Politics: Mueller/Barr

Edit: You can read my thoughts below, but honestly I think this blog sums up a lot of my opinion really well: https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-understand-end-mueller-investigation-hint-you-cant-yet (I didn’t read it until AFTER I had written the below) I haven’t had a lot of time to process this yet, but I wanted to get some of my initial thoughts out. Let me start with a few quotes and my initial thoughts: “The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. ” –THANK GOD. As an American, I am relieved if the president did not obviously conspire with a foreign (and not a particularly friendly foreign) entity. Now, I still think Barr is incredibly biased and I would like to understand the evidence and process Mueller went through so I (and more importantly, people smarter than me) can look over the details of

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Review: The Teahouse Fire

I actually finished this about two weeks ago, but I needed time to digest it before I wrote any kind of commentary on it. This isn’t quite on my “I’m ashamed I haven’t read this” book list, but it has been on my “to read” pile for years (literally for years. It had dust on it). I noticed the library had it on audiobook so I picked it up for my commute-listening-pleasure. The book was…. interesting. There was a lot I enjoyed (especially given how much I enjoy Japanese tea ceremony). A lot of what she discusses in the process is similar to the “Tea Club” lessons I was able to participate in when I spent a semester in Japan. I would never try to replicate tea ceremony, but I can appreciate the dance, art, and skill. So, to begin let me say that I never felt the main character grew up. Aurelia (the protagonist) never tries to understand the

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Review: Korean BBQ

Back at the end of January, my husband and I went to a new Korean BBQ place. One of the “cook at the table” style restaurants. Like a Melting Pot (fondue) or Hibachi (showy) we consider Korean BBQ “experience dining” – you take your time, you enjoy each others’ company. Dinner is more than just gulping down your food. We were expecting something like this: In case you can’t guess, this is nothing like what we experienced. Which is sad, Korean BBQ (done right) is a lot of fun (and if you’ve never done it or fondue – save up and take the opportunity). This particular experience was disappointing and here is my review that I put on Google: I almost didn’t write a review, but I think it would help others. My husband and I ate here last weekend on Sunday night. It wasn’t very busy and if anything that makes my primary issue more of an issue: Assumptions.

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Writing: PVP vs. PVE

I am going to crossover my gaming and my writing. Let me begin by defining these two acronymns for any non-gamers. PVE is “Player vs. Environment” – almost all single-player games can be put in this category (I know if I say “all” someone will point out an exception – though I can’t think of one!). No matter how you slice it, the player is up “against” the environment the programmers have laid out. No matter what the story is, the computer-controlled characters have a very limited AI available to them to deal with the player. They have limited dialogue and boundaries in motion and thought. PVP is “Player vs. Player” – multiplayer games. Fighting games, all the of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games like DOTA, Fortnite, and Smite. (All those games getting turned into esports). Players add a level of complexity game designers haven’t been able to duplicate – a creativity in the way the characters, tools, and world

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Review: The Strange Library

I checked this book out from the library in audiobook for something to do some cleaning to and then pick up for the week. When it downloaded it said it was only one hour long! Oh. I didn’t realize it was a kid’s book. This is not a kid’s book. It’s at least PG. Maybe PG-13. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami is definitely a different kind of fantasy. I will have to pick up more by him to create a firm opinion. I kind of wish I had read-read it, apparently it’s illustrated – I might have to check out the physical copy just to get a chance to see those…. This was a short read, and engrossing. It was in some ways a childish tone, but like the original Snow White, Cinderella, the Robber’s Bride…. there is a darkness lurking there that should not be discounted. If you like traditional fairy tales – you should read this. It

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Writing: Death of the Author (Part 2)

Wondering why there is a part 2? Because I think this actually goes beyond merely literary critique. Let’s take an example: The Bible. One of the big areas I see this is around homosexuality. And it makes me see a little cross-eyed because every verse that gets brought up is brought up either without the cultural context of the time it was written and/or the linguistic context. I’m not going to break down all the verses (there are 6 and you can Google it for yourself). But when people talk about Sodom and Gomorrah they always talk about man-on-man sex. It ignores the custom that when you feed someone in your house (as Lot did), in that culture – you have taken on a responsibility to protect them. This is huge. I would compare it to spitting in someone’s face in today’s world. It is such a taboo you’ve probably never seriously considered it except as an act of extremity –

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Writing: Death of the Author (Part 1)

This has been on my mind a lot lately. For a lot of reasons. The premise of the original essay (Roland Barthes, 1967) is that the author should be excluded when considering a work of art. You shouldn’t talk about Beethoven being deaf. You shouldn’t talk about Sylvia Plath having severe depression and committing suicide. You shouldn’t talk about J.K. Rowling’s tweets expanding/explaining the Harry Potter universe. When critiquing a work, you should only rely on the text within the work itself. The reader is the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; the unity of a text is not in its origin, it is in its destination; but this destination can no longer be personal: the reader is a man without history, without biography, without psychology; he is only that someone who holds gathered into a single field all the paths of which the text is constituted.

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Review: Stain

Stain by A.G. Howard was released in January. I am trying to get better about finding the new releases as they happen. This is one I am really glad I saw my library had available. I had to wait a minute because others read it ahead of me. This book is not a retelling of a fairy tale. I was expecting to see bones of something familiar – and although there are a few references, this is definitely it’s own story. Supposedly it’s based on “the princess and the pea” but I think it’s got significant legs of it own. Lyra can’t talk and usually a “silent” protagonist is really difficult, but Howard does a good job. My biggest critique is how long it takes to get to what I felt was the “meat” of the book. The first 1/3 of the book or so has a perfect tone of a fairy tale. But it takes too long. I think

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