Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

15 Apr 2001, 2:55 a.m.

So heaven is a slasher flick?

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Weekend fun, I had. A Gateway to Heaven, I saw. Various jokes, sight gags, and puns, I discovered. Cheeriest, to me, was the nicknaming of "CollabNet" as "ClamNet."

So Dan, a friend of mine, told me that the two wildly dissimilar birds I saw conversing on Wednesday were, most probably, just the male and female of one species. Hmph. There go my hopes of doing a good-faith "bird linguist" bit at the comedy night on Monday.

I had a great deal of fun this weekend, and it's not even half over. Thank-yous go out to Leonard and to Kevin Maples and Kevin's friends.

I'm really enjoying Leonard's music. He was kind enough to oblige me and play a good deal of it for me (and Kevin and Scott and Shane) last night. In fact, right now I can't really stop listening to "I Screw Up Everything I Touch," "Relativity," and "Royal Jelly."

Okay, I stopped. Copperpot, now, and the Weatherheads, TMBG, TentilEight, and The Carpet Patrol. All of those (except for They Might Be Giants), I discovered through IUMA. Yes, IUMA of the baby-naming scheme. Still a great resource. I wish they had more funding.

San Francisco Examiner headline yesterday: "Drivers killed fewer walkers last year," or something to that effect. Although I'm glad, I seem to sense some left-handed complimentry in the headline.

If I could quantify the voyeurism and low-down wrongness of "reality" TV shows, and somehow evaluate all the TV shows in the history of reality, all the way from "Candid Camera" to "The Real World" to "Survivor/Big Brother/Temptation Island/Boot Camp/Chains of Love," and then I graphed it, what sort of result would I find? And what sort of trend would it really project? What really is the next step in voyeuristic entertainment? Some sort of AllAdvantage-type arrangement where thousands of people can sign up for cash-for-surveillance freelance work? AmIFascinatinglyMundaneOrNot, then, would be the mediator. Hmmm. Perhaps I've said too much already. *calls VC*

Currently reading: Caleb Carr, The Angel of Darkness, sequel to The Alienist. I'm about a third of the way through it, even though I perhaps shouldn't be, since I have work to do for every one of my courses and extracurricular activities. I think it was my sister who said that Caleb Carr actually does in The Alienist what Michael Crichton tried to do in The Great Train Robbery. I have to say that Carr's first-person narration helps avoid the exposition-heavy style that Crichton critics, well, criticize. But the heavy-handed attempts at suspense cliffhangers at the end of every chapter get rather old.

Random sample, from Angel:

The Doctor took the knife again. "The Philippine Islands, Stevie, are one of the most important colonies in the Spanish Empire. A most valued jewel in the queen regent's crown. Well..." He walked towards the center of the room, still examining the knife "It would seem that we have gained an advantage tonight -- and lost one." He gave us all a very serious look. "We must move."

I once heard a Crichton critic, back in high school, state his objections thus: "Okay, let's say he's writing about a guy going to Africa. First sentence: 'The guy was packing for Africa. The first trip to Africa by Europeans was made in...' And that goes on for six pages. Then, 'The guy packed a can of bug spray. Bug spray was invented in....'" Years later, I realize that: the beginning of Congo is, in fact, not quite like this; and that the edutainment of Crichtoneqsue style has its hilarious comeuppance in Modern Humorist's Encyclopedia Brown parodies.

So I was sick this past week. Monday afternoon I ministered to Alexei, who had (he thought) been poisoned by bad fish over the weekend. That night I stayed up late writing an essay on James Rorty, pseudoculture v. mass culture, and Dark Victory, or, as I put it to most of my friends, "Applying a theorist you've never heard of to a movie you've never seen." Didn't eat much or sleep much those next few days, except for some bake-sale goods on Wednesday, early afternoon. What I'm wondering is, exactly what was the tipping point of the illness? What made me sick on Wednesday afternoon, night, and Thursday morning? Did I catch something from Alexei? The brownie? Was it to food, or the lack of food, or sleep, or what combo?

Illness wreaks havoc with the scientific method. I want the independent variable, dammit!

Originally published by Sumana Harihareswara at