The meaning of apocalypse

January 27th, 2010 by soundofrain

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with the apocalypse. It’s hard not to think about it these days, what with all the apocalyptic movies out – The Road, 2012, The Book of Eli, Legion, etc. – and all the books and media interest in the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, not to mention large-scale disasters, which used to come along once in a lifetime, now happening every few years.

History is thick with cultures and religions that believed in apocalypse, and not just us wacky westerners (google Hopi Prophecy if you’re into that kind of thing). Doesn’t that make it something ingrained in us, perhaps something genetic?

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Can it be… SEITAN?

January 19th, 2010 by soundofrain

I simply cannot resist a bad food pun.

Seitan is vital wheat gluten (so poison for those with gluten intolerance), as unappetizing a phrase as it is a concept. It’s pretty unappetizing for most of the preparation, too. But oh my god, it totally rocks!

I am so excited about this. At last, a protein that acts like meat (but isn’t), and is really easy to make! If I can do it, I swear, anybody can. I present the following for seitan newbies who might be wondering if this is hard to do, or for those who’ve started and are now wondering if something’s gone horribly wrong.

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Who do you want to be today?

January 18th, 2010 by soundofrain

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

I’ve had an epiphany. I’m going back to school for Environmental Studies, and I want to be involved in sustainability planning for communities. Ta da!

Only took me twenty years to figure that out. I’ve never been particularly interested in anything specific as a job, except writing novels. And I certainly don’t give a crap about a career just for the sake of a career. Associate manager to manager to senior manager to associate director to director to senior director – who cares? Do any of those people actually enjoy what they do every day?

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Post-Avatar depression

January 17th, 2010 by soundofrain

We're blue, too.Several news outlets this past week, including CNN and a local NYC paper, reported a worldwide phenomenon: Many people who have seen the James Cameron film Avatar are experiencing depression.

They’re depressed because they’ve seen a world that is beautiful, in which every living thing is connected and in harmony, and they’ve been reminded how far they are from living that way.

I went to and had a look at the discussion there for myself. And you know what?

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New York story

January 15th, 2010 by soundofrain

My friend S. and I waited in line for over an hour last night for a free screening of The Book of Eli (very good, neat twist, God-y but in the best way possible) and the free tickets ran out just ahead of us.

So S. and I go into the cinema to see if there was anything else playing – the smell of popcorn was that tantalizing – but there’s nothing at the right time, and I’m ready to leave. S. eyes the staircase. “Let’s just go up here for a minute,” she says.

I’d never been to this theater before, but she’d been here lots of times, born and raised in the city. At the top of the stairs is a ticket-taker, so I hesitate. Nearby is another cinema worker, chatting on the phone. “Bathroom?” S. says, and the woman gestures. We walk right in.

Who knew you could do that?

I’m giddy, having snuck into the movies – I feel like a little kid as we’re walking down the main drag, past the popcorn concessions (gotta get some), past theater after theater. I’m trying to figure out what we’re going to see. S. is just heading for the bathroom – she really did have to go.

And suddenly we’re in the doorway of a movie, I can’t tell which one, but I have my suspicions as there are security guards and a guy waving a wand-style metal detector. S. is walking so purposefully, he assumes she belongs there. “You were here before, right?” he says, and waves her in. I ride her wake, trying not to screech with joy.

We’re in. And The Book of Eli is just starting.

We had to stand, but it’s just under 2 hours and we both work on our feet all day at the bookstore, so no sweat (my feet are much better these days).

Later she told me how she and a friend happened to walk past a theater downtown showing a premier of some big movie, and all the stars were there. She and her friend just walked right in. Saw the movie, saw the stars.

New York!

Review: 2012

December 14th, 2009 by soundofrain
This is all you need to see.

This is all you need to see.

The only reason anyone would go to see a movie like this is for the special effects. Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow – we all know the plot will suck and the science will be dodgy at best, but who cares, right? Let’s blow some shit up!

That’s why 2012, from the same director, is such an enormous disappointment. I could have forgiven their nonsensical explanation for the end of the world – neutrinos from solar flare activity somehow microwave the earth and boil the core – if only they’d given me more of what I paid for: disaster porn.

We do get to see Los Angeles break in half and slide into the ocean, a sight I can never get enough of. The lumps of burning magma from the Yellowstone supervolcano were very well done, I thought, as was the hemisphere-enveloping ash cloud. And I did enjoy watching a battleship named the USS John F. Kennedy slam into the White House, and St. Peter’s Basilica roll over a dense crowd of worshipers. Read the rest of this entry »

On completing NaNoWriMo

December 1st, 2009 by soundofrain

nano_09_winner_120x240National Novel Writing Month is over, and I’ve won for the third year in a row. That is such a fantastic feeling! Even if you’re not a writer, I highly recommend doing NaNoWriMo at least once. Being given a deadline might be the thing that makes you actually do it.

And if you are a writer, I can’t think of a better exercise. I learn so much every year, and this year was the best yet.

I learned about focus, only reading or watching things that had to do with my story, mostly research about all the different risks to human civilization since this year’s novel was apocalyptic (of course). And therefore I learned a lot about climate change, hurricanes (especially Katrina), epidemics, and what will happen to the earth when all or most of the humans are dead. I’ll review some of the documentaries and books I’ve been going through, it’s fascinating stuff. Anyway, by keeping my head in the story, something was germinating all the time, and I never ran out of ideas.

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National Novel Writing Month

October 31st, 2009 by soundofrain

Winner 2008NaNoWriMo is upon us again, and I’m getting ready to embark for the third time on an insane mission: to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel, from scratch, between November 1st and the 30th.

In case you don’t know, this is an unofficial, international, and highly successful event started by Chris Baty and some friends about ten years ago, now including over a hundred thousand participants all over the world.

The philosophy is two-fold. One part caters to the many people who’ve always wanted to write a novel, but are not in the habit of writing regularly and/or need some motivation and support to get that first draft done. It’s quite an accomplishment in itself to make it through the thirty days of November and cross that 50,000 word finish line.

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On the word “douchebag”

October 29th, 2009 by soundofrain

Tucker MaxPeople have been calling for the retirement of this word for well over a year now, to no avail. I love it because it’s fun to say and reminds me of my East Coast childhood, when we used it all the time (without having any idea what it really meant). Plus, it fills the gap nicely between “slightly annoying guy” and “total asshole”.

However, I’ve read various comments around the internet about how the term douchebag is sexist, because it’s used to degrade a man by referring to him as an object used only by women.

As Dan Savage pointed out in a recent podcast (number 154), anyone interested in receiving anal penetration with a minimum of santorum uses them for enemas, though I suppose in that case the term would be enema bag. Not a bad pejorative in itself, now that I think of it, being non-gendered and associated with unwanted poo. It’s not as satisfying to say, though.

But my argument is different. I haven’t seen anyone else point this out, so I will gallantly step up:

The vagina is self-cleaning and self-regulating. Douching is not only unnecessary to the health of the vagina, it can in fact throw off its natural floral balance, and also interferes with the vagina’s ability to keep its delicate tissue moist and happy. Douching is also completely ineffective in the prevention of pregnancy and disease, two other bullshit reasons women used to be told we need to douche.

Thus, a douchebag is a guy who is unnecessary, useless, and possibly harmful to women. Therefore it’s quite appropriate to say, for example, that Tucker Max is a douchebag.

The benefits of the sound of rain

October 15th, 2009 by soundofrain

raindropsIt’s been raining all day, grey and cold, and I’ve been working at home. I love the sound of rain falling – obviously, since I named my blog for it. It’s my favorite sound in the world. It’s so relaxing, and makes wherever I am into a place that’s cozy and safe. It makes me feel like my neck and shoulders are getting a little tiny massage, somehow, it really does.

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