July 23rd, 2006

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King Rat

Read another novel, how about that? This time it was King Rat by China Mieville. xanath got it for me for my birthday last year but as usual I had to wait for the "right time" to read it. I'm not sure how I would rate the book, except it's definitely not an A. I kind of want to give it a C or D in some respects, but it's too well-written. However, it was Mieville's first novel and there is some major pretension in it, where he was trying way too hard, esp. in the way he depicts the Drum & Bass scene. Plus, and this is a central flaw, I could NOT suspend my disbelief and buy into the whole concept of "King Rat," "The Piper," and basically these immortal animal-cum-human characters who command animal groups. It was just stupid. I kept throwing the book down going, "Oh, for fuck's sake, China!" LOL. I loved his book Perdido Street Station, although I'm still bitter about the end, which was similar to the end of this one -- bloodbath with hardly anybody left alive. I think I will read the sequel The Scar anyway.

One other note on China Mieville is that his writing really reminds me of Storm's, esp. her early novels like Hermetech, that were more cyberpunky and "urban." I think she would really dig Perdido Street Station and if she ever organizes a con in England again, she should invite China.
ice cream

Family Resemblence

Except for a couple of short clips on some old home movies transferred to video, I didn't get to see any pictures of my grandparents -- my father's parents -- until I was a junior or senior in high school. In fact, I didn't hear much about them period, because not only had they died when I was very young, but my dad displayed a stunning reticence to talk about them. However, over the years dad started to thaw out and talk more about his childhood and tell me stories about his parents. This made me feel closer to them, but I still get to see any pictures, because my grandfather had apparently gone bitter and a bit demented in his old age and one day burned all the pictures of himself and his wife that were in the house.

Anyway, finally my Aunt Ellen came to the rescue. She, whether due to the will or just because she was the only one who wanted it, inherited all my grandparents' stuff, including furniture, dishes, lamps, etc. And somehow, amidst all this stuff, she had located a couple of pictures that escaped destruction. And lucky for me, she decided to make copies of them and share them with us all. It was really only a handful of pictures, but two of them really were amazing to me:

1) Picture of granddad at around age 70, looking exactly like my dad. Exactly. Dad saw it and was stunned. The resemblence was not only in the face, his expression, but in the build of the body, the way he was standing, his body posture, and add to that, he was wearing the same clothes Dad wear -- same khaki pants, boat shoes, polo shirt, suspenders, baseball cap. It was like Dad, but Not Dad. That picture was tacked up on the wall by the kitchen telephone for months and we all stared at it every time we used the phone.

2) This picture of my grandmother, taken when she was a teenager. All I'm going to say about this is that while it's not a picture of me in period costume, it sure LOOKS like it:

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Before and After: The Mess

In an attempt to shame myself into doing better, and also to prove to people like Amanda that my house is not always immaculate -- quite the contrary - here are some Before and After shots showing my main room, which for about three weeks looked like it was occupied by drunk frat boys and then hit by a tornado.

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    embarrassed embarrassed
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Bad bad taste

So Caleb's Grandma Racicot bought a case of pork rinds to give to his dad -- explainable only because the woman is an inveterate bulk-buyer / thrifster who will buy anything if it's cheap -- and he for some reason brought home two bags of it. Tonight I was over Caleb's and he's like, "Hey, I dare you to smell this." I told him I'd smelled and eaten pork rinds before and really wasn't interested, but he dared me to cut open the bag and smell. I figured it'd be OK, but UGH! it smelled like burned grease so bad. Way worse than usual. Then he dared me to eat one, so I ate like a quarter piece. Two hours later, I've still got aftertaste in my mouth. Yuck. I bet anything those things expired two years ago. I just KNOW his grandmother too well. She has boxes of cereal from the 70s and tubes of toothpaste fromn the 60s stockpiled in her house.