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And this just in...

Here's the part of my site where I get to tell you what I've been up to, what I'm currently doing, what I may be into down the pike, or anything I might feel like expressing in a somewhat public fashion. If you see something here and have questions or thoughts that you'd like to communicate to me, you can use my contact form or look up my contact info here.

Note that dates and times for posts are listed using the U.S. Eastern Standard time zone, and times are listed in 24-hour format (e.g. 7:04AM is 07:04, 7:19PM is 19:19, etc.).

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Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife

Title: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife
Rating:
Author: Eben Alexander, M.D.
ISBN: ??
Pages: 193
Format: ebook
Started: ~2013-10
Finished: ~2013-10

[Short opinion coming soon…]

Mirror Mirror

Title: Mirror Mirror
Rating: 4
Author: Gregory Maguire
ISBN: 978-0-06-176183-6
CDs: 7 (9 hours)
Format: audiobook on CD
Started: 2013-08-12
Finished: 2013-08-16

This is the same author who wrote Wicked, Son of a Witch, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. In the same vein, this book is a re-telling of the Snow White fairy tale, complete with dwarves. Unlike his other books, though, this one mixes fact with fiction: Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia (Yes, those Borgias) are primary players in this story, with Lucrezia being the wicked queen querying the mirror on the wall. And Bianca de Nevada, not yet even in her teens, becomes an object of hatred not so much for her beauty, but because of Lucrezia's incestuous jealousy of her brother's lecherous appetites. As for the dwarves, these certainly aren't the imaginings of Disney. More primordial than Tolkien's creatures, these dwarves start out as beings only somewhat more animated that the rocks and forest they inhabit. Theirs is a natural magic, allowing them to eat stone, and mold glass like putty with their bare hands. And they only become human-like as their essential influence on nature begins to work on themselves through the imagination of Bianca, while they care for her (and she for them). It was a captivating story.

When I first started listening to audiobooks I thought they would be a mildly entertaining prospect during my work commutes. Now, however, I'm beginning to think of them as an excellent way to experience fiction. Unlike television, my mind's eye is still free to create it's own vision of the characters, and much to my surprise, the narrators are neither dry voices nor overly dramatic. In fact, the more they act out the narration, the more it plays into my imagination. There are now days when my commutes have left me more invigorated and refreshed than a night of deep sleep!

New Blog Software

I decided that blosxom just wasn't quite doing it for me as far as blogging software goes. I wanted something that would provide the following features:

  • Timestamped entries (blosxom does this)
  • Easier formatting than HTML (blosxom doesn't do this :-()
  • Easier, web-based editing (blosxom is command-line text-based)
  • Easy linking to other posts and to website (blosxom does this, but using HTML :-()
  • Tagged entries (blosxom doesn't do this)
  • Perusal by tags (blosxom doesn't do this)
  • The ability to amend entries after original edit (blosxom does do this)
  • Reading list entries (blosxom could do this, but not as easy as my custom-brewed scripts)
  • The ability to easily document projects or technical insights (HTML isn't easy :-()
  • A wiki/blog that doesn't need a database, or at worse uses sqlite (blosxom does this)

I had already used DokuWiki for various wiki needs, and after taking a look at some of the plugins available, I decided to give it a try as a blogging tool. After some experimentation in an offline environment, I was convinced it meets my needs better than blosxom. I ported my old blog entries, added this entry, and here we are! I hope you find it as much of an improvement as I do. Now I just need to move my reading list.

Done in by Innocent Things

Title: Done in by Innocent Things
Rating: 3
Author: William Eisner
ISBN: 0-9671851-6-5
Pages: 221
Format: Hardcover
Started: ~2013-07-22
Finished: ~2013-07-26

A series of short stories filled with mishaps and missed turns that turn ordinary lives inside out. None of them were exceptional in any way, and the best thing I can say about them is that they were entertaining while I read them. I liked reading them, they were definitely not boring, but they were definitely not memorable other than to say that there were some unexpected plot twists. They were worth reading once, at least.

The Regulators

Title: The Regulators
Rating: 4
Author: Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
ISBN: 0-525-94190-8
Pages: 475
Format: Hardcover
Started: ~2013-06-17
Finished: ~2013-06-21

I have to admit, it's Stephen King, and I'm biased. I have always loved his work, and this is no exception. This story is an interesting account of what might happen if the things of our imagination were allowed to cross over into the real world. And by “things”, I don't mean the good ones!


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