Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Year's Resolution Book Review

My record on keeping my New Year's Resolutions is not so great, but that didn't stop me from resolving to read 12 books in 2011. I only read 8. I also read every issue of the Economist, a shit-ton of cookbooks, and more celebrity gossip websites than I care to publicly admit, so I count 2011 as a semi-victory. Here are my brief book reviews of the books I made it through in reverse order of how much I liked them.

8. Candide by Voltaire
I'm glad I read this book, though I can't say that I enjoyed it much. Clearly my tolerance for classic literature has decreased greatly from high school English classes.

7. Introduction to Economic Analysis by R. Preston McAfee
Yes, this is a textbook, and I normally would not include textbooks, but I did read this book cover to cover. It's a free e-book, so you can read it too if you need to catch up on basic principles of microeconomics and game theory. Very readable. As fun as a textbook could be, with all sorts of entertaining footnotes and commentary. But since it's a textbook, it still winds up at #7.

6. My Life by Golda Meir
This book took me over a year to finish. Another book I'm glad I read, but...it is LONG. It was interesting to hear about the creation of the state of Israel from her perspective, especially in light of the current state of the Middle East.

5. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
I have been trying to catch up on books that are referenced a lot in popular culture, and I definitely think this book is in that category. Again, points for brevity, but I can't say I was enthralled with a book told from a dog's perspective. Maybe I lost my imagination somewhere.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
This book was a bestseller, and it's easy to see why - it's an entertaining and heartwarming story about a bunch of kids with completely kooky parents who grow up to be OK (mostly). And it's supposedly all true. I definitely appreciated my parents more after reading this.

3. City of Thieves by David Benioff
This book was about two guys during the siege of Leningrad trying to avoid execution by searching for a dozen eggs for an officer's daughter's wedding cake. The setting is obviously grim, but the book is absurd and humorous because of it.

2. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Full disclosure - Dave Eggers is my favorite contemporary author, and my favorite book of his is What is the What, a fictionalized account of the life of a Sudanese refugee. Like What is the What, Zeitoun is a fictionalized true story. Zeitoun is about a Muslim family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Their experience is heartbreaking and horrifying, but like all of Eggers' novels of this nature, he manages to make the book more uplifting than depressing.

1. The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell
This was one of the most creative premises for a book that I have ever heard of. Felix, a leftist pole living in France, is the author of the definitive guidebook to the USSR. When it collapses, his life is turned upside down. This book explores ideas about what home is and what happens when our most cherished beliefs turn out not to be true at all. A truly creative novel.

I am making the same resolution again this year...and of course, I am already behind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yes Know

Did you arrive here from Yes Know's blog? If so, sorry about that. You are sure to be disappointed here. I don't update this that much. As it turns out, I'm rather sick of my own thoughts by the time it comes to write them down. So they remain in my head, rotting like a carcass.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Realization

Today at my laboratory research job I realized something.If anyone finds some cool science-related doilies, let me know.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Menstrual Cup Evangelism

Dear readers, I know that talking about female genitalia is always awkward. Today I feel compelled to educate you, my adoring fans, about the best development in menstrual technology. Ever. The menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups have existed for a century, but they have never gained widespread popularity. Until the internet came along, it was difficult to find these cups, as they aren't available in your typical aisle of feminine products at the grocery store. Now, a search for menstrual cups will lead you to many different manufacturers (including the Keeper, Mooncup, Lunette, Divacup, Fleurcup, etc.).

I bought my Divacup a few years ago and have been preaching the good news about menstrual cups ever since. I really believe it has improved my quality of life. However, when people ask me about how it has made my life better, I struggle to answer. The few friends I have convinced to get one agree that they are awesome, but also struggle to convey precisely how.

Menstrual cups definitely save money - I paid $35 for my Divacup in early 2007, and haven't spend a dime on menstrual products since. And they save a TON of waste! These two points are awesomely depicted in this graphic that I stole from the Divacup website.
Although the monetary and environmental aspects are what initially attracted me to menstrual cups, they are not why I rave about them. In many ways I feel freed from my period with the menstrual cup. I only have to empty it twice a day. I never have to remember to bring or buy supplies. I don't worry about it becoming visible in tight pants or a swimsuit.

But even more difficult to explain to people is how it has changed my attitude towards my period. Before, I dreaded my period and was miserable the whole time. Having to think about it less and being able to monitor it more easily (most cups have measurement markings) have made me feel like my period is just another way to mark the passage of time rather than an evil force to be reckoned with.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rick Santorum is Running for President

Or at least it seems likely.

A few years ago this douchebag publicly compared gay marriage to bestiality and pedophilia. He claimed that the "definition of marriage" has never included "man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." He doesn't believe that Americans have inalienable rights guaranteed by the constitution, but instead he would like that "these kinds of incredibly important moral issues be decided by the American public, not by nine unelected, unaccountable judges." Yay. I've always wanted the American public's popular opinion to determine my inalienable rights.

The real purpose of this blog entry is to exacerbate Santorum's Google problem, invented and maintained by the always ridiculous Dan Savage.

Without further ado: http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/