Mad Times

“To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.” – Wendell Berry

January 14th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

New lost glove site

For those lost glove fans who’ve stayed with me since I gave up the addiction, point your browser over to where a fellow is posting some lovely glove pictures along with little snippets of their stories written from the gloves’ point of view. Wonderful stuff. Go look.

January 5th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

When preeminent SF/Fantasy publisher Tor Books was rolling out their dangerously addicting new community at, they offered a truly ridiculous number of free ebooks as enticements to come check it out. I dutifully ferreted them all away and loaded a stack of them onto my Palm LifeDrive. This is the first one I’ve read.

It’s the first book of the “Long Price Quartet” (nobody ever said the folks at Tor weren’t savvy). The first section is set in an orphanage/school for the unwanted younger sons of noble families. But the school’s workings are just odd enough to distinguish them from those of every other such setting in the history of fantasy literature. The school section turns out to be mostly a prologue as the second section leaps ahead by many years and initially follows an unexpected character from the opening.

While the setting of the later sections of the book is reminiscent of many other such fantasy worlds in its broad strokes (I kept being reminded of Delany’s Nevèrÿon in particular), again, the details distinguish it. And I am loath to be more specific because much of the pleasure of the book is in having your expectations repeatedly tweaked. I’ll just say that the overall story is one of court intrigue and coming of age all set in a world of ubiquitous and varied human (and inhuman) (and inhumane) bondage (and not the fun sexy kind).

While I enjoyed the book, I was a little frustrated with the plot and pacing. It felt like not quite enough events stretched across a little too much book. Still, the rotating point of view characters were all interesting enough to keep me paging along. I’ll probably give the second book a try next time there’s a gap in the queue.

January 4th, 2009 at 5:43 pm



I posted a batch of photos today that includes a bunch of different kitties, so hie thee to my Kitties set on Flickr for all the feline goodness.

January 1st, 2009 at 10:45 pm

2008 media review

In 2008 I read about 52 books which is pretty good compared to the last few years. There are a couple of reviews I haven’t posted yet. I’ll try to get those up soon.

We also watched a bunch of movies (about 80). Here’s a list of what we saw and what we thought of them.

The notes are about where we saw the movie and who saw it. “T” indicates we saw it in the theater (only 3 for me plus 1 more for Becky). Other letters indicate who attended. The default is Becky and me. If just “J” or “B” appear then only the one of us saw it.

rating Title Notes
**** Juno T
**** Young At Heart
***+ Away From Her
***+ Broadcast News
***+ Charlie Wilson’s War
***+ Enchanted
***+ Iron Man T
***+ Lars and the Real Girl
***+ Margo at the Wedding
***+ Me and You and Everyone We Know
***+ Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
***+ Nine Lives
***+ Women, The (Cukor) B
*** 10 Items Or Less
*** Appaloosa T B w/ Lorna
*** Atonement
*** Better Than Sex
*** Blades of Glory
*** Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
*** Bourne Ultimatum
*** Croupier, The
*** Dan in Real Life
*** Double Happiness repeat
*** Eagle vs. Shark
*** Grace Is Gone
*** How to Steal a Million B
*** Ira & Abby
*** Kamikaze Girls
*** Michael Clayton
*** Savages, The
*** Two Days In Paris
*** Visitor, The T w/ L&A
*** Wilby Wonderful
*** Yes
*** Zodiac
**+ Across the Universe
**+ Becoming Jane
**+ Blue State B
**+ Broken English
**+ Cake
**+ Control
**+ Darjeeling Limited
**+ Dying Gaul, The
**+ Gone Baby Gone
**+ Gotcha!
**+ How To Save A Marriage (and ruin your life) B
**+ I’m Not There
**+ Inside Man
**+ Jane Austen Book Club B
**+ Legend (dir cut) J
**+ Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, The
**+ Long Life, Happiness, and Prosperity
**+ Nancy Drew
**+ Ocean’s Thirteen
**+ Outing Reilly
**+ Recount
**+ Ruby in the Smoke, the bbc
**+ Somersault
**+ Strange Bedfellows B
**+ Transformers
**+ Tropic Thunder
**+ Trust the Man
**+ Who Killed the Electric Car
**+ Who Was That Lady? B
** Be Kind Rewind
** Bubble Boy
** Charlie Bartlett
** Cypher
** Happy Endings
** I Could Never Be Your Woman B
** I’m With Lucy B
** Italian Job, The
** Mr Magorium’s Magic Emporium
** My Blueberry Nights B: okay J: pretty good
** Sex and the City
** Sunshine
** Two Brothers and a Bride B
*+ Golden Compass, The
*+ Purple Violets
*+ Year of the Dog
* Jabberwocky J

That doesn’t include everything we watched that we’d seen before (a few repeats are included as noted). We don’t actually use stars when we rate movies, we use words. I’ve translated our “Don’t Miss” to ****, “Pretty Good” to ***, “Okay” to **, and “Don’t Bother” to * if that helps you make sense of this.

Seeing them sorted by rating like this always causes us to rethink some of our decisions, but what’s here is what we thought of them shortly after seeing them.

In other anal-retentive data mining, we returned 113 disks to Netflix this year. In July we bought a set-top box that lets us watch Netflix stuff on demand over the internet. Looks like we’ve used that for 160 items since then which seems like a lot until you know that it counts individual tv show episodes. Here’s a summary of the TV shows we watched (we still don’t do cable or anything, so these were all on dvd or on-demand):

  • That 70′s Show (season 5)
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
  • The Wire (still working on season 1)
  • Pushing Daisies (season 1) Love this show!
  • Criminal Minds (still working on season 1)
  • Heroes (season 2)
  • Coupling (season 1, 2, 3, & 4) LOVE this show!
  • 30 Rock (season 1 & 2)

output here