Saturday, September 30, 2006

Books, books.

Tag, I'm it, says Sommer.

I know, I'm posting a book meme at 11pm on a Saturday. It's a fitting end to the totally shitty day I just had. I'll just say that sitting in my room, about to pass out, watching the world end on CNN, and diving into a bowl of ice cream, is way better than what I should be doing...and that's be at the office. Yeah, I should have stayed. I'm working on this project that I fear I won't be able to complete in the time I have tomorrow, so I'm going to have to wake up at the effing break of dawn. Sigh.

Anyway. On to this meme thing.

1) One book that changed your life?

Okay, listen. I've been a science geek since the day I left the womb, so no, I haven't read all those Great Books that everyone else listed. Well, I've read some of them, but I've never found one that was "life-changing." You're always more likely to find me with a some weird geek book, from the well-known (A Brief History of Time) to the obscure (The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (Volumes I & II) picked up in a thrift shop by my feminist mother who thought it was funny). That's all to explain that one book that changed my life was a random book on string theory I found while roaming the local community college library when I was in early high school. I can't remember the title, nor the author, not did I understand most of it at the time, and yet... Though I'd always loved science and fancied myself becoming Mission Control Commander at NASA, this was the first book that showed me how phenomenal cosmology theory could be. It's when I decided firmly that I would study physics and astronomy in college. I'll also say, in a different way, Martin Amis' Einstein's Monsters, and later, the rest of his bibliography, made this firm anti-writer (yes, it's true) think for the first time, "If I ever write, I want to write like this."

2) One book you have read more than once?

I don't do this very often, except when I was a kid and finished books in half a day, so I'd read them over and over because I'd run out of books. These days I'm so behind on my reading list that it seems silly to go read something I've already digested, when there's so much new material out there waiting to be tapped. I have read Time's Arrow (Amis) a few times, more because I love his prose rather than that I liked the story. Also Waiting for Godot, and Contact by Carl Sagan, which is a ridiculously good book (and far better than the movie...in fact, it's almost a completely different story). And I've read parts of my Constitutional Law book so many times the pages are getting really worn, so there's that.

3) One book you would want on a desert island?

Since I'd have a lot of free time, I'd want something that challenged me. How about that differential equations textbook from the junior year class that I nearly failed? Actually, I'd love to have some book on intense cosmological theory that was both mathematically, but almost more importantly, philosophically complicated. Maybe rescue planes would see my illegible scribbles in the wet sand and when they found me I would have turned into some crazy recluse who alternatively mumbled and screamed about "the ratios! It's the ratios that matter!"

4) One book that made you cry?

Um...I'm not really a cryer. To be honest, when it comes to fiction, I really have a terrible memory, and tend to forget stories a few days after I close the book. I'm sure I've welled up at something...but I couldn't tell you what.

5) One book that made you laugh?

Same answer. Except I noticed someone else mentioned David Sedaris, and I do remember laughing out loud during Naked. Books do make me laugh, but fuck if I can remember which.

6) One book you wish had been written?

I'll try not to steal Sommer's answer, though I have tried to speak with my grandparents lately to write down the many wonderful stories they have. Instead, I'll say, how about the version of the Bible/Koran/whatever without the magical children of God and men who's strength is in their hair? I mean, the one that just documented the real people that actually existed, left out the ones that didn't, and DIDN'T TURN HALF THE WORLD INTO FUCKING CRAZY PEOPLE WHO KILL EACH OTHER OVER FICTIONAL STORIES.

7) One book you wish had never been written?

I can't tell you how much I abhor Oprah's book club selections, but once I was convinced to read The Pilot's Wife. To this day I'm appalled such a piece of anti-feminist, blathering trash has made one author so fucking rich.

8) One book you are reading currently?

As usual, I'm reading 10, and zero, books at the same time. In my purse is Fodor's Exploring India, of course. I'm also perusing my Fodor's full guide book on occasion. I'm also part-way through Burmese Days by Orwell (found in the dollar bin!), Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being, and about five other books on my shelf with a bookmarker in the middle that I haven't moved in years.

9) One book you have been meaning to read?

Every time I hang out with Chai, she asks me if I've read Confessions of an Economic Hitman, so that's on my list. And too many others to name.

That's it. I guess this is where I tag other people, so....Chai, Maisnon, and Archana.

Now I'm going to bed early so I can get my ass out of bed at 6am tomorrow...on Sunday. Ugh...

I Am Totally Fucking Baffled

For your reading enjoyment and blood pressure poison:

Congress Passes Border Fence Bill

The Senate gave final approval last night to legislation authorizing the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border, shelving President Bush's vision of a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration laws in favor of a vast barrier.
That's right. Bush is the voice of (relative) semi-reason. THE APOCALYPSE APPROACHES.

The measure was pushed hard by House Republican leaders, who badly wanted to pass a piece of legislation that would make good on their promises to get tough on illegal immigrants, despite warnings from critics that a multibillion-dollar fence would do little to address the underlying economic, social and law enforcement problems, or to prevent others from slipping across the border.
"VOTE FOR ME IN NOVEMBER! A vote for me is a vote for freedom! Free trade, that is! Which totally decimates industries in Mexico! Which is why they flee here in the fucking first place! We'll just build more fences and continue this cycle so I have some issue to run on in 2008!"

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist surprised many advocates of a more comprehensive approach to immigration problems when he took up the House bill last week. But in Congress's rush to recess last night for the fall political campaigns, the fence bill passed easily...
Right.

Mexico's foreign affairs secretary ... told reporters in Mexico City yesterday that his country plans to send a letter strongly condemning the measure...
EAT MY STRONGLY WORDED LETTER BITCHES.

Congress approved $1.2 billion in a separate homeland security spending bill to bankroll the fence. That figure, however, is only a down payment and falls far short of the $6 billion the fence is expected to cost.
Tax hike? No tax hikes! Just melt those soldiers' helmets down and form them into dubloons which we'll pay to the foreign companies who will manufacture the fence materials. Like they need helmets.

Lawmakers from both parties conceded that even at 700 miles in length, the barrier would leave nearly 1,300 miles of border uncovered.
No one said there was a math requirement for Congressmen. Or, like, a common sense one either, apparently.

The Arizona branch would have to plunge down steep ravines and scale craggy mountain peaks. Construction is "going to be near impossible."
Just get some day laborers. Those guys will do anything!

No One's Asking the Important Question...

...after last week's Project Runway:

The Wall Street Journal has a fashion section??

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