Just when I thought I was out…

Sigh. I’m starting this thing up again. I just can’t find any other blog setup that satisfies right now. This will have to do for the time being.

I do have a lot of Thoughts About Things but my powers of concentration are still low. So I can’t promise frequent posts, but we’ll see.

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That list of 10 scifi novels everyone pretends to have read

Oh lists, how I love you. Anyway, apparently there are people going around “pretending” to have read books they have not, in fact, read. Insert something about our increasingly conformist, status-hungry society… you know my themes. The books in this list are apparently Important so I guess people feel like they should have read them, and are too embarrassed to admit they haven’t. Well I’m not. A book you haven’t read is a book you haven’t thrown across the room in disgust or tossed in the donation bin at Goodwill. I’ve read a lot of books, some of them over and over. I’ve even read some of the books on the list. Here is my list:

1.Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. I’ve not read this. I looked through it at the bookstore and it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. Still doesn’t.

2. Dune, by Frank Herbert. Oh come on. Who pretends they read this book? I was unaware that having a movie and a miniseries made from a book turns it from a cult classic into a Must Have Read (So Chillax With These Cliff Notes). Anyway, I’ve read it. I even reread it a couple of times. But sometime ago I lost interest in the whole Dune thing. Still, guess what my fave part of the book is: The footnotes, chapter quotes, and appendices just like in a “real” scholarly work only they refer to things inside the novel (as in, they all refer to not real things). I just love that kind of shit. But Jack Vance does them better.

3 Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon. I have never read this and never will. Pretentious arse-wash.

4. Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. I read this in high school at the behest of a guy friend I ate lunch with. It was okay, but already seemed dated (one of the few female figures, as I recall, was the wife of some official, who the hero promptly won over — he was looking to get funding or something yawn INO — because he gave her some kind of high-tech gizmo that gave instant pretty dresses at the press of a button.

5. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. This book was a big disappointment to me. I couldn’t finish it. It started off delightfully, with fully drawn interesting characters and a unique situation. But it bogged down in the middle like nothing I’ve read. This was some serious bog time. Everyone in the book just seemed to stop in their tracks and go off into reminiscing mode. I can’t even say this was a big block of exposition or speechifying or any of the other things that ruin a book. I can’t say what it was actually, that slowed the story down so much that it felt like time really was slowing down. There were just too many scenes of fairies and their captive humans dancing dancing dancing.

6. 1984, by George Orwell. Nope, not read it. I mean to though. I did flip through a copy and found a scene where Winston has found a book with blank pages, and decided to start writing a diary. His first effort is so much like the first blog post of someone who has gotten into blogs for the first time that I laughed and laughed.

7. First and Last Men and Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon. This is very early scifi and is weird up the wazoo. I’ve read First and Last Men, can’t recall if I read Star Maker. You can find them if you go to Gutenberg e-text, but be prepared, because those old guys had really strange hobbies.

8. The Long Tomorrow, by Leigh Brackett. I’ve never even heard of this thing. I’ve read some other Leigh Brackett stuff. In any case, this would not be some of it, because in general I avoided and still avoid post-Apocalyptic novels. I just can’t. No one who is not my age or older remembers what it was like living under the constant fear that one or the other of the principals involved in the Cold War would eat a piece of bad fish, or break up with their girlfriend, or something, and then PHOOM it’s all over. Also maybe back then it was New and Now but eleventy-umpteen years and novels with interchangeable plots involving wandering across a post-nuke landscape and encountering religious crazies (always Christian or Christian-derived cults) and my phaser is set to “avoid as thou wouldst a band of ravenous radioactive mutants.”

9. Dhalgren, by Samuel R. Delaney. Nnnoooo thanks. I’ve read a couple of Delaney novels (Babel-17 and Tales of Nevèrÿon) but was never attracted to his more arcane stuff.

10. Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. I’ll pass, thanks. For one thing, I was traumatized by reading one of his short stories about a couple who accidentally boil their baby. As for this one, reading the plot is enough to keep me away. I have no patience with the constantly reiterated obsession Americans have with Daddy and celebrity.

Anyway, there you are. Some of them I’ve read, some I haven’t but plan to, some I haven’t and never will.

Coming Attractions

If you thought my previous post was irritating/incendiary/shocking/stupid wait until the next one. Haha. Bwahahaha. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! 😈

Ahem. Anyway. I have stuff I want to post about, but I promised myself honestagod I’d actually do some real writing (as in, work on my novels/stories) instead of goofing off on the internet and blogging about silly random stuff.

Also, I can’t figure out why “the Hunger Games” is my biggest tag. I’m pretty sure I only used that tag a couple of times. Okay, maybe I need to use other tags more than once then.

Car Follies, and other things

Okay, it’s my fault for waiting until almost the last day to get my car inspected. Virginia has this detailed car inspection thing you have to do every year. (Why did I move from Florida again? Oh yeah. No job. Anyway…) My regular mechanic being booked forever, as well as the guy he recommended I call, I ended up getting up at the crack of dawn today and going to National Ripoff Tire Chain. The inspection itself is a fixed fee, but this place has done “things” that cost extra before. I told them to give me an estimate first if anything came up.

Well, my car being a tad elderly, something came up. Several somethings. I took one look at their estimate and said “give me the rejection sticker, I want to talk to my regular mechanic.” The rejection sticker gives you fifteen days to fix whatever it is.

So I took my car and its new pink sticker with the giant black circle with a slash through it (could they be any more humiliating?) and went to my mechanic and showed him the estimate from National Ripoff Tire Chain. When he stopped laughing, he got on his smartphone and checked some prices and told me to come back on the 11th and he could fix everything for less than half what National Ripoff Tire Chain wanted. So I get to drive around with a big black and pink zero on my car, yay.

But that’s not all. I had to renew my registration as well. Virginia gives you a discount if you do it on the internet. But I’d waited until (again) almost the last day which meant I needed to print out the temporary registration paper to carry around so I wouldn’t get a ticket for not having my registration on me. (They mail them out.) But I had been needing to get a black ink cartridge for my printer for quite some time, so it was off to Staples.

Did I forget to mention I had been at National Ripoff Tire Chain for nearly four hours even though I was the second person there when they opened the doors and a bunch of people came ahead of me? Yeah.

Well I got home and printed off my registration. Then I remembered my city parking pass needed renewing as well. So I walked three blocks to city hall to get the parking pass. It is now after 1 pm and I’m hungry. So I walked to Hardees because it was nearby and cheap. I walked a lot today.

Well that was my day. In writing news, I bought a big five-subject spiral bound notebook. I’m going to try some handwriting to see if that will get my creative juices flowing. I just realized that that phrase is kind of disgusting. Think about it.

In brief

Boy I’ve been in a bad mood lately. I’ve got to get up early tomorrow, so I’ll make this quick.

I’ve got to write more. I think that’s what’s wrong with me. No, not blog-writing, fiction writing. Not that I plan to blog less. I just think that I’ve been grumpy because I’ve had a bit of, not writer’s block, but a strange reluctance to work on any of my stories. I don’t know, it makes me cranky not to write, and then I’m too cranky to write, so I get crankier. Meh.

Anyway, that’s all for now.