April 17th, 2007

criminal minds hotch somewhat incongruou

Book Report #31: Tricia Sullivan, Maul

This was the only possible icon for this book report.

Hey, did I mention that I can read faster with my new contacts? Apparently I had gotten to 20/80 (corrected) in my non-dominant eye. Seems to, er, make a difference to be back at 20/20.

Maul is something else again. A jumble of two distinct plotlines--one involving the interactions of two gunslinging packs of teenaged girls in a Mall like any Mall (I am amused that triciasullivan apparently uses the same spelling that I do: in my family, we refer to the process of journeying to a maul as "getting mauled," in point of fact), and one taking place in a futuristic bio-research station cum "Fun Park" in a hellish consumerist society in which women desperate to have children compete for the sperm of the few remaining males--Maul is as much farce as fantasy. It's a very black farce, concerned with, among other things, consumerism, teenage and adult pecking orders and how they are not all that different, backstabbing feminine social hierarchies (I have worked with women like the women in this book, and always found them to be kind of like space aliens. The book has not changed my opinion of them.), bizarre games of social status and posturing, and hypermasculine men who are pretty good examples of the variety of men I find to be like space aliens. (Actually, space aliens are a bad metaphor. Space aliens are interesting. And it's not that this kind of behavior is incomprehensible so much as boring.)

I figured out the plot twist a very few chapters in, I'm afraid, But I'm, er, jaded.

It was a bit of a jumble in places, and I pretty much hated everybody in the book with the exception of Meniscus, who (intentionally) doesn't have enough personality to be unlikable. However, I didn't much mind hating everybody, because the book is fast-paced, bitterly--brutally--funny, aptly observed, thematically complex, and ambitious. It's also heavily morally ambiguous, though the ambiguity is quite understated.

spies mfu facepalm napoleon

periods of rain today, highs in the mid-forties

Cat V. Monkey: Electric Boogaloo

: Monkey. What are you doing?
Monkey: Working.
Cat: Monkey, but I'm hungry.
Monkey: There's food in your bowl.
Cat: But I don't like that food. I want better food.
Monkey: When you eat this food, you will get other food. Which will be pretty much the same food as this food, really.
Cat: But Monkey, what are you doing?
Monkey: Making coffee. Then working.
Cat: But I'm hungry!
Monkey: You don't drink coffee.
Cat: I could push your cup off the arm of your chair.
Monkey: I could put your head in my mouth.
Cat: I could knock your laptop off the table.
Monkey: You could spend the morning in your cat carrier, too.
Monkey: *flicks water on the cat*
Cat: ...
Monkey: *works*
Cat: *walks across laptop, typing random characters*
Monkey: *removes cat*
Cat: *walks across laptop, typing random characters*
Monkey: *scruffs cat*
Cat: !
Monkey: We can do this easy, or we can do this hard.
Cat: !!
Monkey: *releases cat*
Cat: *sulks*
Cat: No ham?
Monkey: *works*
Cat: Monkey, I'm hungry.
Monkey: *flexes fingers*
Cat: *sits on the back of the chair, Ignoring The Monkey, occasionally flicking her tail across the monkey's neck.*
Monkey: *drinks coffee*
Cat: Oh, look, the sparrows are back.

bear by san

Viable Paradise

The little writing workshop on Martha's Vinyard with the funny name is still accepting applicants for the class of 2007, and will be until June 15.

It's a one-week intensive course, and I am among the instructors this year. As are (deep breath) Cory Doctorow, Debra Doyle, Steven Gould, James D. Macdonald, Laura J. Mixon, and Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

Here's what you need to know to apply.

I understand there are glow in the dark jellyfish. You know you wanna.

(Come on, I'm going to be sharing an apartment with Cory. That's gotta be a con legend in the making right there.)
bear by san

I'll go down by Clyde and I'll mourn and weep

1215 words on "Black is the Color" this morning, and I think I might finish it tomorrow, because I could have kept writing and I know how it ends. But in keeping with the new policy of at least intermittent sanity, we're not doing that today, are we?


We're not.

321.7 miles to Rivendell.
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criminal minds reid mathematics

In other news, I am a stubborn broad.

So, today's math lesson was extracting square roots by hand. And I was finding it exceedingly frustrating, because I kept getting several of the sample problems wrong, and I could not for the love of little green apples figure out what I was doing wrong. Nor could I figure out what I was doing different in the ones I was getting wrong as opposed to the ones I was getting right.

Well, it turns out, two hours of cursing followed by two hours of internet research later, that I wasn't doing anything wrong. The bloody math book just cleverly salted in a few problems with special case solutions, and then never bothered to explain how to work them.


Anyway, I got the right answers this time.**


I am quite pleased with myself, although it took hours of frustration to get here.*

*for those of you joining us in progress, yes, I am studying math that most normal people learn in junior high.
I am studying it because I am not good at it.

**Even though the web page that explained how to work the special-case solutions is written by somebody who is not a native English speaker, and his sample problems are wrong.

The difference between me at fourteen and me at thirty-five is that me at thirty-five knows how to learn things, which me at fourteen had not yet learned.
And me at thirty-five has that mighty tool, the internets.
And is slightly more stubborn than your average ox.

bear by san

there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the shore

noted for future reference: the Carl of Carlisle gave Sir Kay a blood-red horse.

You know, I always liked Kay best.

'The thirden court that comes you bye,
     Sae weel's ye will me ken,
For I 'll be on a bluid-red steed,
     Wi three stars on his crown.

And that horse of Tam Lin's was blood-red before she grew milk-white, you know. Maybe a gift of a blood-red steed is a coded message to go to Hell.
bear by san

Book Report #32: Ronald W. Keyes and John Money, The Armed Robbery Orgasm: a long subtitle

Fruits of the used book store, and boy am I glad.

Money's the guy who formalized the concept of the "lovemap" and its programming development period (say, between the ages of about five and eight years old) as an explanation for how adult sexuality and affectionate bonds manifest. So I had hopes that this, despite its title, might have something interesting in it.

It's more like the unholy love child of alt.sex.stories and Men are from Mars. The primary author is a convicted armed robber whose defense was, essentially, his dominatrix made him do it. Throughout the book he alternates elaborate self-justifications with elaborate sexual fantasies, sprinkled with buzzwords borrowed from Dr. Money. Also, apparently, whatever else goes on in prison, they do let you have a thesaurus there.

But possibly not a dictionary. And definitely no copyeditors. And I haven't seen this heavyhanded a use of alliteration since last I cracked Beowulf.

As insight into a particular kind of criminal personality and its self-justifications, ego defense mechanisms, and tricks for avoiding culpability... it's fascinating. As literature or psychology... well, I offer the following sentence as an example of what you might find herein: Deeply into Connie's vaginal vise I sunk my protruding penis.

And on that note, children, I think it's time for bed.