Thursday, August 28, 2008

Instant Replay

There is really no reason to watch or listen to the A's game tonight. They suck. They really really suck. But they are one of three teams to be hosting games with the brand new instant replay tonight. We'll see how it goes! (Well, I'll hear how it goes- themacinator isn't going to pay to go watch the A's tonight.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Annie Dillard: The Maytrees

I actually finished this book about two weeks ago and have just been hesitating to post a review because I can't decide how I feel about the book. I think I'm disappointed, and perhaps confused. I love Annie Dillard- "Living" and "Teaching a Stone to Talk" are among my two favorite books. And I love that Dillard describes herself as a "gregarious recluse" and that I loved her even before I knew about the Wesleyan connection. But "The Maytrees" left me feeling empty, and not in a moving empty way, just empty. It's always sad to pick up a book that you're looking forward to it and have you leave you with this "what just happened" kind of feeling. It's not the same as the "why am I reading this?" feeling, but it's not great, either. I have no summary to share, because this book is not about plot, it's about mood. I suppose it would mean more to me if I were from the East Coast, and knew anything (or cared about) Cape Cod. Maybe that's what's missing? Anyway, I'll be passing this one along.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mixtape: Lesson #2- Jaded

Located this tape in the car and I *love* it. I love the theme behind it- screw "love"- these ladies and gentlemen know where it's at. No sappiness here, just straight up, it's over, or if it's still on, it's all about booty. The tape has its flaws, so I've updated it, playlist style, and annotated it with my thoughts about what makes each song so apt. Hope you enjoy!

You Had Me, You Lost Me - Eve (
This song sets the mood of the whole tape/playlist. Eve belts it out, and the title says it all. Really nice try, mister. You fucked around, what makes you think you can have me back? Seriously? I love Eve, and the way her uptempo rapping makes even me dance. I don't dance.)
Narcissus- Alanis Morissette (from one pissed off-but still laughing- woman to the next, Alanis spends this song telling dumbass man to go back to the world he's used to: the world where everyone kisses his booty. She isn't having it. It's hilarious, and so jaded.)
The World Is Full Of Bastards- Mary Prankster (Mary Prankster is the Queen of Jaded. She isn't whining, but certainly this is an Ode to Bastards, and Bad Luck.)
Deathly - Aimee Mann (This is every woman's song about the man who tries to fix us. Why do they do that? And why do we go along with it? Kindness is deathly, and Aimee Mann is done with that nonsense.)
I’m A Slut -bis (After that spin with a little softness, bis pumps up the volume and lays it out in plain English: "I'm a slut". Take it or leave it. Totally and quintisentially Jaded.)
I'll Call Before I Come -OutKast (The intro to this song is included- where a lady discusses the motherfucking minute man. He gets his, she isn't getting hers. Damn. After this, OutKast is gonna be sure to call before he comes... Damn straight we're getting cynical here.)
I Love You (Or At Least I Like You)-Princess Superstar (If I can think of one woman who defines jaded, it's The Superstar. She's too hot to handle, and in this song, she's found a male ho. That's the way, uh uh uh uh I like it!)
Certainly -Erykah Badu Baduizm (Time for a little slow down here... No permission for love, we're way too jaded for that.)
Piece Of My Heart -Janis Joplin (OK, this one is debatable- is Janis in love? Is she bitter about love? Or, in my take, is she totally sarcastic, and saying, fine, take it- this love stuff, it's old news. Jaded Janis.)
Bitter -Jill Sobule (Jill says she doesn't want to be bitter (read Jaded) like you.)
Love Hurts-Joan Jett (Love hurts. We're not doing it again. We're jaded, remember?)
Can't Cry Anymore -Sheryl Crow (Sheryl Crow can't cry any more- she's shaking love and bitterness and pain off like a dog on the beach. She's way past that. And I believe her. Really.)
Less Than Strangers -Tracy Chapman (It would be so easy to take Tracy Chapman seriously, she's so earnest. But this is another one- I'm going with the twinge of sarcasm, and bitterness. Less than strangers. Really- that's jaded.)
You're So Vain -Carly Simon (This one speaks for itself. It's a sing-a-long song for the very, very, VERY jaded.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Really? I Mean, Really?

Someone handed this to me at work today. They said they found it in their backyard, so they had to bring it to me. I've seen a lot of things.

I have never seen a kitten in a container like this.

At least there was a hole poked in the top.

Have I mentioned I hate kitten season?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Richard Powers: The Echo Maker

Apparently, "The Echo Maker" was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. I'm not quite sure why- the book was good, but not that good. Then again, I don't know quite what it takes to be nominated to for the Pulitzer, so that's a topic for another day. Richard Powers covers a lot of ground in this book- families, siblings, marriage, deception, environmental destruction, and mostly, the brain and what it means to be human and to know who you are and how you exist in the world. Karin and Mark, two adult siblings, are torn apart and brought together again in new ways (do I sound like cliche back-cover copy or what?) when Mark has a traumatic head injury and develops a rare syndrome that causes him to think that Karin is a stand-in for his real sibling.

The first third of the book is mesmerizing: Karin throws her life aside to take care of Mark on his long and slow journey to recovery, and Mark tries to put his life back together with the help of "Kopy Karin." The second part of the book introduces the world-famous Dr Weber, and the book goes downhill as he drops into Nebraska to check Mark out as a case study and then leaves. The story follows the neurologist as he (and his brain) spins in unexpected circles. This part is less convincing- Powers takes on too much- in attempting to show us just how fragile and fragmented our grasp on the brain and knowledge and connectivity is, Powers loses the train of the story. In the last part of the book, Weber and the siblings are brought back together for a little bit of a Disney ending.

Even with the slow middle chunk, "The Echo Makers" is worth reading- better than vacation reading, but slightly less moving than what I would ordinarily think of as Pulitzer Prize-worthy. It is fascinating (and slightly creepy) to think how tenuous our hold on reality is, and how easily a lesion or trauma can change that. What we know, or what we think we know, is either a construction, or a biological fact, depending on who you believe, and thinking too much about it, as Dr Weber's character reminds us, is treacherous territory.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Leashes- Who Needs Them?

I really appreciate dog-friendly housing. I appreciate that the apartment building next to my house appears to be dog-friendly housing. My neighbor F**** (name altered to protect the shameless) has a very nice, very small, very fluffy poodle. He does not, however, appear to own a leash. I have asked him about this, and he jokingly makes excuse after excuse after excuse. Oh, I guess he forgot it this time. Oh, his dog is harmless. Yes, yes he is. No, he doesn't keep track of his dog, who blindly (he's missing an eye) trots across the street without F****. No, he doesn't pick up the poodle's poop, and often doesn't know where it is since the dog might be a block ahead or behind F*****. I have to be very careful when entering and exiting my house, since I might see F***** and not see the dog.

Today, I see that the new neighbor in this building has not one, but two dogs. And also appears not to have leashes. She was leaving her unit, and the dogs are with her. And they head out, but there are no leashes in sight. I guess leashes are no longer part of walking your dog (even though they are still part of the law here, and general public safety).

I believe strongly that leashes are good for people, and the dogs they walk, in busy urban environments, like where I live. I also believe that there appropriate times and places for offleashdom (for appropriate dogs, of course). These places need to be mutually agreed upon, and the public, city street, is not one of these. The law is on my side, here, just sayin'. I've always liked this simple description of the leash, and it's uses. Perhaps I will start sliding them under doors. Or, maybe not.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It Hurts to Look

It really, really does. So they traded my boyfriend. So my ex boyfriend is bordering on double digit ERA against left-handers. So they've used about 45 players this year and it's just barely August.

But at this point, I can't even turn on the A's game without getting into a defensive crouch, preparing myself for blow after blow after blow. The Royals beat them. The Red Sox crushed them, of course. And please, let's not rehash that horrid visit by Texas.

And next year? Next year promises nothing better. The starting rotation, the A's saving grace year after year, is going to be populated by people like Greg Smith. And I would have said Dana Eveland, but he's gone. Maybe we can look forward to Dallas Braden? Oh, I'm cringing again. No, I know, that superstar, Sean Gallagher. I think I just spewed in my mouth. Maybe Mr Beane has a master plan here: soften up the Oakland die-hards so they won't mind the move to Fremont so much?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Giles Foden: Mimi and Toutou's Big Adventure

Giles Foden is funny. He knows his subject, the British folly- sending two ships over sea and over land (and over railroads and over mountains) in order to sink a German ship on a distant African lake- is a humorous story, and he's not afraid to make jabs at the past. He knows his protagonist (of sorts), Spicer-Simpson, is a bumbling ne'er-do-well, and he is not afraid to portray him as such. And that is the saving grace of this book that could otherwise be a long New Yorker article. It is, as the subtitle States, a "bizarre" part of history that I was pleased/bemused/surprised to read about. But about 30 pages in, I found myself reading with my eyes closed after a paragraph of reading about it. Night after night. And then we got to the end of the story, Spicer-Simpson goes back to England, and there are still 50 pages left. I didn't really want to hear about the movies made about the event, or about Foden's travels in Africa. Separate story, really. Interesting part of history, boring book.