May 26


Why is it that literary writers rarely can write a good story – some of them being so idiotically preposterous or non-existent that the whole work is unreadable – and “genre” writers often have such terrible writing?

Do good ideas make for terrible writing? And does decent writing somehow make one have no ideas?

That’s not universally true, but it’s 98% true. Most literary writers can barely write a story that a 3-year-old would find plausible or interesting, and most genre writers don’t do much better at writing than a semi-talented 10th grader.

But I can’t understand why.

May 26


Here I stand and here I’ll stay.

This reminds me of my childhood and being told that I couldn’t possibly understand things that I very much did understand, often better than the adults pillorying me did. Children – even ones not as wildly precocious as I was – understand and realize far more than most adults give them credit for.

Even if you aren’t reading Moby Dick when you’re eight, most kids are extremely perceptive about their social milieu and what’s expected of them. Girls especially get told how they should be, and who they should be, more often and more forcefully than boys do.

I suspect that girls of the age 7-13 understand a lot of the messages in Frozen better than adults watching it do (if many of the adults understood it, they probably wouldn’t let girls watch it).

May 26

When I hear

When I hear that people miss living in NYC, I can’t believe it. It’s like my brain really hears, “I miss living in Port-a-Potty.”

There are some things so foreign to me that it’s like I can’t process them. I mean, I believe them, but it’s also like a part of me that says, “Surely they must be talking about something different, or they’ve misspoken.”

It is amazing how different people can be.

May 25


I was aware that Google provided something like 70% of the funding to the Mozilla foundation which builds Firefox.

The more I think about it, the more it seems plausible that “Australis” is an instance of deliberate sabotage to drive users to Chrome, at the behest of Google.

What other explanation for such an interface apocalypse could there be? It’s like a poor copy of Chrome, which of course means that users will then just use Chrome.

May 25


If in fact the new Star Wars has only one token woman character, I will not be watching it ever. I don’t like Star Wars much anyway, but it can be good entertainment. But no women == no watch.

May 25

Ain’t no modesty to be found

Some of my favorite times are someone thinking that I am stupid for liking things like Suzanne Collins books, and for not having a college education – and then I proceed to intellectually destroy them, leaving them gutted and gasping for air.

Fun stuff.

Look, look: I’ve read more this month than you’ll read your entire life.


May 24

Times past

Huh, the LA Times’ website was just tablet optimized, meaning I will never, ever go there again.

I bet fewer than 20% of their readers visit it on a tablet or phone, but there you go.

May 24


I’ve only seen a bit of Game of Thrones, and read half of one of the books, but don’t need to see or read any more of the series to know this essay is full of idiocy. (As many of the commenters point out.)

It’s a waste of time to refute it all point by point, but briefly, Martin covers the characters involved in the war; the whole land of Westeros is not affected by the conflict, only a small portion. Of course telling stories about those involved in a brutal war in the conflict area in wartime will, duh, have loads of violence, mercenaries, killings and worse.

Strangely, just like a real fucking war!

The land is not always riven by violence, but in a real war, much, much violence occurs some of it so foul and nearly-unbelievable that the survivors aren’t believed.

And at least in the parts of that show that I saw, there was at least one food riot, much talk about preparing for the long winter, and discussion thereof. Many characters opined about who would and would not survive the winter with the implication that they would starve.

Of course a TV show does not show anyone farming. Who wants to watch someone farm? What is this guy, on crack?

I don’t know anything about Jacob Bacharach, but let me do some guessing without even glancing at his bio or using Google: he’s probably a professional writer, with one or two novels that sold poorly. Takes jabs at popular things routinely as he thinks he’s above them, that he’s better than them.

Probably went to an Ivy league school, or at least a well-respected one. Probably has a degree in English, or something similar. Has a job at maybe a college or a theater. Has never been in a fight, and has never lived in another country.

Probably lives in NYC or San Francisco, or maybe Boston. Never shops anywhere but Whole Foods.

Ok, let’s see how I did.

Ha, damn, I am that good. I got nearly all of them right, except he lives in Pittsburgh. That I was not expecting. And he didn’t go to any Ivy. He went to Oberlin.

This stuff is just too easy.

May 23

IT is even worse

I read somewhere that women will typically only apply to a job posting if they feel they meet 100% of the requirements, while men will typically apply if they feel they meet just 60%.

In IT, this would not be a successful tactic even for men. Generally, I’d recommend applying for an IT job even if you meet only 20% of the “requirements.”

A lot of those are put in there either as “weeders,” that is plausible deniability if they don’t hire you for some other reason (illegal or legal) besides your skills or qualifications, or they are included because HR pulled them from some 10-year-old or otherwise irrelevant list.

So in IT, it pays to apply to jobs where at least according to the job listing if you have only 20% of the “requirements."

In IT, I have applied to and gotten jobs where I have met that few requirements, and no, I did not lie on my resume, etc. Just nailed the interview portion, and got the interview because no one closer to all the requirements applied.

May 23

Green field

I am sure that John Green is a fine writer. But I’ve also noticed the strange spate of articles that seem to imply that he invented the YA genre.

Now I’ve been reading YA for many years now, since my late 20s. (I didn’t read YA at all when I was a Y – I skipped straight from reading primers to National Geographic and Moby Dick.) And I know for a fact that YA existed well before John Green, even “realistic” YA, whatever the hell that means.

So the peculiar canonization of John Green and this string of bizarre articles that anoint him as the vanguard of a post-sparkly-vampire seriousness in YA isn’t simply about taking a white male more seriously than everyone else. It’s also about privileging a certain narrative structure—the dominant narrative’s dominant narrative. It’s not only that Green is a straight white man, it’s that he writes in the way that generations of straight white men have deemed important and Literary.

I also like how the piece explored how to a certain class of critic (also known as “bad, useless critic”) the only valid literature is the one tiny genre of “realism.” Though of course realism is a construct like any other, and just as fictional as anything else.

But thank you, time-traveling John Green, for rescuing us from all these women and their lady books! We all really appreciate it.