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Jun. 4th, 2014

Wash and Dinos

Odds and Ends

I meant to write something along the lines of "OMG, I'm OLD Get off my goddamned lawn!" about seeing Xmen last weekend. Then I got lazy and didn't. So, there you go. Let's toss out some odds and ends:

* I've gotten to the age where a loud theater full of popcorn munchers (who really thought loud popcorn was a perfect mix with films?), chatty Cathies who don't know how to whisper, the assholes who answer their phones IN the theater and try to carry on a conversation during a fuckin' movie (seriously, wt-fucking-f? Unless someone died or you're getting a job offer, gtfo before you even answer), the Family Living Room (Leave your rats at home if they can't behave in a theater. It's not your living room for running around from seat to seat), and the cheerleaders who need to whoop!whoop! at every fortuitous turn for the protagonists just ANNOY the fuck outta me. I'm now the type that likes to go to a movie when the theater is at least half empty and no one is sitting within 15 feet of me. And yes, I go to the theater alone. JUDGE ME.

* I wish Facebook had a way to tag and search posts. I've fallen into a fairly regular habit of linking music videos (hallelujah, YouTube!) and would like to be able to just recall them all by grabbing a tag. I've linked some awesome shit over the years...

* I am, largely, a pessimist. But there is one occasion where I am a super optimist: I am convinced that every interview went well (unless it went hideously) and that I am going to get offered any job. SO I pop onto Craigslist, start googling apartments and shit, and get all convinced that my life is gonna change. I should know better by now, yeah?

* Speaking of, is the market picking up? I've had a lot more attention lately. Is the economy and/or legal market actually getting better? Please god, say yes.

* I am a good friend. You should know this. People should know this and be nicer to me. :P

* I've been writing a bunch of poetry lately. Largely because I have a major case of technology induced ADD. I hate standing in lines because there's NOTHING to do. But lately, I've been writing more and now I have Google Keep, which is my new favorite toy. Here's something I wrote either in bed at 3 a.m. or standing in a line somewhere.

Giants
I want to live beyond regret
Free from doubt
I want to chase the stars to the end of the verse
Without getting lost in these dreams of mine
We are who we are
I am who I am
I want to be a giant
Standing on the shoulders of giants

Can you hear what I say?
Can you see what I see?
Can you feel what I feel?
Build it up
Break it down
Tear it up
Build it down

I want to live beyond fear
Free from second thoughts
I want to chase the sun beyond the clouds
Without melting these wings of mine
We are who we are
I am who I am
I want to be a giant
Standing on the shoulders of giants

Can you hear what I scream?
Can you see what I create?
Can you feel what I bleed?
Build it up
Break it down
Tear it up
Build it down

I want to see what you see
I want to hear what you hear
I want to feel what you feel
I want to taste what you taste
When you look at me

Build it up
Break it down
Tear it up
Build it down
We are who we are
I am who I am
I want to be a Giant
Standing on the shoulders of Giants

(I never said it was any good, LOL.)

* Being an adult is expensive. New haircut for job interview. Car Insurance. Smog Tests. Credit Card Payments. Rent. Vehicle Registration. Dry Cleaning. Yak Yak Yak. Why does anyone bother? Booze? Sex? The ability to stay up until 4 am without someone yelling at you to go to bed?

May. 22nd, 2014

Wash and Dinos

GOJIRA! RAAAWWWWKKKKK!

I wish I could say I was excited to see this, but let's be honest: monster movies are generally filled with suck (e.g. Pacific Rim). Still, it was a slow Thursday, I was bored, and I had a free pass to burn since the 3D was broken on Captain America and I had to watch it with one eye closed (Don't ask). Also, 73% of critics and 75% of audience members said it was good on RT.

Clearly both the critics and audience members alike are drooling idiots.

I'll give you the two positives: There was some genuinely gorgeous cinematography, particularly when Gojira was ducking in and out of clouds/smoke, and the throwback posters and stuff on the walls was nerdy fun. That's all you get though for good stuff.

Now, as far as plot, I can't remember the last time I saw a dumber U.S. military. I'm really not kidding. But then again, I'm not sure I've seen dumber super secret, presumably well-funded enough to attract top notch talent worldwide scientists before. Ken Watanabe, playing our token Japanese guy in a Japanese Monster Movie, rasps his way through some horseshit about Gojira being the King of Nature's Balance? Dafuk? Your organization - and you - have been studying these things for decades and you can't figure out if they're flammable? Allergic to Potassium? Susceptible to Hydrochloric Acid? Weak to Holy? Bueller? The sum total of decades of research is "radiation is like wasabi to these guys."

But, wait for it, you stash these things in the most radioactive places you can find: A power plant and Yucca Fuckin' Mountain?!

No wonder the military, led by Admiral BlowShitUp, won't listen.

Speaking of the military, let's talk about how the writers can't tell the difference between NATO and the US Navy because, hey, Token Black Guy shows up on behalf of NATO, but then we're off to the USS Saratoga (aka USS Mission Not Accomplished) and, wattayaknow, Token works for Admiral BlowShitUp. So, let's count the ways the military is even dumber than the scientists.

1. We're going to follow Gojira and Muto #1 across the entire Pacific Ocean, including shadowing for the couple hundred miles between Honolulu and San Fran, without devising a plan or, I don't know, OPENING FIRE? Calling for help? Anything?

2. Only when the monsters are an hour away from San Fran do we devise a plan: Radioactive KitKat bars to draw them offshore and then kill them. Because, even tho we nuked them in the 50s (it wasn't testing for Hiroshima, it was because we tried to kill Gojira) and it didn't work then, it'll work now because our bombs are bigger. Says Token and Admiral BlowShitUp. Despite the fact that the two scientists are protesting, weakly, that the critters FEED on radiation.

3. Did I mention they stored Mama Muto at Yucca Mountain, where the US deposits all of its radioactive waste materials? BRAIN TRUSTS.

4. Muto #1, aka Papa Mothra?, emits electromagnetic pulses. EMPs. You know, those things that fry all your electronics. Guess how many airplanes and their pilots dropped out of the sky to splatter against things, usually in a BBQ-inducing ball of flame as they CRASHED everywhere? Guess who never grounded any of their planes?

5. But, hey, the best way to get into SF once the Golden Gate Bridge is demolished is to fly a bunch of Gringo soldiers up to 30k feet and have them HALO drop in. Hey, it looks gorgeous and all, but couldn't you just as easily grab a couple speedboats and zip them across the Bay? In MUCH LESS TIME? When you're literally on the clock to save the entire population of SF (and maybe those pesky tech geeks down in the valley)?

5. As the Radioactive KitKat, conveniently snapped up by Mama Muto #1 to feed her nesting critters, has been reconfigured to analog only because of the EMP, is counting down and we have to get our Lt. Hurt Locker Hero (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson looking less Nerdy Kickass and more like Chris O'Donnell's cousin with bone structure - watch out, there's a crappy Batman in your future, kid) into downtown SF where Gojira and the Mutos (band name alert) are thrashing the city. So basically, the plot of the movie is "Let's fix Fuckup #1: using a Radioactive KitKat because it's gonna blow up in Downtown SF in the next two hours by FuckUp #2: Halo in a bunch of Gringo Soldiers to find and disarm the analog Nuke Candy Bar" The whole Gojira v. Mutos is a sideshow to the incompetence of the military.

6. And, lest I forget, they decided to transport their Radioactive KitKats by train across canyons with convenient bridges to destroy instead of putting them in Semis and trucking them across the state to the Bay. Illogical plot devices FTMFW! Mama Muto was protesting the bad writing when she showed up to chow down on Nuclear KitKat #1 and take #2 to SF for her nesting MutoDuggers.

Let's not discuss how shitty the evac plan was for SF even though I know we have Homeland Security all over that after 9/11.

Let's not discuss how a predominantly minority military has one token black guy (in command) and a bunch of gringos in the actual ranks. And only one woman on the USS Mission Not Accomplished.

Let's not discuss how the U.S. has multiple types of weapons at its disposal, but apparently can only think to use two: Bullets and Nukes.

Let's not discuss what a goddamned trainwreck of cliches this was. For god's sake, they even ruined Bryan Cranston by giving him the raving quack who's smarter than the well-funded scientists role.

Sadly, the story missed out on opportunities to be good: there was some interesting father-son conflict between Lt. Hurt Locker and QuackDaddy after Mrs. Quack died in the nuclear plant implosion caused by Muto #1 in Japan (which led EngineerDaddy to become QuackDaddy); there were some interesting Sendai/Fukushima issues that could have been explored (if this was a more subtle movie); there were even some nuclear war ethical issues that could have been explored. Instead, we got this crap. But hey, Mindless Monster Movies Blowing Shit Up play well in the foreign markets because the subtitles are cheaper. More explosions = less lines of dialogue to pay for translation services, right?

Seriously, if you haven't gone yet and are still thinking, save your money. It's summer. There's plenty of things more worth your money than this stinking pile of Gojira dung.
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May. 6th, 2014

Wash and Dinos

Written at 2 a.m.

Regrets

Don't lie to me
Everyone has regrets
They creep in while you sleep
And haunt you relentlessly
Don't lie to me
No one lives without regrets
We fix on what should have been
And linger on what should have said
Don't lie to me
No one sleeps peacefully
Don't lie to me
Everyone lives regrets

(unedited)
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May. 3rd, 2014

Wash and Dinos

Active Projects

Because I have ADD when it comes to working on things, I figured I should make a list:

The Fifteen Nations (My Epic)
- The Fourfold Debt - Novel, The story of five intertwining POVs as an empire crumbles and conflicts emerge, First draft completed, editing now
- FN #2 - Outlining

Jack Goodrich Cycle
- Project Nemo/One Way Trip - short story, a story of a convict being sent into space by a private aerospace company on a solo mission, writing, need new title
- Fait Accompli - short story, a twinned tale of two women, one who fails to accomplish her dreams, the other who does, writing
- The Dakar Rally - short story, the story of a clone who is called out to investigate the body of one of his clones, only to discover an original, who has no business being in Dakar, a clone city, outlined, next in the hopper for JGC
- Dr. Evelyn Li - novel, planned, the story of the rise of banned scientist Dr. Evelyn Li (from The Genesis Equation, JG#2) to mafiosa overlord/lady.

Miscellaneous
- The Reluctant Assassin - Script about a young woman forced to become an assassin, Outlining now

Jimmy Godspeed, Time Agent
- Jimmy Godspeed #1 - Novel for YA audience, about Jimmy Godspeed, Time Agent and High School Jr., saving the integrity of the timeline from those commie bastards, outlining/writing


I have too many projects.
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Apr. 9th, 2014

Wash and Dinos

Where does Game of Thrones fit into our entertainment landscape?

Game of Thrones is back! The Hound curses every three words, the casting remains pitch perfect with the addition of the Red Viper, Dany's digital dragons are growing up, and the cutthroat politics continue in King's Landing and beyond.

I recently powered through Season 3 to refresh for this season and, of course, tuned in for the season premier like 6M others (legitimately - there's a couple million more counting pirates and shared HBO accounts and delayed viewing, I hear). Then I spent a stupid amount of time on Facebook yammering with other fans obsessively about the show and the books (when, oh when, is Winds of Winter coming for fuck's sake?).

Yes, I'm excited.

In fact, my excitement is probably akin to that of the Star Wars geeks who breathlessly follow every bit of news related to the new trilogy (did you know Peter Mayhew is back as Chewie? Facebook's new trending stories feature told me just in case I gave more shits than the Hound). And this got me to thinking about the relationship of GOT to other franchises and its place in our entertainment landscape.

For starters, let me define GOT for you. If you're familiar with the books, you know there's more to this world than what we're seeing on HBO (or Sockshare). We have the core narrative, as laid out in A Song of Ice and Fire (books) and Game of Thrones (TV). Like Lord of the Rings, we get a lot of history buried in that narrative: Robert's Rebellion, the Doom of Valyria, Aegon's Conquest, the invasion of the Andals, etc. etc. We also get hints of a larger world that we never really see (so far): Volantis, Valyria, the Shadowlands of Ashai, whatever the hell is up North, whatever the hell is to the west of Westeros (Eastern Essos? Another continent? Wherever whores go?). And we hear about so many mythical/legendary characters: Brandon the Builder, Aegon and his sisters, Azor Azai, etc. etc. etc.

In short, GOT comprises a huge universe of epic proportions. (I'm using GOT instead of ASOIAF because it's both easier to type and because non-book readers won't know what the fuck a Lommy is, let alone what ASOIAF is.)

Which gets me back to drawing comparisons. What intellectual properties out there really comprise huge universes with complex histories, lots of conflicts, scads of characters, and nearly infinite locales? Here's a short list:

* Harry Potter
* Lord of the Rings
* Star Wars
* Star Trek
* Marvel Universe

Let's do some narrative comparison:

Game of Thrones/ASOIAF Core Series = Star Wars Original Trilogy/Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter
Robert's Rebellion = Star Wars Prequel Trilogy (Thankfully, I don't think there's a Jar Jar corollary unless we finally get to see crannogman Howland Reed and he's green)/The Hobbit/Rise of Voldemort (if this ever gets told).
Aegon's Conquest = JJ Abrams Founding of Star Fleet Star Trek (in terms of timeline)/X-Men First Class?
Dunk and Egg = Kirk/Picard Star Trek?

We haven't even touched any of the lesser known conflicts referred to at various points in the history of the Seven Kingdoms and all those fun things I listed above.

Does anyone really think we're done with GOT when HBO runs out of George RR Martin-generated storyline?

I think you can make a very solid argument that GOT belongs on that list. Complex, dare I say epic worlds? CHECK. Fervent fan bases years in the building? CHECK. Transmedia potential leading to diverse revenue streams? CHECK.

So, if GOT fits into that list, what's it really worth as an IP? I'd have to do some digging on ancillary revenues, but the Harry Potter films alone grossed $7.7B (no wonder Harry can take his clothes off on Broadway for a living now - he doesn't have to give a shit about making a living). Wiki says Peter Jackson's 3 LOTR films grossed $2.2B. Marvel's Avengers alone broke the billion-dollar mark, let alone the rest of the movies (Disney, Fox, Sony, etc.). JJ Abrams 2 Star Treks almost grossed a billion between them.

But that's just box revenues, to say nothing of the books, the video games, the rides and attractions, the toys, and the tv shows.

In 2010, Disney paid about $4B for the rights to the Marvel catalog excluding key figures like the X-Men (licensed to Fox) and Spiderman (Sony). In 2012, Disney again paid $4B for LucasArts in an IP grab for Star Wars (and Indiana Jones). That's the value Disney CEO Bob Iger put on those portfolios of creativity and all the revenues the Disney machine could create out of them.

Which begs the question: Is GOT worth $4B to Time Warner and the Warner Bros. machine with its in-house video game studio, relationships with other developers, its movie and tv expertise, its merchandising channels?
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Feb. 15th, 2014

Wash and Dinos

Well, hello there...

Been awhile and I felt like doing some random writing that wasn't necessarily part of a story. I'm just going to bullet/stream of conscious this thing.

* I'm struggling to write right now. Possibly related to a complete disinterest in job hunting brought about by the sheer unpleasantness of it and reminders of how long the last unemployed period lasted.

* I am quite convinced, however, that my next job will make being let go from this one the best thing to ever happen to me. I have been miserable about work and, therefore, not very good at my job, for the last half of 2013. It is hard to be such a mismatch in a company, to know you are doing good work and yet not being well-received because OMGCHANGE!

* I learn more about what I don't want about my future work life than I do about what I want somethings I think. I want to work with a good team of smart, dedicated, driven people who aren't afraid to argue, don't hold grudges, and want to build something. I could care less where this job is (well, I don't really want to live in Saudi Arabia, but you get the point), or whether I can make scads of money (enough to get myself out of the debt hole would be nice).

* At 5-6 years, whatever the hell this is, I don't think I want to be a lawyer anymore. But I don't necessarily know what else to do with myself. I do not want to do the same thing every single day for the rest of my life. I want variety, if such is possible. I am goal-oriented and like projects. I like learning new things. Just crunching the same contracts over and over is incredibly dull and I could only take about 2 years of it before wanting to shank myself. (Can one shank themselves?)

* Being in debt is emotionally crippling. There is a sense of needing a job because you have to pay back all this money for an education that was as much about you as about the societal benefits (as has been touted for years). There's a sense of being confined and being laden down and you just want to escape it and when you can't see a path there or a light at the end of the tunnel, it's exhausting.

* The fucked up higher ed system in this country should go down as one of the biggest debacles of our nation's history for what it's done to the economy and an entire generation. It won't, but it should.

* If universities are going to become billion dollar enterprises, why aren't they hiring people whose job it is to keep overheads down? Also, what's the point of an endowment except for times like now when the system is so shattered that students can't pay without mortgaging their entire adult life. I know so many people who will be strapped down by student loans until they are near retirement age.

* Why do we spend X times as much on maintaining the life and living standard for old people as we do educating and maintaining the life of our youth? Education + foodstamps + medical assistance for the young is far less than medicaid/social security/food stamps for the old. Our society is backwards.

* Moral Hazard is an important term. Why is student aid, with its 8% interest rates (more than housing, auto, and far more than govt to bank/bank to business rates), not dischargeable in bankruptcy? Especially with a narrative about investing in oneself and the whole anti-poverty/social good narrative? How is it fair that I can run up credit cards on hookers and blow and a weekend in Vegas (I think that combination requires Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber, god forbid), and declare bankruptcy, but I cannot do so on my student loans? Moral Hazard.

* Last note on this topic: Can the Personal Responsibility Brigade STFU? Individual problems, in sufficient aggregate = Social Problems. I'd say $1T in debt is sufficient aggregate, wouldn't you? $1T nondischargeable student debt = No Consumer Spending = Stagflation = No new jobs = no new tax revenue. Lovely cycle, no?

* Let's talk about something new: There is something incredibly lonely and alienating about modern life. We are more connected than ever before, the world is smaller, and yet the dreams are smaller, the hopes are smaller, and the trust and goodwill we show toward others is so diminished. I panic over forgetting to lock my door and step cautiously in my house, worried I'm being robbed, that someone is within. When I grew up, in the suburbs of the midwest, there was never this major worry. Columbine was the first mass shooting at a school I remember and it was so incomprehensible at the time I was glued to the news for days trying to understand. Now, there's a shooting every six months or so on a comparable scale and I'm becoming numb.

* Wealth disparity. Tom Perkins should STFU. If his VC firm is smart, they're looking to oust him (not just shove him into retirement) and strip his name off the firm. Also, for as much money as he has, he can buy an island, emigrate and set up his own government in whatever format he wants. But whatever else, he can GTFO.

* Coincidentally, I read an article recently that the wealthy are giving less percentage of their wealth than before. Here we are, shrinking incomes, shifting all the money upwards (I'm sure we all know by now that the recovery didn't go to you and me, right?), shrinking government services, etc. Well, there's this big diatribe on the right about how the private market will pick up the slack when the government shrinks, right? Except that the need is growing with declining real wages and opportunities and additional costs (I'm totally eating my Obamacare fine. FU Obamacare. Can we fully socialize medicine and education already?) and yet the aid isn't growing.

* Perhaps this is why the new Pope is so popular. Francis, after the animal lover, yes?

* Sometimes I look at the world and see the Parable series happening. Octavia Butler. Good books. We're on our way toward a completely broken future, I think, where the rich live in their compounds (or penthouses. Tom Perkins, I'm looking at you) and the rest of us live in worse and worse. In Neal Stephenson's fantastic Snow Crash, the main character, Hero Protagonist (online name, can't remember his real name), lived in a converted storage facility. You know, the ones where you pay $100/month to stash your extra furniture. Are we on our way there? Will the rich live in those terraformed skyscrapers that are so hot in the architecture world now with green terraces built into the sides and roofs and balconies of these 100 story skyscrapers, getting clean oxygen while the rest of us suck on the fumes of industrialization on the lower levels? I'll probably end up writing this soon.

* Getting older has led to a much more cynical me. I thought I was clever enough to be firmly ensconced in the upper/upper middle classes when I was younger. Now I'm fighting just to feel secure. My ambitions feel further out of reach than ever and I feel less and less confident about the future of this country and world. I started law filled with this inherent faith in the Rule of Law, in the system, and all I see now is the Rule of Green. Jaime Dimon will just pay another billion in shareholder dollars for the next fuckup that ruins a million lives, right?

* Government contracting, btw, is evil. Anyone who wants to really save money on government services (i.e. not paying $100/hammer) should take a look at the retarded Federal Acquisition Regulations and their various varients. It's shameful the kind of taxpayer gouging that goes on all up and down the supply chain when Uncle Sam is involve. People forget that Uncle Sam is funded by their labor.

* Have we ever disrespected labor so much in our history? We have so devalued labor on so many levels, drank so much KoolAid (btw, this is an expression that is going to die since only obese kids get Koolaid anymore), that we are rejecting unions at a time in history when we should be retaliating against capital. Marxism might, on a government level be wrong, but there's a lot of truth about the inherent conflict and value of labor and capital.

* Did anyone see the movie Her? There's a lot of stuff going on there: the alienation of people, the struggle to connect with real people, the withdrawal into a digital, personal world, the aching potential of technology. Did you notice the only jobs anyone seems to do are creative and personal? Did you notice the subtle feminism slam in there with the kid's game they made? Excellent movie.

* Randomly, I've been watching a lot of Korean stuff lately. How come the Korean female protagonist always chooses the rich asshole over the rich nice guy? Just sayin'. On the whole, however, there's some quality stuff coming out of Asian cinema/tv these days. China/Japan/Korea (I haven't dipped into Bollywood yet, but if anyone has suggestions, I'll take them).

* On a positive note, I had the weirdest job interview of my life this week. I interviewed for a job in China and the interview was conducted on Skype (Yes, I still dressed up). I was trying to speak intelligently about what I could do for the company in terms of helping them, without diving into the higher levels of my vocabulary. I didn't want to speak too simply, obviously, and wanted to express all of the things I could do, but I also wasn't sure if the other side could follow along if I really started diving into some of the more detailed stuff with specialized vocabulary. It made for a challenging interview. I really want this job, I think. So, wish me luck, even if it would take me to the other side of the planet.

* Also, I don't think I want to stay in the U.S. Not sure how to go about finding a job overseas, but, yeah. I'm not really interested in staying here anymore. I can watch all my sports and tv shows online, talk to my friends and family with Skype and Facebook, and stand a better chance of being valued as a highly credentialed, qualified, experienced attorney overseas than here. Large swaths of the world still lag far behind Americans in education, training, opportunity, skills, etc. Apparently Americans work harder/longer hours than a lot of the rest of the world as well, if my dad is to believed. I have no ties to the US (i.e. kids/spouse) that would keep me from taking advantage of this if I can just find the right niche/market/company, etc. Also, first 90k or so of income earned overseas is untaxed. Food for thought.

* I should have a good set of comments back on my novel soon. That means I'll be diving into the large project of a mass rewrite/edit of the Big Beastie. I've been outlining the second book, a bit, and contemplating whether I should outline the third (yes, this is a series), but I've been hesitant to fully commit because I don't want to lock down on a future path that might force me to be artificial instead of organic with the edits of the Big Beastie.

* I like quotes. Here's the quote I'm working on (yes, i make these up) for the second book. The taller the tree, the more its shadow touches. Fear, then, the man who casts no shadow. - Keshan Proverb

* I'm also working on a bunch of Scifi shorts right now for my Jack Goodrich collection, although I have been really bad lately (call it a huge buzzkill based on losing my job). Roughly, they are: Fait Accompli (about a woman who fails to accomplish her destiny and her counterpart that does), Project Nemo (about a felon sent into space on an experimental solo mission), Heroin Digital (about drugs created by distilling media content and injected straight into the brain), and Shattered Helix (about genesequencing and bioterrorism). I've already finished a story on the horrors of a corporate controlled future, one on evolution, one on an academic controlled future and a mad scientist, and another on unions and corporate space mining. Hopefully I can get a collection together by the end of the year.

* I need to work out more. I'm getting FAT. I can't just say I'm overweight anymore. I'm getting Fat. It's lame and since I have time, I should be working out more. But I dropped my gym membership to cut costs. Maybe I should restore it. I'm thinking seriously on it. Hard to figure out if you can afford to do so when you're eyeballing your expenses really hard. (Also, pie is fucking amazing!)

* In the silence of our lives, we shout for meaning, but go unheard.


I'm out of things to talk about for the moment. So, here you are. Think what you will on this mess.

Apr. 6th, 2012

Wash and Dinos

Day 06: A book that reminds of you of somewhere: Dragon Lady by Sterling Seagrave

#30daysofbooks

Day 06: A book that reminds of you of somewhere: Dragon Lady: The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China by Sterling Seagrave

This book, quite obviously, reminds me of China. I bought this while in China a few years back and devoured it rather quickly.

Seems to be the day for biographies.

Excerpt: "We do not even know her name. She was too private for that, and the world she lived in was uniquely designed to hide her behind multiple layers of court ritual and etiquette. Nobody ever spoke the name of the Son of Heaven or his wives, because they were demigods. She was born on November 29, 1835, the same year as Robert Hart, somewhere in China, but where exactly we do not know. Nor are we sure of her father's name or occupation, the name of her mother, or even the girl's milk-name, the name she was called as a nursing infant. She was an obscure daughter of an obscure Manchu officer and might have lived out her life in obscurity except that she was chosen to be one of the emperor's lesser concubines and had the good fortune to bear his only surviving son."

http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Lady-Legend-Empress-China/dp/0679733698/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333760422&sr=8-1
Wash and Dinos

Day 05: A Book that Reminds You of Someone: Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegal

#30daysofbooks - No internet yesterday. Got behind. Catching up.

Day 05: A Book that Reminds You of Someone: Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegal

So, in my family and with my dad, basketball was pretty much everything growing up. And there was no bigger story than that of the prodigy Pistol Pete Maravich. I grew up with the same basketball drills that Press instilled in his son Pete. I learned how to dribble with socks on my hands, to dribble everywhere I went, to spider and figure eight and all the other ball handling tricks that Pistol was famous for. I learned to clap my hands and catch a basketball before it could drop from my neck to the ground behind me. I learned how to spin a basketball on my fingers (and, at my best, I could changing fingers, dance down to my knuckles and back up, and even throw it and catch and keep it going) all because Pistol Pete did these things. When I was a kid, I read a different biography that wasn't as good as this one, and I also saw the made for TV movie about his life (last seen on Netflix).

In terms of literature, this book is one of the better biographies I've read. It's a multigenerational story about a family that lives and breathes basketball as basketball itself is growing into the empire it is today. From the early early days of professional basketball when Press Maravich was a star to the day his son, Pete, was born and he nurtured him from the cradle to be a star, to Pete's death on the court from a heart attack and his sons journeys to college basketball themselves. It's a really well told story.

I'd say this book, obviously, reminds me of (the good parts of) my father. But since I recently just passed my copy onto a friend and mentor of mine, I'd have to say it also reminds me of my high school basketball coach.

Excerpt: "January 5, 1988. They cannot see him, this slouched ashen-faced man in their midst. To their oblivious eyes, he remains what he had been, unblemished by the years, much as he appeared on his first bubblegum card: a Beatlesque halo of hair, the fresh-faced, sad-eyed wizard cradling a grainy, leather orb. ...Maravich wasn't an archetype; he was several: child prodigy, prodigal son, his father's ransom in a Faustian bargain. He was a creature of contradictions, ever alone: the white hope of a back sport, a virtuoso stuck in an ensemble, an exuberant showman who couldn't look you in the eye, a vegetarian boozer, the athlete who lived like a rock star, a profligate, suicidal genius saved by Jesus Christ."

http://books.google.com/books?id=MGYPsUCi63MC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Pistol&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Io5_T7XSD-nbiAKx4snzAg&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Pistol&f=false
Wash and Dinos

Day 04: A book that makes you sad: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

#30daysofbooks - Totally jumping the gun on +Lily Alice because apparently we keep wanting to steal each other's books already. Look, people, it's after midnight. It's kosher.


Day 04: A book that makes you sad: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

This was and continues to be the only book to ever bring me to tears. I mean, the dogs DIE. It's SAD PEOPLE. Oh shuddup.



http://books.google.com/books?id=d7u-LiRVHhMC&lpg=PP1&dq=where+the+red+fern+grows&pg=PP1&output=embed

Apr. 3rd, 2012

Wash and Dinos

Day 03: A Book That Makes You Happy: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.

#30daysofbooks - A must read for any fan of Classic Brit Lit.

Day 03: A Book That Makes You Happy: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.

In Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career.

Excerpt: ...The Special Operations Network was instigated to handle policing duties considered either too unusual or too specialized to be tackled by the regular force. There were thirty departments in all, starting at the more mundane Neighborly Dispute (SO-30) and going onto Literary Detectives (SO-27) and Art Crime (SO-24). Anything below SO-20 was restricted information, although it was common knowledge that the ChronoGuard was SO-12 and Antiterrorism SO-9. It is rumored that SO-1 was the department that polices the SpecOps themselves. Quite what the others do is anyone's guess. What is known is that the individual operatives themselves are mostly ex-military or ex-police and slightly unbalanced. "If you want to be in SpecOp," the saying goes, "act kinda weird..." Millon De Floss, A Short History of the Special Operations Network.

http://books.google.com/books?id=bErH8jzotBoC&lpg=PP1&dq=The%20Eyre%20Affair&pg=PT4#v=onepage&q=The%20Eyre%20Affair&f=true

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