"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling


Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Just got back from a 12.20 a.m. screening of Quentin Tarantino's new film. Very entertaining. Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2 are one long movie so I don't think it possible to say which is better. The second half is the one with the resolution and the emotional payoff so naturally it's going to be more satisfying. Less violent overall, but with one really scary (for me) scene.

Oh, and David Carradine is great in the film. It's nice to see him again. However, Gordon Liu as Pai Mei steals the film. He doesn't have to say anything either, just stroke his long white beard.

One of the things I enjoy about Tarantino's movies is how he carries out his huge interest in 1970's pop culture. He focuses on the elements he liked (soul music, blaxploitation films, spaghetti westerns, Shaw Brothers kung fu films, Saturday morning cartoons, comic books, muscle cars) and steadfastly ignores all the things he doesn't. (Which is the way to go.)

Watching his movies, it's like the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Boston never happened. Roger Moore as James Bond? They stopped making them in 1969 with On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Those endless tv variety shows? Someone else watched'em.

For all I know, Tarantino likes all of these things. But for now, I can pretend he thinks they're shit too. At least they aren't worth acknowledging. It's refreshing.

If the Kill Bill epic has done anything for me, it has made me really want to collect the rest of Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy's run on Master of Kung Fu. It was just amazing.


A pretty young woman approached me at the library circulation desk yesterday. We'll call her Renee because I just watched Bridget Jones's Diary last night, and also because Renee happens to be her name.

She told me she needed to find out if her library card was still valid. She hadn't used it for quite a while as she'd been away at school. As I brought her account up on the computer she asked me a question:

"Is your name Jack?"

"Ummm.....Yes," I said. How did she know my name? I took another look at her to see if we had met.

"We had a conversation two years ago. We were talking about Neil Gaiman and you recommended some books to me."

No fucking way. No. Fucking. Way.

"Reeaally. And you read'em all I suppose?"

"Yes. All of them were great. Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash was on there, and Michael Marshall Smith. Really fabulous stuff. I've just finished something really light, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow. Can you recommend something else?"

Gentle Reader, in the boxing match I was envisioning at that moment all the smart money was on The Feather. No way would I even last ten rounds.

"Why, yes, Renee. Yes, I can."

The funny thing is, is that this sort of thing happens pretty often for me. This is the longest turnaround on hearing back though. Anyway, excuse me while I feel just tiniest bit smug about how great my taste is. In this aspect, I really am quite astonishing. I know it's true because in my experience, I am the only person this kind of thing happens too.

So, you know, lesser beings fuck off and all that.


Spam spam spam spam.

motley joe bedstraw papacy intelligentsia majestic embassy cutover wishy incommutable squander ordeal edmondson cheesecloth poach zen aviv dyad cryogenic

That was the subject line in a junk e-mail I received today. I have no idea what it means but I would like to state for the record: I would certainly be interested in any pornography this individual would care to make available for public consumption.


What I've been reading and what I am about to read.

Remember way back when I was frothing at the mouth with excitement over Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver? It was 916 pages long and demanded much from the reader in terms of attention and time (and occasionally patience).

For all that, I loved it. Volume Two of Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is The Confusion hits stores tomorrow.


I'm back.

There are many reasons for why I have not written in this thing for the past five months: Holiday season depression, technical difficulties, romantic setbacks (in both the Classical and Modern sense). In late January, my previous computer gave up the ghost in the machine. Laziness fits in there as well.

But I'm back now. Let's get to it then, shall we?