Reading in public

September 9th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Reading - (0 Comments)

In which I don’t really do this anymore.

I used to read in bars all the time. Paper books in the day, then Newtons, PDAs, eBook readers, phones and Kindles.

Most bars have at least some comfortable seating with a reasonable amount of light, and they have drinks, too, of course. Nothing better than a book and a cocktail.

And they often have snacks, if not a full menu, should you should happen to read right through to the next mealtime.

An afternoon spent reading a good book in a bar can be freakin’ wonderful. This guy knows how it’s done:

I remember, back in the day, bitching about people bothering me while I was reading in bars. “Whatcha reading?” is a question I used to answer in earnest, believing that people were actually interested in the answer, but after awhile I discovered the only correct answer to a random, unsolicited “Hey. Whatcha readin’?”

That answer is: “A book.”

People who ask you what you’re reading in a bar do not care that you’re reading science fiction with a really interesting take on consciousness that reminds me of some Vedanta I’ve read and also makes me wonder about the Three Laws and if Asimov’s robots could genuinely want to not be programmed morally. No, people don’t want to have a cool discussion about consciousness, they’re just doing bar behavior, which is generally to talk to people. Especially girls. Especially girls who are reading a book in a bar.

These days I don’t go to bars nearly as often as I used to, and when I do go it’s specifically to drink (usually because it’s past ten o’clock and you can’t buy booze after that outside of a bar in this state), not to hang out and read. And even if I do read, it’s usually just stupid social media on my phone.

Which is, of course, not real reading. Nowhere near.

I read a little in a bar on my birthday last year. I went to the VFW in the afternoon and had cheese curds and a bloody mary, and if I recall correctly I had my Paperwhite with me, as well as my traveler’s notebook. But it wasn’t really an afternoon of comfortable reading in a bar the way I remember it. I sat at the front bar, which is modern and loud and cold and not comfortable, and I drank my delicious adult beverage so quickly I passed through the mellow buzz so perfect for reading in about six minutes, and mostly I just wrote in my journal and made myself sick on fried cheese.

These days, I read much less long-form material than I used to. This is mostly due to quitting smoking. I used to sit outside and smoke and read; now I vape inside, which means I can be in front of the computer. I used to read a hundred books a year at the minimum; since I quit smoking, I’ve read far less than half that.

Smoking wasn’t the only reason, though. I’d also started to get annoyed with fiction; when you’ve read voraciously all your life, you’ve already read most stories in one form or another. There are, even in SF, only so many plots, only so many unique world-building twists. I can only stomach certain forms of romance, and only for so long, and even period piece mysteries require the right mood.

Short sci-fi, my previous go-to when I couldn’t find anything to read, had started going away from science and into gender and queer issues, which is fine, but not typically interesting to me when I’m trying to read science fiction. I mean, if you can say something about sex or gender inside a sci-fi story that has interesting sci and fi, that’s great, but just putting a gay couple in space without examining the space itself or the science that sustains it? Boring, after the twelfth time you encounter it, because it’s not sci-fi. It’s just a story about a gay couple you’re using as a platform to lecture people about your social politics; you’re not really examining the broader human condition or asking insightful questions. If you can put your characters in Nevada without needing to change the story at all, you’re not writing sci-fi, which is what I bought that magazine for in the first place, thanks tons, you’re just writing regular old fiction I am not hugely interested in reading.

Case in point: I bought the current issue of Asimov’s magazine. Properly called Asimov’s Science Fiction. I’m not reading the stories in order, but the two I’ve read so for are ghost stories. Fiction, yes, but not science. I mean, they’re good stories, but I’d expect to find them in some other sort of magazine.

I mean, really: where is the actual hard science fiction? I’m giving it some years off, deliberately, so, hopefully, I’ll have a stack of brilliant shit to read when I come back to it.

Right now I’m reading Sagan’s Contact, because somehow I’d never read it before, LeGuin’s Birthday of the World, a couple of memoirs (May Sarton and Ram Dass), and a bunch of Hindu and Buddhist non-fiction like The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I also have two imported detective mysteries I bought in treeware format from the bookstore on 26th, but I’m barely halfway through one of them because they’re not backlit, our apartment is dim because we always use screens, and I never think to read them when the sun’s up.

But the point is, and I know I’ve said this before, I’m getting really tired of fucking social media. I spend hours just scrolling through shit, not reading or knitting or doing anything interesting even to myself, so it may be time to just back into the habit of spending an occasional afternoon in a bar nursing a cocktail and horking down some long-form reading. I don’t have to login to work until six, which means I don’t have to start dinner ’til five, which means I could snuggle up in a chair somewhere from lunchtime on, if I wanted, and I bet it would be far more relaxing and less frenetic than millions of tiny short bits of half-insane arguments sandwiched in between horrific news reports and dumb jokes. In the same way as I want to return to long-form reading, I’m drifting back to broadcast TV rather than on-demand services. If something is on, you watch it or not, no pausing, and then either you’ve seen it or it’s gone. The news is the news, not endless links to articles that may or may not be news, or batshit crazy noise masquerading as news, or outright propaganda. There’s something relaxing about the transience, and it’s no better or worse than Amazon or Netflix, really, although I’m fine with bingeing a series now and again.

Anyway, I’m going to go read now. I hope Florida’s all right in the morning, but I really doubt it will be and I’m terrified of the death toll. They’re predicting up to nine feet of storm surge in some areas, and a lot of humans and animals had no way to evacuate. I chatted with Floridians at work all night tonight, wanting to know if their home security systems were still up, and had to tell a lot of them that it looks like their homes don’t even have power anymore, let alone internet so they can view their camera feeds from the shelter.

Summer reading list

May 22nd, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Reading | Sci-fi | Spiritual - (0 Comments)

In which I’m not Bill Gates, but I have a book list, too!

I’ve finally started Cloud Atlas. I bought it months and months ago and it’s just been sitting five screens deep on my Kindle Paperwhite:

It is absolutely goddamned brilliant. No question.

A Calamitous Chinese Killing is still in the pile. Inspector Singh is adorable, as ever. I’m about halfway through:

The Dark Monk is next. I bought it because the book’s design looked cool. The cover is black and gold, and the pages are torn. It’s translated, so hopefully it’ll be a good read, as sometimes translations can be a little flat:

Contact, by Carl Sagan, because I really like the movie and I’ve never read the book:

Still reading my abridged 1970 copy of Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna with the gilded ink on the spine and cover and the ribbon bookmark. Might be reading it again, actually; I really don’t know if I’ve ever finished it, as I frequently set it down for months then just open it at random:

The Outpost, by Mike Resnick. Came part of a sci-fi humble bundle that remains, to date, mostly un-read:

The Shelf Life of Happiness. May not finish this one, depends on how it unwinds:

The Heretics of De’Ath:

The Sheep Look Up, because it was a Nebula finalist:

A Gitanjali re-read. I bought a physical copy because it’s so beautiful and maybe the power will go out or something and I’ll need something that’s not electronic to read:

There’s more unread stuff on my Paperwhite and on paper both, but these are the titles I care about now. My reading habits have become so erratic in the past couple of years that we’ll see how many of these I actually finish, and how many non-listed books I’ll read instead.

What’s on your summer reading list? Anything I’d like?

Universal basic income

December 8th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Introspection | Reading | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I ponder the cuddle-the-baby or ignore-him-when-he-cries approaches.

I’ve been reading a lot about Universal Basic Income lately.

What is it? Well, the basic idea is that everybody gets enough income to keep them just out of poverty even if they never do anything at all.

In the U.S., it would be the equivalent of about $1,000 per month.

Everybody. No matter what. If you’re wealthy, you’d probably just shove it in your IRA or something; if you’re not, it would keep you sheltered and fed and off the streets and off welfare. It would put a lot of social services out of business. Homelessness would plummet, for instance.

Would people “abuse” it?

Well, let’s consider abuse:

Is deciding you don’t want to work abuse? I don’t want to work. Working sucks! With the exception of a couple of jobs that stimulated me and were interesting for awhile, I generally have never enjoyed work. Nobody truly likes going to the same place every day and doing the same meaningless shit over and over (especially not while being abused by the public). Most humans do not enjoy pretending to be total twats for money, just to align with the inhumane dictates of some company that doesn’t give a shit whether you live or die and which will fire you at the drop of a hat no matter how faithfully you perform/conform.

Is using that money to buy drink or drugs abuse? Well, if you’re addicted, you’re going to get those substances anyway. With basic income, you’d get them with your own money rather than other people’s. Probably a measurable reduction in theft. If you’re not addicted, you might party for awhile, sure, but that sort of life is pretty boring, so eventually you’d stop and look around for something fulfilling.

Many people object to the idea of giving everybody money because they think it would encourage laziness and slovenliness, but I think those objections reflect the objector’s personality more than anything else. Just because you’d drop out and let your place go to shit if you got free money doesn’t mean everybody else would.

And I think a lot of people would drop out, briefly, especially those in the bottom classes, and let the pizza boxes pile up. Daytime TV ratings might explode for awhile, sure. But so what? Eventually, people who are not disabled physically or mentally will get up and go do something. It’s human nature. And with basic income, that thing wouldn’t have to be degrading jobs at fast food restaurants or big box stores. That thing could be going back to CC to get qualified to work in a nice restaurant’s kitchen, or learning how to finally write that novel, or volunteering full-time to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. With universal income, if your circs sucked, you’d be free to reject them, leave, begin again elsewhere. You could find your correct place in society, eventually.

People in good, satisfying jobs would probably stay put. But people in shitty, demeaning jobs would probably migrate out of them, forcing employers to retool those jobs to be less shitty and demeaning in order to attract workers. Right now, and for the last thirty years, it’s been an employer’s market. They’ve lowered wages and worsened scheduling, benefits, and other work parameters to the point where most jobs below a certain level are really, really awful. I know this because I’ve worked them; if you haven’t, you can shut the fuck up. “Random scheduling” doesn’t sound that bad until you’ve done it for a year. Closing at eleven followed by opening at six followed by no schedule certainty for years on end will exhaust you: physically, mentally, emotionally. It’s bullshit, because it serves no purpose. We’re not at war; we’re not fighting for our lives and our way of life, we’re just making the rich richer. This is not sacrifice-worthy, noble employment. It’s theft.

Ignore-him-when-he-cries people think that by ignoring requests for attention, we’ll raise strong, self-dependent kids.

Cuddle-the-baby people think that by answering every need, we’ll raise confident, self-assured, unafraid children.

Obviously both approaches can fail and create selfish, self-serving monsters. Both approaches are imperfect, because they choose law over what’s actually on the ground.

I say the law was never meant to presuppose every possible nuance; you have a brain for that. React appropriately in the moment. And in the moment, machines are taking jobs, and a lot of industries are dying. Considering the lay of the land, it’s not possible to bring back all those dead manufacturing jobs. Not to mention that so many of the jobs that are left are poor quality and don’t pay shit. (If you’re working full time and still on welfare, something’s very wrong.)

It’s not like we don’t already have the wealth needed; if everybody had income, no matter what, we’d have a much healthier economy.

I believe that the more I learn about it, the more I’m very much in favor of UBI.

In which I’m ranting about “rape culture” yet again.

Rape culture doesn’t exist.

No matter how many articles you see about it, it still doesn’t exist. There was a national hysteria in the 80’s about an underground ring of satanic day care centers, where American children were being sodomized by the thousands. That didn’t exist either.

Back then the battle cry was, “We believe the children!” because only an asshole wouldn’t protect children. Now we “believe” the women, but the boogey man is equally unreal.

If you go look up the study that the 1-in-5 allegation was based on, you’ll find that even THE STUDY’S AUTHORS THEMSELVES say that it was never meant to be used this way. Not to mention that the methodology was ridiculous and biased, and basically all of the sexual contact reported was counted as rape or assault whether the respondant thought so herself or not.

Do you really think that all sexual contact is rape or assault? Really?

Seriously, gentlemen, just stop and THINK ABOUT IT for a minute. If 20% of women were getting raped, you wouldn’t be online right now. You’d be out with a baseball bat fighting men off of your mothers and sisters and daughters in the very streets. After all, it takes a long time to rape 31,400,000 women.

Rape culture was manufactured. Probably by college feminists for their own grant-generating agenda. Who knows. I don’t know, but I do know it’s a massive goddamned waste of time and attention.

guide

The snake analogy is utterly ridiculous and lacks intellectual rigor on every conceivable level. Snakes are animals, and they behave instinctively. Men are humans and have brains that are orders of magnitude more complicated than snakes’ brains. The snake analogy is straight-up sexism because if I can judge all men by their dicks, I can judge all blacks by their melanin, and all idiots by their IQs.

Men have become so soft now that they just accept brutal sexism — from one of their own! — without even a whimper. (There are few things more incorrect-seeming than the self-loathing modern male feminist.)

Feminism is now making men hate themselves for their masculinity. HOW IS THIS A BEAUTIFUL, RIGHTEOUS SOCIAL MOVEMENT?! It’s fucking not. It’s a disaster. It’s hateful, it’s ugly, it’s whiny, and it’s childish. There’s no academic rigor; it’s just a bunch of complaining about being rich and Western and how awful it is when you’re and public and men look at you. These women honestly believe that the world owes them perfect comfort and perfect safety, and that their feelings of discomfort are exactly like what Malala went through.

And the duh moment: the idea that men should police their own sex, particularly in the protection of women, has existed as long as men have existed! (See: nearly everything men have ever done, ever.)

Why are we letting idiots write articles? (Yeah, yeah, it’s HuffPo. They’ll let anybody post anything.)

As a woman, I think mens’ desire to help and protect women would be better served if it were based on facts and evidence rather than hysterical press. I also wish that they’d hold both themselves and women to a higher standard of truth.

This ‘rape culture’ hysteria distracts from real issues, like the fact that ISIL just burned a bunch of sex slaves to death in public. Let me say that again: they took a group of women and lit them on motherfucking fire and burned them until they were dead. THAT is a women’s issue. THAT is where our attention should be. THAT is what feminism should be working on, not making boys ashamed of their sex.

White chicks “feeling uncomfortable” when men look at them, or walk past them, or speak? IS FUCKING NONSENSE. White chicks are the safest, most educated, freest, and most privileged class IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. They — we — are not victims, and letting us tell you we are is a disservice to us all.

Rape culture is a lie. Kill it with fire.

On the cult of printed books.

April 27th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Memes | Reading | Reference | Soapbox | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which I’m kind of a dick about people trying to wean themselves off of their identification with their belongings (which is a very important stage of development, of course, but seriously, this has to be the hundredth blog post I’ve read about how deeply attached bitches are to their Harry Potter books, and I’m like, You were literally raised in the cheap portable personal electronics age, and your attachment to books, to actual paper printed books, is, compared to those who went before you and truly used books in a way you never needed to, tenuous at best, and yet here you are talking like you were a monk illuminator who just watched his whole life’s work burn to the very ground).

I love to read, but this maudlin affectation about book collecting currently infecting our group consciousness is getting silly. “I really love books!” is turning into some sort of off-kilter, past-worshiping, item-hoarding cult. We get it: you love the smell of books and the feel of a favorite volume in your hand. So does everybody else. Shut up already.

The vast majority of books you read aren’t that good, and won’t need to be read again. And reference is all online now, you don’t need encyclopedias or dictionaries or histories. You can put a thousand years of human knowledge on a single eReader, but you’ll still probably read throw-away pop fiction. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

The old fashioned library is dying, and in many ways, yes, it sucks, but let it go. Jesus. The TERRIBLE STRUGGLE you go through trying to pare down your embarrassment of stuff, to minimalize, to quit decorating with books you’ve never even read, truly verges on the absurd. You’re having crazy romantical identity feelings about a particular style of inanimate object. If you talked like this about rolls of aluminum foil, we’d tell you to see a specialist.

(I realize the analogy breaks down, because while aluminum foil is incredibly useful, it’s not potentially filled with knowledge in the same way a book is, but books aren’t dying: the format is changing. As are our lifestyles: we don’t have family seats where libraries can live for generations; we move every few years. The energy expended in moving a library of paper books that you could store on a six ounce device just for false nostalgia is wasteful. Period. And there are more books being published every day than used to be published in entire years.)

I get that it’s hard the first time, when you’re ten or eleven or so, and, because you spent all Saturday fucking off and not cleaning your room, your dad stuffs “everything that isn’t schoolwork or clothing,” meaning all your books and toys, into trash bags and throws it all out: yeah, you’re a kid, and you cry because you just lost your purple teddy bear for disobeying, and losing your beloved things is hard.

But if you’re old enough to have a book collection, you’re old enough to know that you are not your stuff, and that reading itself, that magical alchemy in which somehow an entire world fits inside you and lives there, isn’t going away, and everything in your books and papers can be digitized and stored in a smaller, lighter, more easily searchable format, and your maudlin attachment to a data format is too forced and common to really seem genuine.

books

I recently started learning how to make bread. It turns out that holding a ball of soft, living bread dough in your hand feels an awful lot like holding a book: it’s an act that belongs to everyone of us, it reaches backwards and forwards through time, it contains potential, it nourishes, and, honestly, you really have only a vague idea of how it’s going to turn out.

All of which is to say, hey, if getting rid of some treeware is truly heartbreakingly difficult for you, then you’re basically a Disney princess in terms of level of real world difficulty. Lucky you!

Grateful

July 12th, 2015 | Posted by Mush in Food | Gadgets | Life | Photography | Reading - (1 Comments)

In which it’s a lazy Sunday.

It’s so shitty outside there’s a heat warning on! Stay inside, stay hydrated, check on your neighbors, that sort of thing! Temperature in the mid-90’s with a heat index of one hundred degrees! A big-ass line of storms tonight! Large hail possible!

So I’m staying inside with the A/C on. I’m so grateful to have access to air conditioning technology. And fans, too — we have two fans running, to circulate all that conditioned air (because otherwise it just pools by the door and does no one any good at all).

I stayed up super late last night devouring part three of Seveneves. Other than the agnostic science fiction writer’s silly dream that a catastrophe survived only by scientists would somehow end religion1, it’s a really fantastic read. Being the jaded reader I am I’m loving being so absorbed in a story, since it happens so infrequently to me now.

I’d like to go look for curtains and wood glue and a few other needed household items, but I’m pretty sure leaving the apartment is a bad idea. Scott’s asleep anyway, taking a lazy Sunday afternoon nap.

I slept until two-thirty, then got up and made fried potatoes, Hollandaise, eggs, spinach, and toast for brunch. Not as good as the AMAZING Eggs Florentine at The Egg and I, but still edible. I also had a brilliant iced cardamom mocha breve with the last of the Radiance Dairy cream in it.

The bit of sky I can see under the blinds looks nice and blue, with fluffy clouds and a strong breeze ruffling the leaves, but it’s probably as damp as sweaty crotch out there. I’ve always maintained that the Midwest looks lovely all summer but feels awful.

Yesterday I installed Flickr on my phone and it worked. (It’s never worked on this phone before, and getting images off the phone and onto Flickr has been a pain in the ass since I got the phone last year.) It worked so well, in fact, it uploaded all 200 images in the phone’s gallery and now I have to delete them!

The credit union didn’t get ahold of me at the end of the week, but neither did they do so last time. I just don’t think they’re in a hurry about anything. Hopefully they’ll offer me a position next week! *fingers crossed* If they don’t, I’ll have to start looking for something else in earnest. I mean, I’ve applied for three jobs this week so as not to have too many eggs in one basket, but I’ll really need to buckle down before I run out of money.

Friday, I got my nails done because they looked awful. That evening, Scott went to a ball game (and watched Detroit lose to the Twins in the final inning) and I had the evening to myself. I drank some wine, then rode my bike down to Nicollet and ate at a Mexican restaurant.

El Nuevo Mariachi Restaurant

Then I went home and took a nap, sprawled diagonally across the entire bed, with a fan blowing on me. It was a fucking glorious Friday night.

I just looked up to see that the blue sky is gone, and is now the gunmetal grey of a thick cloud deck. The last time I checked, storms weren’t due for five more hours. Maybe it’ll get interesting out there!


1 We all want to end the bullshittery of organized religion, of course, but evolution and bureaucracy are part and parcel of human nature. Wherever there are human beings, there will be religion, because there will always be a need for jargon to describe the internal and the numinous, and there will always be weird little rule-following bureaucratic assholes making people miserable. Basically, every time a writer kills “religion” in a book, it just tells you that s/he has no idea what religion actually is beyond what it looks like on the surface.

A blog post.

November 18th, 2012 | Posted by Mush in Blurbs | Reading - (2 Comments)

In which I blog more because it’s time than because I have anything to say.

I got my hair cut and colored after work Thursday night. It’s got honey blonde highlights and medium brown lowlights and it’s been cut into layers and it feels great. I also got the shit waxed out of what had become some truly gigantic unruly eyebrows and look like a girl again. The experience cost $102 plus tip, and was worth every. single. cent. My stylist had discovered The Secret in the past year so there was some “the world is as you are” midst the gossip, which was good because it reminded me it always starts somewhere, even though to be honest The Secret is really baby tier spirituality about getting desires fulfilled more than anything else.

Then I went to Marcy’s and drank my dinner so yeah, Friday morning sucked ass, but I had fun and got to see Kimi whom I’d been missing, so: totally worth it.

I’ve been weirder and more emotional and internal than I’ve been in a loooong time. It feels like some important evolutionary phase, somehow, but I have to be honest that the mood swings are so bad they’re almost hilarious. I’d suspect perimenopause except I’m ovulating like clockwork so it’s more likely I’m just being crazy (although what with last month’s loooooong term bout of The Dread and now this… hmm. yeah. beginning of the end, probably). These unexpected bouts of, like, heartbreaking existential loneliness have been bizarre. All kinds of midlife-crisis loops playing in my head (WHERE IS MY BEAUTIFUL HOUSE etc), plus the short days and the fucking rain and overcast skies and glacier-paced days at work and, as usual, knowing basically no one my own age and, well, I can go days without even really talking to anyone that isn’t a customer. Oh, the human condition: you’re just so funny. None of this matters, except oh holy shit it fucking matters. Gah. (tl;dr The panic has passed and now I think I’m a little depressed.)

Since my last post I’ve actually managed to sleep a lot, hit up Goodwill for some jeans and tops, sign up for a yoga class, buy groceries, make Egyptian and Turkish dishes, and take a bubble bath. For someone who never does anything I’m pretty good at crossing items off of to-do lists.

The Internet crush, surprisingly, continues apace. It’s pretty cool. There may be plane tickets at some point.

I’ve now been employed again for long enough that I’m living for weekends. Damn you, 40-hour work week: damn you and your soul-killing length.

In other news, Barnes & Noble bought Fictionwise awhile back and now, of course, they’re closing it. I received an email inviting me to transfer all my Fictionwise books — many many hundreds I’ve purchased over the past 8 years or so — to a Nook account. There was no way to bulk-download my purchases, nor any easy way to download the DRM’d items in multiple formats. I’ve basically lost access to a bunch of shit I OWN because I happened to buy a Kindle instead of a Nook. Good job, the publishing industry: you suck at internet.

Joining the tablet revolution.

November 22nd, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Gadgets | Reading - (5 Comments)

In which I accidentally buy a Kindle Fire.

I did not need a new device. My Kindle 3 (the model now known as the “Kindle Keyboard”) isn’t even a year old yet, and it works just fine. After I sprung (sprang?) for the expensive but elegant and cleverly-designed OEM leather cover with the built-in light, I could even read in the dark. It’s eminently portable, wireless, holds 1500 books, and I’d hacked it to display custom screen savers. It did not need to be replaced.

It’s just that I have a job now, and therefore there was money in my account on the day my clicking finger went ahead and decided for me. And now I have the Kindle Fire!

Kindle Fire 1st gen

The Fire is a seriously great deal for two hundred bucks. The hardware is really nice for such a low price point — I hear they’re being sold at a loss (Amazon’s favorite market-cornering trick, see: the entire ebook industry). The device is fast, responsive, and has very nice screen resolution. It’s many, many times more elegant than that knock-off tablet I had briefly last year.

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What I'm Reading

September 2nd, 2010 | Posted by administratrix in Reading - (1 Comments)

In which there are books. In various formats.

I’ll start school in eighteen days (if the financial aid office at WWCC ever awards me any aid, that is) and probably won’t read much that isn’t assigned for the next nine months. That being true, I thought I’d share my current reading-for-pleasure list with you.

“Real” Books
As far as treeware goes, there’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Twenty-third Annual Collection that I haul out every once in awhile. I’m not sure if I’ve read it before or not, but I don’t remember the stories so it’s just like reading them for the first time anyway. There’s also Eternal Wisdom, Upadeshamritam Part 2. I have read this before, but it was different water then and I was a different bridge.

New Message

Ebooks
The last three items I opened on my Kindle were the October 2010 edition of Asimov’s Science Fiction (the double issue! yay! delivered wirelessly while I wasn’t even looking!), Bright Of The Sky (a loss leader Amazon.com suggested to me and which I downloaded because hey, it was free), and Free As In Freedom: Richard Stallmann’s Crusade for Free Software.

The last three ebooks I added to the Kindle were Byron in Love: A Short Daring Life, Galt’s The Life of Lord Byron, and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

I have fifteen non-fiction items on the Kindle, all free samples from Amazon, that I have not yet begun to read, and I’m on page three of Cory Doctorow’s Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future. I guess I forgot it was on there because I buried the ebook in a folder I haven’t looked into for awhile.

I bought the latest Clarkesworld Magazine a few days ago and am about to crack into that, and I’ve been reading Cryptonomicon on and off for months. It’s hilarious and brilliant, but somehow I never feel compelled to read it. (My favorite Stephenson book was Anathem; I actually finished that in a reasonable amount of time. It took me forever to read Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, and forget about The Baroque Cycle; I’ll never read those. NOTHING should require that many words to convey!)

Miscellaneous Book Facts
Total number of ebooks (including magazines and today’s NYT) on my Kindle: 79
Total number of ebooks on my iPod (in five different reader apps): 110 (a few of which are duplicated on the Kindle)
Total number of ebooks in Calibre: 304 (about a sixth of which are DRM-locked to devices I no longer have but most can be re-downloaded for the current device)
Total number of “real” books I own: 113 (most of which are cookbooks, and 6 of which are musical scores)

In which I recap my madcap, whirlwind, SUPERfun trip to the cit-ay!

By 8:30 Friday morning I was in Sheila‘s van, heading west. Her awesome daughters let me ride shotgun, which was supercool of them. The ride was lovely – watching the land change from desert to rain forest is beautiful every single time I see it – and the company was lovely.

Columbia river

I was at the Hollywood TC before one in the afternoon. I called Dave. He told me to start walking down 39th and he’d come and get me.

I can’t tell you exactly how long, but it’s been a loooooooong time since I last saw Dave. We were in the MHCC jazz program together in the late 80’s. We had beers, and his neighbor (who also happens to be his bass player) set up an ad hoc wireless network for me so I could get online.

Beers!

Adie came and picked me up after she got off work, and we went to her house, where I was attacked by terriers!. (Hah!) I put my bag in the guest room, changed my clothes, and after a bit we wandered over to Alberta for dinner at The Hilt. (Falafel! Hummus! Mojitos!)

Alberta

My friend Leila dropped in and had a little nosh with us. It was a wonderful visit. After she took off we walked home, watched some TV, and were in bed by 10:30. (more…)