Archive for May, 2006

REVIEW: JPOD by DOUGLAS COUPLAND

Monday, May 29th, 2006

I was browsing in Book Warehouse during my lunch break today, as I often do, and I picked up Couplands new book, jPod. After reading the first two sentences,

“Oh God. I feel like a refugee from a Douglas Coupland novel.”

I closed the book, placed it back on the shelf and then inserted a thin stiletto blade into my left ocular cavity and then up into my frontal lobe, jiggling it back and forth in a “windsheild wiper” motion. Why?

DRUNKY MONKEY

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Because Toby asked for it, here’s another post about monkey fluid related program activities.

Drunk monkeys mirror people

Monkeys drink more alcohol when housed alone, and some like to end a long day in the lab with a boozy cocktail, according to a new analysis of alcohol consumption among members of a rhesus macaque social group.

A follow-up study will examine whether monkeys under the influence also feel compelled to sing along loudly to classic rock anthems.

WHY MUST THE MONKEY SUBJECT POOR TIMMY TO THE HORRORS OF HIS VARIEGATED FLUIDS? THE GODS THEMSELVES, THEY DO NOT KNOW.

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Monkey Fluids. Your number one source for monkey fluids.

INFINITY AND BEYOND

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

I’m re-reading Infinite Jest, finally. I found a nice first-edition hardcover at Pulp Fiction this weekend and decided it was time for another round. I can already tell it’s going to be even better the second time.

Sometimes second-hand books contain underlining or marginal notes. I like that. Highlighter or ink marks are vulgar and distracting of course, but you usually don’t find those in used-book stores, more in libraries. Last summer the library hung enormous skrim vinyl banners printed with blown-up pages on which people had made extensive, sometimes amusing, notes and lines. I doubt the authors of the marginalia ever saw those banners, but I wonder what they would have thought of their notes being put up on display like that. It would probably be like someone enlarging your grocery list and hanging it in an art gallery; not really an invasion of privacy, but it would still seem kind of creepy I would think. Probably worse, because your grocery list doesn’t broadcast your failure to make sense of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But I enjoy sparse graphite marginalia, it’s like a little window into someone’s private experience with a book. Especially a book as great and enormous as Infinite Jest, you know someone spent a lot of time with it, stared at it for hours and hours, and the pages contain evidence of the attention. It’s part of what makes a book object-like, as opposed to a neutral medium for information like a computer screen. It’s sort of trite to say so but my moderate bibliomania involves a serious affection for books as physical things.

The previous owner of my Infinite Jest had underlined the following words:

– hirsute
– roil
– espadrille
– vectors
– cirri
– martinet
– anomalous gigantism
– infantophile
– hypophalangial
– etiology

That’s just the first seventeen pages. As a list of words to look up, it struck me as odd that they included “infantophile,” which seems like a word any English speaker could pretty easily puzzle out, and “vectors” which is pretty much ubiquitous. But yet they didn’t underline a word I had to look up: “lapidary.” A lapidary is someone who works with semi-precious stones; from the latin “lapis,” meaning stone. So I underlined it.