Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lucid Dreams and Nightmares

For creepy chills, listen to the account of reporter Steve Volk's deeply unsettling recurring dream, which haunted him for 20 years before he conquered it through lucid dreaming. From a Radiolab episode.

Just pray you don't suffer from visions of the Old Hag (a common hallucination experienced during sleep paralysis, often experienced by narcoleptics and chillingly described by fictional narcolpetic Nicholas Benedict) should you choose to pursue lucid dreaming. Shudder.

File:John Henry Fuseli - The Nightmare.JPG"The Nightmare" by Peter Füssli, 1781

Happy Halloween (and sweet dreams)!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beyond Heaving Bosoms!

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance NovelsBeyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a snarky, lively look at the flaws and fantasies of the invisible genre: romance. With over 64.4 million readers (in America alone!), romance makes up roughly half of all paperbacks sold, raking in $1.37 billion dollars. Of romance readers (largely women) about 42 percent have bachelor's degrees (not that kind of bachelor). You would think they get more respect. Not so! And the Smart Bitches (founders of the site are here to tell you why you should rethink your pride and prejudices.

Raunchy, irreverent, and witty, Wendell and Tan explain the tropes of the genre, from the heroine's Magic Hoo Hoo, the hero's Wang of Mighty Lovin', to secret babies, pirate lords, and so much more. If you are judging romance novels based on their awful covers, let these Smart Bitches change your mind.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Problems With Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange LandStranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sigh. Heinlein. Read this review: Time Enough for Love. Yup. Aerin has it right. Heinlein is your creepy uncle, and a giant in sci-fi (mostly because his titles are kick-ass). I think of him as the science fiction Ayn Rand because his stories are really just vehicles for promoting his creepy philosophies of free love, nudism, and sometimes incest. (No, really. Incest.)

I stopped reading Stranger in a Strange Land when the buxom swinger secretaries were jumping on the trampoline. At that point I realized that his sexual liberation philosophy was really sexist crap, and aside from the incredibly intriguing premise, it wasn't worth struggling on. That said, I vividly remember the plot of The Puppet Masters, which is an effective and creepy alien invasion story (like The Host by Stephenie Meyers, except for teenage boys instead of teenage girls).

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Don't Be Stupid

"If you say that money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time: You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is, in order to go on doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid!" - Alan Watts (1915-1973)