Stuff I remember

Blood and Bloody Ashes?

I remember Dad coming home from work, smelling like ammonia. I think that’s what it was. I don’t recall the smell specifically…just the acridness (acridity?) and strength of the odor, and its ability to pervade anything. That was way back in the day. He didn’t work a steady shift, sometimes nights, sometimes four-on-four-off or whatever it was…that was why we had dinner so early, so we could eat our last meal with Dad as he ate his first meal. For some reason (probably because it’s bill time), I also remembered back when I was in fourth or fifth grade, and my assignment was to write two letters or something like that. So I needed two envelopes and two stamps, which I got, but I put the stamps on the wrong corners of the envelopes (probably upside down on the bottom left), and I was so embarrassed and ashamed I threw them away rather than showing anyone, and told Dad I lost them, and he got unreasonably mad at me for losing two stamps. I wonder why.

Dad recently sent a pet project of his to me…there’s an old picture of my brothers and me sitting on the couch together (see here), and he made us re-pose for it over Christmas (see here). And here are the rest of the pics from 1989.

I thought I ought to write in here before it got completely bogged down by the books I’ve read, but it’s probably too late for that. So, I’ll section the books off at the bottom.

Anyway…before KrisDi moved, we cashed in our coins for an Amazon gift certificate, and it totaled out to $575.10. KrisDi had 284 quarters, 267 dimes, 145 nickels, and 502 pennies for $109.97. I had 676 quarters, 1916 dimes, 1186 nickels, and 4523 pennies, for $465.13. That’s a lot of god damn change. So of course we’ve been buying stuff with it. I don’t know if we’ve really made a dent yet.

Yeah, so there was a lot more than that going on, but Christ, I’ve been bogged down. I’ll post this for now, and update again if I can. Below are the book reviews. On reflection, I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read lately, so if you’re interested in the kinds of books I read, perhaps you should read on. If not, skip it.


The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem. Hilarious! The technical jargon wordplay gets a bit tiresome and repetitive, but if this was really tranlated from Polish to English, it’s a damn marvel. Half the damn humor is innuendo, and the rest of it’s puns. Whether you want to read the whole thing or not, go to the bookstore, open it up, and read the section entitled, mumble, mumble mumble. I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s one of the first three sections, I think, and it’s relatively short and it’s hilarious. Here’s a link to the first story online, which is also worthwhile, although not quite as funny. Dammit. Go read the damn book.

The Book of Merlin by TH White. Much more boring and preachy than the rest of the Arthur books. In fact, large sections of this were stuck into the Once and Future King, word for word.

Manalive by GK Chesterton. Chesterton forcefully drove his point home: Conformant behavior != ethical behavior, Nonconformant behavior != unethical behavior. Fun and funny, though, and relatively short, so it’s not like you’re wasting a month getting a repetitive lesson. I liked it.

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan. Yes, it’s the 11th book in Jordan’s never ending series. Did anything happen in this one? Yes. Still nowhere near as good as the first book in the series. Wind it up, Jordan. Before you die of your horrific disease.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Having only read two of Dick’s books, I seem to recognize a pattern: Dystopian futures with troubled antagonists and moral ambiguities. I love his writing though, because none of the dystopias are exactly the same (although they seem to all be post-WWII- or III-ish themes), and he goes into wonderful detail on the society and the inhabitants’ anxieties. Anyway, this is the book on which Bladerunner was based, and the book and the movie are different enough for both of them to be exceptional. Plot: Rick Deckard’s job is to retire (kill) androids, which are becoming so advanced as to be nearly (NEARLY) indistinguishable from humans.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This is deservedly a classic. If you haven’t read it, do so now. I command thee. Incidentally, it appears that a LOT of sci-fi chronologically following this book references it, for some odd reason. Huh.

The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester. The Count of Monte Cristo…IN SPAAAAACE! Moderately dark throughout the bulk of the story. Definitely good enough to keep me turning the pages. Apparently this was also once titled “Tiger! Tiger!”, which makes sense if you read the book. Which I’d recommend for people who like wacky sci-fi.

Posted by snaotheus

Peanut Butter and Pickles

Pictures added:

Airshow at Edwards Air Force Base. I like the miniature astronauts.
Pumpkin carving. You would not believe how much time I spent on my Johnnie Walker pumpkin.
Peanut Butter and Dill Pickle Sandwich. This guy at work kept saying these things were good and wouldn’t listen to criticism from anyone who hadn’t tried one. So I tried one. My mind couldn’t grasp both flavors at the same time. It was very strange, but not as horrifying as I thought it might be.

Thing I remembered:

The other day, I was discussing God’s creatures of which I have not already partaken (I want to eat reindeer, preferably with a bright red nose!), and someone brought up pheasant, which I distinctly recall eating on two occasions. However, the flavor is not part of those memories. The older of the two is probably the more amusing: Dad ran a pheasant over on the highway (accidental), tossed it into the back of the truck (intentional), and brought it home to feed it to his children (ummm…thoughtful?). However, he had to ask a neighbor how to pluck it and cook. The neighbor thoughtfully did so, and then told dear old Dad that it was illegal to keep it (I’m guessing you need a hunting license or something). The other time was apparently a bird that Elder Brother shot. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize that when you shoot things with shotguns, they have lots of little metal balls in them. That’s typically what makes them stay on the ground unmoving until fetched. These same little metal balls are not particularly appetizing.


The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This is a long book, which is a little difficult to read because Russian names aren’t the same as English names. Luckily, the copy I have has an index of the main characters full name and nicknames. It still took me a while to realize that Nikolay and Kolya were the same person. Anyway, the story seems very much like a soap opera to me, which would normally be very boring (and in fact, after the very beginning but before the second half was fairly boring), but I liked these characters more than the characters I imagine are in soap operas (not having had the patience [or desire for self-punishment] to ever sit through a soap opera). To a certain extent, though, I thought the soap-operatic turns of events were contortions intended to create situations about which the main character (or the author) could wax philosophical, which I did find interesting. Overall, I liked the book. Plus, it had a pleasingly unhappy ending. I’m always a sucker for those.

Deathstalker Rebellion by Simon R. Green. I just finished this yesterday or the day before, I don’t remember which. As you most certainly don’t recall, I thought the first book was cheesy. This was more of the same. Character names like Razor, Silence, d’Ark, Random, Journey, Edge, and of course the title character Deathstalker. Fortunately for Mr. Green, I have a soft spot for cheesiness. Unfortunately, there were a few glaring plot holes which I had a hard time ignoring (disbelief is precariously suspended). I should just give up and buy the rest of the series, because I know perfectly well I’ll read them. Maybe I can find them in a library somewhere.


Muppets from Space. It was a muppet movie. How can it go wrong?

Posted by snaotheus, 13 comments