Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Once more, out in the corridor, I listened at the keyhole, and again it was all quiet in there. I even stuck out my tongue, in a quite childish and school-boyish way, and then I couldn't help laughing. I think I've never laughed so much in all my life. Very quietly, of course. It was the purest repressed laugh imaginable. When I laugh like that, well, then there's nothing more that's above me. Then I'm the unbeatable embracer and ruler of all things. At such moments I'm simply grand.

Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten

Brigitte Dale discusses human bedwarmers

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Because a little ignorance never hurt anyone


Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools
after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for "oral sex".

Merriam Webster's 10th edition, which has been used for the past few
years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms (for children aged nine to 10) in
Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the
"sexually graphic" entry is "just not age appropriate", according
to the area's local paper

Ladytron – Playgirl

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ladytron – Evil

So I've decided that this week is going to be Ladytron Week on this blog. It's like Shark Week, but instead of sharks it's Ladytron. Apparently I've only posted one of their videos on here before. Weird. They make great videos. This song, "Evil", from their second album, Light & Magic, has two videos. You can choose between arty and sexy. Guess which one the American version is. But why choose? Watch and love them both!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cover letter tip: remember you are the editor's obedient servant

Just started chapter two of Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton. Thought this was funny:

On April 6, 1771, he published a pair of poems in the [Royal Danish
] Gazette that he introduced with a diffident note to the
editor: "Sir, I am a youth about seventeen, and consequently such an attempt as
this must be presumptuous; but if, upon perusal, you think the following piece
worthy of a place in your paper, by inserting it you'll much oblige Your
obedient servant, A.H." The two amorous poems that follow are schizophrenic in
their contrasting visions of love. In the first, the dreamy poet steals upon his
virgin love, who is reclining by a brook as "lambkins" gambol around her. He
kneels and awakens her with an ecstatic kiss before sweeping her up in his arms
and carrying her off to marital bliss, intoning, "Believe me love is doubly
sweet / In wedlock's holy bands." In the next poem, Hamilton has suddenly
metamorphosed into a jaded rake, who begins with a shocking, Swiftian opening
line: "Celia's an artful little slut." This launched a portrait of a
manipulative, feline woman that concludes:

So, stroking puss's velvet paws,
How well the jade conceals her claws
And purrs; but if at last
You hap to squeeze her somewhat hard
She spits—her back up—
prenez garde;
Good faith she has you fast.

The first poem seems to have been composed by a sheltered adolescent with an
idealized view of women and the second by a world-weary young philanderer who
has already tasted many amorous sweets and shed any illusions about female
virtue. In fact, this apparent attraction to two opposite types of women—the
pure and angelic versus the earthy and flirtatious—ran straight through
Hamilton's life, a contradiction he never resolved and that was to lead to
scandalous consequences.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Salon's Heather Havrilesky sums it up nicely in response to Dick Ebersol's boneheadedness:

The most brilliant and original novels and works of art and theorems and
discoveries of recent history were all greeted as idealistic, impractical,
bizarre, delusional or utterly wrong at one point or another. This is how good
things come into being: Someone listens politely to the opinionated blowhard,
shakes his hand, and forgets all of that priceless advice within

Unfortunately, the man in the gray suit may quickly grow impatient. Whether
you're working on your thesis or coming up with a new marketing model or writing
experimental fiction or challenging the current notions about internet browsing
habits, you may not have a lot of time to try out your approach. In Conan's
case, thanks to Leno's spectacular failure, he had a few short months.

And sure, plenty of experiments fail. But what's the alternative? A nation
of copycats, playing it safe, catering to the lowest common denominator.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

, originally uploaded by majawalk.

Geodesic playground thing, my elementary school

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

, originally uploaded by majawalk.

Little League, from my position in left field.

Monday, January 11, 2010

, originally uploaded by majawalk.

Another one on the swings at my elementary school.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I wish I knew where that picture I took a picture of above was from. That's the side of a building in the East Village. Naturally I can't help thinking of Mira and Helen (left, in a cuteness explosion).

I just lent Velocifero to a friend. I just got it myself last week. Song for song I think it might be their best yet.

And if the following quote doesn't cause cartoon hearts to pop up all around your head, I don't know what will:

Interviewer: What piece of technology would you most like to own?

Mira: I'm torn between a SkyScout handheld instant star and constellation identifier, which identifies more than 6,000 celestial objects at the touch of a button, and a marshmallow shooter - a clever pump-action device that shoots sweet, edible, miniature marshmallows over 30' and has LED sight that projects a safe beam of red light to help locate a target for pinpoint accuracy.

Singer, scientist, aspiring marshmallow shooter, Mira Aroyo.

, originally uploaded by majawalk.

Playground at my elementary school.

Friday, January 8, 2010

, originally uploaded by majawalk.

The view from my room from age 6-18 (and intermittently thereafter).

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Jonathan Ball, at Lemon Hound:
"The purpose of a review is to describe the book. There is a tradition of reviews
being evaluative, but I don’t feel that this is their true purpose. My basic
complaint about reviews in general is that they are too concerned with
evaluating books rather than describing them."

"I can’t stand reading reviews that offer only, or mostly, the reviewer’s
opinion. Why should I care about a reviewer’s opinion? I’m reading to learn
about a book. Tell me about the book. I don’t care about you. I care about the
book. Just like you don’t care about me, you care about the book I’m reviewing."


Read the whole thing.

, originally uploaded by majawalk.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

What do you do when you want to boycott a particular press because you hate the editor's guts but the press actually publishes books you want to read?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010