Adventures in Texting...
or "the trials of driving a 17 year-old car"
You'd think that after all this time, I'd have something totally amazing to share. Surely, in all the time since I last blathered about anything, something noteworthy must have happened, right?
But something funny happened a couple of days ago. Earlier in the day, My fine young newly-minted Associate Programmer co-worker, Alex, asked me if I had a Jetta and then showed me a comic about Jettas.
That's not the funny part.
Much later in the day, I left the office and tried to start my super-sweet 1999 Jetta. No love. The battery wasn't totally dead, but it was dead enough that it wouldn't start. So I weighed my options for a jump (I had jumper cables, fortunately). I could call for road-side assistance, which would take at least a half hour to arrive, or try to find someone in the office to badger into helping me. My first two choice were either already gone for the day or not at their desks when I left, so I went with number three - the aforementioned Alex.
I sent him a text.
After this confusing exchange, nothing happened for a few minutes so I sent another text, thinking that I was playing along with his weird responses, though not really sure where he was going with it.
Still nothing for a few minutes, so I tried again...and again a few minutes later. I began to wonder if maybe just calling for road-side assistance would have been faster.
Finally, I got another response. But it was even more confusing than his earlier messages.
I was really beginning to wonder if maybe I'd misjudged Alex's mental stability. This was getting weird. But I'd already invested about 15 minutes into this nonsense, so I forged ahead!
A few minutes later, I was about ready to give up, so I made one last appeal.
But then I thought....oh, maybe he's already gone for the day (he parks on the other side of the building so could have easily left without me seeing him) and that's why he's giving me so much grief. So I checked to see if he was still there. He was. And apparently he thought I was just goading him for still being there.
But I still could't figure out why he was giving me so much grief about jumping my car. Why not just tell me no? So I tried one more time. And all was explained.
I laughed loudly. And then told him he was a goofball.
And then I laughed some more.
When my battery died again the next day, I made sure I was more clear with my request for assistance.
I've also read a few books. It's been a while since I really felt like sharing why I loved the books that I really enjoyed reading. but here's the Reader's Digest versions -
The Magician's Land (Lev Grossman)
This book sat on the to-read shelf for many, many moons. And I'm not sure why - I really enjoyed the first two books in the series. And this one was no different. It was another interesting story with our old friend Quentin/Harry/Holden. The books started out with such a strong Harry Potter/Narnia/Holden Caulfield vibe that Quentin is always an amalgam of those characters in my head. And this last book brought the core characters back together. One other thing I will mention - this is, disappointingly, the final book in the series.
Oh, and one more other thing, the books have been adapted into a series by the SciFi channel (SyFy is just such a weird name, and I refuse to use it). But names have been changed, characters have been aged, and casting of most of the characters is much, much different from what I saw in my head or even how they were described in the book. But I'm still stoked to watch it.
The Long Utopia (Terry Pratchett)
These books have never felt much like Terry's books to me, but I've enjoyed them all despite this. And there's one more slated to be published soon that was apparently completed before Terry's untimely death. So I'll be looking forward to that one, too. As for the story, it's taken an odd turn, with another alien race coming onto the scene and threatening the very existence of the long Earths.
The Shepherd's Crown (Terry Pratchett)
This book is, without any doubt, a Terry Pratchett novel. And I loved every page, every sentence, every word. It's so sad that there will never been another Tiffany Aching story. Or a Commander Vimes tale. Or any updates on the misadventures of Rincewind. Tiffany is growing up, the Feegles are as entertaining as ever and Granny...well, I don't want to ruin anything if you haven't read it.
The Change (SM Stirling and a host of others)
Steve Stirling spends most of his post-change time in the Pacific northwest, or at least following the adventures of the denizens of the Pacific northwest. So it was really interesting to read about what would have happened in Southern California, Australia, Florida, New Mexico/Old Mexico, and many other places. The most recent Emberverse/Change novel actually piggy-backed off the Southern California story in this book. Not all the stories were great, but many were.
The Desert and the Blade (SM Stirling)
This is yet another sequel to the what-if-all-known-technology-ceased-to-function Change stories. Forty-something years have passed. Heroes have arisen and fallen. And (medieval-level) civilization is returning to more and more places...including the Los Angeles basin. Despite the early assertions that LA would be a wasteland of cannibals and the dead, we learn (in The Change) that people did manage to hang on in parts of LA. And though many died, others lived. And without even resorting to cannibalism. Much.
The Water Knife (Paolo Bacigalupi)
With all the drought stuff going on in California, this book felt like it could have been a pretty accurate prediction of what is to come in the desert southwest. If it is - steer clear of Arizona. And most of Nevada (unless you're loaded). A good, if quite often super-depressing, story.
Star Wars, the original trilogy (Alan Dean Foster, Donald F Glut, James Khan)
It''s funny that George Lucas is credited with writing the original book when it was written by Alan Dean Foster, who also wrote the novelization of the new Star Wars story. And all three of the originals are well worth a read - if only to show how much the original scripts changed and were melded together as they were made into films. Scenes moved from one film to another, famous lines attributed to one character were actually spoken by another...it was interesting.
Star Wars Aftermath (Chuck Wendigo)
When I read that a book was being published that bridged the events that occurred between the end of Return of the Jedi and the upcoming The Force Awakens, I was pretty stoked. I had been intentionally steering clear of any information about the new Star Wars film, but I figured the Admiral Thrawn/Mara Jade branch of the Star Wars timeline was out and Dark Empire wasn't coming to fruition either. And all the other expanded universe stuff was being discarded as if it had never been created. Sad, but that's what happens when a fictional universe doesn't belong to a single author. Splinters happen and continue to happen endlessly. Disney hasn't really improved on the model. Aftermath has shades of the Thrawn stories, but isn't nearly as well written. I suspect the author knew someone to get the gig - so much about the way he wrote it felt very un-Star Warsly.
Rogue Lawyer (John Grisham)
I skipped several John Grisham books over the past few years because I was tired of how preachy he was getting. But I picked up the last one, Gray Mountain, and despite it's underlying anti-business/big-corporations-are-bad message, really enjoyed it. Rogue Lawyer is another idealistic romp down Innocent Victim Lane, but is so engaging and has such strong characters that I couldn't help but be sucked in. It was a lot closer to The Firm than most of his other books have been. Less preaching, more action.
One Second After, (William Forstchen)
I love a good apocalyptic story. And this is a very good one. It lacks all unexplainable elements (there's no technology in this book that doesn't actually exist, no unexplainable phenomenon that causes technology to stop, no return of magic to the earth, etc.). And it could all happen. North Korea, Pakistan, Iran in the near future all have the means (if not the delivery) to bring a large part of this country to its knees. And turn otherwise well-mannered people into murderous hordes. Not zombies, just people who will kill for something to eat. Or drink. Just consider how dependent you are on clean water, electricity, and food deliveries to the local grocery. Take them away and things go bad. Fast.
Ender's Game, Ender in Exile, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind (Orson Scott Card)
I read these many years ago (not Ender in Exile, but the others). And have often thought about reading them again. They gradually made their way in from one of the many book bins in the garage to the to-read bookcase. And finally to the front of the reading list. I actually have half of Xenocide and all of Children of the Mind to read still, but I'm getting through them pretty quickly. These were all paperbacks purchased before I could afford hard cover books, so the bindings are coming unglued and some of the covers are bent and torn, but they're all still readable. And I'm enjoying them this second time through as much as I did the first time. Whether you love homos or hate them, you've gotta admit that Orson is a great writer.
I was going to mention some of the sweet loot I got for Christmas, but I doubt even Steve made it this far...so it's likely no one would ever read it. Maybe I'll feel like talking about them later. I was also going to mention my Batman vs. Superman battle at work with Alex. But...maybe next time.
The auctioning of my treasures also continues, but I don't feel like talking about any of the awesome stuff I no longer own. And it kills me just a little bit every time I package my long-stored comics and toys up and send them on to their new homes. Sadly, you can't even tell that there's any less junk where my treasures were once stored.