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'Vurt' by Jeff Noon

I actually read the sequel ‘Pollen’ a few years ago, but I had never had a chance to read the rest of the universe.

The reviews said they were two very different books, and that’s certainly true. ’Vurt’ has many of the now cliche-cyberpunk tropes, and is one of those works that definitely feels like it was made on drugs (the main action takes place over a month, and reads like one long trip). It flips back and forth between the main action, and the protagonists history.

The protagonist is Scribble, a young 20-something looking for his lover/sister Desdemona, who was lost in the dream-world of the Vurt. He does this by hanging around with the Stash Riders: Beetle, abusive leader; Bridget, Beetle’s psychic girlfriend, Mandy, the new girl whose Desdemona’s replacement with a fetish for violence; and the Thing from Outer Space, a blob that Scribble hopes to exchange for Desdemona.

In the course of exploring the Vurt through illegal feathers, the Stash Riders get chased by Murdoch, a vindictive cop, and caught up between the plots of Tanshaka, an escaped being of the Vurt, and the Game Cat, another mysterious exile. Not to mention a lot of other people. In the end Scribble manages to free Desdemona, not before losing most of his acquaintances and making a permanent sacrifice. No real closure to the ending, if that’s what you’re looking for.

I suppose the book was a marvel at the time it first came out, but frankly those tropes have been used too many times now to feel fresh. I found most of the characters unsympathetic; I couldn’t even bring myself to care about Scribble and Desdemona’s abusive father (although that certainly explains quite a bit about Scribble’s relationship with Beetle) And if I had ever really wanted to experience a bad, psychotic breakdown, I could go out and get my own drugs.

In comparison to ‘Pollen’ it feels like Noon, came off his bender, looked at what he wrote, then tried to write the exact opposite. Instead of 20-something (not even a rebel, he’s too weak for that) drug addict, we have a middle-aged cop. Instead of a personal quest, we have a threat to the entire city. Instead of a dreamer, we see through the eyes of a ‘flightless’ one who is unable to dream at all. Instead of flipping back and forth from present and past, we see from the perspective of the cop, and her estranged daughter. Both books raise more questions about the environment than they answer, and both leave us feeling unfulfilled at the ending.
Okay, so I was reading 'Ghost Hunt' over the last week. Being at least a little insane, I decided to look up some of Ono Fuyumi's other work. Having liked 'Tokei Ibun', I decided to try out 'Shiki'. Let's just say that was the stupidest decision I've made in a while.

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Online update


Sushi making kit

Wow, they really are correct. If your hands aren't the proper temperature, you really can taste yourself. And I taste terrible.


Found in a Dove chocolate today

"Chocolate won't let you down." That is sooo true.


BAD Internet Laws Heading Your Way

Originally posted by write_light at BAD Internet Laws Heading Your Way

From the flist: 

Spread the word, even you're not a US citizen, it is important for everyone!! It easy to do and it can change everything. More info by clicking on the banner.

Website Blocking

The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.

Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users

It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.

Chaos for the Internet

Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn't be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.

Read this analysis from boing-boing.net

Get on the phone and call your representative. Express your disapproval. Tell him or her exactly how you feel, and that you don't support this. Tell your friends to call their representatives, their Congressperson, and complain. Mention that you are a registered voter that takes your civic responsibility seriously and that you will use that vote to express your feelings about this.


“We support the bill’s stated goals — providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting,” the Internet companies wrote in Tuesday’s letter. “Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites.”  The chamber-led coalition in support of the bill includes Walmart, Eli Lilly & Co. and Netflix.

Google and other opponents of the legislation argue that restricting the Internet in the U.S. sets a bad international precedent and that the language defines infringing too broadly.

More odd dreams

Hetalia does D. Gray-man. Arthur as an Exorcist, with Matthew and Alfred being in a position similar to Komui (joined the Black Order to keep Arthur, their cousin, company after he had been drafted). Arthur's innocence was his wand. Alfred was a Finder, and Matthew got to worry his head off about both of them in the Research Division. Kiku was also an Exorcist; he had Mugen, but was much more polite than Kanda. Ivan was a General (a lot like Sokalo), with a parasitic Innocence in his heart. Alfred and Ivan had just met in the cafeteria, much the same way Kanda and Allen met, except with a lot more creepiness on Ivan's part.


Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Originally posted by gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

What's worse: a pit of snakes or a pit of spiders?
Spiders!  Definitely spiders!