Friday, September 21, 2012

Should I pay for more reviews?

The single review of The Wormhole Device on is killing me. Somehow, the one idiot in the world who doesn't know what a dash is manages to download The Wormhole Device instead of the book her or she was looking for, and then he or she thrashes our story because of imagined typos and grammatical errors.

Should I pay people to buy the book and provide reviews?

Sunday, June 10, 2012


The pugs are licking each other again. Beneath Donna's chair, the little one, Precious, licks the inside of brother Brutus' ear with gusto, the wet, smacking sounds loud but not yet noticed by Donna, who is absorbed in Facebook In another minute, maybe two, she will notice and upbraid them, again, futilely reminding them that they should not lick each other so much.

The pugs will stop and listen when she speaks, appearing to listen and, possibly, understand. Only they don't understand: when she turns back to her computer, they will lick each other again. They are, after all, just dogs.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My reads from the BBC list

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
1) Bold those you have read.
2) *Star the ones you loved.
3) Italicise those you plan on reading.

(Who comes up with these lists? Where is Murakami and Conrad? Asimov and Bradbury? Even Proust?)
  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien** (Still the most imaginative and best-told story I’ve ever read.)
  3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. The Bible (most of it)
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman*
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien*
  17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (A goodly portion; it’s a soap-opera: highly predictable)
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams*
  26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
  34. Emma – Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown*
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving*
  45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
  52. Dune – Frank Herbert*
  53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac (boring)
  67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville (I managed to make it about half-way through)
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession - AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens*
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams (Started once, but the rabbits just weren't doing it for me.)
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare*
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tedium, thy name is TRIM Context configuration

Few activities devised by man or woman are more tedious than re-creating a TRIM Context configuration as an organization moves from testing to production.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A pox on power tools on Sunday evening

A nearly perfect Sunday afternoon: the temperature is moderate with a slight breeze, and the sun is low in the west. A great time to sit on the patio and enjoy a book with a glass of wine. And then somebody starts up their power mower.

Finally, it ends, and just when you think it's okay to enjoy the patio again, out comes the epitome of suburban noise-makers: the gas-powered weed whacker, and the noise continues.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A new era of reason?

The death throes of the ultra-right propagandists as they push further into the land of total irrelevance and (I hope) utter extinction is a comfort. I've only seen a little of Keith, but I am told he is just as much of a distorter for the ultra-left; if so, I hope he is soon gone from the airwaves and cyberworld as well.

We need people of reason, people who think, gather facts, and then make decisions. We don't need spin doctors.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Here in Galveston for the 2009 USAJRF Nationals; Justin and I arrived yesterday. It's a nice place, but there's not as much to do as there is at Disney. I say that with some angst, because I had gotten tired of traveling to Orlando every year for the past eight years, but the one really nice aspect of being at Disney is that you can just hop on a bus and go to any of the parks. Here, you need a car to get around.

On the other hand, it sure is nice being able to walk to the competition venue.