tell it from the mountain of books that has just fallen on me

  • Data Mining 101: Finding Subversives with Amazon Wishlists

    Whittling my bookshelf down is difficult. It’s a heartless occupation for me, throwing out worn books. They threaten me with undefined guilt that changes my perspective on what’s between the covers. The minute I reach out my hand to pluck something from the shelf, it’s like I’m being subtly affected by a villainous mind-ray from an old radio-play. “Well, this one wasn’t as bad as all that, was it?” I’m having to use my potential time on transit as my gunpoint. If I can’t pick it off the shelf at random when I need something to read or recommend the author to a stranger, then I should discard it. Get it out of my room, out of my life, to where it might prove useful for someone else’s future summer afternoon. Unexpectedly, the speculative fiction section is proving about as hard a bitch as the out-dated medical texts.

    Tossing out old clothes, however, not so hard.

    Which is almost a problem.

    Now I can’t find any long sleeve shirts.

    I promised to duet tomorrow at the strangely awesome Veteran Hall Karaoke night, (remember, doff your hat to the Queen or be kicked out), so now my playlist consists of only two songs; Tom Jones with the Cardigans singing Burning Down the House, because it’s something that Bob and I both know, and The Pogues Fairytale of New York because my invisible roommate Ryan is a romantic bastard.

    So how many of you have seen the Has President Bush Finally Bit It (let’s all sing impeachment) poll that’s up on MSNBC at the moment? I’ve been checking on it every few days to marvel at the numbers. Last look in, votes were at 203923 responses, (!!), with an 86% of Yes, Most Assuredly, Kill Pussycat Kill Kill. It’s giving me a bit of hope that otherwise I wouldn’t have what with stupid laws declaring annoying someone anonymously over the internet is now a federal crime. What we need are genetically engineered politicians who explode if they lie. Ka-blam and pink splatter everywhere, like an extremely wet ticker tape parade celebrating democracy the way it should be.

  • The Edge Annual Question 2006: “What Is Your Dangerous Idea?”

  • I’m bleeding dye

  • British woman weds dolphin.

    Something about me wants to learn how to sing soul music, that drum machine spoken word that focuses on notes like inspiration and cleverly explains every bar-tab feeling that love ever wracks up inside our hearts. These words aren’t enough some days. I desire chords. I keep being put on the spot next to pianos and feeling entirely inadequate as my tongue searches for something I know all the lyrics to. I’ve lost all my known songs, all I’ve got left are children’s tunes and the thin skin of pop songs that don’t stand up to scrutiny. A man suddenly startles from a couch. “You’re not a musician are you? That would be a shame.” “No, I’m not. Really I’m not. Why would that be so bad?” “I would haff to stop what I’m doing right now if you are.” “What?” “I don’t let myself ever do this with musicians.” Understanding glitters in her mind and her lips quirk. They laugh while the others look on uncomprehendingly. He leans back, settles his head back on the pillow, and she continues to be pleased. I wanted to sing. I swear. Please believe me. I would give up every ounce of hesitation I showed so that you could have had me sing for you. Hands on the keys and I felt like magic was real. I felt like I remembered, the first time I left for the city, the first time I met you. I will never stop wishing you’d called. The phone silent in my pocket felt like a John Cage piece. Four hours and thirty three seconds before I step on a plane marked only by the absence of vibration, of tone, of hello where do we meet. Those hands, so slight, pulling rabbits from my jaded hat. Sound.

  • Second chord sounds in world’s longest lasting concert.

    Does anyone have a scanner? I have a lovely Polaroid of Andrew, Mike and myself that I insisted be taken by an unkempt vagrant downtown who was wandering around asking tourists to pose for a fee. We’re standing in the middle of Grandville street at night looking like nothing better than drunk kids. I would like to have a digital copy of before anything strange happens to it. I’ve never had a Polaroid before and I’m pretty sure I’ve never looked like a yuppie’s girlfriend before either. The novelty is slightly addictive. I want to wear it in my hat like an antique PRESS pass and ignore people who stare at me on the metro.

  • John McDaid’s brilliant sci-fi story Keyboard Practice is now free online.

    Larry called on Friday while he was driving down the highway home. We fell immediately into comfortable conversation. I was glad, still am. I’ve been feeling him as living farther away lately, no matter that Missouri’s a hell of a lot closer than Paris, because the frequency of his posts dropped lately and there’s been less content. My distances are measured in information, not geography. Every letter typed is a drop in a river. I don’t have to close my eyes at night to see it. I can be walking barefoot through cold mud, whirling glittering scarves over my head, and think, ah, so-and-so would like to do this with me. I can tell. They write that way. As I was discussing with Rick, on the bus Sunday, grammar and punctuation can mean so much on-line. The entire language changes to make up for body-language, for visual cues. Sentence structure is suddenly crucial in a way that doesn’t effect speech. Typing the word “like” or “um” every three words is unacceptable, though I’m sure we say them more often than we’d like to admit. Spelling takes on the measure of your education, typos of your intelligence. Code overshadows everything read, as LOL translates to “well that was enough to make me smile”. It makes me wonder how well I transliterate to page. I’m told that I smile more in person than on-line, but that my typos are less. What about you?

  • India is missing about 10 million daughters since the widespread use of ultrasound, estimates a new study.