Friday, August 30, 2013

I got my computer back!

For the last 6 weeks, my computer has been broken-an unfortunate victim of an accidental smashening. Miraculously, ASUS offered a free accidental damage protection insurance, which I fortunately qualified for. It took a very long time, but it was free, and my computer arrived back today in one piece! They had wiped off all its data, but 97% of it was backed up, so nothing too bad occurred.

So look forward to (or if you are not a fan, then dread) more blogging in the near future!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Greg Abbott, or "Wow, I'm really out of practice."

“The beast known as federal bureaucracy .  .  . is consuming this country and diminishing both the rights of states and individuals in a way that must be stopped.” There’s an inverse relationship between government and liberty, he told Evan Smith of Texas Tribune. “The more powerful the federal government, the less liberty individuals have,” he said. “It’s almost like a mathematical equation.”

-Greg Abbott

Thursday, August 15, 2013

PJ O'Rourke

"By observing the progress of mankind, we can see that the things that are good for everyone are the things that have increased the accountability of the individual, the respect for the individual and the power of the individual to master his own fate."

-PJ O'Rourke

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Book Review: Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman

This was good! But Neil Gaiman almost always delivers. I've read three of his books and 2 of his short story anthologies, and all of them are really good.

Unnatural Creatures is his latest anthology, and he selected some decent stuff. I like that he finds things that are unusual but not too weird, and he is usually family friendly. In this book, he only contributed one original story while the rest are by other authors, but they all have a similar feel to them in many ways, so it feels consistent.

- The Spot by Gahan Wilson
A spot grows on the carpet and moves around the house in a large mansion. It was short of amusing but ends abruptly.

- The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, by E. Lily Yu
Meh. An odd story told from the perspective or warring wasps and bees. Not really a good fit.

- The Griffin and the Minor Canon, by Frank R. Stockton
This one's really good. A Griffin comes to a town to see his own reflection, which is a carving of him placed over a church. He is befriended by a priest. It had a good ending. Not scary or anything-none o these are. But a nice 'story' feel to this one.

- Ozioma the Wicked, by Nnedi Okorofor
A girl can talk to snakes. This one is very short.

- Sunbird, by Neil Gaiman
Another good one-this is about people who eat rare animals and attempt to eat the sun phoenix.

- The Song of Theare, by Diana Wynne Jones
A long story about Greek(ish) Gods who find out that someone will be born who will question them. Someone is born. He questions them.

- Gabriel-Ernest, by Saki
A very old (100+ years) story about a werewolf. Short and written, of course, in a very old fashioned style, but this was OK.

- The Cockatoucan; or, Great-Aunt Willoughby
A fun one about a land where a bird laughs and causes things to magically switch up. A good read.

- Moveable Beast, by Maria Dahvana Headley
This one was deliberately trying to be off-kilter. It has a twist ending. It's about a beast who lives in trees in the middle of a town.

- The Flight of the Horse, by Larry Niven
An OK one sort of about a guy who is sent back in time to retrieve animals and returns with mythical ones.

- Prismatica, by Samuel Delany
An excellent story, worth checking the book out just to read this one. A kind of fairly tale about a prince searching for a princess who has been imprisoned in 3 shards of a mirror. Fun, funny, adventurous, interesting-this didn't have any story clich├ęs at all in it, and had a satisfying ending.

- The Manticore, the Mermaid, and Me, by Megan Kurashige
Interesting set-up about mythical things in a museum that come to life (it's not as Night as Museum-y as I'm making it sound), but it has plot holes and unresolved story stuff.

- The Compleat Werewolf, by Anthony Boucher
Another excellent one-this one is really funny once you get the hang of the writing. A guy meets a 'real' magician who teaches him how to turn into a werewolf. He gets into some trouble. This does a great job of getting you to root for the anti-hero, who you initially don't like at all.

- The Smile on the Face, by Nalo Hopkinson
Skip it. It rips on Christianity and isn't good or interesting at all. A girl is assaulted and turns into a snake. Yay.

- Or All the Seas with Oysters, by Avram Davidson (4/5)
Not that good, and most of the interesting stuff is implied and isn't explored well. It ends abruptly too.

- Come Lady Death, by Peter S. Beagle
A strong closer about an eccentric and wealthy woman who throws big parties and decides to invite Death to her last big party. A good idea and an interesting read, well-executed.

That's it! I actually read two Gaiman's last week, so the next review will be his excellent new original novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Stay tuned!