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|Tuesday, July 21st, 2009|
|What will it take?
Last summer I coordinated and ran a Horticultural and Environmental Leadership Program for eighth-graders. It ran for a month. At the end of that month, we were lucky if a single one of them remembered to place recyclables into the recycling bin adjacent to the garbage bin at the end of lunchtime.
A year ago I started composting at home. I expected some resistance. What I didn't expect was that, even after the initial resistance, people would find it so hard to remember what to do. I made it as simple as possible -- I maintain the compost situation 100%. All that I asked of my family members was that they put any food waste into a little compost caddy conveniently located behind the sink rather than into the garbage disposal or trash can. They try. But still, a year later, I am frequently picking fruit peels, nutshells, corn cobs, bread crusts and other food items out of the garbage.
In the room in which we eat lunch at work, the recycling bin, the compost dumpster and the garbage can are all adjacent to each other along the wall. All are open. The compost bin is the largest of the three, and centrally located. In one of my very first conversations with one of my coworkers, she emphatically let me know that she hates waste. And yet her cardboard, aluminum cans, grape vines, apple cores and banana peels routinely find their way into the garbage can along with the plastic bags and other nonrecyclables.
Why do people find it so difficult, even when, on some level, they care, even when it's made as easy as possible for them -- why do people find it so difficult to break out of the mindset of simply throwing everything into the garbage?
Has international shipping suddenly gotten more dicey?
For years I've been buying from various European publishers and retailers and have never, to my recollection, not had a book arrive safely at my door. But over the past month, no fewer than three books -- one from PS Publishing, two from Ex Occidente -- have failed to arrive.
Now, I've bought a great many books from PS, and only rarely been an annoying customer, so felt only slightly guilty to inform them that a book had not arrived. But Ex Occidente -- these are the first two titles I've bought from them. A couple months the first didn't arrive, I contacted them, and they quickly and graciously sent a replacement, which got here very promptly. But now I keep waiting on the second one, hoping it's just taking its time overseas, because I really don't want to be that
customer. Then again, they that they'd learned their lesson and send everything registered anymore, so if the register says the book arrived at my house and I know it didn't, I guess I can take that up with the post office. Guess I'll inquire early next week.
But-- Is it suddenly far more likely for books to disappear en route, or have I simply and suddenly had an unlucky time of it?
|Saturday, May 9th, 2009|
|Ben & Jerry's
What's the order of operations? Do Ben & Jerry come up with a combination of flavors and then set about naming it? Or do they start by coming up with a punny name and then figure out a flavor combo to match?
|Friday, April 17th, 2009|
Question about Kashrut. Any Jews out there want to help me with this one, please?
The no milk and meat thing comes from the commandment not to boil a kid in its mother's milk. Fair enough. I've heard several reasons for this. (1) It's not healthy. (2) It's immoral, cooking the kid in the milk meant to nourish it, or allowing the mother to see her kid being cooked in her milk. (3) It was a pagan tradition to cook a kid in its mothers milk because when you kill the kid, why let the milking mother's milk go to waste?
So where do the Rabbis get off proclaiming that we can't have milk with poultry, either? Because I'd be rather curious to taste a chick cooked in its mothers-- oh. Right.
Conversely, if it's (2), why is it kosher to eat, say, schnitzel, with chicken fried in egg?
|Friday, March 13th, 2009|
If everyone's going to persist in going on about it, can we at least come up with a less stupid word than RaceFail?
|Monday, March 2nd, 2009|
|they bellow 'til we're deaf
Remember all the kerfuffle about how Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go
was marketed as lit rather than science fiction, and how he and Atwood and McCarthy and so on and so forth should stop being so pretentious and admit that they're no better than the rest of us? Well, the movie version, which is to star Keira Knightley, has no such pretensions: the "cloning-themed film" is being marketed as a "sci-fi thriller".
I'm not going to see it unless they start promoting it as a mainstream drama.
|Saturday, February 14th, 2009|
The first I heard of Vandana Singh
was last year when she was mentioned several times in SF Signal's Mind Meld on the topic "tomorrow's big genre stars"
. Since then I've seen a couple of her stories in anthologies, picked up a couple of her novellas from Aqueduct Press
, and now, finally, have gotten my grubby paws on her debut collection, The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet and Other Stories
. I mention this now, before I've even read it, only because I've seen the book promoted nowhere, and it doesn't seem to be available through any of the big online retailers like Amazon or Powell's. It is, however, available from the publisher, and for quite a good price, so I recommend picking it up. It can be found here
|Tuesday, February 10th, 2009|
Not to be a downer or anything, but we're in it up to our necks right now. When this trillion-dollar economic stimulus nonsense goes through it'll shoot right up to our eyeballs. At least. So why not take a minute and call your senator today, let your elected representative know what a bad idea this whole thing is.
Not that it'll help. Remember the first stimulus package that didn't work? Remember how the people were roughly 80% opposed to it, and how government servers were crashing with the volume of e-mails people were sending saying no, and how the switchboards were swamped with calls from people saying no? Remember how, after it appeared for a second that the representatives would actually represent the people, even if only just to keep their jobs, they quickly turned around and bailed out the economy anyway?
Yeah. Good job on that one guys. So why are we sending another trillion dollars we don't have down the toilet now? Really, if there's going to be a trillion dollars spent, let's spend it in ways that will actually
stimulate the economy, y'know?
So, yes, today would be a good day to call your senator and let the fine person know how you feel about this nonsense.
It probably won't help, but at least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you raised your voice against this spending in the hard years to come.
P.S. -- Even if you think the plan is a good idea, let's delay it a bit longer. Remember how originally it was going to create 2 million jobs, and then 3 million, and then yesterday that was upgraded to 4 million? If we hold off another couple weeks we can probably have them promising it'll create 10 million jobs, and I think we can all agree that that would be much better!
|Monday, February 9th, 2009|
|Happy New Year!
Happy Tu B'Shevat, everyone. It's the new year of the trees.
|Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009|
|Tuesday, January 27th, 2009|
|Saturday, January 17th, 2009|
|What's good on TV?
I've been sick, and would like to get lost in a TV show. What show should I watch? Possibilities include but are not limited to: Deadwood, The Wire, Monk, Weeds, Numb3rs, Criminal Minds, Burn Notice, BBC's Robin Hood, Torchwood, Venture Bros., The Tudors, Supernatural . . . and, erm, I'm sure there are others I've been meaning to watch but never made the time to get into. Which one should be my first TV binge session of 2009? Any suggestions?
|Friday, January 16th, 2009|
One of my little bookish pet peeves is when the title of a book changes from the cover to the title pages.
Recent examples: Jim Sallis' essay collection is Gently Into the Land of the Meateaters
on the cover and Gently into the Land of the Meateaters
on the inside.
What the covers indicate are Richard Tierney's Scroll of Thoth
and Liz Granville's Crack of Doom
are The Scroll of Thoth
and The Crack of Doom
Is Seabury Quinn's novella Roads
or . . .Roads
John Shirley's collection Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories
is, on the inside, Really, Really, Really, Really Weird Stories
. (When I asked him, he indicated he preferred the former title, as it better represented the contents of the collection.)
And oh the headaching over whether to catalogue Nick Mamatas's first collection as 3000 MPH in Every Direction at Once
or 3000 Miles Per Hour in Every Direction at Once
. (Speaking of which, any day now would be fine for the new collection, Prime. And the Langan collection. And Mike Jasper's novel. And whatever else I'm forgetting. And while we're on about overdue books for which I'm impatient, where's the new Graham Joyce, Night Shade? If I hadn't pre-ordered I'd have picked up the UK edition already!)
Really I don't know why I fixate on such things. But I do.
|Tuesday, January 13th, 2009|
So, I have internet trouble. I’ve got cable internet in my home and a wireless network set up. Most of the time, for browsing and such, I’ve got a fine, fast connection. But whenever I try to download any file larger than 20 megabytes or so, whether a music file, drivers, whatever, my internet cuts out after a few seconds of sustained high speed and then I have to wait minutes at a time as the modem resets or whatever it is that it’s doing, which makes downloading any large files an exercise in frustration. Anyone have any idea what might be causing this or what I might do about it?
|Tuesday, December 9th, 2008|
|Friday, December 5th, 2008|
|Wednesday, November 26th, 2008|
|Google lawsuit settled
:Because the online use of books only will increase, the best news is the creation of a new Books Rights Registry, which will do for authors what ASCAP now does for songwriters: monitor use and collect fees. The person who holds the rights to a book will be paid when it's pulled up on Google, downloaded at a public library, or otherwise accessed in digital format. According to the Authors Guild, "The Registry will be controlled by a board of authors and publishers; as part of the settlement, Google will pay $34.5 million to get the Registry up and running, notify rights holders of the settlement, and process claims."
|Saturday, November 8th, 2008|
Help me, LiveJournal! I've got a scene stuck in my head from a movie I saw at least a dozen years ago. Probably a vampire flick. Don't remember anything else about the movie, but this scene has a car in the desert with its accelerator pedal tamped down and its wheel turned so it's just describing a big circle in the sand over and over again. There may be someone unconscious inside the car. Anyone seen this movie? Have any idea what it could be? Thank you!
|Thursday, November 6th, 2008|
When I am running for President, my memoir will be called Drinking the Kool-Aid