"The word is the making of the world." - Wallace Stevens

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Insomniac Rantings

I can't sleep. And I'm so tired, what a drag. I want to call and talk to a girlfriend, but they're all in eastern standard time. It could be because I have so much on my mind that I want to hide under the covers and suck my thumb. It could be because the third floor neighbors are such punks and all night long it sounds like they run a bowling alley in their living room. Or maybe because I'm so homesick for Ohio lately that it wakes me up when I finally do fall asleep. It really doesn't matter I guess, the fact is sleep is elusive tonight and tomorrow's work day is going to be tough and full of coffee. So I'm petting the puppy, who HATES the bumping & thumping noises from upstairs, and watching Star Trek TNG. Geordi is the focus character for this episode....um, "Aquiel". I had a crush on Levar Burton when I was in second grade. And I still know all the words to the Reading Rainbow theme song. "Butterfly in the skyyyy, I can fly twice as hiiiiiiigh..."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Doctor Who and the Android Invasion - Terrance Dicks

If you are not from the Planet Ming Mong, then here's a run down on Dr. Who:

He is an alien. He's a renegade bad boy Timelord from the planet Gallifrey, who has a soft spot for the human race and spends a lot of his time rescuing them. He can regenerate himself, and each reincarnation has its own personality traits & quirks. (Tom Baker by far and away was one of the best and best loved as the fourth incarnation. David Tennant is pretty popular too, he played the Tenth Doctor.) He travels through space and time in his space/time machine, the TARDIS = Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. He carries a sonic screwdriver. This incarnation's personality is "partial to tea and muffins", wears a long dramatic scarf and an overcoat with lots of pockets, has a robotic dog named K-9, and breaks the ice with complete strangers by offering them Jelly Babies.

This story is classic Tom Baker/Fourth Incarnation. I must have watched this one on VHS a hundred times as a kid. Heh heh, and an adult. I finished reading this back in November; incidentally the same day the Bear and I went down to the county courthouse in hoodies and got married. Yep, I was reading Doctor Who on my wedding day. Typical of the Doctor, this adventure starts out by a chance encounter. He is taking his companion Sarah back to the real Earth and when the TARDIS malfunctions slightly, they accidentally stumble into a hostile "aliens using androids" take-over attempt of the Earth by the Kraals where he goes head to head with the Chief Scientist of the Kraal Expedition, the Doctor and Sarah are both put in a bunch of sticky situations that they have to get out of by quick thinking, there are creepy androids, scary militant aliens, and the wonderful & clever Fourth Doctor...love everything about this story! If you are a Who fan, this is a classic you must sample. If you're not a Who fan, it means you haven't met the Doctor yet and you need to.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eight Stories from the Rest of the Robots - Isaac Asimov

Couldn't find a picture of this edition's cover on the net. And for some reason that I haven't been able to fix, this is the best I can do with my scanner right now. Grrr.

This collection of robot stories from Asimov was really enjoyable and scored me a trip to Uranus on the Mind Voyages challenge when I finished it early last month. The stories are:

Robot AL-76 Goes Astray
First Law
Victory Unintentional
Let's Get Together
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Galley Slave

This was the first I'd heard of Dr. Susan Calvin the roboticist, who I'm still not sure I liked or not. I did like how Asimov's style questions the boundaries of human and robot; you get a good look at his robots' "human" sides.

I think my favorite short of this collection was Victory Unintentional. A group of robots are sent to Jupiter to observe the Jovians, who are hostile to humankind but so far not technologically advanced enough to threaten them. And the robots have distinctive personalities and qualities that help tell the story. It's simple, but effective story telling: the Jovians observe the robots performing any number of feats that an actual human would be incapable of and are duly impressed, thinking that they are observing examples of human capabilities. It's not until the end of the story that the robots understand they have probably quelled interstellar war, simply by being themselves.

Very entertaining and insightful writing. Asimov fan? Add this to your list of must reads.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Running to Catch Up

Quick update of our household: the year is off to a hectic start. Lots going on, including planning our wedding celebration this coming fall! I'm behind on everything from the laundry to getting my license plates to blogging. The wee Dee does NOT approve of slacking. No sir, she's giving me the the evil eye.

All of my book challenges finished up on New Year's Eve, and I'm behind in blogging by seven books. Yikes. Time to write some book reports, Mouse. Also, I don't think I'll be joining any new book challenges this year, at least for now. There's just too much going on. I think one solid reading project is all I'm going to have time to handle, hopefully a quasi-anthrozoology challenge I'm planning to host in the spring. I know most of these challenges start on the first of the year, but mine won't because...well, I'm running late. For a white rabbit, Dee Dee looks like she has all the time in the world.

So yeah, very soon, you can expect to see an animal/anthrozoology themed book challenge coming up here. And a ton of book challenge entries!