cybermule: (books)
My aunt lent me this. She's 70 and funky and thought it was really good. I enjoyed it for about a third of the book, mostly because I have a child about the age of the narrator, plus it was an interesting story, then someone told me it was written based on the Fritzl case. I should have realised this, but I don't really analyse things too much as I like to read / listen / watch without pre-conceptions and I just didn't really grasp this. To be honest, it made me feel a bit sick. If all the profits had gone to some home for battered women I'd have been ok, but they weren't.

I got about 3/4 of the way through and started reading about where the mum describes her first still-born birth and how the baby was strangled by it's own umbilical cord. My sprog was born tangled in the cord, and this was just too personal a slant and made me feel that the whole thing was vaguely pornographic. Emotions were being manipulated for schlock and money - that's porn, basically. So I instantly quit on it.

It's not a bad book, it just didn't work for me on an ethical level.
cybermule: (Default)
Recommended and lent by [livejournal.com profile] inulro

It was kind of irritating in places due to a slightly hipstery-Oxbridge nonce ethos. But it was eclectic and beautifully written and namechecked Roger Deakin so I fell in love with its beautiful descriptive detail of different landscapes. It left me with a longing for Dorset and an urge to re-visit Scotland and just re-connect with the wilderness of my youth that I've been pining for recently. That wild pagan landscape of ragged oaks and steep sided valleys and dark whirling Cotswold streams. The acute rolling Dorset hills. The silvery beauty of the western coasts, particulalry Lleyn and Morar. The craggy unforgiving barren rocks of Scotland highlands.

Next year I must roam :)
cybermule: (muletech)
The sprog has become really interested in electronics and how circuits work. Obviously this is something I want to foster - I had an electronics kit when I was young and it set me up for a lifetime of happy soldering and fixing. Plus, post apocalyptic skills FTW. He is, however, only 4. Albeit a smart 4. I had my on on this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Logiblocs-Electric-City/dp/B001IY7THO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1321524246&sr=8-6

Anyone have any better ideas?
cybermule: (books)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deathless-Catherynne-M-Valente/dp/0765326302

This was good. A fairytale. But a feminist fairytale. With Soviet history.

See ehat it does - Russian folklore, Russian history. More Russian than Borscht + Blinis + vodka for supper.

I guess more than anything it reminded me of Angela Carter in that it was a rich and sensual fairytale. Took a couple of goes to really get started, then I couldn't stop. And that reminds me that my only criticism is that it's a bit like Christmas cake or rich drak chocolate - occasionally I'd feel like I had one of those binge-fuelled rich-food headaches.
cybermule: (books)
This was good. Margaret Atwood is always good. But I like her so much better when she's funny than when she's mainly worthy.
cybermule: (Mark13)
Any minute now the hipsters are going to turn up on my mental post-apocalyptic wasteland with their fixy bikes and Cath Kidson thermoses and I'm going to have to blow them to kingdom come with a Big Fuckoff Gun. Nonetheless, these pictures are awesome and encapsulate all that I find beautiful and fascinating about Amerika:

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2011/02/07/captured-the-ruins-of-detroit/2672/

(Incidentally, I've always hated the way FB shits all over any links you copy from it, leaving dirty little FB spoors behind. Now I additionally really hate the way it allows people to "like" my new friendships. Shudder.)

That also reminded me of one of my favourite Bowie songs, and my favourite version thereof:



Which reminds me of [livejournal.com profile] weemadharold, who was always my biggest Bowie ally and is still AWOL :(

It also helps me clear another blob from the bum.txt file. I've been feeling increasingly at home in Bristol this year as I've made friends and got to know it. It's only taken a decade :P Part of it is watching my own particular small town creep closer from being a dormitory town into being an exurb. I like that term. It used to be a mining village. It is Barstow to Bristol's San Fran. But now it's kind of absorbed onto the edge of the connurbation. I like the fringes at the other end of Bristol, too. For a while back in the Spring I seemed to spend all my time on the A37. It's like frontierland down there, the weird strung out little functional bits of Amerika you find, which fascintate me more than the homogenity of the cities. Cities *do* have their own characters, but nowadays they also seem to have been shrinkwrapped in a vanilla coating of bland.

I even have a fondness for Bradley Stoke. Wouldn't want to live there, but it does supply a kind of no man's land to buffer me against the hipsters. Although I feel they make make an inroad through Downend.
cybermule: (muletech)
I'm sure I've used that blog title before. And I'm sure I've posted about the uncanny valley before. But Semagic is failing me on both counts, which is ironic if you think about it. More and more existence seems to be a web of deja vu, spin and vaguely remembered conversations in dreams.

Anyway, the uncanny valley was a note in the massive jumble of brain-farts that is the file bum.txt on my android phone. I remember putting it on there recently, after we'd taken teh sprog to see Cars 2 at the cinema. I'm turning into an old fart, I can no longer discern whether backgrounds in animated films are actual footage of cities or rendered reconstructions. As the cities in question are ones I've never been to, they may even be simulacra. I have no effing idea at times what is actually existant and what is some projected holographic illusion probably created by The Man. Who may be a holographic projection of Another Man entirely.

I think too much about this stuff, I appreciate that. But it seems to be bothering other people too. I read a good article on Wired recently about the representation of post-apocalyptic Washington DC in Fallout 3, and how it felt to see such a realistic anrealism on a computer screen. And that led me to this article:

http://steelweaver.tumblr.com/post/8175553314/reality-as-failed-state-tl-dr-version-i-like-doing

This is why I'm having a mental backlash against news and politics at the moment. It hurts my brain trying to decipher the layers of potential bullshit.

And I keep having this disconcerting moment when I read a headline and have to remember that it's September, not April the 1st. These guys really are seriously peddling snake-oil:

http://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/bristol/skin-chemists/884992?nlp&CID=UK_CRM_1_0_0_262&a=15

Is there no irony left in the world, or am I just beached on a reef of constantly finding everything a bit strange?
cybermule: (books)
Picked it up because it was about Buenos Aires society, and I'd been talking about Buenos Aires with someone the day before. You know how it goes...

I definitely liked the gently implicit weaving of the collapsing politics and economics of the city all through the pages of the book. I liked the constant air of claustrophobia and slight menace. The actual plot I'm not so sure about, but then it is kind of rattling around in my brain still. It's been made into a film by Guillermo del Toro, so I'd probably quite like to see that.

One for the "eventual re-read" pile.
cybermule: (books)
Cool book. Won't review it in too much detail as it's on the Bibgoths long list. It was a kind of engrossing world for me - loved the biotech stuff, and watching humans being just as frail and crappy even when they've achieved a semblance of immortality. Good ending as well - mostly sci-fi books jsut seem to collapse into a finale that makes me think the author's bored or reached his word count already, but this was better than average.
cybermule: (books)
Hahaha. This was awesome. It was recommended to me as a good Neal Stephenson book to read, so it was likely to be enjoyable, but I wasn't prepared to enjoy it as much as I did. Basically a reasonably good novel involving a really interesting part of history and some delicious nerdy maths stuff to rub thighs over. Again, it was nerd-stuff that was actually funny, rather than toe-curling. The dinner-party conversation Randy ends up having with his girlfriend's academic buddies is just wonderfully affirmingly word-perfect to every time I try to talk to humanities graduates, and the division of Randy's grandmother's goods up by his nerdy family manages to convey the absolute emotional dysfunctionality of oven the most apparently rational family when it comes to chattel-grabbing. I guess a lot of the observations just appealed to my predominately male and geeky brain.

Anyhoo, if the South Gloucestershire library system every release my other two Neal Stephenson reservations from the limbo of non-collected books, hopefully they'll be as good as this.
cybermule: (books)
Another random grab off the library shelf, mostly because t was non-fiction and also beecause I luvz waves, I do. Then when I got it home, I was prepared to be disappointed as it seemed to be a whistle-stop tour of everything wave related, and I was already pretty sure I knew everything it was likely to tell me about waves. Theoretical chemist here, thanks!

And it is a whistle-stop tour of everything wave-related, from sea waves through biochemistry to traffic related phenomena. But it's done in a good way – explained well for those who don't know it already, explained interestingly for those who do. And with an overly of wry and sarcastic humour that really did it for me. Mostly when science things try to be humorous, it's just about as painful as dad-dancing. But this made me laugh. It also reminded me of the best of Alain de Botton. Yes, there is such a thing IMO, shoot me if you like.

Anyway, recommended. I'll probably put the cloudspotting one on my library list.
cybermule: (shootyouinthemotherfuckinhead)
...people tell me there ain't no use in trying.

Now little girl you're so young and pretty
And one thing I know is true
You'll be dead before your time is through.

epic rant, only tangentially about that fucktard Murdoch )

In other news, the liberal lefty literati have now said it's ok to shop at tesco. Hoo-bloody-rah. That means I can boycott Morrisons for supporting ArseFuckTwin #1 of 2, Murdoch and not starve. Remember kids, you saw it here first, in glorious vitriolic technicolour.
cybermule: (books)
Been meaning to read this for *ages* but had overdosed on the Dark Mountain thing a bit recently. Sometimes a girl likes to kick back, think of the now, and not steep herself in Post-Modernism collapsist theory. Nail polish is also fun, you know?

Anyway, it was good. A humorous and relatively gentle ride through a comparison of collapse in the US and SU and how it's better in Mother Russia. Again, the sort of thing I'd be ranting about with too much sudafed running through my system for a while, always nice to see someone less sweary and more credible got there first. There's some practical advice on collapse-proofing yourself too, which I'd mostly done. Toying with the idea of turning the loft into a survivalist stash, cos, you know, tools n stuff. Yum.

If anyone wants to borrow it, let me know.
cybermule: (books)
Random grab time. This book's selling point is that it is *very* newly published, as in post-Coalition, and obviously I'm interested to see how the bastards screw me personally over their policy effects on women and mothers.

It was good. It actually voiced some of the concerns and issues that even as a well-off mother in a modern family set-up, still pissed me off. And were difficult to voice without feeling like a bitch because, well, we are all equal now and everything. I'd get a copy of this for first-time mums. Far better than the Contented Little Baby Book, which is just a fascistic patronising piece of drivel.

Hopefully the Tory Bastards will remove all my cash before Gina Ford sues me...
cybermule: (books)
I quite liked this. The best bit was the primer. I liked the mythologising. I didn't like that the book pointed it out to me, but it was nonetheless good. I can see why Gaiman is a fan. The stuff surrounding the primer was kind of random and disjointed and not particularly well-written. Which was a shame as I generally like cyberpunk, and the steampunk-ish aspects were cool for a bit, but then, yeah, well.

I will try his other books though.
cybermule: (books)
Borrowed this from a friend. See these things, want to be "educated", borrow them, end up head-desking repeatedly. The format is actually ok, if annoyingly funky. It's just, well, not my thing. For a while I felt stupid, then I realised the I can cope with QM and other tricky things. Then I decided it was all a worthless pile of shit (this was mainly around the bit about struturalism). Finally I managed to enjoy the bits on post-modern feminism and cyberpunk. But seriously, if anyone sees me loitering around this sort of thing again, brain me with a nice programming manual or something.
cybermule: (books)
This was lovely. I'm actually going to read and review it again, because it's one of those books that you climb into like a wonderful clear sparkling river and feel like there is some much connectedness happening that you're missing out on. Lots of apparently disparate tales all linked together by subtle threads of interaction. Beautifully written in many different but non-jarring styles. Parts of it reminded me of Gould's Book of Fish, which is also a good read.

Really lovely. Try it if you haven't already.

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