claritylit: (Default)
2006-09-21 06:04 am

(no subject)

Shocking update: The baby just slept through the night.

Don't bother to stay tuned for more details.
claritylit: (Default)
2006-05-31 02:56 pm

Beating the Blues - tips on overcoming dysthymia

A few excerpts from Beating the Blues: New Approaches to Overcoming Dysthymia and Chronic Mild Depression. I didn't notice any truly new approaches, but it's always good to revisit the old standards.

I'm leaving this unlocked in case anyone else is interested in the book or the advice.

cut for serious length and excessive quotage )
claritylit: (claritylit)
2006-03-21 06:47 pm
Entry tags:

mini book reviews

Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris
I normally like her Sookie Stackhouse books, but this one just felt like filler. There was no real plot, more like two or three subplots stuck together. And then there was the strengthening of Sookie's religious side, which is not at all to my taste. To top it all off, Harris writes in Lily Bard and her husband, who don't fit into the Southern Vampire world at all; it felt cheap. Meh.

Dearly Devoted Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
Love Dexter. Jeff Lindsay should be checked out by a mental health professional for doing psychopathy so well. This seemed shorter than the first novel, and the plot was less interesting. It also seemed out of character for Dexter's sister, Deborah. But since Dexter is the narrator and is admittedly out of touch with humanity, I can't say for sure what Deborah's character really is. And while I saw the twist with Dexter's "girlfriend's" kids coming, it was still creepy and well executed. That development alone leaves me interested in another installment, even if the main plot doesn't get better than this one.

Once - James Herbert
OMG, so bad. I put it down after the first fifteen pages. Herbert is sooo in love with this character. I took the books back to my parents' house to return to the library, and expressed my horror and disappointment by opening to a random page (of the first fifteen) and reading aloud. I was requested to cease and desist.

Thief of Lives - Barb and JC Hendee
Once again, good subplot, with both main characters learning a little about themselves and also having their curiosity piqued to learn more. But the main plot seemed to be little more than a rehash of the first. And I'm not really left with much interest in the next installment, other than for the personal revelations. But, hey, that's what the library is for.

Every Which Way But Dead - Kim Harrison
I liked it fine. But once again, there didn't seem to be a main plot. Hmm. I'm sensing a trend, and normally I would think it was just me, except that I think most of these books are a bridge into the next, like the author was so interested in where he/she was going, he/she didn't really worry about how to get there. Anyway, it was almost a relief to have the pixie Jenks gone for most of the book, David the Were seems like he could become interesting, Kisten the vampire is becoming more awesome every chapter, and I'm seriously tired of Ivy and her issues. Oh, and Trent also becomes more awesome. I'm totally waiting for him to admit he wants Rachel. It'll never work, but it would be fun to watch the fireworks.
claritylit: (wicked)
2006-02-09 02:37 pm
Entry tags:

Jeff Lindsay - Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep's clothing. He's handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He's a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood spatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened—of himself or some other fiend.

I waited eagerly for this book to come up on my booksfree list, and then had to wait longer for it to be available. It was totally worth the wait. I've had it for about three weeks now, and I really don't want to send it back.

The story is narrated by Dexter, and he makes himself so sympathetic that it takes serious gore to jolt the reader back into remembering that he's a cold-blooded killer. "Whatever made me the way I am left me hollow, empty inside, unable to feel. It doesn't seem like a big deal. I'm quite sure most people fake an awful lot of everyday human contact. I just fake all of it."

spoilerly thoughts )

I first read the book right before I went to bed, and maybe it was pregnancy hormones, but the characterization and imagery were so evocative that I had nightmares about Matt being a serial killer. I haven't had nightmares about a horror novel in years. And then, a few days later, I picked up the book and read it all the way through again. I love Dexter. He's an amazing character: a sympathetic psycho. Sympathetic because of his traumatic past and his choice of victims, he's a fascinating glimpse into insanity, and his observations of "real" humans give an outsider's view of human behavior.

I don't think I'll be waiting for the paperback version of the next book, Dearly Devoted Dexter. My crappy local library says they have it, so I'll put a hold on that and get back into Dexter's head much sooner.
claritylit: (wicked)
2006-01-27 12:17 pm
Entry tags:

bravery comes in different forms

OMG! OMG! I did it! I totally did it!

I conquered my phone fear and called my Democratic senator's office and asked him to support a filibuster!

I am awesome!

(Yeah, I know it's not going to make difference in the long run. But I desperately want the Democrats to stand up and do something. That's all I ask.)
claritylit: (key)
2005-12-19 11:04 am
Entry tags:

Philip Pullman - The Golden Compass

From Amazon.com: The protagonist of this complex fantasy is young Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Oxford University. But it quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own--nor is her world. For one thing, people there each have a personal dæmon, the manifestation of their soul in animal form. For another, hers is a universe in which science, theology, and magic are closely allied. Lyra's carefree existence changes forever when she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust. Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey dæmon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from "gyptians" to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

When I began reading the book, I realized that I had attempted it before. Last time, I seem to recall being unwilling to put forth the effort to suspend my disbelief and slide into Pullman's world. This time I made the effort, and then could barely put the book down to eat.

Supposedly for younger readers, the book seemed rather adult to me. Lyra begins at Jordan College in Oxford, where she runs wild with other children and street urchins rather than being tutored and learning anything. Her behavior, along with the treatment she receives from the housekeeper and the Master of the college, puts her age rather lower than expected. For a child of this age, her run-ins with Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter take on a very sinister tone, as does her decision to find the disappeared children from her group.

slightly spoilery )

It was interesting to read Pullman after he got himself into hot water with Narnia fans by criticizing the series as sexist, racist, and violent. Pullman critics contend that his books are nothing but anti-religious tracts themselves. While I've only read about half a Narnia book (It was boring.), I have to say that so far, in The Golden Compass, the crazed religious people with their bizarre theories about how everything in nature ties in with original sin, well, it didn't seem that far from reality to me. Not that every religious person in reality is crazed, but that it seems to be so easy for people of limited intelligence to slip down that slope, and for the basic tenets of government and the Church to follow them.
claritylit: (regret)
2005-12-19 09:49 am
Entry tags:

Susannah Carleton - A Rake's Redemption

Book Description: It's time for rake Theo Middleford to settle down, but he'll settle for nothing less than a wife with the warmth of a friend and the fire of a mistress. Then he meets a Welsh beauty-and wonders if her gentle mien could mask passion. Likewise, she wonders if his rakish nature hides a weakness for her. Both are determined to find out...

Um, the story's called A Rake's Redemption, right? So, one would assume, given a familiarity with Regency romances, that the gentleman in question is a naughty one, and it's up to the lady to convince him that monogamy is worth it. But, no. Our hero, Theo, decides on the first page to give up his rakish ways and settle down with a wife. On the second page, we learn that he believes in fidelity and in honoring his marriage vows, so we don't even have to worry about that. Neither does our heroine. Most of the tension has left the story already, and it hasn't even actually started.

Later, we get introduced to Lady Sarah Mallory, a Welsh beauty. Why the author made her Welsh, I don't know, because it has nothing at all to do with the plot. A few random comments from other members of society ("Oh, you're Welsh?") and four Welsh words (bach, cariad, and Llwyn On) and we're done. That was the entire point of making her and her family Welsh.

Anyway, Lady Sarah is friends with Theo's cousin's new wife, and Theo quite likes the new wife, so he decides to shop for a bride among her friends. Somehow, Sarah's the one. Theo decides to court her for the rest of the Season. After about a day of this courting stuff, Theo is in love with Sarah. Well, that's handy.

Sarah has no idea why Theo makes her weak in the knees. No, seriously. She doesn't get it. Even if she's never read a book and was raised in a convent, doesn't she have girlfriends? Finally, towards the end of the book, Silly Sarah talks to her mom about it and finds out that she's attracted to Theo "as a man," whatever that's supposed to mean.

I won't bore myself with the rest of the plot, because it was dull and irritating. Sarah and Theo live happily ever after. We're not sure why, because neither of them seems to have much of a personality, so it's hard to see why they're such a perfect fit. Whatever. They deserve each other.

So, to sum up: boring characters, contrived plot, a rake who tames himself in the prologue.

I thought the name Susannah Carleton sounded familiar, so I looked her up, and I have read another book of hers. I was similarly disappointed, although not as much. I would have expected some improvement from 2003's A Twist of Fate, but there was actual deprovement worsening regress. I'm back to reminding myself to avoid another author.
claritylit: (pissy)
2005-11-07 03:35 pm
Entry tags:

Bush says Americans don't torture

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

"There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again," Bush said. "So you bet we will aggressively pursue them but we will do so under the law."

He declared, "We do not torture."


Sounds to me like our enemy is the Republican Party.

"Our country is at war and our government has the obligation to protect the American people," Bush said. "Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture."

Is he claiming to be acting within current law, or that because we're in a war, the laws don't apply to the government?

Also, Italian television claims to have proof that US troops used deadly chemical weaponry on Iraqi civilians.
claritylit: (cats)
2005-11-07 09:57 am

Gaudy Night Quotes

Gaudy Night is one of my favorite mystery novels. Every time I read it, I find something else that speaks to me. Here are some of my favorite quotes, mostly for [livejournal.com profile] raincitygirl.

cut for length )
claritylit: (scientist)
2005-11-06 12:12 pm
Entry tags:

more Intelligent Design (Ignorant Denial) bitching

From the ACLU Pennsylvania blog:

In the closing argument of the defendants, the Dover Area School Board, their lead attorney Gillen stated that "the science teachers were not trained in intelligent design," so it "doesn't make sense" that they were qualified to say that it wasn't science. He went on to say that they should rely on someone with a PhD, like Michael Behe, who believes that intelligent design is science. He also pointed out that the school board, whose members were elected by the community, had the final say in a dispute with teachers over curriculum. The board has "the right and the duty to exercise its judgment."

Pardon me while I disagree with everything that comes out of the man's mouth.

cut for length )

When intelligent design is reduced to its basic principle, we are left with this: "We can't figure this stuff out; we give up; God/the creator/the designer must have done it." And that attitude is the antithesis of science.
claritylit: (flair)
2005-11-05 10:41 am
Entry tags:

we hates them

Bush's Popularity Reaches New Low
By Richard Morin and Dan Balz
The Washington Post

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said Bush will rally support through such issues as education reform, changes to the tax code, and a new energy strategy to show the public that he "will continue to push for changes in our government to serve the American people."

Serve them with what? Serve them up to poverty and despair is more like it.

Food Stamp Cuts Are On Table
House Plan Would Affect 300,000
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer

The food stamp cuts in the House measure would knock nearly 300,000 people off nutritional assistance programs, including 70,000 legal immigrants, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. [...]
About 40,000 children would lose eligibility for free or reduced-price school lunches, the CBO estimated. [...]
A separate House measure would scale back federal administrative aid to state child-support enforcement programs, saving the federal government nearly $5 billion over five years but potentially cutting child-support collections even more. [...]
Still another House provision would roll back a court-ordered expansion of foster care support, denying foster care payments to relatives who take in children removed from their parents' homes by court order. That provision would reduce the coverage of foster care payments to about 4,000 children a month and cut $397 million from the program through 2010, the CBO said. [...]


Compassionate conservatives, my ass.

"It blows my mind, because [unlike conservatives] we don't have to put the word
'compassionate' in front of it to say we actually give a shit about people.
I'm going to keep saying 'liberal' as loud as I can and as often as I can." - George Clooney
claritylit: (key)
2005-11-04 09:11 am
Entry tags:

the myth of liberal media

The cord for my laptop died last week. So I had to migrate over to Matt's computer to keep up with current events. That was annoying, because the couch is way more comfortable than Matt's computer chair, and I am lazy.

In web surfing news, Hunter at Daily Kos has finally explained why conservatives continue to talk about the "liberal media," as though the media hasn't been, if not shilling for, at least allowing the atrocities of the Bush administration. Apparently, facts are liberal.

In general, liberals value journalism, or facts, and conservatives value punditry, or opinions. Far-right conservatives are indeed obsessed with the press, because they see the reporting of facts as being inherently "liberal".


It makes so much more sense now.

more quotes under the cut )
claritylit: (scientist)
2005-11-02 01:06 pm
Entry tags:

all the cool kids flunk science

Reason #297 Why I Hate People

The Intelligent Design trial in Dover, PA
A school board member [Heather Geesey] who voted to include "intelligent design" in a high-school biology curriculum testified Friday that she never independently researched the concept and relied on the opinions of two fellow board members to make her decision. ... "They said it was a scientific thing," said Geesey, who added that "it wasn't my job" to learn more about intelligent design because she didn't serve on the curriculum committee. ...

Witold Walczak, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing the families, noted in his cross-examination of Geesey that the policy was adopted over the objections of Dover High School's science teachers. "The only people in the school district with a scientific background were opposed to intelligent design ... and you ignored them?" he asked. "Yes," Geesey said.

How are people allowed to be this stupid?

The ACLU, which is providing legal services in this case, is blogging daily about the trial here.
claritylit: (nine/rose)
2005-10-20 03:03 pm
Entry tags:

iTunes oracle and icons

Ah, iTunes. you taunt me with your omniscience. "Kathy," I said, "I am lost," though I knew she was sleeping. "I'm empty and aching and I don't know why." And then Chris Smither, They don't tell you nothing you don't already know. They keep holding out the promise but they don't let go.

*****

I've got Matt watching the new Doctor Who. We're up to the third episode; it's hard to watch on my computer. While I was watching that last ep with him, I noticed about a million expressions and scenes that I wanted to icon. So I actually went back and watched nearly the entire freakin' episode in super-slo-mo and capped quite a bit. I'm slowly working my way through the screencaps and iconning them. Those people who join the 100 icon challenges? They're nuts. I'm not putting text on them, because it takes way too much time. I'm pretty happy with most of them. If you want to follow along, they're in my livejournal gallery here. There's nothing particularly spoilery, if you're planning to watch later.

*****

Wilma needs to stay the hell away from me. That's all I got to say 'bout that.
claritylit: (nine/rose)
2005-10-10 11:59 am
Entry tags:

fool's paradise

I spent at least an hour last night, balancing the US federal budget. The site warns that a surplus will create crankiness among the populace, but I've decided to use my $56-billion dollar surplus to pay down the US debt to China. I totally rock.

While I was serving my country, I was also serving margaritas. I make a good one, even if I do say so myself. Well, Matt says it, too.
claritylit: (key)
2005-10-07 07:33 pm
Entry tags:

"Claire needs" google meme

Gacked from [livejournal.com profile] synaesthete7 :

Type "[Your name] needs" (with quotation marks) into Google, then turn the results into a poll.

Screw the poll. I hate polls, mostly because I don't have enough friends to actually take a poll. Sooooo.......

Claire needs
  • private support
  • a visit to the bunny planet
  • to watch out for the sleezy lawyer
  • greater spending in economic development
  • TO USE THE SAMPLE ON THE BLUE TREE BESIDE OF SMALL ROOM AND SWITCH
    BACK OVER TO ZARAD TO KILL CATENII, THEN TAKE ALL THREE BACK TOGETHER AND ...
  • to be street smart to remain profitable
  • to hurry up and have her baby
  • your support
  • a wider circle of friends
  • to get and keep the best therapy possible
  • more than her donor could meet
  • better connectivity
  • escape from the strict roles of wife and mother
  • some treatment
  • a long-term foster home
  • to hire a part time admin worker


That was amusing this time.
claritylit: (scientist)
2005-10-07 03:56 pm

GIP!!

The quote is from the always applicable Ghostbusters and the cap is from CSI:NY, where Gary Sinise is very scientifically testing spatter patterns. ::geeks!::
claritylit: (give up)
2005-10-07 10:25 am
Entry tags:

war on terra

Is anyone else just the teensiest bit suspicious when the president's approval rating drops to 37% and there's suddenly a terror warning in New York City?

"information indicated that a terrorist attack on New York's subway system could be possible"

  • What "information"? Where did they get it? What did it say?

  • "Could be possible"? Whatever. It "could be possible" that I am really Godzilla and I am planning to terrorize New York City 'cuz I'm a bit bored with Tokyo. It could be.

  • It's not, though.


"An official from the Department of Homeland Security told CNN that the agency has received intelligence regarding 'a specific but not credible' threat "

  • WTF? Specific but not credible? Do these people even know what words mean? Credible = offering reasonable grounds for being believed. So, not credible = not offering reasonable grounds for being believed. And if it's not credible, why make such a big f'ing deal?


*****

Pardon me while I scream and tear out my hair.
claritylit: (nine/rose)
2005-10-05 07:40 pm
Entry tags:

anti-bush bile, prettified

Just doing my usual random clicking on any link that says "Bush Sucks", and I found this George Will piece on Miers' nomination from the Washington Post. Now, I thought the WP was seriously pro-Bush; I don't know anything about Will. But I was totally blown away by this paragraph (emphasis mine):

It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.


Holy shit, dude. There are some serious insults hiding in that flowery language.

*****

In real life news, I'm feeling better and more positive today. Matt isn't feeling well, because he rode his motorcycle in the woods and breathed through his mouth. There's dirt, dust, and pollen in the woods. Breathing through your mouth isn't the brightest idea. So when I said that I was thinking about making soup for dinner, which I thought he would appreciate, he whined and said he didn't want it. So he picked up a fried chicken from the grocery store on his way home. But dammit, I'm making soup tomorrow night. I love soup.