Friday, June 15


    Hip-hop should be banned from office settings. Headache headache headache

Old sci-fi

I freely confess, I love sci-fi. The good, the bad, the just plain "out-there," I enjoy reading it. Bring on the space princesses, space pirates, space weapons, stupid space slang, and space dinosaurs (usually living on Venus, for some reason)!
But I also freely confess, many of these books are not particularly good. Many of them take no time to think about basic physics in weightless enviroments, or human dialogue (a race that can travel between the stars would not have phrases like "space dementia" or use "space torpedoes." They would have much better terms for such things).
This is why I am immensely enjoying Assignment In Space with Rip Foster, originally published in 1952 (I think) as Rip Foster Rides the Grey Planet (a much better title, btw). Towards the end of the book, the heroes are on an asteroid made of a very valuable metal: they've set up controlled explosions to knock it out of the asteroid belt and toward Earth's orbit. But then the bad guys came around again and are trying to kill them and take the asteroid, so they've taken apart one of their nuclear explosives, and made mulitple bombs out of it, and guided the asteroid much closer to the sun, so the enemy cruiser can't launch its small fighters (they'll get sucked in by the sun's gravity). Now we're waiting to see if our heroes can survive the attack, survive the radiation, and blast the asteroid back into an earth-ward orbit once the attackers are gone!
I won't tell you how they get out of it (go read the dang book yourself!) but it was great, interesting, and actually pretty funny (well, the way they got rid of the bad guys was funny, anyway).
I gotta get some more in this series.

Thursday, June 14

You know you are a geek when....

1. You are reading space adventure book from the 1950's and loving it.
2. While reading said book, you come across a description of an enemy spaceship, and think "Well, they may do ok in space, but if you lured them into atmo they'd be as manuverable as a cow."
3. While thinking about this, you start trying to figure out if any of the known techniques for fighitng TIE fighters (eyeballs) would work in this situation.

Wednesday, June 13

Also to read...

..the Cthulhu stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I've read Shadow Out of Time, The Call of Cthulhu, and the first part of Whisperer in the Darkness, and loved them.
I'm not much of one for the horror genre. There's a ton of junk in it. However, Lovecraft is a master of the genre; he can evoke a shiver with a single phrase, and the end of his stories make me want to run and hide under the nearest couch. He manages to bring forth the horror of the utterly Other, the terror of chaos, of the "old gods" coming back to the earth. Some of the most disturbing parts of his classic, The Call of Cthulhu, are the sections in which the architecture of the ancient city is described as "all wrong," planes that are neither vertical nor horizontal, nor quite diagonal. Even the words, "Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," translated as "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming", seem full of menace, even before the translation.
So...yeah. Creepy as all get-out, and great stuff. birthday is coming up in July....a book of Lovecraft stories would not go amiss.......  :)

Tuesday, June 12

Book list!

list of books I need to read--if you are reading my blog, and own any of these, and are willing to loan them to me, let me know:
Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolf
The Bourne Ultimatum, Robert Ludlum (I was surprised at how good the Bourne books were--highly recommend!)
Ringworld, Larry Niven
Foundation, Isaac Asimov
the Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde
the Dresden files books by Jim Butcher (already read first two, loved them. Like Buffy meets film noir.)
The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Coraline by Neil Gaiman, because Neil Gaiman is cool
Sandman Vol.6 through Vol. 10 by Neil Gaiman because Sandman is amazing
all the Happy Hollister book
the original Hardy Boys series (not the 1960's re-writes)
the Cthulhu stories by H.P. Lovecraft
At this point, I'll read just about anything recommended by John C. Wright, from, because he has such darned good taste.
Books read recently:
Lying Awake by Mark Salzman--good book, recommended
Mariette in Ecstasy--very good book, read along with Lying Awake
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore--while I disagree with the philosophy in this graphic novel (pro-anarhy, and I tend to be a monarchist), it did bring up interesting issues, and thoughts. Anyone who sees the movie should definately read the novel, though the movie is good on its own.
The Lady in the Forest, by David Guterman. Not sure what I think of this one. Really not too crazy about it, but it's making me think a little.
The Happy Hollisters and the Old Clipper Ship--innocent, good, sometimes funny--better than I remembered!
Currently reading:
The Worm Ourobouros by E.R. Eddison. Weird, high epic fantasy. Almost as tough as reading the Illiad, but very good stuff.
The Ring of the Niebelung, by Wagner. Just cause it's cool
The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Inspired to read this by my roommate's video of Le Notre Dame De Paris, a really awesome stage production. In French!

Cthulhu ftagn!

My visit to the library confirmed a suspicion of mine. H.P Lovecraft writes the creepiest stuff I have ever read. EVER. Seriously disturbing stuff. Excellently done, highly recommended. Just don't read it at night. Or alone. Or without a blanket to hide under.
....than can just make your whole day/week/month:
Fr. David recently did a blog post about children's serial books, which he collects. I made a comment on the blog that while I read many of the classic series (Bobbsey Twins, Boxcar Children, Hardy Boys, Danny Dunn, etc) my favorite was the Happy Hollisters series. One book in particular had stuck in my memory--The Happy Hollisters and the Old Clipper Ship.
I went to a talk Fr. David gave on the subject at the Placentia Library last night. At one point, he mentioned that he had some books on a table that were free for the taking, but he had one in particular that he wanted to give away. He pulled out a pristine copy of the Old Clipper Ship, complete with dust jacket, and gave it to me!!!
I could hardly sit still through the rest of the presentation, I just wanted to go to a quiet spot and re-read the story! After the presentation was over, I drove to the nearest Sonic and ordered a burger and malt to set the mood, and settled in to read. I finished the book just before I went to sleep last night.
It was even better than I remembered.

Monday, June 11

You know what can totally make your whole day/week/month? Your year-old god-daughter (aka most beautiful intelligent baby in the whole world) snuggling with you before a nap and reaching up to you to say goodbye.

You can see pictures of the most beautiful, intelligent, good-natured baby in the world at her lovely mother's blog: