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Archive for December, 2007

Confessor by Terry Goodkind

bookrev: Confessor by Terry Goodkind (final novel in the Sword of Truth series)

Sword of Truth: Book 11

Terry Goodkind concludes his philosophical fantasy series, the eleventh book in his SwordConfessor by Terry Goodkind of Truth series. I call it a philosophical fantasy because there are equal parts Ayn Rand Objectivism and magical effect throughout the series.

All of the major plotlines are tied up, and the ending, while something of a twist, is rather satisfying. The middle of the book, including the Ja’La tournament games, equals some of the best writing in the series with lots of action, excitement and emotion. On the flip side, there are times when some of the characters sound more like the author than the character (i.e., Rachel, who is a young female child, giving a speech several paragraphs long about evil). This is part of the philosophical teachings bit, which does get somewhat repetitive and preachy after eleven books. The style is quite similar to The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, where the main characters (Howard Roark and John Galt respectively) lapse into multi-page speeches about their philosophy; (more…)

NBA hits parity, will the Rockets participate?

In previous seasons, one team or another has run away from the pack by this point in the season. Last year it was Dallas (until they hit the Golden State buzz saw). But this year, with the exception of Boston running away from the rest of a very weak Atlantic conference, most of the top teams are taking turns beating one another.

It would be the prefect setting for the Rockets to get their act together, as the team in the Western Conference with two starting all-stars. Maybe this last stretch of games has shown they just might. (more…)

In the Company of Soldiers

bookrev: In the Company of Soldiers by Rick Atkinson

This book chronicles Rick Atkinson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of the WWII history An Army At Dawn, during his stint as an embedded journalist with the 101st Airborne in 2003 next to Major General David Petraeus, now Commander of all forces in Iraq.In the Company of Soldiers

Unlike Atkinson’s outstanding recent WWII books, In the Company of Soldiers does not seek to chronicle all of the activities of a particular conflict (in this case, the 2nd Iraq war in 2003) but this time follows the 101st airborne, particular Petraeus and his command staff as they make their way from Kentucky to Kuwait to Baghdad. It is less a historical story and more of an insight into the goings-on of an army battling not only Iraqi forces but the elements, politics and logistics. And it is an interesting look at what war correspondents will do to record history.

It is particularly timely, as Patreaus is now in command of all Multi-National Forces in Iraq and was recently a runner-up as Time’s Person of the Year. (more…)

I Am Legend - London

The Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World

With the end of the Mayan calendar looming in a scant five years (December 21, 2012 give or take), there is a seemingI Am Legend - London increase of talk, movies, articles and general water cooler chatter about the end of the world these days. Most of it I find quite entertaining, some of it ridiculous, and other parts simply in need of a good thrashing. And the public at large believes more of what they see in a Will Smith I Am Legend movie than what they should be able to think through with their own brains (I will admit that whatever Mr. Smith says is alright by me, but, let’s face it, he’s no George Clooney).

A lot of people are thinking about the end of the world (we know that every human wants to think that something BIG is going to happen during their lifetime, that NOW is the most important time to be alive…it’s part of our genetic makeup, I suppose). Some are even thinking about avoiding it. But the vast majority are so busy that unless we send them a message on their Blackberry’s or iPhones, I’m quite certain they might miss it.

In spite of being politely asked to leave the Boy Scouts (or the WeBlows) at an early age, I do believe in being prepared. We’ve got five years to plan and prepare so might as well get a head start, right?

So, in doing my part, I present this compendium; (more…)

First tai chi tournament

It was a long week. Trying to close partnerships and/or sales at the end of the year is work I would wish on no friend and only on a few enemies (you know who you are). Add a little last minute Christmas shopping, and you got the makings of a world class cranial migraine nee stoke.

What better way to put it all behind you that with a nice little martial arts tournament.

As I’ve noted here before, I studied Karate (Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan) for five years, earning my Ee Dan (2nd degree). I would really like to do the athletic Karate or Wushu style, but there are several reasons I do not: (more…)

Guest bookrev at SF Signal: 2012 by Whitley Strieber

Those wonderful gents in their typing machines at SF Signal invited me to guest review the novel 2012: The War for Souls by Whitley Strieber. Give it a read, and check out their SF Tidbits, Reviews, Tubebits and Mind Meld series. Their’s is the top group SciFi Blog in the verse, and it entertains me greatly (this is where my son and I guffawed all night at the Mr. T World of Warcraft commercials).

Tech article in the December Global Intelligencer

In the December Global Intelligencer, I’ve got an article which takes everyday items like cell phones and TVs and equates them to the theoretical physics of the Standard Model and the Grand Unified Theory. Read it and leave comments in the forum, or leave comments here.

Rockets 07-08: Inconsistent first quarter of the season

Win 3, Lose 1, Win 3, Lose 6, Win 3, Lose 2, Win 2 (aw, heck, there goes that consistency), Lose 1….

At 11-10, 21 games into an 82-game season, the Rockets have shown the ability to fire on all cylinders in some stretches (at home vs. Memphis, on the road vs. Phoenix), and backfire in others (this Toronto game, Rafer being out not withstanding, Dallas). (more…)

Metatemporal Detective

bookrev: The Metatemporal Detective by Michael Moorcock

Metatemporal DetectiveSherlock Holmes meets Moorcock’s multiverse

A detective that can travel the multiverse, the constant struggle between Law and Chaos, the Albino, blimps/dirigibles, rail travel and electric cars (with no oil). Plus guest appearances by Nazi’s and thinly disguised former Texas governors are a few of the ingredients that make this collection of short stories enjoyable. Is it fantasy? Mystery? Sci-fi? Steampunk (whatever that is)? Who cares? It’s a fun read, capped with an excellent new original story.

The liner notes (behind the fantastic John Picacio cover, depicting the Albino as he has haunted my dreams since reading Elric in high school 100 years ago) say that Sir Seaton is “a homage to…Sexton Blake”, a character I have not had the pleasure of encountering, and others by Dashiell Hammett et al. Sir Seaton Begg is quite recognizable, though, even for the uninitiated: always searching for clues (even in the Enquirer), puzzling it out, always on the side of the law.

All but the last, The Flaneur des Arcades de l’Opera (and, IMHO the best) have been published elsewhere. Notes on each of the stories: (more…)

Critics Rant

You readers is smart

Thanks to a post on spyscribbler’s blog, I now know how really smart you guys is.

Critics Rant

It just goes to show what a few good words about Rugby, basketball, beer and my wife will do for the enrichment of your intelligence level.

Sure, there are articles here on quantum computing, taichi, great sci-fi authors, history, and many of the other things the voices in my head are kind enough to tell me (and, no, I don’t write it all down).

But it’s gotta be the Rugby and the beer.

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo

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