Words, Weights, Whatever

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Currently reading

Started Anvil of the Sun by Anne Lesley Groell. Anvil is the first book for Ms Groell's The Cloak and Dagger trilogy. Note the series is out of print (OOP).

I'm enjoying the book so far....


Clade by Mark Budz

Imagine a world where you are bonded biologically to your social class; where plants have warm blood (or its equivalent) flowing through their stems; clothes are sprayed on; and cyberspace is available by merely touching the organic wall in your room. That's the setting for Clade, the debut novel by Mark Budz.

The setting dominates the book as the main character, Rigo, tries to go about his daily life as an employee to one of the politicorps that dominiate this future world. A side trip for his shady half-brother, though, on one last job to help an aging elderly woman has repercussions far beyond his control.

I enjoyed the book. Again, the setting was unique (to me at least), a major qualification for science fiction and terribly difficult to find these days of mass-marketed books. The subgenre cyberpunk has been around enough to be almost cliche. (If I read another story about street samurai or angst among assassins, I'm going to nuke cyberspace with a copy of MSDOS 1.0....) A clade means "a group of biological taxa (as species) that includes all descendants of one common ancestor". In Budz's book, that definition is expanded to include an entire social class, ethnicity, etc., including the flora and fauna found within that level. Prisoners, for example, are "claded" so that any non-prisoner staying too long around them breaks out into threatening hives or worse. Intriguing.

I can't say the same for the characters in the novel, though. Especially the main characters. While I found it refreshing for Rigo and most of them to be decidingly non-Anglo ("cauc" in Clade terms), their actions and reactions are decidingly 20th century (pre-ecocaust). The almost contrived break-up and reconciliation between Rigo and his girlfriend especially felt forced.

One reviewer over on Amazon felt the author the strong but ultimately light suspense elements running through the beginning of the book weren't really necessary. I disagree, but felt more could have been done to increase the tension. I never felt the characters were in any true danger both physically and, especially, emotionally.

Overall, I give the book a solid B.

NOTE: The novel's written in third-person, present tense. I know the latter irritates some folks (like my spouse.)

Interesting word

From A Fabulous So Cal Life, one of the bloggers I found using the Random Blog link:

wrinkle room = slang term used referring to a bar where the majority of the gay patrons are old (old, of course, being subjective, it seems.) NOTE: the slang is specific to the gay male world.

While I personally find the term horrid (and so did the blogger James), I eagerly noted it in my role as a writer.

A different perspective

Rocky mountain oysters = bull testes
Sweet bread = bull brains
beer = yeast urine

Here's a new one (to me at least):

honey = insect secretions

Friday, January 02, 2004

PDA update

Otay, got the new PDA and even a keyboard for it. I'm so thankful for these "don't pay for six-months" deals right now. We should be able to make a significant dent in the secure line-of-credit by mid-year.

In other news....

Planning out my schedule. Not only have Pyrrhic Price to concern myself, but that monthly article and Lazette's Two-Year Novel Writing Program.

Decided not to work out this morning. And did I gorge during lunchtime! My manager gave all of us gift certs to Red Robin. I used it, of course. All of it!

Rain has finally hit SoCal. And the drivers prove it...!

2004: The Year in Space?

News expected from spacecraft

With over 90% of articles from news sources being the failings of humanity, it'll be nice to follow some of our species' triumphs.

NAFTA mixed

NAFTA gets mixed reviews after 10 years


The Govenator invokes emergency powers

Arnold Declares Fiscal Crisis.

I didn't even know the position had such an ability.


Finished Clade by Mark Budz last night. Review to follow.


I like to use the start of a new year to make changes. For the blogger, some "pruning" on the links and the addition of a few new ones.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

First day of the new year....

After sleeping in, we spent most of the morning on-line and chatting with family and friends as we exchanged our New Year's Eve activities. We had lunch at Romano's before heading out to our major chore of the day: looking at personal digital assistants (PDA) to replace my broken Prism.

Microcenter was closed. At Compusa, one of the customers reminded me about the hard reset feature in the Palm OS. Unfortunately, when we finally arrived at home and I had a chance to try it out, it didn't work. Damn.

After Compusa, we drove to Barnes and Noble where I bumped into my friend, Greg. We chatted for quite some time. Then a drive home to stop at Starbucks for coffee. The caffeine didn't help, though: I napped for a bit after we got home.

We topped off the night finishing the LOTR: Two Towers. Thanks again, Greg and Sean! We'll be watching the extras on the delux set this weekend. Then it's off to see the LOTR: Return of the King. We can't wait!

New Year's Eve

Spent either asleep or watching the Discovery Channel. More to follow....

Tuesday, December 30, 2003


More in the planning than the actual writing at the moment. That's going to change shortly (even before next year.)

One of my 2004 goals is to write at least one article a month. This goal is partially as an exercise, partially to--hopefully--make some money. Specifically, to actually go through the experience of "submission" process. (Get your minds out of the gutter.)

Many of my articles will be reviews of books. I have at least three books currently in mind. One of the them is the science-fiction book, Clade.


Cardio last night. Tried moving up a tier. Ack!

No weight increase despite that orgy of eating over the weekend. I'm actually surprised. But as R. pointed out, I have a fairly high activity level among my peers.


Still reading Clade (see earlier entries). And it looks like I'll actually finish the book. Yeah! See Words above for plans on the book.

Ack. My Handspring Visor Prism personal digital assistant (PDA) looks like it's down for the count permanently. Touch control doesn't work and the buttons barely, too. Can't sync the info with my desktop, either. While I had been toying with the idea of purchasing a new one, it looks like I have to make a decision and soon. Specifically, do I want to purchase a new one or, instead, a traditonal "pen and paper" planner? R. has no prob with the latter seeing that I actually use my PDA quite extensively.

Until I decide, I'm going to make due with a makeshift calendar and ToDo list. Now, do I use lined paper or stationary? Decisions, decisions....

Monday, December 29, 2003

Latest and greatest

Ack! I'm behind again!

I spent Friday at Disneyland with my ex's beau and his friends. Interesting experience. Same at being at Disneyland after Christmas. Reminder to self: never do that again!

Saturday my own love and I saw the movie, Peter Pan. Though it was a little disconcerting to actually see a boy play the boy who never grows up, it was a very enjoyable film. I now need to read the original version to see how true the director was to the original book. (And, no, the Disney version is not the "true" version any more than their movie, the Little Mermaid, was to Grimm's original writings.)

Sunday we ate. You don't want the gorey details.

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