Bookshot #137: Unfu*k Yourself

I've never really been into the whole 'self-help' genre. It's just not something I've ever felt a need to really dig into for whatever reason- primarily because I am usually acutely aware of my failings and what I should do to correct them, it's just that I don't do it. I'm also wired differently than what society expects, I think. I've never really had grand ambitions or dreams for myself-- it's sort of a laconic disinterest in those things that worries me-- I know I've always wanted to a. have a family (check) and b. travel the world and see everything I could possibly want to see on this crazy planet of ours before I die (still working on this part.) It might just be the season of life I'm currently in, but starting a business? Chasing a promotion? None of that really motivates me to get up in the morning. Coming home at the end of the day on the other hand, does. Over the years though, there have been a couple of titles that have caug

Netflix & Chill #87: The Booksellers/Sour Grapes

The Booksellers is a beautiful documentary that plunges into the world of antiquarian books and the people who collect them. As someone who loves books, it's kind of like catnip. You're not going to get me to say no to watching a documentary about books. It focuses mainly on booksellers in New Your City- including the three sisters (Adina cohen, Naomi Hample and Judith Lowry) of the Argosy Bookstore, Stephen Massey who founded Christie's NY Book Department and Nancy Bass Wyden, owner of the Strand Bookstore. (There's a smattering of other folks in the movie as well: Fran Lebowitz, Gay Telese, Justin Croft, Zack Hample, Susan Orleans, William S. Reese, A.S.W Rosenbach, Jay S. Walker and Kevin Young.) It's fascinating to explore the history of the rare book world- how some of these book stores got started and how they touch on the founding of the Book Department in Christie's is all fascinating stuff. You take the basic history and combine it with a lot of female

Serial Saturday #10: Remember What Happened In Guo

Please enjoy Part 10 of Murder In Kinmen , 'Remember What Happened In Guo': "So, this is Mount Taifu, huh?" Wei-Ting walked up the steps toward the main cenotaph, grimacing as he did so. he had always liked history at school, but living in Kinmen had made him realize that it was possible to have too much of it crammed into one space. This place looked like hardcore nationalists and the historians had vomited patriotism all over the montaintop after a night of heavy drinking. He turned at the main cenotaph and saw his destination. The rock itself was enormous, with a flat, gentle angle at it's top and striations running across it's weathered surface. The calligraphy was equally garish, drawing the eye and by extension, people to gaze up at it and even reach out and touch it. Not really knowing what else to do, Wei-Ting walked up to the rock and leaned on the railing, looking up at it. He glanced over and watched as a lone tourist pointed his camera lens up at t

Knowledge Boost #2: The Coddling of The American Mind

This was not the book I expected it to be. I think the previous entry in this series may have spoiled me a bit- as it didn't really offer a lot of concrete solutions or remedies to the problem that book explored. In these days of over politicization and ideologies, you're not really expecting a book to offer, you know, thoughtful discussion and actual solutions to a clearly defined problem, but I guess there's a pleasant exception to every rule and Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt's The Coddling of the American Mind is it. The expansion of a popular essay the duo wrote back in 2015 for The Atlantic , the book seeks to explore the shifting landscape of American culture that saw an explosion of unrest on college campuses over the past half a dozen years or so. (As someone who's been working in Higher Ed- albeit in a somewhat unusual perch, the change has been noticeable over the course of my ten years here. I can't count the number of times I wondered where all

Tiki Tuesday #4: Grog

The name 'Grog' doesn't exactly bring a lot of appeal to the table. It lacks that exotic tinge. It puts one in mind of a pirate ship and not necessarily one crewed by Johnny Depp and all his merry rogues from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. How did grog come to be ? Well, sailors back in the day required a great deal of fresh water on voyages because desalinating sea water wasn't practical- so they had to keep it in casks. The casks would develop algae and get slimy so they started flavoring with beer or wine to make it palatable and that required more storage and soon fresh water along with the beer and wine to flavor it up a bit meant that they were having storage problems, especially on longer voyages. Happily, when the English conquered Jamaica in 1655, they soon found rum and rum began replacing beer and brandy as the drink of choice. Naturally, giving your sailors straight rum caused other problems to crop up and soon, British Vice Admiral Edward Vernon , who

Serial Saturday #9: Flash Drives & Microfiches

Again, not much to say to this one, so just please enjoy part nine of my ongoing serial, Flash Drives & Microfiches: Wei-Ting pulled into a parking space in front of the Police Bureau and quickly turned the car off and flung open the door. He was running late. The message on the dark web insisting on a meeting had gotten even more mysterious when he had replied with a single word: Where? The reply he had received: Remember what happened in Guo. Noon. That was cryptic enough to send him down an internet rabbit hole to find out that the message referred to a boulder on the top of Mount Taifu where the Generalissimo himself had written out a message in calligraphy to rally the troops and hint at one day reclaiming the mainland. I've got to be fast, Wei-Ting thought as he bounded up the stairs to the front entrance of the Police Bureau. The geek squad owes me a favor, so I should be able to get a wire. He opened the entrance and stepped into the lobby, flashing his ID to the office

Serial Saturday #8: Late Night Spring Rolls

Not much to say about this one, just please enjoy part eight of my ongoing serial, Late Night Spring Rolls: Wei-Ting woke with a start, hands reaching for his stomach before he forced himself to take a deep breath to calm down. "It was just a dream," he said aloud. He stared up at the ceiling of his apartment for a moment, hoping that he would fall back asleep, but it was no use. He was full awake at, he rolled over and grabbed his phone off the nightstand. "Three o'clock in the morning?" he groaned. "You've got to be kidding me." Wei-Ting flung his covers aside and got out of bed. He padded across the cold, conrete floor to the modest kitchen area and turned on the light. He walked around the edge of the breakfast bar and stopped at the coffee machine for a long moment before shaking his head. No. It was too early for coffee. He stepped over to the fridge and opened the door. The interior of Wei-Ting's fridge was sparse. He was a bachelor and