On Michael Crichton's 'Sphere': The Power of Positive Thinking

Wait wait wait wait wait. Prefaced by saying: I read Sphere in high school (15 years ago) and haven't touched it since. But: I was POSITIVE that in the end ONE of the scientists didn't use their mind-power to forget the sphere in the decompression chamber, and he was going to destroy the world as soon as the book ended. He gave a small, knowing smile or something like that. I was POSITIVE that the book ended this way! On an evil grin from the one person who didn't give up his power! Seriously that didn't happen? There's no hint of it? In between the lines? PLEASE????

Posted on April 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm 0

On 'IT': Seriously, Guys, Get Out Of Maine Before You Die Terribly

When I was 11 my local suburban library had a summer reading contest, as you do. I read a bunch of books and went to collect my prize, and the librarians obviously had no plan for what this "prize" was going to be. They handed me a box of mass market paperbacks that were clearly about to be thrown out and told me to choose. This box continued *no* children's books. "Lurid" is a good word for most of the covers. I felt like I was both a) getting away with something by choosing one and b) that the librarians didn't believe I really read all the books required to win a "real" prize.

11 year old me chose THE BACHMAN BOOKS, which included RAGE and THE LONG WALK. I read that book, oh, dozens of times. THE LONG WALK was my favorite but RAGE was very memorably disturbing. Kind of wish I still did have it just for the out-of-print factor. In the end: Thanks, lazy librarians!

Posted on January 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm 0

On Irony Is Wonderful, Terrific, Fantastic!

In examining the times in my life that I've gotten frustrated with an ironic response and sympathized with Wampole's feeling of "why can't we just appreciate things and not tear them down," I've found that the feeling is prompted by people disagreeing with me -- that is, not liking the thing I like. In that mindset, I would rather think that they're dismissing the Thing I Like out of reflexive, unexamined irony than to admit that perhaps not everyone likes the things I do, even when I've done my best to try to explain to them why they should. So this urge stifle irony is (for me) more a desire to see people engage with the world (culture, other people, experiences) more openly.

But then I think about it some more and hate the idea that we're all one identically ironic, miserly group of sycophants more than I hate that people disagree with me, and I give up wishing for less irony.

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm 1

On Neal Stephenson E-Book Yanked from Amazon!

There are people who know how to convert books into kindle format, and there are copyeditors, but those are never the same people and the digital people are so new and so overworked and there's no budget for them to hire copyeditors. Those in charge think "Why would we need to copyedit it again in a new format? It's been copyedited and proofread a bunch of times for the book!" Because I imagine what's happening is that this line:

Ebooks are compli-

Has been converted and reflowed to

Ebooks are compli-cated.

Posted on September 27, 2011 at 10:29 am 2

On My Migraines Are Making Me Root For Michele Bachmann

This is a perfect description of the type of migraines I get. Thank you for that -- I'm not alone! We're not alone! Yay!

That being said I have no sympathy for Michelle Bachmann. Every human being suffers from something or other. Doesn't mean you have to turn in to Jude Law in Contagion.

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 10:06 am 0

On Some Advice For Young Grads

@hapax From personal experience and observation I still disagree; I think if a person is 46 with 20 years experience in publishing or whatever they should be able to procure themselves something better than an entry-level job just from the fact that they have 20 years experience.

What I'm talking about are the "creative careers" -- so not violinists or rock stars or writers, but working in a theatrical production office or the record label or the publishing house. Those are generally underpaid at first but eventually you can make a living doing that type of thing. So I don't think the tearing tickets to become a violinist example applies.

Real artists? Rock stars/violinists/writers? No idea how you do that.

Posted on May 19, 2011 at 10:22 am 0

On Some Advice For Young Grads

I would also add: If you know where you want to end up, in one of those competitive "creative" jobs that humanities majors crave, just take any shitty low-paying job in that industry. You will be broke, but whatever. You will do that job for a year or two and then you'll look up and *you'll be in the industry you want to be in* and the next step after that will be in the right direction and you'll never have to do that shitty job again. I promise: A year or two at most doing the grunt work, as long as it's in the general industry of interest. Just don't take some other job because it actually pays or anything, b/c as Mike says, it will suck no matter what. If you're lucky enough to know what you want, use those two years!

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm 1

On 111 Male Characters Of British Literature, In Order Of Bangability

This is fabulous, but I wonder what's the rationale for Algernon being so much higher on the list than Worthing? They were always sort of interchangeable to me. I guess Worthing's a little more high-strung?

Loved the I Capture the Castle inclusions.

What about Graham from Villette?

Posted on April 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm 0

On When Alan Met Ayn: "Atlas Shrugged" And Our Tanked Economy

@but You say: "There are characters in the book that Ayn shows were heirs of vast fortunes, but she shows that the ones that were unworthy of their inheritance (not really worth what they had received) would ultimately lose it all (I think we can see this in people who win the lotto and go bankrupt)."

So the poor deserve to be poor and the rich deserve to be rich? That's exactly the core self-serving philosophy that Maria accurately points out in her article. It's appealing to the guilty consciences of the already rich.

I don't see how your comment refutes anything in the article, except for a very minor difference in terminology.

Posted on April 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm 3

On Sympathy for the Bullies: Our New Villains

My elementary school bully also became a cop. Strange coincidence.

He made me absolutely miserable for 2-3 years. But he was one of 11 children, in hindsight obviously neglected, and even though I felt like a victim and cried all the time I can distinctly remember times I made fun of him for being stupid, perhaps even the first day I met him. So today I do have a lot of sympathy for him, even though I'd prefer never to have met him.

Those junior high bitches, though? Unforgivable.

Posted on October 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm 0