Archive for November, 2008

Two front teeth

Posted: November 29, 2008 in baby, Family, Parenting
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted: November 27, 2008 in Home

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May your day be filled with good food and loving family. What are you going to do today? I am looking forward to seeing all my family who are in town for the holiday and also some Apples to Apples, egg nog, and apple pie. Movies on an HD tv, and more pie. Especially my Wife’s Awesome candied yams. (she told me to say that.) But seriously, yum.


Speaker for the Dead 1-1-08 Orson Scott Card

I wasn’t sure how Card could do better than Ender’s Game so I had lower expectations for this book. Well, it exceeded them. I was drawn into the story and the world he created was very unique.

Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars 1-4-08 Patrick Lencioni

Quote-leftI liked it. A very quick read. I finished it in two days. I found myself thinking about how the executive team would respond to Jude’s presentation even when I was home. Something not most business books do. Pat Lencioni has always had good insights and this book is no different. I can’t wait to implement his ideas.

Xenocide 1-21-08 Orson Scott Card

Old Man’s War 1-23-08 John Scalzi

This was my first Scalzi book and I loved it. I have since read nearly everything of his I can get my hands on. The premise for the book is supremely interesting and he had a fresh take on the whole universe and aliens thing that I haven’t seen. And I read a lot of sci-fi. His ideas were very cool and made me mad that I didn’t think of them first. I loved this book and am very happy that I will soon have an autographed copy courtesy of the Man himself.

One other thing about Scalzi: He is an interesting guy, but more importantly, he has a big web presence and is very approachable. I have communicated with him on facebook and his blog He’s a great guy with cool ideas. Buy his books.

The Ghost Brigades 1-30-08 John Scalzi

Great sequel, but it would be a good stand alone as well. Makes me want to be part of that future world with all the fun new technology that Scalzi describes in detail but is simple to grasp. Very cool. In the words of Scott Evil from Austin Powers, ” I wish I was never artificially created in a lab!” Presents interesting ethical questions; even more so than the last one.

Foundation’s Edge 2-12-08 Isaac Asimov

I had read the original trilogy years ago and saw this in a used book store so I picked it up. I liked the story but it wasn’t as good as the originals.

Freedom’s Landing 2-16-08 Anne McCaffrey

Freedom’s Choice 2-21-08 Anne McCaffrey

Freedom’s Challenge 2-28-08 Anne McCaffrey

Freedom’s Ransom 3-5-08 Anne McCaffrey

The Last Colony 3-11-08 John Scalzi

Another great addition to the Old Man’s War universe. I enjoy stories about colonists and this one didn’t let me down. It had a great plot that really moved in unexpected directions.

Agent to the Stars 3-13-08 John Scalzi

This was Scalzi’s first novel. Or as he says, his practice novel. The story centers around an agent in Hollywood and his difficulty when a special client contacts him. Very funny.

Matter 3-27-08 Iain M. Banks

I was very excited to read the next best thing by Mr. Banks. The thing is, I was not horribly impressed. I love the author though, (I even named my son after him) but this book just didn’t grab like the others did.

The Android’s Dream 3-30-08 John Scalzi

I wasn’t sure about reading a book by Scalzi that wasn’t set in the Old Man’s War universe but it blew me away. The humor alone was worth it. You know when you start a book by assassinating a major political figure by farting them to death, that it’s going to be great.

Dragon’s Fire 4-15-08 Anne McCaffrey & Todd McCaffrey

Pushing Ice 5-4-08 Alastair Reynolds

Quote-leftThis was an interesting one for sure. The way Alastair writes, you really get a sense of time and the inner working of all the relationships aboard a crew of 160. I thought it was pretty good. Easy to get into. The story was just close enough to home for the reader to identify with people right away unlike some other sci-fi that is so far out there, it takes a while to become engaged in the characters struggles.

The Sagan Diary 5-6-08 John Scalzi

Quote-leftAn interesting short story and a good summation of a life that has been lived to the fullest. Not quite typical Scalzi writing but it was still good. I liked how he fit aspects of past stories in with Jane’s memories.

Infected 5-14-08 Scott Sigler

Very hard to pull away from. It has a lightning quick pace that doesn’t let up throughout the whole novel. Very bloody; but also very good.

Chasm City 6-1-08 Alastair Reynolds

Quote-leftI think this one was the best I’ve read so far. A stupendously complex plot weaves in and out of a world Reynolds has crafted with care from the ground up. Or should I say from the Mulch to the Canopy. I loved how it tied in with the rest of his Revelation Space universe and while some of the other books may be more dense in hard sci-fi gear, Chasm City more than makes up for it in character history. Awesome read.

Century Rain 6-18-08 Alastair Reynolds

This was a cool story about an “alternate” universe that is set in the early 1940’s Paris, and…outer space. Pretty cool idea.

The Carbon Buster’s Home Energy Handbook 7-3-08 Godo Stoyke

The Prefect Alastair Renolds

I thought this was a very good tie-in to the Revalation Space universe. It tied in on so many levels, from the Tokamak in Pushing Ice to the Eighty. Seeing the Glitter Band in all it’s glory was good too. The plot moved along well and kept me interested throughout the book. Not a good book for your first Reynolds read because there is so much from past books that it really takes some previous history to appreciate all the intricate stories.

God in the Alley 7-16-08 Greg Paul

Quote-leftthis is a great read for anyone working in social work, or going to a church for that matter! I feel like it re-ignited my mercy a little bit which takes some doing. Very thought provoking.

The Execution Channel 7-29-08 Ken MacLeod

A scary take on the near future in which the world is rocked by terrorist attacks in Scotland and England. The various espionage agencies scramble to try and understand just what happened as a family is caught in the crossfire. Fast paced and gripping, packed with techno mis-information and ulterior motives. One of Ken’s better novels.

Tomorrow’s Table: Organic farming, Genetics, & the future of food. 8-21-08 Pamela C. Ronald & Raoul W. Adamchak

“Tomorrow’s Table” Organic farming, genetics, and the future of food. By Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak. They are a husband and wife where she is a geneticist and he is and organic farmer. They try and reconcile the two disciplines and provide a lot of useful information. I found it very informative with simple explanations for problems. If you are interested in this subject, check it out.

Serenity: Those Left Behind 8-28-08 Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad

A fun little graphic novel.

Galactic North 8-28-08 Alastair Reynolds

This is a great collection of short stories and novellas for anyone who enjoys the Revelation Space universe. Reynolds is just so good at connecting all aspects of his stories together from Pushing Ice to Chasm City. I liked it a lot.

The Consumer’s guide to effective environmental choices 9-24-08 Michael Brower

This provides practical advice on what you can do to help th environment. It was actually very encouraging because we already do all of the “priority actions” that they recommend.

Earthcore 9-24-08 Scott Sigler

General Siglerissimo does it again! This was my first time listening to this podcast only novel and he did a great job. The pacing and accents were great. It took a little while to get started but once it did, it was hard to put down. I usually read just before bed but this got me too fired up and I had to tear myself away so I could sleep.

The 4-hour Workweek 10-16-08 Timothy Ferriss

Accelerando 10-23-08 Charles Stross

Quote-leftThis starts out as a cool little cyberpunk story but changes to a totally different medium of huge space opera later. I didn’t like the changes and the tedious explanations of sentient financial instruments and obtuse business plans. Stross’s ideas about the singularity and posthumans are cool but I think he takes it too far. I’m can’t say exactly why I didn’t like this one so much but it may be my first and last Stross book.

Ancestor 11-22-08 Scott Sigler

Another great podcast novel from General Siglerisimo. I found this story easier to get into than Earthcore and the pace just never let up. His characters are great and he really makes you feel as if you are right there. I loved it and am starting his next story tonight!

21 11-24-08 Patrick O’Brian

The Rookie                      12-7-08                   Scott Sigler

“The Rookie” by Scott Sigler is awesome. It’s about football 700 years in the future. I wasn’t sure if I would like it because I was never really interested in football, but surprisingly, I did. A Lot. For people who like football but have never tried sci-fi, or sci-fi readers who were never jocks; it provides hour of entertainment. A great story combined with the ongoing excitement of professional sports really moves the story along. This is one of my favorite Sigler stories, partly because there is essentially no slow beginning. Some of his novels take a little while to get into, but this one just throws you right into the action. The only downside is that there is a lot of swearing.

2007 reading list, with reviews!

Posted: November 19, 2008 in Books
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2007…………………………………………………………… 42 !

Good debt, Bad debt Jon Hanson

“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 (or A young ladies illustrated primer.) Neal Stephenson

Quote-left“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.

The Pirates! In an adventure with Ahab Gideon Defoe

The Pirates! In an adventure with Communists Gideon Defoe

Snow Crash Neal Stephenson

Quote-left“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 Bill Hybels

Quote-left“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 Ben Bova

How to Buy the Home You Want (For the best price in any market) Terry Eilers

A very comprehensive guide to buying a house.

1000 Best Homebuying Secrets Michael Flynn

This book is also a great asset when buying a house. I made a really big list of stuff to ask my real estate agent that helped out a lot.

The Iraq Study Group Report (The Way Forward –- A New Approach) James A. Baker & Lee H. Hamilton

The Algebraist Iain M. Banks

The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin

Mortgages 101 David Reed

The Mortgage Answer Book John Talamo

A Survival Guide for Buying a Home Sid Davis

Use of Weapons Iain M. Banks

Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke

Good to Great Jim Collins

Good to Great and the Social Sectors Jim Collins

Ringworld 6-11-07 Larry Niven

Rama II 6-28-07 Gentry Lee & Arthur C. Clarke

Cryptonomicon 7-16-07 Neal Stephenson

Count Zero 7-20-07 William Gibson

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows 7-23-07 J K Rowling

Th1rte3n 8-3-07 Richard K. Morgan

Another great Richard K. Morgan book! It’s got all the hip, dark atmosphere, gritty realism, and high body count of his former books but is very different as well. An interesting view of the near future for the USA. It got into politics a little bit but not as much as a Ken MacLeod book does. Carl Marsalis is a cool departure from Takeshi. I liked the martial art developed for low gravity situations.

Mona Lisa Overdrive 8-16-07 William Gibson

The Engines of God 8-24-07 Jack McDevitt

Between Planets 8-26-07 Robert A. Heinlein

Assignment in Eternity 9-1-07 Robert A. Heinlein

Variable Star 9-6-07 Spider Robinson & Robert A. Heinlein

Friday 9-11-07 Robert A. Heinlein

Natural Vision Improvement 10-1-07 Janet Goodrich

Revelation Space 10-2-07 Alastair Reynolds

Eyerobics 10-4-07 Marilyn Roy

Redemption Ark Alastair Reynolds

Absolution Gap Alastair Reynolds

Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days Alastair Reynolds

Starship Troopers Robert A Heinlein

Lucifer’s Hammer Larry Niven

Quote-leftSlow start, slow middle, good ending. I thought he really captured people reactions to the end of civilization well. Scary idea. Makes me want to stock up. Glad I’m in-land and live on a hill near water.

The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money By Making Your House Energy-smart Paul Scheckel

New Father’s Panic Book G. Williams

Ender’s Game 12-28-07 Orson Scott Card

I was happy to find a book that was hard to put down. The whole idea of the plot and putting 6 year olds through Military Academy was really interesting and captivated me. On to the second one in the series!

2006………………………………………………… 33

The Darwin Awards 3

Rurouni Kenshin vol. 2 Nobuhiro Watsuki

Rurouni Kenshin vol. 3 Nobuhiro Watsuki

Rurouni Kenshin vol. 4 Nobuhiro Watsuki

Excession Iain M. Banks

Eye to Windward Iain M. Banks

Song of Stone Iain Banks

The Skies of Pern Anne McCafferey

The Kingdom of the Cults Walter Martin

Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 1 Kou Fumizuki

Consider Phlebas Iain M. Banks

The Player of Games Iain M. Banks

Complicity Iain Banks

Inversions Iain M. Banks

The First 90 Days of Marriage Eric & Leslie Ludy

Dragonsblood Todd McCaffrey

Dragonholder: The Life & Dreams (so far) of Anne McCaffrey Todd McCaffrey

The Cassini Division Ken McCloud

The Sky Road Ken McCloud

Overthrow Stephen Kinzer

“Overthrow” by Stephen Kinzer is about America’s century of regime change from Hawaii to Iraq. This book was pretty cool. It’s kind of like a secret version of history that you don’t learn in school. Now I know why South America doesn’t like us. Or the Philipines. Or IRAN! We started it!

The Lotus Caves John Christopher

Green with Envy Shira Boss

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind T. Harv Eker

The Automatic Millionaire David Bach

“The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach is all about setting up your accounts and things so that you accumulate wealth…automatically! Basically set up a 401 k early and contribute at least 10 % of your income for as long as you can. Second, buy a house, don’t rent. You will never get rich renting. Also don’t use credit cards. That’s about it.

Selected Stories of Phillip K. Dick Phillip K. Dick

Neuromancer William Gibson

“Neuromancer” by William Gibson is like the father of all cyberpunk novels. A cool trip for today even though it was written quite a while ago in current sci-fi terms.

The Dance of Molecules Ted Sargent

“The Dance of Molecules” by Ted Sargent is all about the current and future of Nanotechnology. A really cool book that gives you hope of what humanity can and will accomplish in the future fields of medicine, the environment, and communication. Very interesting but sometimes very technical and slow.

Against a Dark Background Iain M. Banks

“Against a Dark Background” by Iain M. Banks is another one of his sprawling space sagas although this doesn’t take place in the universe of “The Culture.” Still a very cool book with lots of varied landscapes and worlds. I love anything by this author. Strangely enough though, I really don’t like his regular fiction he writes under Iain Banks. No M.

Crunchy Cons Rod Dreher

“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 Iain M. Banks

“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 Iain M. Banks

“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 Ken MacLeod

“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 Gideon Defoe

“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.

2005 reading list

Posted: November 19, 2008 in Books, writing
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The Ionian Mission Patrick O’Brian

Treason’s Harbour Patrick O’Brian

The Far Side of the World Patrick O’Brian

The Reverse of the Medal Patrick O’Brian

The Letter of Marque Patrick O’Brian

The Thirteen Gun Salute Patrick O’Brian

The Nutmeg of Consolation Patrick O’Brian

The Truelove ( Clarissa Oakes ) Patrick O’Brian

The Wine Dark Sea Patrick O’Brian

The Commodore Patrick O’Brian

The Yellow Admiral Patrick O’Brian

The Hundred Days Patrick O’Brian

Blue At the Mizzen Patrick O’Brian

Broken Angels Richard K. Morgan

The Vinland Sagas Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Palson

Veniss Underground Jeff Vandermeer

Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince J K Rowling

Market Forces Richard K. Morgan

The Giver Lois Lowry

The 5 Love Languages Gary Chapman

Living The Martial Way Forrest E Morgan

Fall of the Phantom Lord Andrew Toddhunter

Cowboy Bebop Yutaka Nanten

Cowboy Bebop: Shooting Star Cain Kuga

Alichino Kouyu Shurei

Rurouni Kenshin Nobuhiro Watsuki

Woken Furies Richard K. Morgan

A Guide for the Groom Carley Roney


Freedom’s Ransom Anne McCafferey

Acorna’s Rebels Anne McCafferey

Dragon’s Kin Anne & Todd McCafferey

The Dragon Bone Chair Tad Williams

The Stone of Farewell Tad Williams

To Green Angel Tower: Part 1 Tad Williams

To Green Angel Tower: Part 2 Tad Williams

Antigone Sophocles

The 3 Dimensions of Leadership Olan Hendrix

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

Master & Commander Patrick O’Brian

Post Captain Patrick O’Brian

H.M.S. Surprise Patrick O’Brian

The Mauritius Command Patrick O’Brian

Desolation Island Patrick O’Brian

Sweet Prince Doug Brode

An Enemy of the People Henrik Ibsen

The Fortune of War Patrick O’Brian

The Surgeon’s Mate Patrick O’Brian

2003 reading list

Posted: November 19, 2008 in Books, Richard K. Morgan, sci-fi, writing
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Well, it’s getting close to the end of the year and that means I will have to bring my reading year to a close. Thinking about that, I thought I should put my list of books read up here. So here it is, beginning with 2003.


Fresh Wind Fresh Fire Jim Cymbala

Eat That Frog Brian Tracy

If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat. John Ortberg

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team Pat Lencioni

Triss Brian Jaques

Taggerung Brian Jaques

The Saga of Asgard Roger Lanclyn Green

The Mammy Brendan O’Carroll

Altered Carbon Richard K. Morgan

The Stone Canal Ken MacLeod

Cosmonaut Keep Ken MacLeod

Dark Light Ken MacLeod

Engine City Ken MacLeod

The White Spider Hienrich Harrer

Ice World Jeff Lowe

The Get Fuzzy Experience Darby Conley

The Last River Todd Rulf

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone J K Rowling

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets J K Rowling Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban J K Rowling

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire J K Rowling Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix J K Rowling

snow monster

Posted: November 18, 2008 in Art, design
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recent tribals

Posted: November 18, 2008 in Art, design
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Invaders on Mars

Posted: November 18, 2008 in Art, design
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This is a watercolor I did years ago, but since I am writing a novella right now that deals with Mars, I thought I’d share it.

my little man

Posted: November 17, 2008 in baby, Family, Home, Parenting
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img_1493I just thought I should have a more recent picture of Andrew up on here. Lydia made the hat. He’s five months now and 21.5 pounds. Quite a chunk. He has two teeth now and is becoming very coordinated with picking up banana or apple slices and putting them in his mouth, more for the teething relief than for food. He can spin around and roll over but hasn’t mastered crawling yet. He can also stand by himself for quite a while if he holds on to the couch. I love making him laugh and shriek with joy when I tickle his ample tummy. Oh Andrew, if only you could be happy all of the time.

I got this old spoon rack at the Rescue Mission’s Thrifty Shopper store for $1. After a little modification, I came up with this:

img_1514I like it.

For those who are interested:

Top shelf, left to right: 1957 Gillette Superspeed, 2006 Merkur Futur, 1982 Gillette Superspeed,

Bottom shelf, Left -Right: Wester Stone Co. from Solingen, Robeson ShurEdge, self-made Custom handle with Wade & Butcher blade from Sheffield, S.H. &S. Germany, Shumate, Simmons HDWE co.

Brush: Edwin Jagger Best Badger

good techno for Lucy

Posted: November 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

This is for my sister who said she doesn’t like techno. These are a few of my recent favorites.

First, Gwen Stefani is cool.

Second, I like the fusion of the electric guitar and fat electric sounding bass beat in this one.



The colors are Heaven’s Wind and Mountain Forget Me Not. We used the new No VOC (Volatile Organic Chemicals) paint from Home Depot. It was expensive ($36/gal) but worth it for the safety of our family and house. No harmful off-gassing for us. We slept in the room the same day we painted and it was fine. No crazy paint headaches and feeling high. As you can see, we chose to do some cool color blocks on the walls. I think it came out nicely. The weird thing about the paint is: in natural light, it looks blue, but in the evening, it looks purple. I don’t mind having a purple bedroom because 1. it’s very light anyway, and 2. it’s only the color of the walls. I am staying firm on keeping my camo footlocker out though. A man has to have someplace to sit and put on his shoes in the morning. Sheesh.