Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: July, 2007


There’s this book meme about villains that I was planning to answer, but I couldn’t think of any and my brain’s filled with lab stuff (whee! another sleepless two days!). So I guess I’ll pass this week.

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The Thursday Threesome: Lettuce and tomato

Onesome: ‘Lettuce’– talk of salads and dressings: Is plain green your thing? …or do you like ‘stuff’ mixed in or scattered over the top? …and how about the dressing: what’s leading your list this year?

What do you mean, “stuff”? A salad isn’t a salad unless it has other things in it–otherwise, it’s just greens. I like tomatoes, onions, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, cucumbers and radishes. Croutons, however, aren’t exactly my thing. As for the dressing, I’m fine as long as it’s not blue cheese.

Twosome: and– how about those Mets, -eh? Actually, baseball’s doing okay this week, with basketball, football and cycling having the problems. Is there any sports news you’d care to comment on?


Threesome: tomato– and lettuce: the perfect toppings for that hamburger someone will cook up for you at a Labor Day picnic in another month or so? …or perhaps you have another set of condiments you like on your meat or tofu?

What about pickles?

For Aesthetic Purposes Only

“Fake” Books: Foul or fair? I actually don’t really mind if some people only purchase books for show because I view other people’s bookshelves like I view shelves filled with antique baubles–it’s their collection and I won’t talk about it unless they bring up the subject first. However, I will say that I would have more respect for a person if they’ve read at least some of the books in their personal library.

Then again, why don’t people build personal libraries the other way around? I’ve pretty much left my bookshelves to be filled into a scary heap* before I got another bookshelf, um, yesterday.

*There’s just something about scary heaps of books that speaks more to the bibliophile in me rather than the perfectly polished shelves of some frou-frou upper-middle class book connoisseur. Well, as long as it’s not a fire hazard.


Booking Through Thursday: Just Wild About Harry

1. Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it


2. If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?

I just want to say something about midnight parties: I would not go to one even if I were crazy/fanatical about the book. I lose enough sleep over my research as it is.

3. If you’re not going to read it, why not?

See the first paragraph of this recent post.

4. And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to?

Do I look like I care?

(Perhaps I sound callous, but it’s true. I don’t hate Harry Potter, I’m just not interested in the book.)

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The Thursday Threesome: I love this Book

Onesome: I love– to hear about new music; do you have any new favorites for us this week?

Nope. Not listening to anything new. Not listening to anything at all, really.

Twosome: this– is way past the half way point of Summer; how are vacation and other plans working out for you? Here’s hoping you’re doing well!

People say summer should be relaxing, but I’ve been feeling stressed lately. Not without good reason, though.

Threesome: Book– query: Whatcha’ readin’ this week? No, not “The Harry”! Arrgh! …okay, if that’s a big thing, sure.

I’m reading an ARC about Maurice Hilleman.

Lookee Here

Go and read some excellent science blogging compiled at Tangled Bank #84 by The Voltage Gate.

I’m going to read that stuff later–need to recover from my latest stint of about two days worth of no sleep. (Because of science, of course. Science doesn’t believe in sleep.)

Ponderings on a Hot Summer Evening

The last book of a Certain Series is coming out and I feel nothing. I love books. I love the genre. And there’s tons of hype. But something doesn’t connect. It hasn’t connected since I read the first book and decided it wasn’t for me. I don’t feel like I should read this series because everyone else is. Why should I follow the herd?

Yet, I find myself reading an article by Stephen King. On the surface, it might look like an ode to a Certain Series, but I think he has well articulated a universal truth about any kind of beloved book. Once the story ends, there’s a sort of depression that descends upon the reader, even if there is a happy ending. It’s THE END. The magic, as they say, is gone. There have been very few books that have elicited this sort of reaction from me, but when I do have it I know that I have a book worth keeping and recommending. Also, King reminds us:

There are always more good stories, and now and then there are great stories. They come along if you wait for them. And here’s something I believe in my heart: No story can be great without closure. There must be closure, because it’s the human condition.

There’s a lesson there somewhere. We can’t dwell on one story–there are other stories out there. But I wouldn’t literally wait for them. I’d immediately pick something else to read. And even if the next story is a dud, at least it’ll help me appreciate a good story more when I do come across one.

On the Other Hand

The previous post reminds me of someone I knew who used the word “smaller” instead of “shorter” to someone else and got royally chewed out for it. It’s really a shame that we can’t know other people’s irrational pet peeves until we accidentally stumble upon them.

Still Sort of Irked

Sometimes I read something that gets me really mad. The kind of mad that might make me say things I would regret later. But I’ve always managed to hold back, to not post/comment on anything. Because worse than causing a flame war or being accused of as a troll, it’s going to stay on the internet forever even if it’s deleted later. And someone important in my personal or professional life is going to see it if they’re feeling particularly nosy and have access to a search engine (with caching abilities).


Booking Through Thursday: Celluloid

1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?

Perhaps Lord of the Rings, comparing the books to the movies directed by Peter Jackson. Maybe followed by Schindler’s List and The Princess Bride.

2. The worst?

The first that came to mind was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Take the movie alone, and it’s fine. But compare it to the book and the movie’s ending totally screws up Capote’s message.

3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference?

In most (maybe all?) cases, it did not make a difference (Examples, again: Lord of the Rings, Schindler’s List.) I try not to read the books or watch the movies with the same mindset because going through a film being nitpicky is a waste of two hours.

Of course, these questions have me pondering movie novelizations, i.e. books-from-movies rather than movies-from-books. Personally, I avoid movie novelizations like the plague. Exactly who reads them anyway?

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The Thursday Threesome: The Food Channel

Onesome: The– Food Channel: Yummy Goodness or Food Pr0N? Who do you like to watch (or love to hate)?

I do not have a TV so I can’t watch anything. But I suppose shows about food and cooking are probably some of the few things I would watch if I had one.

Twosome: Food– in the Summer? Cooking in the kitchen? Any tips to beat the heat for those in the gang literally baking in the heat?

Cook as little as possible. Eat food that can be taken straight out of the refrigerator.

Threesome: Channel– some coolness our way: what is your favorite Summertime beverage (yes, mixed drinks work too…).


Peculiar Type #14 – Run Away

Ah, an opportunity to finally get out of the house.

Madeline jogged down an oak-lined avenue in an anonymous subdivision on a mild summer day. She had taken care to wear her striped workout shorts and matching tank. She had the water bottle, the fanny pack, the hip running shoes, the iPod. She wore a black baseball cap with a curved brim to shield her eyes from the casual onlooker. She looked like an annoying fitness fanatic. Everyone was supposed to ignore her.

“That’s her!”

“Wait up!”

She did not turn around. She kept her pace. But that did not keep her heart from pounding or the sweat from trickling down her temples. Oh, if only her water bottle had pepper spray. Soles pounded on the sidewalk behind her. At least they were not following her in a van. Madeline turned on the next corner, saw an open doorway, and made a split-second decision.

Air-conditioning enveloped her like a chilly blanket. She wiped the sides of her face with her arms and sucked in a breath. Outside, she could hear the hurrying footsteps pass the doorway. In another moment, her fingers would start trembling, but she took the time to peer at the shop she had ducked into.

Computers and monitors sat on a display counter close to the front window. The rest of the floor was taken up by racks of cables and extension cords, batteries and printer cartridges. Shelves of packaged electronic hardware, software, accessories lined the walls. At the cashier’s counter, a man with dark, spiky hair and horn-rimmed glasses worked on the innards of a desktop computer without its casing. He removed a part, put it on the counter, and then finally looked up at her.

“May I help you?”

A variety of responses ran through her head. Could she use his phone to call 9-1-1? Did he have a closet where she could hide in? Or a costume that she could don? She just shook her head.

And Stuff

How much do we read? (originally left as a comment) I’d guess the current media and short attention spans have something to do with it. I mean, just look at the statistic on TV watching. I would also guess that after work, people feel too tired to attempt reading–they’d rather have some passive entertainment instead. Perhaps our workaholic culture has some of the blame–other grad students claim that they don’t have time to read which sort of makes me feel bad for ever having my nose buried in a book. (Just chain me to the lab bench, will ya?)

Mortal Engines. Must. Find. Copy. I am a total sucker for steampunk. And the premise! If cities really could eat other cities, which would be the predators? New York? Or what if small towns teamed up to take down a big one…

The Self-Mummified Monks of Japan. Ultimate act of self-denial? More like self-torture.

The 20 Blogging Commandments. (via Modulator) Is it blasphemy if I don’t do #9? I mean, I don’t delibrately go to other people’s blogs and write comments just so they will visit mine. I don’t expect people to visit my blog. I comment rarely and do so only when I have something to say.

All I want from science fiction. Hm. Obviously, people read sci-fi for different reasons. Me? I read more for the story than the gee-whiz factor. And if it makes other people more interested in science, well, that’s a nice side benefit.

Transformers: Sexism in Disguise. It’s an interesting interpretation considering how a lot of girl geeks are gushing about this online. Except I just want to point out–you’re expecting too much from Hollywood. Despite the liberal lip service one hears from celebrities, films are mostly made with tunnel vision. (Of course, another problem pops up–how could one go about eliminating this tunnel vision? Maybe people with wider horizons should go into the film industry. I doubt the current crop of moviemakers could be persuaded–their profits effectively insulate them from criticism.)