Get your summer read on

Mon 4 May 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Benjamin Parzybok, CouchAwesome news: Couch is on the Spring/Summer 2009 Indie Next List for Reading Groups. We’ll have a reading guide for Couch up within the next few weeks and if anyone wants to contribute, you know what to do. We haven’t seen the paper version of the list yet, but we like that Couch is in #9—and that the recommendation comes from Florida, yeah! (That’s a long way for a Portland-based couch to travel….)

Other recs include a couple of Kelly’s fave books, Molly Gloss’s bestseller The Hearts of Horses and Tana French’s In the Woods, and, in the YA guide, Kelly’s collection!

9. Couch by Benjamin Parzybok
Couch follows the quirky journey of Thom, Erik, and Tree as they venture into the unknown at the behest of a magical, orange couch, which has its own plan for their previously boring lives. Parzybok’s colorful characters, striking humor, and eccentric magical realism offer up an adventuresome read.” –Christian Crider, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss
(Mariner Books, $13.95,  / 0547085753)
“Molly Gloss tells a heartwarming story of a young woman who earns her way as a ‘horse gentler’ on the eastern Oregon frontier during the early 1900s.” –Sandra Palmer, Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery, Welches, OR

In the Woods: A Novel by Tana French
“This is a contemporary murder mystery set in Ireland with just the right hint of spookiness and great layers of psychological suspense, as a pair of detectives seek to solve the murder of a young girl in an ancient stand of woods. The current murder is foreshadowed by a crime against three young children many years ago that may hold a key to the new mystery.” –Sandra Palmer, Wy’east Book Shoppe & Art Gallery, Welches, OR

And here are some suggestions of great titles for reading groups of younger readers…

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson

Chains by Laurie Halse AndersonThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Pretty Monsters: Stories by Kelly Link, Shaun Tan (illus.)



Arlen Specter

Tue 28 Apr 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This just popped up on the NY Times:

Specter To Switch Parties

which means that the government will actually get the chance to govern without being blocked for petty party reasons. Which is awesome! Congratulations Mr. Specter, we very much applaud your decision!



Charge me up!

Tue 28 Apr 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ganked wholesale from Autobloggreen—which is usually all about groovy new cars we can’t get here in the old-old USA—and it may be the perfect storm of blogginess for Gavin: electric cars, beer, and solar power, ack! Must move Small Beer Press to Chico, CA!

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Green Daily, USA

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. goes electric with charging stations

A few months back, we heard about Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s plans to begin using waste from its beer brewing process to make ethanol. That’s great, but there’s apparently more greening going on at the company’s brewery in Chico, CA. The first two ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations from Coulomb Technologies have been installed at the plant and will be used by employees and customers that happen to own electric cars.

Anyone that carries a subscription to Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network will be able to use their Smart Card to charge their electric vehicles at any charging station in the world. That’s not the beer maker’s only new commitment to being eco-friendly – this weekend also marked the dedication of Sierra Nevada’s new 1.5 MW AC solar system. Who knew beer could be so green? Click past the break for the full press release.

[Source: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company]



Biking in Edinburgh

Wed 22 Apr 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This is not the way we bike, but it’s a fun thing to watch this guy do some “huge riding” around Edinburgh. Fast forward to about the minute mark (and YMMV with the soundtrack) to get to the livelier part:



266. (Nothing to do with 2666.)

Mon 20 Apr 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It’s been great seeing transparency and public responsibility hit the government in the last 3 months since the previous administration was turfed out. (It’s not all getting an equal amount of light: hello State Secrets Act, time for bed!)

So we have today’s headlines which are all about two men who got torturedwaterboarded—by the US Government. Not once:

The controversial technique that simulates drowning — and which President Obama calls torture — was used at least 83 times in August 2002 on suspected al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, according to the memo.

Interrogators also waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times in March 2003. Mohammed is believed to be the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
CNN

Which doesn’t quite jibe with the propaganda spouted in 2007:

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.
NY Times

We spent the period from January 20, 2000, to January 19, 2008, being lied to by our government. Around the world everyone else knew that the US was operating secret prisons (what kind of military junta were we being led by??) abroad although few members of the media reported it here.

Now it’s time to clean up and for those cowards who lied (for our own good, of course) should stand up and be counted, try and defend their actions, and where it fits, be tried and sentenced.

It won’t be particularly easy or nice and it might be distracting during this huge recession but if we as a country want to have any say in how the world works we have to own up to our mistakes and take the punishment for crossing lines which should not be crossed.



Sunday morning

Sun 12 Apr 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Ok, so this is why newspapers are in trouble: it has something to do with the 150-people rule and something to do with those friends providing better morning reading than the papers:

Photo012Maureen on vodka infusions, mmm! We tried this, great fun: we got better results with dried things—peppercorns, coffee, and vanilla—over green—basil, cucumber, lemongrass—but passion fruit was the real surprise winner.

Gwenda reported on a doll parts horror scare (with optional fuzzy unicorn posters).

Alan really got things going with a post on Kutiman, which has been everywhere recently, but it was the voice of authority/trusted recommendation that made it worth looking at. And then, dancing Sunday mornings, Batman, that is great stuff. (Looks like their site is down, so will just keep listening to it on YouTube for now.) Yeah.

Autobloggreen (ok, it’s more newsy than people) says that our fave jellybean will arrive over here . . . only another 2 years to wait, dur. We saw the non-electric version in Japan in 2007, so what’s 4 years to wait for a jellybean? (Why so loved? Maximum space, minimum ride!)

But then The Scotsman showed its mettle with a piece on ear symmetry and dancing skills! So get your dancing shoes and calipers out:

At the Edinburgh Science Festival event, good dancers will be asked to put themselves forward for a dance-off to find the five best among them. The five worst dancers, Prof Wiseman said, would be easier to spot.

Then the ear measuring will commence. Prof Wiseman said researchers suspected the best dancers would have the most symmetrical ears, while the worst dancers would be less equal – though there may only be a few millimetres difference.



Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Charles Platt shows he doesn’t know shit about how Wal-Mart works. Maybe this will clarify it, Charles: Demanding lower prices = moving jobs abroad. What a great company that it! And, those workers who used to work in textile mills or in manufacturing jobs that paid enough to support a family, can now get jobs at . . . Wal-Mart. And maybe a second job at Wal-Mart, too, as the first one sure as hell isn’t going to pay the mortgage.

While Wal-Mart may have made some positive contributions to society, they have also helped push thousands of people in this country out of their jobs. How? To quote Fast Company:

The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.



Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Charles Platt shows he doesn’t know shit about how Wal-Mart works. Maybe this will clarify it, Charles: Demanding lower prices = moving jobs abroad. What a great company that it! And, those workers who used to work in textile mills or in manufacturing jobs that paid enough to support a family, can now get jobs at . . . Wal-Mart. And maybe a second job at Wal-Mart, too, as the first one sure as hell isn’t going to pay the mortgage.

While Wal-Mart may have made some positive contributions to society, they have also helped push thousands of people in this country out of their jobs. How? To quote Fast Company:

The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.



Karl Rove: being paid by the word is hard

Thu 29 Jan 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Rove, poster boy for rewriting government in his own image, has a new column of Huge Import today in the Wall Street Journal in which he discovers that it’s hard to fill that white space. Rather than take notes from by-the-word science fiction from the 1930s, he’s taken to whining. And it is Hilarious. (Note to the WSJ management: if you fire Rove, you’ll save some money and maybe the paper will be able to keep affording you!)

My old, modest-sized office has been carved into four cubicles…. Mr. Obama’s tendency to work late into the night will also pose problems. Politico.com reports that the White House staff is “preparing for a return to long nights, heavy weekend shifts.” Requiring a senior staff that meets at 7:30 a.m. to work until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m. will quickly cause burnout and diminish the quality of advice and oversight.



Today is a New Day

Tue 20 Jan 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Great speech from the new president. What a joy it is to say that. The last 8 years have been a dark period for this country where the administration was determined to reshape the country and at the same time hide what they were doing. President Obama uses the language of inclusion, it is a brave and beautiful attempt to reshape the world: Yay!

We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals…. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus—and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace….

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.



2 great things: UK Le Guin + … Vice Magazine!

Wed 14 Jan 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Vice Magazine is consistently surprising. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes, well, Regret Is Us.

Sure, Guernica Magazine (“A magazine of art and politics”) had an interview (done by the local and lovely Alexander Chee in Feb. 2008) with one of our favorite writers, Ursula K. Le Guin, but wherever this link to a new interview came from (sorry), it was one of those happy surprises that show the universe is a lot better organized than expected.

I tend to go off like a firecracker when people seem to be trying to force my work into a belief box, especially the monotheistic one, where I do not belong and do not want to be. Sorry!



Happy New Year

Wed 31 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Bye-bye 2008! We will barely miss you. There was one fantastic thing, which was nigh-unthinkable in January—President Barack Hussein Obama, baby!—which will make 2009 by definition interesting times.

Our thanks to the people who: wrote the books we published, helped us publish them, bought them, reviewed them, pushed them on friends, and generally helped get these books we’re immensely proud of out into the world.

In 2009 there will be more books—we’re making a go of running this as a business, fingers crossed—and some changes, of course, because stultification is for dummies. Our fall list is small, but powerful, and in spring 2010 (which is next season according to our distributor), we have some lovely books.

But that’s then, this is now. Happy New Year! Or, Happy Midwinter, or Midsummer! Go give someone you love a hug and tell them to pass it on.



catch all

Tue 30 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It’s pre-tax madness around here. Who didn’t make those estimated payments? Oops. Ok, must go fix that now. In the meantime, these:



Send them all away

Thu 18 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The NYTimes reports on the Senate Armed Services Committee report whose conclusions—”what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff”—will surprise neither those reading it nor those who are about to be charged.

It’s been an embarrassing 8 years and Obama had better not let these people get away with what they’ve done to the people, the laws, and the reputation of this country.



Headline of the day

Thu 11 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Remember that guy Oprah leaned on? He bought Tesla Roadster #100



government kills 37 too many

Thu 11 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

From The Scotsman:

THE number of executions in the United States has fallen to a 14-year low of 37 this year as social concerns about the death penalty and its financial costs rise, the Death Penalty Information Centre said.

It is the third consecutive year of a fall in executions, and the number of death sentences handed down continues to decline.



shipping dates

Tue 9 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Looks like we have to ship books out by the following dates for Xmas (or other December 25th celebrations) arrival (although finding this information on the USPS website is almost impossible):

  • Dec 4 Priority Mail to Africa, Central & South America
  • Dec. 11 Priority Mail: Asia, Pacific Rim, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Middle East
  • Dec. 15 Domestic Parcel Post
  • Dec. 20 Domestic First-Class Mail
  • Dec. 20 Domestic Priority Mail
  • Dec. 22 Domestic Express Mail
    NOTE:  Express Mail deliveries 365 days per year (in many areas), including Christmas Day

Also: post office package prices are rising in January 18th (our prices include Media Mail shipping so this won’t affect most of our shipping):

Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes Retail Commercial Base Commercial Plus
Priority Mail —
Envelope $4.95 $4.80 $4.75
Small box $4.95 $4.80 $4.75
Regular box $10.35 $9.85 $9.67
Large box $13.95 $13.50 $13.27
Large box (APO/FPO) $11.95 $11.50 $11.30
Express Mail —
Envelope $17.50 $16.63 $14.96


What does it take

Wed 3 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Let the Right One in Coverto get us out the house on a cold night: a film like “Let the Right One In.” Kelly had really enjoyed the novel and it’s showing at the tiny theatre in our town. It’s apparently a faithful adaptation and it’s discomforting, spooky, strange, calm, and very much worth getting out to see.



Happy St. Andrew’s Day

Mon 1 Dec 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It might be rainy and crap, but here’s a tonic: get your (utili)kilt on, drink some scotch (or the hootch of your choice), invent something, and celebrate St. Andrew’s Day, the patron saint of Scotland!

If you’re in the Northampton area, we’ll be raising a glass at the Dirty Truth tonight sometime after eight.



On voting today

Tue 4 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Thanks to everyone who bought books from Small Beer Press and helped us donate money to the Obama Campaign. We donated $539, $138.60, $144.80, $30, for a total of $852.40. Thank you.

Living in Northampton, Mass., our votes don’t really matter. Obama won this town in the state primaries and will win it again. The state will mostly vote for the Democratic party and John Kerry, despite his utterly useless campaign 4 years ago, will get re-elected. The next couple of years don’t look pretty here. The state is making cuts, the city is making cuts, our local hospital is letting go 75 people today. No one is expecting that in an Obama presidency great things will happen immediately (apart from the great thing of him being elected) but everyone knows that he is a much better choice than 4 more years of McCain/Bush.

It won’t make a difference, yet everyone knows voting matters. So this morning we walked down to the voting station at the local elementary school. We had our water bottles and something to read in case there was a queue. We were ready to wait in line (thanks Gwenda) to make our marks and take part in this amazing day.

Voting goodiesBut there was no wait. There were two voting booths open and we took them. In all it took maybe five minutes to get in and out the door—and that includes a couple of minutes wandering up and down the bake sale fundraiser for the defense department (now that all the government monies are being redirected to education and health, wait, maybe that happens next week, so maybe this was a fundraiser for the school).

We did our part for them (that apple walnut bar was verrry good) and ate our chili and corn bread outside basking in the late autumn sun and enjoying the sound of the kids chanting “Obama!” How about you? How was your vote?



On Voting

Mon 3 Nov 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Democracy is an experiment that changes with the times. If the people choose not to vote, it opens the door to a different system of government—something I’d rather not see.

I don’t believe in the Electoral College and I don’t agree with many people who will vote tomorrow but damned if I don’t believe everyone has a right to vote. In fact, I’d rather it were like Australia here and people had to vote. If I were king (or President, I suppose) I’d go further and declare the first Tuesday in November a Federal Holiday—who doesn’t need a holiday before winter comes in?

Please vote. It is a right that few people now or ever have had.

Thanks Colleen.



Sitting down with terrorists

Thu 30 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

From the Huffington Report (and carried everywhere except our local paper) Apparently John McCain spent New Year 1986 on holiday in Chile—and managed to fit in meeting with the country’s dictator, Pinochet.

Classy.



sparrow + chimney 4ever

Sat 25 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Saturday nap schedule was thrown out of whack when one after another three birds flew down our woodstove chimney today. We opened all the windows and the back door and then opened the stove top. The first bird took about an hour to get out the house—it flew from the top of one bookshelf to another before smacking itself dazedly into a window and crawling under a piece of furniture. At this point it could be picked up and set outside and after a bit it gathered itself together and flew away looking mostly ok. (Pictures of this one may at some point be uploaded.)

We don’t think that that bird came right back down another couple of times but straight after the first sparrow  flew away, a much more active one came down—luckily it was warm today and we didn’t have a fire on in the stove. (But hopefully they’re smart enough not to fly down into a fire!) Again with the windows and the doors but this time the bird flew immediately away. There was much celebration and wondering what was up with the silly birds and whether this was some rite of passage. After all, the chimney has a cap the birds aren’t meant to clamber through.

Then, the dreaded sound of little wings and claws coming down the chimney again. Damn! The actions from above were repeated and this bird, after one glancing bounce of a window, went out the back door. So then we went up to the roof and duct-taped a fringe-y thingymajig onto the chimney that should make it harder for all but the most skilled of sparrows to get in.

So far, so good.



Scott does the numbers

Wed 22 Oct 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Scott Westerfeld’s number-crunching post on YA for Obama makes for thought-provoking reading. Maybe it is even . . . fascinating! Which, by Hodgman’s logic, means Jon Stewart should be talking to Scott!

First I downloaded the last 60 years of economic history from this handy site. By “economic history” I mean the yearly growth rate of the US economy from 1948 to 2007, expressed as a percent. Then I averaged the data for each president, for Republican- and Democratic-controlled congresses, and for the parties as a whole.

Guess what? The Democrats totally own the Republicans.



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