The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘reading’

Double Feature

Recently I finished reading Mayday Orbit by Poul Anderson and No Man’s World by Kenneth Bulmer.

In looking up Poul I was surprised to find he has quite the Wikipedia entry, he was more than just the handful of bad sci-fi books that I had assumed he would be. Of the two I enjoyed Bulmer’s book more.

FullSizeRender(1)Both books featured a main character who was an Earth (or Earth-like) male that women (whether Earthling-like or alien) found attractive, that knew how to handle himself with danger, and had a flippant/wait no I’ve planned all this/wait no I haven’t style. Basically, a bunch of less cool Han Solo precursors. Also, both of them dealt largely with civilizations that looked down or up to others as being more advanced for one reason or another (generally military might related).

I’ve included pictures of the cover of both sides of this book as an explanation for why I bought it. I love campy books, especially sci-fi.

Enough chit chat, lets get to the good stuff. Some of these quotes made me laugh out loud – the authors seemed like geeks trying to imagine what a cool guy would say or do to impress a woman. It didn’t give me much of an impression of a guy drawing on personal experience. (I’m not knocking that, I’d grasp clumsily at writing a character who is suave and debonair and end up basing it on some pre-conceived notion that probably would mostly appeal to men.)

Mayday Orbit

Altaian garments were ridiculously short on him, which was bad for morale. He thanked his elegant ohs for antibeard enzyme …

Flandry noticed once again that Bourtai was no simple barbarian. She came from a genuine and fairly sophisticated civilization, even if it was on wheels. It would be an interesting culture to visit … if he survived, which was dubious.

“Holy hopping hexaglexagons,” he mumbled in awe.

No Man’s World

She’d pierced through with her damned womanly intuition and all the denials in the universe wouldn’t alter her opinion now.

So he was being tailed, then.
So he’d have felt naked if he wasn’t.

She was wearing a transparent negligee that showed most of the things a man might want to see. As Caradine had seen them all before, many times, he could ignore them – with a slight struggle – and concentrate on the reason for their flaunting.

“You see, Mr. Carter, young Tommy Gorse was shot with a one millimeter needle-beam. A one millimeter neadle-beam that was almost certainly a Beatty. Just like the one you have under your arm.”

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Resolutions for 2017

2017! That’s nuts.

Anyway, last year wasn’t all that great for me as far as self-improvement. I have the easy and ready excuse of my wife and I moving from Texas to Colorado at the very end of  December, 2015, so 2016 was spent adjusting to a new home, and a new job (two stressful things – especially the job).

One thing that stands out is that I hardly read! I played more video games, I think, so those two things combine to show that I was choosing escape over engaging my brain in anything.

This year I’d like to get back on track.

***

I have forced my hand on the work out front by signing up for a 25 mile trail run. This will be difficult. Really difficult. You go up hills, down hills, up hills, down hills, etc … What have I done?

That’ll force me to work out the first half of the year, hopefully I’ll keep it going for the second half. Now, let’s get to brass tacks.

  • I will read at least 18 books
  • I will volunteer 12 times (once a month would work well)
  • I will do six new hikes. (Colorado, I am failing to take advantage of your beauty!)
  • I will get to know my fancy new camera and take it out and try my best to take awesome pictures

What’s that Corporate Brad, you want to talk stretch goals?

  • Because I’ll be trained up for a 25 mile trail run, it’d be nice to do a marathon, but that’ll depend on how I am feeling after the 25er
  • It would also be fun to do a relay race or a mud run kind of thing for funsies
  • I’d like to get back to writing more … I do three blog posts a week, which is nice, but it’s somewhat of a consistent low grade effort. I would like to pick up my NaNoWriMo book that I started 2 years ago and finish it, or some other book I have worked on but it could use a revisit. That’d be a good thing.
That’s it for my resolutions. How about you?

So, You Wanna Be a Brainiac?

SpaceX has tried again to have the first stage of its rocket, the Falcon 9, land autonomously.

That’s just plain cool. The rocket was trying to land on a drone ship (also cool) called “Just Read the Instructions.” I was following the rocket’s attempt on Twitter and SpaceX’s live streaming of the launch and I saw Elon Musk Tweet using the phrase “Just Read the Instructions.” Eh?, I thought, just read the instructions? That seems kinda mean. I thought that he was saying ‘hey folks, landing a rocket autonomously isn’t that tough, why can’t you get it right? Instead it turns out that “Just Read the Instructions” is the name of the drone ship – a name which is a tribute to the author Iain M. Banks, specifically the novel The Player of Games. And from there I went to two articles.

The articles (posts? what are they?) are about Bill Gates and Elon Musk. Two fellas who I believe most anybody could agree are intelligent. One of the articles, here, is about how good reading is for you and some books that Elon Musk has apparently referenced in speeches. The other is a blog post from Bill Gates himself about his favorite books that he read in 2014.

This post is lazy, it’s just me telling you what these two smart people have read and enjoyed … But hey, I had to click ALL TWO LINKS!

Elon Musk’s List (again, written about here and it’s a good read!)

Structures: Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down by J. E. Gordon
Ignition: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants by John D. Clark
Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
The Culture Series by Iian M. Banks
Dune by Frank Herbert
Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

 

Bill Gates List (here, also a good read! He says why these books)

Business Adventures, by John Brooks
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
How Asia Works, by Joe Studwell
The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion
Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization, by Vaclav Smil

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