Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

I liked the first Discworld novel quite a bit, but this second book is much better. Where the first book meandered around without much of a overarching plot, this book keeps moving from the very start to a determined conclusion. The first book served its purpose familiarizing us with the world and some characters, and this book is the first real story.

Oh, and I love the humor.

I can't get over the fact that the most interesting characters are Death and a very determined piece of luggage.

I give this book a 4, and that is because I'm trying really hard to stick to my personal rating system.

Personal Rating System

My personal rating system for books, or rather my explanation of the stars I give books over on LibraryThing, is a 1 to 5 scale. Now LibraryThing lets you give half stars, which for me should be read as I was really tempted to go one direction or the other. That and if I only give something a .5 it means a special kind of disgust.

Let's start with the good!

3 is a book that I enjoyed, but probably will never read again. All in all a meh.

4 is a good read, might read again someday, and generally liked a lot. Most stuff I read should fall into this category, I would imagine.

5 is supposed to be for outstanding books (like the first Harry Potter). That being said I really like giving 5s to books I enjoyed, and I'll probably bump many 4s to a 4.5 just because I can't control myself.

Oh, on the low end of the scale...

2 is a book that I got through but didn't particularly like or took issue with.

1 and lower (if .5 and 0 are considered options) are for books I couldn't stand to finish, were just horribly bad, or I would consider torture to have to read again.

I've given one book so far a .5, but I may have been a tad harsh... I've only scratched the surface of hard sci-fi and frankly I don't think I had got it about that genre when I read that poor book. That being said I didn't like it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Retconning: Just Another Day Like All The Others

To quote the author :

Retconning comes from "retroactive continuity," meaning "taking the continuity of your storyline and retroactively changing part of it so things didn't happen the way they happened"...

This comes up a lot in comics and sometimes in movies, where the past is changed to fit the needs of the current writers. Happens in soap operas too or any long form narrative that changes organically over time. At some point someone just can't help but screw with the past we all came to know. The Star Wars prequels and the Special Editions can fall into this category.

Anyway I thought this article does an amazing job covering this topic. Really good read.

From digg:
In the context of Marvel Comics doing "the stupidest thing ever," referring to the nullification of a certain webhead's marriage, this article goes on to explain the different types of retconning. It explains how they come about and their repercussions.

read more | digg story

Webcomics: Olive Garden, Starslip, and more

This webcomic crossed my path the other day chronicling the author's time working as a host at the Olive Garden. I also started looking at one called Starslip Crisis. Of course there's also PvP and Penny Arcade... oh, the list never ends. Support these folks if you can!

From digg:
For about a year, I worked as a host in an Olive Garden restaurant. During that time, I made the following strips. Each strip is completely true, except for people's names, which have been changed so that they don't get mad at me. This comic is not endorsed in any way by The Olive Garden. In fact, they don't even know it exists.

read more | digg story

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

This book took me forever to get through. At 675ish pages (not counting the appendix), it has to be one of the longest books I've tackled... besides the Harry Potter books. I almost stopped about halfway... this is a library book and I've had it out like 5 months now. Luckily the Euless Library let's me renew my checked out items practically as much as I like (I'm assuming I'd be stopped if someone put the book on reserve).

Guess I should get into the book itself. It was wonderful. Martin uses an interesting style in this book where each chapter is entitled with the name of the character whose point of view the story is told from just for that chapter. At the beginning I was scratching my head a bit, wondering about if I'd already read this or that chapter... but I caught on quick enough. Makes the perspective changes clear as day, but removes the traditional usefulness of chapter titles. He could have at least numbered the chapters, but he didn't.

Martin seems to have a reckless abandon with his characters. I don't think it spoils anything to say that major characters get the axe (or sword) a lot more often than most other stories I've read. The reader is left with the impression that in this harsh world anything can happen and throw your preconceptions out because the author plans on using those against you. I can truly say that the story changed directions towards the end of the book from what I had been expecting, and that made it really great.

I am left in a bit of dismay... this is the first of a series and each book is near the same size in page count. I hope I can get a couple more read by the end of the year.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Finally, a game about the Dewey Decimal System

Librarians rejoice! Now you can practice shelving books even when the library doors have closed for the day.

I used to have a job shelving books at my local library. My experiences there inspired me to eventually get a degree in Library Science. This game is a little rough around the edges, but just the idea warms my geeky heart.

Play it now!

read more | digg story

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Randal's Sono

Randal Sono Profile

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Here's my latest kid in progress. Sort of a proto-kid at the moment. Seems to have the right number of limbs in the right places, so I'm happy. He's due around my daughter's 2nd birthday... won't she be in for a surprise. MwaHAHa!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Star Wars in Soul Calibur IV!


Now I just have to buy this game. What a smart move for the series.

From digg:
First ever look at the Star Wars characters in Soul Calibur IV!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Speaking of Lego Star Wars

Lately, Bridget and I have been playing lots of Lego Star Wars on the Xbox 360. There is a hidden red brick on each level which once acquired allows you to purchase extra features (like invincibility) with the in-game money. I've been shooting for the 10X money extra and for the most part ignoring everything else I could buy.

Well with Bridget's help we got the insane amount of Lego money to get the 10X thingie, twenty million credits! What helped is that along the way we unlocked and purchased the 2X and then the 4X money doodad. They actually multiply together, so it now collects at 80X the normal amount of credit drops. I did a quick run of a level that at the start yielded maybe 50K to 100K credits... yea, now I'm pulling 5 million on the same run. MwaHaHa!!!

Now we can unlock everything else in no time. So much fun!!!

If only there were an 80X money thingie in real life...

Lego Star Wars PC in Pictures


Originally uploaded by kisner.

Tom posted some pictures of his Lego Star Wars PC out on flickr.

Lego Star Wars PC

My good buddy Tom bought a very small Intel motherboard and on a whim decided to put it into a special case for his son William. I should say he built the case around the board, because he decided to go with Lego for the case construction material. More specifically, it is a Lego Imperial Landing Craft complete with Stormtroopers. Actually he had to buy 2 landing craft kits and squish them together to make it big enough.

Now he's had some trouble here and there getting all the kinks out... but you can't build a computer without running into a few bugs. I'm jealous of his results, as I haven't had the chance to work on any such projects. No place to work, too much to do around the house, and ever so tired. One day though and I'll make something similarly cool!

From digg:
His son might not be able to speak just yet, let alone use a PC, but that hasn't stopped this intrepid geek from creating a cool computer for him. Built into an Imperial Landing Craft, flanked by Lego Stormtroopers, and driven by a trooper helmet shaped mouse, this PC is ready to take his kid to galaxies far far away!

read more | digg story