Archive for the 'Books' Category
Goals
Posted by on September 10th, 2007, at 8:41pm

I accomplished one of my major goals for the week and today is only Monday. I introduced myself to the cute girl at work. “Nice to meet you,” and then we both walked away.

I’m doing the Netflix thing. And the satellite TV thing. It’s probably a good thing I got my last paycheck today from the previous employer — ten days late, but who’s counting. (I am and I was pissed.)

So far I’ve watched a couple movies. “Before Sunset” “Before Sunrise” is 100% worth watching. It’s an excellent romantic film. The plot is simple (an American meets a French girl on the train and they hang out for the night), but portrayed excellently. It’s one of the better jobs I’ve seen of actors conveying emotion through body language.

Tonight I watched “Beautiful Girls.” Somehow I think Rosie O’Donnell was supposed to be one of these “Beautiful Girls.” If they’d scrubbed her role out of the movie, it would’ve been good. It’s not one of those movies you watch and feel satisfied and more alive after watching. You see it, get done watching, and think: “Yeah, that’s kinda how it goes.” People live, screw up, and get some sort of lesson out of it. This movie was just an example, and probably not the best one, but it was alright.

Going to bed by 10pm is kind of a drag. It makes me feel old. Then again, watching a movie wherein the main characters discuss love/marriage, and the perceived difficulty of finding love when approaching 30… well, it’s not exactly something I’ve ever wanted to be able to relate to other people about. And this will be what I’m thinking about while I try to fall asleep.

Or maybe just impossible spaceships and planets and aliens. I will hide in science fiction for at least a few minutes.

Happy Death (Of Life and Science Fiction)
Posted by on August 31st, 2007, at 8:13pm

Flash Gordon is worth watching — nothing like cheesy Sci Fi Channel shows to finish off the evening. Stargate SG-1 may be no more, but there will always be plenty of second-rate science fiction to go around. Ah yes, the time portals, alien bounty-hunters, and nearly witty dialog… I don’t know that I could survive without it. I’d quote the dialog here, but the choicest lines defy reproduction.

I’ve been reemerging myself in some scifi roots lately rereading a few of my favorite novels. Of recent times, Fitzpatrick’s War is one of my favorites — possibly because nobody has heard of it, possibly because it’s currently a standalone work, but most likely because it’s written with skill. The characters are craft into a future setting in the 26th century in which America has fallen by 2081, and a new confederacy has arisen. It’s future fiction with all the trappings of science fiction: altered scientific possibilities (via satellites that disrupt electricity), the movement and motion of empires and civilization (a la Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series), but also the crafting of excellent characters with breath and emotion and the ripples of change carrying them through the pages.

A book of classic scifi persuasion, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury has my eyes rushing through each page looking to find more fuel for my mind and being completely satisfied with ever bit of it. The book’s overall theme shines the spotlight on the topic of censorship of books. Firemen no longer put out fires (because houses are now fireproof), but instead have been recruited as the enforcers of the government’s censorship program to burn books.

Most interesting though in Fahrenheit 451 is not the obvious theme of censorship. It speaks directly to other problems envisioned by Bradbury when he wrote the book in 1953 which affect our world today and speak strongly of the human condition in general. The protagonist in the story, Guy Montag, has a wife who holds no love for him. She stares at the television walls in her house all day, and at night has her ears stuffed w/ ‘seashells’ (Bradbury’s envisioning of what could now be considered portable radios, or, more aptly to present society, iPods). People are so distracted living in the fast times and drowning their minds in fun/entertainment that in the process they lose something of their souls.

In any case, if you’ve never read either of these books, I recommend them. At some point, I plan to also reread 1984 and Animal Farm.

If you’ve got any scifi you’d like to recommend, please leave your comments. (Oh, and don’t bother mentioning Star Wars Universe, Star Trek, or Halo books. Plus, I think Master Chief has more important tasks for you than reading.)

Breakfast
Posted by on July 21st, 2007, at 12:46am

I had breakfast at 12:30am tonight. Went to Shari’s and grabbed some Traditional Eggs Benedict and a bastardized raspberry lemonade. Martin got pie.

The colossal mistake I made tonight did not involve eating breakfast after midnight. I didn’t think to go to a midnight release of the new Harry Potter book. Instead, while others are losing sleep reading Harry Potter, I have only Rainbow Six to keep me company until Amazon (via UPS) brings me my book tomorrow. Will it be worth waiting? Hell yes, but I’d rather have a full stomach and the book now.

If only I were “sick” tomorrow. This is where standards of workmanship become detrimental to my literary longings.

The Best Series of Books Ever
Posted by on August 2nd, 2005, at 1:20am

In order, the following are my picks for best fictional book series of all time (that I’ve read):

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game & its parallel series Ender’s Shadow
C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia
Scott Adams’s The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Frank Herbert’s Dune
C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, etc.)
Isaac Asimov’s Foundation
Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time

If interested, please list your own favorites in the comments — especially if you’ve got favorites I’ve neglected to mention or haven’t read myself.

A Bit On Communication
Posted by on September 27th, 2004, at 9:38pm

It’s incredible how much more important the whole concept of communication becomes when you’re in a dating relationship. The thing relationships and communication have in common is a requirement that two people be involved. One person says something and the other person listens.

I reread a large part of Joshua Harris’s book “Boy Meets Girl” today (during work — we couldn’t develop film because our machine was broken), and one of the chapters focuses on communication, rather than kissing, being the primary use of lips in a relationship (he’s all into the courtship terminology, but it applies all the same to any sort of boyfriend/girlfriend relationship).

So, the question is, what did I learn? I could recite the five principles he outlined, but I’ll tell you in a different form. This also includes other personal thoughts that may or may not be included or intended in what Harris says in the book.

To communicate affectively, one most realize that communication stems from what’s going on inside the heart. If bitterness and hatred exists within the heart, it’s gonna jump up and make itself known through the things a person says. If selfishness has its ugly grip holding tightly to the heart and sucking the life out of a person, then the person’s gonna have trouble being unselfish in words and actions.

In order to communicate, it’s necessary to listen. You can’t always talk. Note, however, that you cannot always listen. Sometimes talking must occur. Sometimes to let somebody know what’s really going on, you gotta be honest about who you are and tell ‘em what you’re thinking. Even tell them what you’re feeling — as frightening as that may be. It’s easy to be dishonest when you’re not talking about what’s really going on in your life by hiding on the inside. (I’m not saying tell everybody everything ’cause that’d just be stupid — it talks about that in Proverbs somewhere — I’m just saying sometimes people gotta open up and let others know what’s going on!)

Communication isn’t happening if there’s never any conflict. If you’re communicating what’s really going on to another person there’ll be conflict sometimes and it’s okay! You gotta learn from it, work through it, see what’s there, and address the _real_ problems instead of pretending they don’t exist.

Motive matters. Right things, right reasons, that whole concept. If It might be a great technique to speak with the tongues of men and angels, but if it’s being done for the wrong reasons it’ll end up hurting both people more in the long run than stuttering truthfulness.

Luebbe and Cora, this one’s for you! Guard your heart. Hmm… we’ve had this discussion before, I think. You know what I mean. Yeah, you know. You know!

Ok, sorry for the sidetrack. Mostly, I’m just typing this out to let y’all know what’s running around up in my head as I’m still trying to figure out what it’s telling me.