Thursday, September 06, 2012

And The September Currentlies

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. Blue t-shirt from Powell's books. White socks.

Current mood: Hot and tired, maybe with the faint beginnings of a headache coming on. I've been doing a lot of vigorous housecleaning today, and have finally reached the point where I've switched out of "clean ALL THE THINGS!" mode and am instead thinking that it would be nice to change out of my sweaty clothes and into my comfy jammies and spend the rest of the day lying on the sofa watching DVDs.

Current music: Not much at the moment. I've been working on getting caught up on podcasts again.

Current annoyance: Aargh, I don't know. Adult responsibilities, I guess. Although I did get to ditch work today (thus making up for my extreme lack of a holiday weekend), so maybe I shouldn't complain too much.

Current thing: I seem to be in this weird state that usually only happens when I move. I just... I don't know. I want everything to be new. I want to get rid of things I no longer want or need, to replace everything that's worn out or no longer suits my needs, to clean and organize all the things that never get cleaned or organized... Which is great, really, as it seems likely to help me get around to all kinds of things I've been putting off. But it's potentially very expensive, especially if it leads me to finally get off my butt and go car shopping, as well as replacing my old CRT TV.

Current desktop picture: Still the same picture as last month.

Current book: The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker. I'm also dipping in and out of the Lost Encyclopedia, not that I expect it to make any more sense of the show.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment. I think my brain's too tired.

Current DVD in player: Disc one of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Because apparently I need as many different versions of that crazy-awesome story as possible.

Current refreshment: Mint tea. Mmm, hydration! I think I need that.

Current worry: A line from a Warren Zevon song comes to mind: "I thought of my friends and the troubles they had, to keep me from thinking of mine." That pretty much sums it up for me at the moment.

Current thought: I could accomplish more today. Possibly I should accomplish more today. But comfy jammies and anime it is!


  1. How is the Pinker book? I'm currently working with the author of neurolinguistics textbook, so it's definitely come up. Is it accessible to someone with no background in the topic?

    1. It's pretty good, if this is something you're really interested in. I'm not 100% convinced about every point he makes, but the general conclusions seem pretty sound, and the details are interesting. Well, they are to me, anyway. I find language endlessly fascinating.

      It's definitely more about the "linguistics" than about anything "neuro," though. When Pinker talks about how language is processed in the brain, he's very much talking about the software -- the rules we follow when building language -- rather than anything that gets into the nitty-gritty of neurology. (At least, that's not something I've seen him addressing so far. I'm about halfway though, now.)

      He's definitely writing to be accessible to people without a real background in the subject, and I think he succeeds well enough. Mind you, I have read some other aimed-at-layman stuff on this topic before, which probably gives me a slight advantage. But the writing isn't too technical or anything, and he doesn't assume any significant prior knowledge. A lot of it needs to be read fairly carefully, though, and he goes into a lot of detail, probably more than someone who's just looking for a broad overview of the subject might want. If you're genuinely interested in all the logical details of how language works on a structural level, I'd recommend it. If you're not, it might be a bit much.

  2. The book I'm working on gets into the cognitive neuroscience, brain scans and all that. But it's a graduate-level textbook, so that's to be expected. It's been tough even just trying to figure out if reviewers are agreeing with one another -- "wait, does this term mean the same as that one?" -- but it's a fascinating field of psychology and linguistics.