The Thing that Should not Be

Most people will know about my strong dislike of that worthless excuse for a browser that is Internet Explorer, and some will even share it. So when I found a tutorial for a plush IE Voodoo Doll, I LOL’d. And then I just had to get all arts-and-crafty:

The Thing that Should not Be

First Lines: Rose Madder

Bookstores are literally littered with books. Finding a book to read within such confines requires some sort of approach. There is one theory by Marshall McLuhan (he of “the medium is the message” fame) that says you should take a book, turn to page 69 and read it. If you like that page, take the book home and read it. If not, don’t.

One could ponder and theorize about the ‘page 69 test’, or one could put it to test. Let’s do the latter.

On page 69 of Stephen King’s Rose Madder, we find Rosie McClendon sitting in the office of a woman’s shelter, after she fled from her abusive husband. Here, she is told that Providence (with a capital P) brought her to the shelter, and when asked what her skills are, she realizes she has none.

Is this representative of the book as a whole? I think so. As far as the story goes, it isn’t overly exciting. A woman flees from home, and a mad man follows. The supernatural angle didn’t sit well with me, just as the concept of providence: it’s like saying that there’s no such thing as luck and everything happens the way it happens because of some supernatural force. A painting that works as door to another world (This world, all worlds…) is a nice concept, but the way the Rosie’s problem is taken care of in that world feels like a cop-out. If it wasn’t written so well, it probably would have been a unremarkable novel. The few allusions to the Dark Tower — …like a rare flower in a weedy vacant lot… — are nice for fanboys like me, but no big deal in the greater scheme of things.

Still, great first line.

Book read
Stephen King — Rose Madder
First line
She sits in the corner, trying to draw air out of a room which seemed to have plenty just a few minutes ago and now seems to have none.

One way ticket to Spain, please

Tonight it’s Sinterklaasavond. Which means that if all goes well, I’ll be on my way to Spain tomorrow. And if de Sint thinks I’ve been a good boy, well, here I am, breaking the law again.

Another typically Dutch thing is Kinderen voor Kinderen. Sort of a children’s choir singing popsongs, often dealing with serious issues. Their song “Ik ben toch zeker Sinterklaas niet” [mp3] (featuring other Dutch children’s icon Edwin ‘ome Willem‘ Rutten) is barely about Sinterklaas. It’s written by Henk en Henk, who are also responsible for the inferior “Sinterklaas (Wie kent hem niet?)” [live version on youtube]. I was going to write more about this, but while digging up that last video, I came across this:

A few years ago, I was discussing how great it would be if you’d ‘punk up’ some Kinderen voor Kinderen songs. And apparently, Kinderen tegen Kinderen do exactly that. You can download this song from their website.

For the list: mania 3

  • For those keeping score: the mailperson delivered the national letter today, but still no sign of the international packages. A complaint is filed. Also, I’ve canceled my Tanz ticket and can now go on a family trip, a little more than 11 kilometers (as the crow flies) from my house. According to this site, that’s at least 520 km closer than to home then Berlin would’ve been.
  • For people in doubt: isitchristmas.com.
  • For those who know Shakespeare: “Hamlet shaken by murder then suicide” is a serious contender for the headline of the century.
  • For those who think God might be a DJ: The Christian alliance of Christenunie/SGP in Naaldwijk’s town council want a ban on house parties (dutch only) in the historic Oude Kerk. Their arguments are iffy: I can appreciate the concern that the historic church might be damaged, but on the other hand, arguing that having a party where “music is performed that is in stark contrast to the psalms and hymns to God’s glory” in a church should be forbidden holds no ground whatsoever. That’s not something the government should get involved in, as I would assume that the people who rented out the church for this party would know what went on. Plus that they get their facts wrong: according to the promoters’ website, there was a mix of soul, funk, jazz, disco, a live lounge-jazz band, a groovy set from some DJ, Candy Dulfer, and some more soul to top it off. I would hardly call that a house party.
  • For the people who remember Peter Pan Guy: Holy sweet mother of all that’s bright and shiny!
  • For the Dream Theater fans: still not officially confirmed, but the proposed title for an upcoming compilation is “Greatest Hit & 19 other pretty cool tunes”.
  • For the Dutchies: Vincent points to the longlist for the woord van het jaar 2007. Islamneutraal ftw.
  • And finally, for the lovers of lists: the 2007 list of lists.