A Trip Around the Web

by Patrick on February 16, 2010

It’s Mardi Gras.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, one of the most melancholy days of the year, the day that we’re supposed to begin to deny ourselves something we love, or do something difficult but good.  I just spent a few minutes thinking of something to give up or something to do.  I came up empty.  I am planning to read Doestoevsky’s Demons (or Devils, depending on which translation you prefer).  It’s a long, older book, part of my New Year’s resolution to read some pre-1900 literature, and I figure it might be vaguely punishing (though hopefully not!).

Anyway, here are some good links to help you live it up tonight (or, should you wait until tomorrow to read them, to begin your month of atonement):

  • At The Millions, Emily St. John Mandel writes eloquently about the game Every Day the Same Dream and the internet that once was:  “In those days you could create unbelievably ugly websites with HTML editing programs, but generally speaking, an online presence required a working knowledge of HTML, some manner of graphics editing software, and ideally at least a passing familiarity with Javascript. We didn’t have blogs, we had personal websites; all of them were unique, because there were no templates to follow, and some of them were gorgeous.”  This reminds me of the book I’m currently reading, the excellent and rigorous You Are Not a Gadget, which argues, among other things, that the internet is not as interesting as it once was, thanks to social media’s penchant for reducing us all to a few key characteristics.
  • Esquire has a long and interesting profile of Roger Ebert, who has been battling cancer and can no longer eat, drink or speak.  The profile focuses, in part, on Ebert’s transformation into an internet sensation.  Ebert’s blog, hosted at the Chicago Sun Times, has indeed become a go-to place for wry, thoughtful essays on a variety of subjects (including, not surprisingly, film).
  • Lastly, I’ve posted about Emily Gould’s “Cooking the Books” series here before, but her most recent episode features Julie Powell, and it is worth watching.  They cook pork liver.  I think commenter “Comments from the void” summed it up nicely:  “Put another way: The real Julie Powell is a hot bad ass and Amy Adams, while an accomplished actress wasn’t really able to pull off the bad ass hotness in the same way.”