Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eric Brown - Kethani

English author Eric Brown's 2008 sci-fi novel Kéthani shows an earthly world that is at once scary and intriguing. An alien race has left its' imprint on our society by giving it a boost to the future. The characters' lives are described by their central point of reference - the pub. We readers get to meet them at "the Fleece" for a few pints every Tuesday (and many other days that end in "ay").

Unfortunately, as a reader, I cannot be "implanted" and so the association must end. But I thoroughly enjoyed the company of so many of Brown's lifelike characters. So much so that next I will read his Helix (unrelated story).

Highly recommended: Eric Brown's Kéthani.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nancy Kress - Steal Across the Sky

A recent good and fast read of mine, Nancy Kress' Steal Across the Sky is a great romp through a near future world where we have made alien contact. These aliens had been here before, and they messed things up for us. But they came to make things right and thus they called themselves "the atoners." They send witnesses to see what they messed up and ... well I don't want to spoil it.

I do want to say that Nancy Kress is a great find for me. My taste lately has been to seek out new books and try new-to-me authors (hey, Robert Silverberg and some of my other old favorites aren't churning them out the way they used to). She reads very smoothly - crawls right into your head. There were some global warming related story points that are based on bad science, but like other bad sci-fi inventions, you can just look past that.

Nancy Kress is a celebrated author and with this, her latest, it is easy to see why.

... and sorry about the recent "test" post, everybody. We were trying the Word 2007 integration on our (new, not yet completed) standard desktop, only to find that it can publish to Blogger rather nicely if you know what you are doing (or almost do).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cedar Point 2009

What can I say about Cedar Point that I haven't already said? It is one of my favorite places, and I'll bet you would love it too. Yesterday we had a wonderful day. Perfect weather. Lots of great rides. The Dragster picture looks just like one I posted before (only a year older). The rest of the pictures (click) are seriously sun-drenched.

From Cedar Point 2009

We had one big mishap, and it paid some dividends. Early in the morning we were going to ride Maverick, which I had yet to ride. There were very short lines, but while we were waiting, it had a minor problem. A few minutes later they had it back up and we were riding. Maverick has two lift launches. On the second launch (which is out of a dark tunnel) we shot out as designed, but at the top of the hill the machine braked heavily and we slid back down backwards, all the way into the tunnel. There we sat for 40 minutes - 12 of us. Harnessed in with no way out.

Eventually they got the machine working and we were re-launched. When we arrived in the station they gave us a free no-waiting pass onto Top Thrill Dragster, Raptor and Millennium Force. We turned the Dragster and Raptor ones into instant front seat rides. Not too shabby.

In general, Cedar Point never looked better. The place is extremely clean and well manicured. Everything (well, most things) seemed to be in great working order. Even the ticket prices were reasonable (early season Internet specials). Famous Dave's was great, as always, for BBQ wings and Sam Adams. I hope the coming Memorial Day weekend turns out as nice.

Here's a tip:
save your parking receipt and turn it in for 100% credit at Famous Dave's. I've been doing this for years. $10 off! It works at some of the other places on the pennisula that aren't in the main park, but you won't find it printed anywhere.