Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: May, 2007

The Thursday Threesome: Pimentos in Olives

Onesome: Pimentos– in Olives? Useless decorative effect? …or something you maybe enjoy? …and is there something you can only stare at and wonder about at the snack bar?

I had to look up “pimentos”. But in the end, I have no opinion on this. I don’t like olives.

Twosome: in Olives though? Who thought of that one? No, that’s not your question; rather, what combo of things do you put together in the food arena that’s been know to strike others as a bit strange?

Can’t think of anything, really. No one has told me that what I’ve been eating is strange. (This either means that my diet is conventional and boring or no one ever notices the composition of my food.)

Threesome: Olives– on fingertips (preferably black olives!). What food do you “play” with when you’re feeling a bit silly?

I’m not the type of person who plays with food.

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Ambivalence

To be honest, I’ve been tense and stressed the past three weeks. It wasn’t because of the work load. Work load just makes me tired. No, my angst has pretty much stemmed from waiting for exam results. You know, the kind of exam results that can make or break a graduate career*. The previous year, more than half of the students taking this exam failed it. So understandably, I’ve been worried.

Well, today my advisor informed me I did favorably on the exam. Actually, he heaped a lot of praises about my unofficial score, but they all went through one ear and out the other. I guess I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. If it ever does.

*Yes, it was the qualifying exam.

The Cynic

I recently read someone gushing over how it’s empowering to go to some group meeting where everyone “gets” what they’re impassioned about. And I think: Well good for you. But no one will “get” me. Ever.

Bibliophobes and Pigeon-Holers

Mo. man burns books as act of protest. (via Jessica Burkhart) Dang it, the book geek in me wants to cry. But the thing is, I mostly agree with the last quote. It’s really sad when general obliviousness to literary poverty forces someone to use shock tactics to shove people out of complacency.

Why it was right not to buy pink shoes for my son. Hm. A dilemma. Should a mother not buy her child certain things because other children might make fun of him? Children can be cruel, but is it also right to encase your child in a protective bubble so he can never be hurt? I guess in these modern times, parents are as conservative and gender traditionalist as ever. (Somewhat off topic: I’d mentally snicker if a woman was wearing pink, let alone a man. Let’s just say I don’t particularly fancy that color.)

The Review Killers

Gloom and Doom, review-style. Every so often, I come upon these posts on various book and writing blogs from authors moaning about bad reviews and readers vowing that they never take any reviews seriously. And on top of that, there’s the declaration that anonymous reviewers are cowardly. So I guess in their view, I’m cowardly because I write under a pseudonym.

But if people don’t like reading reviews, whether they are positive or negative, what’s the point in doing a review anyway? Do readers want their reading choices be spoon-fed to them by advertisements and promotions churned out by a well-oiled PR machine? Do authors only want to hear positive lip-service?

When I write a review of a book, I write about my opinion. I don’t pretend to speak for anyone else. And at any rate, I am merely one reader among hundreds, thousands, millions of other readers. I’m pretty sure most people stumbling upon any reviews on my little corner of the web are authors googling themselves or students trying to cheat on their book reports (too bad suckers, I don’t do book analyses). But for the small percentage of people who are looking for someone who actually has read the book, perhaps an honest reaction from me might be an interesting diversion.

I’m not seeking to influence anyone’s book reading habits. So it’s perplexing that someone can get so riled up about an opinion and then spread their annoyance to every other opinion. While people have the freedom to not read reviews, I have the freedom to express my opinion on whether or not I liked a book. I’m not going to pander to anyone by deliberately writing glowing drivel or disgruntled snark.

The Thursday Threesome: Somewhere, beyond the Sea…

Onesome: Somewhere–, anywhere? Vacation season is just ahead (sooner than later for some depending on school schedules); do you have any plans mapped out yet?

I’m not taking any vacations.

Twosome: beyond this week? How far ahead do you plan for your days off? …or do they just show up and you enjoy whatever happens?

It depends. But I enjoy not planning.

Threesome: the Sea– Does that sound like the trip for you? Somewhere beyond the sea to an island for a week or two or twenty?

Did you steal my screenplay idea for Script Frenzy?

Science-y Goodness

Go read Tangled Bank #80 over at The Geek Counterpoint. Lots of interesting linkage.

A Piece of Rare Commentary on Local News

I should probably say something about the recent shootings in Moscow. On the heels of a student murder less than two months ago, everything just seems a little surreal. As if this little, rather bucolic town had been plopped straight into some sort of Hollywood horror movie. Earlier that day (a gorgeous Saturday), I had gone downtown to do some errands–and I saw a huge gaggle of children out on a field trip with their adult guardians. At the time, I certainly didn’t think that that evening, someone would start raining bullets at that very spot.

Another student mused if this would scare parents–that they would start pulling their kids from attending the coming year. I don’t know. I wouldn’t fault a non-resident from thinking that perhaps this place is a hotbed for homicidal maniacs. Violence scares people. But is it really different from any other place? Bad things happen everywhere.

The Hyde of Humanity

After seeing Naqoyqatsi yesterday, I read this essay by Joss Whedon today where he rants about the violence and exploitation of women–part of it due to twisted uses of technology. I think it’s very easy to fall into this depressive rut of believing that science and technology will drag us into an apocalyptic future where only the trivial and the destructive hold sway. But there is nothing inherently evil or good about technology–it only has duality because we are the ones wielding it.

Is It Just Me?

I was flipping through a book of photographs called The Faces of Fantasy at one of the local used bookstores this morning, and one thing struck me. The title is entirely deceptive. Most of the people photographed in the volume are old white people. Surely the fantasy genre isn’t this monolithic?

Addendum: To clarify, the people who weren’t old and white were young and white. Relatively speaking anyway–if you consider someone like Neil Gaiman young. Gaiman is old enough to have kids around my age.