Friday, March 08, 2013

bookglutton goes on a diet

I have gone on a diet.  Two diets, actually.  Since August of 2012, I have lost several thousand pounds of books.  (Technically, I still have them - they are in storage.  Also, I now have storage in two states.) And now I am on a real one, the kind where you don't eat.

Last Saturday's New York Times ran a story about the latest diet to sweep the UK, the Fast Diet.  I am a sucker for concepts that feel scientifically based.  And I love the BBC.  And I love books.  So when I read that about how Michael Mosely did an episode of Horizon on intermittent fasting and turned it into a book, I thought this was the diet for me.  I watched the episode of Horizon and saw how he nicely eliminated most of the really difficult parts of fasting and was still able to get results.  And then I got the book and was further moved to believe that I could lose weight simply by restricting myself to 600 calories two days a week while eating normally the rest of the week.  (I particularly enjoyed that  he filmed the program in the US and actually ate the kind of crap that I grew up on.  The researcher in Chicago who convinces him that he can just fast two days a week drives him to a suburban hot dog and hamburger stand and they eat their food in the car.  Me in a nutshell.)

I have always been very interested in reading about food, diet, nutrition, agriculture - all of that stuff.  But I never act on any of what I read. This is a first. It is too soon to tell how this fasting regiment is working.  It is not that hard to do. It is a bit boring, though.  Of the two, I think keeping the books off will prove to be more difficult in the long run.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Bugging the Shower?

I've come across two discussions about bugging devices in two books I've read and I am having a hard time believing what is being said can still be true. Apparently it is common knowledge that you can't bug a shower.  In Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, Nick and Amy Dunne have a conversation in the shower because she is certain he has bugged their house in order to catch her admitting to certain things.  She forces him to have conversations about these certain subjects in the shower with the water on so any electronic recording devices will not be able to pick up what is said.

In Henry Bromell's Little America, Mack Hooper is a CIA operative in 1958 working in the American Embassy in Kurash, a fictional Middle Eastern country.  Through his contacts, he learns that the American Ambassador to Kurash has been covertly photographed having sex with underage boys and Mack has to decide how to handle possible fallout from the situation.  When Mack needs to discuss this predicament with his wife, where do they go to talk?  Of course, to the bathroom with the shower running.

I can believe that bugging technology circa 1958 could be foiled by the sound of running water.  But it less believable that in 2012 when Gone Girl takes place that a shower is an effective way to evade electronic eavesdropping.  Hasn't the technology improved?  Isn't there some algorithm out there that can filter out the water noise and isolated human voices?

(The closest thing to a solution to this dilemma was nearly accomplished by Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2.

And why anyone would ever think the shower is a safe place to be for anything is beyond me.  I think we all know why.

Monday, March 04, 2013


I picked up five weeks of comics tonight: Mara, The Unwritten, Hellboy in Hell, Mud Man, Rachel Rising, B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, a Lord Baltimore one-shot, Fatale, another Unwritten, Saga, The Massive, B.P.R.D. 1948, and The Walking Dead.  A very nice haul.

And I bought the March issue of Outdoor Life because I realized I had no idea how to survive a Grizzly Bear attack.  (Don't laugh.  It could happen.  I was reading about the same subject in the February issue of Backpacker.)  (Having just read about it in one magazine, you would think I wouldn't need to read about it again but I can never remember what they tell  you to do in these situations.  I should probably carry my folder of clippings with me at all times.)  And the March/April issue of Sports Afield because - well, for no good reason, really.  It just has a lot of stories about hunting in Africa.  Which has absolutely no relevance to my life (except in terms of interior decorating) but is fascinating nonetheless.

And I bought a paperback copy of Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd because I was just in a mood to buy a book and I do not own it.  I started reading a library copy last year but couldn't get into it.  But when I saw it today, I just had to have it.

Earlier in the day I got the new London Review of Books.  And my copy of the New Scientist was in the mailbox when I got home.

Before I left for the day we got four boxes of wall-hangings and decorations we ordered.  So even though I have all this cool stuff to read I won't be able to read anything tonight as I will be trying to hang decorations (and thinking about hunting).