I wonder how long it will take before somebody decides to simplify online dating by integrating 23andme and Facebook into OkCupid. It would make things so much easier, and so, so much creepier.
None of the recent revelations are a big surprise: we’ve been well on our way to a dystopian panopticon for a while. It’s disappointing to hear that there was no significant change in policy after Obama took over office. It’s a bit corny at this point, but “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not watching you” is as apt as it has ever been.
Some interesting links:
Another example of how today’s copyright law sucks. The flying lawnmower video no longer has a sound track. It’ s just not the same without Cotton Eye Joe in the background.
Assuming it has any business existing at all, copyright law should be fueling the creation of new material – not stopping or preventing it.
As an expat I have only casually followed the news of the ascension of King Willem-Alexander in the homelands. I assume it’s been a proper party and a slightly more-special-than-usual Queens/Kings day over there, orange-themed as always and lubricated with booze.
It’s been surprising how much attention there has been for the change of regent in the Netherlands here in the UK. I thought it was just the Dutch media who would publish an article every time one of the royals in our big neighbour farts. I feel proud – in an awkward sort of way – to see that the Dutch royals have their personal lives scrutinized just as much in the UK.
The coverage was fairly predictable. There was the rehashing of the background of the Oranges (Wim-Lex once had the nickname “Prins Pils”, etc) and then the discussion about how all this compares to the British crown (when will dear Liz step down?). The only somewhat interesting topic was the whole “koningslied” debacle. E.g. the coverage on Have I Got News For You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICOo4SC-gbM
One Bloody Thing After Another by Joey Comeau
Picking a book merely based on the back cover blurb doesn’t always work out. It did for me in this case. One Bloody Thing After Another is as funny, weird and charming as it promised it would be. For a horror book, the characters are surprisingly winsome.
This is one of the best books I have read so far this year.
Why I Write by George Orwell
One in three books I read these days is written by Orwell. This is another collection of essays (Why I Write, The Lion and the Unicorn, A Hanging, Politics and the English Language), which overlaps with some of the other collections of essays I’ve read earlier. Why I Write is mildly interesting. The essay on socialism is longwinding and outdated. Politics and the English Language is good and still relevant.
Lamb by Christopher Moore
The first pages of this book express the hope that the reader find whatever they are looking for: that they will be offended, laugh or have their beliefs confirmed or challenged. I wasn’t specifically looking for anything, and I was not in the slightest offended (and I have a hard time imagining that any sane person would be), nor in any way enlightened. As for laughs, there were some pretty funny moments but overall the story was disappointing. If you’re looking for a funny and clever take on the down-to-earth life of a possible messiah in Judea during the reign of Augustus, watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian instead.
I have written before that I am not the worlds’ biggest fan of US cities. There are but a few exceptions to the rule, and I recently discovered another one.
Most metropolitan areas in America seem to be spread out across huge areas of land – without a real city center – and they are impossible to navigate by foot or by public transport. There are a few exceptions. New York was fun, but expensive and on the busy side. I love San Francisco and Seattle, and I could see myself living in either if they weren’t on the other side of the globe.
So my expectations for New Orleans were pretty low. Not having read up on its history like the good ignorant tourist I am I was expecting another clunky high concrete-to-services-ratio kind of town, perhaps with a little relief in the form of an overly polished mall. Not so.
New Orleans is a greasy, dirty kind of city – in a good way. It’s old, and lived. It’s got history and atmosphere. There’s jazz on every corner, and lots of dive bars and strip clubs that stay open all night. Bourbon Street is a bit too touristy for my taste, but there are many other interesting streets nearby. We spent most of our free days walking alongside the river delta and about the city streets. I found a couple of nice bookstores – proper bookstores with barely any light, a handwritten register, wobbly stacks of books and barely any room to move. Being the addict I am, I bought more books than I will be able to read in the next 6 months. In the evenings, we hung out in the dive bars and absynthe houses, we drunk beer and other crazy stuff, and listened to jazz and fusion.
I will definitely return if I get the chance.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Pretty much what I expected from it. Travelogue of a drugged-up roadtrip, against a backdrop of the latter years of the American sixties. The book starts out very strong, but bored me more and more towards the end.
I’d still like to see Vegas sometime.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
More dystopia. I enjoyed the movie, and the book is good too. It took me a while to get past the annoying abundance of nadsat in the first dozen pages.