Archive for January, 2006

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January 27, 2006

I re-read Briar Rose by Jane Yolen the other day. (It’s not a slow read – didn’t take much longer than the return trip to work to finish it.)

I really recommend that novel. It’s labelled Young Adult, and some aspects of it are defeinitely geared to a 16-year-old readership; but it is very, very readable for adults as well. The story is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale in the context of the Holocaust. It is very dark, of course, although it takes place in the 1990s rather than the 1940s, which allows for some hope. There is no revelling in grisly detail, but there is certainly some very nightmarish stuff there. I have since read up a little on Chelmno. The information on the site I just linked to is terrible beyond belief, and beyond words. Still, it is what happened. And that was only one of the camps.

But I digress. As I say, Briar Rose doesn’t leave the reader with a feeling of hopelessness. I think that’s important, for hopelessness is no fertile ground for making things better. Some things in the novel are better than other things, such as the slightly unnecessary-feeling love story (that’s definitely aimed at the 16-year-old element in the audience!) but on the whole it’s just a really, really good book. Of course it has its detractors. People who think that judging other people based on their sexuality is more important than condemning genocide, have burnt the book because, among other things, it portrays a homosexual man who was persecuted and sent to a camp by the nazis. (Yes, it does mention that he was in bed with other men, although in extremely non-explicit terms.) I think I’ve said this before: Sometimes it’s good to find that you disagree with certain people. Such as the people who burnt Briar Rose.

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January 27, 2006

Postcrossing update, 2006-01-27:

(You may want to compare with the Nov 30 image.)

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January 27, 2006

So You Think You Are Clever. And So You Think You’re Clever, 2.

Calling them “intelligence tests” is not quite right, though. I think. But they are frustrating and fun, and it does feel good when you get an answer right! (I finished part 1 and am currently missing four answers in part 2… there is no time limit.)

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January 11, 2006

MacBook Pro. I wants it.

I need a new computer, there is no question of that – there are too many things broken or too slow or just plain malfunctioning with my old PowerBook. The latest one I popped up today, when the screen has started to flutter, not alarmingly but enough to make it difficult to work. Question is how long one wants to wait before buying a brand-new product. I haven’t read any reviews of the MacBook yet, presumably there are none since it’s so new that nobody has had a chance to try it. I do wants it, though.

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January 10, 2006

People are… well. People.

And there are so many ways to be odd in. Today I have counted vocatives in five chat logs. The first one was a general-purpose chat with some kind of soft cybersex going on. (It was singularly uninteresting, believe me). The second and third ones were chat rooms for people who believe in UFOs, crop circles and alien abductions. (Those were fascinating but there was a distinct lack in the marbles department). The fourth, God help me, was a chat for 10 to 15-year-old fans of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. (I found that if I sorted the posts alphabetically I could keep some of my sanity, and it was MUCH quicker and more efficient. And there were a lot of vocatives in that one). The fifth was a group of sys admins. (Utter and complete nerds, and the most “normal” bunch of the lot).

Today’s count: 1003 vocatives. My goal for the day was 1000 – I am very satisfied. Hopefully I’ll reach 3500 by the end of the week.