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Aug. 28th, 2015

reading tiger

(no subject)

Parent at school's Friday Morning Coffee Circle: "I'm drinking decaf. I hope it's OK to join you."

Me, the Coordinator: "I'm drinking tea."

Another Parent: "I'm drinking caffeine-free tea!"

Aug. 26th, 2015

reading tiger

Reading Wednesday: First Day of School!

I'm still reading A Brief History of Seven Killings, slowly. The week has been very busy, what with the last few days of summer and the first day of school today and all the preparations thereof. I am about three days behind on my e-mail, too.

Enjoying it so far. (The novel, not so much the e-mail.)

Aug. 19th, 2015

reading tiger

Reading Wednesday Has Been Writing

So obviously I've been busy this week pitching and writing a music column, and doing the legwork around that whole process. Plus more hustling for work and pitching articles that I'm waiting to hear back about and things.

I have literally just started Marlon James' A Brief History if Seven Killings. As in, I am on page one. I am so, so looking forward to reading this, though. So stay tuned.
reading tiger

I am a music columnist at the SF Weekly now!

Look! I have a new column at the SF Weekly! It's centered on my (over)analysis of my personal earworms, which are many and varied thanks to being an old fart music reviewer. Here's the first installment:

She's an Earworm: The Tubes Reconsidered

The next one goes live next Tuesday, and every Tuesday after that.

I had ridiculous fun pitching and writing this column, and a great chat with my old friend Prince$$ Pandora on Sunday night to help flesh it out. I wish I could have put even 1/3 of the things we talked about in the column. (I also wish my phone had recorded the convo better. Working on it...)

More to come! Every dang week!

Aug. 17th, 2015

reading tiger

(no subject)

Look! I'm a footnote!


Aug. 14th, 2015

reading tiger

(no subject)

Someone on Jezebel agrees with me on Stonewall, btw:

"The problem with this retelling, aside from the fact that a story about a boy following his dreams to New York City is cliché as hell..."


Also check out the "fixed" trailer, just because it's fun.

Aug. 13th, 2015

reading tiger

Reading Wednesday Has No Excuses...

...except possibly for the fact that my birthday was Tuesday. Happy birthday to me!

I've been dipping into Daphne Gottlieb's new book of short stories, "Pretty Much Dead." This quite possibly might be the best book of short stories I have read in a very long time. Keep in mind when I say this that I just finished Kelly Link's new collection, so this is high praise indeed. It probably helps that the subject of Gottlieb's book -- the homeless, almost-homeless, destitute populations of San Francisco -- is close enough to witness, to be uncomfortable. It probably also helps that I've heard several of these stories read out loud, and also the author is a personal friend, so I hear her voice when I read. Nonetheless. If you're at all inclined, I recommend picking up this book. It's devastating and beautiful. It's hard to put words to how devastating and beautiful it is. It is devastating and beautiful.

(On a related note, I also spent a good chunk of yesterday falling down an Internet hole about the old Market Street Cinema, the ghosts that are rumored to have lived there, the Real Live shenanigans that used to take place there, and plans for that space now that the theater is closed and sold to developers. Condos, of course. Condos.)

Aug. 10th, 2015

reading tiger

(no subject)

So, aside from the very large issues with whitewashing the upcoming Stonewall film, I frankly cannot get over the fact that the filmmakers made their fictional insert a white boy from the Midwest. I mean, could they be more cliche? It does not bode well for the thought put into any other aspect of the movie. I swear, if he comes from a small farm in Iowa I am going to *scream*. And maybe even throw a Molotov cocktail.

Aug. 6th, 2015

reading tiger

Reading Wednesday slips a little...

...as sometimes happens on my heavy-deadline week.

And also when I don't have much to say, which also correlates notably with my heavy-deadline week.

Reading UnLunDun to the kids at bedtime. They're enjoying it and so am I.

Next week may also be spotty, as it's my birthday on Tuesday. But we'll see.

Jul. 29th, 2015

reading tiger

Reading Wednesday Gets Cooking, Plus Sex Is a Funny Word

The end of the month is when all my cooking magazines arrive in a bunch. So that's what I've been reading this week. I thought that this time around, I'd take a moment to discuss each of them in turn, as we enter the deep twilight of the print magazine's existence. Spoiler: it shows.

For a while, the late, lamented ecookbooks.com was giving away a free subscription to Bon Appetit with every purchase of $50 (iirc) or more. If you were already a subscriber like I was, the free year was just tacked on to the end of your subscription. As a result, I have somewhere around a five to ten year free subscription to the magazine. Which is the only reason I am still reading it today.

A couple years ago Bon Appetit got a new editor, a man, and an accompanying editorial shakeup and redesign. After a couple stumbles (see my post about the cover they did with Gwyneth Paltrow back in 2011), they settled on a tone and style for the "bold new direction" of the magazine that can basically be boiled down to "Maxim as food magazine." I am not by any means the first to complain about the bro-ification of this new incarnation. There are no long reads. Every fucking article is a set of disconnected bullet points accompanied by lots of big photos and snazzy graphics and wacky fonts and shit. The content is thin enough to spread on a piece of toast. And the recipes have definitely headed in the direction of attention-grabbing and overly simple at the same time -- the worst of American cooking, all flash and "bold flavors" and show-offishness. This is my least favorite of all the major food magazines and I as soon as my free years expire, I am out of here.

Alas, I have also started to be consistently disappointed by my heretofore-favorite food magazine, Saveur. It, too, seems to have moved away from long reads a bit, and perhaps a touch toward celebrity chefs, which I could be less interested in but only if I tried. Their "Saveur 100" issue is always great, though.

The best of the lot, these days, would be Food and Wine except for one thing, which is funny because a few years ago this is the one I was thinking of dropping. Mostly, though, because I have no interest in the "and wine" (and beer, and spirits) part of the magazine -- this is the "one thing" that keeps it from the peak. They are enamoured of celebrity chefs, it's true -- I mean, they're the "Best New Chefs" folks, after all. But their recipes are consistently excellent in terms of flavor and clearly-explained technique. Also, Food and Wine's articles are more fun to read than anyone else's.

At the top of the pile in terms of pure cooking value is Fine Cooking, whose articles are 100% practical and down-to-business, but the magazine is always full of good ideas and step-by-step pictorials teaching you not only individual recipes but processes by which you can endlessly vary a type of dish depending on your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.

And now to change the subject completely:

My long-awaited copy of Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg arrived in the mail yesterday and I immediately read it cover to cover because I knew the kids would want to look at it immediately. This is the middle-grade successor to Silverberg's phenomenal What Makes a Baby, which explained babymaking and birth in inclusive, gender-neutral language. The book that made room for artificial insemination and C-sections for the preschool set. I love What Makes a Baby to pieces and I cannot recommend it highly enough to everybody.

Sex is a Funny Word is just as good -- although much, much longer. It's got the same artist, Fiona Smyth, and the same bright colors. And it quite thoroughly answers the question "what is sex(y)?" from a variety of perspectives and with a true cultural sensitivity that I just don't often see. It makes space for multiple perspectives and reactions. And, yes, it makes space for alternative sexualities and gender-creative folks, too. And it encourages questions.

As predicted, April grabbed it off her desk and made it about 1/4 through last night.

I think it's so cool, I'm including a buy it here link (although right now it seems to be out of stock at the publisher) and an image of the cover.

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