Lately, No Donkeys

Friday, July 31, 2009


A few weekends ago some friends invited me back to a cabin in the mountains. I'm not sure why I was invited back. Maybe they just haven't grown tired of me yet. Anyway it was a great time.

This is one of the sights I was greeted with in the morning. It was quite cool for the time of yea when compared to where I live. Ah altitude. We cooked some, drank some, went skeet shooting, and I made some decent peach ice cream for the first time.

Saturday and Sunday we went down to the river so some of us could fish, walk around, read, sit end enjoy the day, etc. I trudged out to the middle of the river to perch upon a rock and read and take some pictures. These are up and down river shots.

Then alas I had to come home.

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Home Safe Home?

So out on the loading dock at work we have a concrete slab with a concrete ceiling with hooded fluorescent tube lighting fixtures. Several weeks ago a bird took it upon itself to build a nest on the hood. I don't know how it made this decision, but here is the aftermath.

You can't tell from the picture, but the hood isn't that wide and it fairly steeply curved. I was amazed it got the nest to stick. I was also amazed the babies didn't fall out. Then I realized if these two things could be overcome Then there was no way a cat, snake, or other animal could get to the nest. It's probably the most secure location a nest could be built, from an intruder standpoint.

Oh and that bird's head is like right against the concrete roof.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

And the First Shall Be Last

I finished reading First Born by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter months ago, but I’m just now getting to the review. It’s the third in the “A Time Odyssey” series. The reviews of the first and second books are available. I’ll ramble on about the third one below.

First Born starts decades after the end of Sunstorm. Humanity is reaching out to the planets and stars at a furious pace. The sunstorm demonstrated how fragile and easily extinguished we are when we exist on only one sphere around one star. Also the threat of an outside force bent on our termination, the Firstborn, drives cooperation among the tribes of man as never before seen.

Our colonizers on Mars have found something under the polar ice cap and detection nets places around the solar system have found another incoming object unlike anything they have ever seen. The incoming “bomb” from space reveals that humans weren’t the first to draw the attention of the Firstborn, and under Mars’ pole is the key to our survival. Heroes and heroines from the last books, joined by new names, must race to Mars, to Mir, and who knows where else, in order to save humanity. This book reaches across time, space, and universes to expand the understanding of the Firstborn.

This one is a worthy successor to the first two books. It expands the universe and provides much more explanation, though Baxter does leave the door standing wide open for another book. It does provide a good basic understanding of that the Firstborn are trying to do and what they have done in order to achieve it. I liked it.

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It’s been a while.

I have been admonished for not keeping up my blog. I really just didn’t feel motivated. I’d say I had something else I was more interested in doing, but that’s not really that true. Anyway, what’s happened recently?

Lots of stuff at work has been delayed until probably 2 weeks before classes start. Yay. Looks like behind busting time is about to start. I did do an auditorium installation. It’s probably the showpiece we have now. I’ll have to post pictures.

I’ve gone on a few trips and hung out with friends some. Just got back from a trip to the mountains the other weekend. Went skeet shooting and down to the river. Rather cold water that. Had a great time. And I managed to make some peach ice cream that wasn’t awful.

I’ve read a few books, but not many. I finally finished John Adams. I’ll try to post a review soon. Saw several movies too. I should review those as well.

And this past weekend I had to replace the faucet in my kitchen sink. I had replaced the ceramic hot water valve twice and it broke again. So I yanked it and put in something I like more. It also allowed me to move the sprayer to a location that is far more functional.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hey There

Man I haven’t written anything here since January. It’s not that I haven’t had anything go on. In fact I have, just not anything Earth shattering. This may just be a one post thing, but maybe I’ll get back into posting here. I’ve spent more time on Facebook, but really this and that are two different things. I don’t post much on Facebook and no one wants to see a twitter of my boring day. So maybe a quick synopsis of things I remember.

It seems like I’ve been busier than it sounds like I have. I managed to read one book and another 1/3 of John Adams. I’ll give a short review of the book soon. I’ve done a little at the house. I’ve been busy with some friends. Had a snowstorm that downed some trees, and demonstrated a leak in my roof. I got that patched up. We’ve gotten a decent amount of rain finally. I may actually have to mow my grass this year. A friend and I cut down a Maple tree that has been dropping limbs for years. It was close to the house. I got a Beech tree to replace it eventually. I also got a Mossycup or Bur oak to plant in the yard. I’m currently messing with the idea of trying a small garden again this year.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Doors, Windows, Pictures, Dreams, Hearts

And so it has come to this, the end of our tale. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling last week. I actually stayed up until 2:15 AM to finish it. There was just no sleeping when I was that close. And so now I’ll attempt my final entry on the series. If you would like to read the others simply follow the links: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth.

Well this is it. The end. The last of the line. And… I was pleased. Quite pleased in fact. This book is still not the longest of the bunch, but it is lengthy. The biggest part is that there are great stretches where nothing happens, punctuated by an almost lurching of the plot forward at a very rapid pace. The beginning is like that, and various parts in the middle. Even the beginning of the end almost seems to happen by accident. It is as if it wasn’t intended, it just came to be despite the wishes of the main characters. Honestly, it’s what I liked most about it. The book really does communicate frustration, boredom, anxiety, and a feeling of wayward destiny. It’s like being stuck at sea with no wind for your sails with periodic typhoons rolling by. I liked it, but I can see how some people would get bored or aggravated.

I’ve altered the following text for those that don’t want spoilers. Copy the text to here to decode it.

Znal bs gur cvrprf jrer gurer, ohg gurl jrer qvssvphyg gb frr. Vg nyfb qvqa’g uheg gung gurl pbhyq svg gbtrgure va zber guna bar jnl, vs lbh qvqa’g unir gur xrl ovgf. Gb gur urneg bs vg, Fancr’f eriryngvba jnf unaqyrq ornhgvshyyl. Vg jnf n terng eryvrs gb zr. V unq ubcrq gur qbr jnf sebz Fancr, ohg V jnf abjurer arne fher. V oryvrirq vg unq gb or fbzrbar sbe jubz Yvyl jnf nf vzcbegnag nf ure uhfonaq, gur fgnt, jnf gb Uneel. Gbax’f punatr bs Cngebahf urycrq fbyvqvsl gung vqrn. V jnf ernyyl fjrngvat orpnhfr gur vqrn jnf fhpu n fgergpu. Ubjrire Ebjyvat chyyrq vg bss jvgubhg gbb zhpu fhfcrafvba bs qvforyvrs. Gur qrnguf bs uvz naq bs gur bgure punenpgref jr jrer vagebqhprq gb uvg uneq, ohg nqqrq zber ernyvfz gb gur fgbel. Vg nyfb urycrq qevir gur oryvrinovyvgl bs gur frys fnpevsvpr bs Uneel.

V zhfg fnl bar guvat gubhtu. Gurer vf bar yvar gung V pna’g jnvg gb frr ba gur fvyire fperra. Jura Zef. Jrnfyrl lryyf ng Orngevk Yrfgenatr (frevbhfyl Yrfgenatr pbzr ba) “ABG ZL QNHTUGRE LBH OVGPU!” V ernyyl jnag gb frr gung. Qba’g zrff jvgu n erq urnqrq jbzna’f puvyqera.

And so the series is over. And the recommendation is to read it for all who care for entertaining, well written literature. Beyond that I could talk, but I don’t know what else to say here. Though I will admit I pondered and pondered over a title for this entry. It was not easy. I am still not sure I like what I chose, but I needed something didn’t I. So I chose some nouns the book brought to mind, and below I put some adjectives. Match them up any way you wish. I know how I did it.

Closed, Opened, Changing, Shattered, Lost

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Friday, January 09, 2009

The Values of Halfs

I have been neglectful yet again. I have finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for almost a week, and I haven’t re viewed it. I also neglected other reviews, but I may do those later. I will tell you of my tardiness at the end of this entry. This is of course the 6th in the Potter series by J. K. Rowling. You can read what I said about the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth books following the links.

This is actually the first book in the series to contain fewer pages of text that the previous book. You can tell when reading it. It feels like it contains less things happening, but the events seem to carry a greater importance. I had originally hoped that the movie would come out right before I was ready to read this book. That way I would have seen 6 of the movies before reading the books, but alas they moved the release date back. Rather than wait for 6 more months I went ahead and read it. As a consequence there is no movie to compare it to. That means straight on to my take on the book.

Like previously I’m really not going to say much about specific things in the book. That really affects this review more than previous, because this books starts to bring to a head the themes and questions that have carried through all the novels. This one doesn’t really have the nice beginning, middle, close of the previous books. Those all had good closure for the conflict of that book. This one felt more like the first quarter of a game. The book ended but it wasn’t really closure. All of the buildup of the previous books built up to the point that it just exploded, and then it said to be continued. That’s why I chose to go ahead and read the next book right away. Yes that is why I didn’t write the review right away. I was busy polishing off number seven. But that means I now have to reconstruct some of my thoughts from last week and not have them tainted by having read book seven.

So basically this one is well written and planned, but the reader may not realize how well until they read the seventh book. Previously I had mentioned that The Order of the Phoenix, TOoTP, had diminished the likely hood of some possibilities for some of the characters, and that it left me wondering. Well this book did something odd. It seemed to have decreased the chances even more, BUT… I think it actually increased the likely hood of the things I had hoped for. I know that sounds odd, but that’s how it felt. That is why I think it is quite well written, even though it may not feel like it is as good at TOotP on first read. I urge all to dive deeper and think like a weaver of tales. And now for spoilers.

I’ve altered the following text for those that don’t want spoilers. Copy the text to here to decode it.

V jnf cyrnfrq ng gur tebjgu bs frevbhfarff naq senaxyl qrnguf bs yvxnoyr punenpgref va gur cerivbhf obbxf. V xabj gung fbhaqf bqq, ohg vg nqqf na nve bs ernyvfz naq “srne bs ybff” gb gur frevrf. Vg znxrf lbh gnxr zber pner va jung vf tbvat ba naq gelvat gb svther bhg jung vf unccravat. Lbh nyfb qba’g gnxr n punenpgre’f cerfrapr sbe tenagrq nf zhpu. Naq gurer unf orra na rfpnyngvba bs gur vzcbegnapr bs gur punenpgref gung qvrq. Gung yrnqf zr gb gur cbvag gung Qhzoyrqber unf gb qvr. V guvax V ernyvmrq guvf nsgre gur svefg pbhcyr bs zbivrf. V fnj gurz orsber ernqvat gur obbxf nsgre nyy. Vg jnf qevira ubzr gbb bsgra gung Uneel jnf eryngviryl fnsr ng Ubtjnegf nf ybat nf Qhzoyrqber jnf gurer. Ur jnf gbb jvfr naq cbjreshy naq sbe Uneel gb or va erny qnatre naq srry ybfg, ur unq gb or erzbirq. V erzrzore jura Ahzore 6 pnzr bhg naq V urneq fbzrbar fnl gurl pbhyqa’g oryvrir fur xvyyrq uvz. V vzzrqvngryl xarj Nyohf jnf qrnq, naq vg cyrnfrq zr sbe gur tbbq bs gur gnyr. Vg’f shaal, ohg xabjvat gung znqr vg rnfvre sbe zr gb ernq gur obbxf zber yrvfheryl. Qenpb’f jbex gb yrg gur Qrngu Rngref va jbeevrq zr, ohg uvf ernpgvba gb Terlonpx naq urfvgngvba ba gur gbjre erarjrq zl ubcrf. Fancr’f zheqre bs Nyohf ba gur gbjre znqr zr fpnerq gung zl ubcrf sbe gur obbxf zvtug or pehfurq, ohg gur synzr bs ubcr crefvfgrq va gur qnexarff gung Qhzoyrqber unq cynaarq, creuncf rira erdhrfgrq, uvf bja qrngu.

And that question forced me to jump straight to the next book. I said screw it, I’m going to read it now. The suspense was killing me. I feel sorry for those that waited two years for it to be published. Anyway as you expect I highly recommend the series, but I think that goes without saying. And so the next review comes shortly.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Fire and Ash

Well I finished Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling. It’s the fifth year book. You can read the first , second, third, and fourth books in the series.

I finished this one the Monday after Thanksgiving. That’s not bad considering I started it over the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Like the last book this one came in at around 130+ pages longer. What you may not have noticed was that the font seems to have dropped by about one point size, maybe a drop from 12 pt to 11 pt. It may seem a small change, but it probably added a couple dozen pages to the book. Of course I didn’t measure it, so my eyes may be playing tricks on me. It also seems they used a thinner paper to curtail the book thickness growth as well.

Normally I don’t compare movies to the books that much. It’s a self defeating pastime in most cases. They are two different media with their own strengths and shortcomings. The storytelling has to be tailored to each in order to make the best story. I covered that in the last review. This book however, almost necessitates it. This is the longest book so far. It is jam packed with information. In fact there really isn’t much that could be removed from the book without diminishing the story. That is the problem. There was simply too much to put in the movie at its given length. You can see that in the review I wrote 18 months ago. Rereading the review I feel better about the review itself than I probably did at the time. After reading the book, I am amazed at what they managed to get in. Truly it is remarkable. I just watched the movie again to make sure I was comparing properly. There is a whole lot cut out to make the film, but the cuts were surgeon precise. They eliminated scenes that retold information and combined characters and changed who said lines. I am impressed. In fact it probably makes me admire the movie more. It would have had to have been two movies if done closer to the book. I think the movie suffered from a lack of more background, environment, and some cooling down time, but it holds up well.

This book is really just great. I think it is the best so far. There is a bunch of character development, the washing away of childhood simplicity, and the black and white nature of the world dissolves. It’s just great. It’s the first one that really had me yearning to get back to the book to finish it. I can see why some people read it straight through in one sitting, but that it a bit much for me. One sad thing though. The movie had left enough out of the storytelling that I had some hopes for some of the characters. With the book however, that seems less likely, but it is still a possibility. I’ll just have to wait to see. But honestly, this one has made it tough for me to wait my normal cycle of 2 fiction one non-fiction for the next one. I had hoped the next movie would be out now, but they pushed it back to Summer. Should I move on with the books or wait for the movie? Feel free to give advice on that one.

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The Universal Mulligan

As per usual recently I’m behind on this. So I finished Manifold Time by Stephen Baxter. It’s the first in the Manifold Series by Baxter. I’ve read a couple of Baxter’s later collaborations with A. C. Clarke. This is the first of the 3 book series, but it was written way back in 2000.

Frankly you can see why Clarke wanted to work with Baxter. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a kind of passing of the torch. I’ve only read 3 of his books so far, but Baxter seems to have the makings of the next great SF author, on the level of Clarke himself. This book is an excellent example of that. If the next two in the series hold up to the example this one set it is a series on par with the scale of The Space Odyssey series.

Baxter takes a big bite in this grand scale book that covers human existence from now until the heat death of the universe. And he does remarkably well living up to the goal he set himself. It starts at a time close to the publication of the book, 2000. That means that the 8 years that have passed make the story behind in some ways, but really it can be seen as an alternate universe anyway. Baxter weaves a tale that could lose many readers if not for his good use of characters that need exposition.

If you like stories with grand consequences that question humanity’s place in the universe, then this is a good one. It has made me really curious about the next books in the series.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Black and White and Read All Over

I just finished reading Writing for Comics with Peter David, by Peter David of course. A friend got this book for a project, and thought I might like reading it. I must say that was a good assumption.

I’ve read quite a bit of David’s novel work, seen some of his TV work, but not so much of his comics work. The man is a prolific writer and story teller. I mean he has Hulk, Spiderman, and Wolverine under his comic writing belt, besides others. Safe to say he has enough experience to write a book like this. That experience and David’s engaging writing style come through.

There are tons of books and courses out there for people that want to write novels. There are even resources for writing plays or screenplays, but few cater to the media of comics or graphic novels. David takes a pretty good, broad approach to the subject. He provides easy to understand examples of the current trend of comics to present more like film on paper, and how the media is more visual and less language than it was 30 years ago. He shows differences between comics and novels or screenplays. He breaks down basic plot and conflict styles into their simplest forms. It’s just an excellent resource for anyone who has good stories to tell and feels drawn to the medium. Pardon the pun. Though I wouldn’t dream of starting out in an endeavor like this myself, it gives me a better understanding of the peculiar difficulties of the art style. I think it’s a worthwhile read for anyone that enjoys comics or good literature in general. And it’s a definite tool an aspiring comic writer should consider for their reference library.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Literary Consolidation 41 -50

Or the Reader’s Digest Condensed Edition 5nd Ed. Well it’s time to reduce the page length again by creating a post of ten books. I’ll give the picture as a link to where it can be purchased, in exchange for using the picture, a little bit about each book, and a link to my original take on the book.

The book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond50.

This is the second Jared Diamond book I've read, and this one seems approachable by more people. Although some might not like what is alluded to.

My Take

The book Missing in Action of the Star Trek New Frontier series of books by Peter David49.

This installation of The New Frontier sereis will upset some fans. Life is a bitch and then you die.

My Take

The book After the Fall of the Star Trek New Frontier series of books by Peter David48.

The next in The New Frontiers series. This one jumps three years into the future showing what has happened to the characters you love.

My Take

The Last Battle of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis47.

This is the final book of the series. Lewis closes the series with a lot of heavy imagery that should spark discussion.

My Take

The Magician's Nephew of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis46.

This sixth of the series jumps back in time all the way to the creation of Naria and how it all began.

My Take

A Horse and His Boy of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis45.

This is the fifth of the series. It jumps back in time in the series and follows characters from Narnia itself and does a lot of lesson teaching

My Take

The book American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis44.

The award winning biography of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis. A good exploration of his often times contradictory character.

My Take

This book is for a class.43.

I got this book for an industrial Engineering class, but many of the stories in it do a good job of showing what kinds of minutia designers have to consider when making decisions.

My Take

The book Gods Above of the Star Trek New Frontier series of books by Peter David42.

The next in The New Frontier series by Peter David. The gods of old appear to have returned offering their wonderful ambrosia, but at what price.

My Take

The Silver Chair of The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis41.

This is the fourth book of the series. It sees Eustace and a new character Jill tying to rescue the lost son of King Caspian.

My Take

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Out of the Frying Pan

Well I finally got to and finished the fourth in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Here’s my sparing comments about the first, second, and third books.

I said the last book was a decent leap in size by going up 100 pages. Well this one makes a leap from that one of around 300 pages. And you can tell it. I don’t just mean the physical size of the book either. The characters, descriptions, plot development, and critical thinking have all improved greatly in this one step. Although I will say the book didn’t have to be this long, the additional environmental development was enjoyable. There is still weakness in the storytelling, but taken as a series it is working out well.

I want to read the rest, but I only have one more book before I am caught up with the movies. I hoped they might finish the movies before I finished the books, but that doesn’t seem likely. I don’t usually hold books and movies to the same light of scrutiny. They are different media and require different handling. The first three movies weren’t too far a departure from the books, but this one, with its length, you really start to see where they had to compromise when they translated it to movie form. There is far more obviousness in the movie, but that again is a limitation of the media. When an author wants to call your attention to something it can be accomplished by merely including it in the text. Then the author can fill in other details to hide, but not completely obscure the important data. Movies are filled with so much visual information not included in books that the pertinent visual information can be lost in the low signal to noise ratio. So maybe I’ll get the next one around the time of the movie. Then I probably won’t be able to wait for Deathly Hallows.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Birds in a China Shop

This is over a week late as well. What can I say? Busy busy busy. So I finished the 3rd in David Brin’s Uplift Series, The Uplift War. You can see my review of the second book here.

This book kind of takes place around the second book. As stated in this one nothing happens at the same time over the vast distances of space, so the exact timing is of some question. What is not is that the events of this book happen primarily as fallout of the discovery the Streaker’s crew made before the beginning of the second book.

The book takes place on and around Garth. Garth is a troubled planet that was given to the wolfling humans because no one else wanted it. Apparently it is similar on all the worlds leased to humans See the previous caretakers caused a huge ecological disaster that threatens to cause the planet to decline into barrenness. Lo and behold the humans are making a name for themselves as ecological wizards on all the galaxies, and Garth is no different. That was until Streaker found their burden. Now the Gubru have shown up at the backwater outpost of Earth with the hope they can take it hostage in order to force the surrender of Streaker or it’s information. So now the few free humans and their even fewer galactic allies must survive and fight against a much stronger enemy.

This was a worthy third entry in the series from Brin. It quickly becomes a page turner that doesn’t want you to put it down. Brin also manages to work in some good subtle subplots and intrigue into the mix to keep you interested and prevent dullness. Brin puts in the standard plugs for making Humanity seem to be better than we or anyone expected of a wolfling race. I always appreciate a book with short chapters and sections that allows you to read in spurts when you get small bits of time. Yet again this is a recommendation to all Science Fiction fans.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Good, A Hard Look

Well I’m finally getting around to doing some reviews. I actually finished reading Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons several weeks ago. I originally bought it on an impulse at the book store. I tend to do that in book stores, which is why I have to avoid them many times. At the time I didn’t realize that there was a movie of it coming out. It was either luck or the subconscious that came through on that one.

So what can I say about one of the most acclaimed graphic novels ever produced? Well I feel ill equipped to take it on. Simply it’s remarkably good. It’s different from purely text novels you read, because your eyes are drawn to the imagery. You have to explore it in depth if you expect to understand what is going on. Sometimes you have to flip back and look over it again. You soon realize that even though there is far less text on these pages it takes you longer to get through each one than a normal novel.

The presentation is great. I enjoyed many of the small details, the humor, the comic within the comic, but mostly it’s the characterization. It’s a comic about a world similar to our own that happened to develop heroes, adventurers, vigilantes, or whatever you call them. You soon realize that these people, like we would expect of someone who started doing stuff like this today, are seriously disturbed and/or are nowhere near normal.

I recommend it to just about anyone. In fact a friend already borrowed it to read. I wonder how far he has gotten.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Doing It Our Way

I’ve been so busy I actually finished reading A Social History of American Technology by Ruth Schwartz Cowan over a week ago. It’s taken me this long to have the time and the motivation to actually write a review of the book. I’ve actually been attempting to finish the book for some time. This was another one of those books I had to get for a class in college that I wanted to actually read all of later.

Essentially the book covers the growth and change of technology in the US due to its particular social and environmental conditions. It actually does a good job of covering the subject matter in an entertaining and informative matter. I enjoyed it, but those of the engineering bent can have peculiar taste in books like this. The earlier parts of the book are more thorough. Due to the rapid advance of technologies in the past half century, the latter part of the book covers a narrower group of technologies. This is understandable, and I dare say the book would have been too long had it covered much more. For what’s there though it provides a really good perspective on how American technology deviated from technologies originally developed in Europe and how technology altered American society in return.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Time Capsule Release

August and the beginning of September have been exceedingly busy for me. Work hasn’t been as bad as I suspected it would be, but most of the off work time has be taken up with things. I figured I’d run down a few of them to catch up.

A friend came down from Canada to stay with her parents a couple weeks. We hung out some while she was here. I made her watch “Venture Brothers” on DVD. Had a great time, but it consumed several evenings. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.

Went to Georgia to the cabin again and had a great time. Went skeet shooting again and did much better. I got 10 more out of 100 this time, but I was given a few mulligans the first time. My shoulder wasn’t nearly as bad this time. I think going to the gym has paid off. Hopefully I can improve my shooting and shoulder damage again next time.

Oh yeah I’ve been meaning to mention that. I’ve been going to the gym for the past 3-4 months now. It sucks getting up early enough to go and still make it to work on time, but it’s the only time that made sense for me. I can’t say I’ve lost more than a couple pounds, but I have noticed a decided shift in weight location and the quality of the material making up the mass. I fully intend to keep up with it. I have a checkup at the beginning of October, so I’m interested to see if it changes anything.

I’ve had two friends that bought a house nearby and they were trying to prepare it for move-in. Since they live out of state, each of them stayed at my place at various times. I did a tiny little bit to help at the house, but not much. I’m just glad it wasn’t me moving. That looked like a pain in the butt.

That’s most of the big stuff. A tornado came through, but all it did was break a branch that was already damaged. We started getting rain finally. The ground has been so dry that it didn’t even run off during the downpours.

And so life keeps going on.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Vote No For Bizarro

So I've been talking to friends about this strange idea that popped into my head a few weeks ago. Remember I said weeks ago. They were talking about McCain's campaign for the Presidency. About how it seemed to be making stupid attacks that were easily thwarted, and in the countering made the attackers look stupid. We discussed how much of it doesn't seem to make sense, and how he is nothing like the McCain of 2000. I mostly listened and made a couple of small points. Most of the race has been so asinine I can't stomach more that a small amount. They seemed ripe for it, so I shared my crazy idea.

John McCain is trying to throw the Presidential race.

There I said it on the record. He doesn't want to win. He is specifically catering to the extremist elements in the party. The very same elements that hung him out to dry in 2000. He is letting them screw themselves over. I also think he specifically knows the Republicans cannot have a President in office for another 4 or 8 years if the country is to survive and start recovering. He waited until Hillary was assured to be out of the race and then the weird and stupid stuff really started happening.

This thought entered my mind over 2.5 weeks ago. Look back at the past year of politics and see what you think.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Water, Metal, and Religion

I finished Startide Rising by David Brin. This is the third book I’ve read from Brin and the second in the Uplift Series. After reading the first one, this book was a little more like the normal SF books I’m used to. Read my initial review for some background on this universe and its history.

This book follows the first spaceship crewed by advanced dolphins. Of course there are also some neo-chimps and humans on board as well. This historic test mission has hit a snag though. One thing that Humans have started doing is testing the veracity of the Galactic Library. They have been doing random spot checks and have found it lacking in accuracy of detail. That simple mapping mission led the crew of the Streaker to an enormous find. They found a derelict fleet of ships the size of moons that appeared to be billions of years old and the mummified body of one of the aliens. By eavesdropping on a transmission to Earth, Galactic religious zealots have come to the conclusion that this is the fabled return of The Progenitors. These super powerful races have now chased Streaker to the water covered world of Kithrup. Now Streaker’s crew has to survive Galactics, an ocean poisoned with heavy metals, dissention among the crew, and a secret the planet itself holds.

This was pretty sweet. The book revs up pretty good so that about halfway through you don’t want to put it down. The intrigues, plots, and plans are well executed and smart. I can easily see why so many people call this an excellent series. I can’t wait to start the next one.

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