Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Thank you bstewart23.

When I bang on the back of your parked-in-the-bike-lane-car, alls I'm trying to say is "Fuck you." No need to get excited.

In other biking news, I got punched in the head by a special person on Manhattan Bridge yesterday. Today I got doored on 19th St.

I hurt.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Moustaches in NYC

Via Maud (and her listings compiler, Lauren):

Go to the IFC to see some Frenchy moustaches in La Moustache!

I guess this means I need to hurry up and finish the book...

book 20: Life by Gwyneth Jones

It has been awhile since I finished this book, so forgive me some vagueness:

Winner of the James Triptree Jr. award, Gwyenth Jones wrote about sex and science in Life. I was intrigued by the purpose of the award, to recognize writers who tackle the subjects of sex and gender in SF, and after doing a NYPL search on Jones, I decided to read Life.

The main character in Life is Anna Senoz, a hard-working gal with a passion for science, who secretly has a hot body and a wild side. This last part is a major part of the story arc. Unfortunately, Jones likes to use the word "hole" in a sexual way. Gross. But anyway, sex, in many of its permutations, supposedly drives the plot and brings all the disparate topics and characters together, but generally I felt as if I were reading two books: one about a romance, and one a poorly researched text on sexual politics and its influence on science and academia.

The main love triangle- Anna, her American college lover Spence and crazy, mostly lesbian Ramone (oh shocking!)- lacks tension. The supporting characters, mostly older women who mentor either Anna or Ramone in some way, were more interesting and Jones managed to tell us more about them in a few lines here and there than she did about Anna in the whole book.

The scifi in Life comes in a near-future, hard science flavor, sprinkled with some crunchy AI flakes. Anna discovers (by accident) an evolutionary trend in genetics that will slowly obliterate the male sex chromasonal structure on a genetic level, showing gender to be an almost entirely constructed thing (I think, anyways. It was complicated, and I'm sure if I had liked the book more I would have absorbed the theory more fully). Her research on this project is thwarted, but her obsession grows. The science writing and the comment on women's current place in the sciences, were the best part of the book, even if Jones' writing feels labored when she tries to tie all the chromosonal hoo ha in with the plot. I was disappionted that the whole book wasn't as interesting- I'd love to read some smart, female-inclusive, hard SF. Too bad Life was not it.

Any recommendations? I'd still love to read more Triptree winners, hoping that they all don't suck as badly.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The database is down...

... so I am free to wish I was reading.

Anyway, I just finished one good book (Love Invents Us), one gooder book (Great Granny Webster) and I am in the middle of a collection of two novellas (Class Trip and The Moustache by Emmmanuel Carrere) that is knocking my socks off so far. The translation is amazingly elegant in Class Trip which made the reading even more delicious because I was wondering through each nasty little scene what, if anything, had changed from the original French.

(Apparently The Moustache is now a film too.)

Reading Carrere makes me want to check out this book by him, which caught my attention when it came out a couple of years ago. It is a bio of Philip K. Dick, the idol of a certain kind of nerd, one I usually like very much, and writer of some of the most engrossing sci-fi ever. Dick has also written some amazingly impenetratable crap(like the last two books in the Valis triliogy), but even his worst casts a spell on a line-by-line basis. I imagine writing a bio of Dick that adequately captures both his brilliance and his glaring shortcomings as an author, as well as gives just enough facts and specualtion about his twisted private life would be very hard. From my small taste of Carrere, it seems like he has the subtlety to do it so I'd like to give I am Alive and You are Dead a try when I am in the mood to be someone else.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hi all

I am backdeded up with reading ans, more obviously, writing. I blame working. I love the money, I love the endless free tea and toilet paper, but I miss you all. The books I've been reading recently have been pretty good and I will tell you about them soon.

In the meantime, here is a partial list of things that are on my desk at home:

- a broken bicycle bell
- small Fiskars
- Lonely Planet Spain 2003
- Letters that need responses
- my parents' wedding photograph, reminding me how much better life looks in pictures
- matches
- erasers
- a green silk hankerchief
- a freecycled VHS copy of 'Downtown 81'
- a small basket of bobby pins and hair bands

On my desk at work:

- crumbs
- empty tissue box
- various training manuals
- half full Temple University water bottle
- smudgy fingerprints

What's on your desk?

Friday, May 05, 2006

pray for my ass

Here I am, diligently entering medical data and try (hard) not to fart and listening to my officemate surpass my previous conception of "dumb as a box of rocks," and I wish I were writing about books for you.

As you can see by the sidebar, I've been keeping up with the reading, but not so much with the writing. I need the money that this boring ass job provides. I promise to steal some time from the Man the next few weeks and catch you all up with reviews and news, but for now, pray for my ass not to bubble up with hemorroids from all this sitting.