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Book Review: A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers Jan. 21st, 2010 @ 09:02 pm
Do not read this book; it is bad.

It's been a long time since I read a book that I wanted to stop before finishing, but this was one. I did finish it, but only because it (1) takes place partly in Chicago (where I live now) and mostly in San Francisco (the city that has captivated me of late) and I enjoyed the exposition about those locations and (2) seems to be universally celebrated among folks of my demographic, and I wanted to be fully able to rebut any praise anyone I meet might have for it.

I remember once reading Barbara Kingsolver describe how spending a few years writing poetry greatly improved her skills as a novelist by teaching her an economy of word choice. Such an economy is sorely missed in A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius. Whole sections are marked with disclaimers like "you really should skip this, there's nothing of interest to you here", but instead of being ironic, it turns out to be true! Side-notes and tangents that should be special little treats turn out to be lost time. Themes and messages that should be uplifting are revealed not over several hundred pages of plot but instead only about one hundred pages of plot and more than thrice as many of... I don't know? Feelings?

Until reading this book I had some faith that whenever someone bothered to mass-produce a book, to set type to pages and bind those pages together, that they would do so only because there was something of value to someone in those words, but now I'm not so sure. My strongest impression of this book is of the author laughing at me for having cooperated with him in my own abuse.
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Dan Deacon - Bromst

Steel City: Brace For Impact! Dec. 22nd, 2009 @ 04:24 pm
kmanista and I will this Sunday through Wednesday be visiting Pittsburgh for the first time since we left three years ago. Yay!

Send email or leave a comment to initiate plans to make plans. Also we're still looking for a place to stay Sunday night - a hotel can always be found, but I'd much rather we crash with friends.
Current Mood: excited
Current Music: MGMT - Kids

... and the horse in on which it rode! Jul. 4th, 2009 @ 10:20 pm
Around the start of June I ran six and a half miles, the farthest I had ever run in my life (I think - I'm not sure at what mile mark my half-marathon became a walk-and-shuffle struggle).

Six days ago on Sunday, in the hours before I marched in the Pride Parade, I ran eight miles, by one-and-a-half miles the farthest I had ever run in my life.

This morning, for my thirtieth birthday, I set out to do ten miles. Having for no known reason Spinal Tap on the brain, I wound up going all the way to eleven.

Fuck aging.
Current Location: Home Sweet Home
Current Mood: accomplished

Great Speeches Of The Twenty-First Century Jun. 27th, 2009 @ 10:15 pm
I get a lot of questions about why I'm participating in Pride this year, and I've been wanting for a long time to put together this video illustrating that the reason is a profound duty to conscience:

If you like it, link it widely, and I apologize for the green splotches and sometimes difficult audio. Support open video formats, please!
Current Location: Home Sweet Home
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: My very first Internet video, naturally!

A Touching Message This Holiday Season Apr. 11th, 2009 @ 08:56 pm
Current Location: Home Sweet Home
Current Mood: amused
Other entries
» Not compatible
I recently watched The 15 Most Sexist Daytime Commercials. There are real stinkers in there but the one that got me thinking was #10:

"You probably never got a chance to see this commercial on television because A) it's foreign and B) it was banned. Thanks to the internet [sic] you won't miss the important message behind this spot: every time a father looks at his child, he sees a condom he wishes he'd bought."

You, and the authors of The 15 Most Sexist Daytime Commercials, might be surprised to learn that this commercial isn't sexist because it shows a man who became a father but doesn't enjoy the role.

It's sexist because it is open in communicating the message to men that it is okay to have second thoughts about parenting and to regret the choices they have made, knowing full well that nothing in our culture, not commercials, not blogs, hardly even the faintest whisper between friends ever sends the same message to women (who are just as likely to feel misfit in parenting): that they are understood, that they are okay, that they are not bad mothers or people and that there are others like them who despite loving their children with all their hearts wouldn't do it over if they had the chance, not in a million years.
» When a problem comes along, you must whip it.
Attention all my northeast Ohio peeps:

Devo's playing in Akron tomorrow night!
» Enjoyable Blog: The Triumph Of Bullshit

I've been wanting to post about The Triumph Of Bullshit for a while now, but just haven't been able to put my finger on exactly what to say. It's not a perfect blog, but it's close: it's low-traffic (fewer than four posts daily), fairly high quality (fewer than one in ten posts, in my opinion, miss the mark and could be edited out), the content is mostly stuff you won't see elsewhere in your blogroll, embedded media almost always show properly in the RSS feed, and it's got a fairly important point to make: that in our society, for better or for worse, for good bullshit or for bad, bullshit has come to a unique position of dominance.

This video was what put me over the edge tonight. While it misses out on the distinction between East Carolina and West Carolina (what, you thought there were only North and South?) it goes into great depth on a very delicious, but perhaps bullshitty, subject. kmanista, my southern belle, this one goes out to you:

» Worse than having nothing left at all.
Two weeks ago a seiche warning closed Chicago's beaches for the afternoon and evening of my-birthday-eve. It wasn't anything all that special, and I wouldn't be mentioning it to you but for one quote by a man whose beach plans with a friend we stymied:

"I guess we'll watch 'Hancock'," Edwards, Jr. said. "That's all we've got left."
» New Jersey: Where Dreams Come True

Via Skepchick.
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