January 2007 Archives

Library of Congress Classifications

When I first saw the copyright page at the front of the finished version of The End as I Know It, I was amused by the Library of Congress subject headings the book had been assigned.

1. Puppeteers—Fiction. 2. Year 2000 date conversion (Computer systems)—Fiction.

The second one came as no surprise, but it had never occurred to me that my book might be pigeonholed as a “puppeteer novel.”

As for the other Y2K fiction, I actually own most of the novels listed, as well as a few others. (This was the first I had heard of Format C:, though.) I sought out and ordered them in 2002 when I started working on TEAIKI. As you might imagine, they were quite affordable on the used-and-remaindered market—I believe one or two of them were selling for literally $.01. The designers at Doubleday did a great job using the covers of several Y2K books as a background for my title page and section heading pages. I’ve at least attempted to read all the pre-millennial novels I own, although a couple proved unreadable. It’s an interesting short-lived subgenre that I may write about in more detail at some point.

But back to the puppeteers. It’s not exactly a rich literary tradition I’ve joined; there are two (2) other books listed in the category. One of them is a romance novel called—wait for it—Heart on a String. The other one is The Furies by Fernanda Eberstadt. Before you read about it on Amazon, take a look at its full set of LOC subject headings, which I must say do a slightly better job than TEAIKI’s classifications at communicating the novel’s content:

Married women--Fiction. Inheritance and succession--Fiction. Interfaith marriage--Fiction. Marital conflict--Fiction. Puppeteers--Fiction. Jewish men--Fiction. Divorce--Fiction. Manhattan (New York, N.Y.)--Fiction.

This thing writes itself!

Reading in Portland, Maine, 3/13

On Tuesday, March 13th, at 7 PM, I’ll be reading from The End as I Know It at Longfellow Books in Portland, ME.

Thanks to Tim, Lisa, and LibraryThing for inviting us to their city and suggesting what looks like a great venue.

Please spread the word to anyone you know who lives in Portland or environs.

Jim Croce eulogized a man who was “meaner than a junkyard dog.” But there was another Bad, Bad Leroy. LeRoy Neiman.

If someone asked you to write the stupidest possible lead-in to an anecdote about the Rockefellers, do you think you could do better than this?

Long before he became the czar of the breakfast sausage industry, country singer Jimmy Dean eulogized a coal miner in the 1962 chart topper, “Big Bad John.” John was big because, well, he was a big guy. He was bad because he was not to be trifled with and possessed a strength and courage that impressed his co-workers. But there was another John, a real life John, who established a reputation for being both big and bad but decidedly less admirable. This John wasn’t to be trifled with either. In fact, he was every bit as cunning and dangerous as the serpent that once served as the logo for the company he built, Standard Oil.

Big Bad John D. Rockefeller was not a lowly coal miner. He was America’s first billionaire...

That’s from Chapter 7 of Surviving Y2K.

I like to think I could make this stuff up, but fortunately I don’t need to try.

Don’t Get Me Wrong, I’m Mailing It Out Right Away

Has anyone else started getting chain letters recently—physical, printed (well, poorly photocopied) chain letters sent through the mail? I’ve gotten two of basically the same one in the past couple of months. Prior to this, I hadn’t seen a non-virtual chain letter since probably the early 1980s.

In the most recent one I received, from someone in Tehachapi, CA, the photocopying is so many generations removed from the original as to be barely legible. The name of the company from which you’re supposed to order a mailing list, and the price of that list, are in fact illegible:

I presume it’s “Data Line” and it sort of looks like $40.00, but it could also almost be “Dalai Lama” and $110.00. I’m tempted to call the 800 number just to see if a Tibetan answers.

Continue reading “Don’t Get Me Wrong, I’m Mailing It Out Right Away” »

Y2K Glossary

In the 1999-vintage material I’ve been posting to On This Day Pre-Y2K, and in The End as I Know It, you’ll find a number of terms and names that were part of the everyday vocabulary of the Y2K subculture, but whose meaning probably won’t be clear to anyone who wasn’t involved in the online anxiety of that period. So I’ve compiled a Y2K Glossary.

I won’t have time to go through each OTDPY2K item and asterisk the occurrences of these terms, but if you come across something that needs explanation and isn’t already included here, please post a comment below or email me. Also feel free to speak up if you think a particular definition needs correction or expansion.

Jo Anne [in] Effect [yo]

One of today’s posts from On This Day Pre-Y2K uses a term that most of you are probably unfamiliar with. What are “JA effects”?

Many of those who predicted Y2K-based doom did not believe the catastrophe would hold off until the year 2000. Computer systems were supposed to begin failing in 1999, leading to mass panic.

In April of 1998, one Jo Anne Slaven pointed out on the newsgroup comp.software.year-2000 that non-Y2K-compliant accounting sofware faced potential problems at the beginning of an organization’s fiscal year preceding calendar year 2000, because “when a new fiscal year starts, the system has to know what the last day of the fiscal year will be. For a fiscal year beginning on, say, April 1, 1999, there will be 12 monthly accounting periods it will have to recognize. April 30, 1999 up to March 31, 2000.”

Continue reading “Jo Anne [in] Effect [yo]” »

TEAIKI Early Reviews and Links

The End as I Know It has already been reviewed in a number of places. This page has links to all the significant press coverage I know about, but of particular note are the reviews in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Thanks to Daniel Radosh and Tim at LibraryThing for plugging the book. It’s also been featured by Readers Read and Michael DiMarco.

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