Friday, August 8, 2008


I just finished Stephen Bury and Neal Stephenson's Interface. The book was decently good, but I found the conclusion dissatisfying. It felt like a deus ex machina, insofar as all the actions were sped-up and suddenly everything came together; however, it was not optimistic. Even the characters I liked turned out to be slightly crooked.

Despite my quarrels with the conclusion, the writing was as crisp and clever as I've come to expect from Neal Stephenson. My favorite piece -- that made me laugh aloud -- was this (p. 148):
The operations were conceptually simple. Incisions were made along lines that had been drawn along the lines that had been drawn on the patients' shaven heads.
"It was a debacle. I am personally ashamed. I will never do anything like that again. The level of incompetence makes me physically ill. I may shoot myself," Dr. Radhakrishnan was saying.
It builds so nicely. It's not just a debacle, he's not just personally ashamed. The text crescendos.

This post's theme word, pong, colloquially, can mean, "a strong, unpleasant smell; a stink." I heard it used thusly in the phrase, "a bestial and pongoid fashion." I think. Otherwise, I've no idea what "pongoid" means. The OED also has "pong" as derisive slang for a person of Asian descent.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Japanese and Spanish - the ones I've started to know but really need to know better. I'd like to know Gaelic just because it sounds so awesome but it'd be more useful to learn French - as we all discovered.

You want to learn any languages? which ones?

i would love to go to japan but have absolutely no concrete plans towards this yet --- just i know i will make it there sometime in the next 5 yrs if i can. and of course you should totally come if the timing is good for you too.

apparently the UK pound is worth half a dollar now so it might not be insane to spend time in the UK! yay! let's go to scotland!

so: what's up these days? how are you? anywhere you would like to travel?