, Le Guin, etcetera

Stanley Appelbaum (ed.), INTRODUCTION TO FRENCH POETRY Poems in both the original French and English translations, from ma vie en ecole. I still remember a bit of French from high school. Just don't ask me to speak it.

Charles and Mary Beard, THE BEARDS' BASIC HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES Found at the Strand six years ago, after having read sections for my AP history class. Surprisingly engaging, the parts I've read, and a great counterpoint to Howard Zinn's PEOPLE'S HISTORY, which is in my queue.

Poppy Z. Brite, EXQUISITE CORPSE I keep feeling too squeamish to read this. But the more I read Brite's LJ, the more I want to understand all the references she makes to her earlier works.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, SONGS FROM THE PORTUGUESE Dover Thrift Edition. Some rainy afternoon, I'll sip tea and read this.

Anthony Burgess, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE After graduation, a friend of mine was shedding himself of his worldly possessions before romping off to England to live with his girlfriend. From the pile of things on his apartment floor, I scored ORANGE, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, and a rotating fan. The summer was shaping up to be warm indeed -- as it turned out, though, I just spent a lot of time at the movies.

David Carnahan, SHORT FRENCH REVIEW GRAMMAR Dated 1920, this belonged to my dad's mother, and is replete with pencil notation and figures. It smells the way old books should.

Maria DiBattista, FAST-TALKING DAMES Survey of Hepburn et al and the screwball comedy scene. A long-ago Christmas gift from Dad, who knows what I want to be when I grow up.

Emily Dickenson, SELECTED POEMS Dover Thrift Edition. Partially read. A total delight.

Gustave Flaubert, MADAME BOVARY I started this four years ago. My bookmark is still at page 108.

Thaisa Frank, FINDING YOUR WRITER'S VOICE When I received this as a birthday present, I figured I had my voice down pretty well. Uncertain recent days, however, have seen me eyeing this book more than once.

Wallace Fowlie (ed), FRENCH STORIES Another dual-language book, including Voltaire, Balzac, and Camus. Part of that eternally fun game -- how many of these words do I really remember?

Laurie Fox, MY SISTER FROM THE BLACK LAGOON This was included in one of JET's joyful care packages a few years ago, and was only recently rescued from my bookcase at home.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, HERLAND Dover Thrift Edition. Damn you, high school dystopian obsession!

Howard Goldblatt (ed.), CHAIRMAN MAO WOULD NOT BE AMUSED Subversive short stories from "Today's China", though today's China is today the China of 1995. Purchased as a counterpoint to the trashy fiction I was bringing on a beach vacation. Remained untouched.

Barbara Meil Hobson, UNEASY VIRTUE Acquired at Johns Hopkins University during the summer of 1997. While wandering about one of the buildings after a class, a Magic-Markered sign led me to a women's studies professor in the midst of clearing her office of miscellaneous texts, most on the historical role of prostitution.

Note to Wile E. Coyote: to dine on succulent Liz flesh, place a sign reading "Free Books!" beneath the boulder.

Susan Jeffords, THE REMASCULINIZATION OF AMERICA Another JHU acquisition.

John Keats, SELECTED POEMS Usually, I can remember exactly when and where a book was acquired. This one's stumping me, however. An old paperback copy (copyright 1950), with "Charles P. Russell '66" written inside. Garage sale? A used bookstore deal from high school? I bought a lot more poetry back then.

Linda K. Kerber, WOMEN'S AMERICA Another JHU acquisition. Sample chapter title: "Were slave mothers at fault?"

Mick LaSalle, COMPLICATED WOMEN: SEX AND POWER IN PRE-CODE HOLLYWOOD I think this was another present from Dad. Another fascinating book that I keep forgetting I own.

Tim Lucas, THROAT SPROCKETS A gift from Nicky. Sweetie, it's not that I'm chicken or anything. I'm just waiting for the right time to enjoy a novel that Bret Easton Ellis finds "disturbing and sophisticated." That's all.

Oliver Mayer (contrib.), OUT OF THE FRINGE: CONTEMPORARY LATINO/A THEATER I took a playwriting class from Mr. Mayer, which I really enjoyed. But at the tail end of the semester, I slacked off, and wasn't able to read his play in the time allotted. I still feel really bad about this, and someday I'll sit down, read his play and email him to tell him so. This may take a few more months yet, however.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, RENASCENCE AND OTHER POEMS Dover Thrift Edition. And okay, I admit it freely -- I own a lot of poetry. But, y'know, I can't check it out from the libraries, as it takes me way too long to read. A book of Adrienne Rich currently rests on my nightstand. It's been there for a year and a half. Of course, that's still not as long as ULYSSES has been there.

Janet Miller, LADY OF THE KNIFE I admit it, Mom, this is the only of your books I haven't read yet. But you've been saying that there's going to be a new revised edition. We'd both probably prefer it if that was the one I read

Sir Thomas More, UTOPIA Dover Thrift Edition. And no, I don't own this because I thought Ever After was supercute. That would be silly.

David W. Rintels, ANDERSONVILLE, A SCREENPLAY The former chair of the USC screenwriting department wrote a blurb for the back cover of this book, and one day every member of the senior class found themselves with a gratis copy, myself included. It may find its way into my queue soon, if only because COLD MOUNTAIN has finally got its claws into me and I'm in a Civil War state of mind

John Robbins, DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA A gift from a vegan friend from high school, and vegetarian propaganda, I'm presuming. Someday I'll acquire FAST FOOD NATION and have myself a book double-feature.

E.W. Robson, THE FILM ANSWERS BACK A 1947 reprint, found in a used bookstore in London. Adorable for two reasons, the first being that a book written about the cinema before 1950 is always full of peculiar pleasures, and the second being that the first line is "EPPUR SI MUOVE!" If you've ever IMed me, you can appreciate the irony of it.

Mark Rose (ed.), SCIENCE FICTION: A COLLECTION OF CRITICAL ESSAYS Sontag and C.S. Lewis -- a potent combination. I suspect this book was found in a bin of freebies. There's no other explanation for its presence here.

Christina Rossetti, GOBLIN MARKET AND OTHER POEMS That's the thing about Dover Thrift Editions. They deceive you into thinking you have fewer books about poetry than would normally seem possible.

Neal Stephenson, CRYPTONOMICON Borrowed from my parents ages ago, but daunting both in weight and subject matter. However, I hear that there are riots in Los Altos, and there's a major allure to that.

Booth Tarkington, THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS Retrieved from the library's free books bin, because the title sounded familiar. Having seen the movie a few years ago, I've been meaning to read this since. This intention, however, was partially thwarted by the book being hidden in the recesses of my closet for the span of that time.

Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN I forget if Dillweed gave this to me or I bought it because of a conversation we had. All I know is, it's a lovely hardback edition, and it remains pristine.

Mark Twain, A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT I love Mark Twain, but this copy, rescued from a free shelf of my high school library, smells a bit funny. The cover's neat, though.

David Foster Wallace, INFINITE JEST This is going on Year 6 of stagnation. I keep hoping to break my leg or something so I'll have no excuse but to sit my ass down and read.

William Wordsworth, THE PRELUDE Another of Charles P. Russell's books, this one from 1962. Who are you, Charles P. Russell, and how did I acquire your poetry?

Man, that was exhausting. But at least there have been questions answered, and writing done, and inventories created.

Maybe next time, I'll inventory the nightstand and polish off that gigantic stack of magazines.

And then I'll finish ULYSSES.

::pause for laughter::

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I have exactly two hard-'n-fast New Year's Resolutions this year:
  • Take a multivitamin every day
  • Go outside to take a lunch break every day at around 12:30

The last one sounds stupid, I know. But nine times out of ten, I end up staring vapidly at my computer screen for eight and a half hours straight, starving to death and biting off peoples' heads for coming too close to me. And it doesn't make for the best workplace environment. Y'know?

I have two slightly-less-hard-'n-fast resolutions, as well:

  • With the usual scheduling conflict exceptions (such as when one show is airing when another is TiVoing), Daily Show and nothing else on weekdays.
  • One blog entry a day

After all -- ain't New Year's unless you set yourself up to fail in some way, right?

More later.

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