Saturday, April 24, 2010

Books: "The Sydeian Coalition"

Steampunk book number two complete.  The first one I read, The Difference Engine, is considered to be a steampunk classic and I could really see why.

This one?  Not so much ...

The Sydeian Coalition is ... fun.  It did hold my interest.  But most of the time I got the feeling that I was reading a novel that was due as a term paper by some eleventh grader.  No ... an eighth grader.  Grammar, punctuation, spelling, proper word usage, etc., etc., all were pretty much thrown out the window in this one.  However, there may be one small saving grace here in that maybe, just maybe, that was all done intentionally.  Y'see, this book was written in the form of diary or journal extracts by the two fictional (I assume ...) main characters.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kids are good for your brain

I am just beginning to realize this.  Our kids keep my wife and me mentally hopping.  Our son Li'l D, in particular, asks us tons of questions, being the studious, intuitive and knowledge-seeking-type.  Today?  We were discussing ... oh I don't know what ... and I guess I said something along the lines of something being relative to something else ... who knows.  Li'l D immediately asked:
What does 'relative' mean?
I quickly thrust back with:
It's when you compare something to something else.
Not having enough, Li'l D parried my verbal comeback with:
What does 'compare' mean?
"Holy crap!" I thought to myself.  After a while, meaning a few years of questioning and interrogation like this, you begin to think quite quickly on your proverbial feet.  So, gathering up all of my mental weaponry, and as we were in the car heading to dinner, I looked ahead and said:
See the blue truck and brown van in front of us?  Which one is taller?
Li'l D:
The blue truck.
Right.  So you compared the two, and the blue one is tall relative to the brown one.
He seemed relatively satisfied with that explanation, compared with previous sessions.

My words don't do true justice to this, but afterward, during dinner, it really got me to thinking that our kids really do keep us on our mental toes.  Maybe that is the answer to Oldtimers' Disease ... having kids around to keep you constantly thinking.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Anti-Katie Couric rant

So back in December 2009 I wrote a rather long-ish rant about a bunch of various things, and in there somewhere I mentioned that I needed to write my Anti-Katie Couric rant.  So here goes ...

A few years ago I was listening to the radio, minding my own business, when Katie Couric really, REALLY pissed me off.

OK, to back up just a couple of minutes for some perspective ...

Monday, April 5, 2010

There is not enough time - Part 2

So my wife (finally) read my post on not having enough time to do the "me" things that I'd like to do.  She then came to me as I was playing my current favorite computer game, Age of Empires 3, a huge time waster for myself and, unfortunately, for my son as well, since he loves to watch every time I play.  And she said
"So you do't have enough time, huh?"
My initial thought was very simply
"Uh oh."
But then, shortly thereafter, it occurred to me that playing this game and another, BZFlag, that I have been playing for a number of years now, are actually items that are part of this same list but don't need to be on this list.  Evidently my list, and my post, were mis-named.  The post should have been titled
There is not enough energy
Energy?  Mental energy.  So many of the things I listed, like reading and learning about different fields of study (the mathy stuff), reading novels, studying our investments, even messing around with LEGO in the way that I'd like to do it (that is, building engineering marvels), all take a good deal of mental energy and, more important, an attention span.  I just don't have the latter right now.  That makes it difficult to dive into anything that requires it for more than literally just a few minutes, and therefore I, for the most part, don't.  Even reading a good novel means that you have to pay attention to what you are reading and remember all of it for your next reading sit-down.  Ain't happening.

The games, on the other hand, for whatever reason, require almost none of this.  They are pure brainless entertainment, the keyword being brainless.  Any idiot (well, most idiots ...) can play them, and anyone with a decent ability to ... think ... can play them pretty well.

So that, in a nutshell, I think, is my answer to my wife's unfortunately-very-valid question.

Now my brain hurts again ...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Don't you want me baby?

And then there is my daughter's theme song.  Imagine a 3 year old girl, adorable as can be, roaming around the house singing "Don't you want me baby?"  This one, like my son's various theme songs, will remind me of my daughter forever.

Life is a highway

I will always remember this song, forever and ever.  I think it's sort of my son's theme song (different, however, from the theme song that I mentioned here).  If you've ever seen the Pixar movie "Cars", then this song will surely sound familiar.  Growing up, my son (he's now all of six) loved this movie.  We abused the DVD dozens and dozens of times in the DVD player, watching it ... dozens and dozens of times.  We often hear the song during dinner, as the local pop station plays it every so often.  And next time I take a road trip, a good road trip, on the big ol' Harley, I most likely will be thinking about, if not listening to, this song.