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.


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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”

Five Dollars: Free with Every Banana. Unorthodox Californian Banking Practices

Withdrawing money abroad can cost a lot in banking fees.  I solved this problem in California by strategically buying Flip Flops and Bananas.  You can, too. 

I suppose  title youthe above title may mislead some readers into believing that the State of California has incentivized banks to pay people to eat bananas in an effort to encourage healthy eating practices.  While critics of Californias regulatory habits might not be suprised by such a policy, it is not (to my knowledge) a policy which is currently in effect.

The following is not about government-sponsored pecuniary incentives for eating tropical fruit.  It is about circumventing ATM fees while travelling abroad.

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Ignoring Spot (the exchange rate, not the dog)

“So you mean to tell me that whenever I withdraw money in a foreign currency, the official exchange rate can be ignored and any amount of money can be taken from my account?  And I have no way to determine what that rate will be before I withdraw the money, and I will have absolutely no recourse!?”

“Um. . .  Yes.”

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things you can do with your fridge


So I’m sitting there, thinking about my underwear. A few steps away is a giant chess board and a hot tub. In the evening I will be served large quantities chocolate cake, along with ice cream, for free. But it is about my underwear that I am thinking, when I finally ask myself: What’s the point? What’s the point of wearing a pair of underpants that are as much air as fabric? Underpants crowned with an elastic band that hangs off the fabric as limp as any one of you passed out on the toilet? HOW DO THEY EVEN STAY ON?

Static electricity, I assume, and in this sense, my underpants were a tiny daily miracle. Perfect static cling aside, the garment (recently washed (!)) was not dry when I was ready to leave, and so into the trash they went. One less pair of underwear to stick to my bum. It’s a cold train, to be sure. Everything must be worth its volume and weight. That’s why all those glass stones got abandoned in Spain.

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BOOKHUNT: Telepathic Spiders from Space

Without constraints I can spend hours in a good used bookstore. Without constraints, I could probably live in one.

But on any given occasion you will eventually need to eat, or go to the bathroom, go to work, or go to class.  And if you’re with people? They won’t want to stay as long. Not as long as me.

Then there is the matter of ‘opening hours’… Don’t think I never thought of turning into a mouse and sticking around after closing.

And so one day, well over a decade ago, I was out with a bunch of friends and we stopped in at one of those bookstores that had more books than shelving space. One of those wonderful places where, at the time, not everything was in order. Things were scattered, and piled, and everywhere.

There is no better place to dig for treasure.

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Car Free Day a less Care-Free Day when there are Big Fucking Guns on the street

Semi-Automatic Rifles were present on Commercial Drive on Car Free Day.  They made a lot of people uncomfortable.  What was the point?

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