Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Odds and Sods

And to think, I thought that covering the TFC match tonight would mean I wouldn't get to see any of the All-Star Game....

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Taken from my friend Michelle's blog, what are five books you started reading but just couldn't finish? I had a hard time coming up with five, since I'm one of those people who always tries to finish any novel I start, no matter how much I hate it.

* The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
This is a shocking entry for many reasons. It's a critically-acclaimed novel about a fictional pair of comic book creators in the 1930's. This should be right up my alley. I started it a few years ago, read about 40 pages and just quit. I dunno what the problem was that day --- maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a heavy read, or my mind was elsewhere and I wasn't getting into it, or what. Just so Kyle doesn't come to my house and murder me, I promise I'll give it another shot sometime.

* Flaubert's Parrot, by Julian Barnes
Barnes is one of my favourite authors, too. But I know nothing about Flaubert. I know less than nothing about Flaubert. I'm sure Flaubert fans found the satire delicious, but for me, it went over my head like I was Danny DeVito.

* The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
I finished the first third, so, I guess, is the equivalent of The Fellowship Of The Ring. I'm sorry, I just don't care much about fantasy books. I saw the movies, that should be good enough, right?

* Lake Wobegon Days, by Garrison Keillor
I've written this before in an entry about another Keillor novel, but I think if I bought the audio book of Lake Wobegon Days, I'd eat it with a spoon because Keillor's delivery is just hilarious. Reading it six years ago, however, the text seemed far too dry. I may have been affected by the fact that I read the book while vacationing with my family in a small town up in the Bruce that from what I could tell was actually just like crazy ol' Lake Wobegon. My favourite part of that vacation was leaving. I had to be back early for work, so I loaded the car up with Beatles albums and took a great drive through small-town Ontario. Best drive of my life.

* Timequake, by Kurt Vonnegut
The problem was, I think this was the first Vonnegut book I ever (attempted) to read. That was the literary equivalent of starting to watch Lost and making 'Cabin Fever' your first episode. Vonnegut's books are so intertwined with each other and are written in such a unique way that as a first-time reader, I was lost. I don't think I attempted Vonnegut again until Cat's Cradle a few years later.

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I'm curious about something on Facebook. When I add a note, it lists 'people you may have mentioned' in case I wanted to tag them. Usually it's just a similar name or something innocuous, like if I mention Brian Orser in the post, Facebook will list all my friends named Brian. By the way, have I ever written a post about Brian Orser? No? Good, just checking.

What puzzles me, however, is when I write a note and then the suggested people to tag are completely random and have nothing to do with anything I've written. For example, my recent post about the Viagra interruption ads listed the 'suggested mentions' as my Facebook friends Joe, Nina and Don. (I call them 'Facebook friends' not as an insult, but rather because they're all casual acquaintances --- I'm a fan of Joe's writing and have never actually met him, I've met Nina once when I almost sublet a room in her flat, and Don is dating a friend of mine.)

I know that Facebook collects information about its users to sell to marketing companies, so I can only presume that Joe, Nina and Don were tied to this note based on some dark secret that Facebook has gleaned about their lives. Let me guess. Don is actually the inventor of Viagra, but has his money tied up in some shady offshore banking operation. Joe once killed a man using a ski lift. The Viagra people stole Nina's idea for Medieval Times commercials --- in these 'Medieval interruption' ads, two people would be sitting quietly doing some mundane task, and then a knight would run into the room and gore them with a lance.

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In other Facebook news, I am now 158-43-1 after 202 Scrabulous matches. Bow down.

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iTunes playlist for the evening...

Wicked Rain/Across 110th Street, Los Lobos
This Mess We're In, PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke
Thank You For Sending Me An Angel, Talking Heads
Cordelia, Tragically Hip

3 comments:

Kyle Wasko said...

Goddammit, Shuk, you better give Kavalier and Clay another shot! It's only the best book of the decade.

My biggest beef with the Facebook tag feature is that I'm forever (ok: occasionally) getting the following feedback from people: "I read your post because you said you mentioned me in it, but you didn't!" Seems like a no-brainer that they'd add a "people who would be interested in this post" tab, but...no. Also: when is this much-hyped new version of FB coming down the pipe? My guess is September, to coincide with the start of the new school year.

I'll have to think about that Top 5 list. Gravity's Rainbow is definitely my #1, but, beyond that, hmmmm.

Kyle Wasko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyle Wasko said...

Also: let's just say that you're fortunate that Timequake made this list. That book was so unrelentingly awful that, when I finished it, I wanted to burn all of my Vonnegut books...even the good ones.