Sep. 28th, 2010 03:33 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ykk)
Can someone tell me why the jaggery powder at the nearest Indian market has fat/saturated fat in it? o_O I was in there for cumin and I thought I'd take a look at it (I'm thinking about switching to something like muscovado for my coffee and tea, since it has vitamins and minerals that even turbinado sugar doesn't). It didn't list any ingredients other than dried cane sugar, but as I've noticed on the labels of Japanese items, the translated labels are completely wrong as often as not.

(This is true even on things that would be to their advantage to list, like fiber, protein, and vitamins--I'm guessing there are high fees or laborious processes involved in getting those things officially re-tested by the FDA or something. :/ I don't know whether the manufacturers realize how obsessively certain Americans read food labels, particularly foodie and health nut types who shop at Asian markets; they're probably depressing their sales quite a bit this way. Enough to offset the fees that I imagine exist? I have no idea...)

I need to get more glass or metal jars. If there are some out there that come with little spoons attached, that would be ideal...I paid $1.29 for 100g of cumin, but I could have gotten 200g for $2.29 or 400g for $3.99. The price difference on the cardamom compared to Safeway is really striking, even considering that I am not cool enough to deal with the pods (yet). Anyway, we use a lot of cumin around here, so it'd be good to be able to keep more of it around.

I'm reading Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes, by Shoba Narayan, and it's both interesting (a firmly placed view of a specific part of India [outside Madras], a specific class, being a girl and a woman, etc.) and appetizing. I like Indian vegetarian food, but as with many topics, I often learn better from a narrative than from reading a list ("South Indian food often features flavors x, y, and z, but does not include a, b, and c more commonly found in the north.") It's much better to have an image of young Shoba's dad drinking coffee (not tea) or her orthodox Brahmin aunt making a fuss about an eggless cake made in a pan that had previously had a cake with eggs in it. I know memoirs are personal memories, and those are always up for debate (C.'s international students from the same used to argue about whether certain dishes were authentic, what certain symbols meant, and so on, and I've gotten in similar arguments about slang and food.) So when I was younger, I used to acquire history by sort of triangulating among the best-researched historical fiction, rather than basing what I took in on any one book.

EDIT: Narayan's book goes places many food memoirs don't--college, grad school (not culinary school), etc. I'm still reading it and it keeps changing. :)

Anyway, I recommend it, and it's one of the rare food memoirs that will be good for vegetarians. The recipes will make anyone hungry, though, so don't read it on an empty stomach!


Apr. 4th, 2009 08:18 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (whelan-illusion-sarudy)
Wow, The Grand Ellipse by Paula Volsky is totally steampunk! It's also very dense and wordy. (Was Illusion like that? I don't remember.) Anyway, that's fine because that means it'll take more time to read. Yay! I hope it ends in a satisfying way.


Mar. 29th, 2009 01:57 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (japanese art-unknown-Heian style-me)
I'm glad that [livejournal.com profile] meganbmoore mentioned the newish Penguin publication of Sei Shonagon's Makura no Soshi: The Pillow Book translated by Meredith McKinney. According to a long review in Monumenta Nipponica ("Reading a Heian Blog: A New Translation of Makura no Soshi"; institutional subscribers only), "McKinney’s translation is much more accurate than Morris’s. ... The notes to her translation are sometimes less satisfactory from the specialist’s point of view, but they will undoubtedly be of great use for general readers." Now, this is a complete translation, so it includes the "boring" lists that aren't of much interest to non-specialists, but a) you can skip those easily enough, and b) some of them are kind of evocative on their own.

Oh yeah, I started and finished reading Eye of Jade last night--it's a fast read. I have some thoughts on it. It was interesting reading it as someone who speaks a little Chinese. I'll try to write more later.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (chii-sick-me)
OK, I know she must send them to everyone who follows her, and maybe they're even automated, but it's still kind of cool to get a direct message from Amber Benson (previously Tara on B:TVS) on Twitter. :) (Amber Benson is another person who's the same age as I am.) By the way, she's signing her new urban fantasyish novel in San Francisco and Roseville this week.

Oh, AskMeFi. First someone asks for recommendations on an online flower delivery service because his/her girlfriend will be in Kenya on her birthday, and only does Respondent 2 have experience using one of the services to send flowers to Kenya, but Respondent 3 lives in Nairobi and will personally recommend a couple of shops if the GF also is staying in Nairobi. <3 Really, if you ever have this kind of question, $5 for a lifetime membership to MeFi may be a good investment. Then ... somebody wrote in and said that his wife, a lifelong non-reader, had gotten hooked on Twilight and was tearing through the books, and was really into the suspense of what would happen next, and wanted to know what she could read next that would also be like that. Two people promptly recommend GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire. WHAT?! Noooo. Not for a new reader, for god's sake, and I'm not saying that just because I hated them. People made other, mostly more appropriate suggestions (Charlaine Harris, Nora Roberts, Diana Gabaldon), and eventually several people said "Uh, no GRRM yet, OK?" And the original poster said "Uh, yeah, I've read the first three, and no." Phew.

The very odd-looking Studio Ghibli film Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea has a release date in the US: August 14. Ta-da, my first must-see of the summer! Well, okay, other than Harry Potter, duh. Unless I hear from my friends that HBP is really terrible.

Just out of curiosity, how many wireless networks can your computer see from your home? Mine can see 15 at the moment. Best name? Hello Kitty. Cheesiest? Checkmate and HAQ. Defaultiest? Tie between HOME and all the 2WIREs (including ours).

(Did I mention that the bloc of townhouses I live in only has 6 units?)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (HP-Tonks)
Oh, I'm all verklempt at the end of Empire of Ivory! I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing! (funny, considering...) And we don't have the next book in the house. We'll have to stagger out and get it tomorrow.

edit: I hope no one thinks this is spoilery. :P


Mar. 18th, 2009 06:01 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (chii-crazed-me)
I think this is basically the delicious pasta and butternut squash dish I had at the Academy of Sciences cafe with [livejournal.com profile] toratigris last month, but the chef threw in the cheese and stirred it quickly for a few moments in the hot pan before serving it. It was so, so, so good. I want to eat it right now. If you are vegetarian, I don't recommend trying this without substituting something for the pancetta--the savoriness and saltiness matched up with the sweetness of the squash is what really makes this. The note on the side there about chanterelle mushrooms might work for the savory note, plus maybe some bacon salt or smoked salt, veggie sausage or something.

I kind of think there was a little more seasoning in the dish I had, but maybe not. I should just try this recipe and see.

Went to the library to see which of the manga for Master's Thesis #2 they had, and ... um, they had Fruits Basket and nothing else. A couple of the other titles were checked out, a couple were on order, and the other stuff is simply not owned by the library. Ugh. DOOM.

However, the library once again just handed me a book I've been wanting to read. They have books for sale on racks out front, which is how I originally got Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell for 50 cents, and now I've got Grand Ellipse by Paula Volsky, which [livejournal.com profile] toratigris said I should read (and certainly looks like something I should have already read). It was face out and everything. So I'll read it somewhere during or after this pile of Naomi Novik and Tobias Buckell books.

Appalled to be developing a crush on Noel Fielding. His fashion sense is terrible. (And he's older than I am.)

So tired. Can't tell if it's allergies, being a wimp for whom 7.4 hours of sleep won't do, or coming down with the world's slowest-to-incubate cold.

Finally, this Gmail Notifier plugin for Firefox that I was so happy about because it can handle 3 accounts including Gmail for domains? Yeah, it just randomly stops working after it's been up for a while. ARRRRGH. It's become vital to my business to have a working Gmail notifier and I can't find one. It's driving me nuts, as the pirate with the steering wheel on his pants said. Yarrr.

EDIT: I just started making the playlist for this year's Halloween party. Um. Yeah.

I promise it'll be more entertaining than what we did last year. For one thing, I'll try to make some ROOM so that if there's videogaming in one room, there will be something else to do in another room.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I read a random later Dresden Files book, Proven Guilty, because it was in the house. Keep in mind that I've read only this one and the first one, which I complained about a little. This one is indeed much better written, and I'll be happy to fill in the middle volumes eventually.

Someone posted this portrait by John Singer Sargent to [livejournal.com profile] lamodeillustree and now I'm dying to do a drawing based on it with her as an airship captain. Isn't she perfect?I love her. He seems like a stick in the mud, never mind him. (Click for a huge version.)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ueto aya-business-me)
~ the Remyth Project (read-only, in my case, obviously...)

~ [livejournal.com profile] 50books_poc (see here and here for why; honestly, unless you're a writer of color yourself, if you read those two links and still think this is a dumb idea, I honestly don't want to hear it--I've about had it lately. Personally, I'd just like the authors I read to better reflect the composition of my local community* and my planet somewhat more than they currently do, because they currently remind me of that one time I looked up in that restaurant in Ohio and was unnerved to be entirely surrounded by blue-eyed white people.** EDIT: I'm not actually planning to count the number of books I read, but I think the community is a good resource for enriching reading lists with recommendations of books that will interest you/me. It is also not an attempt to get "cookies;" the only reason this isn't f'locked is because there are a couple non-LJ-users who read my LJ and might also find some stuff they want to read there.)

~ Other than the marabou feathers, Richard Ayoade was completely easy on the eyes and surprisingly natural as some kind of cosmopolitan shaman guy in two episodes (thus far) of The Mighty Boosh. (I had a suspicion he was cute, but it's a little hard to tell given how goofy he looks in The IT Crowd.) Therefore, someone really needs to write a urban fantasy or supernatural investigation show/movie he can star in. Pleeeease? Sigh. I think I might be waiting a long time.

*White people are a non-majority in Fremont; the plurality belongs to the largely meaningless category "Asians," so white people are still the single largest somewhat more cohesive group***, but boy, the people who've been living here for more than 10 years sure like to bitch about their declining grasp on power.
**No matter what my Japanese clients think, I have neither blue eyes nor blond hair.
***Three randomly chosen white residents of Fremont will have almost certainly more culture in common than than three randomly chosen Asian residents (e.g. a new citizen from Iran, a recent immigrant from southern India, and a fourth-generation Japanese-American).
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Bought Magic Burns, Unshapely Things (I believe due to [livejournal.com profile] phantom_wolfboy's review) and Crystal Rain. Will go again with list of authors and books you all suggested, really.

Was amused by drinking reference in first few pages of Magic Burns, because it tied in with a passing thought I had in the first book. Highlight to read a ... small spoiler of the character development kind. (I was thinking that for someone with a lot of people out to hurt her at random hours of the night and day, Kate might not want to spend quite so much--or really ANY--time tipsy. But I didn't think anything of it after that, because drinking is normal in American culture and it's also part of the "hardboiled" template. So I was really kind of tickled when she's basically more or less quit drinking in the opening pages of this book.)

I did remember and look for Marjorie Liu, but no luck.

I am determined to buy a few books new since I know authors and publishers are suffering even more than usual right now. I don't normally buy fiction new since it takes me only a couple hours max to read most novels, meaning I would have spent money like water at the rate I used to read fiction, but...yeah.


Feb. 23rd, 2009 11:27 am
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Yeah, I stayed up a little bit late reading Magic Bites, and then took it to Panera with me this morning to finish it over coffee. It was fun! I enjoyed it. I think the world is well-constructed, and there's some good thought put into it. It's a near(ish) future in which magic has returned and ebbs and flows; something akin to Bordertown, where tech works on some days and magic works on others, though magic is ascendant and tech is on the decline. (If this part of Bordertown appealed to you, check it out, though there are no rock'n'roll elves to be seen.) I won't give you any more details, because you catch on to this through fairly subtle hints in the story, which is nice.

It's better written than the first of the Dresden Files novels by Jim Butcher (although yes, I know, I know, they get better). The main character, Kate, is not my absolute favorite character ever due to being a bit of a hardass, but I don't think this is a flaw of the book--she's written that way on purpose, as far as I can tell, and I also have a feeling that she's going to experience some character development in the future and learn to rely on other people a little more. Maybe. Who knows. She's also way more brawns than brain, which, again, not my favorite type. (I am really kind of ready for some more cerebral urban fantasy/supernatural investigation heroines. We've pretty well established in this subgenre that women can kick butt, yes? So can we have a wider spectrum of main characters again? Again, though, that's absolutely not a criticism of this book, just something I'd like to see more of.)

One thing I am pleased by is the continuing trend toward settings that aren't New York, LA, etc. For a long time it seemed that Charles de Lint was the almost only person who dared write outside of a handful of archetypal US urban centers, but now we've got Atlanta and lots of other places as sites for urban fantasy. Hurrah! And the setting felt like the South without being all mint juleps, drawls, and voodoo. Side characters were well drawn; I was amused by things like the esoterically educated Texan and the mention of a "sensei paunch."

Also, the main character does not walk around in corsets and stiletto heels; nor does she hop into bed with every dangerous character who comes her way. Speaking of which ... If you are looking for hot, sexy, glamorous, sparkly vampires, this is soooo not your book, ROFL. Vampires in this book are creepy, disturbing, mindless, and animalistic. IN BAD WAYS, OK? (Sheesh.) Shapechangers, on the other hand, are kind of interesting in a World-of-Darkness way, including were-rats, but I still wouldn't want to be one in this world. That's something else I think Andrews did well--for the most part, the supernatural in this world actually comes off as unnatural for once, rather than just like overclocked humans with killer fashion sense. No, this is more of a case of "see you, don't want to be you!"

Anyway, I think [livejournal.com profile] jenniferward might like it.

How I wish English-language books were labeled with numbers clearly indicating where in a series they are. Sigh. At least Amazon's listing says "Kate Daniels Book 1" in the header.


Feb. 22nd, 2009 09:19 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ROD-books-me)
We wound up at Half-Price Books (after eating spicy lamb with cumin, bittermelon stirfried with egg yolks, pickled long beans stirfried with ground pork, and some really amazing fried eggplant, all of which was better than it sounds, at Spicy Town). Alas, I didn't have my list of book ideas from you guys! I was VERKLEMPT. I did remember a few names, but they were out of everything. They had one of the recommended Megan Lindholm series, but it was, I dunno, number 9 or something. *tear* I wound up with Magic Bites. Hopefully it will be at least entertaining fluff. Hopefully I haven't...read it before. It's getting difficult to tell these series apart by the covers and blurbs. Sigh.

C. couldn't resist Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe in hardback. It has a pretty cool cover, too.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (ai yazawa-nana-searching)
[livejournal.com profile] telophase asked about what on the back of a book will turn us off or make us want to read it, and I got sidetracked (as I do), but I was trying to think about it. What DOES work for me on the back of a book? My list of turnoffs is nearly infinite and rather capricious, but the list of things that appeal is rather shorter.

I thought I'd look at some actual book backs and see. Bolded bits are particularly appealing, for whatever idiosyncratic reasons.

First off, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
. Handicapped due to consisting of quotes, ugh. I hate that. (Apparently other people buy books because of blurbs from favorite authors, but I don't--unless the quote has useful content.) But it has a few appealing bits from the chap I've never heard of, including "mixture of historical realism and utterly fantastical events: I almost began to believe that there really was a tradition of 'English magic' that I had not heard about." This hints at deep background stuff that I love, as well as the mix of worlds that I like.

The Light Ages
: "A strange Victorian age twisted out of true (blah blah) aether mines (blah blah) " ... "In an isolated and dilapidated manor, the precocious Annalise...is not quite of this world. After a mysterious trip to the manor with his mother, Robert becomes fascinated with Annalise--an attraction that still exists when they meet again in London years later. Now a revolutionary, Robert wishes to destroy the upper-class world that Annalise has come to call her own. .... And what they discover ... might end this age of misery once and for all." OOH! Magic! Industry! Revolutionaries! Love! Epochs ending! GIMME! The back is chockfull of keywords that appeal to me, but the book doesn't really come through on most of that. (This book is responsible for one of the few negative reviews I've bothered writing on Amazon.)

: Um. The actual back is quotes from cool people like Charles de Lint that tell me nothing about the content. The front is a very nice painting of a woman with feline features in Japanese armor. It's well done and not cheesy. I really don't need anything else. But the flap is full of awesome: "the world of the creature who comes to be known as Kagaya-hime, a sometime woman warrior, occasional philosopher, and reluctant confidante to noblemen. ... the tale of a being who starts her journey ... as a humble--if ever such a being as a cat can be humble--small tortoiseshell feline." And a bit about how she may be nothing but a figment of the imagination of an aging empress. (By the way, you can buy this excellent book, by [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson, in a lovely large trade paperback for just $5.98 from Amazon right now!)

Snake Agent: A Detective Inspector Chen Novel
: I'm not sure if this is the actual back copy as I can't find my book (you know, it's annoying that Amazon doesn't automatically include that). Anyway: "Detective Inspector Chen is the Singapore Three police department's snake agent - the detective in charge of supernatural and mystical investigations. Chen has several problems: in addition to colleagues who don't trust him and his mystical ways, a patron goddess whom he has offended and a demonic wife who's tired of staying home alone, he's been paired with one of Hell's own vice officers, Seneschal Zhu Irzh, to investigate the illegal trade in souls." Oh, I'm in, between all that and a cover that makes it clear that the stakes are high and that this isn't another generic softcore porn urban fantasy (there's nudity on the cover, but it's realistic and has wrinkles and folds, and there are no Frederick's of Hollywood corsets or tacky "tribal" tattoos in sight).

Sadly, the book I'm looking for and want to read right now doesn't exist, I think. Like I said to [livejournal.com profile] telophase and [livejournal.com profile] hoshizora, I need to have my heart broken and then patched back together. I need a fierce partnership, people who would and nearly do die for each other (even better if it's not reciprocated at first, but I like my partnerships to wind up unbroken in the end*), detailed settings or worlds (or at least a sense that the settings are well thought out), good writing ... I disfavor straight-up fantasy these days; it's OK if it has a twist like the above, but The Lies of Locke Lamora is the closest thing to traditional fantasy that I'll read anymore. I'm not big on hard SF anymore, either. (EDIT: I want it to be about grownups, not kids. EDIT AGAIN: Character development is EXTREMELY important, but a plot that actually goes somewhere is, too. EDIT AGAIN: I vastly prefer earned triumph to either too-neat happy endings or pointless tragedy, which I view as equally weak copouts.) There are actually a bunch of setting details and other things I'm in the mood for but can't articulate. But even aside from that, I'd take recs.

It needs to not be manga or a movie or an unfinished series; it needs to be a novel or finished set of novels. (EDIT: Well, it could be an ongoing series, but the books have to stand alone. No sagas with cliffhangers.)

Anything you recommend is likely to be rejected due to something random (like, ugh, barbarians, or ugh, vampires, or ... something), so please don't take it personally. BUT. If you have an idea, please PLEASE pass it along.

*and, tangentially, I am goddamned well sick of killing off the sidekicks' love interests as a cheap way to add or resolve drama. I'M LOOKING AT YOU, REDACTED SUMMER COMIC-BOOK MOVIE AND REDACTED FANTASY SEQUEL.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (shimotsuma-bitchplease-me)
Stephen King briefly goes off on "Twilight" author Stephanie Meyer, ROFLMAO. Bonus points for reports from the internet of incredibly ignorant teen Twilight fans being all "uhh liek I dunno who this stephen king guy is but I guess he's just really jealous of her success!" *choke* The comments at USA Weekend itself are truly hilarious, such as "SM books have a wider and veried audience" (um...no, honey. Just no. Even if we pretend "veried" is a word...still, no.)

I don't even like King, but ... ha!


[livejournal.com profile] cleolinda posts the best stuff. <3


Jan. 25th, 2009 10:54 am
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
SF/Fantasy novels of your adolescence, now with overly truthful titles photoshopped onto the covers (or at least overly truthful as some perceive them); e. g. Mary Sue Gets a Dragon. (I loved half of these books either as an adult or as a kid, mind you, and some of them are still worth re-reading.)

Part 2; Part 3 (Scientists Can Do Anything!)

Warning: some rude humor and four-letter words.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Bought myself the new (well, March 2008) Rough Guide to Japan as a birthday present. Not sure what's up with that "cosu-play" spelling (or the "fantasy role-play" reference, but whatever). Don't think they updated the Kurashiki section at all. Totally confused by a few of the Britishisms (which I'm usually fairly good with), such as "carnet ticket," which I just looked up and is apparently both British and generally European. (EDIT: I should note that 99% of the British terms in the book are comprehensible to me, so it really stands out to me when they're not!)

(Does everybody know this word except me? If you haven't spent time in the UK or EU, would you know what it meant without looking it up?)

I'm curious as to Rough Guide's editorial policy: do they just use whatever dialect of British English that their writer happens to use, or do they attempt to internationalize it (and occasionally fail), or do they have different editions like Harry Potter (which also sometimes failed, as when they forgot to Americanize the "jumper" that Mrs. Weasley made for Ron)? I don't think they do have different editions, and it seems that ignoring non-British dialects would be a foolish idea for an international guidebook ... I'm not sure what the ideal is. I mean, for Harry Potter I thought making two editions was stupid, because I grew up reading British books and I thought the language was part of the charm--and, of course, they didn't catch everything anyway. But clarity is more important in a guidebook, so it seems like it might be better to try to write it with words that are dialect-neutral, or to explain things briefly. I noticed that sometimes they use different dialects' synonyms together in a single paragraph or sentence, such as "torch" and "flashlight," which is a pretty good way to get around things. Well, and other things should be obvious to anyone who speaks any dialect of English, such as writing "get round" instead of "get around," so there's no need to change it.

Anyway, I'm enjoying reading and dreaming about going back. :) It's a good review of history, etc., too. I need to read some historical fiction again one of these days; it's always been a better way for me to get the timelines and personalities of history into my memory compared to lists of names and dates.

P. S. Please, don't take this as an opportunity to make remarks about British English being the only correct English and so on; it's historically short-sighted and linguistically absurd. I know it's obnoxious when Americans think American English should be the worldwide norm, and it's ridiculous when British editions of software default to American English, etc., etc., but that doesn't make it okay to be snotty, catty, flip, condescending, or insulting to the American friends who aren't responsible for any of that. It really gets on my nerves, and kind of hurts my feelings since I am a professional English teacher. I guess it's an automatic kneejerk reaction for some to any mention of English standards by Americans, but seriously, please save it for the people who deserve it.


Dec. 5th, 2008 10:38 pm
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
This is the book Dr. Murphy was talking about!

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English

Yay for books about English written by linguists, who, while certainly not immune to faulty conclusions, at least have something more than their "common sense," curmudgeonly impulses, and bar tales from drunken Finns on which to base their conclusions. *makes rude gestures at Safire, Bryson, et al*

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] telophase for mentioning it and reminding me of it.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (holidays will eat me)
but I figure it's worth asking. Any psych people out there? (Feel free to show this to your friends or whoever could help!)

For Christmas, my mom wants to kind of catch up on psychology. She's asked for two things:

- The current edition of her favorite textbook (she has a master's in soc. psych.), which used to be written by Atkinson, Atkinson, and Hilgard, but is now this, which is several years old. I don't know, do you think it's TOO old? I think the name is important enough that I'm stuck with this one.

- A current intro textbook on "physiological psychology," by which I think she means it should include social, emotional, chemical, and mechanical/structural aspects of psychology. She also said she was hoping for something that addresses current research on Alzheimer's and stuff . I assume a decently written non-academic book, the equivalent of Stumbling on Happiness (which is about predictive decisionmaking) would be fine too. I don't think "physiological psychology" is the name of this field--cog sci? Any recommendations?
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Subterranean Press has re-published Barry Hughart's legendary fantasy-China mystery novels The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox!
Boy, I sure hope he's getting some money from this, but as I recall, they're good people, so I reckon he is. It's an omnibus with all 3 books.


Now, I'm not quite sure what's going on, because I only see a sold-out thingie at SP's page, but that may only be for the even-more-limited leatherbound edition, so the above link is to Amazon's pre-order page.
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
I can't explain what they are to C. and he doesn't think he's ever seen one. (He may not have, who knows!)

You know, they're paperbacks that have been reinforced (after publication, IIRC) with cardboard and...stuff.

I think all the Choose Your Own Adventures at one of the local public libraries near me as a kid were that way.

Anyway, if you have any of those books and a camera on hand, could you snap a couple photos from a couple different angles?

(Google Images just gives books flat on, which doesn't really show what makes turtlebacks turtlebacks!)
wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)
Neil Gaiman in Palto Alto on October 4:

Other locations here:

I finished The Light Ages. I don't know what I think. I used to read cyberpunk novels with lots of setting and wordcraft and very little plot, and I enjoyed them. Either I don't enjoy that kind of thing any more, or this wasn't very good. I thought it was about 25% of a very good book, coming somewhere between the middle and the end.

Mint.com is THE BEST THING EVER. I didn't trust it when I first heard about it, but by now it's established, it's working with the banks, and it's SO COOL. I can see how much money we have everywhere, how much we owe on our credit cards, how much we're spending in each category, etc. B of A has something that lets you look at spending by category, but it's not very good, and you can't change its often incorrect categories, IIRC. But at Mint you can rename and re-categorize stuff.

I love it and it's free.

It may not work with smaller banks. We're going to try it with C.'s Arkansas-based bank soon.

It's kind of fun to set up. :) The interface is sometimes glitchy but largely smart: for example, there was a check for $1XXX.00 on C.'s account under "No Category." I re-categorized it as rent, and clicked a button to put similar transactions in the same category. It found a few more checks for the same amount and moved them over to rent. Awesome! Of course, it's not magic, so it can't find earlier checks with a lower rent amount, but still: cool!

Sometimes it screws up: It knows Greyhound is travel, but it thinks Nintendo Wii Points are ... a restaurant. Hmm. But it's OK; I just change it.

It appeals to this strange part of my brain which, generally messy and fuzzy, loves categorizing things neatly. If I could clean my house with clicky buttons and drop-down menus, it would be so very clean indeed.



wintersweet: Main character from Yokohama Shopping Project: Just being alive means you've made a clear profit. ☆ 人生、生きちょるだけで丸儲け. (Default)

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