12.29.2009


Work from Jon Huang, Kimberly Bost, Snigdha Koirala, and Leanne Shapton grace the richest page from the New York Times website this week: A Selection of Op-ed Letters and Art From 2009

12.28.2009

What a strange categorization

Young People in Germany are Internet Users, not Readers

Fewer Twentysomething Readers in Germany
from Publishing Perspectives

12.26.2009



from Bear Portraits

Life is Beautiful

David Foster Wallace says so in "All That," the third excerpt of The Pale King, an unfinished novel the author worked on for more than a decade.

And GQ on editing the author's work in the absence of the author.

12.25.2009

Muppets Ringing of the Bells

Testing, 1, 2, 3

I'm experimenting with digital publishing for my magazine course at school. Have a look at this redesign of Maisonneuve magazine I did for my design course.

The project was to produce a new cover, table of contents, sample spreads, and a static website. In the first few pages, you'll see prototype covers I produced (ick). his magazine redesign began with a summer issue of Maisonneuve magazine. Published in Montreal, Maisonneuve is the winner of numerous National Magazine Awards for design and journalism. It is one of my favourite magazines to read. When I began redesigning, I knew I wanted to retain the spirit of the magazine, while going beyond the excellence of the prior design and using typography and images more effectively. Ultimately, I abandoned the design history of the magazine altogether, but I wanted to convey the eclecticism of the content, which I have always admired.

Leave comments about the experience of reading online or the design, and play with Issuu, and you'll help me with my research (thanks!). *I've already noticed some problems when converting my pdf to the issuu platform, including missing text and transparencies that have been altered.



NB: I do not own any of the images used in this mock-up. Please also note that the article used in the sample spread is from the Economist.com ("Reforming Italy's Schools")

Merry Christmas

A treat from the Daily What

12.23.2009

Oooh, you writers are mean!

Did anyone else notice that the New Yorker got really mean in the past several issues?

James Wood gave Paul Auster absolutely no credit in his review of the novelist's latest work Invisible.

Nancy Franklin also particularly nasty about Glenn Beck (maaaaaybe it's deserved but it's also obvious!)

But I have to give credit to Sam Tanenhaus for sharply lambasting Sarah Palin (and her book, somewhat) in "North Star: Populism, politics, and the power of Sarah Palin":
To an extent unmatched by any recent major political figure, she offers the erasure of any distinction—in skill, experience, intellect—between the governing and the governed...Her insistent ordinariness is an expression not of humility but of egotism, the certitude that simply being herself, in whatever unfinished condition, will always be good enough.
True words!

[truest words!]

Oh! The things you discover at 3 AM

Just surfin' the web in the wee hours of the morning and I come across a video of a "Explosive erection of duck penis."

It's seriously NSFW--even though it's a duck--and just unbelievable. The Muscovy duck has a penis shaped like a corkscrew that when erect, is up to 40 cm long. That's almost half the length of its body.

And just wait till you read about the female Muscovy's vagina! Nature, you are incredible.

Fascinated? Learn more.

12.21.2009

It's all the same... except for Kim Kardashian

Who's commanding top dollar on the Internet? For all their bitching and moaning about how they can't compete in the world of online entertainment, the big players--Martha Stewart, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and NBC and FOX (via Hulu)--are still rated by agency buyers and media sellers as the most powerful sellers of ad space.

But one lone lady is making it on her own: Kim Kardashian charges $10,000 for just one tweet. MMMM Carl's Jr., so tasty.

Who makes it happen? Ad.ly

.........
from Ad Age

The Stephen Colbert Effect

"Colbert covers sell quite well, according to data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. He boosted Wired’s newsstand sales by 38 percent, Esquire’s by 17 percent, Newsweek’s by 16 percent (according to unaudited numbers), and GQ’s by 6 percent. New York’s sales of its Colbert-fronted issue were about average, and Rolling Stone has not yet reported the numbers for its August 14, 2009 issue, with Colbert on the cover."

-- "Should Vanity Fair Put Stephen Colbert on the Cover?", Vanity Fair

Issue 2


[video by Jocelyne Chaput]


Sad Mag is already working on Issue 3! I can't believe it. While we get working on that, it's time for you to enjoy our latest and greatest issue yet.

For everyone who wants to read Michelle's work, to ogle the beautiful photographs by Brandon, or wants to check out the magazine for any other reason (there are many good reasons!), download the mag from our website. You can check out Issue 1 too, if you missed it.

In other Sad Mag news, subscriptions to our wonderful magazine are available from me for just $10 (contact me via facebook or at the address below). That's just a toonie and 2 quarters each season to get a print magazine delivered to your door! And our new subscription deal means all you people in Toronto and Victoria (and Calgary, Edmonton, etc, etc) can get the mag too.

As well, we're looking for some stunning pitches for our next issue. If you want to contribute to Sad, please write to me at megan [at] sadmag [dot] com or info [at] sadmag [dot] com. And if you know of amazing illustrators, painters, photographers, and other visual artists--or you are one yourself--please let us know!

...........

A special thank you to all those who came out to the ANZA club on Thursday night to support Sad and to celebrate and dance the night away.

Mag+

Blowing. My. Mind.

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.


Mag+ is a collaborative research project initiated by Bonnier R&D into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by BERG.

This concept video is meant to spark a discussion around the digital reading experience in general, and digital reading platforms in particular.

Follow the discussion in the Bonnier R&D Beta Lab.

In depth @ BergLondon

via thinkubator

12.20.2009

Snap and Search (and Scare Megan)



DEAR TECHNOLOGY:

I know things are going well between us. Ever since you gave me the Internet, I've been totally in love. But we're moving too fast. This Google Goggles is a bit much for me.

I think we should take it slow and get to know one another a little better. In fact, I think you know too much about me - I know so little about you.

I hope you will understand.

With affection,
Megan


"The world, like the World Wide Web before it, is about to be hyperlinked. Soon, you may be able to find information about almost any physical object with the click of a smartphone.

"This vision, once the stuff of science fiction, took a significant step forward this month when Google unveiled a smartphone application called Goggles. It allows users to search the Web, not by typing or by speaking keywords, but by snapping an image with a cellphone and feeding it into Google’s search engine.

"How tall is that mountain on the horizon? Snap and get the answer. Who is the artist behind this painting? Snap and find out. What about that stadium in front of you? Snap and see a schedule of future games there.

"Goggles, in essence, offers the promise to bridge the gap between the physical world and the Web.

"... It is ...easy to think of scarier possibilities down the line. Google’s goal to recognize every image, of course, includes identifying people. Computer scientists say that it is much harder to identify faces than objects, but with the technology and computing power improving rapidly, improved facial recognition may not be far off.

"Mr. Gundotra says that Google already has some facial-recognition capabilities, but that it has decided to turn them off in Goggles until privacy issues can be resolved. 'We want to move with great discretion and thoughtfulness,' he said."

"Snap and Search," NYT

12.18.2009

travels in bizarro world

There's nothing like the Internet to homogenize travelling. With sites like Trip Advisor, travellers gravitate towards the same "top 10" restaurants, hotels, and attractions.

Andy and I just got back from Portland and today, Andy found blog posts that document an Asian couple's culinary tour of the city. Well, maybe I didn't need to bring a camera on our vacation because these people just took the pictures for us -- they ate all virtually all the same places. At one restaurant, they even ordered the same dishes as us. Weiiird.
Follow bizarro (older) Megan and Andy, and share in our delicious adventures.

12.17.2009

Special Read: Asterios Polyp

My favourite book of the year: Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuchelli

Now, I've read a lot of fine books this year and this one just takes the cake. Asterios Polyp is a work more than ten years in the making. It's about a paper architect (one that designs but whose buildings are never constructed) and an arrogant professor.

As a star in his field, he meets a new sculpture instructor at a faculty party and they hit it off. He and Hana are married and they begin their life together. But Asterios's his insistence that the world can be defined in dualities jeopardizes their relationship. Asterios's compulsion to see everything as black and white is just his instinct, however. The protagonist is an identical twin; his brother Ignazio died at birth and Asterios cannot help but wonder how his brother, the narrator, would have done things differently.

I'm not even scratching the surface here ... and all there is is surface in this book. Mazzuchelli's epic work is mostly only about form here: how do we express our realities and consciousness to one another to create meaning? But it is explored through a truthful depiction of family, gender, and sex.

His telling of Hana's story is beautiful, unforgettable, and so true.

I read this book and then I read it again. That's something I can't say about Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, my other favourite graphic novel and a strong parallel of Asterios. I love Ware's work. It fascinates me. It's clearly the work of a mad genius. It's sad and rich and complex. But it's also frustrating and difficult to read. These are all qualities that make me love Ware's work but I think that's where it differs so much from this book.

Asterios Polyp is simple to read but certainly complex. Mazzuchelli's use of colour (blue for Asterios, red for Hana, purple instead of black for outlines and shadows) is enough material for a Doctoral thesis. There is something to be said for the way that Mazuchelli refined the narrative into a simple story of a man finding redemption while skillfully infusing a meditation on meaning, expression, commerce, and art into the pages.

A fine achievement. Now, go read it.

12.12.2009

Portland (x2)

Today I am in Portland. I took the train down here. It was an eight hour ride and we got to look at the ocean.

I read Ray Carver and listened to a tribute to Alice Munro.

In Portland, we've already been to Powell's. I might go there everyday.

See you in Vancouver for the A Very Sad Mag Family Holiday Party (make sure to RSVP!). We have delicious beer from Phillips to boot!

12.10.2009

Remember the Good Times

A new poll shows that 44% of voters would rather have George W. Bush as president than Barack Obama. Because remember how great was? We had so much fun!

via The Awl

The Tiger Woods Critical Reading Group

It's funny when you reach back out to the world outside your school life (it's nice to know it's still here) and realize that the big news these days is Tiger Woods's "transgressions."

Writers at the Globe and Mail and the CBC have exhausted all the gossip so now they've both analyzed Woods's PR crisis management strategies.

Let's read and compare in the morning.

A Christmas Miracle

NYMag got word from a reviewer at the The Vertex that MacGruber might be the best SNL movie since Wayne's World:
You might not believe me when I tell you this, but there’s no doubt: 'MacGruber' was amazing.
A bold statement but I buy it. After all, could a movie with Bill Hader, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig possibly bomb? The answer is no. End of story. I'm excited.

Macgruber. April 2010.


The Vertex review

Jing! Jing!

This will never get old

From the "REALLY?!" files

And the sad thing is, I really liked Jay Baruchel.



Movie Trailer of the Day: First official teaser trailer for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Jon Turteltaub’s live-action reimagining of Disney’s Fantasia.

The film, which is essentially a front for a two-hour long home movie of Nicolas Cage making unwanted advances of a sexual nature toward your childhood, will hit theaters July 16, 2010.


via The Daily What

Can it be?

This blog has been abandoned for almost a month?

Well, I'm back for a short while since my masters program has loosened its death grip and decided to give me a little break. It'll take me a while to get back into the swing of things but I'm excited to see what's happening on the inter-tubes lately.

Offline, I have an exciting stack of books to read. It's ambitious winter-reading book-list time. Here's what's on deck this year:
  • Watchmen (Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons)
  • Candide (Voltaire)
  • The Progress of Love (Alice Munro)
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (Raymond Carver)
  • The New Kings of Nonfiction (Ira Glass, ed)
  • Black Dogs (Ian McEwan)
  • Happiness (Will Ferguson)
  • I Like You (Amy Sedaris)
Plus there's a huge stack of New Yorker magazines by my bed that are calling my name. One day everything will calm down and I will have time to read, right?

I also want to recommend BIGFOOT: I Not Dead by Graham Roumieu. I'm not sure how to describe this book by Toronto author and illustrator Roumieu except to call it the most satisfyingly cruel and unapologetic adult picture book you've ever read. And if you're doing last-minute Christmas shopping just pick up copies of BIGFOOT for everyone you know. It's a crowdpleaser.

Here's a sneak peek:



[click photo for large size]

11.18.2009

Miscellany

Hi, I missed you. Here's what's on my mind:

Annie and Grace for Vogue (I swear, if they put Grace Coddington's stamp on every cover of Vogue from now on, sales would sky rocket. Woman is a Genius.)

Thanks, Brandon

School reading:
"James Frey's Morning After" - a great article from Vanity Fair, June 2008

Essential viewing on the future of e-books by Michael Tamblyn (inspirational, smart, thought-provoking [insert more cliches here, I dare you--they will all hold true])


Q: Illogical sentence? "A very good article about Megan Fox with quotes from the actress that are intelligible."
A: No. I liked this NYT Sunday Magazine cover story very much. "The Self-Manufacture of Megan Fox"

You know how I got sucked into the Frank Bruni hype machine in the summer? Well, turns out Born Round is very good indeed.

Also, Amy Adams is lovely. See: Junebug.

Pop-culture-conversation starter: "An Uncanny Similarity between Mad Men and the Office"
via The Daily What

Findings from Torrington, AB's World Famous Gopher Hole:


Literally:

10.28.2009

The New Black

Tracy Morgan doesn't hold back. On an interview with Terry Gross that has been making the rounds, Tracy Morgan speaks candidly about his childhood, getting out of the ghetto, and his experiences as an actor on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock.

He's charming, he's real, he's effusive. It makes for a very good interview.

Morgan is promoting his memoir I am the New Black (Random House).

Transcript here

Audio here

10.26.2009

Soul-Stirring Reading

I was up really, really late last week reading Ian Brown's series for the Globe and Mail called The Boy in the Moon. The report is an intimate and raw account about his family's struggle to care for and understand his son Walker, who was born with a rare genetic disorder.

I know you will love it and it will move you.

Ian Brown's book based on the G&M series was published by Random House Canada this fall. A preview here:


Ryan!



Today, we welcome good friend, pasta maker, promising butcher, and future architect Ryan McClanaghan into the blogospheres.

Here he is, just 30 minutes old: ryanmcclan.tumblr.com

10.11.2009

NEW MICHAEL CHABON!!!

I'm three months late, so what?

Here is Manhood for Amateurs

via New York Review of Books

Blockbuster Book Trailer

Not too long ago, nobody knew Quirk Books. Now, with the smash success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, they are publishers to watch. Currently, Quirk is pulling out all the stops for the follow-up book Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters with this fantastic book trailer.

Authors, beware: Your publisher may not hire actors and put them in costume and actually light them properly.



via HuffPo

10.09.2009

Braggart Alert

I was doing a little bit of cleaning around my house and found a print-out of Bruce Handy's article from the September issue of Vanity Fair. Know what's it's called? "Don and Betty's Paradise Lost."

A year ago I wrote a paper about Mad Men and Milton.

I'm just sayin'...*


*that I'm brilliant and prophetic.

10.06.2009

Goodbye to "the Magazine of the Good Life"

Looking back on 68 years of Gourmet covers. I'll miss you.

Memorable Gourmet pieces -


[ruin the beauty of this cover by clicking for related creepy story]

NYTimes breakdown of why Condé Nast closed four magazines this week.

Phew! Gourmet recipes will be searchable on www.Epicurious.com, shared with down-market sister magazine Bon Appétit.
via Toronto Star

10.04.2009

He's a Borg

"Ladies and gentlemen, your President is a robot. Or a wax sculpture. Maybe a cardboard cutout. All I know is no human being has a photo smile this amazingly consistent.

"On Wednesday, the Obamas hosted a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, during which they stood for 130 photographs with visiting foreign dignitaries in town for the UN meeting. The President has exactly the same smile in every single shot. See for yourself — the pictures are up on the State Department’s flickr. And, of course, compressed above into 20 seconds for your viewing pleasure."

from Bus Your Own Tray

This ad combines many things I like: San Francisco, (some) skateboarders, big thinking, and TETRIS.



via BoingBoing (but the post has since been taken down -why?)

9.30.2009

Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2009



View Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2009 in a larger map

There are hundreds of challenges to books in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 513 in 2008. But the total is far larger. 70 to 80 percent are never reported.

This map is drawn from cases documented by ALA and the Kids' Right to Read Project, a collaboration of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Details are available in ALA's "Books Banned and Challenged 2007-2008," and "Books Banned and Challenged 2008-2009," and the "Kids' Right to Read Project Report."

via Banned Books Week (September 26 - October 3, 2009)

9.28.2009

A Message from Management

Dear Readers,

As of September 27, 2009, Nutty, Dry, and a Hint of Vanilla is embarking in a new direction. Since I no longer have the resources to upkeep this blog, I am turning over this space to a group of contractors. The BlogSavers have a track record for keeping blogs alive as their original authors are preoccupied.

You will see less info on books, pop culture, and publishing, and many more kittens.

Thank you for your continued support. We know that Nutty, Dry, and Hint of Vanilla will continue to be your #100 Internet destination.
Sincerely,
Megan

9.26.2009

Intrigued

Somehow, this ended up in my inbox...it looks like junk mail, it smells like junk mail... but is it junk mail, or is there someone at SFU who is selling submersible pumps, solar panels, converters, and ink cartridges?
Good Day,

We are requesting for a price and delivery quotation on this items below for purchasing as special order:

1, Grundfos SQ Flex 6 SQF -2 Submersible pump
2, 130watt solar panel.
3, Shurflo Pumps ( Model 9325-043-101)9300 Submersible Pump
4. Lorentz pump PS1200 (HR-03H) with Controller PS1200
5, 310-0030 SMA Sunny Boy 2500U Inverter, 2500W, Grid Tied, 93% CEC, 240
VAC, 60HzSB

HP LASER JET PRINT CARTRIDGE
5, HP Ink cartridge C6578DN oem
6, HEWQ6511A (11A)

Let have each items price above that you can quote as a special order.

Purchase Manager
[name redacted]
[redacted]
Newton NC,
---- U.S.A

I'm intrigued.

9.24.2009

Quoted: LeVar Burton

"All I've done for 26 years is drive to work, clock in, read my lines, clock out, go home, and cry myself to sleep. Now I'm much older, a broken man, but I've reached the end of my terrifying journey. And do you know what's at the end? Do you what's at the end of the "Reading Rainbow"? A giant crock of shit, that's what."

--LeVar Burton, Op-Ed: "My Living Nightmare Of Encouraging Kids To Read Is Over," The Onion

Fantasy Football and Cats on the Internet

Part of the Master of Publishing program at SFU is PubFight, the book publishing version of Fantasy Football.

At last night's session of PubFight, one talented team picked up Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World [a New York Times bestseller, thank you very much] as part of their list for a cool $15,000.

This whole thing got me thinking about the Internet and the popularity of cats online. Someone needs to find out how cat-related websites stack up against porn in hits per day. Why would moms even use the Internet if they couldn't look at and email photos of cats (and the stuff we put on them)?

Anyway, all these words were just an excuse to post this picture.

9.23.2009

9.22.2009

His mother called him “WILD THING,” and Max said “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”

Q: Why is it that I can only alternately blog about Mad Men or Where the Wild Things Are?

A: These were too cute to be true.

His mother called him “WILD THING,” and Max said “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”  (It’s possible that I can recite the whole book by heart…..) unicornology:  themilkyteaphilosophy:flickflickflicker: (via hospitalbeds)

via frenzied research into Harper Collins' new imprint, HarperStudio. From Debbie Steir, SVP and Associate Publishing of HarperStudio.

Harper Collins Turning An Excellent Mad Men Website Into A Book by MG Siegler on September 15, 2009

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 10.07.21 AMMad Men fans rejoice. Soon, you will have your own coffee table book based on the best Mad Men fan website out there, The Footnotes of Mad Men.

Publisher Harper Collins has signed a deal to turn site into a book called The Mad Men Files. It will be written by Los Angeles-based writer/blogger Natasha Vargas-Cooper, who also runs the site. As she writes on the blog, “It will be glossy with pictures and smart things written about the show’s historical and cultural context.

If you’re into AMC’s Mad Men and haven’t been following this blog, don’t wait for the book, starting reading it right now. The site not only covers aspects of the show, but highlights elements of the world in which the show takes place (the early 1960s). Staying true to the idea behind the show, they highlight a lot of great, real advertisements from that era (many are hilarious).

Vargas-Cooper is also the Chief Los Angeles correspondant for The Awl (they have more about the deal) and writes for Gawker. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

9.18.2009




From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who came out to the Sad Mag launch party last night. Your overwhelming support means everything to us.

The Dan Brown Sequel Generator

September 17, 2009:
"By late afternoon yesterday Barnes & Noble was ready to exult that Dan Brown's THE LOST SYMBOL had set a new one-day sales record for adult fiction at the chain (without specifying which book held the previous record, or quantifying the new record). It also set a new mark for adult fiction pre-orders and perhaps most importantly, "the company said that sales for the book were exceeding expectations.

"...At noon today the Knopf Doubleday Group confirmed that the book had set the record for one day sales of any book at Random House in North America and the UK. The company says first-day sales were in excess of one million hardcover copies in the US, Canada, and the UK....Doubleday has gone back to press for another 600,000 copies."
What's next?



From The Dan Brown Sequel Generator (works great on Safari. Crap on firefox)

Why Mess with a Good Thing?

I'm not sure how I feel about Where the Wild Things Are anymore. First there was the Dave Eggers incident with the New Yorker, the merch tie-ins with Urban Outfitters (sorry, I just threw up a little in my mouth), and then there was the mediocre second trailer. And now these character posters, which don't make me want to watch the movie at all. Who thought putting scary looking monsters on a poster for a children's movie was a good idea? (Ok, I know, the movie's not made for kids... but then, who is it for? Obviously, there is a lot of confusion at the studio over who the audience for this movie should be)

Poor Spike Jonze, he's losing a lot these days.

In good news, Jonze's ex, Michelle Williams looks fantastic on the pages of Vogue. Too bad the cover photo is shit (see below).



Background reading: We Love You So

with files from Slashfilm. Thanks to Ryan for background reading.


via The Daily What

9.15.2009

Learning to Procrastinate

What I do when there's too much on my plate? Get lost in YouTube (and blog about it).

An Electric Literature Single Sentence Animation | Jonathan Ashley imagines a sentence from Michael Cunningham's Olympia:
“Peter tried to murder his brother only once, which, by the standards of brothers, is modest. He was seven, which would have made Matthew ten.”



Then I started looking at Electric Literature's website and their media campaign.



They're so cool, it hurts:
"People of our generation—with one foot in the past and one in the future—must make sure that the media gap is bridged in a way that preserves and honors literature. We don’t want to be sentimental old folks in a world where literary fiction is only read by an esoteric few."
They care for literature, they're totally green (ebook, kindle, and print-on-demand only), they're hybrid, and the book-magazines are freaking cheap - $10 US !!!

It begs the question "Why didn't I think of that?"

Anyway, je voudrais un croissant.

9.14.2009

Celine, Queen of Canadian music

It's like throwing myself under a train right now, what I'm doing - blogging at 11:18 PM when, for tomorrow morning, I need to read a 50-page book contract and about 70 pages of a dense manuscript.. But for you, my beloved mystery Internet friends, I have two videos.

This Saturday, I attended the Ambleside Summer Sessions featuring Sarah MacLachlan, Neil Young, and Sheryl Crow. Holy Lillith Fair, (wo)man! I began yearning for the girl-power mania of the 90s. Someone, take me there so I can wear my armpit hair long and sway to the vocal stylings of the Indigo Girls and Jewel!

Naturally, I was reminded of the showy counterpoint to Lillith Fair: Vh1 Divas Live. Aretha! Shania! Mariah! And how could we forget Celine, queen of Canadian music. Too far? Here, I'll prove it to you:



This video was compiled by Vh1 blogger Rick Juzwiak, who incidentally, also put together the following mega-mix of reality television's golden line, "I'm not here to make friends."


9.12.2009

What Makes a Woman a Woman?


"While femininity may be relative — slipping and sliding depending on the age in which you live, your stage of life, what you’re wearing (quick: do tailored clothes underscore or undercut it?) even the height of the person standing next to you — biology, at least to some degree, is destiny, though it should make no never mind to women’s rights or progress....

"[I]dentity is not simply the sum of our parts. That’s what makes [Caster] Semenya — whose first name is usually conferred on a boy but happens to be Greek for “beaver” — so intriguing. Science may or may not be able to establish some medical truth about her, something that will be relevant on the playing field. But I doubt that will change who she considers herself to be."

-- PEGGY ORENSTEIN, "What Makes a Woman a Woman?"

(Found for Lauren on a Friday afternoon)

Word of the Day

Deosculate \De*os"cu*late\, v. t. [L. deosculatus, p. p. of
deosculari. See Osculate.]


To kiss warmly. [Obs.] -- De*os`cu*la"tion, n. [Obs.]

[1913 Webster]

via Stitchtowhere... and the dictionary (woe is my poor vocabulary)

9.10.2009

Music to Wake Up to

The Very Best (Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit) - Warm Heart Of Africa (Ft. Ezra Koenig Of Vampire Weekend) (Architecture In Helsiniki Remix)



And for a real brainteaser, try to figure out what is happening in this YouTube video!

9.09.2009

AMMMERRCA!

Courtesy of the SAD crew, I bring to you Levi's Go Forth Campaign by W+K Portland. Be inspired. Read Walt Whitman. Light fireworks and shoot a gun, or something.





Original hat tip goes to Brzaaandon!

Campbell's Poop

As I've learned from my recently graduated friends, it's a crap time to be looking for a job. But is it any better to be a university student? According to a press release issued by the Simon Fraser Student Society,
Total cutbacks [by the BC provincial government] to post-secondary education funding since last year now total $70.9 million. The cuts include $16.2 million from Student Aid BC, $37.7 million from institutional operating funding, and a $17 million claw back of “internal recoveries” – funding that institutions must squeeze out of their own already-stretched operating budgets. The cuts will have serious impacts on capital projects, financial aid and student support.
It's confirmed, there's trouble in paradise ("THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH")! Doubly confirmed by the Economist last week.

Melissa and Brianna: thanks for the tips

Natural Selection

I was absolutely shocked and pleasantly surprised at the huge response this morning to my apology letter to Giulia Melucci. (Who are you Dolphin Girl? I hope you reveal yourself. I am going to see a very sad movie about your kin tomorrow (The Cove).) Thank you to everyone who weighed in. That was so cool.

It makes me want to offend more writers so that we can all start talking again!

In the meantime, here's a graphic I picked up from school today; it tracks the range of "biodiversity" among the publishing conglomerates.

[click image for full size]

Sorry, Giulia

Last night

Blogger Giulia Melucci said...

When insulting someone's work, your argument loses weight if you spell their name incorrectly.
Giulia Melucci

September 9, 2009 4:38 AM

Hi Giulia,

I am not a professional book critic. I am a blogger. I do not have a copy editor. I am a copy editor so my spelling mistake is a big embarrassment. I've since corrected the spelling of your name on my "review" of your book. Still, does that mean my review now carries any authority or validity? I think not.

There are about two people that read this blog. Only one of them will really read the whole post. Maybe you didn't read the whole post and just pressed CTRL+F after googling your book and found yourself on one little blog, a lowly grad student's after-school hobby. I don't know but you shouldn't take it to heart. It's not personal.

Now, if I had written a book and gotten it published, it would mean a lot to me. I wouldn't appreciate someone painting my work, my heart and soul, with a crude caveman strokes. You sound like a lovely person, really. Sorry for trivializing your relationships and your heartaches. I apologize. Maybe I'll take down the post.

I'm thinking about criticism right now. Real criticism. If you read food or book blogs, you've probably been inundated with praise and publicity for Frank Bruni's Born Round. They're all good and fine but I really liked the exit interview from Eater.com. If you've ever read Bruni's restaraunt reviews (Giulia, you have, I'm sure), you know that Bruni is thorough, he's a brilliant writer, and he takes being a critic seriously. In the interview with Eater, Bruni talks about what a really negative review means to the reader.
FRANK BRUNI: ....one of the really difficult things about being a food critic is, nobody sees all of the things you don't write about. And nobody sees the worst that you see. I ate at so many out-of-the-way, outer-borough restaurants. But I ate in so many terrible restaurants because I wanted to try to discover something. You can never tell people that because they're such out-of-the-way restaurants, off-the-radar restaurants, that if you bring them to people's attention only to say that they're terrible, it seems pointless and borderline immoral.
That's a really good point. When I was reading Nick Hornby's book (Shakespeare Wrote for Money) yesterday, initially, I was shocked that the editors of the Believer magazine would "censor" his opinions (Hornby often writes about books he didn't like but doesn't name the author, title, or anything else that would give the book away, and cites the Polyphonic spree's stringent protocols as the reason for this). Now in retrospect, I'm thinking this decision was probably in the interest of getting people excited to read, keeping the magazine's legal bills small, and for the sake of the reader, who doesn't care that you've spent your time with a book you didn't care for. After all, it's your problem that you read it, not theirs.

So, Ms. Melucci. My apologies. I still maintain my right to blog about whatever I want but I'm not going to post any more negative reviews without appropriate evidence and I will double check my spelling. That's just good practice.

Lesson learned.

Sincerely,
Megan

P.S. Readers and Giulia - a lot of people like the book. Positive reviews are all over the Internet. You can decide yourself if it's any good. And finally, I have no idea whether or not Mario Batali actually liked or read the book. He very well could have.

earlier: A Review

9.08.2009

Jay and Dave, 1979, The Tonight Show

Viral Music

Kid Cudi (Feat. MGMT & Ratatat) - “Pursuit Of Happiness”

Toronto gets new evening paper

I don't know about you but on the way home, I just stare out the window. I don't even complain about how long the ride home is because I can't function anymore. Time is just an man-made construct. Eventually I will get home but for those 45-60 minutes, I am dead to the world. Bottom line, I'm not going to read a crap tabloid. Still, tonight, Toronto commuters met hawkers screaming "T.O. Night" as they boarded the subway (I am imagining this happened...I will verify with my brother) and were handed another flimsy free newspaper. Like people, on their way home from work, need another daily shoved in their face. Defending this brave venture, the publisher of T.O. Night, John Cameron, says:
"We are [the] last touch point that advertisers get before consumers go home — readers are sitting on a train on the way home. They want to be entertained," said Cameron. "And there's ... nothing there to provide that."
Apparently, Cameron has never heard of something called twitter, or the iPhone, or blackberries for that matter. Hey, I don't go to twitter to get the news but I'm certainly not going to go to my city's free evening paper for it either.

Someone please figure out the economics of "free." Someone besides Malcolm Gladwell and Chris Anderson. Those of us in the industries seriously hurt by the Internet would really appreciate it. It's so confusing. Sometimes smart people like Cameron just throw their hands in the air and start giving out crappy products for free to cater to the lowest common denominator. It can seem like their only hope.

I hope they include many pictures of Megan Fox. That may be the only way T.O. Night can survive.

regarding "Toronto gets new evening paper" @CBC.ca

Nope, I wouldn't buy it

The comments section on author blogs and on Amazon.com already permit readers to air their views, question an author’s premise or add their own knowledge to the content of a book.

Now, in an experiment developed by SharedBook, a company that designs customized books and allows readers to annotate documents online, the publisher of “Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children,” a book about parenting by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman that went on sale last week, is inviting readers to make notes on three chapters of the book.

Starting Sept. 14, chapters concerning praise for children (and why too much is not a good idea), the importance of an extra hour of sleep and the prevalence of lying among children, will be posted on PoBronson.com, Nurtureshock.com and Twelvebooks.com, the Web site of the book’s publisher, the imprint that released the book. Readers will be able to highlight a word, a sentence or a paragraph and add notes that will be integrated as footnotes on the text.

“We thought this would be a great way to go deep into the text and literally argue with it sentence by sentence, collectively,” said Jonathan Karp, publisher and editor in chief of Twelve, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group.

SharedBook will collect footnotes and incorporate them with the three chapters into a PDF that readers can buy for $2.95.
--"A Book that Lets Readers Handle the Footnotes," New York Times

A Review

I'm in such a state of despair right now with it being the first day back at school and all. I get so anxious having to meet new people and talk about myself. I hate talking about myself... so let's move on to some things I've read.

Since the next eight months will be entirely devoted to reading publishing, editing, and design texts the whole summer was devoted to reading things I could enjoy without effort. No experimental literature, no dated non-fiction, no critical theory - just books about food and some fine fiction.

As I mentioned before, I was reading The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman. I finished it a while ago and I've since recommended it to a few but it's so good everyone should know. I found out about the book reading the Westender (I skip straight to the food section) and in the Chef Q&A, Lee Humphries, chef at the wildly popular Irish Heather, named it as the book he was reading at the moment.

In Soul, Ruhlman takes you through the Master Chef exam at the CIA, a month at the Cleveland restaurant Lola - headed by Michael Symon (Food Channel's cheesy biker dude/Iron Chef replacement for Mario Batali), and a few nights at French Laundry - the epicenter of fine American cuisine, located in Napa Valley.

The stories are emotionally intense, richly detailed, and often funny. When you get to the section about Thomas Keller, owner/chef of French Laundry, the description reaches a zen-like quality. The language is so quiet and serene; it perfectly conveys the (uptight) immaculate experience of dining at French Laundry, and the parallel atmosphere in the kitchen. You really melt into the story here. It's pitch perfect.

The last book that squeezed in just before the September no-more-fun deadline was I loved, I lost, I made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci. I subscribe to GQ Radio podcasts and in one episode, the hosts devoted 45 minutes talking to Melucci. They had me convinced that this was a sweet book that "even men will enjoy." So, I was halfway to requesting it from the library. Then they mentioned that the advance praise for the book included a pat on the back from Mario Batali: "It's a foodie's dream version of Sex and the City!" So, there I went to the VPL website and requested the book.

Now earlier in the summer, Batali talked with GQ and illustrated his diverse taste in books. He obviously is a fast reader too because he manages to read a lot considering he is on television all the time, runs 10000 restaurants, and is a dad of young kids.

SO, he probably skimmed through this book and he probably owed someone a favour because this book is pretty awful. I read it while waiting for friends to show up at a cafe. They showed up but we crossed paths and I ended up waiting outside for an hour. Between my pizza dinner and my inconvenient bus ride home, I finished this piece of trash and I felt dirty.

Basic plot synopsis: Giulia Melucci remembers all the men she's dated her entire life, all of them totally awful sounding (e.g. lazy deadbeat writer of mature age, young alcoholic, pothead, etc). Interspersed in these neverending accounts of bad life choices are some pretty good recipes for pasta and Sunday roasts.

It's a better recipe book than memoir.

Enough about that.

Today I read Nick Hornby's Shakespeare Wrote for Money. Now here's a book I can enthusiastically recommend! It gives me much delight to share this book with all of you. It's short (131 pages), sweet, and funny. What more could you ask for?

Shakespeare is the third collection of Hornby's column for the Believer magazine, “Stuff I've Been Reading," about the books he's bought and the books he's read*. Over a year, Hornby's dedication to finishing the books he's started wavers but his sense of humour is consistent, and I'm so thankful. Like I said, today was hard but this book made me feel better and it made me want to read (fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, YA novels - you name it); it was the perfect September blues antidote.

There's a great section on McCarthy's The Road:
"The Road may well be the most miserable book ever writer, and God nows there's some competition out there. Two survivors of the apocalypse, a man and his young son, wander through the scarred gray landscape foraging for food...The man spend much of the book wonderful whether he should shoot his son with their last remaining bullet, just to spare him any further pain...Sometimes they find shriveled heads or the remains of a baby on a barbeque...Sometimes you feel like begging the man to use the bullet on you, rather than the boy."
There are some great one-liners, and perhaps too much reliance on the self-deprecating, self-reflexive voice to excuse sloppy introductions. But all is forgiven, Nick Hornby, since you came into my life at the right time.

Hornby has a bad rap because his novels make such terrible movies but reading this, I remember how much I loved High Fidelity. Well, on second thought, How to be Good was totally forgettable. It's not as if Hornby should be part of the canon. But on the whole, I think we can agree that he is entertaining and very accessible while still sharp-witted. Bravo!

If you're a reader--and I mean, a reader, not just someone that knows how to read--I guarantee you will enjoy this book. You will see glimpses of yourself in Hornby. This is true when he loves a book and when he can barely bring himself to finish one.

* The first and second collections of the column are The Polysyllabic Spree and Housekeeping vs. the Dirt
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So, maybe you enjoyed the movie Dead Man Walking (as much as you enjoyed reading The Road). If so, may I suggest "Trial by Fire" by David Grann at the New Yorker. No news here, the legal system is broken--particularly pertaining to the death penalty... in Texas--but the story will make you very angry and break you. Sometimes you need that. If today was your first day back at school, this would not be the day to read it. But save it on your computer and come back to it when you're feeling too "up."

9.07.2009

Twilight Fan Art Enchants the Staff of Pulpfiction Books

Monday, August 24, 2009

Twilight Fan Art


Found in a box of books on the weekend. Black felt pen on BC Hydro Post-It. Nb. bats and puncture marks on Bella's neck.

Understaffed Harpers Bazaar Makes a Mistake

Copy editors, have you ever let a really terrible mistake slip past you? Let your shame and guilt wash away knowing this:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Harper's Bazaar magazine skips 39 folios

Powerful ammunition for those of us who promote the virtues of those vital behind-the-scenes workers -- good copy editors, fact-checkers, production people and proofreaders.

The current issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine has 39 pages missing, as folios jump from 256 to 295. An embarrassing flub. No suggestion that they pulled any content.

posted by D. B. Scott at


(from Canadian Magazines)

Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma'am

9.02.2009

Hey, cool!

The following map (reblogged from CBC.ca) shows works to be on display as part of the Vancouver Biennale 2009-2011

Instructions: Click on the markers in the map or in the list to the right for more information. Drag the map to look around or zoom in and out to get a closer look.


9.01.2009

SAD MAG ISSUE #1

Sad Magazine makes its smashing debut on Thursday, September 17 at the ANZA club in Vancouver, BC. Join us for a night of great music, dancing, drag, and cheap drinks!

Thursday, September 17, 2009
ANZA Club, #3 West 8th Avenue (@ Ontario - click for map)
8:00 p.m. to late!
$5—$10 sliding scale
(CASH ONLY)

The event features musical performances by our cover star and feature story, Isolde N. Barron, DJ sets by Jef Leppard and DJBJ vs. Lonny Gaga, and art installations from Vancouver’s best emerging visual artists.

The event is a fundraiser, so come early, stay late, and bring your friends.

Sad Mag loves you.

RSVP on Facebook and visit us online for sneak peeks at Issue #1


Please re-blog



I'm going to make the smallest logical leap and guess that Chris Brown's interview with Larry King is going to stir up some controversies.

Because, at least in my opinion, the least reassuring thing a person who has beaten a woman half to death can say is, “Huh, you know, I don’t remember it at all. I don’t remember why I did it either. But I can tell you that I’m not a violent person.”

Uh, that’s not what the ear-biting, strangling, face-pounding act you committed suggests, asshole. And bringing your mama (cheap ploy!) on to say that you never (up until February) beat the shit out of anyone doesn’t help much either.

--Michelle

Miyazaki vs. Andy Samberg

The Footnotes of Mad Men

If you're a fan of Mad Men, you need to see the brilliant blog The Footnotes of Mad Men. My favourite site/blog in the past little while has been The Awl, which scored an exclusive column by Footnotes writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper ($10 says that's not her real name).

For casual watchers, here's some cocktail hour conversation starters about the accoutrements of Lane Pryce's office.

Oh, and AMC renewed Mad Men for a fourth season!

*Thanks, Brandon