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The World’s Foremost Authority October 30, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Books, libertarians, Other, Robert H. Heinlein, Science Fiction, speculative fiction, web 2.0.

One of the most generally prescient science fiction authors, and one of my favorites, has always been Robert A. Heinlein.  That first sentence requires a lot of qualification, which I won’t do in this post–perhaps later when I have more time.  I’m posting this today for two reasons. 

1) My wife reminded me this morning that it only takes five minutes or so.

2) My nine-year-old son was doing research for his Spanish class last night using Youtube (looking at and listening to Flamenco music and some other things.)

So that research reminded me of a passage in a book called Friday, by the aforementioned Heinlein, written, if I am not mistaken, (no, I won’t take the two minutes it might take to look it up) in 1990.  The protagonist, a young, genetically engineered combat courier named Friday, is doing some research at a facility in Pajaro Sands, California.  She gets off on a tangent, as researchers often do, following links on a world-wide web that did not yet exist, and sees a video of Professor Irwin Corey, the World’s Foremost Authority. So I’m linking to one here:

He’s pretty funny.  The crowd is perhaps funnier, in an entirely different way–they know all the gags and repeat the lines, ad tedium.  I chose this particular one because it popped up first on the list.

Kinda makes you think.

I am a Bad Blogger October 18, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in blogging, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Other.

Lately I haven’t been posting much, again, or responding faithfully to comments, or commenting on the sites of friends and those on my blogroll. 

I could blame it partially on the job, I suppose.  I took a position in May that is really quite taxing, mentally, but that’s not the main issue with the job thing.  I think that the main issue is that it absorbs a lot of attention and thought, and yet I cannot blog about it.  There are a few people who know who I am, and would, therefore know who I am writing about, if I posted about my job. 

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about, either, or that I don’t visit your blog.  I do, and then I intend to comment, going so far as to click on the little window.  And then I stop.  Whatever I was going to write seems suddenly trite.  Not a good way to be entering NaNoWriMo, two weeks hence.  I need to break out of this. 

Life outside of work has been really busy, too.  School has started again, so this means my son is on a travel soccer team, and has cello lessons, which means there is slack to pick up even when I don’t have a kid to pick up or drop off.  He is attending private school in the far-off land of Andover, MA, and the commute is killing us (but not him, really; he does his homework while we do the driving).

I’ve started lifting weights–for strength, not appearance.  This is quite taxing as well, I find, mentally as well as physically.  There was a time when I was living at home and attending the local university and I ran three times per week.  I rode my bicycle to the track at the high school and then locked it up with a combination lock.  I did this because when I exercise I get dangerously stupid.  I’d pull out into traffic, jump curbs, race trains, whatever.  Best to cool down first.  Usually took me 15 – 20 minutes before I’d remember the three-digit combination.

Unfortunately, the effect this has on weight training (with free-weights, at least) is problematic.  This morning I put 10 lbs too many on the bar when doing the bench press and squats.  The blood apparently leaves my head after the first set of exercises and I can’t add (in the mathematical sense of the word).  But the beginning weight training program I am undertaking stresses gradual buildup of weight to build axial strength.  So, wild and unpredictable fluctuations of 10 or 20 pounds are a pretty bad thing, particularly for a beginner like me who really needs to pay attention to correct form.

Anyway, apologies to anyone out there who still checks this blog, periodically.

Top 106 Unread Books Meme October 5, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Books, COMBS, librarything, memes.

I got this from Writing Grandmother’s Book, who got it from Superfastreader.  It’s another book meme which lists books tagged as unread in Librarything.  Bold what you have read, italicize your DNFs, strikethrough the ones you hated, and put asterisks next to those you read more than once.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
* Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
* Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels

Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
* Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things

A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
* Cryptonomicon

A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
* Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
* The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
* The Hobbit
In Cold Blood

White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

There are a lot of books here in common with the 100 Books Meme.  But they are nowhere near the bottom of the curve among the people who filled out that meme (see frequency table here).  For example, more than half the people who did that meme had read The Hobbit (67%), Catcher in the Rye (64%), etc.

 I’ll tag raincoaster, Stiletto, strugglingwriter, and K. F. Gallagher.

NaNoWriMo 2007 October 3, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in Idaho, Lowell, Massachusetts Drivers, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Other, writing.

Careful readers of this blog will note the new sidebar widget proclaiming my participation in this year’s National Novel Writing Month, which is held annually during the month of November.  These widgets just showed up on the NaNoWriMo website, so I grabbed one. Later it will be replaced with a progress meter, then a “winner” banner on December 1.

My job does not offer me the flexibility that it did last year, which is on balance probably a good thing.  But despite the lack of free time, I’m doing it again.  I plan on triumphantly completing my second novel, or at least 50,000 words of it, by the end of November. I may post excerpts of it, or even the whole thing, like I did last year.  I’m not yet sure.

I have been thinking about this particular novel for several months now, even going so far as to jot down the names of principal characters and a rough outline.  I hope that doing so is within NaNoWriMo guidelines, but I can’t help myself.  I am chomping at the bit. 

The setting of this one is Idaho, so it is obviously another comedy.  But it is not another Cthulhu-mythos-inspired comedy set in the fascinating world of university fundraising.  I’m sticking to the real world, or as close as I can come to the real world with a novel set in Idaho. 

Working Title: Being the Odds