19 May 2011

Good Omens

In an effort to rid myself of the email address associated with this blog (because of spam issues, argh), I have moved Platypus Tails over to the blogger account associated with my new email account. Rah.

So from now on, visit me at jessiqatheplatypus.blogspot.com


05 April 2011

All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John

This is a small little book that I carried around in my purse for about three weeks so I could show it to everyone I met (I failed by not showing it to Erin or my boyfriend, but no one ever said I had a great memory). It's slightly morbid while being very funny. I really think I need to buy it and continue to carry it in my purse, just so that I have something to accost/annoy strangers with and so that I always have something handy to bring me a smile. Sounds like a good plan, yeah?

All My Friends Are Dead is a picture book featuring the dinosaur on the cover, an old man, a tree and an end table (not friends, after all), and others who find themselves alone in this world. It's macabre, sure, but sweet and funny at the same time. I absolutely love it.

Daddy and I agree that Death ought to have been speaking in all capital letters.* He loved the book. Because of its size, he wondered if I intended to read it to the chicklets at story-time. I said that most of the jokes would go right over their heads, so no.

The next day I showed the book to my mom and even she chuckled though the humor is a bit macabre and she doesn't tend to dig that sort of thing. Jenni of course loved it and was tempted to buy a copy she in the store a few days later.

I need to buy this book. Seriously. Also, I hold it responsible for making "Dangit" so prominent in my daily vocabulary.

* Reference to Terry Pratchett's Death, who is the best Death in literature as far as I am concerned. You also have to imagine that he speaks with Christoper Lee's voice.

Doctor Who

Last night I watched the first half of the "Sensorites" episodes of Doctor Who. This is the first Doctor, William Hartnell. I mentioned this on Twitter and we got into a conversation about how there's a ton to work my way through if I continue to go in order like this. It may be years before I catch up with the current episodes. For this reason, one of my friends found the whole thing too intimidating. I suspect that if someone merely started with the new series (though this started several yeas ago, so it's no small feat either), they'd be okay in terms of understanding the canon. Love was also expressed for the Daleks and their reliably one-track mind. EXTERMINATE! Gotta love it.

Anyhooe, back to the episodes I was watching last night. Like the rest of these early episodes, the sets (aside from the TARDIS) seem to be made of cardboard. I love it. Sometimes the episodes are total crap, sometimes they're pretty good. They run the whole gamut, really. There are time when I think that the real reason I stick with it and watch these is just to hear the theme song at the beginning and end of every episode. Best theme song ever. Truth.

20 March 2011

With a Little Help by Cory Doctorow

[Note: I wrote this review while at work, mostly while listening to the book. As a result the tense varies between present and past. Whatever.]

I’m listening to this on audio. It was a free download and each story is read by a different performer. I listen to it while working in the back at the library. I must confess that since I’m at work while listening to this book, my attention is rarely focused properly upon the story, therefore I can listen to a story and not have any clue what it was about or who was in it. I have found that the reader has quite a lot to do with how well I pay attention to the story. The first one, meh. The Neil Gaiman-read story, “The Right Book,” caught my ear a bit, but the first one I *really* listened to was “Scroogled,” read by Wil Wheaton.

“Scroogled” is about what would happen if Google succumbed to evil. I’m not gonna lie, it made me second-guess my overwhelming reliance on Google products. The thought dies quickly of course, and I am currently writing this in Google Docs. So it goes.

“Human Readable” was very interesting. I have a feeling I would have understood it a bit more if I was listening to it in a place where I could give it more attention, like in the car rather than while working. Again, the reader may have had something to do with my interest. The first third is a love story and then the relationship ends when the woman chooses her career over her love life and moves to D.C. At that point the story follows her fight for getting a new law pushed through, an effort that puts her at odds with her ex. Very interesting how their relationship plays out throughout the course of the story. Also, there’s an Ewok.

I pretty much ignored “Liberation Spectrum” while working, but “Power Punctuation” was dead fun. It’s great and really fast-paced. The story is told from the point of view of a country bumpkin who finds himself moving up quickly within the corporate infrastructure though he doesn’t really understand what’s going on. The story is in the form of letters to his mom. I love his watch that gives him advice and feedback and tells him what he needs to do at work.

I had no idea what was happening in “Visit the Sins.” Something about being able to shut off while being awake and therefore not really being present. This is just the kind of story that would totally hold my interest if I weren’t busy doing actual work while listening to it. This happens all too often for this audiobook, sadly.

“Constitutional Crisis,” much like Felicia Day’s The Guild and some of Wil Wheaton’s blogs, makes me wish I actually knew a bit more about gaming. I never had a game system until about a year ago when I bought a Wii from a friend. It sits in the living-room mostly neglected unless I want to watch something on Netflix streaming. I didn’t play DnD growing up because I never knew anyone who did, though what I’ve learned about the game tells me that it’s totally something I would have been into in middle school. Totally.

“Pester Power” is another story that I only half listened to, yet I still managed to enjoy it. Same goes for “Chicken Little.” There was mention of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and a cartoon called “The Stupor Salesman.” This alone makes me dig the story, hahaha. As I picked up with the story the following Friday working in the back, I found that I gave it more attention. This may be because I was working on more or less mindless tasks at my desk enabling me to give more attention to anything I may be listening to.

“Epoch,” is flying right over my head as I read my email. The biggest thought on my brain is how hungry I am, making it hard to focus on anything else really. Thankfully, my lunch hour begins in fifteen minutes. Big Mac Spam sounds wonderfully awesome in that wonderfully frightening sort of way.

“I’m Only In It for the Money” is the afterword by Doctorow’s agent. I dig honesty in chapter/afterword titles. He talks about publishing economics and how it’s total bullshit for the most part. He also hopes that the model Doctorow uses will be helpful for the other authors he represents as well as for Cory in the future.

Parental Advisory

My parents came for a brief visit this weekend. It's the first time they stayed with me since I moved out over two years ago. Mom stayed with me once when I was living in the Heights, but never the both of them together. It was a fun time. Daddy noted that they really should have done this sooner. Duh.

We did a little bit o' shopping and then had dinner. The service was a bit slow, but the waitress got a good tip anyhow. (This always happens when I'm in charge of the tip: I tip a regular 20% even if it's undeserved and I always overtip cabbies because I have no idea what's appropriate for them. Oh well.) We came back here after that and watched a movie. Then Mom went off to bed and Daddy and I played cards--I clobbered him. We watched another movie and headed off to bed ourselves.

In the morning we had breakfast and chatted and all that. Another game was played and Daddy lost with an even larger score than the night before. Poor Daddy.

Then they left.

I finished reading a book.

Then I got bored.

So it goes.

15 March 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This isn't the sort of book I would ordinarily pick up but I noticed its popularity at the library and decided to make it our February book club selection. When I told the group that we would be reading it, one of the ladies got quite excited. She had already read it, and though she didn't plan on re-reading it, she very much looked forward to our discussion the following month.

I soon understood why. As I said, I would never have picked this book up on my own, but listening to the audiobook in my car had me wishing for longer stoplights and surreptitiously sitting an extra minute or two in the car before turning off the engine.

More people turned up for this book club than for those in the past months. Maybe it had something to do with the weather. Maybe it had something to do with word of mouth. I know of at least one regular who got a new lady to come based on the awesomeness of this book.  Most of these women experienced desegregation and the Civil Rights movement in their own lives. Granted, we're in Illinois, so nothing was so structured as in the South, with the Jim Crow laws. The women shared stories from their own lives and the discussion was indeed quite lively. I easily recommend this book to anyone, especially those like me for which it may be a bit out of the comfort zone.

P.S. "Watch out for the chocolate pie." -- The only input the woman who had already read it gave to those of us who hadn't read it yet. Hahaha.

11 March 2011

Curling up With a Good Book

Today's Bug Comic is me all over. I mean, who can sit in a normal position and rad comfortably? No one, that's who.