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toastykitten

September 2017

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  • In response to the scandal of the Shanxi brick-kiln slaves, lawyer and activist Wu Ge (吴革) has submitted a proposed amendment to the Criminal Law defining and criminalizing slavery.
  • A recipe for okonomiyaki, courtesy of the Chronicle Books blog. Chronicle Books is one of my favorite publishers - whoever does the design for their books (many people, I imagine) are geniuses. It also helps that many of their books look really interesting and informative. I love okonomiyaki, and I wish there were a Japanese restaurant close by that served it. It looks like it's probably really easy to make.
  • Jackie Chan set to appear in drama set in Japan - a drama on the lives of Chinese immigrants in Japan's Shinjuku district. Uh, no comment for now.
  • Thank you, Jeff Yang: A Taste of Racism in the Chinese Food Scare - Nevertheless, China has been portrayed as a nation blind to hygiene and blissfully unconcerned about recent reports of food contamination. That's troubling, because it reinforces the notion that befouled food is the consequence of a foul culture. Chef and gustatory adventurer Anthony Bourdain may have said it best in a 2006 Salon interview in which he noted that there's "something kind of racist" about culinary xenophobia: "Fear of dirt is often indistinguishable from the fear of unnamed dirty people." Link from Serious Eats.
  • I cut my hand on my dad's butcher knife today. When I moved out, my parents gave me that knife. It is a dangerous thing - it's really heavy, and it's been dinged over the years, so much so that there isn't a straight line anywhere. You know how in Chinatown you go into the little shops with the ducks hanging in the windows? And there's the guy behind the counter chopping your roast pork and roast duck into pieces with simple, beautiful whomps? That's my knife. I hardly ever use the knife, but I took it out to slice some turnips the other day. My chef's knife just wasn't cutting it. It wasn't exactly going through things like butter, but I pounded the hell out of that thing. I'm telling you, my knife will cut through just about anything. I almost feel like a real cook with it.
  • Currently reading: Connie Willis' science fiction novel Doomsday Book - it is surprisingly engaging. I'm almost done with it, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I wasn't really expecting anything except a diversion, but it's got time travel into the Middle Ages and a spunky heroine. (I'm not a fan of the word "spunky", but I'm not sure what else works.) One thing I did notice - people spend a lot of time trying to get hold of people via the phone, and for the longest time, I was like, dude, does the future not have cell phones and the Internet? I flipped to the copyright page, and discovered it was published in the early nineties. So that explains it!
toastykitten: (Default)
It amuses me that people actually think Transformers might have a plot. Hello, 1. It's a Michael Bay movie, 2. It's about robots fighting. I must be easily pleased, because 2 satisfies me just fine for a popcorn movie. Robots! Fighting!

Speaking about Michael Bay movies, we watched The Island the other day.

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So I just finished re-reading this book. I used to say that I really liked Philip K. Dick's ideas, but I didn't think he could write. I take that back - some parts of the novel are rambling, but overall I liked it and I liked the way it was written.

A bunch of it reminded me of BSG, actually. Androids are beginning to escape from their human creators, and Rick Deckard is the bounty hunter who hunts them down and "retires" them, aka murder. I found the "empathy" test used to determine whether the person was android or human fascinating, especially since today I read this story about how U.S. soldiers played golf and drank whiskey right before raping and murdering a 14-year-old Iraqi girl. They would have scored as androids who ought to be "retired".

I always have trouble with the androids/cyborgs/intelligent machines have feelings plotlines - I think it's a mental block for me, because I always think of machines as being programmed - someone has to put those orders in, so if they have feelings, they're not "real".

Ok, so here's my theory - I know it makes no sense - but the androids that Rick Deckard hunts down are the beginning of the Cylon rebellion against humanity. There are more Nexus-6 rebellions waiting to happen, and at first, the ones who look like machines have more power, because they're harder to kill. Eventually, though, they become subservient to the androids who look like humans, because there's an intense desire to mimic humanity, and it's the closest they'll come to being human, and also, that's why they refer to themselves as "humanity's children".
Jul. 27th, 2006 10:27 pm

weather

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Ok, roasting vegetables in the oven at 400 degrees on a 90 degree day for 2 hours wasn't such a hot idea. (Well, actually, it was. Just not in the way I like.) The ratatouille still came out really good.

I've been reading like crazy. I finished all the Angel Sanctuary books the library had. Now I'm stuck - at a very crucial moment in the plot. But I would have said that if I had ended at Book 2, 3, or 4, too.

Finished a Miss Manners book. I don't know what it is about Judith Martin, but I really like the way she handles stupid letters from people about politeness and etiquette. And, I'm just addicted to advice columns. I wonder what it is about them. Perhaps it's the certainty that I am not one of the letter writers or one of the letter writers' subjects. I was just befuddled, reading the letter from the cranky gentleman who bitched about people calling him the next day to thank him for the party the night before.

Finished Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke. I really liked it, for the most part. Kind of a depressing end for humanity, though. They don't get to see the stars, explore new horizons, invent new things.

Clarke is also really naive about race. Granted, he wrote the book in the 1950s, but I did a double-take when he called the n-word "convenient". Since when the hell has that word ever been convenient? Black is convenient, and is one syllable. I could even see Negro being a convenient word. But that?

The thing I liked most about it, though, was that the writing was clear and concise. There's no rambling on for several pages about the minute details of a philosophy, or an page-long aside about airplanes that has nothing to do with the plot whatsoever.

Another amusing detail - there's someone in the book who says, "Can you believe the average person watches three hours of television everyday?" Hee. Obviously Clarke underestimated our greed for entertainment.

Finished Bait and Switch. Too sleepy to look up her name. I'm still not sure what I think of it, other than noting that she got totally scammed. And it brought up bad memories of that gap between graduation and my first job. If you can call it that - it was a year-long temp position.
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Project Runway is back! YAY! So far I am liking the Atlanta dude, Michael Knight, and the older woman with negative breasts and five kids who is an architect, and the Barbie doll designer, Robert, and the pageant-wear designer Kayne, whose name I keep mistyping as Kanye.

Hate: Angela, from "o-HI-o", Vincent, whom I have dubbed "Woody Allen on meth", and that "punk" rock guy with no neck that I will refer to only as the Cardassian.

I don't know why they switched to summer, since they were already doing pretty well as a winter show. Maybe because there's less competition? I think it's still too early to tell at this point who's going to end up in the final three, but I think the least dramatic people will actually make it. They have a slightly older crew this year, and the maturity shows in the ones who've decided to opt out of the drama.

In the past few days, I've finished the following books:

Triton, by Samuel R. Delany - 1. This book will teach me to never ever read those blurbs on the covers. I kept expecting stuff to happen that didn't. 2. I don't know if all Delany's books are like this, but the info-dumps were a bit much. I like my info-dumps to be much simpler and more fluid, not take up ten pages for each detail of the structure of future society. It just makes me think the main character never went to school in his world, or wasn't very observant about it. 3. Ugh, I hated the characters. It took me nearly two months to read because I hated all the characters so much. The protagonist was kind of aimless, his best friend kept hitting on him even though he's not gay, his love interest was really annoying. 4. The war that the planet is involved in lasts maybe two days. I just kept expecting more to happen. Maybe I should re-read it, but I might end up throwing it at the wall. I haven't really read Delany's work before other than a few essays - maybe his shorter works are better? 5. I also ended up laughing at Delany's ideas of "futuristic space fashion".

The World's Worst: A Guide to the Most Disgusting Hideous Inept and Dangerous People, Places and Things on Earth, by Mark Frauenfelder - Frankly, if you already read BoingBoing this book is unnecessary. It doesn't even go into as much detail as the posts on the same subjects in his blog do. There should have been more pictures. I finished this coming home yesterday.

Angel Sanctuary Book 1, by Kaori Yuki - I actually already have this manga series on my bookshelf. However, I bought them in Japanese, because at the time, I was under the delusion that I would actually learn Japanese well enough to read it. Anyway, the only way I can describe the series is: CRACKTASTIC. First, there's the incest. And the mixed-race weirdness. Then the whole battle between the angels and the demons, and right now, from what I can tell, the demons are the good guys. And the demons have declared war against God, and they might actually win! Oh, and did I mention the incest? It's even more fucked up than the Flowers in the Attic stuff. I borrowed this translation from the library - they only have up to book 6.

The Reach of a Chef, by Michael Ruhlman - Actually, I'm still reading this one. I think I'll be done tomorrow. It's okay, but not as good as I thought it would be.
May. 11th, 2006 08:28 pm

blather

toastykitten: (Default)
I got really pissed off reading slashdot today. Man, slashdotters sure are *confident* in their ability to get another job, and in their certainty that people in unions - people like my dad, their nurses, their teachers, their firefighters are just total lazy ass fuckers only in unions so they don't have to do any "real" work.

I think I am a masochist.

I really want to see Death and the Compass for two reasons: 1. It's got Doctor Who in it! 2. It's based on one of my favorite Jorge Luis Borges short stories.

I finished Mind of My Mind by Octavia Butler a few days ago. I was on a Butler kick for the past few weeks, rereading the Xenogenesis series, and Wild Seed, then I bought Mind of My Mind. I'm starting to see common threads throughout the two series, and remembered just how much I loved her protagonists - the thing they all have in common is that drive to survive. I remember this being somewhat of an obsession for her; people in her books compromise themselves and their morals a lot, in order to just live.

Right now I'm reading Women Romantic Poets, 1785-1832. It's the era of Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats. Where Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats are all very emotional and idealizing the pastoral and concerned with the "sublime", Women Romantic Poets are overall a pretty hilarious lot, with one moralistic exception. There are poems in the form of Scottish drinking songs, poems about classist prejudices, poems that make fun of the rituals of "romance", and domestic poems about raising babies. The Scottish drinking songs are my favorite so far.

My apartment almost looks clean.
toastykitten: (Default)
If you're going to keep reading feminist dystopias, you really shouldn't read the news afterward.

I just finished reading Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
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