janegodzilla: (GOD I'M COLD)
Sweet fancy Moses, it's cold out today! Apparently, the snow level is going to drop (or has dropped, I'm not sure) to about five hundred feet, and in spite of my scarf, greatcoat and arm-warmers, I was still shivering by the time I reached the office this morning. We're only a few days away from April! This is bullshit!

On the plus side, there's cake remaining in the fridge and it's looking pretty good as a breakfast option, my workload is still pleasantly light -- not in an "oh god, I might get fired" way, but in a "most of the attorneys are still gone and the ones left don't want to work either" way -- and Nate continues to be one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. So, you know. Those things are always good.

Also, I started the second book in the Monster Island series, and it's already shaping up to be better than its predecessor. The Dark Tower series is like that for me as well -- I'm apathetic about the first book to the point of dislike, even though it's so essential for the rest of the series, but every other book is just so incredible that I can overlook the faults of the first. I'm hoping these zombie books with be similar, because hot diggity damn, I sure love me some zombies. ♥
janegodzilla: (books books books!)
Whenever I read nonfiction about life in the 19th-century underworld, I'm always astonished that people actually managed to survive those days.  I suppose future generations will think of the 20th and 21st centuries in much the same way, but...come on, street brawls where it wasn't uncommon for someone to bite your ear and/or nose off?  Baby-eating rats?  Rookeries where there was at least a murder a night and they usually just buried the bodies under the dirt floor?  How we managed to last into the 20th century, much less the 21st, will forever be a mystery to me.
 
The book in question is Gangs of New York, by Herbert Asbury.  The cover proclaims that the Scorcese movie was based on the book, but I think it's more accurate to say it was "inspired by."  This isn't a bad thing in the least -- each chapter focuses on a single group or event, like the pirates that roamed the Hudson river (?!?!) or the murder of Bill "The Butcher" Poole, and it's a surprisingly fast, entertaining read.  A few of the footnotes have led me into interesting Google territory (look up the Doctor's Riots of 1788 -- talk about a morbid joke blown way out of proportion), and aside from some uncomfortably jarring language ("'Miscegenation'?!  Jesus, when the hell was this written, anyway?  19...2...8.  Oh."), it's fairly easy to overlook the fact that it was written about eighty years ago.  It holds up well.
 
Right now, I'm in the section about the police riots -- apparently, the city government and Municipal police were so corrupt by the 1850s that the higher levels of government stepped in, created the Metropolitan police, and declared the Municipals disbanded.  Unfortunately, the Municipals didn't like that idea, some political stuff happened wherein the Metropolitans tried to arrest the corrupt mayor and the Municipals fought back, and the whole thing culminated in a huge riot.  In City Hall.  In which a good fifty officers were injured and one was permanently maimed.  After that, the two branches of the city police spent more time fighting each other than the gangsters themselves, to the point where one would actually release a criminal they saw the other arrest, just to be a jerk.
 
It's funny until you think about it too hard, and then it's just horrifying.  And we think jurisdiction arguments now are bad...
 
I don't know why I find this stuff so fascinating.  It's taking sincere effort not to write even more about it than I already have, because a) Asbury does it better, and b) I suspect most people don't care.
 
BUT I DO!  [/dork]
janegodzilla: (IT IS A CROWBAR)
I hung out with my folks last night, and this morning we went out to see where the tornado hit the other day. It's so fucking surreal. I mean, it touched down less than five minutes from my parents' house, and it threw grocery carts across the street at the Winco I used to do my groceries at. I'm glad no one was hurt by the whole thing, but I'm still astonished that tornados in Washington are basically like earthquakes -- they happen all the damn time, but they're usually so small or in a remote enough area that no one thinks anything of it. The things I learn.

This is unrelated, but...The Road, by Cormac McCarthy? Is incredible so far. I've been wanting to read his stuff for a while, but I'd heard mixed things about his writing style, which is one of those that's very different and therefore polarizing. It took me a few pages to get used to the lack of quotation marks, and for a while I felt like someone had given him a very small box of commas to work with -- hence all the fragments, and the clauses strung together with various conjunctions -- but now that I've settled into it? DAMN. The guy's good. Quirks that would annoy the crap out of me with lesser writers end up serving the story in this case, and I suspect I'm going to finish the book tonight, because I desperately need to find out what happens to these two characters. Given the kind of world the story's set in, I'm worried the outcome isn't going to be a pleasant one. My heart is already clenching up in self-defense.
janegodzilla: (cthulhu like pie)
The Five Fists of Science, by Matt Fraction (with pretty, pretty pictures by Steven Sanders)

SPOILERS AHEAD! -- In which Mark Twain bellows 'SCIENCE!' a lot, and Nikola Tesla is damn awesome. )

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February 2012

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