Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mini Book Review: Horns

Joe Hill is, right now, writing better books than his dad. Although that's partially because his dad is 1) rewriting books he wrote 20 years ago, with minor variations and technological updates, and 2) churning out thinly veiled autobiography mixed with the weird. I strongly recommend Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts, and to that now add a rec for Horns. There was one thing that would have made me like this book more* was for the hot girl to have not had rationale for her action that we find out toward the end. It would have been a much more interesting book if Ig was avenging the death of the woman he loved even though [QUASI-SPOILER] she dumped him to screw other people. And of course he appears to be doing so, for much of the book. But Hill flinches at the end so we can have a less ambiguous conclusion.

I don't want to say much more, because of late I have been discovering the pleasure of reading books with little foreknowledge of their contents. But imagine Gregor Samsa crossed with Charles Bronson, plus the devil.

*Okay, one thing besides the now-recurring trope of "ne'er-do-well dude avenges murder of hot young girlfriend by hypercompetent sociopath" which, Joe, women read your books too, you know?

First World Problem

Anyone know how to unhide the status indicators on a Kindle 2? I somehow hid my battery level indicator and cannot get it back.

ETA: Never mind.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Random Roundup

- Jonah Hill is seriously creepy. I find him physically unsettling to watch.

- Star Wars lives on the micro scale?: Anti-mosquito laser.

- Get me a goat!

- The case for older women. With special bonus charts inspiring one to ask "WTF is wrong with East Texas?!?"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why how dare you, sir? *WHAMMO*

Is this just the flip side of the hoary old gag about real-life men being shocked to have their romantic-comedy-style grand gestures perceived as creepy rather than charming? If a crazy woman scorned sets fire to her man's stuff and administers dramatic slaps and such, she is at this point probably evoking a role rather than genuinely and spontaneously motivated toward the set of behaviors.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Phoebe, you're with me, right?

If they establish a consumption tax with exemptions for children's clothing, the wee ladies of the world will be sitting (comparatively) pretty.

Then again, I, being self-interested, have always thought that smaller clothes should cost less.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Courteous lies about your fat seatmate

Regardless of what the optimal policy is for dealing with tall* and/or fat people on planes, I would think that fat people, who are by their accounts embarrassed by policies that question their ability to fit into a seat, would understand that the mere word of your seatmates is not determinative of whether you are encroaching on others' space, as with Kevin Smith's recent Southwest flight:
"The people around you said they had to lean over to make room for you," Linda offered.
"Linda, they didn't! The older lady was leaning against the window like she was gonna nap, and the lady to my left was already leaning toward the aisle." …
"The report we received said the ladies were leaning away from you."
"They were already leaning when I sat down! They didn't lean because of me! I even asked them both if I was a problem."
Surely it's embarrassing, and by some lights rude, to be honest in these situations. If you're a smaller woman sitting by a very large man, would you really be likely to say "Yes, you're making me very uncomfortable" or "This is a problem, one of us needs to be reseated"? No, you'd probably be self-effacing, deny that he's bothering you, and lean away. But leaning toward the aisle is not a workable solution, unless you enjoy being walloped by drink carts and passersby. And in the brave new world of no free pillows, leaning against the window is also non-optimal (and sometimes cold!).

I've seen some people point out that men are more likely to be "customers of size" but have not seen anyone make the obvious corollary that women are more likely to be subjected to unwanted physical touching by said customers.

* Tall people who want maximum and unchanging legroom should sit in the rows behind the exit row, which often cannot be reclined. The convexity of the contoured headrest hits short little me right in the back of the head, so I recline and slouch to not have to sit with my neck permanently at an angle. Also, because I paid for a seat that reclines and has armrests to separate me from other people.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And Zach Galifianakis is not funny.

A new film from the guys who brought you "The Hangover."

Xaliscan Heroin

The LA Times has a weirdly glowing series on a new business model for heroin that combines superior customer service, including delivery, high-potency product, no armed street dealers, and low prices (which may reduce addicts' thieving to support their habit). By the news account, entrepreneurial dealers arise organically from within existing networks and spins off peacefully as competitors. In Xalisco, where the heroin is manufactured and the distributors originate, the success of local farmers has made society more egalitarian. The segment on overdoses contrasts oddly with the rest of the series. Perhaps the next frontier in customer service is customer education?

via Marginal Revolution

Monday, February 15, 2010

This has been making the rounds

Only really effective if you saw the original Super Bowl commercial.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Books for sand and water

Any recs for beach reading? I have Bertrand Russell for my Ziplocked Kindle and possibly 2666, which I will test a bit before leaving. I was thinking of this, the sequel to this terrific and compelling collection of freshly imagined fairy tales, and possibly my backlog of philosophy books. Any alternative suggestions?

New-dog smell

Got to play with a puppy last night. Life is grand. And tonight was the best dinner ever!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Woooork's out ... for ... winter!

If you work for the government, at least.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Random Roundup

- Karaoke rage

- The absolute last article you ever need to read on this topic

- It's not fun to hate Taylor Swift, but do it anyway.

What kind of car does Dexter drive?

Metafilter talks Super Bowl ads:
One of these days there's going to be a Bud Light or Dodge Charger ad that is so fucking similar to A Handmaid's Tale that we won't be able to tell if it was done ironically or not. Wait in Republic of Gilead there's cool, refreshing Bud Light served out of vending machines? You use a Nokia phone to report women who are fertile but do not register? Two guys kissing get horrifically beaten and then a place card that says "Don't be a Gender Traitor: Eat Snickers" ? A man talking opening a bag of Doritos and suddenly he's in a room of Jezebels and a voice over that says, "Eat Doritos. Unleash your Commander" ? You'll just be sitting there, staring at your hands wondering if you saw the greatest social commentary ever, or the desperate ploy of a coked up ad agency given way too much money. We might never know.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What's dat?

So there's some kind of game today?

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Metro running underground only tomorrow. How long does it take to clear the above-ground tracks? They're going to have to do it for Monday anyway and it's not snowing anymore.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

My outrage filter is broken.

I really don't see the harm in doctors using tissue samples that would have otherwise been thrown away for research purposes. Nobody's violating your bodily integrity by doing so. It's not part of your body anymore. The fact that people don't grasp this is what's messed up:
"Deborah [Henrietta's daughter] never knew her mother.... She had always wanted to know who her mother was but no one ever talked about Henrietta. So when Deborah found out that this part of her mother was still alive she became desperate to understand what that meant: Did it hurt her mother when scientists injected her cells with viruses and toxins? Had scientists cloned her mother? And could those cells help scientists tell her about her mother, like what her favorite color was and if she liked to dance."
The only thing I am outraged about is that this woman's family got such a poor science education. And that has nothing to do with the general ethical status of requiring informed consent for research on tissue samples that would otherwise have been discarded.

The comparisons to giving unconscious women pelvic exams and implanting undisclosed experimental devices in patients are completely off base. And the question of patenting cell lines differs from the question of whether one should be allowed to profit off another person's cells, when those cells were valueless trash in their raw state.

Useful for online daters

How to stereotype people by their favorite author