I'm going for a leeching tomorrow

I'm a tv on dvd junkie. I seriously cannot get enough. To me, a weekend can rarely be better spent than watching an entire season of this or that. The trick, in my current situation, is to find shows that invite my family's participation. Well, this is in addition to the trick of finding shows worth the emotional and chronological investment. For instance, my mom and brother could not get into The Closer, despite it being totally hilarious (if you don't think a police procedural can be funny, you need to rent a few discs of this). Yet, at the same time, my dad balks over Veronica Mars. And Battlestar Galactica is out, because my mom won't attempt to watch sci-fi. We did all get into Psych, and Law & Order is a good standby for our evenings. Part of the problem is that my parents won't watch most PG-13 movies, so a lot of shows are "bad" in their eyes. That means I won't be consuming the Sopranos with them and Six Feet Under is right out. Hell, even Dead Like Me can't make the cut.

So, in my recent trying to find something new, interesting and relatively clean, I decided to try Gilmore Girls. I have some friends who are big fans, friends whose taste I trust. I had also heard that the dialogue is lighting quick and that they pack in more cultural references than any normal person could pick up on. I scoffed at the latter. I mean, sure, I may miss the popular music ones, but I'm pretty in-the-know. Surely the writers are playing to a denominator that is slightly below mine. Mercy was I wrong. I feel, at times, that watching episodes require the viewer to have handy access to wikipedia. The allusions are so dense, so fast and furious, so arcane that no one short of a demi-god could get them all. However, and here's why I think the show works so well, the jokes are throwaways. You never need to catch them all to follow the plot, understand the argument or even enjoy the show. Sure, it makes me feel sort of dumb, missing so many things that clearly I, as an educated person, should know. But, it's such a wonderful program that I'll keep watching.

Also, may I recommend the following:

  • Zooloretto: Spiel des Jahres 2007 in which you're building a zoo. It's fun, not too time-consuming and a great combo of luck and strategy
  • Interacting more with your coworkers: last week saw me out of my library a bit more and I had a lovely time of it
  • Posting angry pictures of yourself on social networking sites. Apparently, this draws more interest than smiling ones.
  • Not getting your hopes up that the LDS Church is becoming more progressive. They'll just crush you a couple of weeks later with a statement to the contrary.
  • Brown bagging it

two book reviews

Library Journal is an odd beast. What is it? Is it a professional journal? A mouthpiece for the publishing industry? A source for quality book reviews? I'm continually confused by what it thinks is news (the merger of huge technology companies shows up alongside minor legislation from a tiny town in Alabama). However, there is one thing to be said for it. If you get a review published in LJ, it's probably going to be a positive one. Even when they slam a book, they still recommend it for purchase (hence why I think the publishing industry may be paying some reviewers under the table).

Take this review snippet I read today: "Unfortunately, what lies between the covers is epic only in its absolute failure as a novel of substance and entertainment. The writing is clumsy and derivative, riddled with cliches and plot holes so large one doesn't care whether the family's secrets are revealed at all. And when they are, it is a huge disappointment." Our reviewer closes out his panning with "Recommended for larger public libraries and academic libraries only."

I wonder if this is a strange realization of the ingrained librarian ethic that we no longer are responsible for passing "quality" literature onto our patrons. But surely there's a difference between "quality" and "functioning", non?

The second one here isn't a review so much as a blurb. It comes from Tidal Wave Books, a self-publishing venture based out of Utah somewheres (I assume Utah County, which will be clear in a second). This book, Capitan of My Soul is about a personal transitioning out of homosexuality. I'm weirded out by the ex-gay movement, mostly because nearly all of its proponents seem to be from a different sphere of existence than the one I'm used to. Here's the blurb:

A young LDS man’s true story of being stereotyped and abused by peers as a child, lured into same gender internet pornography during his high school years, and recruited into cursory homosexual experimentation with older men while at Brigham Young University. Shows the undeniable link between internet porn, chat rooms, sex addiction, and homosexuality and the deceitful and predatory nature of the “gay” lifestyle. The story ends happily with his subsequent deliverance and healing through family support, expert professional counseling, truth, and repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

"lured"? "recruited"? "undeniable"? I feel like there are some assumptions here that need looking into. It makes me even angrier because the first book on this topic, written by the mother of this boy, talks about how he was cured in something ridiculous like 12 therapy sessions. I'm pretty sure that sexual addiction takes a bit longer than that. Also, from a Mormon perspective, isn't it weird to lay so much blame on others for our own sins?

The fact that I get paid to read reviews, though, is still pretty sweet.