10/13/2006

Friday the 13th

I know what you're thinking, Friday the 13th, what portents of doom will wend there way into this wordy world of weblogs.

Well, Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond, and that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped in the pond, spreading circles of ripples further and further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action. If this is true, then the book you are reading now is perhaps the perfect thing to drop into a pond.

I hear the question. What book is he talking about?

Well, If you have ever peeled an onion, then you know the first thin, papery layer reveals another thin, papery layer, and that revels another, and another, and before you know it you have hundreds of layers all over the kitchen table and thousands of tears in your eyes, sorry that you ever started peeling in the first place and wishing that you had left the onion alone to wither away on the shelf of the pantry while you went on with your life, even if that meant never again enjoying the complicated and overwhelming taste of this strange and bitter vegetable.

In this way, the story of the Baudelaire orphans is like an onion, and if you insist on reading each and every thin, papery layer in A Series of Unfortunate Events, your only reward will be 170 chapters of misery in your library and countless tears in your eyes.

~The opening paragraphs of Lemony Snicket's 'Book the Twelfth' and 'Book the Thirteenth'.

I've never enjoyed a Friday the Thirteenth this much!

DONT LOOK



If for some reason you have a love of the english language in all its ludicrousness, a word here that means silly enough to enjoy one of the best series of books ever written for children and adults alike, but have yet to read a single page let alone a full volume or the entire 13 books in A Series of Unfortunate Events, or just haven't gotten around to buying the last book of the series, then STOP! Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, ever read the tale of the Baudelaire orphans and their heartbreaking calamities, a word here that means it would be preferable to swim through a pool of scorpions than live a single day in the life endured by Violet, Klaus or Sonny, which started with the fire that changed their lives forever by killing their parents. It only gets worse from there.

Which is why, although I just purchased the book, I am leaving work right now in search of a pond in which to drop this accursed book.

SNICKET MUST BE STOPPED!

Take: 46

Blogger Bathroom Hippo mused...


Thanks for the warning.


I guess I'll spend my money on other important items. Like diet coke and mentos.

Fri Oct 13, 02:16:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Yes *wink* diet coke and mentos *wink* Good idea B-Hip. dont BUY THIS BOOK! *wink*

Shhhhh, who knows if VFD members are listening in and who knows whose side they're on.

Fri Oct 13, 03:18:00 pm

 
Blogger mizfit mused...

orphans, misery, tears...hmmm...these words r enough to dampen any desire that could have risen to buy this accursed book. BTW,did u mention children? AAAAgh! i'm DEFINITELY not buying this book.

Fri Oct 13, 04:39:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Well done Mizfit!

That will fool Count Olaf into thinking we dont like these books! Because we don't. Not at all. Nobody who frequents this establishment, a word here that means VFD headquarters (and occasional home to Lemony Snicket himself) masquerading as a blog about short films, will buy these books buy these books. Sorry, I don't know why I repeated the last three words in the previous sentance when all I want to do is warn people about the disasterous consequences of reading these books. Like death by Olaf. The worst type of death one can encounter.

Fri Oct 13, 05:23:00 pm

 
Blogger pal mused...

This Snicket post is why I love dipping into your blog. YOu've opened a door into a complete new world :-)

D'ya think his Gothic Archies could hang out in Barcelona's Bari Gótic?

Fri Oct 13, 05:42:00 pm

 
Blogger L>T mused...

All you have to do with this one is just watch the movie.
Get it over with in 2 hours.
Generally, I always think the books are better then the movie.
This time i saw the movie first, then started on the books.(totally lost interest after the first 2) I think the movie nailed it.

Fri Oct 13, 08:08:00 pm

 
Blogger Friends of McDougal mused...

You know, we bought the first book for the young Korean boy we keep chained to the radiator, but I have to admit that I've bought the rest for myself.

Now that I've read them all, I guess I should let Li'l Kim have another go at them.

That kid's smart as the dickens, I tell you.

Fri Oct 13, 10:18:00 pm

 
Blogger JLee mused...

I absolutely loved the movie, which interested me in getting some of the books for my daughter. (okay, for myself)

Fri Oct 13, 10:45:00 pm

 
Blogger JLee mused...

Happy Friday the 13th!

Fri Oct 13, 10:46:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Thanks Pal, shhhhh, I don't know who this Snicket person is of whom you speak. Is he perhaps someone who worked against Gaudi to help keep the Bari Gótic from becoming the 'old city'. His failure shall be recorded in my note book with the blue cover.

As to where the Gothic Archies would hang... it wouldn't matter where they were, 'Some people act as if there were nothing wrong, due to the fact they haven't heard this song'.

Fri Oct 13, 11:00:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Yes! Everyone listen to l>t!

Do not read these books! Do not under any circumstances pay attention to the fact that the extrememly good film only covers three of thirteen books. And certainly don't pay attention to splendid Dickenson albeit tongue in cheek sentence structure which is in no way enjoyable at all. And when you are watching the film please, whatever you do, don't notice how the quite brilliant and supremely adept, a word here which means never set foot in Hollywood, Hungarian director was not able to tell Jim Carey, the only actor alive who could possibly play the role of the 'charming' and 'ever so talented' Count Olaf, to pull back his character and allow the role its rightful space.

Yes, everyone watch the film. It is absolutely brilliant. The books are TOTALLY not WORTH YOUR TIME.

Fri Oct 13, 11:11:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Hey Friends of Doug, or should I say... Hello 'Sir' how goes the Lucky Smells Lumbermill? Have you seen Shirley lately? I resoundly concur that all employees, even L'il Kim who is of no use to anyone unless chained to a radiator or on the Mill floor for a 'New Log Day', should be paid
a stick of Gum and coupons for twenty percent of shampoo at Sam's haircutting Palace.

This Ladies and Gentleman is why I absolutely recommend why you do not involve yourself with nonsense such as the Baudelaire story and why I strongly believe that trying embroidery as a viable alternative is the most sensible thing to fill your time, which I'm sure we can all agree is a most precious commodity not to be frittered away on books.

Fri Oct 13, 11:31:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Jlee,

THROW THE BOOKS AWAY! NOW! DONT THINK ABOUT IT! GO NOW TO YOUR DAUGHTERS ROOM, COLLECT THE BOOK, AND DISPOSE OF IT! They are a hideous blight upon all upstanding citizens. The council of elders of the Village of Foul Devotees have very strict rules regarding the use of such books and the Daily Punctilio has made it abudantly, a word here that means has written a lot of stories without any real evidence, clear with their headlines about the Murderous Baudelaire's that they are not to be trusted and should most probably be burnt at the stake.

Fri Oct 13, 11:48:00 pm

 
Blogger JLee mused...

oh I never bought any....but if I DID, I would burn it like a hippo!

Sat Oct 14, 12:21:00 am

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

*Whew* Lucky is not often a word uttered in connection with the Baudelaire's but I can certainly say that the your retail negligence, a word here that means an oversight that has most definitely desuaded Count Olaf from taking the unthinkable measure of murdering you and your daugther in your beds hence saving your lives, is a most lucky event.

Sat Oct 14, 12:35:00 am

 
Anonymous Lemony Snicket mused...

I was not here.

Sat Oct 14, 12:41:00 am

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

If only that English IP address was 'him'.

No, you were not, and let us never speak of it again.

Sat Oct 14, 12:54:00 am

 
Blogger Arcturus mused...

Rich -- if i'm understanding you correctly, you are saying, i think, reading between the lines, that i should never read this book series.

you intentionally or not raise some great physics and metaphysical issues in your lead in ...

... consider two parallel Earths in two parallel Universes in which everything from time = 0 to some time t is identical, but then diverge (for whatever reason, although this may in fact beg the question of being identical) in the smallest of ways, two different events ... in a century the two worlds will bear only scant resemblance to each other ... and in a 1000 years, absolutely nothing in terms of players, actors, nations, empires, etc.

finally, delving into the bizarre world of quantum mechanics, discussing wave-particle duality, the stone in the pond is a metaphor invoked in order to explain the uncertainty principle and electromagnetic wave-particle dualities ... the example is that of a stone dropped into the water off a pier in, say, Lisbon, Portugal, settling presumably on the bottom ... the wave front generated expands ever outward ... eventually reaching all coastal points on the Atlantic Ocean, until all of a sudden, without any concrete logical reason, the stone pops back out at some random location, say, off a rocky jetty on the New Jersey sea shore ... and in that instant the entire ten thousand and more mile wave front vanishes ... so is the 'reality' of the quantum world in trying to have an analogy for what electron probability clouds and light as a discrete photon versus a wave...

Sat Oct 14, 04:37:00 am

 
Blogger Wendy mused...

hahaha! Hey wait, don't be screwing up my hemisphere whith your book!

Nevermind, it is so screwed up up here, it won't matter.

Sat Oct 14, 05:08:00 am

 
Blogger SafeTinspector mused...

I love lemony snickets almost as much as ginger snaps.

Frig...I feel as if I've hardly done you justice here, Rich. You've obviously worked hard to not-endorse this book in a way that is almost completely disengenuous, and I don't use that adjective lightly.

*sigh*

Sat Oct 14, 06:58:00 am

 
Blogger L>T mused...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat Oct 14, 09:12:00 am

 
Blogger Monkey mused...

Well... here's the thing. We had not bought the books, because the boy was quite young. But at the age of 7, he was on an aeroplane with his family (eg. me) and the movie started to play. As soon as things got dark and dreary, he wailed, he gnashed his teeth, he thrashed in his seat. The pathos was too much for him.

So we wait. We wait until he is older... or sane. Whichever comes first.

Sat Oct 14, 11:37:00 am

 
Blogger Gyrobo mused...

Ah! You must be using reverse psychology. I will buy that book, and I'll buy it so hard, the store won't know what hit it!

Sat Oct 14, 01:21:00 pm

 
Blogger mizfit mused...

Er...rich? u r really scaring me now!

Sat Oct 14, 10:07:00 pm

 
Blogger Squid Vicious mused...

I'm sorry. I did not realize that the power of my book would cause such a displeasure of all other literature. I must be careful about whom I unleash my writings upon. Can you ever forgive me?

(After this year's challenge, I shall rewrite my 1st one - to make it flow better. Oh, and this year, I might use an outline rather than free write it!)

Sun Oct 15, 05:23:00 am

 
Blogger Bathroom Hippo mused...


For everytime you say "never" I shall kill you.

Sun Oct 15, 10:19:00 am

 
Blogger ticharu mused...

You should read something holsome like Cormac McCarthy...

Sun Oct 15, 12:06:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Hey Arcturus

Well those are actually the words of Mr Lemony Snicket. But you're right, he does raise some of the interesting basics of M Theory. A theory that I find endlessly interesting but frustrating in the depth of mathematical knowlegde needed to understand it and the fact that ultimately at this point in time it's theorums are only testable through philosophical musings. Unfortunately as I've never stood on two parallel earths and experienced the effects of a single decision over a thousand years I'll just have to assume that the time I sat on the rocky jetty off New Jersey and saw a rock jump from the water onto the shore was just a coincidence that had nothing to do with the rock I dropped into the ocean from the pier in Lisbon 23 months earlier.

Sun Oct 15, 05:21:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Wendy! Don't be like that! Particuarly seeing as the book is written by an englishman and illustrated by an American. It should be me saying "...don't be screwing up my hemisphere with your book". But really, I wouldn't worry about it. "I didn't want you to shelter from he world's treacheries. I want you to survive them."

The philosophical matters raised in these books are delightfully and surprisingly advanced for the age group they're aimed at.

Sun Oct 15, 05:29:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

I have to say SafeT, I'm quite partial to a tall glass of lemony snickets with a few ginger snaps as well.

Nah, didn't really work hard. Just enjoying the language. At least you appreciate it as well.

Sun Oct 15, 05:33:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

What happened there... Sorry l>t, there was some glitch and your comment was lost. I believe it said something like...

Well, I liked the movie & was bored with the book. But I can understand how children of a certain age might enjoy the authors obvious love of the english language. Thanks alot.

Sorry about the loss. But really!

Sun Oct 15, 05:43:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Hey Monkey.

I don't think there is any doubt that the movie would not be suitable for some kids with say, issues. It is very faithful to the darkness portrayed in the subject matter discussed in the books. Losing ones parents in a fire and diabolical schemes resulting in murders is not exactly the usual frothy and light 'happy little elf' type themes of other stories.

As to the books. There are two types of books in this genre for children of this 'age'. One is those books that are read to the kids, like the Odyssey or Charlottes Web. And the other is the type of book that the child 'must' read themselves. because of the level of interactivity with the books and the playful use of language used in A Series of Unfortunate Events definitely puts it into the latter catagory.

Happily, that means the book should be read by the 'child' when the 'child' is ready to read it which takes decision of timing from the hands of the parents. Personally I'm glad that I was a 'child' of 30 when I discovered these books, I'm sure I've enjoyed them more because of it.

Sun Oct 15, 05:56:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Gyrobo!

Noooooooooooooooooo!!!

Yeah, OK. I was using reverse mycology. I'm sure you understand why, fungus is keep in the dark and feed on manure, something to which I have an aversion.

Buy away, or use the library, something to which I have no aversion at all.

Sun Oct 15, 06:05:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Hey Mizfit, don't be scared! At least don't be scared until you read the books. Now they are scary! In a lovely sort of way.

Sun Oct 15, 06:08:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Squid! Seeing as you now understand the power a book can have, then yes, yes I will never forgive you for not adding the ending to your first book before starting this new endeavour.

Your first book flows surprisingly well considering the conditions in which it was written. It needs a tweak here and there but I devoured it in a most enjoyable few hours.

Good luck this year!

Sun Oct 15, 06:15:00 pm

 
Blogger G3T Films mused...

Ha! I can imagine that might work the first time through B-Hip but I have a feeling that I will get away scot-free with all subsequent uses of the 'word'.

But please don't kill me. It's not really that nice a thing to do to someone. And ultimately pointless. Better and worse people than you have killed me and where did it get them? That's right! It only got them to ...

Sun Oct 15, 06:22:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Tich

That gregarious loner with all his pretty horses! Ack! That's holsome?

Yeah, you're probably right or at least I'll have to take you word for it. I've never read him. But he IS on my 'to read' list of horrible and distrubing American novlists.

Sun Oct 15, 06:29:00 pm

 
Blogger Arcturus mused...

Wait a minute ... what's the difference between "g3t films" and "rich"? I'm confused. Rich -- aren't you g3t films?

Maybe this is a wave particle duality thing. Here you are, here you aren't.

I used to be an astronomy writer for NASA. Not just 'any old astronomy' -- actually, to me there is no such thing, it is all incredible -- but astrophysics and cosmology.

No, not cosmetology. But I've come to appreciate in the past year, in trying to reach the level if not the A-Gay list, at least a B minus (B-) status, that cosmetologists are far more important than cosmologists. And in a bar conversation, well, talking cosmology will get you some looks, and not in the good way.

Anyway, you hit on an excellent point: astrophysics and cosmology ultimately ends up becoming an untestable quasi-theology unable to answer, well, much of anything. Insofar as we know, you can't go back before Time Zero, yet as humans that's exactly what we want to do. Thus, cosmology ceases to be a 'science' in the standard definition of that word. Do a google search on "M-brane theory" and see how much quasi-mystical stuff immediately pops up. Not so for, say, "molecular biology."

Perhaps this Universe was/is just a neuron firing in the Mind of God.

But that doesn't really answer anything even if it were true.

As for "M-brane" theory, it is an extension of string theory, which postulates that elementary particles really aren't points at all but little bundled up loops of vibrating energy-matter occupying many dimensions (10 I belive in standard string theory plus time so 11 in all).

This avoids the problem of the equations blowing up when something is zero dimension in size (i.e. a point) and presumably it therefore reconciles quantum mechanics and the smoothness of space-time required in General Relativity.

But it also negates the need for "dark matter" because gravity, by far the weakest of the four forces, alone has the ability to move, spread out, between these branes, rather than being forced to move along them as the other three do. We are feeling the extra heft of these other dimensions -- perhaps whole parallel universes uncountably far light years away, well beyond the current or even any future observable Universe (as things 'come into view,' as it were at the speed of light, by definition) in our three dimensional world, exist perhaps a millimeter away in this other way.

But it is untestable. Energy levels needed to "verify" it do not exist and it is unlikely the Large Hadron Collider due to come on line next year will solve it (at least that's my view but I may very well be wrong).

Then there's dark energy, that strange anti-gravitational repulsive field causing the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. In M-brane theory, the two might be really sorta the same thing.

(Robert Roy Britt is a really good astronomy writer for Science.com.)

In the end, here's what cosmology tells us: 96 percent of the Universe is unknown stuff ... we've no idea where it came from or where it's going ... we have no idea why it behaves as it does ... and the part of the Universe we see -- the observable part -- is probably just the tiniest fraction of an effectively eternal cosmos, itself perhaps one of an infinite number of other ... we can't really predict anything ... and it sorta becomes a matter of faith ... and, oh yes, it's all untestable really.

In any other scientific discipline, that would be a strange sort of body of knowledge.

Mon Oct 16, 07:18:00 am

 
Blogger Monkey mused...

Dear Rich aka Rodney Reader,

Thank you for the helpful reading advice. Seeing as the boy has... ahem... "issues", we shall wait until he is more advanced in age and mental accuity before we attempt these fascinating books.

Sincerely,
Monkey Full of Questions

Tue Oct 17, 04:28:00 am

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Arcturus,

Well that's interesting but except for the whole you were an astronomy writer for NASA what you've said doesn't really add to my knowledge of M-Theory. But I hope other people here read it and find it interesting.

As to the difference between me and G3tfilms. He's a lot like me with a different name.

Tue Oct 17, 09:45:00 am

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Dear Monkey Full of Questions

I don't know who this Rodney Reader person is other than he was a sailor representing Barbados in the 1996 Olympics.

I haven't been able to find any views he has given on Mr Snickets books but if he is a parent then maybe his advice would be more informed than mine.

Tue Oct 17, 09:55:00 am

 
Blogger JLee mused...

Hey, we're having that there Lemony Snicket fella in the studio here this week. Want his autygraph?

Wed Oct 18, 12:51:00 am

 
Blogger L>T mused...

How clever & manipulative of you!

Wed Oct 18, 12:22:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

Jlee, Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh... Yep. Absolutely. With Out A Doubt. Well if that daoesn't happen at least tell him I said Hi.

Wed Oct 18, 02:57:00 pm

 
Anonymous Rich mused...

L>t, I know. I'm an evil genius.

I wasn't having a go at you about your opinion BTW. I love the movie. I just believe that the books are also cool.

Wed Oct 18, 02:58:00 pm

 
Blogger L>T mused...

Evil genius? Evil bullshitter is more like it.

Thu Oct 19, 01:58:00 am

 

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