Thursday, September 16, 2004

Now Returning to the Blog in Progress

Apparently I have been in somewhat of a state of mental torpitude. What's new? Not a hell of a lot. Two family items:
  1. My youngest daughter sent me 4 songs she wrote and performed last spring. I was shocked by the quality of the songs -- definitely commercial value. And, for being a crappy guitar player, some of the guitar parts were very tasty. So, I have been after her to come up with a CD full of material, and she has: 11 full-length tracks, plus a short intro and extro. So, I've been burning copies like crazy, sending to everyone we know vaguely connected with music. Need to find a producer, decide whether to go at it as a solo chick singer/songwriter, or to get a band behind her. Meanwhile, her guitar playing continues to improve, she's singing at open mics, and cranking out 1-2 new songs a month.
  2. My son was married on 9/13/4, my wife and my and my in-laws anniversary, in Niagara Falls. They were just going to do it by themselves, they were prevailed upon to allow us to attend, so my wife, 3 daughters and I drove in. They were married in the Minolta Tower with Horseshoe Falls in the background, nice minister from Ghana with a great voice who didn't mention a diety once, but instead talked about lots of nice humanistic values that would help build a successful marriage. Very nice.
Reading-wise, read the 2nd book by Richard K. Morgan, "Broken Angels". If his 1st book was "Chinatown", this one was "Aliens". The marines go in. I liked the cheap detective better, but this still a good read.

Also read Kim Stanley Robinson's newest, "Forty Signs of Rain". A good read, at least 2 sequels coming. I like that one of the main characters is a sociobiologist, who's always thinking how our savannah-raised primate minds just aren't equipped for modern life.

I got that one from my friend David, whom we visited Labor Day weekend. David is tres conservative politically, describing the book as something to make tree-hugging, global-warming believing types happy. The book raises the point, which I totally agree with, that the pseudo-science of conservatives/republicans is basically total crap. It is the main thing that pisses me off with the christians, that they won't leave science alone.

  • BTW, I ordered a Toyota Prius. Due in 5/1/5?!?!?
We also had a discussion on Iraq. His read: no WMD, but Saddam was a bad guy and realpolitik dictated that we needed many bases in the mideast, preferably in an oil-rich country, to keep the oil flowing. So, I guess this means that Americans are willing to trade their children's lives for their right to drive SUVs. Sigh. Conservative politics is depressing.

Also read, mostly on the drive to Niagara Falls, "Red Thunder" by John Varley, one of SFs great authors, particularly 25 years ago with "The Ophiuchi Hotline" and his short story collections (I didn't like the Titan/Wizard/Demon trilogy nearly as much as some of my friends did.) A fun read, 4 teenagers hookup with a defrocked astronaut and his idiot savant Einstein cousin, build their own spaceship, and beat the Chinese to Mars.

Also read the 2nd book of Walter Jon Williams space opera "The Sundering: Dread Empires Fall". This makes 3 mediocre space opera series I am reading: this; Kevin J. Anderson's "Saga of the Seven Suns" series (2 down); and the Dune Butlerian Jihad series (2 down). Plus the George R. R. Martin "Song of Fire and Ice" fantasies. The last is actually pretty good, the others make me wonder ...

My kids loved "The Neverending Story" movie. We bought the book, a cool hardcover that had the stuff in the real world printed in red and the stuff in Fantasia in green (or visa versa). The 2nd half of the book (after the movie), dealt with how Bastian's using his self/fantasies to power Fantasia gradually lead to him being "used up" (turned into a sand statue, I believe). Kind of makes me wonder, have I done the same thing with my life, with all the time spent in the world of books instead of reality. Well, definitely too late to do much about it now.

Also read a short book by Neal Stephenson, "In the Begining Was the Command Line". A cute history of computing since the onset of the PC. He also mentions our savannah-raised brains' difficulty in coping with the modern world, with GUIs (graphical user interfaces) as a technique of helping us deal with the complications of modern systems -- at the trade off of relinquishing the power of the command line. A cute read, not sure if you have to be a computer geek or not to appreciate it.

Have some new CDs, need to listen more before I comment. Best movie I have seen lately was "Kill Bill, Vol II". Quelle art film! That thing is so over the top, you can't help but belly-laugh. "Hellboy" was disappointing. Kind of like "Ghostbusters" but not very funny.

Enough for now -- I've got a Gregory Benford from the library to read, better get to it. Or, maybe I'll try to google some record producers for Christie instead.