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The Amazing Bolivian Parrot and Rare Macaw Escapade
Eagle Overload: More Eagles, More Cats, the South Africa Edition
MY KENYA DIARY: IN QUEST OF EAGLES
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A for the time being not even remotely complete guide to all 4,300+ plus entries
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Read my new book, The 10 Best Things You Can Do For Your Bird at Amazon or at many other fine distributors like Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and more.


By public demand, and after a delay of an embarrassing number of years, I've finally put my notorious essay, Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman, free on the fabulous internets.

A bibliography of my published books and stories.

Here's a simple card-counting FAQ to get you up to speed on the basics. Here's the true story of the notorious DD' blackjack team, told for the first time on the fabulous internets. No other team went from a starting investor's bankroll of zero to winning millions of dollars.


A Sadean take on Asimov's classic Three Laws of Robotics can be found in Roger Williams' NOW REVIEWED ON SLASHDOT!!! The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect. Adult readers only please -- explicit sex and violence. For updates on the "Dead Tree Project" and other topics, you may visit the official fan site, Passages in the Void..


My Bird Lists -- My Louisiana State Life List, My Yard List and, tah dah, My World Life List.


HEY! What happened to the Peachfront Conure Files? The world's only OFFICIAL Peachfront Conure site now features free peachfront conure coverage, including a magazine length Intro to Conures previously published in American Cage-Bird Magazine, now free on the web. I offer the best free Peachfront Conure information on the internet. If you have great Peachfront Conure info, stories, or photos to share, contact me so I can publicize your pet, your breeding success, your great photograph, etc. on my site. Thanks.







if a guy's letting you charge thousand-euro jackets on his credit card, he expects you to screw him, honey

2014-09-26 - 8:44 a.m.

I made the mistake of reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition directly after reading Marisha Pessl's Night Film. I imagine the Gibson would have struck me as deeply silly anyway -- despite him pulling the 911 card to try to bring some gravitas to the story -- but since both books are about chasing the mysterious underground filmmaker, I really couldn't avoid making comparisons.

The film in Pattern Recognition sounds unimaginably boring, and the filmmaker herself turns out to be an uninteresting and severely brain-damaged person who doesn't really do anything. I finish what I start, but almost from the beginning, I'm asking myself, "Why do we care about this footage again? What difference does it make who this person is?" And after we find her, I have this feeling of "Who the hell cares?"

As opposed to Pessl's filmmaker, who may indeed be (probably is) a sociopath but he's also a fascinating character. It's easy to understand why a cult would develop around his footage. Even the movie posters included in the book's easter eggs contribute to the atmosphere of mystery and menace.

Now that I think of it, I wonder if Pessl has read Gibson and it caused her some of the same irritation. Oh, of course she has! Near the end, she even has a twist that invokes Gibson's disappointing discovery of the brain-damaged unable-to-speak filmmaker -- which is, of course, NOT the final answer. It's the cheap answer, guaranteed mystery-free, something to satisfy those who are happy with cheap answers.

But I probably wouldn't have even bothered to note down my thoughts about the two books, except for the curious parallel between the two main characters. Pessl, the thirtysomething woman, uses a disgraced middle-aged man in his midlife crisis years, who once had a brilliant career based in New York. So he believably has the freedom, the money, and the motivation to chase down the errant filmmaker.

Gibson, the middle-aged (maybe even old by now?) man, decides to lead with a thirtysomething woman. And this chick -- you can't take her seriously as anything BUT a chick -- is incredibly annoying. She's a coolhunter, a job which consists of charging her first class airfare and hotel room and even her clothing purchases to other people's corporate credit cards. She is sooooo precious that even seeing certain logos like Prada cause her to barf. And she doesn't do any actual work!

In other words, she has the kind of "consultant" job a rich man gives his mistress, so he can give her the money she demands without having to explain where it all went to his wife. Except she doesn't actually sleep with the guy who's giving her the credit card and the consultancy. It's just...stupid. Insulting to the intelligence. I mean, I get it. It's a fantasy story. Wouldn't it be nice to be paid for doing absolutely fuckall except be pretentious?

But I just don't have that much patience for out-and-out fantasy. Especially when it seems to be a guy's fantasy about a woman's fantasy. I feel like even fantasy should be psychologically real. This is a story for people who like well-written cartoons. If I wanted chick lit about shopping, there are entire shelves of the bookstore devoted to that stuff.

You could argue that the middle-aged white dude in crisis is a bit of a Mary Sue but at least it's a cliché based on actual psychology and physiology. It doesn't insult my intelligence in the same way that a woman being paid just to turn up her nose at somebody's logo design insults my intelligence.

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