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Books

It\'s a Jungle Out ThereRead: It’s a Jungle Out There: A Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments
My good friend Amanda Marcotte (who tipped me off to WordPress as a blogging platform and helped me immensely in my nascent blogging days) wrote a book on surviving as a feminist. It’s an incredibly funny guidebook for messing with wingnuts, but more than that it serves as a very solid primer on some of the obstacles still faced by women today.

Amanda has been a leading progressive voice for the past couple of years, and her prominence has served to place her in the cross hairs of people who would love to see the patriarchy continue. You should already be reading Pandagon, and I hope you’ll pick up this fun book as well.

Heads in the SandReading: Heads in the Sand: How Republicans Screw Up Foriegn Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up Democrats
Another well-known liberal blogger, Matthew Yglesias (his site should be required reading for you as well) has penned the most concise examination of the fundamental problems behind our misguided Iraq venture and our foreign policy in general. He then goes on and shows how many leading Democrats could never argue coherently against the invasion because they have continued to ignore the fundamentals. I’ve got one chapter left, and I think I’ll polish that off this morning on the Metro ride.

To Read: Up next are three books with vastly different characteristics. I’ve ordered A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency by Glenn Greenwald. Yes, it’s another book by another blogger, but Glenn knows his stuff and has been the go-to-guy for discussions on constitutional law, FISA and other misdeeds. Also on the agenda is Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I bought it for Meredith and she flew through it. I forgot to borrow it this weekend when I went to Baltimore. If you’re not familiar, Lahiri won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize and knows what she’s doing with a pen. Finally, I broke down and ordered a copy of Flight. This graphic novel by Kazu Kibuishi broke some new ground in the genre a few years ago, and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I’ve never been a comicbook/graphic novel kind of guy, but I’m definitely not adverse to the idea. I’ll let you know.

Music

In RainbowsListening to: In Rainbows by Radiohead
I originally bought this CD via Radiohead’s online distribution, which was much discussed late last year. If you didn’t hear, they basically put the album online and said “pay us what you think it’s worth.” The scheme worked to a certain degree: Radiohead didn’t have to pay a distributor up front or after the fact, and had control of their work from start to finish. The unique release generated a ton of buzz for the band, and it looks like they actually made some money of it. I plunked down £10 (the first and only time I’ve paid pounds for anything online).

With news of their upcoming tour, I decided to put it back in rotation on the iPod.

Volume OneListening to: Volume One by She & Him
This was another little something I picked up for Meri, and we jammed out while driving to Annapolis this weekend. The album is quirky, fun and entirely enjoyable. There’s a little bit of everything: great lyrics, awesome tunes, and a little bit of nostalgia as well. She & Him is an interesting duo: M. Ward, a one-man band, joined up with actress Zooey Deschanel back in 2006 for a duet, and then decided they’d like to create an album.

Volume One has a couple of covers, but most of the lyrics were written by Deschanel while Ward produced the album as well. This one is highly recommended.

Video Games

Final Fantasy VII: Crisis CorePlaying: Final Fantasy VII—Crisis Core
It’s been a long time since I played video games: once a World of Warcraft addict, I took a year-long hiatus beginning in late 2006. My dad gave me a PSP last year, however, and I’ve casually eased back into a once-beloved pastime.

Crisis Core is the perfect route back into the world of video games. The Final Fantasy franchise is beloved by gamers, and the seventh iteration holds a unique place in the hearts of fans. I loved the game when it was released during my freshman year at NMSU, and when I saw Penny Arcade feature the latest from Square-Enix I figured it would be a great buy. There’s plenty of side missions that man you can squeeze in some play without having to worry about getting to the next save point, and the story is compelling for fans of Final Fantasy VII. The visuals looks astonishing on the PSP, and it’s great to see the hardware pushed in this way.

Television

Watching: Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica Season 4This is the big one, of course: the fourth and final installment of Battlestar Galactica.

I’ve talked about BSG before: here, here and here. Hopefully, you’ve taken my advice over the years and watched it. Hopefully you’re not missing out on the best TV not formerly on HBO.

I have it on good authority that my favorite critic, Dan Carlson, will have a post up today or tomorrow on the latest season, so stay tuned over at Slowly Going Bald for more information. There’s not much I can say without revealing spoilers, so I also suggest you watch this season’s first two episodes online at SciFi.com.

Note: I don’t get any money or anything from Amazon.com for recommending this stuff, so enjoy with a clear conscience that you’re not enriching me (well, unless you count your coming to read the site, which still doesn’t pay anything but makes writing worth it).

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