Friday, December 31, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sorry We're Closed

Sorry We're Closed for Christmas Sightings:

Mc Donalds,
the Library,
Book Bazaar,
Lakeland is closed for Christmas.
What is to be done when everything is closed: clean house, read, and play on the computer?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dune Finished Today!!!!!

Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1)Dune by Frank Herbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished Dune, after about five attempts in my life time.   I listened to the whole book, but that counts for me.  

A good read, allthough I want to read the other books to see if I clearly liked it.   Thinking about writing a more thorough review in the near future.  So stay tuned in for a next installment of Greg in Space.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock

Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost CivilizationFingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The year 2012 is nearing closer and we will see if the Mayan prophecy is the end of a certain age.  We will see if there will be a deluge of fire that will clear the current civilized age.  Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock shows the reader that these deluge and new beginnings have occurred before, and will most probably happen again.

I was often bored in my studies of primitive culture.   But this book has made me re-examine my own beliefs about the ancients, especially the way that the primitive was taught in school.
The way antiquities was taught in high school and college seemed so cleaned up, sterile that I lost interest in the history.  But maybe there was more to the story.   The book renewed interest in re-reading Herodotus and Marco Polo.
 The one thing that was a stumbling block was that there was so much information that it was at times really really difficult to put all the evidence together and describe their meaning to my wife. I think one reason for this hodge podge of data is that Mr. Hancock, is so eager to share that he encumbers the reader with a deluge of data.
Graham asks the reader, "If there is a cataclysmic deluge what does civilization do to preserve the historical record?" He examines the preservation through examining myths, oral story telling, architecture, universal languages, astronomy, and the location of lost civilizations.

All in all I liked this book a lot and give it a hearty cluck cluck.          

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kennard Farmer Sings Soulfully

Kennard Farmer was a fellow section leader in her highschool band that my wife played in.  He played trumpet.  She played saxophone. He also worked with her at Subway.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being a Dickhead's (is so) Cool.

Here is my theme song!!!! I hope you all like it.  I love my life as a dickhead, and all my friends are dickheads two too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (Rick Reilly )

Game 7

And so the first-ever golf course Cow Chip Bingo game was, uh, formed.   
Shanks for Nothing  Rick Reily

Those were the wild days when my buddies and I would find a cow pasture and just play hack a ball.  We would play the ball where it laid no matter where it laid... we would watch for the farmer with the shot gun who had said, "You nasty kids stay off my farm."  But we were kids and we would all pile up in my pass me down Ford Taurus station wagon and head out onto Nelson Avenue.  We would find the old farmer asleep on Sundays watching John Elway help his hapless Broncos.  And we would take our clubs out of the back of the station wagon and start playing what we had titled "Cow Chip Bingo", because sometimes the ball would land in a cow pie and we would whack the literal shit off the ball.   We would be all mucked up by the dirty digging in the farmers field.  
Our parents would ask, "Where the heck have you been."
And we would say, "We were on old Ned's Farm playing golf."
That way of golf was probably what the Scottish hooligans had first in mind when they decided it a good thing to play, hack a ball, or cow chip bingo,  then some hifalutin old blarney who wanted to elevate the game to something respectable decided we need to play this game on the links.   

Rules of the Game
Choose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute. Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing.   Rush type it.   Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write. 
Happy 37th Birthday to Me, bring on 37 more

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (Hunter S. Thompson)

Game 6

But now a dozen years later, I wouldn't have recognized him anywhere but here, where I should have expected to find him, in the Paddock bar on Derby Day...fat slanted eyes and a pimp's smile, blue silk suit and his friends looking like crooked bank tellers on a binge..." The Great Shark Hunt Hunter S. Thompson page 36

It was always the crooked bank tellers that you had to watch out for.   All the time they played the part of respectable.  But when the ties came off, watch out, for that was the time that they got loose, i mean really loose.   They would order a pitcher of Coors light and share the pitcher with a buddy, so they only needed two glasses,   the noise of the bar was a terrible din.
 the women peered at the drunken bankers thinking to themselves
Hmmm, which one of these could make me set for life.   Which one of these prigs would help me never work again.   It was worth the work to find the right guy, the one that would forever be your prince charming. Especially when most men were anything but a Prince Charming.

The men's eyes were wrinkled with the weight of analysis,  looking at numbers gave your eyes a glean that made them dead to the world.   They were weighted with the tie of respectability.  They fell into the catch 22;  they told themselves they had won, but in reality they lost their rights to be free to be hip to the currents that run beneath the floorboards.  

 That was the game being played at the Paddock bar on Derby day,  not sure if anyone was drinking mint juleps,  but everyone wore white lenin trousers, and there where stains on the gentilemens shoes that looked suspecially as Mr. Hunter S. Thompson said, like vomit.   Everyone wore a nice respectable hat for a day at the races.  And Thompson was right from far away the clubhouse looks like a postcard from the Kentucky Derby; but when you get closer total bedlam.

Rules of the GameChoose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute. Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing.   Rush type it.   Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write.  Then compare what you wrote to what your chosen author wrote.

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (John Irving)

Don Quixote is my Ideal...
Dreaming of Saving his Damsel in

If there is a Damsel that wants saving.
Game 5
Socially, Jenny had that kind of graceless seriousness which  makes more frevilious people uncomfortable.
The World According to Garp John Irving

And boy I was one of those frevilious people, while she saved every cent to pay for her college, I was out with friends from the Nederlands.   I did not care what tomorrow would bring, as long as their were friends and plenty of drink.   But now I was supposed to have the bus money to get back to Egypt, and I was short of funds.   Man oh man.   What was I supposed to do, there was Jenny and there was me penniless.  Heck, what would you do if you were in the same situation?  I did not want to get stuck in Israel.  I tried to say no to my friends who wanted to take me out one more night.   But I couldn't turn them down.   I knew when I was spending that money that the money was going to be needed to get back, so why did I spend it?  I guess I was forced to be a vampire to the frugal Jenny.   I also knew that by asking her for funds there would be no chance for anything good out of it.   I would be missing my chance to make love to her, because she would see me as a frivolous man.  Oh the dangers of chasing windmills posed as giants.

Rules of the GameChoose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute. Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing.   Rush type it.   Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write.   Then when you are finished read the page 36 from the chosen book, and compare your prose to the authors.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Funny Ha Ha

Airplane is Packed for PDX

Thanks to Corry Doctorow and the Blog Boing BOing... this is so true, I went to college at Pacific University in Forest Grove Oregon, outside of Portland between 1993-1997.  By the way, the guy that is appearing in the ugly underwear, is not in the whole clip, that is just the clip they decided to rest on.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (John Nichols)

Game 4
Atiliano Montoya's misfortune was promptly forgotten in the hoopla stirred up by Charlie Parker's whale.
The Magic Journey by John Nichols

Charlie Parkers whale was huge.  Charlie Parker's whale was a blue, a magnetic blue, that pulled visitors into the open all night gas station, that served big hunkin cinneman rolls. On the back wall was a picture of Lyndon B. Johnson gives a howdy folks, welcome to the west, the president is big brother, and he is watching you.  Don't even think about doing wrong here because if you do then I will send the secret service out for you.   The blue whale brought in all sorts.  From noisy teenagers buying pixie sticks, to old men hoping their cars would make that icon in the desert, that proclaimed all cars are safe once they make this gas depot.   It was an oasis and offered the best prices in New Mexico, especially on route 17.  So folks from all around came in hopes of stretching the dollar because social security doesn't pay what it use to.   The desert wind whipped across the desolate plane.
Rules of the GameChoose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute.Game 3-5: 3 Minutes.
Game 6-7 5 Minutes.  

 Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing.   Rush type it.   Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write. 

Future-land Book Groups

No writer creates from scratch-we all engage in what Isaac Newton called, "standing on the shoulders of Giants."  We borrow, plunder, and remix the art and culture created by those around us and by our literary forebears.-Cory Doctorow in his book Little Brother.

What is the future of book clubs? How can libraries help reach and create communities of readers?  What or how do you engage online kids who do not gather in traditional ways. One place that works really good for Readers is Library Thing and Good Reads.
A good question, and here are some ideas.

1. Virtual Clubs  Does the club have to be in person? Could one do a game/virtual club.  They get points for reading certain book themes.  Then they get their picture or name posted on a board in a public place proclaiming their rank to the world.    (Everyone wants to be the pinball wizard, the high score earner).

2. One book One City  I remember when the Denver Public Libary did a Denver Reads book, and that was the official book for all of Denver. They had a lot of copies that could be checked out. You could create a club like that quarterly. Or twice a year. Or even once a year. That way you create a community of readers.

3. Tie in to Media  Mayhem in the Am. Get the hosts of Mayhem on the A.m. to do your PR by inviting them to partake in a Library Book Club where they read the book as a team and discuss it on air. Inviting callers to do the same. (Mayhem is the local Lakeland morning show on 1430 AM....) 

I am thinking that the bricks and mortar of the Library works well but sometimes we need to expand the walls due to there not be a traditional time where everyone can meet together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Attention Deficit Uccelo Responds

"It's just because of how he is dressed..... "
The grey, short cropped, business-man, riding the Bart transit under the bay bridge,  looked down at his I-Phone.  
"Oh my goodness Daryl Hannah, a grandmother.

"The horror.
The horror.
How Horrible."
She once was an icon of sensuality, at one time she was every sixteen year old lesbians passionate muse. But now...and then blurting aloud:
"The grotesque it just creeps me out, man."

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (Raymond Chandler)

Game 3: See Rules below.  The object is to continue a conversation with an author,  from a sentence of that author.
The girl at the desk in the Kenworthy said, "The man called you three times.  Lieutenant but he wouldn't give a number.  A lady called twice.  Wouldn't leave name or number."
Raymond Chandler The Simple Art of MurderShort Story: Spanish Blood (A future Look at this scene.)
My automated voice answering service told me when I checked my phone.   My friends had been attempting to call me, and they assumed I knew who it was that called.  Go figures.   I tried the voice recognition software that I had installed on my phone, but the phone came up with a possibility of 20 girls and 20 boys total.  Should I call each person.   That seemed time consuming, and some of those people I would rather not talk to.   Technology offered solutions but at a price.  What a price?  Time was supposed to be saved by technology, but now I felt obligated to call each of the forty people and see if they were the one.   Are you the one who called me.  Yes or no,  I should write an email to all my friends, but then  I would seem out of touch with reality.

Oh technology, thou art, a time consuming succubus.

Rules of the GameChoose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute. Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing.   Rush type it.   Be sufficiently caffeinated. Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goodnight Dune

My Brothers Favorite Book,
 Illustrated in the World of Frank Herbert 
Check out more of your favorite science fiction books mixed with your favorite children's book at: Hilobrow.

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (H.P. Lovecraft)

Game II

It is said in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no none may kill a cat, and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him sitteth purring before the fire. H.P. Love Craft Dreams of Terror and Death

But my allergies do render me near death, from the dander of the cat.   The cat smiles at me, knowingly, distrubing me, every day that cat rubs her fur on me and my allergies rend me hopeless.  The air is full of that feline dander that renders me into my asthmatic spats.   I hate rules like this cat shall not be eaten on Thursdays before noon and 3:30, but on this planet this cat must never ever be eaten.   Felines make such great meals.   But now I am regressing into senseless hyperbole.

 Rules of the GameChoose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute. Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing. Written to the Podcast Ones and Zeros. 
  Rush type it. Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Page 36 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 (Gary W. Babb)

Here is something fun. Choose any book in your library (fiction is best).  With the book in your hands, turn  the page to your current age.  Mine is 36, so I will be using page 36 of that book.   From the first full paragraph on that page, type/write out the first sentence.  Then from that sentence write, for one minute, (start out small) timed.  Allow yourself to write anything that comes to your mind, for a whole minute. Do not self censor.  Music may aid in this discover writing. Written to the Podcast Ones and Zeros.
  Rush type it. Don't work for quality, work for continuous writing.  Just keep typing the whole minute.  Don't stop.  Don't think, just write.
One site that is really good at this is the One Minute Writer.

Here is my example: from Earth is Ours by Gary W. Babb:

In spite of everything, life had been good and he had been blessed with another soul mate to share life after he had lost Linda.
Losing Linda was traumatic one day she was there, the next day she was gone.  One day on the counter, there was a not that read: Dear Gregorio.  I can't stand this anymore.  You have been lazy, refusing to help me with the chores.  You sit there all day in front of the computer, and do not say what you said you would do.   We use to have such fun together and now you have become one of those ugly mean who wear wife beaters to K-Mart.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Man in The High Castle-A Review

The Man in the High CastleThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Cluck It Loud.  A Good Book Worth Reading.

Well this book is fully loaded; and my review for it has taken a long time.  Part of the reason for the long time, is the fear that I will not quit get the gist of the book, how do I summarize something that is so broad in its perspective.
The first time I saw Blade Runner, and then heard that it was an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, I fell in love with Philip K. Dick's mind, and his imagined worlds. I felt "cool" watching it and wanted to walk into that world.

I have always been attracted to the foreign feel of new places.   The cantina in Star Wars, the hyper reality of Cool World, the funny world found in Tank Girl,  were places that I explored in my dreams. I participated in this world once in Israel, at the London Underground, with a few friends from Belgium. A story for another time perhaps!?

So all of these thoughts and more kept me from writing a review of a good book. But as it is said in the movie Risky Business, "Sometimes you got to say what the... hey."

In some ways the story is an easy go.  It takes place in Denver, and San Francisco; in a future reality of 1964 America, but a 1964 America that did not occur. This world is ruled by both Japan and Germany after their winning of World War II (bummer).  Denver is in the DMZ, the no man's land between two great powers.
What gets complicated is the premise of the story: "What would happen if...or why we see what we see when we see it?"  What is the power that shapes our reality?  What happens to the people that are caught between hither and tether, when trifles clutter up a landscape?  How does one get out of the flotsam and jetsam universe one is currently a participant in?

Philip K Dick's answer to these questions lies in the infrastructure of ones current reality.   If one understands the infrastructure then one is better equipped with dealing with the flow of reality. Thus Robert Childan attempts to hold onto hope through his American Artitistic Handcrafts an American antique business.   His creed is that antiques have power to mold reality.  He cherishes the former pre-war Americana.  The authentic value of the past anchors the reality of the near future.

"Art or something not life is long, stretching out endless, like concrete worms. (Dick 184)

The artifact's value is assessed by the historians, critics and curators of antiquities.  Alexander pope wrote of this valuable role in his essay on criticism in 1711;
Critic fanned the poet's fire,
 And taught the world with Reason to Admire. 
 Then criticism the muses Handmaid proved 
to Dress her charms, and make her more beloved.
 The Critic creates a community of enabled others to embrace the art.
The individual does not matter, as long as there are key players to play specific parts.  The parts and past actions are only successful by their effect on the future.  "What has happened here is justified by what happens later." or Alexander Pope said, "It self unseen, but in the effects remain."
Time itself is the only variable that is not affected by outside forces.Time is played out by it's own rhythm of uncontrollable variables.   The role of the artist, is to seize time, freeze it, and make a shrine to that moment in time.

The artist provides the public a way to pause and reflect on their experience.

 "And if one person finds his way-that means there is a way An artist provides a way.

Once the art is created the critic puts order to the art.Critics frame our world viewpoint.  Who/what is the good, the weird, the obscene, and the copied.   The holy, the vile and the diabolical are shaped by the words of a critic.   The critic/historian shapes how facts are used in the retelling of the stream of time.  History is merely a tool, a gun from the Civil War Era, a lighter in the pocket of an assassinated president.

Give this book to your favorite libertarian so they can reflect and write about today's American Experience.

Flag of Brittany 

View all my reviews

Friday, December 10, 2010

Deli Clerk Has Work To Do

The customer yelled at the Deli Clerk, "You suck, you have no all."
She lit the air with her anger.
The deli clerk was trying his best, but today was not a good day. 

"There are days your best isn't close to being good enough."

Where did this comment originate? Why did it fall on the clerk?  Why this moment and not the next.  The customer had built up to this moment; she awaited a moment when she would be able to tell someone off.

The tension of the day had mounted, bill collectors, unsatisfied customers, angry bosses, annoying coworkers, boredom, her kid's Christmas wishes hanging in balance, all had boiled up to this moment in the grocery store.

And now she had her moment.
She did not hesitate.
She aimed and fired.
The flare of angered synapses hung in mid air.
The clerk stood stun and look back with a filthy grin, and a deadened look.  Mam, you can feel anyway you like but you can't stop me from helping you. Bring it on.  I got a job to do.

The Wrestler Knows the Pain

          ANGLE ON Take-A-Number sign. It reads NOW SERVING: 54
          A crowd of AGGRAVATED CUSTOMERS stand waiting at the counter.
          A FAT GUY in a motorized cart clutching a 71 throws a fellow
          customer a "Do you believe these morons?" eye roll.
          Behind the counter are Randy and a COWORKER. Randy is putting
          a block of Havarti onto the slicer. He moves lackadaisically,
          Wayne, noticing as he roams past, heads over.
                    Let's pick it up. Rush hour.
          Wayne gives him TWO QUICK CLAPS and walks off. Randy adjusts
          the machine's setting and begins to slice. He isn't moving
          much faster.
                CUSTOMER #1 (O.S.)               CUSTOMER #2 (O.S.)
          While we're young...             Any year now...
          Randy keeps right on slicing at his unhurried pace. He gets
          in a nice, meditative groove.
          Slice, slice, slice, slice, slice...
          He watches as his thumb inches closer to the spinning blade.
          He stares at his thumb. At the blade. His thumb.
          Blood squirts everywhere. On his coat. On the deli meat.
          Randy stares at the DEEP GASH, watching as blood pulses out
          in crimson surges. He smiles strangely at it.
          A customer GASPS. A commotion quickly spreads.
                                 WAYNE (O.S.) (CONT'D)
          Randy turns and sees a shocked Wayne rushing toward him.
          Wayne takes Randy's arm and tries to lead him into the back,
          out of view.
                              WAYNE (CONT'D)
                        (conscious of customers
                    Let's get that patched up.
          Randy roughly SHOVES him away. Wayne stumbles backwards.
          Randy, turning toward the onlookers, raises his thumb to his
          face. He dramatically smears the BLOOD ACROSS HIS MOUTH.
          Customers GASP. A woman SHRIEKS.
          Randy drags the gash across his cheek. He SMEARS A LINE OF IT
          under each eye like WARPAINT.
                        (striking wrestling pose)
                    Let's get it onnn!
                    Somebody call the cops!
          Randy ROARS at Wayne. Wayne JUMPS BACK, frightened. Randy
          rumbles out of the deli area LAUGHING.
          Randy dashes down an aisle. He dodges a WOMAN PUSHING A
          SHOPPING CART, purposely "over-dodging" her so he CRASHES
          INTO THE SHELVES and sends stuff flying. He dodges ANOTHER
          SHOPPER, dramatically crashing into the shelves again.
          Randy charges past the CASHIERS, out of the supermarket.

Courtesy of the IMSDB

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Gladiator by Harry Turtledove

The Gladiator (Crosstime Traffic, #5)The Gladiator by Harry Turtledove
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Age Level: Young Adult
A great book for young adult readers.   For me it lost some of its flow when it went into exposition, and explanation of cold war politics.   However, for the younger reader it would be a great book.  The book   was interesting enough to finish, and gave me a new appreciation for Harry Turtledove.  I also have a renewed appreciation of the liberty enjoyed here in the United States of America.  I plan to read more Turtledove in the future, especially the Guns of the South.

View all my reviews

Friday, December 3, 2010

Beer Good! Yummy!

Here are 3 links to some of my favorite beer sites on the Web. I hope you enjoy.
1. Beer Advocate: They rank different beers for ya, and it is a very useful site.
2. Brews and Books: He loves Beer. He loves Books. What a great combination.

  1. 3. Cigar City Brewing: I should have bought the six pack but I thought heck one beer will be enough. Oops. Sorry guys.  4. Pliny the Elder: When I mentioned this beer to the clerk at Whole Foods her eyes got really big, and her mouth began to water, unfortunately we can't get this beer in Orlampa area. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mefisto in Onyx

Mefisto in OnyxMefisto in Onyx by Harlan Ellison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found the book by strolling through the Lakeland Public Library in the Science Fiction Section, I saw a smaller book in the H's. The title had both Frank Miller and Harlan Ellison on it, neat o!
Then I read the intro flap that said this book is addictive and has to be read in one sitting.
I thought "Yeah, I bet one sitting."
 I am really feeling inattentive today so in no way would this challenge be applied to me. I usually do not finish books in one time.
But then I read the name Bester. Oh, Oh, they speak of one of the Science Fiction icons.  Alfred Bester compared to this book, I have got to read it.
So I did. I began to read and could not put it down, way to cool.
One of those detective psychological thrillers with the tension of a tight wire suspended to a bridge.  And it was worth the read, every second of it.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Origami: Folding-Fears

We all have phobias*.  Some of these phobias are life preserving (e.g. Rattlesnakes), others are just our fears of not being good enough (e.g. I might fail).   Today I have decided to take on my fear of folding paper in the ancient practice called Origami.  Origami started in the 17th century, folding cranes was a practice done for weddings in ancient Japan.**
I have always had a fear of failing to fold things properly.  I got tired of people trying to help a poor cerebal palsy kid learn how to fold paper properly.  I have learned to not even try.
 But I need to face that fear and enjoy the process of folding paper.   I promise to myself that I will allow myself to fail, or to work a long time on the little art.  I know that in time I can get good at anything I put my mind to; but at first the origami creations may not look so good. But with God all things are possible, and I shall not fear but go forward into the folded future.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bridge on the San Luis Rey: A Quick Review

The Bridge of San Luis ReyThe Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

It was a good short read, about relationships.  A book that is  a morality tale about the sorted lives of five victims of a collapsed bridge.  
The bridge collapses as the key relationships in the characters lives fall apart.
 Not sure why it was on the list for the 200 best books from the Modern Library.  It seems that a number of books in the Modern Library 200 are not enjoyed by everyone.  Come join the group on Good Reads Modern Library 100.    But at least it was short, and to the point, and did not meander through the valley.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Man or Astro Man Unofficial Reading List Book

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional UniverseHow to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Think of a refrigerator box, a normal kitchen clock, and a dad and a son, mix in time travel, and you have a bit of what the book "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is all about.

A boy learns that if you bend life too much than "you might end up over there."pg 45. The book is an answer to what it means to group in a Science Fictional Universe.

Charles Yu, the author, seems to confirm my suspicion that good Science Fiction is a conversation with the great science fiction writers of the past. Good science fiction is a continuation of the dialog begun by Herbert, Asimov, Bradbury, and Vance; as well as a dialog with scientists who hope to bring new ideas to light (e.g. David Deutsche and his book: Fabric of Reality). He seems to be telling the reader, read this book, then write it again in your own point of view.

The message that I gained was find those moments where you are the actual man you are and live in this light with much rejoicing. live in the science fiction possibility world.

If my description of the book seems a tad abstract, then your right this book is a tad abstract. But well worth the Read. There is just way too much here to tell you all of it, but you should check this book out. Then write me back and let me know what you think of it.

Read with Man or Astro Man for Full Pleasure Experience.  Also read before or after, "The Fabric of Reality" David Deutsch. How to Life Safely in A Scientific Universe is a continuation in a fictional form of the ideas expressed in the Fabric of Reality.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Random Thoughts from How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

Its as if our lives are sucked into some type of Worm Hole 
What is it that maintains stasis, that gets people sucked into the lives they lead.  What makes them stuck in a time loop? An indefinite time loop?  Why do some people keep thrusting forward while others take a back seat?  What shapes our POV on forward motion?

n(Mathematics) a straight line that is closely approached by a plane curve so that the perpendicular distance between them decreases to zero as the distance from the origin increases to infinity.
So the closer we get to truth the further we are from that truth. We never really meet at ground zero.  We never get folded back in.

Random book, random thoughts, random Guy.
Gregorio Roth

Monday, November 22, 2010

To fly to drive that is the Quesiton?

Escape Velocity Here I Come
To fly, or not to fly, that is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The rattling in an oppressive tin can,
high in the air, not being able to move,
for at least an hour and a half,
Or to drive against traffic for three or four days,
Would I ever get to Grandma's house.
To drive, to sleep at a truck stop
because all of the hotels are booked-solid,
No Vacancy Rules!!!
due to a baseball tournament in Idaho.
No More; of this stupid traffic jam in Atlanta.
The heart-ache and the thousand cars stuck in a mouse trap.
My flesh is heir to; sitting in this car for way to long.
Devoutly to be wished.  To drive, or to fly,
To fly, perchance we will be home sooner.  Ay, there's the rub;
For in that oppressive tin can, dreams may come,
When we finally get down to it,
Must give us pause-there's the respect
That comes with visiting family.

Idea for this piece of writing came from Bary Lane's - Reviser's Toolbox; a great resource for the beginning writer.   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mulengro: Charles De Lint (Review)

Mulengro Charles De Lint (Review)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mulengro is seeking vengeance and purification of the Gypsies (Romany) who have gone astray in modern culture;  will the Gypsies be able to stand up to this dark force?

I enjoyed the thought that everything is possible, and our eyes can't perceive everything rationally. .
This book examines clearly what is real and what is more real... Jeff can't believe his eyes. Modern  science excuses this as him having a concussion. But the gypsies see another world... and their eyes have not been so conditioned as the non gypsies.
"A Question of seeing Gaji only saw what they wanted to see." p.191

De Lint’s master stroke in Mulengro is, 360 degree POV, and shifting perspectives.  He shows character motivation for all of his characters, none of the characters are flat-cut out props.
The tension builds with the shifting of viewpoints, growing deeper and deeper into the climax of the story.  But then  when the tension rises to its highest point, De Lint inserts an amusing comment from the talking cat Boboko.

De Lint is a master at revealing the motivations of his cahracters.  One even has sympathy for the devil, here  Mulengro the evil one, can be met with an “hmmm maybe he is right to do what he is doing. Haven’t the gypsies gone astray in modern life, shouldn’t he want to purify the gypsies from gypsies who have gone astray."  What does it mean to purify a race to make a stronger group?How does a community get pulled away from its clear roots?  What rips the goodness out a community?

Mulengro is addictive fiction, The book's flow is one that is not easily put down.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Drowning in Books: A solution.

Have you tried to do a reading schedule*? I have had the same problem of feeling in a serious book slump? or that I have so many books I want to read that I am drowinging in them!!!! I am prone to this because of my ADHD.

While reading through the board discussion list of the Modern 100 Group on Good Reads, there was a question that I decided to answer.   The reader said that he was in a book slump because he had so many books to read, and did not know where to start.    I had to find a solution for this, I was becoming  very frustrated at not reading books or only reading the first 100 pages then putting them down, ashamed, and feeling down on myself; only to start the cycle again and again.  I felt like I was the king on the hill who every day has his entrails ripped out, only to have to do this again and again and again.  something had to be done about this syndrome, so I found a solution for now; here it is.  

I adhere to the rule:  read only one non fiction and one fiction book at a time.  This saved my back from having to carry 20 books I plan to read that week.***

 Then I look at the books I want to read and think how long I want to take on each book, Star Wars Pulp Stories read fast, so I allow myself no more than three days.** But a classic book I allow myself to savor the words and read it in 7 days. If I am lagging then I reassign the reading time to be shorter so that I am forced to skim over the book, and not get hyper focused on a book that does not interest me.  

Then I put the reading time on a calender and this is the time I allocate for it.  I read the book.  Then I write a review of the book , this gives me a sense of completion for the story.

Right now I have scheduled my fiction books up to January. (See Second Page for listing).

Hope this helps all those who feel they can't get the reading they would like to get done.  
Gregorio Roth

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To listen or not to listen?

Reading according to Websters Dictionary is an  activity of interpreting music, a situation, or something said or written.   But it also means to be able to read a written or printed text.  Today one can read in a variety of formats; the traditional format can be read on the computer, on one's kindle, or on a traditionally bounded set of printed words.  But also reading is now being defined as listening to books; the reader can listen to complete books via audio c.d.s or via a MP3 file, on their computer.

But is listening to an audio book reading?  Does listening to a book constitute the same experience as reading one?  Will the reader's reaction to the book be influenced by the listening experience?  Some authors have published and read their own works on an Audio format.  Neil Gammon read his Graveyard Book and recorded it onto C.D..  I ponder if my liking Fahrenheit 451 was due me listening to it, and not reading it.  Bradbury is a really good oral story teller, but is his writing good?  Hmm we ponder!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Worth Clucking: Girl Talk

Oh No by Girl Talk is one of the best tracks I have heard in a long time.
Lately, I have been bored with music... but this gets me excited again.  Mr. Brian Morris suggested that I check this band out.  I am glad he did, because they are truly awesome.  Kind of a Dick Vitale, "It's awesome baby... ptp in da house." (note: some of y'all may not like them, for they do not always keep it clean, but listen to the musicology of these guys and y'all be loving them.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fahrenheit 451 (A Review)

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fahrenheit 451 is a story set in the future, told as a parable* about the role of the critic/teacher and the independent reader.  The book takes place in a future where literature is burned and thinking is a Capital Crime.   The only books allowed in this future dystopia are those that don't make you think, like Richie Rich or Archie comic books.  The big thing you can ask questions, but don't ask why, never ask why.  The main characters Montag and Faber battle against each other in war between the preservation of books and the need to burn them all.
The characters in the story represent the battle between readers and those that stand in the way of the reader.   Montag represents the blank piece of paper.  Faber represents a pencil with an eraser.   Faber desires to graft the critics wholesome viewpoint on the blank unwritten mind.  Faber types feel the best way to keep the people mailable is through the work of firemen, the maintainers of ignorance. The defenders of the thinkers are the librarians who maintain the critical mind by safeguarding valuable books.
Teachers sterilize the independent yearning of students when they dictate what one should think about this or that book.   Society stands conditioned as trained morons, to use Prussian systematization to condition our future to be like drones thinking with homogenized answer.  The homogenized answer is a problem in a divergent complex world.
The group discussion at the Larry Jackson Library was indepth, and full of insight. Don't miss next month's book discussion at the Main Library or the Jackson Library on the book: Emily's Ghost.

Fahrenheit 451 is a Classic Tale-and I liked it a lot!!!

(Listened to this on Audio C.D. Read for B.S.I. Lakeland.)

*(a short story that uses familiar events to illustrate a religious or ethical point)

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Cannibals Pertake Body Sushi Extreme

 Last night I saw an article that struck me as quit sick.  A restaurant nearby is   promoting body sushi, where you eat pieces of sushi off of a model.   This is to me a depraved way to enjoy food.  I feel that things like Body Sushi can easily lead to the above sketch, its just a matter of degrees.) This is a sketch of an idea, I could not write the full story as it scared me too much, I just wanted a rough sketch here.  

The beautiful model laid on the cloth covered table, deliciously lathered with special seasoning, her body was covered with pieces of meat.

The master sushi chefs were preparing the main course.

The spacemen were awakening their sensual pleasures.

The men sat in another room enjoying the beautiful bodies simulating sexual pleasures.  The clients sat with their lips quivering in anticipation of the full course.  .   The men awaited smoking cigars and swapping stories told too many times at the mahogany stained table.  And yes, on space capsule Xeron, their were strip joints modeled after the old legends of Hustler, Penthouse, and Playboy.  The stories of the men whispered up with the smoke.

Strippers danced on poles, teasing the spacemen who stared.  Their breasts were sprayed down with glitter, the disco ball reflected on the women's glittery breasts, shinning faeries on the wall.   The space traveler's  hard ons were hidden beneath the lacquered oak dark stained table. Some of the men were business men signing contracts and entertaining clients, others were space cowboys on leave. Some of the men joistled with their dicks, while others played with their straws in their pink Cosmos.  All of the men were guilty of a feeling that they were about to do something not quite right.

"Gentlemen!"  The steward spoke,  "Please join me in the pleasure den, where tonight we have a real surprise!!!"

The men arose from their tables and followed the steward to a back room.

This practice has been outlawed on Earth, but here on planet X we think not.  This is a special event which we offer you to participate in tonight.   We ask that you show decorum and not fight over the pieces of meat from the model-Angelic.   Angelic will not feel a thing, I promise you,  for she has been thoroughly drugged.  So stick your knives and forks into her flesh, and carve her up boys! She's all yours!!!!

If their is any thing that my stewards and I can get you to make your night more enjoyable let us know, we will be happy to assist you.  And we hope y'all have a great night here."

The night commenced in bloody mayhem.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gods and Mortals (A Review)

Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical MythsGods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths by Nina Kossman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book that takes a modern look at classical greek mythology.  A great reference to making the mythic relevant in this troubling time. Why Myths? -from the Introduction the editor Nina Kossman explains why myths resonate with our 21st century lives.
"The venerable tradition of doing a Greek mask is often used by poets in order to speak of things they would have found difficult to approach otherwise."xix  Kossman believes that truth is found in the pure expression of the arts, "If we think we know the answers, it is because the questions were first posed in antiquity... And perhaps it is because the myths echo the structure of our unconscious that every new generation of poets finds them inexhaustible source of inspiration and self-recognition."xx

One example of a poem I really dig is Zbigniew Hebert's Old Prometheus:
He writes his memoirs. He is trying to explain the place of the hero in a system of necessities, to reconcile the notion of existence and fate that contradict each other.

Fire is crackling gaily in the fireplace, in the kitchen his wife bustles about- an exalted girl who did not bear him a son, but is convinced she will pass into history anyway. Preparations for supper: the local parson is coming, and the pharmacist, now the closest friends of Prometheus.

The fire blazes up. On the wall, a stuffed eagle and a letter of gratitude from the tyrant of the Caucasus, who successfully burned down a town in revolt because of Prometheus's discovery.

Prometheus laughs quietly. Now it is the only way of expressing his disagreement with the the world.
Translated from the Polish by John and Bogdana Carpenter. Gods and Mortals Modern Poems on Classical Myths ed. Nina Kossman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).

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Gods and Mortals Modern Poems on Classical Myths ed. Nina Kossman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991),

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Reads: A Good Experience

Good Reads is a terrific social media site for all readers.  The web site provides a place to share lists, ideas, discussions, reviews, and previews.  Also the site offers quizzes and trivia contests to keep the mind sharp.   Readers here promote reading as a pleasure sport.

  If you are in a reading group, this is a good place to meet before your "live event".  I currently have a group space for the Book Sandwiched In Lakeland Public Library Group discussing this  month's current book. Why don't you drop by Good Reads sometime and I will show you around!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land: Review of....

Stranger in a Strange LandStranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heinlein is a master of the literary craft.  Here in Stranger in a Strange Land he interweaves human relations, large ideas (theology), and the art of the story. The story a Stranger in a Strange Land takes place in a New America, that is one world ordered hegemony.  The world has made missions to mars and has set up a space colony there.  The space colony had been deserted on the planes of Mars.  The man from mars is found after many years of exposure to an alien race. The climax resolves whether Michael Valentine Smith will be excepted by the people of Earth.  At times this book gets bogged down in Heinlein's philosophy, so it can be a difficult read. 

What I liked about the book is its deep analysis of Faith. Heinlein first looks at the cult of the Fosterites. A cult where everyone is happy, and everyone thinks as a one happy unit.  (I would like to go deeper into describing the Fosterites, but I am afraid that this would lead you down a rabbit hole and would maybe bore you deeply.) 
Then he looks at how Michael Valentine Smith twists the Abrahamic religions to make a cult that combines elements of Confucius, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism.  
The religion is based on the wisdom of the old ones (Confucius).  (I am only all that I Grok.(Buddhism)) The perfect wisdom of the elders is not to be disputed at all.   The cult members become entwined by a sharing of water together.  They see each other as all Gods.(Brahman Hindu)  Thou art god and so are my Guinea pigs and Lovebird.  The religion replaces God and put man in God’s place, this allows man to worship created things.
When God’s proper place, to be above all, is replaced all is left in Chaos.  A chaos I imagine to be like the ending of the Demolished Man by Alfred Bester.  This chaos is a place of no form at all, the lizard eats his own tail and poof he is no longer. 
Because man is now God like, the divine things are the things that connect man in deeper communication.  Sex is seen as sharing deeper with many people.  The communal orgasm is sacred, a great religious experience.(Athenian Greek Goddess Cults)  Cannibalism is the holiest way to die for it is taking the spirit of the other deeply into the body of the collective (Native American Ritual).
Stranger in a Strange Land  raised the questions: 
What does it mean to be both God and man? 
Why could not Joseph and Mary give birth to the messiah? 
Why did it need to be a virginal birth?    
What becomes lost when the Messiah is merely a superman?
(Loved this book and Clucked it Loud)

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