Friday, August 30Language pet peeve of the month: People who write "Here, here" when they mean "Hear, hear."
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Tuesday, August 27Teresa Nielsen-Hayden on lost fandoms:I've seen what looked like odd fugitive hints of such communities' existence elsewhere: here a footnote about Mary Wortley Montague and "scribblers' compacts" that dammit, I should have xeroxed; there an even more tenuous references to the strange slang used among the Union Army's telegraphers. And in a magazine about American history--drat, I've mislaid the thing again, though Paul Kincaid and Maureen Kincaid Speller may remember its name and title, since they were looking at it last time they visited--I found an article about the late-19th-C. fannish universe of boy's offset postcard presses.
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Friday, August 23Why I Still Love the Web, Reason # 127 / Why I Hate the Web, Reason #342: The website idea I've been playing with in your head for years has been created by someone else. The Invisible Library is a collection of books that only appear in other books.
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Thursday, August 22"There is a heppy land--fur, fur awa-a-ay."
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110 Stories, by John M. Ford.
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Wednesday, August 21Words of wisdom from Larry Lessig on fighting geek battles politically.
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A nice talk by Allan MacGillivray on Genres in Scottish Writing: Science Fiction. Which reminds me--why haven't I read this yet?
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Bad-ass Scot Prof Douglas Gifford interviews Alasdair Gray, Founding father of the Scottish rennaisannce. That would be the current one, as we all know who fathered the last one, right?
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My sister is way cool.
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Tuesday, August 6When I was taking a semester abroad at Glasgow University in 1995, I was a very cosmopolitan and sophisticated youth. I certainly did not participate in anything so relentlessly geeky as weekly RPG sessions at the Glasgow University Gaming Society (GUGS for short). (And if you get the pun you're as geeky as I . . . wasn't.) So I was far too busy being suave and debonair to contemplate anything as ludicrous as the Talisman Pub Crawl. Therefore, of course, I was never to be found staggering through Sauciehall street pubs with a bunch of Scottish gamers wearing a Burger King crown on my head. And it logically follows that I also did not lead my team to a stunning second place victory, despite it being composed exclusively of freshers and Yanks.
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I have no idea who reads this erratically updated log at this point, but I'd like to make a request of those who do.
I'm looking for a bunch of books on political history and political thought, as I keep running smack into my own ignorance. For the moment I'm interested in radical, left-wing, and progressive European politics, from at least the 18th century (earlier would be dandy) to the present. I'll get to the conservatives, moderates, and assorted others later. I'll get to the Americas and the rest of the world later as well, though recommendations would be welcome.
I'd prefer the books be as nonpartisan as possible. I'm not looking (yet) for a conservative take on how bad things happened because of left-wingers, or a left-wing take on how bad things happened because of conservatives, or (worst of all) any book that tells how one small branch of left-wingers were true and good and right, and bad things happened because of all those other small branches of left-wingers. A book that neatly summarizes all these squabbles, and the stories behind them, would be spot on.
So, any suggestions? Mail me.
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Sunday, August 4
Most people make a certain amount of noise when working out. I -- so far as you could call what I do working out -- make sort of hissing noises while breathing out when I use the weightlifting machines. Other people grunt, or whuffle, or sing snatches of whatever tune they're listening to on their portable music listening device of choice. (What are we going to call the new ones? WalkMP3s? MP3men? iPods?) Mostly, people carefully ignore the sounds other people make, and everybody exists in this sort of consensually illusory public/private space where we simply don't pay attention to such things. All very good and proper.
But sometimes, you get someone who is an ostentatious grunter. Or whuffler. Or singer. Or, in the case of today's trip to the gym, a screamer. Guy was clearly out to let everybody in the gym -- and I mean everybody, not just the ones in the same room -- know what a macho, macho man he was. He was wearing combat boots to work out, for crying out loud. I mean the baddest, meanest, toughest-looking biker leathermen at the gym (it's that kind of gym) wear gym shoes like everyone else. But this guy struts his way into the Serious Weightlifting Area, and about five minutes later we all hear these long, tortured cries of agony. Thought somebody might have him on the rack, but then he struts back in to the Lesser Beings' Workout Area, picks up a few barbells and do some lifts just to show us that even on his breaks he's more butch than we'll ever be. The noises he made with the barbells, while less than the full-throated yells of the other room, were certainly louder than mere grunts. And then it's back to the SWA for another round of screaming . . . and leaving the rest of us utterly unable to concentrate on our wussy little inferior exercises.
Anyway, my gym now has a screamer. I hate that.
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Children, especially lively intelligent, interesting children . . . are exhausting. We babysat two wonderful munchkins this weekend for a grand total of seven hours. And we were wrecked afterwards. We were more out of it than if we'd spent the whole time at a bar throwing back vodka tonics. I don't know how you parents types do it.
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