BOOKS: How Emotions are Made, by Lisa Feldman Barrett


It is evident from this book that Barret is an accomplished researcher. Further, her research is relevant and interesting — but what is most interesting is how she tries to portray her research. The book could have been far more informative, concise and enjoyable had she not been so obsessed with convincing the reader that her research upsets commonly held beliefs about emotions. Because it does not.

But what is so strange, is that she has chosen to misrepresent the commonly held beliefs, so that her research will appear to contradict them.


Continue reading “BOOKS: How Emotions are Made, by Lisa Feldman Barrett”

BOOKHUNT: Obvious Titles and Awkward Authors

pulp-fction-books_main-shelvesYou know when you’re in a proper bookstore – one of those shops where the shelves are full, and overflow piles everywhere?  And you notice someone else in that bookstore, and you wonder:  “What is that person looking for?”  And you kind of keep on eye on them, and possibly even follow them around, to see if you can figure out  what they’re looking for, or to see which book they have in their hand? Because there is something about that person, and you want to know what they’re reading?

Well, not so long ago, I was the one being watched.  Continue reading “BOOKHUNT: Obvious Titles and Awkward Authors”

BOOKS: Anastasia, by Vladimir Megré

anastasia's flying saucer

Outlining alternate ways to raise children, keep bees, grow crops, and build a spaceship.


In search of a method of how to extract a valuable nut oil found in the Russian taiga, the author comes upon a young beautiful forest recluse named Anastasia. She has been living there alone (excepting visits from her grandfather and great-grandfather) since she was a child, because her parents’ brains exploded when they got too close to a tree.(pg 125) The story is presented as a true account, and the series (The Ringing Cedars of Russia) has apparently sold millions of copies and given rise to a religious movement.

Continue reading “BOOKS: Anastasia, by Vladimir Megré”

BOOKS: Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson

I’d been looking forward to reading this book for years — for decades. All I knew was that there were three books: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, and that it was about the long term colonization and terraforming of the red planet.

It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it did not disappoint.

Continue reading “BOOKS: Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson”

Gentle Ways to be Encouraged to Pay your Library Fine


I was back in Vancouver, and making my rounds through the libraries to snatch up books I’d put on hold while I was away. It was going pretty well — #1 on the list was The Vital Question in preparation for a book club meeting I had in a few days — but it was the hard cover (heavy and bulky). I managed to find the soft cover at another branch, and realized that each of these copies had one of my bookmarks. I’d taken out both of these books before.

I returned the hard cover, and held onto the soft cover — I hadn’t actually realized I’d lost that bookmark, but was glad to have it again. Later, I would meet the author and have the library copy signed, and later still I would fall asleep on the bus and again lose this bookmark that I was so very fond of.

But that’s not what this story is about.

Continue reading “Gentle Ways to be Encouraged to Pay your Library Fine”

Robot Design Considerations in 1957, Japan

[Astro Boy - "Here you go with some more energy!"]

This gem of a panel is from the story Ghost Manufacturing Machine in Astro Boy Omnibus 2 by Osamu Tezuka; pg 91, panel 2 (first published in a 1957 supplement edition of Shonen magazine).  This was one of only two English books in my hostel’s library.  The other was War and Peace.  It did not prove to be a very difficult decision (and I’m sure, for this, I will be judged).

Continue reading “Robot Design Considerations in 1957, Japan”

Fuck the Olympics. Enter: The Futility Games

Upon brooding on the subject of nuclear proliferation, I soon found myself musing on the lameness of the Winter Olympics. . .  and a superior alternative. 

(A solution to the threat of impending armageddon, however, did not present itself)

Continue reading “Fuck the Olympics. Enter: The Futility Games”