Aug. 5th, 2007 01:00 am
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Sleep Train Amphitheater. Just got home.

Great show. As always. Read more... )
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So I haven't actually read all that much fantasy. The following list is close to exhaustive, not counting a half dozen or so that feel much lighter (e.g. Spellsinger or Stasheff or Xanth) addendum: or young adult fantasy like Harry Potter, Dark is Rising, and Narnia.

Fantasy I like:
Tolkien - though if I wasn't seven when I first read it, I might not have liked it so much, maybe
Brust - both Vlad and Khaavren
Black Company, maybe except for the last two books
Pern, at least six books of it
Belgariad - I enjoyed reading it, but I didn't like the racial stereotyping when thinking about it afterwards

Stuff I liked the first two books of, but then dropped:
Melanie Rawn - about one too many (or more like four or five too many) people had long passages whining about how Andry wasn't cuddly any more
Donaldson - eventually my urge to defenestrate Covenant overwhelmed the beautiful descriptions

Stuff I didn't like:
Jordan. I got through one book and part of a second. Very little happened, and took a whole lot of words to fail to happen. And I really didn't care much about the premise and conflict - not sure why.
MZB Darkover
Bujold, Paladin of Souls - I was astonished I didn't like this. But... too much nothing happened.

In general, my big reasons for putting a book down are boredom. I can hate a protagonist and still like a book.

The way to keep my interest is either (a) tell me the premise and make me care (Pern, Tolkien, Black Company first trilogy, Belgariad), (b) make things happen so fast I want to keep reading to figure out what's next (Black Company, Taltos, Amber), or write so well it's just a joy to turn the page (Tolkien, Khaavren, Donaldson initially).

What doesn't work: (a) paint a world slowly and painstakingly, where the world doesn't immediately capture my imagination (Darkover), (b) drop mysterious hints without much art or quick payoff (Shannara), or (c) create fascinating angsty characters who angst about their angstful angstiness (Bujold, Rawn @ Sunrunner's Fire, Donaldson eventually).

So. My open question. What else would I like?

Happy day!

Jun. 17th, 2007 12:02 pm
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... to me, and to Mike and Yair and Jeremy and Cdodd and Denmark.

And a very special one to Ed and Harold and Chrisber and Merlin.

And of course to my brothers, and to the most excellent Silkiedad.

And, somewhere out there, to mine, who taught me everything I know about it.

He said, once, to me: "When it's summertime, you can bitch about the heat, or you can appreciate how the pretty girls are dressed." He wasn't, of course, only talking about the heat and the pretty girls.

Happy father's day.
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"So these things will eventually end. It still matters to me that they happen."

... and the seasons, they go round and round ...

... no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun ...

... there's no straight lines make up my life, and all my roads have bends ...

... think about the sun, think about her golden glance ...

... chasing the years of my life ...

... we'll search for tomorrow on every shore ...

... not looking back, but I want to look around me now ...

... someday we'll all be gone, but lullabys go on and on ...

"We're going to die. That sucks. But we get to live first. And I mean to."

i am made from the dust of the stars
and the oceans flow in my veins
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"What I can't figure out is, when I would see video of Gore from like 1988 or 1992, or even today, he looks great -- he's really passionate, he's articulate, he's just nothing like the guy from the 2000 debates with Bush. Why is that?"

"He got really bad advice from the Democratic Party consultants in Washington. I have a theory about why he got such bad advice. Those consultants keep making a ton of money and their candidates keep losing and they keep getting hired back. I think the consultants are --"


"No, I think they're very good at their jobs. I just think the advisors to Democratic Party candidates are Republican."


"You know, that would make a lot of sense."
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Edit 4/14/2010: I posted a link to this old article of mine on someone else's journal. It was badly misunderstood by at least one reader to say that I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia. I ask readers to see my comment at the bottom, because on rereading this it's possible that someone who does not know me might come to that conclusion, and it is one I emphatically do not mean.

Out of curiosity I websearched an old friend.

The friend happens to be a priest. (I grew up Catholic, if you didn't know.) This was a man I genuinely liked. He ran a youth group that focused primarily on music and dance, long on enthusiasm and short on segregation by talent. It was a group that helped me a lot, growing up: I exercised a lot of my musical, interpersonal, and leadership skills, and I had a far better life through high school than I would have had if I'd not been connected to the group he ran.

It had never seriously occurred to me, really, before now, even with all the news about such things the last several years. I knew Father Harlan. Great, somewhat caustic, sense of humor. Made the whole congregation both laugh and think with his homilies. A favorite with children and adults at our church.

He was a great guy, as far as I was concerned. I didn't care whether my marriage was sanctioned by the Catholic Church, but I asked Harlan if he could come to Hawaii and co-officiate. He had to decline for health reasons, he told me.

He was very involved with people and cared about them. Several 'troubled teens' -- boys who were having problems with their families -- some of whom became my acquaintances, and a few became friends -- stayed for some time at the rectory with him.

You can probably guess what I've found out about him. Read more... )
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I watched the old BSG when it was on in 1978. I was twelve, and I loved it, cheese and all. I knew it wasn't very "good", but like a lot of things I figured I wasn't getting the whole story: that there was more to it, and the TV show was only the piece I was seeing. That there was some 'reality' behind it, with an adult sensibility. I was seeing the kids version. Somewhere there was a grownup version, better and more intellectually respectable.

And now that I'm forty instead of twelve, now I get to see the version of the show I always "knew" was there. This dark, this dramatic, this gritty.

Especially when we get all these homages to the original series... I'm sure it's all deliberate. But it works, for me.
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Yet again. I have no reason to blog about politics for as long as there is a Digby.
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Skatetown manager, passing me running a cygwin shell on my laptop: "Hey, by the way, we've just set up a wireless network."

Me: "Cool! I'll have to sign my kids up for more skating lessons, then!"

Moments afterward, the rink blazes out Van Halen's Dreams, followed up with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's rendition of the Nutcracker's Russian Dance (i.e. the 'sub-Metallica elf-stomping' rendition).

Just saying. Anybody need spare karma? I appear to be extruding some.
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"I was a sports reporter, so I was used to dealing with numbers. And the numbers made no sense. Kerry had an insurmountable lead in the exit polls on Election Night -- and then everything flipped. I was stunned by the lack of interest by investigative reporters. The Republicans shut down Warren County, allegedly for national security purposes -- and no one covered it. Shouldn't someone have sent a camera and a few reporters out there? You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble. You cannot say: By the way, there's something wrong with our electoral system." -Keith Olbermann
Story, by Robert Kennedy Jr.

My own very modest contribution to the data, on Election Night, here.
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I have the most excellent friends.

Jason had a GeForce 4 just sitting around with no computer to put it in.

He came over last night and helped me install it.

The game is truly inspired, demented, and hilarious; there were loud hoots of laughter coming from the den as all three kids were clustered around the computer till I had to pry them off and insert them into their beds. He was up again this morning at 7 AM -- changed clothes, ate breakfast, brushed teeth, and started playing, all before either of us woke up. Go Robert!
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So it's not as though I work in the pollution industry, or the cancer industry, or the war industry. And I'm at least a couple of steps removed from the Grand Theft Columbine industry. This isn't remotely comparable to the experience of a tobacco company low-level executive watching his mother die of lung cancer, or a bomb manufacturer having to visit a bombed-out ruin with dying children.

Still. There is a human cost to what I do, and I encountered a bit of it today.Read more... )
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In fourth through sixth grade, I spent an hour each week -- and did a summer camp -- at this place. That black addition in the back of the building that you can barely see over the roof? That's a planetarium. With a Spitz starball, the same model as the one at the Discovery Museum in Sacramento.

So you might say I have been into this stuff for a while.

Well, as it turns out, the Discovery Museum has need of a planetarium volunteer for Saturdays. And they'd of course love to have someone who knows the starball and the sky doing some of their shows.

The Saturday shows aren't rocket science: you have to gear it to be comprehensible to toddlers in the audience, so you mostly keep it super-simple, point out the north star, talk about a few constellations and their shapes, and that's about it. Still -- this is an opportunity I can't pass up... the Planetarium was a significant part of what made my childhood unique, and passing this on, in small doses, to another generation is irresistable.

The shows are at 1:00 and 3:00, so I'd be there for about three hours most Saturday afternoons. I talked it over with Robert and Kate; they are going to alternate Saturdays to come with me, so that I can spend some one-on-one time with each of them. (Kate in particular is in constant danger of being cheated out of 1:1 time since there's always someone around who's either less independent or more sophisticated, so this will hopefully work out to be positive for them as well.)
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PZ Myers was just interviewed on Daily Kos today. Best quote ever...
No one can be too liberal. We can only be not liberal enough. Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. We work to improve the world, not maintain the status quo, and especially not to enrich those who already have too much. How can someone be too liberal?
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This year I got a piano. That doesn't suck. Breaking two strings sucks, and having a piano tuner unable to speak Chinese and thus unable to get the right string shipped to replace the second-lowest A sucks more. But -- piano! Damn but I'd forgotten how I missed it.

Billions of other things happened. Since this is officially a Do Not Do Unpleasant Work day, I'll scribe a bit more reflection on the year later, maybe. But on to what everyone does, and no one really intends to keep, but I will anyway, because I do:

Read more... )
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I have to say -- much as she's not my favorite candidate -- there's still just a little glimmer of a patriotic thrill at this shirt.

And I already see the T-shirt I'll get when I lose the rest of my hair.

Basically, just about any T-shirt on that site that makes literary or historical references -- I don't much care for pretty peace or buddha symbols -- would make my wish list for the next time someone felt like buying me something. Just saying.

And awwww, Gandhi said it first. Once, some time back, I said "Decide what kind of people you'd like to see more of in the world. Then go become one of them." I didn't know (but am not surprised) that I was ripping off Gandhi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I said it in prose, though.
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I took the 'rate my life' test that others have taken.

Not going to post the answers. But it suggests I might benefit from socializing more, and it's probably right. Not sure how to work that, though.

It asked a good question which stumped me -- how many "good friends" do I have?

I have a ton of acquaintances. I have a lot of old friends whom I see occasionally. I see gamers more or less weekly, feed them dinner and torture their alter egos.

But. Other than my wife, I don't have any contemporary confidantes -- friends I see and socialize with regularly, other than in a gaming context. This may partly be because I don't watch sports or drink.

By confidantes, I mean... what do I mean? I have this probably apocryphal notion regarding What Men Do ... men are supposed to go sit at a bar and drink beer, complain about their wives, discuss the local sports teams, and thereby Bond (tm). That seems kinda odd. I seem to have gotten all my spectator sports mojo out when I was a kid -- wasting hours watching sports seems, these days, like playing Dungeons and Dragons probably seems to a lot of former geeks; watching sports is something you did when you were a teen and had time and no life. And as for having people to complain to about my wife? I dunno, I don't think I could ever bring myself to. Not that I have a perfect life -- no one does -- but any complaints I might ever have would seem far too private to discuss with anybody else. Gauche. Rude. Oversharing. You know what I mean.

So I don't know. I suppose I should get out more. But where, how, with whom, and more to the point, why? The job makes it a bit difficult -- I already spend one and a half evenings a week away from Sherilyn, so the idea of spending any other time "out" just feels unfair, and frankly not what I want to do. I was gaming for a while on Wednesday nights, but that just increased my exhaustion. I don't have any interest in getting together with people from the church, the only neighbors I feel I have much in common with are moving away.

This seems to come across as more of a downer than I really feel. I have a great time socializing at lunch at work. I am by and large happy with my job, and my family is absorbing and wonderful. I see my bay friends when they visit, and I am largely content with my life at present. I don't feel like I'm missing something; instead, I feel a little like I ought to feel like I'm missing something.
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Okay. So. The new season has started.

Six new shows and continuing to watch eleven others. None of the new shows leap out and grab me, but several are okay enough to keep watching so far. Varying amounts of reaction here, with varying amounts of snark, varying amounts of unfairness, and varying amounts of spoilage...Read more... )
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[ profile] silkiemom probably journaled this already, but this weekend is...

Watch Tami and Ed's dog Izzy from 11 AM till they get here after work
Robert and Kate's skating lessons (leave before 5:00, get home about 6:10)
Sherilyn and me out to dinner and a play tonight (play starts 8:00 downtown)
Then tomorrow:
Kate's soccer game 10:30-12
Birthday party for Josh's friend (Kate and Josh invited) 1:00-3:00
Star party in the evening (tentative)
Then Sunday:
Family picture-taking (for Christmas cards) at 10:00

Can you say "overscheduled"? We're probably going to skip the star party, but it's still a busy weekend...


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