Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

04 Jun 2007, 12:42 p.m.

MC Masala, and Le Weekend

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2007 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 So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it!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.

A May 20th column on coffee rituals (citing Neal Stephenson) and a nice little column from yesterday, on my sister's graduation, dancing, food, and an old album.

It could be that the main reason I play Dungeons & Dragons is so that I can tell people at work, "At D&D yesterday we destroyed an undead dragon skeleton," and make them laugh.

We did indeed destroy an undead skeletal dragon. My fifth-level thief with charisma, constitution, and intelligence below ten was not the deciding force in the battle (rather an understatement). I think I'll create a new character soon, perhaps a fighter or a magic user, since our adventures are rather confrontation-intensive. We do travel a lot...Ranger? I'll also need to find an in-story explanation for how s/he runs into our party. This requires more thought.

Also this weekend: got my column off early (YES!) and finished The Confusion. Now, The System of the World, which starts off promisingly, but I did have to flip ahead many pages to find any glimpse of the character whose dramatic pledge we see in the last paragraph of The Confusion. Wrap it all up with a bow, Stephenson! I have faith.

It was way easier to understand The Confusion than to understand The Quicksilver, partly because the middle book had more action (Quicksilver had to set the foundation (ha ha mercury is a horrible foundation)), and partly because I actually read it straight through with no breaks longer than a few days. I read Anna Karenina in a few hours every afternoon one high school summer -- this is also the best way to read The Baroque Cycle.


04 Jun 2007, 14:15 p.m.

Every day for a few hours is how I read Infinite Jest last August. Worked much better than reading Gravity's Rainbow gradually over six months: midway through the book, I was forgetting who was who and what had happened. This has not been a problem with the pictorial version of Gravity's Rainbow, which I just finished "reading" last night. Since I don't remember what happens on every page, "reading" the picture version is like watching a foreign-language movie with no subtitles: you just have to make up what's happening on your own. Or simply enjoy the artwork qua artwork.

This summer: Ulysses!

09 Jun 2007, 6:49 a.m.

Oh Sumana! I just read Cryptonomicon and thought of you. It took until hot season for me to read it -- right now reading is the only thing to do besides dumping water over your head while simultaneously fanning yourself, and it's really not even that hot -- but anyway I really liked it and wished I could talk to you about it.

Gmail doesn't want to open or I'd be sending you an email asking about your life and so on. Hope you and Leonard are both well -- I'll do real communication soon, I hope.