Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett

The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24)The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't read any spoilers on this one and thought it would deal more with the discworld cosmology. Instead it turned out to be a story of political intrigue in the distant lands of uberwald. It progressed the story of commander Vimes who is now the duke of anhk morpork. Other highlights are some details in Angua's family and the lives of the dwarves. Another wonderful installment in the disc world of Terry Pratchett.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Great White Paw

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3

Thought I'd point out that I did an update on the GreatWhitePaw. That would be our family blog. Changed up the header graphic a bit.

For those that don't know, is the home of the main blog for all the family stuff. Granted it doesn't get posted to all that often. Facebook is the place of choice for most posts. It's a nice place to find all the wishlists for our family members though.

If you're wondering, the name comes from our cat's white paw. Once we became a couple my wife and I needed a place that was uniquely us. Our cat Satine had a habit at the time of batting things from under closed doors. So one of us would be walking down the hall, and then exclaim "Look! It's the Great White Paw!" if we saw that flash of white fur from under the door.

Anyway, now you know.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Connor the Cat

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3

My wife saved Connor from the shelter the October before I started seeing her. So he had been along for the ride since the beginning. We still joke about the first night he was in my home and knocked a jar off the top of the fridge in the middle of the night.

"That was glass!" was my reaction upon suddenly waking. I have a gift for stating the obvious.

Of the two cats that became a part of my life, Satine being the other one, Connor was both the main source of love and pain. He was constantly wanting love and attention. While Satine will accept a head scratch, Connor would wallow in your lap. Sometimes it would be hard to sleep with him purring by my side at night.

This was good and bad as he could be very annoying at times. Though you always knew he valued you, at least as the provider of food and attention. Too bad we were feeding him the wrong food.

Turns out that dry food isn't the best for cats (especially him it turns out). You think you're being nice by keeping his bowl full, but really you're just enabling him to eat himself to death. In the end much of the bad behavior, for which there was a lot, could be attributed to his diet slowly killing him. At least Satine will benefit from the knowledge gained by his demise. She's getting her food out of a can now.

So on November 10, 2010 we lost our orange lump of a cat. For all the trouble, he was a good kitty and I will miss him.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23)Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this one because for once I was really worried about what was going to happen to the characters.  Shouldn't have worried so much as it all worked out in the end, like all good stories do.  Still that's what make them good... when the concern starts to well up in your mind.

If I was ever in dire straits I definitely want Granny Weatherwax on my side (or at least not on the other side).  Now I can add Mightily Oats to the list of fun Discworld folks I'd enlist if I was in a pinch.  That and the Nac Mac Feegle.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

The Last Continent (Discworld, #22)The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finally back around to another Rincewind book.  This time the story wraps in the senior faculty of Unseen University.  Fun ride with some of my favorite characters.  Even the Luggage shows up, but at least this time he wasn't as brutal to his environment.  I laughed a lot reading this one.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jingo by Terry Pratchett

Jingo (Discworld, #21)Jingo by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

City Watch once again.  Fun watching Havelock Vetinari quietly going about his business while letting the idiot aristocracy play war.  Reading about Leonard of Quirm buzzing around randomly inventing was a hoot.

Never trust an island that hasn't always been there.  No telling if it'll still be there tomorrow.  I'm just saying it's good advice.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck

Guild Wars: Ghosts of AscalonGuild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being an avid player of Guild Wars I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.  Yes, if you're not a player of this game you're not going to get nearly as much out of it.  I think it's a great adventure read for anyone though.

If you are a player, then it is a wonderful taste of things to come.  Every bit of the story hints at what will be in Guild Wars 2.  Character types, background history, and even what monsters wait for us out there are offered up in this text.

Makes me want the game even more!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 4: Unstoppable by Joss Whedon (Author) & John Cassaday (Illustrator)

Astonishing X-Men Vol. 4: UnstoppableAstonishing X-Men Vol. 4: Unstoppable by Joss Whedon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wraps up Joss Whedon's take on the X-Men and I could really see his hand in it. John Cassaday's art is very good, but seems to have lost some punch from the earlier volumes. Whedon's philosophy, of enjoying the happy now because it's all you've really got, has never been so clearly put to page. Also Whedon's penchant for immediately following a moment of happiness with tragic loss was very present too.

It made me smile, laugh, and enjoy myself... what more could I ask for?

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #5)The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maybe I've lost my taste for C.S. Lewis' style, or maybe I've been reading far too many Terry Pratchett works which make this look so shabby by comparison. I've enjoyed other Narnia books... Wardrobe, Last Battle, and the Magician's Nephew were fun reads. I abandoned A Horse and His Boy... so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Dawn Treader wasn't a thrill for me.

The simplistic narrative was overly dull this time round. The characters barely developed during the course of the story... except for the annoying kid who learns to be less annoying. No huge conflicts that can't be taken care of in less than a page or two.

Here's the interesting bit... I can see how this will make a good movie in the right hands. The only reason I decided to read it now was to refresh my memory of the plot before the film comes out this winter. Being simplistic, the screenplay writer will have ample room to expand it. The book itself is basically an outline to a grander tale. I can already see which scenes they'll turn into action fodder and also I've got a good idea which parts will be cut completely (mono-footed dwarves anyone).

Anyway, it was a quick read so it has that going for it.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Hogfather (Discworld, #20)Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Death's granddaughter, Susan, gets wrapped up in more crazy metaphysical hi-jinks. The best part, as always, is Death himself and how he interacts with the world. His attempts to play the role of the Hogfather and views of just rewards for those he comes in contact with are simply humorously satisfying.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked the way this series wrapped up. What made it amazing for me was this is an audio recording read by the author and complimented with a full cast of voice actors. On a side note it was directed by the actor who played Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars, Garrick Hagon.

You can tell the author is poking fun at mainstream religion even more in this installment of his tale. Many times there were subtle tongue in cheek moments that caused me to chuckle. BUT, everything fit into the worlds and tale he was creating.

As far as good storytelling goes, I think this book and the whole series was very enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Feet of Clay (Discworld, #19) Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another City Watch story set on the Discworld. This one I really liked a lot. Had plenty of threads running along to the end. The actual whodunnit isn't nearly as important as how it'll all play out.

The golems were an interesting storyline as well. Love the mix of characters being added to the Watch. Should be great to see where the menagerie goes in the later books.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010


Saw Avatar last night with my Dad and Uncle Ron. Great film, like everyone has been saying. I really think this is the first time that you can believe all the CG is fully real. I only caught a couple places where there was a CG quirk... usually involving the live action guys inside the CG battle mechs.

The story isn't anything amazing, mostly a collection of classic story telling ideas rolled into a bewilderingly beautiful canvas. "Dances with Wolves in space" is what I've heard repeated. Thing is James Cameron still makes the telling of the story incredibly entertaining even if at no point are you surprised by what happens next. Which honestly is the makings of a film that can be watched over and over again.

The acting shines through the blue cat CG masks. I particularly like Zoe Saldana's job as the Pocahontas princess of the cat people. Zoe Saldana also played Uhura in J. J. Abrams' Star Trek film from last year. So she seems to know where good films are being made.

Sam Worthington's performance as our jarhead turned native was outstanding as well. Funny enough my brain keeps wanting to compare his job to the guy playing the lead in the G.I. Joe movie from last year. I know that's not a fair comparison to the old Joe, but the difference is so starkly defined that it makes for good contrast. In Joe the jughead has so much trouble delivering his lines that you can't help but wonder if they're holding cue cards up for him, while in Avatar it all seems natural even when coming from the lips of a blue cat.

Again, great film. No, I didn't see it in 3D... but I may go again just for that experience. Figured it best to enjoy it one time through before risking throwing up all over the place. My experience with 3D to date has been hit or miss. Not nauseating yet, but fraught with calamity, i.e., broken glasses.

It was great to get back to the theater... I miss going to the movies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Strata by Terry Pratchett

Strata Strata by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What I learned from this book is... that even an author you love and think is a literary genius started from humbler beginnings. I've been devouring Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels faster than any other series to date. That even includes the Harry Potter books which I devoured rather quickly. So as a scholarly pursuit, I decided to read one of his pre-discworld novels.

Strata is a pure science fiction novel, which I've come to discover I don't have much taste for. The whole travel to some strange place for the purpose of describing a strange place doesn't always enthrall me. Strata has a similar taste for me, but the wit and humor of Pratchett still peaks through.

This book isn't as silly, but it was fun to see how some of the ideas in this book were used in the creation of the Discworld. This book tries to describe in science fiction terms of advanced technology how a flat world could work... the Discworld skates around such frivolities by having "magic" to take care of them. While in Strata you think about how a system could work with vast machines and the meaning of it all... when the Discworld comes on to the scene riding on the back of the World Turtle you just take the details and grand meaning for granted.

So, to sum up... I like the Discworld better than the flat Earth of Strata... BUT, the ending of Strata is a hoot. The ending was a great payoff for finally finishing. It made me smile and that's what it's all about after all.

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