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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 13th 2008
     
    So I'm watching the Phillies game, and we were losing, but now we're winning, but I'm worried that we're still going to lose because they're a Philly team and thus they could find a way. I'm not a huge sports person, but I did surprisingly well in my fantasy league this year, which lead me to "pay attention" more this year (I made the playoffs, but lost in the first round - but I still won enough money to cover the league costs and bets). Anyway, the Phillies are party to blame for my not having finished Anathem yet.

    In fact, I'm only about 200 pages in, despite all the words spilled in anticipation of the book on the blog. I guess watching like 30 horror movies a week doesn't help either (but I'm really having fun with that!)

    On the other hand, I like to take my time with his books. It's probably going to be another 3 years before he puts out another one, so why not take my time with this one?

    Anywho, things are going well. I thought I'd check in because the forum is dead and I wanted to say "hi"

    Hi.

    I hope everything is going well for everyone. As I said, things seem to be going ok for me. Nothing tremendously exciting coming up. I'm going to the mountains this weekend, for the first time in a while. Should be good times. Otherwise, nothing major planned for the holidays. Just the typical stuff. Some time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas. And so on.

    That's all for now. Hope everyone is doing well.

    Incidentally, those of you who aren't on twitter, I'm mildly active there. But I know Spence and DyRE are there too (btw, DyRE, I love your tweets. They're brilliant.) so actuall, what am I talking about? You already know. Anyway, I'm here:

    http://twitter.com/mciocco

    ta ta

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeOct 14th 2008
     
    I should really be in bed. When I don't have a regular schedule (i.e., job), then I will stay up really late, like 3am late.

    I'm uploading videos to YouTube of wildlife I took care of while volunteering. I know for a lot of people, pictures and video just pile up without ever being organized, but I stay on the ball. I think it helps that I use a program that allows me to easily crop, resize, do minor corrections, batch rename, and move stuff from one folder to another.

    There's a job I applied for that I want really bad. It's basically what I do now for free at a non-profit. The paid job is at another non-profit, which really appeals to me. Maybe I won't feel like such a drone if I'm working as part of an institution that really helps people.

    I've read some crappy books lately. I'm sure plenty of other people wouldn't think they're crappy though. Let me consult my list (I can't recall from just memory all the books I read, and even then sometimes I look at a title and can't remember what it was about - thank god for amazon.com).

    Oh right, so The Amazing Dr. Darwin by Charles Sheffield. It's several stories centered around Dr. Erasmus Darwin and his sidekick Colonel Jacob Pole. In the book (and probably in real life) Darwin is a highly respected, intelligent doctor practicing medicine in late 18th century England. People come to Darwin with mysteries (of a non-medical nature) that need solving. They ask him for help or insight because they don't know who else to turn to, but they know of Darwin by reputation.
    I was very much reminded of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson and also of the real, living James Randi. It's an entertaining read. I enjoyed some of the back and forth between Darwin and Pole.

    Hmm, seems that's all I can recommend right now. There are other books I've liked, but I seriously doubt you guys (=men) would enjoy them. I've been thinking about picking up a Stephenson tome, but I did try to read Snow Crash once and didn't like it. I am willing to read through dense, uninteresting parts of a book if I think my overall enjoyment will outweigh the unpleasant parts. So aside from Snow Crash, which book should I start with?


    My husband and I finally saw The Dark Knight last month. We both loved it. And! Charles, who will probably hate me for saying this, said he started to cry a bit at one part because "it was too realistic." I'm not sure which scene; he was a little embarrassed and obviously didn't want to talk about it more, but SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER!
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    I would guess it'd have to be when Rachel dies. I'd like to think that his love for me makes that whole scenario hit home. *shrugs* Or maybe it was when Gordon's family was being held at gunpoint.


    Other movies we've seen via Netflix and liked: Pieces of April and The Matador. I loved Pieces of April even though I didn't think I would. I thought The Matador was alright; Charles liked it more than me. I didn't like Greg Kinnear in that one; I kept thinking of him as Greg Kinnear and not his character.

    Which reminds me, I do think Heath Ledger is very worthy of an Oscar nomination if not an actual win. It was only a few days after seeing The Dark Knight that I remembered that Ledger played the Joker. That is how well Ledger owned that role; he completely sold me on his character during the whole movie. Crazy.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeOct 14th 2008
     
    I was actually up last night at 3 am. Not sure why, really. I had actually laid down around 2, but didn't actually fall asleep until around 3. Strange, considering that I didn't get much sleep the night before, and I had exercised last night to. Go figure.

    Good luck with the job. Sounds cool.

    Well, let's see. If you didn't like Snow Crash, you probably won't like The Diamond Age. I'm always hesitant to recommend Cryptonomicon, because it's so long, but it's also my favorite of his books. The story takes place in two different eras. There is one during WWII, which follows a crypto nerd in his codebreaking efforts, and then a marine raider in his somewhat more physical pursuits. Then there's a present day storyline which features the descendants of many of the characters from WWII. One of them is part of a high tech startup company in Manila, Philippines. They're working to set up a data haven (also a lot of crypto involved in that). There's a ton of tangents, and the plot is a little scattershot, but that's part of what I love about it. I wrote a mostly spoiler free review here:

    http://kaedrin.com/fun/books/crypto.html

    I also wrote about it recently on the blog, in response to someone who wasn't in love with a lot of the tangents. Just check the Neal Stephenson category on the blog...

    Anyway, if that doesn't sound like your style, I wouldn't tackle the Baroque Cycle, which is a sorta prequel. A 2700 page prequel. Set in late 17th century and early 18th century. It follows the same two major families, as well as a pseudo-newcomer. Again, it's difficult to summarize, but I wouldn't read these unless you've gotten past Cryptonomicon first.

    There's Zodiac, which is one of Stephenson's earlier novels about an Environmentalist activist which is actually pretty entertaining and short too. Not his best, but it's pretty good. Along similar lines are two books he co-wrote with his uncle. Sorta techno-thrillery type stuff. I actually enjoyed them a lot, but again, not his best stuff and the endings of both get ridiculous... I prefer The Cobweb, which takes place during the first Iraq war, but mostly in a small Iowa town (that's been infiltrated by Iraqi spies! Sounds really, really cheesy, but it actually plays out pretty good and doesn't get very ridiculous until towards the end). Interface is a little more ridiculous, but it has a similar feel. It's about a politician who has a stroke, and then has a microchip planted in his brain so that he can recover quicker. Again, sounds stupid when you put it like that, but it plays out ok and doesn't get that ridiculous until the end, at which point I didn't care that much...

    And so far, Anathem is pretty good. It's got a lot of made up vocabulary, but nothing too bad, and it's starting to get pretty good... but I haven't finished it yet and it's another one of those 900 page books.

    Hope that helped. Unfortunately, there aren't that many Stephenson books:p


    I really liked The Matador. It narrowly missed being in my top 10 of 2006. Kinnear wasn't the strongpoint of the film, but I didn't think he was bad either.

    As far as Ledger goes, I think he's definitely going to win the Oscar. The joker is an iconic villain to start with, one of the best of all time. And honestly, when I think of the Joker, I think of Ledger's Joker, not the cartoon one. Perhaps it's because it's still relatively fresh in my head, but still.

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2008
     
    Your Phillies knocked my Dodgers out of the post-season, so I can offer you no love, tallman, even if you do love my tweets. Upon your complement of them, I decided to look back over them and see a consistent trend of exclamation points. Twitter is the premiere depository of random outbursts that can be conveyed in 140 characters or less.

    I'm doing fantasy hockey right now. It's fun, but I look to be going 1-2 in matchups so far by the end of the third one even with whiny bitch crybaby diver who I must unfortunately admit is one of the most skilled players in the league Sidney Crosby on my team. The first one I lost just because I didn't know what I was doing. Actually, I may have lost even if I did know, but I wasn't switching out benched players on the appropriate players. Plus I got stuck with indecision during the live draft and ran out of time just before I could make a selection so I ended up auto-drafting Sheldon Souray, who's a great offensive defensemen (to the point where he might want to just play wing 'cause he's really not much good on actual defense) but quite injury prone. My LA Kings have had a rough but hopeful season so far. There's a lot of young offensive talent coming up, which is awesome, but goaltending is still shaky as hell and defense has some significant holes.

    Spencer, I also say good luck with the job. Getting paid to do something you would do anyway is a great thing.

    I haven't seen many movies lately. Last thing I saw was Burn After Reading, which kinda sucked, but had a few moments here and there (not enough to justify paying to see it though).