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Books I am reading or that I am recommending or …
This may include magazines or other written material.

Written By: Gary on May 5, 2007 No Comment

Today is Free Comic Book Day so head on up to your local participating store and get some free comics.

Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book store.

From Wikipedia

My local store is Green Brain in Dearborm (MI) and they’ve always got lots of freebies and this year they have guest Scott McCloud signing autographs.

It’s all sorts of comics, don’t just think Archie and Spiderman, scroll down the Green Brain page to see everything they have going on (and how to get more free comics) so stop by and get a few…

I’m on my way right now…

Written By: Gary on April 12, 2007 No Comment

KurtvonSince it’s Kurt Vonnegut who passed away yesterday we’ll link to his Wikipedia entry since there should be some content about him. He was an interesting and bizzaro author, you should try a few of his books if you haven’t. But what inspired this post is two things, both of them odd and very unrelated.

I hadn’t realized he died yesterday until I got an ad from Border’s Books today trying to sell books in his memory (there was more but it had this at the top of the e-mail ad). I’m not sure if it’s in good taste or not and I remember them doing a few other things like this and while it might be good marketing I’m not sure about the taste part.

Ardvil-22So I never (rarely) watch television previews for next week but last night I did watch them during Lost. As usual they jumped around a lot during the preview and I saw it something for an instant and something seemed off. So I rewound the TiVo, this took about 5 tries since it was only a few frames but I saw a cover of a book. The book was “Ardil-22” (which is Catch-22 in Portuguese) which was written by Kurt Vonnegut Joseph Heller. I’m not sure if this was a coincidence or someone had time to edit it in yesterday at ABC or what. But in hindsight it’s a pretty odd coincidence that it was just a few frames of the preview. I can’t recall if Lost has ever mentioned Kurt Vonnegut (or Joseph Heller) before…

LATER – SO I TOTALLY SCREWED THIS UP: Since it turns out Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22 and not Kurt Vonnegut (Sorry Kurt) but while I’ve read several of Kurt’s books, I don’t think I ever read Catch-22. Plus it turns out that “Catch-22” is the title of the next episode of Lost so that’s the reasoning for that. So I’ve totally goofed up the second 1/2 of this message. There were no coincidences for me to see. And I thought I had tied this together all pretty good too :(

Written By: Gary on March 28, 2007 No Comment

They’ve finally got the preview for Stardust up. This is based on the Neil Gaiman book of the same name. I’m thinking they’ve taken some liberties but it’s been a while since I read the book so maybe not.

This is what started me thinking about Neil Gaiman a few days ago, but the preview they had up at Yahoo didn’t seem as universally playable as this one at the official site so here you go to the official site. But back to the preview and check out this cast: Robert De Niro, Michele Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Peter O’Toole, Ian McKellen (Narrator) and Charlie Cox (the main character).

Written By: Gary on March 28, 2007 One Comment

So the new cover is out and IMHO it’s pretty generic. Not showing much at all, nothing to see here, just move along folks…

But if you take a look at how the whole wraparound looks. You can see quite a bit more, I don’t really know what it’s showing but it certainly shows more than just the plain old cover shows. I’m not the biggest HP fan, so maybe some HP geek knows what this is a drawing of but I don’t have a clue…http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0545010225.01.IN01._SS400_SCLZZZZZZZ_V24642110_.jpgI’ve seen a few mentions of the cover but I hadn’t seen much that showed the whole view of the cover so I wanted to mention it because it definitely shows a lot more…My only guess is it (the Deathly Hallows) ties into the Death Eaters. But the definition of Hallows doesn’t help much but it makes me think og “All Hallows Eve” (but doesn’t that have an apostrophe?)

Looks like they are getting some different covers in Canada.

Written By: Gary on March 28, 2007 No Comment

So there’s a raffle at the Open Rights Group and one of the items is the keyboard that Neil Gaiman used to write most of his Sandman stories. It’s missing a key, but it’s autographed and for some reason he doesn’t think this would be a very cool prize. This would be so cool to have! There’s lots of other prizes too (more from Neil too).

If you don’t know who Neil Gaiman is, someone summed it up the other day (and I don’t remember who I found it, so now I don’t have to paraphrase it).

Most geeks swear by him (Neil Gaiman).
If Joss Whedon is their god, Gaiman is their Jesus.

Peter Sciretta at SlashFilm.com

Actually, I’d rank Neil higher than Joss, but he’s definitely more of a parable/quote person (IMHO) so maybe the latter fits more.

So back to the keyboard – However I wanted to display it I’d have to put a little tag on it that says something like, “This author writes stories that transcend reality as we know it, but still fits in with it. Don’t ask any more because it’s a really really long answer”. He’s one of the few people that I really enjoy that I haven’t pushed on people. You really need to read more than a bit of it to get someone to really get it and before that point most people give up.

I’ve mentioned Neil Gaiman lots before but I’ve never really posted a lot. If I mention him on-line people either know him or they don’t and I’ve generally left it at that. But I think I’m going to change that.Back to talking about the books — The Sandman is too complicated to explain to most people. No one believes me that he’s got a story-line around a English kid, Timothy Hunter, with wizardly powers who is a better character and been around a lot longer than Harry Potter (The Books of Magic). Mirror Mask is kind of surreal/bizzaro to show to people. Anansi Boys and American Gods are great if you can get people to stick with it, but they’re a little long for people who don’t get it. I’ve got people to like some of the short stories and some of the Sandman one-shots but getting them past that is always hard. Honestly, the kids books are where I’ve gotten most people to read: The Day I swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish, Coraline, and The Wolves in the Walls. But Coraline is the story one (the chapter book) but people tend to shake they’re head at some of the bizarreness of it.

He’s got connections to Tori Amos too, but that’s another story.

Written By: Gary on March 25, 2007 One Comment

So a long time ago Dave Goodman recommended The Victorian Internet to me (that’s 3 links in this sentence). After a while I finally ordered it and then after a while I finally read it and then I finally remember to post about it.

A very interesting book on the how long distance communications took place centuries ago. Eventually the story focuses mostly on the 1800’s and how the telegraph was build, used, subsidized and grew all over the world. It’s a great book with all sorts of obvious parallels to the last 30 years and computer communications that just jump out at you. At least they jumped out at me, the last chapter kinda spoon fed the similarities to you in case you didn’t get them but I think if you made it through the book you don’t really need that wrap up.I’m not going to say any more about the book itself, if it sounds even mildly interesting I really think you’ll enjoy it.

I’m looking for some similar books for two reasons:
1) I like stuff like this.
2) I’m thinking they’re going to ask me to teach the Tech Leadership 900 level course again at a local university. And I think an understanding of “stuff like this” is helpful for people working in technology. Plus it’s a short book and less than $12 new so what college student isn’t going to like that?!? Last summer we used The World is Flat (revised), which was cheap and interesting but it’s long and gets repetitive and if it’s not interesting to you it just gets more uninteresting as you read. It’s a great book, don’t get me wrong but if it’s not your cup of tea it’s really long, while with this this book (if anything) it’s over too soon.

Written By: Gary on December 26, 2006 No Comment

So in preparation for my trip I picked up Living Abroad in Costa Rica by Erin Van Rheenen. I’ve said many times I wouldn’t mind living there someday so I thought this might be a good read.

I bought it a month ago and I planned to read it then or else I would have asked Santa for it. It looks like a good book and mentions some of the smaller towns like Jaco so I’m still looking forward to reading it (eventually).

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Written By: Gary on October 6, 2006 No Comment

I’ve been reading that A Brief History of Time has been made available in the public domain. Here is someone who converted it to several formats (web page, Palm reader, Microsoft reader, Acrobat), not all formats have images.

Found here at Palm 24/7.

Written By: Gary on September 7, 2006 One Comment

So I picked up The Rough Guide to Blogging by Jonathan Yang at borders this weekend. This is from the folks who do the “The Rough Guide to _____” different places to travel. It seemed to be a decent book, pretty cheap $10-ish. It had the basic ides, rss, hosting, audio, video, podcasting, increasing traffic and making money and (very) short reviews of 250 of the “best” blogs.

It’s a nice intro if you have someone who’s been asking about it or if you’re a beginner and want to learn some more. It’s about 100 pages and then about 50 pages of types of blogs (politics, education, etc.) while mentioned some specific blogs and then a bunch of 1 line reviews. I haven’t read it yet, but all the pages I’ve flipped to look pretty good so far.

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Written By: Gary on July 31, 2006 No Comment

So last week I wanted to go see the Stormbreaker movie. It’s the first of the Alex Rider books being made into a movie (I’ve mentioned Alex Rider before). It was supposed to open July 21st but I couldn’t find it anywhere. So then I looked around some more and found this:

July 21, 2006 (UK)
September 21, 2006 (AUS)
October 6, 2006 (USA)

–from Wikipedia

I’m a little disappointed but I’ll get over it. I still don’t understand why it’s opening here last (and why that isn’t clear on the site). For those of you that don’t remember, the movie stars Ewan McGrager, Rutger Hauer, Alica Silverstone and some new actor actually named Alex playing Alex Rider.

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Written By: Gary on June 12, 2006 3 Comments

I just finished reading Stowaway by D. Ann Kelley and James G. Kelley (and I happen to know the authors). Most of it takes place in Michigan, it’s kinda part of a series but it’s by far the best one yet so I’d definitely recommend this one first. It might reveal a few details from the first few books but it’s the most polished and fast read of any of the stories. The endings still end kinda quick though.

Jill Traynor returns as the main character (after the first book they started adding “A Jill Traynor Mystery” as the subtitle. One of the new characters chooses the Edumund Fitgerald as the ship to sneak onto, I think we all know how that’s likely to end. But the whole mystery revolves around the message they managed to get off the ship that reveals where the ________ is/are located. It’s got a bit of historical fact weaved in (and they clarify the details in the afterward). If you’re from Michigan or the Great Lakes area and like mysteries it’s a must read.


As a reminder I’ve mentioned their books before, the first two books they wrote were Lighthouse Paradox and Legacy.

I did have one big complaint about this book, I don’t know who/what did their typesetting but in more than a few spots there are definitely some problems (mostly related to carriage returns and spacing) that I’ve got to assume it was added goofed up in at the final stage of the publishing process…

Written By: Gary on May 26, 2006 2 Comments

I read a great book yesterday. Please note I didn’t say I finished it, I read the whole thing! Orbit, by John J. Nance, is a novel about a man who wins a day trip into space. An accident causes the vacation to end abruptly and the adventure begins. After determining the ship will not fly and he has no radio contact with Earth he figures eventually someone will find his body either in the near future or the far future so in-between sleeping and watching sunsets and sunrises he starts to write his life story. From his current (disastrous) marriage to his first love (and first time) he blogs writes about it.

What the heck, he’ll be dead by the time someone sees it, right? And if he’s rescued, he just has to delete it. Here’s the catch: keystrokes are recorded and sent back (one way) to Earth. He’s a hit, in essence it’s the most popular thing (blog?) ever, everyone is reading it and he doesn’t know it, everyone is talking about it (commenting) but he doesn’t know it. Since it’s keystrokes, they even see what he deletes. With nothing to lose he writes about everything: good, bad, regrets, just about everything.


It’s much better than I make it sound. Partially since I’m not going to give the good stuff away and since I’m really tired (I was up late last night). If you’ve every wanted to go into space, write about your life or read about other lives, check out this book…

Written By: Gary on April 15, 2006 One Comment

My day actually just got better! Here’s why…

So, I never finished the followup to my previous Alex Rider post, it was to lay the ground work for this post. There are spoilers here so if you’ve just recently started reading these novels you’ll want to not read this. As you know from my last post, they killed the hero of the series and it totally blew my mind.

What shocked me a few weeks ago is that I saw there was a sequel coming out, which really can’t happen since he’s dead. I went and re-read the last few pages of Scorpia and he was dead as a character could be. So the name of the new book is Ark Angel so even with the title they acknowledge his deadness. This book isn’t supposed to come out for a few more weeks. But I saw it on the shelf at Target tonight!!! I bought the hardcover (I never buy hardcovers), I know it’s just a kids book but so is Harry Potter…


In addition to the new book they’re releasing a new “gadgets” book called (appropriately) Alex Rider: The Gadgets, I forgot all about it since I got so excited about the other book…

So I’m also assuming this is a bit of marketing for the new Stormbreaker movie that is supposed to be out this summer. The movie stars Alex Pettyfer (as Alex), Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke and Alicia Silverstone. Stormbreaker was the first Alex Rider novel so I’m glad they started at the start.

In the books, he’s the reluctant hero, I hope that’s still the case, they don’t portray him that way in the preview. Looks like a July 21 release date in the UK, not sure about here. Oh and since I know I mentioned a few times that he died (right?) I thought it was worth pointing out that the have all over the preview site “Stormbreaker” with the tag line “You’re never too young to die”, that’s just a weird thing to say, isn’t it?

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Written By: Gary on March 22, 2006 8 Comments

First we digress: This post was supposed to be a follow up to a post that I thought I did but can’t find the message but I can’t really do the follow up first now can I?

So I’ve always thought there were connections between Alex Rider and Harry Potter. Young English boys who are orphans and get to go on the adventure of a lifetime. Harry gets to be a wizard and Alex gets to be a secret agent. Both had father’s in the business but didn’t get to know them (or all the secrets). Plus they’re always getting injured…

SPOILERS! If you haven’t read book four, Scorpia, don’t read on, I’m going to give the ending away.


Here’s the thing, in the last book Scorpia as I’m reading along and recalling the similarities. They’re wrapping up the story, no I’ll correct myself they wrapped up the story, and as he’s leaving the leaving the building the bad guys sent a new teenage trainee to assassinate him and as he gets closer and closer to pulling the trigger you wait for something to happen, but it doesn’t. He pulls the trigger. Alex dies in a pool of blood and sees his parents in the light and the story ends (for good). There really isn’t any room for interpretation, IMHO.

Here’s the other Harry Potter connection/question: Is this series similar enough that they did this to see how much outrage the reading public might have if they kill another English boy who is the hero of a story?!?

By the way, until the last few pages it was another great Alex Rider novel…

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Written By: Gary on February 5, 2006 3 Comments

In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.

Robert Heinlein

For a science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein has a lot of great short quotes that have nothing to do with Sci-Fi.

Written By: Gary on November 26, 2005 No Comment

So I know you’re thinking the winter holidays when I say gift certificates but really that’s not it. I’m thinking of my birthday which was ten weeks ago and that I finally just ended up spending the last of my gift certificates. And yes, I know that was ten weeks ago, but I didn’t want to waste them.

Yesterday I spend the last few at Best Buy for memory for my computers. After moving some around between a few I ended up doubling the memory in the one and increasing the other by 50%. I thought it was going to work out a little better than that (I thought the one had more memory slots) but you can still tell the difference on both of them.


I think most of the gift cards were for Technology or Books or Target (plus I had a few duplicate items that needed to be exchanged). Things I bought with the gift cards were:

  • Memory for the computers
  • Firefly on DVD
  • An astronomy reference card set (very cool)
  • iTunes (I had to return an Apple item and that worked out best)
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • Smallville Season 1
  • The West Wing Season 1
  • Liz Phair’s new album
  • And I know there was another book or two…

    Except for the Firefly DVDs, I think everything I bought was on sale! I’m a good shopper. :)

    Thank you everyone!

  • Written By: Gary on November 13, 2005 One Comment

    I had read the book a while back and enjoyed it, I remember it being odd, but I did enjoy it (it seems to me some of the sex stuff was a little odd, but I don’t recall why).

    So (and I bet you saw this coming) I saw the movie Shopgirl last night. It seems to be playing at a limited number of theaters. It’s more of an “arts theater” movie than mainstream. I don’t remember how much they used from the book but it was still enjoyable. So it’s really got an array of odd characters.

  • Mirabelle (Claire Danes), the meek/quiet beautiful woman who’s single and pretty much a cat lady waiting to happen.
  • Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), the eccentric slacker guy she meets at the laundromat and has a disastrous date or two with.
  • Ray (Steve Martin), the older wealthy gentleman who asks Mirabelle out. He wants her but not commitment.

    We’ve got some dry(?) humor, the characters say and do insane things. You know these people, you’ve seen them do and say the stupid things that happen in this movie.


    I can’t say it was a great movie. I can say I really liked it. The individual scenes were really good but the cuts seemed a little choppy. I had to think on a few if they decided to run some in a different order. And it needed a few explanations, like why Ray picked her and some other things that might not matter in the end but they still made me wonder…

    I noticed some characteristics in Mirabelle and Ray that I see in myself, but since some are good but some are not so good, we’ll skip over the particulars. But I could identify with them both and that’s probably why I really enjoyed it.

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    Written By: Gary on November 13, 2005 No Comment

    Look around your house, what is one thing that you have too many of? One thing?!? I’ve got too many things of several items:

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Computer and other tech ports

    From Question of the Day

  • Written By: Gary on November 9, 2005 4 Comments

    Don’t let the number ordering on the books fool you, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the first one in the Chronicles of Narnia series. They renumbered them a few years ago and made a book written later,The Magician’s Nephew, be the first one because it chronologically took place first. I still think they need to be read in the original order. If you haven’t read the series be sure to read it, I’ve mentioned Narnia many times before.


    I think they should be read in the original order for the same reason I think Star Wars should be watched 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3 – Who cares about the decline of Anakin Skywalker if you don’t know who he’s going to grow up to be? The story of R2 and 3PO isn’t important if you don’t know what they will do someday if you haven’t seen A New Hope (#4), they’re just some silly robots. Episodes 1-3 are the sequel to the story they just take place chronlogically first. Who cares about the story of the lamp post in Narnia if you’ve never had time to wonder about it? Obviously the movie folks feel the same way since they choose to start with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

    The movie for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe looks incredible! The effects look great, I get chills every time I see the preview. I hope it lives up to my expectations…

    Written By: Gary on November 8, 2005 89 Comments

    I never realized that Patricia Arquette’s character on Medium, Allison DuBois, was based on a real person.

    She came out with a book called Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye. It looks like she got a 3 book deal (at least Amazon lists two more).


    I just saw two good Medium quotes at the IMDB so I thought I’d mention them.

    Allison Dubois: It’s 9 PM. How am I supposed to know you’re OK? How do I know you’re not lying dead somewhere?
    Joe Dubois: If something had happened, somebody would’ve called. If I were dead, who are we kidding, you’d be the first to know.

    [Joe + Ariel are both trying to talk to Allison at once]
    Ariel (Daughter): This is completely unfair! I had her first, Dad.
    Joe (Husband): No, point in fact, I had her first or else you wouldn’t be here.

    Written By: Gary on October 12, 2005 One Comment

    Mirror Mask PosterSo I’ve seen the preview trailer for Neil Gaiman’s Mirror Mask a few times now. It’s very surreal and if you have any idea who Dave McKean is you’ll look at the imagery and immediately think “Hey! That’s what it would look like if Dave McKean did the effects for a Neil Gaiman movie!”

    What Neil writes is generally a bit surreal and with Dave McKean doing the effects I’m sure it’ll be amazing, I’m just not sure how it’ll appeal to the general public. I don’t think this is based on anything Neil Gaiman has previously written. He’s done a variety of books and a short stories and graphic novel/comic books. I just finished his latest book, Anansi Boys yesterday, I’ll talk about that sometime…


    I thought it was supposed to open September 30th, but I haven’t seen any sign of it, I guess I should check back at the MirrorMask Web Site. Okay, I’m back and it is out, very limited release and it’s at the “arts” theatre in Royal Oak! And I just called and they’re playing it through next week so I know I’m going sometime this weekend

    Written By: Gary on September 14, 2005 No Comment

    AwizardofmarsI know I’ve mentioned Diane Duane several times before. But I just got her last two Wizardry books (7-The Wizard’s Holiday and 8-Wizards at War, the latter which came out early!) for my birthday (I read the one, but it just recently came out in paperback and I hadn’t gotten it yet since I had it on my Wishlist) the other is my only hard cover of it. She writes a wide gambit of stuff but the Wizardry books are my favorite and the first two are among my favorite books ever. As books like that go, they are probably more Narnia than HP. Part of what I like are there are rules that define How Wizardry Works, you just don’t wave a wand…

    So I’m excited about the new book that’s coming out later next year, A Wizard of Mars, generally if they leave the planet it’s for another galaxy or dimension, this will be pretty close to home. Probably tie into some real science and be more fun that just some make believe planet.

    Written By: Gary on September 7, 2005 No Comment

    Ipodhpcrest So I’ve seen many complaints on-line that they’ve never released harry Potter as an eBook, I’m not sure if they’ve every released it as a downloadable Audio Book (I’m thinking no). So the iTunes store has released the books are Audio Book and you can get the complete set for $249. Or you can get a specially engraved 20GB iPod with with the Hogwarts Crest and all the audio books for $549. A little pricey if you ask me, I’m assuming you can by the Audio Books on CD for about the same price (and still have a backup).

    Written By: Gary on September 4, 2005 One Comment

    I was very excited when I looked at the Sunday funnies today, Calvin and Hobbes was right there with a big color strip above the fold! It was a pretty generic entry, it had today’s date on it but with a little surfing I found out it’s reruns.

    It’s interesting because it’s supposedly out just to get people hyped about the three volume $150 collection that’s coming out in a month (only $94.50 at Amazon). But Bill Watterson has never really been to interested in marketing, according to the Detroit Free Press

    There never was an officially licensed Hobbes, nor was there any genuine “Calvin and Hobbes” product other than the strips or the books in which they’re collected.

    Now I don’t know how much money the guy has made on C & H but all he has to do is say the word and he could have many millions more (at least I’d guess so). And probably a few more if they let them do a TV show/movies/video…

    Written By: Gary on July 31, 2005 No Comment

    Did you know it was Harry Potter’s birthday today?!?

    Here’s a short fan fiction birthday story I found.

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    Written By: Gary on July 20, 2005 No Comment

    So it’s been 36 years since we landed on the Moon. I still think that is so cool. I really thought we’d be making field trips there by now but unfortunately that isn’t the case. These days I’m just excited/hopeful that we’ll get the shuttle missions going again.

    For my birthday last year (or maybe it was Christmas) I got this Apollo 11 Artifact Kit. It’s got all sorts of cool paraphernalia in it (mission patch, moon map, travel voucher, customs declaration, school photos of one of the astronauts kids and other interesting stuff) and a book too. My mother saw it the other day and commented on how much her dad would have liked it, he’s the guy who got me interested in space and science. I don’t know if he ever knew that. I remember him taking me up to the library and getting books when I was little and I remember getting something to do with space at the same time he was (my version had lots more pictures than his did). It’s that first time that I always think of when people ask me about how I got interested in science and technology. I don’t know what was going on that made him interested, maybe a space mission or the anniversary of some launch or maybe just plain old curiosity.

    Written By: Gary on July 17, 2005 No Comment

    So I kept seeing the name Mary GrandPré with all the Harry Potter stuff and realized she’s the one that does all the art. She has her own website (http://www.marygrandpre.com/) with all sorts of stuff there. Art you’ve seen, what she did for the cover of Time and more. Plus they’ve got a bio for her too.

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    Written By: Gary on July 13, 2005 4 Comments

    So I ordered some books from Amazon (for my Egypt trip). I think I ordered them on July 3rd and they finally shipped yesterday. The estimated delivery date is August 8th (that’s crazy, right?) so I checked the tracking and while the tracking is still listing August 8th I see they left a town 20 miles away at 9:15 AM so I’m assuming they’ll be here today. It’s just a pretty lousy estimation, they were off by 25 days!!! These days I expect something a little more accurate like: it’ll arrive at 2:17 PM today…

    UPDATE: They showed up at 11:04 AM on Thursday the 14th! They look like good books!

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    Written By: Gary on June 23, 2005 One Comment

    So I finally watched the pilot episode (the only episode?) of Fearless with Rachel Leigh Cook as Gaia. I enjoyed it, a few good songs and some excellent stereo sound (I had the headphones on). A little corney here and there but it was good for a pilot. You can download it from here; it’s an AVI that played pretty good on my powerbook.

    And I see there’s a new series with the same character. The first book is Kill Game (Fearless FBI). I’m going to check it out, I’m sure it’s a little less high school than the other series and that’ll make it more enjoyable…

    Written By: Gary on June 18, 2005 One Comment

    CathatbdaySo remember a few months ago a I mentioned I got auctioned off? So today was the birthday party for the winning seven year old; she got to have the Cat in the Hat come to her themed party. We had a blast. They came running out front when I got there and were pretty excited. They made me read four books and eat lunch and the birthday girl even read a new book she got and did an excellent job (even another first grader told her so). And even though they weren’t eating cake at the time they lit the candles and blew it out so they could cut a piece to send home with me :)

    Written By: Gary on June 14, 2005 3 Comments

    Writer Shelley Jackson invites participants in a new work entitled “Skin.” Each participant must agree to have one word of the story tattooed upon his or her body. The text will be published nowhere else, and the author will not permit it to be summarized, quoted, described, set to music, or adapted for film, theater, television or any other medium.

    More information can be found at the skin project site. It’s a really interesting background to the project (it’s only one page) so check it out. One big rule, if your word is a body part, you’re not allowed to get it on that body part. Makes me wonder about the story itself….


    It’s actually one of those odd things mulling around in my head. I’d like to get a good word like “genius” or “universe”, it’s a lot more appealing that getting something like “dork” or “limp”.

    Found at Blades of Grass.

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    Written By: Gary on June 4, 2005 2 Comments

    Does anyone ever know what happened with the Fearless Televison series? I was watching TV last night and caught part of She’s All That with Rachel Leigh Cook and it reminded me of the TV series that was supposed to be semi-adopted from the books.

    UPDATE: I did find the pilot on-line (if it’s busy, try again). Did they every air this?!?


    And since we’re talking (okay, since I’m talking) about Rachel Leigh Cook does anyone know if she’s the same RLC who narrates The Devil Wears Prada Audio Book?!?

    Written By: Gary on June 3, 2005 2 Comments

    So I’ve been tagged with the book meme (list current books and favorite books and tag a few more people) from Dave over at Blogography.

    How Many Books Do You Own? At least five-hundred. A complaint from the last time I moved was “who the hell taught you to read?”. The answer is probably my grandfather, who didn’t teach me to read but taught me to want to read.

    What is the Last Book You Bought? Mindscan by Robert Sawyer. I have yet to read this one, so here’s some background on the author. He’s the canadian Michael Crichton, what does that mean? It means he’s awesome (I hope he likes MC) and he makes complicated science fun. He generally does more with connecting everything (science and religion and the mind and the universe) in a holistic way and making it all tie together. He’s entertaining, humorous and very knowledgeable.


    What is the Last Book You Read? Time’s Eye by Arthur C. Clark and Stephen Baxter. Imagine To Your Scattered Bodies Go (a classic series from way before it’s time where everyone who ever died resurrected all at once) and the Secret Wars comic (pieces of planets carved up and reassembled into one new planet) combined into one new story. The Earth has been cut up into pieces throughout time and a mishmash of the planet has been reassembled, one step to a new piece of the puzzle may take to the ice age or the future. Plus these silver orbs that defy physics and appear to be watching. Throw in Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan and you’re ready to go.

    Name five books that mean a lot to you. Let’s see if I can keep it to five…

    The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. This and the rest of the Narnia Series will take you to another world. Don’t let the recent chronological renumbering of the books confuse you, this is the one to start with. Four children who find a passage into another world. A world where they are destined to sit and rule and fight to save the world where “every day is winter, but never Christmas”. This will be a movie this December and I get chills when I see the preview.

    Calculating God by Robert Sawyer. Imagine aliens land on earth (Canada of course) and only want to meet with a paleontologist. Imagine they have record of several disasters in the past of their planet the coincide with ours (such as the dinosaurs being wiped out 65 million years ago). What can the cause of this? Why God of course! Isn’t that the reason for science? To prove the existence of God? He’s got some great humor and science and philosophy that’ll make you want to read all his recent books. I’ve given several of this book away as gifts.

    Lightning by Dean Koontz. This is a book that I cannot believe hasn’t been adapted into a movie. A non-typical Dean Koontz book with a hero (that I can’t reveal too much about) and the woman he loves and has fallen in love with over and over. And in typical Dean Koontz fashion they are being chased by the bad guys. Hmm… i don’t know what else to say without giving away the story. But it’s my favorite book by him.

    So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane. Forget Harry Potter, if you want wizardary this is the series to read. There are rules to spells, you calculate them, they take time, they have a price and in the long run they slow down the death of the universe. Join Kit and Nita as they learn about wizardry and save the world (several times). Diane Duane has written seven of these books and several other fantasy series, Star Trek books and some SpiderMan books. Another book I’ve given away multiple copies of…

    Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. The 1959 classic end of the world novel on how a small courageous Florida town survives after the bombs drop. This is probably the only required fiction I ever had in high school that ever made an impact on me. It’s about people and the basic needs they have after an attack. I can’t imagine how the pampered world of today would be impacted if the same thing happened now.

    I’ll mention The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but won’t use it since Dave did. And an Honorable Mention to The Watchmen (which to me) was the backstory to The Incredibles (yes, this dark comic is the reason those cartoon characters retired) and resposible for the resurgence of Batman (The Dark Knight Returns) in the mid-1980’s.

    Now “tag” five individuals to provide their own lists. Okay lets see. Heather, who got me into blogging. Allison who actually has a Douglas Adams quote at the top of her blog right now. Dave at A Product of the 80’s who comments often but I can’t think of him ever mentioning any books. Diane at Arcadian Expressions who’s another Michiganian. Alfie at Noiblata who’s also local. Jenni at Kitten Kiss with whom I share a birthday. And Kelly who doesn’t post often enough but I bet has some interesting reads. So maybe that’s more than five but at least I stuck to five books…

    Feel free to tag yourself (no, that’s not dirty) and post a link in the comments.

    And I’ve already thought of a few other books I should add… Sigh…

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