Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: July, 2007


Who’s chattier, men or women? (Also, check out the summary of the Science paper.) I think I’ve got everyone beat. Everyone I know remarks at some time or another about how quiet I am. If I thought I could get away with it, I could probably go for days without speaking with anyone (including myself). Then again, one could point out that I’ve pretty much channeled my quota for wordiness into my writing instead.

Weddings: Are You Obsessed? So it’s the summer. Lots of people are getting married. Parents of the couple, of course, are always grumbling, “We could have just given you money and you could have eloped instead.” I’d prefer practicality as well–just go to the courthouse, get your license, and there you go, you’re done. For those of you who think I’m off my rocker for saying that weddings are stupid, here is my rationale: weddings are an elaborate yet outmoded ritual centered on a simple transaction–the transfer of property. What sort of property? The bride. And even if you argue that all the patriarchal connotations have been erased from modern weddings, there’s still the waste of money involved. When you become more concerned about the details of the event rather than the fact that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone, you’ve lost sight of your relationship and the big picture. Then, a wedding becomes nothing but a shallow ruse to show off one’s perceived wealth, privilege, and status.

Sexy specs. Um, I don’t have guys lining up my front door. But then again, if I switched to contacts and guys started hitting on me, I wouldn’t be exactly pleased either. This would only tell me that men are shallow idiots.

The hills are alive with the sound of lyrics. It depends on the song. I prefer listening to lyric-less music (classical, soundtracks, electronic), but if there are lyrics I find that even though they can distract me from doing another word-centric task, I have to consciously force myself to pay attention.

Pack Day. Ah, Chinese mothers and their penchant for nagging their children. My mom would probably not say that stuff about the ice cream certificate (since she wouldn’t be shelling out money), but she would start lecturing me on eating my fruits and vegetables. And as for San Francisco, she wouldn’t say it’s cold since she’s lived in far colder places (like, um, Quebec in the dead of winter and the power’s out?), but she would say SO WINDY!! and drag me off to the nearest clothing store to get windbreakers.

Theme? What Theme?

(some of these links are cross-posted at Blog Sisters)

10 Strangest Weapons through History. But they, er, worked didn’t they? I don’t know about the dolphins, though.

Chick Lit Is Never a Compliment. This can be even more broad: if a critic labels a book “genre”, it’s not a compliment. But who cares what critics think? Most of them are just the vanguard of the hoity-toity.

Al Gore’s Future Son-in-Law. If Gore’s daughter marrying an Asian American is making the journalist think that he’s not running for president, this is a pretty strong indication that the journalist and/or his perception of the public is still biased against interracial marriages. (Although Angry Asian Man does make a good point as well–why even mention the guy’s ethnicity?)

When does looking become a leer? I have no idea since I have no experience with this. I’m not the sort of girl anyone would give a second glance at. Well, I take that back. Some people watch me like a hawk because they think I’m going to steal something from their store shelves.

Whatever Happened to the Class of ’87? I checked the “famous students” from my high school and all I found was a country music singer who is still attending said school and a football player who might be picked for this year’s NFL draft. Ugh.

Keep your opinions outta my boobs! Whatever, dude. Sure, people are free to make choices. If a woman wants implants, fine, she can do what she likes with her body. But one must consider the context of those choices. What if we were all raised in a culture that disdains the focus on physical appearance? Then nobody would be getting plastic surgery except under medical duress.

Harm in reading romance novels? (via Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels) A more pertinent question: have these columnists even read a romance novel? (This reminds me of the case where people banned a book without even reading it. Part 1 | Part 2) I think what these people are really arguing about is less about romance novels and more about whether or not it’s appropriate for women to even think about sex. And in the end, the argument probably says more about the columnists’ hangups than convincing anybody that genre books rot people’s brains.

Go Read Some Science!

Yep, over at Aardvarchaeology is the latest edition: Tangled Bank #83.


Booking Through Thursday – Great ____ Novel

What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel?

I haven’t read enough classics, literary novels, or even genre to be qualified to answer this question. For any country. I know with that statement I sound like I’m one of those idiots who only reads one book a year, but the truth is, I don’t even want to put forth an opinion of the Great American Novel. Such a thing can’t exist. Even if you put aside favorites, what you think is good writing, I might think is utter crap. Besides, I haven’t yet come across a novel where I was completely blown away with the ideas and the prose and thought, “This is perfect. I have to tell everyone how great it is and try to convince them to read this.” Yeah, I know. I’m nitpicky.

Tell us where in the world you are!

I’m in Idaho (United States).

* * *
The Thursday Threesome: At Long Last

Onesome: At– the head of the line for the iPhones, were you? No? What do you think of all the hoopla. …and the continuing hype? Just curious…

I think people are trying to justify to themselves that getting an iPhone means getting to the forefront of new technology when in reality, they’re just buying into the hype. What says more about being silly and greedy by obtaining some status symbol that says they’re with it?

As with all new gadgets, I’ll wait until I encounter a situation where I really need it.

Twosome: Long– roads to forever… Do you have a favorite road/trail/path you like to travel just for the scenery?

No. I prefer trying new places. Like reading the same book over and over again even if it’s your “favorite”, staying on one road is really limiting.

Threesome: Last– year did you think you’d be doing what you ended up doing for the holiday yesterday? …or did plans change a bit?

I didn’t have any plans in the first place so of course, nothing changed.


Well, I suppose I have been doing something “patriotic” today. Even if it is sort of motivated by the fact that certain fees are going up by the end of this month. I’ve been reading instructions and filling out forms. Something strange I’ve noticed–

Eye color: brown blue green hazel gray black pink maroon other

“Other” I understand–some people might have two different colored eyes after all. But “pink” and “maroon”? Sure, there are “red eyes” on photographs, but still that doesn’t make any sense. Even human albinos have either blue or gray eyes.

More Linkage

A.K.A. “clearing out more bookmarks”

Writers and “immigrant” culture. I’ve pondered this before, but I think it’s just another stereotype that ethnic authors have to break out of. White writers set their stories in different cultures all the time and no one says anything. (White priviledge, perhaps?) Off the top of my head, some writers that don’t write ethnic-centric stories: Kazuo Ishiguro, Nalini Singh, Marjorie M. Liu, Ted Chiang. I’d say–write wherever the muse takes you and not what society dictates as “proper” or “expected”. (Proper and expected makes for boring stories anyway.) Addendum: I just remembered Tess Gerritsen. Which brings up another question–what percentage of authors change their names to Western European ones for their pen names? Obviously, they’ve done it so that they could sell their books. Maybe there’s some sort of bias against ethnic writers that no one is acknowledging.

The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form. (via Pharyngula) Oh man, so many limericks. Just read until you’re sick of them.

Personal Summer Reading Challenge. Well, good luck. I visit the library regularly so I’m always bringing home books. And then sometimes I buy books. So my to-be-read pile grows and never shrinks. Let’s just say that the number of books in my queue is greater than 80.

Hunting the Mongolian Death Worm. Perhaps it’s all just exaggeration of a not-as-interesting animal. Or maybe someone’s had a bit too much tequila and HPL, if you know what I mean.

Were-clams and other we(i)r(e)d possibilities. From the comments on that post: “I suspect there wouldn’t be many editors who would buy it.” And I suspect she means romance editors. How about SF/F editors?

The new age of ignorance. Also see the (bad) answers to simple science questions given by a celebrity panel. Sigh. This just reminds me of contradictory reports–on one hand, students are slacking off on the math and science because they claim that they’re better at humanities, and on the other hand people not knowing anything about the humanities because the schools are supposedly emphasizing math and science since those skills would be more “marketable” in the workforce. Perhaps education is only part of the problem–people don’t remember stuff because most people never use this information in their daily lives. (And if you do remember it, you’re branded as a trivia freak.) If the light goes out, people aren’t going to ponder about the circuitry. They’d just change the light bulb or call an electrician to figure it out.

Random Photos on a Random Hike

Last week, I went hiking at Hell’s Gate State Park. You know, just because I felt like it. I never plan these things out in advance. I also took some photos, not to show off my mad photographing skills (because I don’t have any), but just to document that I was there and that I wasn’t just imagining it.


Just got notified that I will be getting an ARC of a science book. I have another recently released book sitting on my shelf with a very similar title and subject so I’ll be really interested in the viewpoints of both. Stay tuned in the next three weeks for those reviews.