Posted by Jarsto in Reading
July 17th, 2008 | 6 Comments »

I’m a reading freak, and I’m proud of it. At least that’s the way I feel after a couple of discussions the last few days. Granted this was probably clear after I read 36 Discworld novels in 45 days.1 But another interesting contrast came up today.

I was talking about reading with a friend at work. He mentioned yesterday that he’d started on A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (great book by the way). So of course today I asked whether he’d made any progress. He had, some twenty pages to be precise.

That’s more than most people read, especially on a busy work day. But I still couldn’t resist replying (truthfully) that I read twenty chapters this morning in order to finish the book I was reading. Sure I was up early and needed to relax, but it was another reminder I go through books rather faster than most people, and to be honest, that’s the way I like it.

Of course the fact that I prefer reading to at least 90% of what’s on TV these days definitely doesn’t hurt the amount of reading I do. But I’ll leave the whole “TV is crap” rant for another time.
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1 Blogged here


Posted by Jarsto in Media
July 9th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

Last night was the first episode of Bonekickers, a new Archaeological drama from the BBC. I find the concept interesting, but having watched the first episode I’m afraid it’s still only the concept I find interesting. Because in that first episode the characters are flat, the writing leaves a lot to be desired in places, and while it does deliver on the action, even that is marred by some rather over the top CGI.

In short then, I could have spent that hour of my life a lot better, thank you very much. Even so I’m going to give it a week to get better. It can either prove itself next Tuesday or I’m through. And the reason it’s getting that week is that, while it was bad, there were some hints that it could get better.

One thing that will have to change is the writing, which focused too much on archaeological technicalities at times. I’m sure these were accurate but there was a bit of showing off. Watching someone wash a piece of cloth (after explaining how the oxidation of some chain mail preserved it) and then put it under UV is rather like watching some kind of scientific erotica.

I once heard a great way to distinguish erotica from a story with an erotic scene in it: if you can replace the scene with “And then they had sex” and not miss anything important, it’s erotica. And this whole sequence could have been replaced with “this was preserved by the oxidation, and look what it shows under UV”. Granted you can’t take that too far without killing the whole show, but some judicious use of this technique would have infinitely improved the pacing.


Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Reading
May 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment »

To be honest the title of this post is just two words mashed together pretty randomly, but it looks good. And it does sort of make sense, provided this post is about the weekend. This makes sense because:

  1. I finished reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (that is to say all Discworld novel’s published until now)
  2. I had a slight fever, courtesy of the legal firm of Headachy, Tired and Warm (who probably aren’t a legal firm, but sound like one)

Fortunately the legal firm seems to have left me this morning – although I think one of mister Tired’s assistants is still hanging around – but the fact remains that I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to read next. Of course I only started reading Discworld about a month and a half ago (as far as I can trace April 10th seems about right).

For some reason I feel compelled to go all mathematical about that, so which has led me to calculate that 36 novels in 45 days equals 0.8 novels per day, or 1.25 days per novel. That translates as an average of just 30 hours between finishing two novels.

That’s just averages of course, it was usually slower than that on week days and faster in the weekends – I went through novels 33 through 36 this weekend plus some short stories. Of course this weekend part of it was down to the fever, which meant I didn’t feel up to anything much other than reading, but still I was averaging more than 2 books each weekend even before this little unintended sprint to the finish.

Of course there are plent of other things waiting to be read, but right now I’m at a loss as to what to pick. Still no doubt something will leap to my eye, who knows I may even blog about it.


Posted by Jarsto in Category 42, Reading
August 6th, 2007 | No Comments »

I have a confession to make in this post. I’m blogging right now just to kill time. Time I should probably be spending on something far more useful. Unfortunately I have a monster of a headache right now, and just found myself watching for several minutes, as the time on a big download slowly ticked down.

So I decided to blog instead. It’s probably better for my sanity than watching the time tick down on a download, and accomplishes at least as much.  More, at least in the sense that I can take updating this blog off my to do list for a while.

And since I’m updating the blog anyway I might as well do a quick reading update. Because I have been getting some nice reading time in recently. For my most recent reading Harry Potter 7 is probably a good place to start. I read that within six and a half hours of receiving it, exactly two weeks ago today.

After that I re-read Watership Down – one of those books I read probably once a year – and David Weber’s Windrider’s Oath. Then I moved into new (for me) material again with Dan Simmons’s Hyperion, followed by S.L. Viehl’s Plague Of Memory. I was quite happy to finally get around to those two,  because they’ve both been by my bedside ready to be read for quite a while.

Unfortunately while the above means I did clear a couple of things from the to-be-read list I also bought four more books during that same period. So the motto “so many books, so little time” still holds true. But I guess that as long as I enjoy reading I can live with that.


Posted by Jarsto in Babylon 5, Category 42
July 6th, 2007 | 1 Comment »

The voicemail show for the Starfuries vs. X-Wings Smackdown is now online. I won’t spoil the outcome for you, but I will say it was as much fun to record as the regular show.


Posted by Jarsto in Babylon 5, Category 42
June 23rd, 2007 | No Comments »

The Babylon Podcast website now has a post about Starfuries vs. X-Wings that includes a voicemail from my opponent, Trampas Whiteman, on the experience of debating me. It is of course firmly tongue in cheek, but never the less the upshot of it is that I now have a bitch of my very own.

Now for some people this would just be a fun moment, but for me it’s almost a religious experience. After all a bitch of my very own means I’m now just a little closer to the great and mighty goddess Mur. Not that I would ever dare to think I could truly be like the mighty goddess.


Posted by Jarsto in Babylon 5, Category 42
June 22nd, 2007 | 2 Comments »

The latest episode of the SciFi Smackdown podcast has just been posted. This is the episode in which I functioned as a guest host, arguing for the Babylon 5 Starfuries against the Star Wars X-Wing fighters.

So all my fellow Babylon 5 fans should of course go and investigate this episode, and the podcast in general for that matter. Star Wars fans should probably go as well, though I don’t know if they need bother giving feedback 😉

If listening to it is even half a much fun as recording it was everyone should have great fun with this episode.


Posted by Jarsto in Reading
February 28th, 2007 | No Comments »

Seriously, some authors are so good at keeping people up at night – unable to put their books down – that it’s a wonder they’re not sued because of productivity lost due to lack of sleep. Which author prompted this observation? David Brin.

I’ve been rereading Brightness Reef (part one of the second Uplift Trilogy) and, even though I’ve been very tired much of the time lately, it was still a struggle to put the book down nearly an hour after I’d meant to go to sleep. And this was, as I say, rereading the book, so I knew damn well what was going to happen!

So while I definitely recommend reading David Brin’s works, especially those set in the Uplift universe, I advice you not to read them late at night. Unless of course you can sleep in the next morning and don’t mind being up very, very late.


Posted by Jarsto in Babylon 5
December 17th, 2006 | No Comments »

I saw Lyta kissing Santa Kosh
By his ship in bay thirteen last night
They didn’t see me creep
Trough the hatch to have a peep
They thought I was in blue five
In my quarters, fast asleep

Then I saw Lyta teasing Santa Kosh
Out of his encounter suit so bright
Oh what a laugh it would have been
If Bester had only seen
Lyta kissing Santa Kosh last night

As with the previous lyrics for Vorlon Christmas comments are of course welcome. Particularly if anyone has a more accurate blue sector level number for crew quarters. The numbers one through ten, with the exception of seven, and the number twelve can all be substituted for the five.


Posted by Jarsto in Reading
December 6th, 2006 | 1 Comment »

I’ve been able to do one really useful thing the last few days. Hopefully it will be more today since for the time being I’m feeling a bit better (knock on wood). But I figured I’d write a quick note about what I have been doing.

And what I have been doing is actually rather obvious, from the title of this post. I’ve been clearing some of the books that were on my “to be read” list in the light reading category. Because I haven’t really been up to anything more than light reading. I’ve read maybe four Agatha Christie detective novels, and two of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books.

The Honor Harrington novels are actually part of a re-reading process, since I’ve read the entire series before. But the Christies were new reads. They also get me down to roughly half a dozen Agatha Christie novels currently in my possession and unread. At the start of November that was still at something close to 15. Of course I’m still missing 9 of the books, but that’s a story for another time.