Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"So You'd Like To Be a Book Reviewer"

Content-sensitive ads offered by Google after "reading" my daily Gmail:

1. "So You'd Like To Be a Book Reviewer" (appropriate, but vaguely taunting)
2. Bitter Apple Spray (too easy)
3. O'Malley Biscuit Joiner
4. Discount Leotards
5. Kwanzaa Recipes
6. "Get Rid of the Problem - Not the Cat"
7. "Burning Man: Preparation"
8. "$300/Hr in Minneapolis?"
9. Twelfth Night Cliff Notes
10. Stuffed penguins
11. "Fear No Man: Discover What The Martial Artists And The Army Don't Want You To Know"
13. "Caring for the Angry Child"
14. Bully Prevention Techniques
15. Discount Poly Containers


Starbucks, the urban weathervane

While working at "the office" today, I saw that Starbucks has started serving pumpkin lattes, apple spice cakes, and other autumnal foods. Fall is officially upon us! - just as winter is welcomed in with eggnog lattes, peppermint mochas*, and spiced cider. I think it would be fair to say I am extremely excited.

*I do not recommend the peppermint mocha, which feels like a dash of minty sweetness taking you into an alley out back and kicking all your teeth in.


Monday, August 29, 2005

I spent today reading a new book for review, The Last Days of Dogtown. It's historical fiction by Anita Diamant, the author of The Red Tent. I can't say I'm that impressed - a change, since I've gushed over several recent reads lately (notably Aimee Bender and David Barringer). Perhaps this means I'm finally becoming converted to short stories over novels, though that's never been the case before. More likely, I'm just feeling fed up with realism.

Friday, August 26, 2005

After polishing off some morning articles, I spent the rest of the afternoon making cobblers and teaching the (young) dogs (new) tricks. Shackleton is learning "put 'er there" (his macho version of "shake hands") very quickly, but Cromwell has some difficulty with "charmed" - when he lifts one foot off the ground, he tends to just tip over.

Then I abandoned work altogether to devote myself wholeheartedly to Go Fug Yourself (thank you, Bill). I'm not usually one to wish I was friends with celebrity bloggers, but anyone who can describe a dress as "a beer wench at a French rodeo" is someone I want to meet. In this case, two someones.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Incidents and Accidents

I've spent the last hour searching accident report websites. I wanted a present for Dev and I was hoping to find some type of potentially gruesome accident category (hunting, scuba diving, dirt biking) and subscribe to an industry accident report magazine. I discovered two things: #1. accident report subscriptions are really expensive; #2. everything is terribly hazardous.

A brief survey of the web includes accident reports for roller coasters, circus performers, nuclear plants, mining, paragliding, oyster farming, avalanches, crane operation, and "general amputation accidents."

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Context is for Suckers and Historicists

In going through some old email today (looking for a long-lost scrap that could be stretched and tortured into an article) I came upon the following phrase, totally unmoored:
"I always get Sonny confused with Toucan Sam. Though, come to think of it, that's stupid, because no one would name a bird Toucan Sonny."
Either I wrote that to Aubrey, or Aubrey wrote that to me. But since it's stupid, I'm guessing I wrote it.

Other phrases whose context I have mislaid or willfully ignored:
1. "You'd be surprised how clean many of those dishes coming out of the dishwasher weren't."
2. "Europe will change my life, giving me the soul of a poet, the aesthetic sense of a painter, the passion of a French whore, and the walk of an Italian model."
3. "String cheese is actually a compressed cylinder of mozzarella cheese, so called because it can be peeled apart into various-sized 'strings' and so consumed."
4. "I should calculate my average apostles per sex act."
5. "If I lived in a hotel for 40 years, I would still jump on the bed every time I came in."
6. "If you were to tap yourself on the head with a small rubber mallet, not hard enough to do damage, but hard enough to feel, every weekday for nine hours, then stop, you would understand how I feel about not hearing her voice."


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Last night I stayed up until almost 3am finishing an article - on medieval history, no less. It felt like college again and made me that much more excited about the idea of returning to school someday. I've been thinking a lot lately about applying to graduate programs, but I can't make any firm decisions until I know where I'll be living in the coming year.

Meanwhile, I have a short little mini-review in this week's Seattle Weekly.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Okay, I'm back to posting regularly again.

Last week I experienced a sudden, massive, and inexplicable hard drive failure that rendered my computer useless except as a dog bed. (I'm still on a loaner while awaiting new parts.) Coupled with that, I was out of town in my beloved Los Angeles and then returned to find I have four articles to get done this week - before I go out of town yet again, this time to Lake Tahoe, for the fifth in a series of six weddings I am attending this (very expensive) summer.

Today I am working on reviews for the Seattle Weekly, Rain Taxi, and perhaps another entry at Identity Theory.