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Journal FortKnox's Journal: Random Ramblings: 01/31/2005 36

Just a few things since I haven't posted in a while.

Dressing for Success: My wife always says "Josh, you wear your pants hard." Which always makes me laugh. What she's trying to say, though, is I rip up my slacks badly. I had holes in a few of them and some had holes about to appear (rough spots). I tried taking extra stuff off of my keys (which wasn't a big keychain to begin with), and removed extra stuff from my other pocket (now I just have my small cell phone, thumb drive, and usually under $1, if any, change). I think I figured out the problem (walking with my laptop case to work would brush up against the corner of my cell in my pocket causing the holes, I think). Anyway, because of the recent job change and (hopefully) promotion, I've decided to heed my father's advice to 'dress for success.' Kohl's was having a supernice sale on dress pants, (fake) silk button up shirts, and ties. So I used up my remaining 2k4 vacation time (35 extra hours, paid off) to upgrade my wardrobe. I am wearing a tie, nice slacks, and new dress shoes now everyday. Already people are asking my if I'm going on interviews (which is typical of your consultants), or simply being made fun of (at my current client, not even executives wear ties, just salesmen). I'll report if I notice any change in people thinking I'm 'important' just because of dress. The best thing I've got so far is my boss made me go to a few meetings instead of him while he was out (which is really odd, cause he always wants to be apart of each meeting).

Lent: I don't give up something just for lent. I try to give up something to make myself better. For instance, last year I gave up caffiene for Lent. It worked, because I haven't had any since (except accidentally, which I had a cup of coffee and a glass of coke). New Years I tried harder to not yell at Joey so much. That's been working REALLY well, and now I have to play a lot of 'good cop' because 'Ms.9 Months Pregnant' is a very grumpy person. I'll be hitting 'bad cop' in a few weeks anyway. This lent I'm torn. I'll probably stop reading everything but email online during work (which is pretty big seeing as I don't touch anything online at home unless its a game). This is something I also plan on giving up entirely. The other thing, though, is giving up video games. A harsh fast for me, if you know me very well. It'll mean I have to finish up Prime 2 (very possible), and get everything outta my system in a week and a half. It'll be a tough thing to do... I use games to work off stress... but we'll see how I make it.

Jenna Kathleen: For those keeping track, the 'official' induction date 2/22/05. Of course, she could go into labor any day beforehand. She's had the braxton-hicks contractions for several weeks now, and saturday was having 'painful' contraction that were much different than the braxton-hicks, but they eventually went away.

Dune: I picked up Dune Messiah yesterday. It was tough, too, because the store had "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" which I've been wanting to read ever since I finished Starship Troopers. Regardless, I put down the Heinlein and pickedup the Herbert. And I'm going against the naysayers. Yes, Dune was a superb read, but I'm not reading this to try and read a better story... I just want to know how the story ends.
Also, someone (Leons?) said that Dune isn't necessarily the 'best' scifi book according to many. So, I ask... what is your favorite (I have a feeling that if it isn't Dune, it'll probably be Hitchikers)?
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Random Ramblings: 01/31/2005

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  • Or since the Steelers lost you don't care? I pick NE because Philly is too much about the bling and the bragging to actually win the thing.
    • since the Steelers lost you don't care?

      Pretty much? ;-)
      Honestly, I like and dislike both teams. I really don't think Philly has much of a chance. Veteran experience is a huge plus, and the Philly fans biggest game already passed (winning the NFC championship). I think they breathed a sigh of relief after beating Atlanta, which is the last thing you want to do before playing NE.
      What did NE do? Shut down the Colts passing attack. Shutdown the Steelers running game. If they can shutdown McNabbs pass
  • I used to do the 'dress for success' thing when I worked in the IT dept. at a bank. Hated it......

    My current employer is a factory that requires uniforms, even in the office area where I work. I get about $100 a year to purchase pants, shirts, etc. Since the uniform pretty much consists of a white shirt and charcoal gray pants deciding what to wear each morning is an easy decision.......
  • I'm not a big sci-fi buff, and my tastes run a bit from the canonical consensus (hate most Heinlein, although I liked Starship troopers, hate Ursula LeGuin, like a lot of Larry Niven but not his best known stuff), so take this for what it's worth. My top 3:

    1) Ender's Game
    2) Snow Crash (and then Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon -- I started Quicksilver recently and don't like it nearly as much)
    3) Doomsday Book (and then To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether, Passages -- I love all Connie Willis' books, but Doo
    • my tastes run a bit from the canonical consensus

      If it helps, I think Issac Asimov is boring as hell. Granted, I prefer novels involved in war and conflict, but "Oh no, this robot isn't acting quite like it should by the rules put in place. Lets use psycology and drama to figure out what's wrong" puts me straight to sleep. I remember picking up a foundation book (one with a buncha short stories), and setting it down after I read like 15 pages. Thinking that I didn't give it much of a chance, I forced
      • I have tried reading Asimov's Foundation series twice, and both times I ended up just getting bored out of my mind. Bleh. I did like Dune too, as well as Starship Troopers (I like the movie too, but only because it is super-campy sci-fi :-) ) I am thinking about reading the Red Mars series next....
        • I have tried reading Asimov's Foundation series twice, and both times I ended up just getting bored out of my mind.

          I read the inital trilogy, and was a little underwhelmed. But when the 4th book was finally released, it made the whole series for me. The original three were a bit slow in places, and always felt unfinished. The 4th and 5th books wrap it all up nicely, though.

    • I started Quicksilver recently and don't like it nearly as much

      Stick with it. It gets better, more complicated, and actually doesn't have a boomcrash ending like several of the others. It takes a long time, but I found it to be worth it in the end.

    • I liked Ender's Game as well, have you read Ender's Shadow? I think the rest of the series kind of peters out (pun intended :-) ) after Ender's Shadow, but I did like it as an "alternative viewpoint" to the Ender's Game story.
  • Good Omens by Neil Gamen and Terry Pritchard. Quite a funny/entertaining read.
    • Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. That'll help find it a little more easily. :-) For those not in the know, Neil is the author of the Vertigo Comics Sandman series, and Terry is author of many things, but chiefly the Discworld series. Both of those are highly recommended, though neither is SF hard or otherwise. Pratchett in particular does for Fantasy what Douglas Adams did for Sci Fi.
    • Excellent recommendation. I'd also recommend the Phule series if you like goofy sci-fi. I live on that kind of stuff.
  • Personal Site: Top Ten [] - Long write-up there.

    1. The Scar 2003 China Miéville Steampunk Fantasy
    2. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts 1979 Douglas Adams Comic SF
    3. Diaspora 1997 Greg Egan Hard SF
    4. Deadhouse Gates 2000 Steven Erikson High Fantasy
    5. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass 1865 Lewis Carroll Fantasy
    6. Distress 1995 Greg Egan Hard SF
    7. Red Mars 1993 Kim Stanley Robinson Hard SF
    8. Foundation 1951 Isaac
    • I've only read hitchikers on your list (and only the first book).

      Is Red Mars the one that had also 'blue' and another color as sequels?

      If I give up games, I'm gonna definately have time to seriously catchup on some books... :-)
      • Is Red Mars the one that had also 'blue' and another color as sequels?

        Yes, "Red Mars", "Blue Mars", and "Green Mars" were the three in the series. Good series, for sure.
  • I just want to know how the story ends.

    Ends? The story of Dune doesn't ever end. Each book just changes the POV in space/time. (When you read the rest, you'll be able to judge for yourself whether I am pulling your leg or not.)

    Favorite Sci-Fi? Depends on the goal.

    For wonderfully imagined worlds and futures, I think that "Red Mars" and its sequels is terrific. Vernor Vinge's "Fire upon the Deep" is also great, and breathtaking of scope.

    For totally compelling characters in a sci-fi setting, I don't think
  • I gave up eating Beef for NYR 2004, and Pork for NYR2005. I do the "try it for Lent, adopt it for life" thing as well.

    However, I'm finding that some things are enriching in other ways, and balance is key. So for Lent this year, I will give up video / computer games. Although I do not intend on giving them for ever.

    re: Cafeine: Whoa man, good for you. I drink my share, but I'm not a huge cofee drinker. I do drink about two - three 12oz diet colas a day though.

    Beer would be my biggy. This years lent
    • re: Cafeine: Whoa man, good for you. I drink my share, but I'm not a huge cofee drinker. I do drink about two - three 12oz diet colas a day though.

      It really isn't that tough. Just start ordering water or diet sprite. As easy as that. Has been great for me. I stopped biting my nails (a terrible habit I had for ~two decades) after the first week. Flat out stopped. Actually sorta scared me a bit. But I'm better for it, and its actually let me have a little extra pocket change (you know how much resta
  • Beautiful name!

    Me, the wife, Emily, and Baby Bart II are wishing you guys all the best!
  • Ack - to try to pick favorites out of so much. Hitchhiker's Guide was good, but I wouldn't call it a favorite. My preference leans more to socio-political sci-fi or sci-fi based in the realm of human space travel and colonization. In that regard some of my favorite sci-fi authors are Asimov, Card, Heinlein, Herbert, and Bova. Stephenson has both fantasy and sci-fi, and his writing is a little more dark, but it ranks up there as well. One last book I can think of is "Broken God" (can't think of the auth
  • Dune isn't necessarily the 'best' scifi book according to many. So, I ask... what is your favorite (I have a feeling that if it isn't Dune, it'll probably be Hitchikers)?

    Hitchikers doesn't even come close. Why so many people rate it as highly as they do is beyond me. It's better than Pratchett, but that's about the best I can say. But my favourites? That's really tricky. In no particular order:

    • Frank Herbert - "Dune"
    • Isaac Asimov - The "Foundation" series
    • Orson Scott Card - "Ender's game"
    • Vernor Vinge -
    • I 'broke my scifi cherry' with the forever war. Really liked how he handled time travel and the different centuries. Even read "forever free" (the sequel). Good book, but the ending came REALLY fast. It was like he got tired of writing and just whipped out the ending to finish it.
  • Ender's Game was good for sure, but I really thought the three sequel books were in a different class. They really worked well together and need to all be read or non at all. Also it was complex, which Ender's Game was not really.


    I don't know if Piers Anthony really counts as sci-fi, but I really liked his Incarnations of Immortality series. It was such a nicely woven story spread out over 5 ( actually 7 with the latter add ons ) books, but each stood on it's own. The weaving reminded me of what Ro

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982