The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua

This is one of the most extraordinary graphic somethings I have encountered. Babbage was developing a mechanical difference engine for calculating and then came up with the ideas for a more elaborate Analytical Engine. Lovelace envisioned possibilities for its applications. Unfortunately, she died relatively young of cancer and Babbage never actually finished the machine. Padua has envisioned what if comics of a steam punk world in which the duo actually use the gargantuan contraption. The comics are so dense with historical and technological references that the footnotes take up most of the book. Helped me better appreciate our digital world.

New gadget


Just got a new Apple Pencil. I’d been waiting for a good stylus and then one that would work on the regular iPad and then an iPad that would work with that. The next thing was going to be to be able to use it with my iMac but it is now too old for the latest upgrade to make that happen. I know I am being scammed. I do think it is interesting to see he model of putting things out and then gradually improving them. I still remember a Frantics joke with Edison talking about reselling the same piece of music on successively superior technologies. They do say also you need he upgrades for security reasons. So it is like the unending arms race of evolution. Or the Red Queen running to stay in one place.  



Not to get gross, but walking my dog I do come across things that should not be there. Did those responsible not notice? I remember the issue repeated in Altman’s film on high fashion. And an artist who would make plates of food around it. I don’t want to deal with others crap. But then what?

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling

When I first saw Mindy Kaling on the Office, I thought, I wonder why they added a brown person to a mostly white cast which is such a small part? Then when I saw she was one of the writers I was more amazed. This book is so funny and she is breezy and self effacing, but she must be very smart and determined. One of her pieces was on movies she would remake and one of them was Ocean’s Eleven. The day I read it, I saw her in Ocean’s whatever the number was. She is a go getter.

State of the Bunion #sotu2019

I did not actually watch the thing and have no right to comment, but that does not seem to stop anyone these days, so here is my contribution to the noise. 



Still getting used to my new device and app.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

A book with such a title and even an exclamation point, describing the Bigtree family wrestling “Seths”, their name for alligators, on their island in the Florida Everglades, suggests something farcical. But the stories told by the youngest daughter Ava in first person and about the eldest boy Kiwi in third person are told in earnest, as their idyllic ideals wrestle with the hard realities of the world. The writing is sometimes distractingly lyrical, but that seemed somehow suitable, evoking dreams of good, bad, and ugly scenes at a tawdry museum in some out of the way place.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer’s story of building a career and community around her music is quite something. Made me uncomfortable, actually. Although the book does share some of her concerns about things, she appears to be fearless and relentlessly optimistic. It seems so beautiful to experience these amazing connections with people around the world. It seems to take courage, patience, and energy. She seems to be a genius at bridging the power of the internet with the vitality of live experiences. Rather than asking, I suppose she is giving people the chance to give and feel good about supporting an artistic enterprise.


When you know a story is a prequel, you know the good guy is going to survive. But I suppose that is usually true of American action films, although maybe not in The Avengers Infinity War. Still, I enjoyed the swashbuckling entertainment of this story and the origins of his name and friendship with Chewbacca. Perhaps if I rewatch the original Star Wars I might get some of the references I missed. I don’t remember the dice being so significant in the original, but it was there in Last Jedi and in this. Movies often make gamblers seem so heroic.

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

This audiobook of short stories was harrowing and hilarious. The stories all deal with modern immigrant Chinese families, generally told from the point of view of the young daughter. The Dads are mostly educated, unfaithful, yet struggling to support the family in America, working multiple jobs. The mothers seemed hysterical, in the sense of being crazy rather than funny. Sometimes grandparents are as well. Some of the stories include characters with the same names and use similar anecdotes. The sacrifices, the struggles, the anxieties, the family love. Maybe it was like picking a scab, but I found it so compelling.