How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? – NYTimes.com


The advantages of e-books are clear. E-books are immediate. Sitting at home in Pakistan, I can read an intriguing review of a book, one not yet in stores here, and with the click of a button be reading that book in an instant. E-books are also incorporeal. While traveling, which I do frequently, I can bring along several volumes, weightless and indeed without volume, thereby enabling me to pack only a carry-on bag.

And yet the experience of reading e-books is not always satisfactory. Yes, it is possible to vary the size of the font, newly important to me at age 42, as I begin to perceive my eye muscles weakening. Yes, e-books can be read in the dark, self-illuminated, a reassuring feature when my wife is asleep and I am too lazy to leave our bed, or when electricity outages in Lahore have persisted for so long that our backup batteries are depleted. And yes, they offer more frequent indicators of progress, their click-forwards arriving at a rapidity that far exceeds that of paper-flipping, because pixelated screens tend to hold less data than printed pages and furthermore advance singly, not in two-sided pairs.

Nonetheless, often I prefer reading to e-reading. Or rather, given that the dominance of paper can no longer be assumed, p-reading to e-.

I think my reasons are related to the fact that I have disabled the browser on my mobile phone. I haven’t deleted it. Instead, I’ve used the restrictions feature in my phone’s operating system to hide the browser, requiring me to enter a code to expose and enable it. I can use the browser when I find it necessary to browse. But, for the most part, this setting serves as a reminder to question manufactured desires, to resist unless I have good cause.

Similarly, I have switched my email account from the attention- and battery-consuming “push” setting to the less frenzied manual one. Emails are fetched when I want them to be, which is not all that often. And the browser on my slender fruit-knife of a laptop now contains a readout that reminds (or is it warns?) me how much time I have spent online.

Time is our most precious currency. So it’s significant that we are being encouraged, wherever possible, to think of our attention not as expenditure but as consumption. This blurring of labor and entertainment forms the basis, for example, of the financial alchemy that conjures deca-billion-dollar valuations for social-networking companies.

I crave technology, connectivity. But I crave solitude too. As we enter the cyborg era, as we begin the physical shift to human-machine hybrid, there will be those who embrace this epochal change, happily swapping cranial space for built-in processors. There will be others who reject the new ways entirely, perhaps even waging holy war against them, with little chance — in the face of drones that operate autonomously while unconcerned shareholding populations post selfies and status updates — of success. And there will be people like me, with our powered exoskeletons left often in the closet, able to leap over buildings when the mood strikes us, but also prone to wandering naked and feeling the sand of a beach between our puny toes.

via How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? – NYTimes.com.

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Carrie


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Recently, a young person that I know came excitedly up to me and asked “hey, have you ever seen this movie Pulp Fiction, It’s really good”. I resisted the urge to strangle her and thought about the question instead. This person was in her early twenties and unlike me, most parents would not think that Quentin Tarantino was appropriate for a young person to watch. I think that good cinema will work on the intelligence but I have to take into account that not everyone feels as I do. That this is a “new” find for her makes sense. I did, however, draw the line at her trying to explain the plot of this movie that I love to me. Back off kid, I know this movie so well I can think of it linearly. If you get that, I love you, I really do.

This encounter did make me think about the fact that there are so many good books and movies that people have not experienced because they were not around at that time or they were not interested when it was out. So, with that in mind, I am going to do a series of reviews on some of my favorite things. Starting today with Carrie by Stephen King. It’s Halloween after all.

Carrie White is an unpleasant character. She is not likable, not really, she is one of those people that everyone either dislikes or doesn’t really know at all. She is 100 things that make this book completely unworkable, and yet it does work.

This book starts and end in uncomfortable circumstances, and is filled to the brim with uncomfortable moments. The language is rough, the characters are rough, the places are rough, the pacing is rough and no one in this book, with the exception of maybe Tommy Ross, is actually likable. You don’t really have anyone to root for in this book and yet it is one that I sat down and ate whole in one sitting.

The book is essentially about the person in every school, a person that no one likes. I don’t know why that is (I don’t know why there is a universally liked person in every school either but I digress) I just know that this person does exist. Not a person that is unpopular, that is most of every high school. Not a person that is nerdy, for the record most nerds do have friends as they tend to “club up” on one or another mutual interest. This is a person that simply no one likes. Not everyone DISLIKES this person but no one, not a single person in the school actively likes this person.

Carrie white is that person in her hometown Chamberlain and its high school. She is a pale, flabby (not fat) girl, with hair of no color (Carrie as a redhead is a work of movie magic and seems to be the thing that sticks) and a personality that is also of no color. She is ushered into womanhood by a very public and traumatic event that sets the stage for a series of cataclysmic events. The novel itself borrows a little from the style known as Gothic Novel and also and epistolary novel; written as part story, part flashbacks and part articles and fictional post cataclysm book excerpts. There are several moments where the book could turn, could flee from the inevitable horrifying events but, like life, rarely do we take those opportunities.

The characters that aid in the terrible events are Sue Snell, a pretty popular girl, her boyfriend Tommy Ross and Chris Hargensen. Chris, a pouty, pushy, bullying brat of a girl angered by her own inability to twist the system to her will is the final piece in the puzzle that makes the whole bloody mess come to a head.

As I said none of the characters are very likable, save Tommy. Sue is almost likable but I think being one of those girls, those popular girls, makes her immediately unlikable in a way. She is one of those people that everyone knows, has tons of friends but no one can tell you why. Carrie is not likable because she is so uncomfortable. Her whole life is just uncomfortable. Chis though…

Chris to me is actively awful. She is the kind of person that gets my back hairs up. King is wonderful at making these people. She is everything that should make her a good person but she is not. She has everything that she could want and wants none of it. She is popular, attractive, rich (her parents are but in high school that is the same thing) and instead of being a decent human being she uses it as a bludgeon. She knows that she is a terrible person, and cultivates it.

At the climax of this book, you just feel cold. That is not a bad thing, there are several great works that leave you feeling that way. It is the mental opposite of the warm fuzzies. In the end there is no one that you want to win. You just want to put it down and hope you have never hurt anyone for the sake of hurting them when you were too young and insecure to know better. It is one of those books that make you wonder about your own schools poor kid, or the one that carried a briefcase in third grade or whatever your outcast was like in school. What if you had made them your friend? Would a single friend, and not the last ditch Tommy Ross prom date kind of friend but an actual friend, have saved Carrie’s …

If you trace her problems, the sad simple answer is yes, probably. I have read bloggers, and writers that likened Carrie and Columbine. I think that they are wrong in that comparison, The Rage maybe but Carrie is not like Columbine. Carrie’s problems could have, potentially been solved by one friendly gesture early in the girls life.  The first part of the book, the trauma (minor spoiler) the shower and the first menstrual period could have been avoided if Carrie had one female friend in her life. That girl would have told her about periods, we always end up talking about that for some reason, and when she would have begun bleeding she would have been more prepared. Probably relived actually, getting your period at 17 for the first time would be pretty worrisome. If she had had one girl friend to tell her that, no tampons are not for lipstick blotting, and one person she could tell about Mama, she would have been saner. We are social animals and the lack of a society of any normal type was ultimately the catalyst of this cataclysm.

I guess here is where I should say the most useless thing in the world, I like this book. Useless because , it has already made its author rich, it launched one of the most prolific book writing careers in recent history and has been made and remade and remade again. It spawned sequels (bad, awful terrible sequels) and Halloween costumes, a Broadway show and cultural jokes. But I do want to say that I like this book. I don’t love this book, I like it, but I have read it six or seven times. I think it changes as you change, from the person is looking a possible future ( read to 13 or so) to a present ( read at high school) to a look behind. At each point it gives you some new thing to look at, some new thing to feel.

I like this book because it is simply a book of horror. It is a story, about a girl with a terrifying power, just as the original book proclaimed. It is also about high school. About the want to be accepted. About the people that are accepted and those who are not and why. A book about everyone you know, and no one you could ever know. That is why, while it is a work of its time it manages to continue to enchant.

Everyday I’m hustling…


Flickr friends

Flickr friends (Photo credit: Meer)

 

I’m carving a very strange little life for myself. I am living extremely nomadic. I have no roots at the moment and the lack there of is getting to me. I have more Friends then I have had in two decades but have less care in my life then in those two decades. I guess the thing that upsets me is that I am used to being slightly princess… Cared for… I don’t feel cared for.

 

Send in the Clowns


This song means a lot to me as I grow up and grow older . So many things  in my life , not just men but jobs, friends, thoughts, actions  , feel like they fall in this category . This why didn’t I realize at the time what I had .  Only to realize that the recapture of that thing , place , person or action is outside of your ability. You can not get the one that got away.

There are a lot of these for me , some because I truly didn’t see the merit on them and for those I can only sigh and move on but the ones that hurt are the ones that I missed out on because I was too  chickenshit it make a move . I am never proud of myself when I  miss out on something because  I decided to be a chickenshit . I would rather fail miserably  in trying than be in fear. I would like to try and fail beautifully.

In the spirit of that I have decided to sing today. You are free to listen or not to listen ( like you didn’t know that , right?) but understand that I am singing accapella and I did not do another take . I am a little pitchy at times I think but I am also woman enough today to sing one of my favorite songs to you and free of change .

http://youtu.be/TU8d7SBwswI

This year has not been easy and it is only May , but then again this year has not been easy and it is already May . I am not going to wallow in the many yesterdays, the could have beens , the should have beens. I am going to sing. and I am going to dance . I am going to move forward and laugh . Topple , roll , squeak my red nose and freak some people out . In short I am going to embrace the fact that I may be a clown. But after I go forward I will never let fear make me a clown again .

It’s been one week…


“Sex Life of Robots” | Michael Sullivan

“Sex Life of Robots” | Michael Sullivan (Photo credit: ceslava.com)

 

There is a book, perhaps you’ve
heard of it, that says if you are having trouble in your marriage
You should have sex everyday for 30 days. Without exception. You can’t be to busy, or to tired or to I’m thinking of divorcing this scumbag so I don’t want to fuck him…none of those things is an excuse. Everyday. Thirty days.
Now in those 30 days of sex bootcamp, there has to be some days where the sex is phenomenal; quivering , undulating flesh, orgasms that make you forget your own middle name, and that remind you why you married this person.
Contradictory to that are other days. Days when sex with this man or woman make you feel like…well like you are being forced to have sex everyday. Days when all you want to do is watch Himym and finally ,for the love of God ,know who this woman is!  And the sex is , kind of, blah.
I said that, and I’m apologizing in advance, because that is what I’m doing with my blog. Follow through is NOT my strong suit. If it were, you would hear people say things like ” did you read Brie Stoll’s last book?” Because that’s what I was born to do.
So for 30 days I’ll write. Sick, well, hung over, sad, happy, busy ,broke or whatever , I will write.
Some days you may read and think, that was good. Somedays you may read and think that’s awesome. Somedays you may read and think, not even close. That’s what the apology earlier was for.
I promise to try to bring you to a literary orgasm everyday . There will be days when you are already looking for the remote and wondering if there’s a nice juicy nurse Betty on somewhere. But I promise to do my level best to have as many days possible of “yes, yes, right there, oh, oh…I love you”… In the literary sense.

 

 

I love being a girl


Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon

Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I really do … I know , please , my feminist sisters don’t jump down my throat , yes I am a woman but I am sorry I love being a girl. Not a female. Not a woman. A girl. I love the feminine loveliness, the soft, the sweet. I love being a female , yes , but when I get ready  and have the makeup and the hair , cutsie poo and the sexy sensual beautiful things that I have and look in the mirror and I am truly feeling myself , I think , I love being a girl.

 

My proclamation is just that. I want to be allowed to be happy that I am a girl. I have a male friend that tries to throw lugs about women because of his own insecurities, about not having to do his hair, or not having to wear makeup. For the record, there are many men that are girls as well, and I am not just talking about being gay. Usher, the metro-sexual, and just your plain old pretty boys. And there are women that just don’t wear makeup and girlie clothes. SO… rude statement naturalized … but for those of us , like myself, who enjoy it , I also counter that I am not stuck with the woman I wake up to . I can sometimes suffer insomnia. When you go to sleep at 4 to wake up at 6, the women in the mirror at 6 looks like … how do I say this … death warmed over, twice.  When I walk out to people saying “you look rested”, ha-ha, I win!

 

I am a woman, smart, articulate, funny… umm…modest. I am also a girl, bubbly, and silly, unbearably cute …ummm…modest. Both are sides to me. They are parts that make me, me. They are the things that captivate those who know me into believing that the insecure pile of jello that I can be is this confidant grown up finally, and giving up my girl would not help, but hinder that.  If I had to stop having a crush on Tom Hardy, if I had to never go see another  Comic book movie alone ( yes I said alone ) , If I had to stop squealing when something made me really happy I would be diminished , my I would be smaller.

 

I think sometimes we are so quick to cast off out child self, not childish but child self, that we forget how to play, how to fun, how to dance like no one is watching, how to love a celebrity like we know them (not the crazy fanatic thing where we carve their names into our body, that is a sick child self and needs riddelin) just because they are awesome, and we lose the joy that was once inherent to our very nature. I realize that my girl and I are codependent as hell, we need each other. She lets me write and I let her scream for joy in the middle of the store  when she finds out Kelsey Grammar is playing Beast , my favorite X men character of all, in the middle of a store ( true story) .

 

I leave this long rambling prose with the following. Find your inner girl, or boy. I suggest Lego’s, they freaking LOVE Lego’s.

 

 

 

Free Fallin’


There are people in this world that have jumped from an airplane only to find mid-fall that the parachute didn’t open. While generally this spells death  for the person plummeting to the earth there are , on occasions, a person that lands and is found broken, bruised and badly shaken but nonetheless alive .

That person while recovering from the usually significant injuries has to , despite everything , feel like the luckiest son of a bitch in the world. You go into a free-fall , a jump from much higher than people die from and you live . You didn’t walk away . How could you? But the survival… the survival is all you could hope for and more.

Coming to Houston was me in free fall. I had little choice about what else I could do but I was definitely moving fast towards the ground and simply now , still in mid fall I have realized that I  can’t do anything to change the end of this fall.  now I am not saying that I am a victim of my fate I am saying that the choices that i made before now have shaped the movement  I am in  now . I jumped and while I couldn’t have predicted the lack of a parachute I had the choice to never jump.

I wonder if the people who are falling feel like I do now. In those moments , the beauty and splendor the earth all around them while they scream , prey or wet  themselves , do they also feel like this might be what I had to have happen. Would they choose to be at  home in whatever life made them feel like this was a good idea? I doubt that. I doubt that they would prefer to have never had the jump to avoid the fall.  I know that I would not .