David and Katie sit down with automation guru, minister and geek TJ Luoma. We talk about his love for Keyboard Maestro and how he uses automation to make life easier.
If you idea of fun is nearly two hours of me talking Mac nerd stuff, then today is your lucky day.
I had a great time talking with David and Katie about a whole lot of stuff (seriously, look at the show notes and you’ll see the range of stuff we talked about).
Being on MPU was kind of a big deal to me. They’ve been doing the show for nearly five years, and while I’m not sure I’ve listened to all previous 180 episodes, I’ve probably listened to the majority of them.
I was more than a little “nervous/excited” about it, and kind of dread listening to it (still hate the sound of my voice) but at the end of the call it seemed like it had gone well, so I’m hopeful.
“I think I’ve made clear that my only interest in the Chambers stuff (Robert W. Chambers wrote “The King in Yellow”) is as a story that has a place in American myth. And it’s a story about a story that drives people into madness. That was mainly it. Beyond that, I’m interested in the atmosphere of cosmic horror, but that’s about all I have to say about weird fiction.
I did feel the perception was tilted more towards weird fiction than perhaps it should have been. For instance, if someone needs a book to read along with season 1 of “True Detective,” I would recommend the King James Old Testament. I wouldn’t tell anyone to go buy Robert Chambers. It’s not that great a book. Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner I think are in there far more than Chambers or Lovecraft.”—
TJ: Well, if that’s all there is to it,
maybe I won’t bother reading The King In Yellow after all. Either way, don’t buy a copy of it when you can get it for free. (You can also find it on the Kindle store for free too.)
I had to laugh at the bit about reading the Old Testament. There are parts of it which are dull beyond belief (no pun intended) but I’ve often said that if Hollywood made an accurate movie about the book of Genesis, most church folk wouldn’t let their kids watch it. It’s probably a lot more like A Games of Thrones than you’d expect.
“These waxed ropes make my old dogs new again. If you like cheese danish then buy these. Measure your shoelaces before you buy these. I needed 36 but bought 30 becuase I was lazy. Now I never need to tie my shoes.”—
And you thought a review of shoelaces couldn’t improve your day.
In other news: people write reviews of shoelaces on Amazon.com.
And, perhaps even more surprising, other people read them.
I was looking for instructions on how to calculate the proper length to order, and searched for the word ‘measure’ which led me to this review. No instructions, but nevertheless I was not disappointed.
I give this review ★★★★☆.
p.s. - if you need a guide to estimating shoelace length, ShoeLacesExpress.com has you covered, although they emphasize that they are:
intended to be a “Guideline only”.
So, please, no wagering.
p.p.s - Still trying to figure out the part about cheese danish.
p.p.p.s - I am strongly considering ending all future correspondence with “In Latvia we worship potato.”
My eldest’s phone blew up. I’m looking around for her, trying to help find her something. Buying new seems to be out of the question. (WTF APPLE ALMOST A THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR A GOTDAM PHONE ARE YOU INSANE)
What’s a good reputable place/site a person can buy a used Rogers phone?
22 Books You Should Read Now, Based On Your Childhood Favorites
So I stripped it down to just the text here.
(Well… and then I wrote a shell script which prompts the user for some input, and then uses it to search the Kindle store on Amazon.com, and returns the proper URL, and, optionally, the Title too, as Markdown, but I’ve been wanting to do that for awhile anyway.)
Anyway, here’s the list, in a much-easier-to-refer-to-later format.
(Disclaimer: this isn’t my list, it’s from someone called Arianna Rebolini)
Both novels tell of sheltered future societies gone wrong: the “Sameness” paradise of The Giver and the isolated boarding school of Never Let Me Go, Hailsham. But each of these supposed utopias harbor secrets, and the significance of Hailsham’s own “sameness” is the darkest of all. What happens when the residents grow up and figure it out?
Rich, generation-spanning histories. Magic and mythology. Epic warfare. Feuding families. Badass ladies. So many feasts. Both series are chock-full of all of it. The world of A Song of Ice and Fire just happens to be inhabited by humans, not mice.
The brilliant and hilarious Catch-22, which follows Captain John Yossarian as he fights in the U.S. Air Force, is all about the absurdities of bureaucracy. And while the themes of the war novel are understandably darker, the shenanigans are similarly inane — from a bomber pilot holding rubber balls in his hands as a way to distract from the crabapples in his cheeks, to the Wayside School student who can’t count in the correct order but always lands at the right number.
Brooklyn teenager Quentin Coldwater of The Magicians likely grew up reading about Harry Potter. It’s the reason he spends his days wishing magic were real, and the reason he’s so excited when his fantasy is seemingly fulfilled by acceptance into the Brakebills Academy for magicians. But the magic world of The Magicians is a bit more tempered by reality — the studies are tedious, the practice is mired in bureaucracy — and even when Quentin discovers how far-reaching this magic is, he’s still not immune to some standard post-grad disillusionment.
Kate and Baba of The Country Girls are like bosom friends Anne Shirley and Diana Barry, but if Anne and Diana eventually made their way out of the country and into the city. In this controversial trilogy, the girls — romantic, adventurous, and rule-breaking — leave their idyllic hometown for Dublin, where they pursue their passions side by side.
We all loved Ramona Quimby because she was relatable, a little strange, and always hilarious. Same goes for Sloane Crosley, whose sharp, endearing, and laugh-out-loud personal essays tell stories of angry bosses, misadventures at the Museum of Natural History, baking mishaps, and more.
Both Holes and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao read as modern mythology, featuring two curse-afflicted protagonists who can’t catch a break. They’re tales of misfits and survival, and the cruelty that Oscar faces as an overweight Dominican-American teen obsessed with sci-fi is just as harsh and alienating as that of Stanley Yelnats’ prison camp.
At its core, Bridge to Terabithia is about friendship, especially the kind that is strengthened by shared creativity and imagination. In The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer explores that bond — focusing on six teens who meet at a summer camp for the arts — and looks at what happens when it extends into adulthood.
If you were drawn into the apocalyptic cyberpunk future depicted in Ender’s Game, you’ll eat Neuromancer up. Ender is at times a reluctant hero, and Gibson’s has-been hacker Case is similarly unlikely — but when a dangerous artificial intelligence threatens Earth, it’s Case (working with a dead man and a street fighter) who has the power to save the world.
Both novels use time travel to illuminate horrific moments of history — The Devil’s Arithmetic sending its protagonist to the Holocaust and Kindred sending Dana to the slave quarters of antebellum South. The 26-year-old Dana travels back and forth, though, jumping between her happy life in California and life-threatening experiences as a slave until she figures out what she’s being sent back to do.
Walk Two Moons is a story within a story, told by a girl longing for her missing mother. The tale she weaves is fantastical, tinged with spirituality, mysticism, grief, a bit of romance, and rich descriptions of the land. Marquez’s epic masterpiece widens the scope of each of those themes. In a long and entrancing history of the mythical town of Macondo, he writes about love, revolution, prosperity, loss, and the tragic rise and fall of a family.
It’s the playfulness of The Phantom Tollbooth that wins over its readers (and, really, it’s one of the children’s books that warrants revisiting), and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust captures that same sense expertly. When Tristan Thorn embarks on a quest to find a fallen star, he encounters witches, elf-lords, a captain of a flying ship, and all manners of eccentrics that will stay with the reader long after the book is finished.
So it doesn’t have any hobbits or wizards, but what Gentlemen of the Road lacks in fantasy it more than makes up for in action, adventure, and enthralling characters. Zelikman and Amram, physican and ex-soldier respectively, make their way through the Caucasus Mountains in the year 950, fighting and stealing and somehow getting in the middle of a full-scale revolution.
Harriet M. Welsch is easily one of the most lovable heroines of YA fiction, for her passion, independence, and fearlessness. Twelve-year-old Paloma of The Elegance of the Hedgehog is cut of the same cloth — a talented, precocious, and curious wunderkind who befriends similar eccentrics in her Parisian apartment building, and who’s mysteriously decided her life will end by her 13th birthday.
Twelve-year-old Ava of Swamplandia! doesn’t travel through space and time, but she does travel through the Floridian swamps all on her own and, like Meg Murry of A Wrinkle in Time, her bravery is for the sake of her family. As Ava sets off to save their alligator-wrestling dynasty, she travels deep into a beautifully surreal and somewhat mystical landscape, encountering dangerous strangers and creatures alike.
The troubles that Margaret Simon experiences in the Judy Blume classic — romantic anxiety, body confusion, the awkwardness of fitting in with new friends — are especially potent in the preteen years but by no means limited to them. Melissa Bank proves this as she follows protagonist Jane Rosenal from age 14 to her mid-twenties in a series of hilarious and heartbreaking stories of navigating love, work, and life.
Roald Dahl was the master of bringing the surreal to life, peopling his world with talking bugs, cartoonishly evil adults, and a peach large enough to live in. Murakami is similar in his ability to fill his readers with metaphysical wonder, and he is most successful in Kafka on the Shore. Teenager Kafka Tamura sets off on a search for his mother and sister, with the elderly Nakata as his unlikely partner. Together the two encounter a slightly altered reality, full of riddles, talking cats, a rainstorm of fish, and a mysterious murder.
In The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson tells a tale that could very well be described as a series of unfortunate events, and in a similar vein as Lemony Snicket’s series. It follows the young and motherless Pak Jun Do as he makes his way in North Korea, coming up against harsh demands and arbitrary violence in a thrilling and at times harrowing tale of lost innocence.
Brian has his hatchet and Margo has her rifle, and both are fending for themselves in these stories of survival. Their isolations are different though; where Brian is alone in the wilderness after surviving a plane crash, 16-year-old Margo is traveling along the Stark River in rural and sparsely populated Michigan in search of her long-lost mother. The dangers she encounters are real and and often disturbing, but her perseverance is legendary.
Both When Kambia Elaine Flew in From Neptune and Sula have at their cores stories of children who are forced to grow up too fast. They tell of violence in the household, the effects of poverty, experiences of racism, and above all the way that two friends can carry each other along. Toni Morrison’s classic Sula begins in childhood, and follows young Sula and Nel as they survive life in the Bottom (which shares a name with Kambia Elaine’s hometown, though the former is in Ohio and the latter is in Texas) and test their friendship as they go separate ways in adulthood.
What was great about The Westing Game wasn’t necessarily the mystery, but the characters involved in it. It was suspenseful, for sure, but it was fun and at times even funny. Robin Sloan captures that feeling in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, a fast-paced and heady mystery that follows a former web designer who suspects there’s something more to the bookstore he’s taking shifts at. As he delves into analysis with his eclectic friends, he uncovers a world of secret societies, mysterious literati, and a web of technological riddles.
John Ajvide Lindqvist is the master of old-school horror, and his eery ghost story Harbor will have you sleeping with the lights on for weeks. Set in the icy desolation of a fictional Scandinavian island, Lindqvist creates a world of mysterious disappearances, dark magic, stalking phantoms, and an angry and insatiable sea.
Tangent time: The use of the word “helpmeet” in one of those quotes always makes me want to bring up one of the most important facts I learned about that quote in Genesis that’s translated as God deciding to make the woman to be a suitable “helpmeet” for the man, since that passage is often used to pressure women into subservient roles. (And the entire Adam and Eve story is twisted to blame women for pretty much everything.)
The phrase translated into “helpmeet” in the King James is ezer kenegdo in Hebrew. “Ezer” roughly means “one who surrounds, protects, supports,” and when used elsewhere in the Bible, it is always used to refer to God or military allies providing help. “Kenegdo” means “meet” in the sense of equality, so it implies that the ezer, the ally, is equal rather than superior.
So if ezer kenegdo means “an equal who surrounds, protects, and supports,” then instead of thinking of a helpmeet as the lovely assistant, a modern phrase to capture the right sense would be to say that God said, “it is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a partner to have his back.” Or perhaps, “…I will send him the cavalry to ride in and join forces.”
The especially awesome part? I wanted to allude to this and had actually included it in a previous draft, but I didn’t have the details that Tiffany had, and I thought it was pretty long already, so I decided to leave it out.
Here’s another favorite from famous Biblical commentator Matthew Henry:
Be careful if you make a women cry, because God counts her tears. The woman came out of a man’s ribs. Not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be superior, but from his side to be equal, under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.
Lest any “Men’s Rights Activists” misunderstand: this isn’t about elevating women over men, it’s about equality.
“Broadway has changed, by my lights. The TV networks, too. New York has changed. Even the U.S., which is so preposterously judgmental now. The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. Who would ever dream that Obama would deserve to be treated the way he has been? The birth-certificate bullshit, which is just Obama’s version of Swiftboating. And all for the electoral nullification that seems like a cancer on the American system. But this is Roger Ailes. And Fox. And Breitbart. And this is all about hate. It’s Hate Incorporated. But the liberals have taken the bait and run in the same direction—and it’s just as corrosive. MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.
I think America’s more fucked up now than it’s ever been. People are angry that in the game of musical chairs that is the U.S. economy, there are less seats at the table when the music stops. And at every recession, the music is stopping.”—