I'm busy trying to get used to this working business again. SUDDENLY ALL MY FREE TIME HAS DISAPPEARED. This is mostly due to a gruelling commute, which is actually not so much gruelling as just long.
Still, work is good and the people all seem nice, although I was suffering from a bit of confusion when I started because apparently my subconscious finds it hard to go from one workplace to another. Ahaha. Change management; I need to learn how to do it to myself.
The next task is to move to London and give the train the old heave-ho. The good thing about the train though, is that it gives me loads of time to read. I've been going through books at the rate of knots!
Here, have some book-y thoughts:
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
I finally finished it! It's a fun read this one, although I'm still trying to work out exactly why it's become such a cult classic. It's a good book though, and I always adore things that make me laugh. GIGGLING ON THE TRAIN; IT'S A GOOD LOOK, SHUT UP. A lot of the humour is very very silly, but the book is clever in that there is a lot of sensible stuff hidden amongst the silliness. One of my favourite bits of sense is the following:
It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.
I also liked this bit of silliness:
Milton Keynes is a new city approximately halfway between London and Birmingham. It was built to be modern, efficient, healthy, and, all in all, a pleasant place to live. Many Britons find this amusing.
Cordial and Corrosive by Sophie Hannah
This book was recommended to me by a friend because it's about a guy who is having very little success with finding a job. The premise sounds a little dull, I know, but don't let that fool you, the story is actually really great and not much about job-hunting at all when you get down to it. It's more of a mystery story set in the cliquey world of a Cambridge college with some great characters. I almost couldn't put it down in places. Highly recommended. Warning: best read while employed, though.
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
I'm still only halfway through this one, but I'm really enjoying it so far. This book is not fiction. It's a book-shaped rant about all the confusing bits of 'science' that the media and advertisers like to bombard us with on a weekly basis. I'd first heard of Ben Goldacre when I heard him on the radio once, getting angry about all the nonsense that gets attributed to 'science' in the news (oh those crazy scientists, apparently everything causes cancer these days according to them); it was a wonderful moment in which I felt like I'd found a kindred spirit. He's also apparently pals with the Prof (aka Brian Cox) and all his Infinite Monkey Cage friends, which knowledge spurred me on to buy the book.
So far, the book is great. It picks out a lot of nonsense (like homeopathy and everyone's favourite poo-obsessed TV nutritionist) and explains how they don't hold up to scientific rigour. He gets a little angry sometimes, but I personally quite enjoy that. YMMV. There's also a fascinating chapter on the placebo effect, which points out that homeopathy and other alternative therapies aren't without their benefits. Who knew?
And, while I'm on it, let's have some non-book reviews!
I've been watching this show with my parents. It's a BBC3 comedy that's been running for a good few years now, but I missed it when it first aired. Let me tell you: I had been missing out. We're only on the second series so far, but I love it already. Don't be put off by the fact that it's on BBC3. This show is funny. It's a rather dark sitcom about a drug dealer, played by Johnny Vegas, and all his customers. It starts off fairly normal, but things slowly start to grow more and more surreal as time goes on. Most of the comedy comes from the characters, who are all amazing, and slightly terrifying.
Here's a clip of Troy, who's the crazy brother. He likes to think he's a DJ.
Song of the moment
Howlin' For You by the Black Keys
Kinda bluesy. Mmmmmmmm.
Comment from: Member
I grew up in a super-conservative Real American Town filled with Christians so nucking futs they were an actual physical threat to my existence
Eep! That sounds scary! I’m lucky in that I grew up in a place where people are mostly ambivalent to religion so I’ve not ever really had to put up with much trouble.
Very well said though. I did enjoy how they managed to ridicule Christianity by actually taking it seriously, only, you know, taking all of it seriously (all 2000 years worth of confusing and contradictory dogma), not just picking and choosing the bits of canon that fit 20th century sensibilities. Which is a very clever thing to do.
Re Bad Science. It’s a good book, but I should warn you that it’s very much geared to a UK audience, in that it talks about some scientific scares and fads that have only occurred in the UK, so it may be a little confusing if you’re not familiar with the particular examples used. But I’m sure its main message about the ridiculousness of most science reporting could apply to anywhere in the world. Sadly.
I’m still trying to work out exactly why it’s become such a cult classic
Well, for me it’s a cult classic because it pretty handily rebuts, on all logical levels, every element of Judeo-Christianity – by honoring every letter of its laws. J/C is sort of founded on this absurd idea of human worthlessness and human helplessness, and then those concepts (that you are quite literally of no personal value unless you’ve been “saved,” and also that you are fundamentally incapable of understanding the difference between right and wrong without a man in a long black dress to yell at you about it for awhile two or three times a week) were bound up in a couple of thousand years’ worth of literally nonsensical folklore and outdated tribal mores, and so they turned into this sort of creepy medieval sin industry, and then, before you know it, you’ve got yourself the International Catholic Child Molesters’ League and Sarah Palin/Michele Bachmann 2012, also too. And then here’s Good Omens, and it says: You’re as good as you need to be. God wouldn’t have gone to the trouble to make you if he didn’t think you were worth the effort. No matter how far down you go or how high up you climb, you have only yourself to depend on, terrifying and amazing as that will almost certainly turn out to be. Humankind bargained away Paradise for the privilege of knowing the difference between Good and Evil, and so we are honor-bound to use that God-given gift in the best way we can every day; no one has the right to let men in black dresses do their thinking for them. And, most importantly, as Adam Young tells the assembled Hosts of Heaven and Hell on the Field of Armageddon: “I don’t see why it matters what is written. Not when it’s about people. It can always be crossed out.”
Then again, I grew up in a super-conservative Real American Town filled with Christians so nucking futs they were an actual physical threat to my existence, so probably I have slightly more interest in seeing Western religion take it on the chin than a lot of other people do.
Also: R.P. Tyler!
Bad Science: […] It’s a book-shaped rant about all the confusing bits of ’science’ that the media and advertisers like to bombard us with on a weekly basis.
I am getting this one! Thanks!
Comment from: Member
That’s ok, man. I understand. Religious observances come first, after all.
Comment from: Nick Visitor
I’m glad the job is going well. I kept meaning to send you a message, but Lady Gaga has been doing so many TV appearances lately I have had to watch them on YouTube.