Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Currently Viewing Posts in Books/Music/Movies

JPod by Douglas Coupland

JPod, by Douglas Coupland Last night I finished reading JPod, Douglas Coupland’s “sequel” to Microserfs. Very entertaining and a quick read. I haven’t laughed out loud reading a book in months.

JPod has been described as “Microserfs for the Google generation”, but perhaps “Microserfs for the EA generation” would be more appropriate, given the setting of a bunch of coders working for a videogame company. I had assumed that jPod had something to do with Apple’s iPod (perhaps a “jPod = ++iPod;” joke of sorts), but you know what happens when you make an assumption. (You make an ass out of u and mption.) As we find out on page 47, the book is called jPod because the characters work in a part of the cubicle farm where each employee’s last name begins with the letter J.

The book was a little darker than Microserfs (murder, people smuggling, forced heroin addiction and slavery) but par for the course for Coupland. Still not as good as my favorite Coupland novel (the underappreciated Miss Wyoming) but it’s among his top best work.

Books I should read

Here are a handful of books hanging out in my Amazon shopping cart waiting to be purchased:

Chanukah starts tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get one of them. 🙂

Bollywood entertainment

yuva-mani-ratnam.jpg Last night I went out with Badi and Swaroop to see Yuva. The movie was in Hindi so naturally I couldn’t understand a word, but during the intermission I got a recap of the first couple of hours. Turns out I followed about 30% of what was going on. I guess the language of love (and violence) is universal.

The music was good and the action scenes (especially the big fistfight that takes place in the middle of traffic) were quite entertaining. I bought a copy of the soundtrack at the music store for 125 rupees. It included two CDs: 6 songs from the Yuva movie and a bonus disc with 10 of A.R. Rahman’s hits.

According to the critics, the movie was a bit of a disappointment. Apparently director Mani Ratnam is capable of much better work. But hey, what do I know about Indian movies?

Love is Stronger Than Thunder

B000008IH8.jpg Too bad they don’t carry Milli Vanilli on the iTunes Music store. I’ve got $3.96 burning a hole in my pocket and just thought of what I’d most like to spend it on.

  • Girl You Know It’s True
  • Baby Don’t Forget My Number
  • Blame It On The Rain
  • I’m Gonna Miss You

Current Reading List

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal I’ve been in more of a reading mood than a writing one recently.

Just finished reading

In the middle of reading

Just starting to read

Hope to get around to reading

Amazon is finally making a profit on me.

Introducing Chomsky

Introducing Chomsky, 2nd Edition Stuck in bed this weekend with a cold, Ariella bought me a copy of Introducing Chomsky, 2nd Edition. Between naps and feeling sorry for myself, I managed to read the entire book.

Since I’ve already read a few of Steven Pinker’s books, the first half of this book (Chomsky’s theories on linguistics) seemed a little redundant to me. However, since I had never before studied Chomsky the political/social theorist, the second half of the book was definitely enlightening.

Compared to my experience with other books in this series (Introducing Semiotics and Introducing Postmodernism in particular), I was a little disappointed with Introducing Chomsky. This one was not nearly as clear or entertaining as the others.

Still, I haven’t given up on Icon Books. I’m ordering a used copy of Introducing Einstein so it can sit on my shelf next to A Brief History of Time and the dozens of other books I’ll get around to reading “someday.”

The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin

The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin (Audiobook) I recently “read” Steve Martin’s most recent novel The Pleasure of My Company. It’s an excellent book.

I use “read” in quotes, because I purchased the audio book instead of the written book. I’ve listened to only one audio book before (the first Harry Potter book which I snagged from KaZaA before the RIAA flooded the network a bunch of crap). This one was way better. Why? Because Steve Martin reads it!

Like his previous novella, The Pleasure of My Company is a story about a lonely man living in LA who seeks companionship. To say that the main character in is neurotic is an understatement. Asperger’s or OCD is more like it.

But Daniel Pecan Cambridge isn’t all crazy; he’s a true romantic at heart. Throughout much of the story he is admiring Zandy, Clarissa, and Elizabeth from afar, hoping that one day one of them will love him back.

The book is light and and charming. Unlike the Diamond Age, which I read last month, I didn’t need a dictionary to decode the language. Steve Martin reading it makes the book all the more enjoyable. Highly recommended.

Trip to Amoeba Music

B0000BYM3J.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg Avital is visiting from Boston this weekend. We went to Amoeba Music in Hollywood and got a handful of used CDs.

Here’s what I got:

  • Loveboat – Erasure
  • Other People’s Songs – Erasure
  • Acoustic – Everything But The Girl
  • Sleepyhead – The Brothers Creegan
  • Stop All The World Now – Howie Day

I looked for a used copy of the new BNL album but they only had it new and I didn’t want to for over $18.

Avital recommended the Howie Day album and Ariella and I both really liked it. Cheezy acoustic pop.

Ariella got some classical CDs. Avital got Homogenic by Bj