Experienced nannies wanted for care of 13 children ages 8-17 in the safe, comfortable, and perfectly controlled upper class...moreEXPERIENCED NANNIES WANTED
Experienced nannies wanted for care of 13 children ages 8-17 in the safe, comfortable, and perfectly controlled upper class environment of the exclusive Pangbourne Village.
The nanny is a specialist working in the family's home, responsible for all tasks related to care of the children. The nanny will serve as a loving, nurturing, and trustworthy companion to the children. The nanny will carefully maintain at all times the liberal attitude enforced by the parents and society of Pangbourne Village. The nanny will avoid being shot, stabbed, electrocuted, and/or run over by the children. The nanny will avoid surprise strangulation by Vietnamese bamboo traps set by the children. The nanny will shower the children with hugs, kisses, and positive affirmation on an ongoing, continual basis.
*Create a stimulating, nurturing environment for the children; *Supervise and monitor the children's activities at all times and provide a minute-by-minute accounting of all activities throughout the day and evening including in the bathroom; *Prepare meals and bottles for, and feed, the children (regardless of age); *Dress the children (regardless of age); *Place the children down for naps and bedtime (regardless of age); *Bathe the children (regardless of age); *Change diapers (regardless of age); *Discipline the children, when necessary, with a preferred disciplinary regimen that includes naps, hugs, friendly pats on the head delivered with a half-smile that combines subliminal admonishment with the understanding that the child is otherwise practically perfect in every single way, followed by handfuls of spending money to allow the child to maintain a positive self-image after the disciplinary regimen; *Regularly remove bite marks left by children on wall corners, bannisters, headboards, and closet interiors; and *Perform additional positive reinforcement activities as needed.
Job Qualifications and Requirements:
*High school graduate required; PhD preferred. *Experience caring for children. *Experience treating teenagers like children. *English proficiency. *Comfort with status level of service position; lack of interest in upward social mobility. *Car, driver's license, auto insurance, and safe driving history. *Reliable, honest, and trustworthy. *Ability to keep children from, as they say, "running wild." *Ability to run very, very fast. *Ability to plan, organize, and multitask. *Ability to counter any plans and tasks organized by the children that could potentially lead to the violent massacre of all adults within Pangbourne Village. Safety first!
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Pangbourne Village is a subsidiary of Ballard Microcosms Unlimited, Ltd™. Our model of absolute positive reinforcement at all times is delivered in the classic Ballard style, using the traditional Ballardian techniques of cool appraisal, ironic distance, postmodern pastiche, sardonic detachment, and small moments of gleefully vindictive humor at the expense of the affluent upper class and various soul-deadening institutions.
Pangbourne Village... Where Nature Is Unnatural! Pangbourne Village... Where Nurture Rules And Nature Drools! Pangbourne Village... Where Teh Children Come First!
As the saying goes: 'It Takes a Village'... Pangbourne Village!(less)
I don't believe in the world of this book, nor in its worldview.
three children and two teens, ages 10 - 17, trap a 20-year old babysitt...moreI don't believe in the world of this book, nor in its worldview.
three children and two teens, ages 10 - 17, trap a 20-year old babysitter; over the course of a week, she is repeatedly tortured and raped. in the end, they torture her to death.
I'm not a glass half-full kinda guy. I know that children can often (usually?) have little to no moral compass. more importantly, I know how the world can be a cruel and relentless place; I've seen the horrible things it can inflict on people. thank you, work history. but there is always context for why people do the things they do. not context that excuses those things, but context that allows an understanding of why they occurred.
5 kids are not going to quickly turn into psychopaths able to systematically abuse and murder a person within a week unless they were already deranged. only one of them is characterized as having mental issues; none have traumatic backgrounds or guidance from a disturbed adult. there is no believable context to why they do the things they do, unless it is mere coincidence that brings these 5 deeply disturbed individuals together. that's a hell of a coincidence. no, I don't believe in the world of this book.
on a formal level, the writing is excellent. really, quite top-notch. the perspectives of all six major characters are interestingly depicted. interestingly, not believably. surprisingly enough, the intellectual, clinical, yet oddly dreamlike manner in which Johnson views his subjects reminded me of writers like Duras or Ballard or film directors like von Trier or Fassbinder or Lynch. but you do not often approach those authors or directors as if they were depicting actual reality, real life there on the page or up on the screen, breathing and bleeding and genuine. instead their works have an almost ironic distance from the material that encourages contemplation of - rather than engulfment by - that material. one could try the same approach to this book. good luck! Let's Go Play is not an extended metaphor; it shows the actual thought processes involved during this situation, how escalated forms of projection and objectification and role-playing can lead to atrocity. the author brings a certain sardonic detachment to the material, but this is no stylized dream odyssey. it attempts realism but tries to paint human nature as inherently monstrous, psychopathic. that is not reality.
there are reasons given for the kids' actions. "It's all a game" ... "There always has to be winners and losers" ... "The world is all about hate" ... "We voted" ... that old bugaboo, violent media ... etc. the reasons provided are not convincing enough for me to believe that 5 kids (ok, let's not count the lil' psychopath) - 4 'regular' kids without traumatic lives or the guidance of a disturbed adult - are going to be able to slowly and dispassionately torture someone to death, and then methodically cover their tracks like supervillains. I call bullshit on that. I don't believe it. there needs to be context for such actions because all humans are not all monster. well, perhaps I am a glass half-full sorta guy after all.
so anyway, in case my feelings are not perfectly clear about the nihilistic, tunnel-visioned message that this book conveys, here is what I'd like to say to the book and its worldview:
usually when I finish a book, it goes to the donation shelf in my workplace's drop-in center. that will certainly not be happening with this book. my first inclination is to just throw it away. but this book is a cult classic that is both hard to come by and surprisingly expensive... so hey, first GR friend to message me about this will get it mailed to them for free. lucky you.
UPDATE: book has been claimed!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
alas, poor dejected Tarnished Angel! Steeljack is an ex-con trying to hew to the straight & narrow, looking for work and a fresh start while stayi...morealas, poor dejected Tarnished Angel! Steeljack is an ex-con trying to hew to the straight & narrow, looking for work and a fresh start while staying right with the law... until circumstances intervene and he must fight for greater things - even if that means going against the law and straying onto more crooked paths. a classic post-war noir plot for a classic comic.
Astro City's fourth volume takes the tone of its story and the look of its imagery directly from all of those grey and ambiguous movies and paperbacks of the 40s. our down-on-his-luck hero is even purposely drawn to look like a fleshier Robert Mitchum. Astro City is a city of superheroes and supervillains with a magnificent history of those two camps that goes back generations - and this comic contains all of that. but this is more a story of sadness & obsession & redemption than it is one of colorful people battling each other in the air. this is not a shiny adventure. and there is more than just one tarnished angel in this book... there is the brooding disgraced hero El Hombre and there is the sweetly deluded villain The Mock Turtle, both standing out in interesting contrast to our melancholy protagonist. there is a destructive femme fatale and a couple hommes fatale as well. and there is plenty of tragedy and tarnish to go around, for those on the street and for those up in the air.
Busiek really did an excellent job with this one. the story is emotional in an adult sort of way, deeply-felt and resonant, and all about how people fail, and fail again, fail and keep trying, fail from betrayal, fail from betraying themselves, fail and then sometimes actually succeed. the writing is superb and the art is top-notch. I loved this one, it really moved me.
"He's not smart. He's not brave. And he doesn't want the job. But he has something the people of Kiefer Square desperately need.
" I'm smart, intelligent, an English Major, and a feminist who is completely against anything that portrays a character as sexist and racist."
hahahaha...more" I'm smart, intelligent, an English Major, and a feminist who is completely against anything that portrays a character as sexist and racist."
hahahahahahahahahahahaha! that is the funniest thing I've read all day! and I've been watching a marathon of Helix and that is so bad it is hee-larious. the reviews for this book gave me a case of the giggles. I don't even know what to say.
I sorta like the author because he loves Girls, one of the best half-hour shows ever. but the title & content of his blog? "Captain Cool As Fuck"... I dunno. I mean, there's irony, and then there's grindingly obvious irony. griony? obviony? grind-iron? grobny? that blog is so grobny. but it's sorta funny too.
all that said, it is highly unlikely I will be reading this because I deal with enough cancer in my day job and enough cannibals in my night life. but I wish I could add a question mark to my 'unread forever' shelf. "Unread Forever?" would be so much more accurate.(less)
when appreciating characterization, Space Opera - much like its cousin Epic Fantasy - is often more about surface appeal rather than depth. for the mo...morewhen appreciating characterization, Space Opera - much like its cousin Epic Fantasy - is often more about surface appeal rather than depth. for the most part, that's okay by me. I can enjoy the expansive world-building and intriguing concepts, the science and adventure, without realistic or meaningful characterization. as long as the characters are fun, I'm not going to overthink it. I'll look for rich, resonant characterization elsewhere.
Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga is very nearly the opposite of all that. there is quite a bit of world-building & intriguing concepts & science-magic & awesome adventure... but it is not expansive in the way of most space operas. Bujold's sagas are not dense tomes filled with microscopic detail; the elements mentioned are present but are more subtle, streamlined, carefully parsed out in thoughtful ways. and most importantly, depth of characterization is the key ingredient in this series. the tension and excitement and appeal come directly from these books' exceedingly well-developed characters. it is pretty wonderful.
so this one is about Miles and his clone-twin Mark; it features a botched rescue and what family is about and ways that trauma impacts us and how we escape from that trauma. it does a superb job at showing the intrinsic differences and similarities between Miles & Mark and it does an equally excellent job at rehabilitating the reader's understanding of who Mark actually is and how he is able to be heroic, despite the basically pathetic traits he's exuded so far. it has a fantastic action sequence in the beginning of the book, a nicely quiet and relaxed sojourn on the planet Barrayar in the middle, and a surprisingly disturbing torture-and-escape sequence near the end. for me, the novel's stakes felt so high not because of the importance or pathos of the mission (the rescue of slave children would be a generalized way to describe it) - but because the stakes for these utterly three-dimensional characters are so high. I was anxious about how all of this played out because I lived in these two characters during my time in Mirror Dance. it is the darkest and richest of the Vorkosigan novels that I've read so far. I loved it!(less)
crew and cast of an Elvira-esque tv program in a ghost town during a blizzard; vampires attack. much stupidity ensues.
this is shockingly bad, especial...morecrew and cast of an Elvira-esque tv program in a ghost town during a blizzard; vampires attack. much stupidity ensues.
this is shockingly bad, especially after reading Curran's rather awesome Dead Sea, a tale of men trapped in an other-dimensional horror-world.
but let's make some lemonade, right? sadly, I couldn't even turn the experience into a fun, mindless rollercoaster ride because the writing - by turns desperately overwritten and excruciatingly banal - continually took me out of the story. and neither the focus on being a 'real man' nor on how wet a cliché goth girl gets over vampires helped much either. eventually I had to give up. it was for the best. I have several more by Curran on my kindle and I don't want to be completely turned off to the author. I know he has some skills. sometimes. just not here.
"Beneath noxious membranes of crematory ash..."
"Stanislav laughed and there was something oddly unsettling about that laughter. Like the strangled, retching bark of a sick dog as heard in the small hours of an October night."
"That's what they want. By nature, they're cowards. All predators are."
"Megga felt threatened by her and feeling so, she wanted to yell at her,"
membranes of ash? all predators are cowards? something 'oddly unsettling' about a laugh that sounds like a dying dog? in October? late at night? Megga felt threatened and since she felt that, she wanted to yell - and she's not the only one. I felt annoyed by this and feeling so, I also wanted to yell.
and those quotes came from random page picks. sweet Jesus.(less)
Jones continues her delightfully nonchalant Chrestomanci series with Witch Week, set in a boarding school in a dimension very much like our own - exce...moreJones continues her delightfully nonchalant Chrestomanci series with Witch Week, set in a boarding school in a dimension very much like our own - except one with magic galore. magic that can get you burned alive. hide, little witches, hide! no one wants to see a child on a pyre.
for a children's book, this is surprisingly grim and tense. the tone is still light, dry, and rather deadpan, but the potential outcome for many of the young characters - and the flashbacks to a particular witch dying by fire - made the novel interestingly intense and unpleasant. and unfortunately, therein lies my issue: this is an unpleasant book. simple as that. and not only is the central situation depressingly unpleasant, nearly all of the characters are repulsively selfish and unpleasant as well. with the potential of inquisitors visiting the school, the kids - and adults - scramble and blame and plot like vicious little human rodents. quite unpleasant.
but 3 stars means I Liked It and overall I did like this book. its bleak subject matter and dour perspective on life combined with the author's nonchalance and that lightness of tone made for a unique experience. Jones is an unsentimental writer (quite obviously, given this scenario) and she is a highly intelligent writer as well. she does not let fantasy get in the way of her understanding of reality. most kids are not heroic, and the same goes for most adults - and that is certainly the case presented here. people turn on each other and people sell each other out and people are petty and vindictive and unkind. and in a malevolent, small-minded world... kids are mainly malevolent and small-minded. but all of that in a children's book? oh boy. not one that I'd give my nephews and nieces.
I was quite relieved when trans-dimensional supercop and enchanter Chrestomanci finally appears on the scene to save the day. the tension may have disappeared but suddenly the whole experience became a lot more pleasant and endearing. the fun came back along with Chrestomanci.(less)
travelers, beware the planet called Toy! part blood-sport arena, part corporate plutocracy, home to the mightiest computer in the galaxy. poor, studly...moretravelers, beware the planet called Toy! part blood-sport arena, part corporate plutocracy, home to the mightiest computer in the galaxy. poor, studly Earl Dumarest - that frequently stripped & prodded yet always stoic searcher for the lost planet Earth - finds himself caught in yet another planet's web of intrigue, and all he wanted to do was ask Super Computer a simple question. the Dumarest Saga may be pure pulp but its prose is anything but purple: dry, efficient, and occasionally stylish, with an emphasis on an economy rather than a lushness of words. the narrative is sleek and slender; the tone is nonchalant. the focus on slave-owning, custom-bound shareholders made for an interesting secondary narrative that eventually eclipses Dumarest's own struggles. this would be a solid 3-star book but unfortunately the writing occasionally felt rushed and a couple important transitions are needlessly abrupt, leading to some irritation and confusion on my part. overall it is modestly enjoyable, but there are better entries in this fun, long-running classic series.(less)