:: I've spent much of the past week or so getting over a cold that wasn't particularly nasty as colds go, but has packed a particularly annoying punch in the "lingering congestion" department. And it turns out that phenylephrine decongestants, which have replaced pseudophedrine in OTC remedies like NyQuil and Sinutab and the like, suck. I spent three days listening to the world as though I was at the bottom of a diving bell before I realized that phenylephrine sucks, and that I was going back to pseudophedrine. So, anyway, Mucinex is my new best friend.
(Yes, I still do the Neti pot religiously, but it can only do so much.)
But I've passed the time reading blogs a little and reading books and magazines, some of which turn out to contain blog-like material! Who'da thunk it! I read A Night to Remember, the classic book about the sinking of the Titanic. Somehow I'd never read it before -- but it's a riveting read. I still love the James Cameron movie about the sinking (fashionable backlashes be damned!), but A Night to Remember fascinates by not only putting the small details from the actual tale of the sinking used in that film into context, but it's also a surprisingly taut read, with almost no preamble before the horrible events begin to unfold. (The lookouts spot the iceberg on page two.)
Now I'm reading a new book of essays on food and restaurant life by Anthony Bourdain, The Nasty Bits. This is my first exposure of any sort to Bourdain, who comes off in this book as a fascinating soul. A representative passage:
But is fast food inherently evil? Is the convenient nature of the beast bad, in and of itself? Decidedly no. Fast food -- which traditionally solves very real problems of working families, families with kids, business people on the go, the casually hungry -- can be good food. If you walk down a street in Saigon, or visit an open-air market in Mexico, you'll see that a quick, easy meal, often enjoyed standing up, does not have to be part of the hideous, generic sprawl of soul-destroying sameness that stretches from stip malls in San Diego, across the USA, through Europe and Asia and around again, looking the same, tasting the same: paper-wrapped morsels of gray "beef" patties with all-purpose sauce. The unbelievably high-caloric horrors of beef-flavor-sprayed chicken nuggets, of "milkshakes" that contain no milk and have never been shaken, of "barbecue" that has never seen a grill, "cheese" with no cheese, and theme monstrosities for whom food is only a lure to buy a T-shirt, is not the way it has to be.
Preach on, brother!
:: I've also started in on George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows. I found Storm of Swords a bit grim for my tastes, although the shocks came fast and furious -- the Red Wedding was a particular jolt. I haven't read any of the Song of Ice and Fire books since Storm came out, and that was four years ago or more, so my memory of what's going on in Westeros is a tad hazy. Can anyone recommend an online synopsis of the first three books, so I can get up to speed again?
(Tyrion's not in this book. Bugger.)
:: The comic strip For Better or Worse will end next year. I read it every morning, mainly because I enjoy the characters on a soap-opera basis. The strip is rarely funny, but it's generally endearing in a way, even though I sometimes perversely wish that the Pattersons would have to deal with some real shit, like having Michael lose his job without blundering into a better one, or something like that, but that's just mean, eh?
:: A new review of mine ran in GMR, of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana. Read the review, but better yet, buy the book. It's amazing.
:: Can't remember where I saw this linked, but it's a list of the ten most racist TV commercials of all time. Some of these are awful.
:: NBC's doing that "Supersize comedy shows" thing again, in which they basically stick even more ads into their shows. NBC sucks.
:: Verify range to target, one ping only. Check out these photos! They're amazing. (via)
:: Screw you, ABC! I didn't spend all those years hating Emmitt Smith and everything he stood for as the star running back of the Dallas F***ing Cowboys just so I could end up rooting for him on some dancing show! But I could not, in good conscience, root for the guy who once tried to steal Kelly Kapowski from Zack Morris. Betrayer most foul!!!
:: A brief Office liveblog: Jim and Pam are back in the same office. All is right with the world. Kum-bay-yah.... And oh God, Dwight has a rival. This is awesome.
:: People are camping outside stores for a new PlayStation? Huh? Come on, folks. Camping outside for a videogame system is just lame. Acceptable things for camping outside are: Sabres tickets, new Star Wars movie tickets, Super Bowl tickets, and the latest models of Dewalt power tools. PlayStations? Feh!
:: If you've ever wondered what the greatest cat toy ever is, look no further: it's a laser pointer. Seriously. They chase that red dot everywhere.
:: Finally: I will be going on a blogging hiatus beginning next Tuesday, and probably ending a week later. This Monday's posts will be the last for that duration -- but I'll probably solicit posting suggestions for my return, along the lines of the old "Ask Me Anything!" game from a while back.
:: Oh yeah, since I never posted anything about the Bills game the other day: I'm rapidly coming to the view that JP Losman may be a bust, and the O-line still sucks major rocks. And I didn't even get to see Peyton Manning light it up. Ugh.
Oh well, at least the StuPats lost in a game in which the last play was Tom Brady fumbling. That was a nice consolation prize!