Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #074

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti

Here’s a link to a PDF of the poem.

Goblin Market was first published in 1862.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Podcast
Lawrence Block's Burglars Can't Be Choosers
The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #428 – Jesse and Maissa Bessada talk about Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block.

Talked about on today’s show:
1977, a Matt Scudder book: A Walk Among Among The Tombstones, cut-up women, he most brutal book Maissa’s ever read, sex, comedy and mystery, a treasure hunt, little gems, is that ever cool!, the 2 cassette audiobook (heavily abridged), just under six hours, it percolated along, coffee drinking, word humour and word play, why I love to read Lawrence Block books, 11 books in the series, 4 short stories, percolating dialogue, an Agatha Christie style mystery, Lawrence Block is an excellent narrator, you’re intellectually engaged, turning the horror of crime into a cozy murder mystery, a magician, sleight of hand, false directions, The Purloined Letter, the Blackstone Audio afterword, maybe I’ll try crime, everything you see on the page is Block’s brain, sparkling personality, Bernie doesn’t age, his burglar charms, Ruth Hightower, you can call me Roger, subsequent books, a front for a burglary business, Block’s dialogue and writing, the whole back end, seeing things we’re not allowed to see, what is happening?, the psychology of the character is a mystery to himself, Carolyn the lesbian poodle groomer, Carolyn is the Watson to Bernie’s Sherlock, it always was a parody, that love of books, contemplating a life of crime, Robin Hood, what kind of dog?, maybe a stuffed dog, no shedding, it’s obvious who the murderer is, carefully set like a jewel, a lot is unconscious, Ruth’s the murderer, suspects, some lurker in the shadows, how small New York is, it fits to Agatha Christie neat, that’s the genre, he’s playing totally by the Hal Clement rules, Mission Of Gravity, Two If By Sea, putting all the evidence before us, a particular hobby horse, The Burglar Who Liked To Quote Kipling, Kipling, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, Piet Mondrian, baseball, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, The Burglar In The Library, locked room murder mystery, The Burglar In The Rye, The Burglar Who Counted Spoons, told in first person, Like A Thief In The Night, A Bad Night For Burglars, from this character’s point of view, fitting in to one area of art or collecting, this is the theater one, everybody’s an actor, everybody in the book has another name or a hidden identity, Lauren, the 85 bucks, a burglar code of ethics, “I never believed in overlooking cash”, choices, the cop costume, which one is the real burglar?, they totally switch, Wesley Brill, playing “the heavy”, he’s lost his skill, this is the book where he gets his skill back, writing fiction is a kind of magic, losing the magic, Lawrence Block is always retiring from writing, staying in hotels, breaking into his own hotel room, writers who write for a living, Bernie’s lifestyle is Block’s lifestyle, going through a divorce, moving to California, an amazing soup of goodness, he’s a soup fiend, he’s also the “Man In The Middle”, Russian dolls, why isn’t this book much better known, Burglar (1987), gender swapped, Bobcat Goldthwait, too much in the words, it would make a great comic, imagery, exposition is not great for comics, a Hercule Poirot ending, Penguin Audio audiobooks, Richard Ferrone’s narration, Recorded Books, masks, Roger Armitage, they’re lying to each other, call me “Wes”, John Wesley, oh there you are!, fake names, really recognizable, how you know someone, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, The Maltese Falcon (1941), two guys looking for the bird, the rara avis, the pear shaped man, a pre-telling, Ms. Brill by Katherine Mansfield, an ESL teacher in France, creating an internal life, an active imagination, moth powder, his yacht, a fried whiting, a flounder, a fox stole, honey cake, Maissa misread it, Reading, Short And Deep, Julie Hoverson’s narration of Ms. Brill, a little box room, Lawrence Block were you inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s story…?: No., a brill is a fish, the ermine toque = fur hat, knocked on the nose, everything is reflecting everything else, without even having read it, echoes of brill, Goldilocks, archetypes, Bernie assumes Ruth has a husband, Ellie, cheating, the ultimate woman, Darla Sandoval, he hasn’t cheated…yet, his cop costume, you don’t even need those burglar’s tools, a break in as a sexual thing, the ability to open locks, modelling a life on Bernie Rhodenbarr, locks and keys, how many passwords, one password, power and speed, a ream of keys, access, keys are responsibilities that weigh you down, physically and metaphorically, memorization, having lockpicks, lockpicking, water my plants, his burglary life, Mrs. Hesh, power is attractive, like sexual triumph, tumblers finishing, he doesn’t want it to be too clear, on the tip of understanding, “I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you all here”, Rex Stout, Raymond Chandler, a true consulting detective, Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe is a cogitating machine, perfect recall, fine living, food, a reveal, parceled out, we get all of the story, The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle getting bored of the form, we are Bernie’s Watson, The Silver Blaze, he totally cheated us, cheating, honest cheating cops, the person behind everything, the second gun, triggering, a real play?, second cabbie, James Garner, “Sound Of Distant Drums”, phrases, things that suggest, suggesting rather than saying, a certain feeling, Block is a master manipulator, you flinched, he charmed me out a lot of money, playing a role from the very beginning, he’s an actor, really great, incredibly enjoyable, examining the furniture, shaking out the books, so much in there, intellectual exercise, whodunit?, if you want to know about Watergate now’s the time to read about it, wait twenty years, a good mystery novel gives you all the facts, I feel like Ray Kirschmann, we were totally cheated, a bed is a bed is a bed, no bed of roses, set apart from our world, everybody smokes, no internet, cellphones, computers, answering services, the world has been transformed, visiting a simpler time, sexism of the period is quaint, slightly askew.

POCKET BOOKS - Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFFaudio Review

ZK42800 Bluetooth Sunglasses

generic USB Bluetooth Sunglasses
Product #: zk42800
Mini USB
Built-in 150mAh battery
Bluetooth 4.1

User Manual: |PDF|

“Thanks for using our Bluelooth sunglasses! We attached the user manual which can make you operate the player skillfully.”

My mom bought me a virtually identical pair of these Bluetooth enabled sunglasses last year and I liked them so much I ordered a second pair (as backup) earlier this year. The eBay seller I bought them from sold them for $7.44 USD with free shipping to Canada. They took nearly 4 months to arrive – but they’re here and I’m all excited again! The original set cost maybe about $30, showed up in a different box, and came with a little black hard-shelled zipper case. Otherwise they look absolutely identical. I notice the female voice in the software, saying words like “connected” and “on” and “off” are different, and the name of the device when connecting via bluetooth is a different name, but they are otherwise identical.

So why Bluetooth sunglasses? First because Bluetooth. I hate cables – they get tangled – they’re annoying. Second, SUNGLASSES! It is summer and the light is too bright and you need sunglasses. So that’s why.

I love these Bluetooth sunglasses. The fact that the volume level is variable via multiple methods is so great. First, there are the up and down volume buttons (which I generally ignore, but are nice to have I guess), next you can up and down your glasses volume using your phone’s slider or volume up/down buttons (just like regular Bluetooth earphones) but best of all is the third way. A third way that is faster and more demonstrative than all of the preceding methods– the ability to physically pull and/or tilt the speakers towards or away from your ears.

When some fellow human, you know the kind – the ones out in the world, deigns to say something to me unexpectedly, like “beautiful day” or something like it, I can bring up my hand, tilt an earbud away from one ear, and say: “Totally!” This gesture shows the human that I’m listening to them and also allows me to actually hear the creature without necessarily having to turn off or pause my audiobook.

I can see you looking at my sunglasses. You’re looking at them and you’re judging them right now. You’re looking at them and you’re thinking – those– those are ugly. And I know you’re right, they are ugly. But what I say to that is “yeah, they’re ugly – they’re ugly like a Kübelwagen, ugly like a jerrycan, ugly like an Ikea Jerker desk.” The whole point of these generic unbranded sunglasses with built in Bluetooth headphones is they do two jobs and they do their two jobs both beautifully and on the cheap. Whichever Shenzhen designer designed them wanted to incorporate two things that go on your head (sunglasses and headphones) and that designer did it.

ZK42800 Bluetooth Sunglasses

Funny story. For months I walked around, wearing these glasses, and wondering at one particular aspect of the design. I asked myself, “why do they have all this thickness at the bridge of nose and almost no support for the lenses on the edges?” I speculated, idly, wondering if it was for durability. Then, one sunny day, ruminating at the fact that my sunglasses had to be worn atop my head when I went indoors (they are too fiddly and bulky to fit in the pocket of a pair of shorts and to bulky and heavy to hang from my shirt collar), I wished that these terrific cheap sunglasses I was wearing had a feature that would allow me to walk around indoors without the lenses over my eyes. You know what I mean right? I’m talking about those flip up sun-glass lenses that can just clip-on to regular glasses–anyway, I was thinking about this– and thinking about how it would be cool if those amazing iterating Shenzhen wizards could make a design that…. and then suddenly I realized that they already had! Yes friends, my sunglasses had flip-up and flip-down lenses and I had never known!

Bluetooth Sunglasses - FLIP UP!

Now, do I actually walk around looking like a doofus wearing my Bluetooth sunglasses flipped-up when I’m indoors? Yes, I’m afraid I actually do. They do look ridiculous. But they’re doing what I want them to do and that is far more important than me not looking ridiculous.

In terms of other functionalities. I should just say everything works great. There are three buttons atop the right nacelle – the center one (the only one I ever use) is the on/off button – holding it for a few seconds turns the glasses on or off and either connects or disconnects them from whatever phone or tablet is nearby. They work terrifically, always pairing quickly, and get a better signal than my Bluetooth earphones. And the battery lasts all day (for me anyway). Now I should point out that the sunglasses say nothing about being waterproof. In fact I bet they are really not at all waterproof as the charging port is a non-waterproof micro-USB at the bottom of the right nacelle. But I’ve sweated in them, got rained on lightly and they’re still working and the a little LED still shows red when charging and still turns blue when fully charged.

ZK42800 Bluetooth Sunglasses

YouTube reviewer, yaboyboy_Q, captures pretty much everything I had to say above in a video review:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #073

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss A Practical Man’s Guide by Jack Vance

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

A Practical Man’s Guide was first published in Space Science Fiction, August 1957.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #427 – Hansel And Gretel by Bros. Grimm; read by Julie Davis. This is an unabridged reading of the folk tale (16 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada

Talked about on today’s show:
a folktale, a fairy tale, a lot of magic, a lot of animals, a lot of birds, strange phrases, a cat, the bird episode, Grimm’s Fairy Tales translated by Lucy Crane with illustrations by her brother Walter Crane, the gingerbread house, candy canes, the family’s house, too nice for a starving family, how can you not love this story?, spawned a whole industry, Jesse’s the worst son, no respect for his mother, indirect approach, a Philip K. Dick story, Jesse’s inside, The Cookie Lady, a suburban fantasy, a Hansel and Gretel story without Gretel, Bubber, the woman he visits after school, oh Philip K. Dick!, all the street names, Pine Street and Elm Street, why are the two stories so different, she’s not a regular witch, absorbing the life energy, a fat little boy who loves cookies, she’s young and beautiful, the wind is blowing, just a tumbleweed there, a horrible version of Hansel and Gretel, recognizing that you have to have help, both the children are contributing to the welfare, taking turns, wiser vs. cleverer, a Deep Space Nine episode, Jake Sisko‘s muse sucks the life energy out of him, the Star Trek universe is suffering from population decline, a little girl in Star Trek: Voyager, as soon as possible, bad writing, Wil Wheaton, o father I’m looking at my little white kitten, you young fool, sunshine on the chimney pot, a pigeon, why aren’t they eating the cat and the pigeon?, we ate your cat last night!, a strange story for modern kids, going without food, a famine in Germany, cannibalism, who’s the good guy and who’s the bad guy, is the dad horrible or just weak?, he’s convinced, step-mother, his wife and his two children, I pity the poor children, different translations, slippy, how she went away, she “died”, is she’s the witch?, and then the witch says almost the exact same thing, the same pattern, the wife being gone…, we can read it the way kids read it, no subtext, how we’re supposed to read it, if you’re reading it to Jesse…, strength against adults, ganging up on the kids, if the mother is a witch…, it takes a little while, sexist!, once a man gives in he has to always give in, close reading, power relationships, giving into authority, keep the faith, math class, the wife would listen to nothing, “he who says A must say B too”, is that the logic?, if a man yields once he’s done for, more concrete in your face, like a cigarette, I already spanked my kid I might as well kill him, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, the nice monster, how do children see their parents?, as we discover…, the part we all understand, I want it now!, what are these stories for? what is their purpose?, at the end of the day kids need to go to sleep, something to chew over while they sleep, how do you choose what story and who to tell it to?, the circumstances for the telling of Hansel and Gretel, the story gets past your defenses, you’re a team against us, how do we steal from mom?, together rather than apart, how to forebear against…, a different message for a different person, where the story resonates, poor little Bubber had no brother or sister to save him from the excesses of his desires, Julie’s first thought, stories adults told, little girls now big girls, too lively?, a dinosaur, interactive storytelling, revelations, The Robber-Bride, for grown ups only?, knock knock the Grimm Bros. are at the door, here are the stories we tell, nothing else going on, the whole purpose, learning to stand up for yourself, imprisoned, she comes into herself, we’re going to ride separately, we each of us stand up for each other, do it yourself, a lot of the parents would be children, as we learn these mythological stories, an oral tradition, an illiterate population, children as the protagonists, a super-interesting story, On Golden Pond, they’ve already gained the wisdom, for children or for everybody?, Cinderella is of marriageable age, a young person, YA, Rapunzel, that prince was not as noble as you may have thought, dark, levels of development, children’s tales, suitable for children?, when you have no other entertainment, really believing in witches, talking animals, if I ask her she will help us, on your nice white back, questioning things, the theory, the house that they find is not the house they started at, crossing of water, a long way around, a symbolic crossing, Gretel as a silly goose, the theme of the birds, Eric S. Rabkin pointed out that the birds are fed by Hansel, making a sacrifice, rewarded, you can eat all the animals, you can feed the animals, eggs, glinting flints, reminding the duck, do the kids know how to swim?, the pearls and precious stones, the food that the witch ate from previous visitors, where do dragons get their treasures?, he that can catch her, a very large fur cap out of the skin of a mouse, a distraction on purpose, the relationship between humans and animals, the iconic image, it’s just the wind, doing what kids do, they eat us out of house and home, we’re starving to death, getting rid of the kids, the next wave of the famine comes, sleeping by a fire, sleeping under a tree, the third sleep is under the roof of the witch’s house, want some candy, endless candy, I don’t care about money I want some candy, witch’s pancakes, eating the roof, nibble nibble like a mouse, ok duh!, the boy gets all the best food, repaid, repetition, get up lazybones, becoming thin, eating the shells of crabs, thinking too much, eating children for their energy and their youth, the stepmother is the witch thesis, not just to keep the man, meals for her, come eat me, a sign of her wealth, a disinterest in making babies, eating children makes you immortal, the cautionary tale to the parent, do the right thing, parents don’t get any names, her name is a description of what she looks like, rampion, who the audience is, wish fulfillment, money can be converted into food, the kids as the heroes, horse and cow stories, mulling over the story, talking about the candy house, the lesson gets past your defenses, everythings safe and wonderful and you’re powerful, you come back ahead, a lot bad relationships, I’m mad at mom right now, the only chracters in the story do a job, the stories are so washed by the river, a pretty well-polished stone with some duck feet paddling above.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #072

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Wind by Ray Bradbury

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Wind was first published in Weird Tales, March 1943.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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