Sunday, December 18, 2011

Privacy vs. Non-privacy...

Privacy and the right to privacy are important. And while I always want to have the right to privacy, sometimes, I'm more than glad to share who I am and what I like.

The reasons I want to share what I like, my shopping habits, etc. is that I'm not your typical person. My partner is a transwoman. Our kids are biracial. Showing who I am and the fact that I exist in this world is important to me. I'm a consumer, a voter and I matter. My opinion matters and companies that want to keep my business should recognize that!

So I'm glad to let the world track my footprint from time to time.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Books For Teens

I know it's been about forever that I've posted on my blog. I'm going to work on that. Really I am.

In the spirit of Christmas, I want to share a "cause" with you! It's Books for Teens which is sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). The mission is to provide high quality books to teens that really need them. Books can change a young person's life. They can help someone in a bad situation see that they are not alone and that there are solutions to problems that they face every day. Check out the site and give! It's the season!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Detroit Metal City

Detroit Metal City by Kiminori Wakasugi

This parody manga is very funny and you really can't take it at face-value. On the surface, DMC seems nasty and mean-spirited, but it's really a send-up of death-metal music, cruel and opportunistic people and the idea of coolness.

The first manga doesn't really tell much of a story--it's episodic with glimpses into Soichi's life. We know that sweet, mama's boy Soichi moved to Tokyo to play nice Swedish Pop Music. We also know that didn't happen--instead he somehow ended up in the death metal band, Detroit Metal City (DMC). Soichi, as the lead singer, Krauser II, is worshiped by death-metal fans everywhere, even while he's very uncomfortable with his status as an underground music phenomena. It's good that his alter ego, Krauser II, wears makeup and a wig on stage, otherwise Soichi's mother might learn what he's up to. Krauser supposedly killed his parents and has raped his way across Japan. He's not the image Soichi wants to project, especially to his nice love-interest who thinks Krauser is a jerk and DMC is a terrible band.

I have to say that I've never read a manga that used the word "rape," "sows" or "f*ck" as much as DMC does. It's good to remember that this is a parody! In one DMC song, Soichi as Krauser out-sings a rival death-metal singer by screaming the word "f*ck" more times without taking a breath. The humor is often crude, but that's part of what's being made fun of. Nothing is taken seriously and I laughed quite a bit.

I enjoyed the art, too. It's not beautiful art, but it has a sort of a sweet vulnerability--a nice contrast for the subject matter and not unlike Soichi himself.

There is an anime and a live-action movie version. I think this manga is worth checking out, but it's not for everyone!

Check out the official website for more insanity. This video mashup from the live action movie also captures much of the spirit of the manga:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Holes, Information and Parallel Universes

No, this isn't a review of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Although, everyone should read that book. It's important to understand current scientific theory, especially one as ground breaking as the Big-Bang.

Hawking's biggest contribution to physics hasn't been the Big Bang, though. Instead, it seems to involve black holes, information and a big paradox.

I love physics, but I'm not mathematically minded. I enjoy specials on the Science Channel and that's what jump started this post. The special, The Hawking Paradox, was about the "information paradox" and was produced by the BBC. Hawking's theories about black holes all come to the same conclusion: information is lost (destroyed) in a black hole. When this happens, nothing in the universe is certain. If we are missing information in our universe, it is impossible to make predictions. We all know that we can't make a good prediction on anything, even horse racing, without a little bit of information. Having all the information allows physics to work. If information is destroyed, then cause and effect is ruled out and our own memories are suspect.

This seems a little dramatic, because, after all, black holes are very far away... right? According to the show, there are even mini-black holes everywhere. They can even be inside your brain. Scary!

As the show plays out, we find out that Hawking has a rival in Leonard Susskind, another physicist. Susskind believes that information is not lost inside a black hole: it just seems like it's lost. Instead, the information gets spread across the outside of the black hole and we can read this information and see what's going on "inside" the hole.

Hawking disagrees. Hawking's solution is that yes, information is lost in black holes. But there are parallel universes to our own that don't have black holes and therefore they cancel out the lost information.

Somehow, that's really unsatisfying! Does that mean that our universe is somehow defective? There are universes that don't lose information, but ours does. Why would that happen? Are we inside a rotting, dying universe? Can we visit the parallel universes? How do we know they are really there and if they exist, are they much better than our swiss-cheese, lossy universe?

I want the answers to these questions and am looking forward to the next BBC physics special! Hope they answer a few!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ascendant -- by Diana Peterfreund

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

This is the sequel to Rampant so it may will contain spoilers! In Rampant we meet Astrid Llewelyn and her unicorn-obsessed mother, Lilith. Astrid once thought that unicorns were imaginary and that her mother was just a little crazy. However, a chance encounter with a small unicorn known as a zhi takes Astrid into a world she wished never existed.

In Peterfreund's world, unicorns are savage, poisonous beasts and virgin women like Astrid are unicorn hunters. They are actually the only humans who can sense and kill the powerful and intelligent creatures.

In the first book, Astrid learns about the hunters' connection and ability to sense and connect with the unicorns. Whenever they are around unicorns their senses and skills improve. The unicorns and the hunters share an uneasy, strange bond. In the first book, Astrid uses this bond to her advantage to destroy an entire mega-herd of angry kirin unicorns.

In Ascendant, when Astrid encounters and helps a member of the Gordian drug company manage a captive herd of einhorn unicorns, she finds that not only is she able to sense unicorns, but she's also able to feel "transcendent." Astrid describes the feeling of being surrounded by creatures she normally would be hunting like this: "I caught my breath and reveled in their nearness, suddenly hungry for the feel of them, the scent, the strange comfort their nearness brought me. I wanted this," (p. 169).

Astrid is working for Isabeau Jaeger, who is now head of Gordian pharmaceuticals. Astrid feels safe for a while under her care. Her work managing Isabeau's captive herd of einhorn allows her to take college classes and make money for the other hunters back in Rome.

A lot of strange things are happening around Europe, however. Every time a hunter is found, she loses her eligibility (read: virginity) almost immediately. Also, Cory is losing her ability to sense unicorns. Working with Isabeau helps Astrid understand more about what the Remedy isn't and keeps her hoping she'll find out what it is.

In Ascendant, we also see Astrid think she's found herself only to see her losing her sense of self over and over again. The things that Astrid wants for her life are tragically just out of reach. Over all of this is the sense that Alexander's powerful and dangerous karkadann, Bucephalus, is still watching her and reaching through her dreams. What he wants from her is alien and uncertain.

I can't wait to read another book in this series. I'm tentatively hopeful it will be out in the next few years. (Fingers crossed!)

For more information:
HarperTeen with a great book trailer
Diana Peterfreund's website

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weed from the Children's area of the library

We recently weeded Computers: A New True Book by Karen Jacobson. It was published in 1982. ISBN: 0516016172

From page 25 and 27 under the section entitled "Modern Computers":

"Since Hollerith's time punch cards have been greatly improved....Computers can receive 'input' from holes punched in cards or paper tape, from computer keyboards and special magnetic tapes."

Another great pic:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rachel Caine Visit

Me on camera!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan


The story is about two teens, both named Will Grayson. Each Will narrates the story in alternating chapters. The first Will is friends with a huge, unrelentingly cheerfully gay, rich football player named Tiny. The other Will falls for Tiny.

The plot of the story is very loose: two kids who otherwise would have never met do meet in Chicago at a very improbable place under unlikely circumstances. Tiny's musical, which he's producing with the school's help and funding, is also something that advances the story since both Wills become entangled in it. The ending of the story is really beautiful, and of course, I'm not going to give it away.

What I Thought
I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson. The story was delightful from start to finish. However, as much I enjoyed the two Wills, it's Tiny that the story really revolves around. Each Will becomes caught up in his hugeness, his over-the-top wonderousness. As each different Will experiences Tiny, their lives are changed.

This read was really great fun for me. The supporting characters are all fully realized, too, which is a neat touch. Will Grayson number 2's mom, for example, is very interesting. Figuring out what happened in her life would be a story in itself. Jane, Will Grayson the first's, love interest is one of the coolest girls I've read about in any story.

Check out more info:
In the meantime, check out  John Green's page.

A nice interview with both authors.