More books, and balancing life, school, work, and a new wife.

Posted: August 14, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This is a post from 3-28-07

Me at Salmon River Falls gorge

Me at Salmon River Falls gorge

Hey blogosphere!
Things are going well for me. I’m rockin’ up at school with Calculus and Accounting (just got a 95 on my latest Calc exam). The only hard thing about class is not seeing my wife in the evenings. Just last night, 15 minutes before I needed to head out the door, my lovely wife starts belly-dancing! Like it’s easy to go to math class as it is without tearing myself away from my sexy bride. Anyway, here is what I’ve been reading lately:

“Selected Stories from Philip K. Dick”. Lots of his short stories. Very cool. Lots of crazy ideas.

“Crunchy Cons” by Rod Dreher. This is about the neo conservative movement in America. Crunchy means “earthy.” This was a thought provoking book. He went through different sections like food, housing, religion, education, etc and how conservatives feel about each issue. For example, he would rather have an older house with good quality construction in an established neighborhood than a new, fast built, huge, McMansion in a new subdivision.Or how he would rather eat hormone free, vegetarian-fed beef than whatever comes wrapped in plastic at the grocery store.

“The State of the Art” by Iain M. Banks. Short stories from one of the masters. It includes the story where the Culture comes into Contact (he he, get it? No? Just read one of his Culture based books.) with planet Earth.

“Feersum Enjinn” by Iain M. Banks. This takes place in a huge Castle. It’s so big that there’s one character who lives in the pupil of the eyeball of one of the Gargoyles on the Wall. This is about as close to cyberpunk as Banks gets. Still a good story with vivid imagery and crazy concepts of time perception in regards to cyberspace vs. reality.

“Learning the World” by Ken MacLeod. This is about a colony ship who realizes that the system they are approaching to colonize is already inhabited and how they deal with the situation. The planet-bond civilization is humanoid but developed from bats so they have leathery wings and fly around and perch upside down to sleep. The plot builds very well. This is one of Ken’s least political books I’ve read and I have to say I liked it alot.

“The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists” by Gideon Defoe. This author is a genius! These books are hilarious! Anyone who has the slightest affection for pirates needs to read these books. All his main characters don’t have names. They are just, The Pirate Captain. or The Pirate with Gout. or The Pirate with a Red Scarf. One pirate dies of scurvy because he only eats the lime Skittles instead of real limes. So they are not entirely historically accurate but still great swashbuckling fun.

“The Pirates! in an Adventure with Ahab”

“The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists”

“Good debt, Bad debt” by Jon Hanson. Very good book about money management. He wrote it when he was on his death-bed. Basically, don’t go into debt unless it will pay off for you later. Ex. Debt for a school loan which will allow you to get an $80,000 a year job. Good debt. Country club membership and a brand new Mercedes AMG. Bad debt.

“The Diamond Age’ by Neal Stephenson. Cool book. Set a few hundred years in the future, this goes in depth into different ways people set up new ways to cope with civilization. Some people thought that since our current model didn’t work, they needed to look farther back and copied the Victorians. So these Neo-Victorians are a big influential clan in the Hong Kong area. But mostly the book is about a guttersnipe who happens upon this wonderful book and what happens when she is raised by it. Basically, a wealthy Lord commissioned this book from a skilled nanotechnologist who programed it to raise young neo-victorian girls with a certain counter-cultural bent. The old Lord wanted to corrupt his granddaughter just a little bit. You know, tell her fairy tales where people actually die. And how to sword fight and so on. So she won’t just be a normal girl but a self-empowered young woman who knows about the way the world works more than naive compatriots. Very cool book. Also, this one challenged my vocabulary. The author used alot of words I didn’t know. Words like vituperative and insouciantly. Fungible and demesne.

“Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson. An awesome cyberpunk novel. I would say, better than Neuromancer. The main character’s name is Hiro Protagonist. How cool is that. He’s a hacker who doesn’t believe in guns so he uses a samurai sword instead. Remember, when you’re surrounded by millions of zombies, swords don’t run out of ammo! This is a crazy look into the nearer future when America is one big commercial strip mall controlled by powerful franchises. The Mafia has a lucrative pizza delivery business and if the pizza is late, the mob Boss will personally Kill the driver. A must for any cyberpunk fan.

“The Volunteer Revolution” by Bill Hybels. I had to read this one for work but it’s a great tool for churches or organizations who want to get the most out of their volunteers. It is Christian centered but would apply to any situation. How to interest, motivate, and keep effective volunteers.

“Millennium” by Ben Bova. This is some old school Sci-Fi from the early 70’s. Basically the two moon colonies (one Russian, one US) want to keep their earth-bound motherlands from starting an all out nuclear war in 1999. I know, it’s pretty outdated now but still a good quick read.

“How to buy the Home you Want. (For the best Price in Any Market) by Terry Eilers. Yup that’s right, we’re looking to buy a house. It included lots of great tips and was very thorough.

I’m almost done with the Iraq study Group Report. and The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks.

I also finished The Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, Ratchet: Deadlocked, and Lego: Star Wars II. They were all a good time.

I also got to get out this winter and went Ice Climbing at Salmon River Falls a few times. Great ice. I have learned to appreciate leash-less climbing and wasn’t in as bad shape as I thought I was for the season. Maybe martial arts has helped. We also went snowboarding several times and finally got to go to Killington in Vermont. What a great time. Sweet runs that are twice as long as anything near us and Oh! the powder! My wife improved alot on that trip and she can deffinately hang with us on most runs. She can carve great and she even went off a few small tabletop jumps. My buddy and I broke off from the main group and did a double Black Diamond and a few Black Diamond Glades. Those were awesome! Well next up is whitewater kayaking. Yah! See you all on my next post. God Bless!

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