Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn Sunset

Last night before the sun got near the hills of the North Bay, Jennifer pointed out the clouds to me.  they were those amazing clouds you get when it's raining, but the water doesn't reach the ground.  I knew they would end up creating some amazing images once the sun was hidden.  I think I got some good shots.





Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Three Books Without Pratchett

So today at lunch, I completed my third non-Pratchett book since finishing the Discworld series.

The Annihilation Score is the latest "Laundry Files" from Charles Stross.  While, I admit it was not as amazing as the first three books of the Laundry Files, I can get an idea of where Stross is going, and I kind of liked the switch in perspective.  This book is the first where we are fully in Mo's head, and I liked the descriptions of what the evilly crafted violin she uses does to her head.  I look forward to future books.

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu was well written, but disappointing.  It is so full of tropes that I knew almost everything that was going to happen.  It brings to mind the movies "Dreamscape" and "Robocop" as well as other more generic tropes.  I will probably read the sequel when it comes out, and I will try more of Chu's books, but they won't be go-to stories if I've got other choices.

And I just finished Armada by Ernest Cline which is his second book.  His first book Ready Player One is already in pre-production for being made into a movie.  I can tell that Cline has a lot of popular culture in his head, and apparently the only way he can get it out is to write books.  Ready Player One was non-stop fun for me, but after reading Time Salvager and starting Armada, I became concerned that Armada was being too predictable.  It is as fun to read as his first, and I'll just say that the way that you think it's going to go is wrong.

I now return briefly to Terry Pratchett with an assist to Stephen Baxter for the conclusion to the Long Earth series The Long Utopia.

Friday, September 18, 2015

I Learned Something Today...

Unfortunately not in a "South Park" kind of way.

I'm at the Walnut Creek BART station, and I'm wheeling my bike to the gate to exit.  I'm seeing a bunch of guys in suits heading to come in, but they're swinging wide of the over-sized gate (for bikes and wheelchairs and people with large bags, and sometimes, just large people).

Except for this one guy.

The first mark against this guy is that he looks like Marco Rubio.  The second is that he's walking fast toward the large gate.  The third is that he's seen me, and is trying to beat me there.

You see, the over-sized gate is the only one that is the most fitting for the San Francisco Bay Area, because it goes both ways.  And whoever uses it first sets its direction for a few seconds and then it rests to accept riders from either direction.

And what happened was that both of us touched our Clipper cards to the sensor at the same time,  And that essentially shut the gate down for a few seconds.  I stood there until he moved on to another gate, then tried again, and it still wouldn't scan me.  So I moved on to another gate, lifted up mu bike and exited.

All because he couldn't be bothered to walk a couple more steps to a one way gate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lovecraft Movies

So, I was looking something up and mistyped "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and instead typed "The Girl With the Dagon Tattoo".  It got me thinking if there are other Lovecraft inspired titles I could make.  Granted most are difficult to mistype like that, but what about substitution?

The Girl With the Dagon Tattoo
Miskatonic, Inc.
Straight Outta Innsmouth
The Curious Case of Randolph Carter
The Colour Purple from Outer Space
The Shoggoth DA
Whateley and Me

Contributions from friends:
Herbert West-World
Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of Tintalos
Ghoulies
M. Nyalothotep Shayamalan's Elder Signs
Mi-Go Busters
The King in Yellow and I
If I come up with more, I'll post those.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Promises to Keep

So the Robin Williams' movie "Hook" is one of my favorites.  If you've read the original Peter Pan by Sir James Barrie, it's actually a really good sequel.  It stays true to the old tale.

One of the things that Peter says is that his word is his  I can remember learning the hard way that a promise is something you keep, and that breaking a promise is a terrible thing to do.

In Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, a promise made by a wizard is something that they can make be true by acting on it before they even make it.  Jennifer and I have enhanced promises by calling them "wizard's promises".  They are guaranteed in our minds.

I have a few other promises out there:

When we became roommates, John and I promised never to pull pranks on each other.  We also vowed never to talk politics in order to maintain our friendship.

To a girlfriend in college, I promised that if I ever got to Paris, I would contemplate Notre Dame and write a poem.

The hardest promise I have to keep is one to another girlfriend.  When I was told that my feelings were too much for her, I said I wouldn't contact her unless she contacted me first.

I hold to that that promise like I do all of the ones I have given.  All of them are important and I intend to keep my word no matter how difficult doing that may become.

Wizard's promise...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Music on My Mind

So, this morning I had a song come up that reminded me of someone I used to date.  I thought I'd do a search of videos and songs to see what I could come up with.

Most of these remind me of dances.













Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Discworld - The End

So when I started the Shepherd's Crown, I read the dedication:

For Esmerelda Weatherwax
-- mind how you go.

I swear that if I hadn't been on the BART platform, I would have started crying.  That's because of what Rhianna Pratchett reported her last words to her father were.  Then as I started reading the book, I started to wonder, and when I got to the office, I found a high resolution picture of the Paul Kidby cover.



Then, I did let go of a few tears.

That's a hi-res picture, so for those who read the Discworld, click on it and see why.

And of course there was my reaction to Chapter Two.

But I finished the book Sunday night.  It is obvious as the afterward states that Pratchett wasn't quite done with this.  But after enjoying Raising Steam so much more after rereading it, I'm sure that the next time I read this it will be a smoother read.

So that's my marathon/tribute read for Terry Pratchett.  I've got a few more of his books to read like The Long Utopia, and the four Science of the Discworld books that compare earth (Roundworld) to the Discworld alternating science chapters with story chapters as well as the Dodger and Raising Steam companion books.  But I'll scatter those in with all of the others in my now much more full reading queue.

------

Recurring characters and themes appearing in this book:

Agnes (Pedita) Nitt
Annagramma Hawkin
Awfully Wee Billy BigChin, gonnagle
Big Yan
Black Aliss
Boffo
Cabbage
Casanunda
Daft Wullie
Death
Dimity Hubub
Dr. Bustle
Dr. Lawn
Drumknott, secretary
Duchess Keepsake
Eskarina Smith
Events in Equal Rites
Events in Hat Full of Sky
Events in I Shall Wear Midnight
Events in Lords and Ladies
Events in Wee Free Men
Events in Wintersmith
Goldeneyes Silverhand Dactylos
Granny Aching
Granny Esmerelda Weatherwax
Hamish
Havelock Vetinari, patrician
Herne the Hunted
Hex
Hodgesaaegh
Horace the cheese
Ibid
Igor
Jason Ogg
Jeannie, kelda
Jolly Sailor Tobacco
Lancre
Leonard of Quirm
Letitia, baroness
Long Tall Short Fat Sally
Lucy Warbeck
Magrat Garlick, queen of lancre
Millie Chillum
Miss Perspicacia Tick
Mr. and Mrs. Aching
Mrs. Eunice Proust
Mrs. Lettice Earwig
Mustrum Ridcully, archchancellor UU
Nanny Gripes
Nanny Ogg
Offler, the crocodile-headed god
Om
Petulia Gristle
Ponder Stibbons
Preston
Rob Anybody
Roland, baron
Shawn Ogg
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Clacks System
The Goode Childe’s Book of Faerie Tales
The High-Energy Magic Building
The History Monks
The Lady Sybil Free Hospital
The Low Queen (formerly king) of the Dwarves
The Nac Mac feegle
The Queen of the Elves
The Quirm College for Young Ladies
The Ramtops
The Stick and Bucket Dance
The toad
Tiffany Aching
Twoshirts
Uberwald
Verence II, king of lancre
Wee Mad Arthur
Wentworth Aching
Xeno
You, the cat

Young Esmerelda

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Great Quotes from the Comics

So, I realize that most people aren't going to appreciate all of these, but maybe you'll get some of them.  I was inspired by watching Daredevil, but some of these others came to mind.

Daredevil on Netflix
DD: ...I want you to walk em through stabilizing him.
Claire: It's not as easy as it looks in the movies, you know.
DD: I don't really go to the movies.

Green Lantern animated movie
Arisa: How come I've never met Mogo?
Hal: Mogo doesn't socialize.

Superman/Batman comic
Crook gets punched by Batman.
Voice in the alley: Are you okay?
Crook: No, I'm not okay.  What planet are you from?
Voice/Superman: Krypton

Friday, September 04, 2015

The Pain of Chapter 2

I won't expound on the title beyond saying that if you have not yet read Terry Pratchett's The Shepherd's Crown, then make sure someone you love is in the room with you when you do.

I started reading this book this morning.  It's been difficult emotionally.  I read some more this evening, and it hasn't gotten much easier.

While I was laying in bed trying to sleep and the tears kept coming, a thought came to me that while many famous people, important people in my fandom, have died that it all means something more to me.

Robin Williams taking his own life was a life ending much too soon.  It was depriving me (and us) of someone who has been entertaining me since "Mork & Mindy".  He had made me laugh through multiple comedy albums and movies.  And now, he's gone.

Leonard Nimoy died, and while it hurt and I thought it was sad, I thought more of the people close to him who were hurting the most: his family and, of course, William Shatner, who had lost a very close friend.

And then Terry Pratchett died and I was without my favorite author.  He was an writer whose books I have been reading for almost 30 years.  He was sick at the end, fighting a disease with no cure.  And now I'm reading possibly the last work of his that the world will ever see.

And what else has happened in this last year?  

Friends have gotten divorces.  Other friendships that were so amazing and fulfilling have been cut off.

And then there's the big news that most of you already know.  A little less than a year ago, my mom was been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She's beaten the odds so far and looks to break through the one year mark when she had been given only six months.  But we're still afraid, and we're still sad.

And so I come to this book, and this chapter, and I am devastated.  Because of all that has come before, and all that lays before me, and all that is happening now.

Auto-correct Slang

Okay, so I got this idea from having a chat conversation with a friend.  She's chatting to me on her phone and is trying to tell me how hot the food was at lunch.  Instead the word "hot" got auto-corrected to "fox".  We went on very briefly (nowhere near as long as someone would) with fox puns, and I began to wonder if a whole new slang could crop up.

There's a thing called Cockney Rhyming Slang that I learned about first from Terry Pratchett's Dodger.  I cannot do a description justice, so if you haven't heard about it before go to the link.

And then of course we have Leet-speak that is both a combination of substituting numbers and characters for letters as well as commonly mistyped words.

There's a bit of this out there already with people who actually say phrases like "BRB" and the like.

But this autocorrect thing.consider the most common and annoying correction to "duck".


I don't know if there are any other really common corrections, but it certainly got me thinking.

Discworld - Lipwig the Pawn

So, last night, I finished Raising Steam.

This year, I've been tracking my reading on goodreads.com.  I said I'd read 100 books in 2015.  And this was before Terry Pratchett died.  When I marked that I was reading Raising Steam, I saw that Patrick Rothfuss had reviewed the book.  I have to agree with him on what it was like the first time I read it.  The book seemed to jump around, and felt rushed.  He mentioned that he hopes that it will read better a second time after a year or two.

I have to say that it was.  This time, Raising Steam seems well paced, but still a headlong rush to the end.  It's a story about the rapid progress that can happen, but also a book of intrigue and adventure.

For anyone who read it once, and hasn't gone back to it yet, I strongly encourage  a re-read.

On a related note, this could have been Pratchett's last book in the Discworld series.  As you can see below, almost everyone and place is mentioned again.  The only thing missing is specific mentions of witches in Lancre.  One is mentioned who likes to take cookies to the clacks towers when young men are working there, so it's probably Nanny Ogg.  Otherwise it would have been a fine final chapter.

However, The Shepherd's Crown is now out, and is obviously the next book in my queue.

------

Recurring characters and themes appearing in this book:

“Eldritch means oblong”
Adora Belle “Spike” Dearheart
Albrecht Albrechtson
All Jolson
Angua von Uberwald, captain
Ankh-Morpork
Anoia, goddess of utensils stuck in drawers
Ardent
Bashfull Bashfullson
B'hrian Bloodaxe, low king of the dwarves
Billy Slick (Snuff)
Bluejohn, constable
Boffo
Burleigh & Stronginthearm
Cabbage
Charlie
Copperhead
Cunning Artificers
Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler
Death
Diamond, king of trolls
Dolly Sisters
Done-It Duncan
Dr. Lawn
Drumknott, secretary
Events in Small Gods
Events in The Last Hero
Events in Snuff
Events of The Fifth Elephant
Events of Thud
Feeney Upshot, chief constable
Fred Colon, sergeant
Goblin in the fairy book
Haddock, constable/acting captain
Harry King, sir
Havelock Vetinari, patrician
Hygiene
Igor
Igorina
Jimkin Bearhugger's
Koom Valley (Accord)
Lady Margolotta von Uberwald
Lancre
Leonard of Quirm
Leshp
Llamedos
Lu-Tze
Madame Sharn
McSweeney Dynasty
Micromail
Moist von Lipwig
Morris dancing
Mr. Bent
Mr. Fusspot, bank chaidog
Mr. Pony
Mr. Skiller
Mr. Slant, Lawyer’s Guild
Mr. Trooper
Mrs. Bradshaw
Mustrum Ridcully, archchancellor UU
Ned Simnel
Nobby Nobbs, corporal
Nugganites
Ohulan Cutash
Otto Chriek
Ponder Stibbons
Queen Keli
Queen Ynci
Reg Shoe
Rhys Rhysson, low king (queen) of the dwarves
Rincewind
Sacharissa Crisplock
Sally von Humpeding, captain
Sam Vimes, knight, duke, commander
Shatta
Shine of the Rainbow
Slake
Sto Lat
Sybil Ramkin-Vimes, ducchess
Tak
Tears of the Mushroom
The Alchemists' Guild
The Ankh-Morpork Royal Post Office
The Ankh-Morpork Times
The Assassins' Guild
The Chair of Indefinite Studies
The Clacks System
The Dark Clerks
The Fiddler's Riddle
The Forest of Skund
The Golem Trust
The High-Energy Magic Building
The Lawyers' Guild
The Lecturer in Recent Runes
The Librarian
The Pink Pussycat Club
The Quirm College for Young Ladies
The Royal Bank and Mint of Ankh-Morpork
The Senior Wrangler
The Summoning Dark
The Undertaking
Thomas Goatberger
Two Shirts
Überwald
Unggue
Verence II, king of Lancre

William de Worde

75 Years of Green Lantern

So, strangely enough, my first Green Lantern comic book was also my first Flash book.  You can see the cover in this post.

It was also where I learned a little bit about Aaron Burr and dueling.  I don't remember much else about the story; I'd have to dig it up to refresh my memory.

But it did bring a certain poignancy to this "Got Milk" commercial:

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Shepherd's Crown

So, I got this in the mail today...



I nearly made it to completing the Discworld saga before receiving the last book.  I am presently reading Raising Steam which is the fortieth book written; The Shepherd's Crown is the forty-first.

I've got it on my shelf now, waiting for me.

I'm almost as emotional as I was when I first heard the Sir Terry had died.

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