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Responses to this rant
Dandy   Wednesday, 3/2/2016 8:00 AM
Bart   Wednesday, 3/2/2016 8:26 AM
Older rants
August 10 2017   The Molly Ringwalds, Dia Frampton Musical awesomeness, Beauty and the Feast
July 28, 2017   The IT Sweatshop revisited, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, American Gods and The Magicians, Rogue One, Camino Island
July 24, 2017   CRV glovebox difficulties, San Diego Comic Con rant
July 11, 2017   Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum, Earthweeds, Sons of Neptune Book 1, Aftermath, Empire's End, If Chin's Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
June 30, 2017   Eastwood: No Direction Home book 2
June 23, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 4/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes, my new record, record player, and Emeli's site is live!
Jun 14, 2017   A noteworthy eBook mention before I return to my vacation ranting - No Direction Home
June 9, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 3/4) - The PCH family vacation tale concludes...almost. More pictures of spooky old houses, trees, rocks, and other things that nobody cares about! Plus, Goonies stuff
June 2, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 2/4) - The PCH family vacation tale continues... And more pictures of trees and other things that nobody cares about!
May 31, 2017   Excellent Adventures on the PCH (part 1/4) - Way more detail than anyone wants about our vacation up the coast of California and Oregon. And lots of pictures of trees!
Apr 26, 2017   Resurrection America, Pizza Studio art, AmandaLynn, Emeli art, and Disney art, and Gifted
Apr 14, 2017   My San Fransisco OSI PI adventure & "Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be"
Apr 12, 2017   Neil Gaiman speaks, Norse Mythology, American Gods comic adaptation, The Magicians TV series, and Dirk Gently on TV
Feb 2, 2017   A trip to the ever-less-magical land of Disney, The Prince of Outcasts, the Whistler, and a brief mention of The Magicians.
Jan 21, 2017   An update to my nerd wall at work, Found out about Richard Thompson (Cul De Sac) being gone, A list of all the stuff (or most, anyway) I've given up to new homes, A review of Dave! and Warp, and a couple of new doodles.
Dec 23, 2016   My final visit to Potterland and a couple of doodles
Dec 11, 2016   Books and related comics, and free/cheap stuff. Not taco Bell Material, President Me, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, The Hedge Knight (comic), The Sworn Sword (comic) Ooma, Ringplus, Amazon prime and other money-saving stuff.
Dec 4, 2016   I'm sharing my sad doodles with the world again. They're not very good, but I'll bet they're better than your scribbles!
Nov 12, 2016   Yet another trip to The Wonderful World of Harry Potter!
Nov 7, 2016   Blathering on about a few of the books I've read recently - Spire, The Check, and Dangercide, Pirate Detective
Oct 7, 2016   Yet another Visit to Harry Potterland. Oh, and my lease-mileage calculator.
July 25, 2016   Another Visit to Harry Potterland, a new car, a new shirt, a new dog, and a whole lot of the same old complaining
May 17, 2016   Email spoofers, Phishing emails, and scammers galore!
Apr 30, 2016   Winter's Edge and a Management zombie attack
Apr 23, 2016   Harry Potter land re-visited
Apr 9, 2016   Xenia...again
Apr 2, 2016   Sing Street, Batman vs Superman, Craigslist griping
Mar 1, 2016   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood preview, fun at work, Xenia's new song, A Vanishing Glow, Our Fair Eden, Race Wars, The Force Awakens
Jan 27, 2016   Text Wars, Books I've read... Yup, that's pretty much it
Jul 30, 2015   Xenia Martinez news Still selling stuff on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half (the book), The Path Between the Seas, Trigger Warning, In Fifty years We'll all Be Chicks
Mar 17, 2015   Selling my treasures on eBay, Hyperbole and a Half, the Long Mars, Gray Mountain, Anathem, The Golden Princess, The Given Sacrifice
Mar 12, 2015   You'll be sorely missed, Sir Terry
Jan 21, 2015   More BBC 4 radio dramatizations by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice, Guards! Guards!, Neverwhere, Night Watch, Small Gods, Wyrd Sisters
Jan 10, 2015   JabberWocky, Neil Gaiman style!
Dec 24, 2014   The Good Omens BBC treatment
Aug 03, 2014   Every hobby has to end eventually, right?
Oct 8, 2013   Warning: Extreme Geekness ahead!
Oct 1, 2013   The Bloody Crown of iGoogle
Aug 26, 2013   Headphones at work
Aug 22, 2013   The guvmint is gonna getcha
June 25, 2013   Dweebs vs Big Bang vs IT Crowd
Jul 3, 2012   Xenia Martinez & Dia Frampton concert
Feb 24, 2012   Reading...just not much
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Being an idiot with Lev Grossman
Jan 7, 2012   If it ain't broke...
Aug 22, 2011   non-ComicCon report 2011
A Thousand Splendid Suns
An Act of Self Defense
May 5, 2011   On Stranger Tides
vs.
On Stranger Tides
March 2, 2011   I'm a gigantic slacker...
Ikariam
Wild Guns
Lord of Ultima
Metin 2
Lord of the Rings Online
Dec 15, 2010   Bring out your dead!
Aug 17, 2010   San DiegoComicCon 2010
August 11, 2010   I'm not dead yet...
May 3, 2010   Hero Comics
Liberty Comics
Dr Horrible
Neil Gaiman & Sam Keith in Batman
The Guild, Felicia Day
April 27, 2010   Mean Gene Wilder! Grrr!!!
April 24, 2010   If it's not one Jihad, it's another...
April 20, 2010   The Satanic Verses
March 15, 2010   Unseen Academicals
Feblueberry 8, 2010   The un-reading shelf (from most of 2009)
Feblueberry 2, 2010   Emily the Strange, the Lost Days...a novel
Nov 25, 2009   Happy Halloween, Mom!
Nov 18, 2009   Summer Vacation in Idaho
Aug 20, 2009   San Diego ComicCon 2009
Aug 12, 2009   I'm a big, fat slacker
June 05, 2009   The networks are helping me cut back on my TV viewing
June 04, 2009   Mandy Moore's Amanda Leigh,
Chris Isaak's Mr Lucky
and
My name is Bruce?
and Emmy Rossum? Where am I going with this?
May 21, 2009   Randy would have really liked Fanboys...sigh
May 3, 2009   The Spring reading shelf
Apr 21, 2009   Holidays On Ice (a little late for Christmas)
Apr 18, 2009   Leviticus Cross and other Hector Sevilla comic book stuff
Apr 16, 2009   The fantastically amazing and banal Badbartopia RSS Feed
Mar 31, 2009   Neil Gaiman's Blueberry Girl
Mar 30, 2009   My Amazon mis-order turns out to be not so annoying as previously expected...
(AKA the Dr Horrible soundtrack)
Mar 23, 2009   Stephan Pastis & Richard Thompson have me looking forward to the 2009 SD ComicCon
Mar 19, 2009   Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
The Guild
Mar 08, 2009   The Wonderful Wizard of Oz comic adaptation,
Neil Gaiman's Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Mar 04, 2009   Little Brother
Mar 1, 2009   Pete & Pickles
Feb 11, 2009   She & Him
Flakes
Pushing Daisies
Jan 26, 2009   The Scourge of God,
When You are Engulfed in Flames
Jan 14, 2009   On the Road = hippy nonsense
Jan 12, 2009   One-by-one, my fish have met their maker
Dec 26, 2008   My Azeroth-avoidance continues
Dec 23, 2008   Nothing to see...move along
Dec 15, 2008   New scribbles
Dec 10, 2008   The Oct-Nov-Dec reading shelf
Dec 1, 2008   Shalimar the Clown
the economic impact of the events in Mumbai
Nov 21, 2008   Star Wars: Allegiance
Nov 20, 2008   Daredevil Black Widow: Abattoir
Nov 17, 2008   Travel Team
Nov 16, 2008   A new comic adaptation of The Wizard of Oz
Nov 14, 2008   Berke's Books:
The Last Basselope
Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big
Mars Needs Moms
Opus: 25 years
Nov 13, 2008   Return to Azeroth?
Nov 12, 2008   Goodbye, Opus
Oct 29, 2008   Halloween costumes of 2008
Project Superpowers
Marvels
Ruins
Oct 23, 2008   The Graveyard Book
Interworld
Oct 16, 2008   Nation
Oct 10, 2008   The Joy of Programming
My foray into Ajax
Oct 9, 2008   My Saturn Scare
Opus ends
Terry Pratchett's condition
Oct 3, 2008   The Hitchhiker's Guide, Book 6...by Eoin Colfer?
Oct 2, 2008   Media master - music online
Sony builds a "better" camera
Sept 24, 2008   The September reading shelf
Sept 17, 2008   Still missing Randall
The Fish tank...again
The Graveyard Book
Sept 15, 2008   Slacking...as usual
The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang
Sept 9, 2008   The dearth of Opus strips
yes, I meant to say "dearth"
Sept 8, 2008   A new monitor goes bad...but it all ends happily
Sept 3, 2008   A Boy and His Dog,
Richard Corben,
H.P. Lovecraft's Haunt of Horror
Sept 2, 2008   A slightly newish look
(aka "why I will never be a graphic designer")
Aug 11, 2008   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in all its incarnations Mike Kunkel's re-imagining of Shazam
July 29, 2008   San Diego Comiccon 2008
July 24, 2008   Neil Gaiman
July 17, 2008   Chris Isaak!
June 30, 2008   The Woman Who Wouldn't
Legends II
Mouse Guard Fall 1152
the Jetta's latest round of repairs
fishtank overpopulation
June 10, 2008   The Reading Shelf
Fish tank jungle
Attack of the bees
June 3, 2008   Missing Randall
May 9, 2008   My French Whore
Apr 28, 2008   Fish tank fatality
Flight of the Conchords
The Dangerous Alphabet
Mar 5, 2008   Gene Wilder book signing at Borders
new fish tank
subpoenaed!
Jan 11, 2008   The Jetta Strikes back!
The Plucker
The Anubis Gates
National Treasure II
Nov 8, 2007   San Diego on Fire,
A clean break from WoW,
UCSD Extension Java I graduation (kinda)
Making Money
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Oct 2, 2007   Back to school, Java class at UCSD
AT&T's Uverse
new sketches
Blockbuster movie pass
August 28, 2007   Mandy Moore concert!
Aug 19, 2007   ComicCon 2007 - Neil Gaiman, Iron Man and all the usual suspects
May 22, 2007   World of Spamcraft (and other spamalicious topics), forum fun...gus, the woes of being a contractor and PIRATES!!
Apr 5, 2007   I'm a conservative - bite me!
Timbaland? Dumb!
Marie Antoinette - snaggle teeth and teasing glimpes. Sweet!
John Q - a lesson about fatherhood or a liberal-propoganda film?
Mar 30, 2007   Things that make me grumpy-er,
employed again at last,
Finn and assorted other ramblings
Feb 8, 2007   The search for employment continues..and the unemployment benefits are NOT pouring in!
Jan, 22, 2007   Freed from the bondage of employment, a very brief review of a few books and films
Dec 17, 2006   Sad excuses, The Innocent Man, 1776, THe Man in High Castle, Absolute Sandman, Wintersmith, garage sale treasures: Ghost in the Machine
Aug 20, 2006   Writers of the Future XXII/Tim Powers, more movie reivews
July 20, 2006   San Diego ComicCon 2006
July 15, 2006   Superman Returns, inconsiderate morons, Peewee's Playhouse returns, my plea for more pirate movies
July 8, 2006   Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Wild Animal Park critters, site remodeling
Jun 27, 2006   The good, the bad and the mediocre (a bunch of movie reviews in the new forum).
June 15, 2006   Because of Romek - A Holocaust Survivor's Memoir
May 21, 2006   The DaVinci Code, Aeon Flux, Everything You Want
May 12, 2006   World of Warcrack, the Office, Coraline, my apologies...
Jan 24, 2006   Christmas Vacation 2006, Syriana, Traveling Pants, Wish You Were Here
Dec 19, 2005   Festive Neighbors, the death of Olivia, Media Misinformation surrounding Brent Wilkes/ADCS, Make Love the bruce campbell way
Nov 15, 2005   Microsoft Technet 2005 launch party, Lexmark printer problem, a bad, bad day, changing dentists.
Oct 22, 2005   Thud!, Anansi Boys, Where's my cow
Oct 18, 2005   Terry Pratchet Thud! signing, Neil Gaiman Anansi Boys signing
Oct 15, 2005   A very, very late Comiccon 2005 report.
Jun 23, 2005   The black hole of Warcraft, The Years of Rice and Salt, After the Sunset, Madagascar, Mr and Mrs Smith, Taxi.
Jun 3, 2005   All is quiet on the PM Front, War of the Worlds (the novel), Kingdom of Heaven, Sahara, Star Wars Episode III, Flight of the Phoenix
May 9, 2005   The program managers strike again, More of my horrendous sketches, Spanglish, A Lot Like Love, Elektra, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the film)
Apr 9, 2005   Stuck in Corporate Hell, a few of my recent sketches, Miss Congeniality 2, Collateral
Mar 21, 2005   Revenge of the Jetta (car problems), a Newegg purchase, a few new drawings, more Opus
Feb 13, 2005   The Mail mystery solved, more of my crappy sketches, A few new photos of the girls, bill-bert (introducing the new Project Manager), sweet phone skills, Opus, Dungeons and Dragons, In Good Company
Jan 27, 2005   Mystery mail, new photos of my beautiful kids, some new sketches, an Episode 3 spoiler, Opus, Going Postal, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik, Remember the Titans, Lemony Snicket`s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Dodgeball
Jan 7, 2005   Christmas 2004, Update to the site, Elf & King Arthur revisited, National Treasure, Opus, Blade Runner
Dec 18, 2004   A new Stephanie sketch, another Target web page goof, the SD Union Tribune confirms Greg Bear`s research for Vitals, Miramar VW proves my dealer service assertions wrong, neighborhood Christmas fun, Opus
Nov 24, 2004   More of my mediocre drawings, nw russian mail-order coins, Star Wars toys, a big green spider comes to visit, Opus, Dies the Fire, Digital fortress, The Incredibles, Twisted, Van Helsing
Nov 03, 2004   Some thoughts regarding the 2004 election, rants about the environment, a memory rebate update, new computer issues, Opus, The Lone Drow, Deception Point, Roswell season 2 on DVD
Oct 12, 2004   An interesting quiz, mal-in rebates, a parrot joke, my new computer, thoughts on frame removal, web logs, Opus, Vitals, Star Wars trilogy on DVD, Ladykillers
Sep 23, 2004   My "Heath" sketch for Mark Oakley, an update on my a PNY rebate check, the fictitious AWNA Act, Browser Issues with the site, Opus/Pickles, The DaVinci Code, Garden State (Natalie Portman), Man on Fire
Sep 11, 2004   A new drawing: "Stephanie", redneck wisdom, my salary to hourly reclassification, funny video: news from iraq, an update on my mail-in pny rebate, a new rebate through Costco, Ella Enchanted, Highlander Endgame, Princess of Thieves, The Whole Ten Yards
Aug 27, 2004   Fun with my VW Warranty, Opus, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Land of SokMunster, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Hidalgo, Chasing Liberty, Out of Time
Jul 23, 2004   San Diego ComicCon 2004, the family summer vacation, Bruce Campbell, Opus, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, Angels & Demons, Folk of the fringe, Bourne Supremacy, i robot, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Cody Banks 2, Hellboy
Jul 19, 2004   *** PNY Rebate fun, IE Patch, Linux and socialism, liberal scum, Opus, BIM, timeline, master and commander, tad hamilton, stuck on you,cold mountain, 50 first dates, the terminal, spiderman 2, king arthur, a hat full of sky, the thousand orcs, meditations on middle earth
Jun 20, 2004   Memorial day pictures, Duplex, Mark Oakley/Heroes, Wild Animal Park Dinosaurs, B-52s concertman, Say After Tomorrow, Big Fish, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Eragon, A Hat Full of Sky, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
May 08, 2004   Pat Tillman, LOTR Toys, 13 Going on 30, Mean Girls, Tolkien Miscellany, Last Juror, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Pork Tornado
Apr 06, 2004   Roswell season 1 DVD and a some other mindless drivel
Feb 19, 2004   Highlander site contest results, new downloads, princess gallery updates, lord of the rings toys, harry potter, underworld. lost in translation, the hunted, a tolkien miscellany...
Feb 09, 2004   Murder at 1600, Radio, Cheaper by the Dozen, King Arthur, Spiderman 2, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Tolkien Miscellany, Mark Oakley, massive snow in Idaho...
Jan 28, 2004   Swat, Uptown Girls, Somethings Gotta Give, Along Came Polly, Seabiscuit, Ashley Judd Marathon, Van Helsing, Harry Potter, Science Fiction Bok Club, Nanny Ogg`s Cookbook, RA Salvatore, Mythology (Alex Ross), Fastner & Larson, Best page in the universe, etc, etc...
Jan 07, 2004   Clint`s rules, X-Men 2, Holes, Pirates, Two Towers, Freaky Friday (Haley Hudson), new drawings, Thieves` World, Playskool Star Wars, new Interest section
Jan 02, 2004   nothing all that interesting...
Dec 21, 2003   Nemo, Highlander page, Christmas vacation 2003, star wars kid
Dec 12, 2003   E.T. (Erika Eleniak), new drawings, Opus, Santa Claus 2 (Elizabeth Mitchell), Legolas toy/pics, How to Deal (Mandy Moore), Myth update, Last Samurai
Nov 27, 2003   Another Fine Myth, Elf
Nov 22, 2003   Dude, Where`s Bill & Ted
Nov 18, 2003   Not much to say
Nov 15, 2003   Disneyland, Astronaut`s Wife, Dumer and Dumber-er, Monstrous Regiment
Nov 10, 2003   Terry Pratchett, Matrix Revolutions
110103   School of Rock, Terry Pratchett signing, Darth Vader MBNA bust, San Diego fires
Aug 17, 2003   Johnny English, San Diego Comic-Con
Jun 17, 2003   Assorted ramblings
May 28, 2003   Not much to say
May 24, 2003   Almost nothing of note
May 17, 2003   Matrix Reloaded, Pirates
Mar 23, 2003   The Police, Pirates, Lord of the Rings grievances part II
Mar 16, 2003   Lord of the Rings grievances part 1
Super auld stuff   A big list of old submissions with boat loads of broken links

The Wizarding Nerd of Harry Potter

Finally, something worth mentioning! I lucked into visiting Universal Studios Hollywood on a special preview day for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (we just went because the kids had the week off and there was an offer to get an annual pass for the price of one day's admission). The Wizarding World doesn't officially open until April 7, but everything seemed to be pretty much done from what I could see. As far as I know, this preview day was the first time the general public was allowed in to look around Hogsmeade.

All the Hogsmeade shops were open (as far as I could tell - the doors that didn't open seemed to be facades). I did, of course, try a butterbeer (the non-slushy variety) and picked up some Peppermint Toads and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. Soap and Black Pepper are the worst flavors I've come across so far. It was raining the day we were there (perfect Hogwarts weather), so I also picked up a Gryffendor umbrella to keep a little bit dry in my shorts and t-shirt. I didn't try the Three Broomsticks restaurant, though it was open (we ate at Hard Rock before we knew we would be able to get into Hogsmeade).

I also didn't get to try the ride inside Hogwarts because it was experiencing technical difficulties, but I did get to walk the route through Hogwarts to see all the may displays of wonder between the exterior and the ride itself. The hours long wait to get to the end of the line (once the Wizarding World is officially open) will be filled with much to see and enjoy, at least for the first few times you go on the ride. Also, I tried the the outside roller coaster and found it to be just about my speed. The ride feels a little like an outdoor Space Mountain, though shorter.

So that's my exciting news. Now, on to the usual claptrap...

I have an older co-worker-who-shall-remain-nameless who complains about her working environment. A lot. She can't work in a sitting position for extended periods of time, she has to have special keyboard trays, mouse pads, etc for carpal tunnel. And as icing on the annoying cake, she speaks barely-intelligible, broken Engrish.

Recently, her incessant complaining led to her being given a manager's office with an adjustable desk that could be lowered for...well, whatever imaginary ailment she was suffering from. In addition to the office, she kept her cubicle full of crap (if you can call the awesome sweatshop seating in my office "cubicles"). The manager's office was a temporary solution until a co-worker retired. She then moved into his his "cubicle," which could be adjusted in height. The rub is that the new desk with the adjustable height has a much smaller work area. So she now has at least two work spaces (though she might still use the manager's office - I really don't know). I'm assuming she's going to give up the other work space at some point, but her debris is still currently spread across the space. So I decided to poke a little fun on a Friday while everybody else was teleworking.

First, I printed new name plates for all the desks but the aforementioned employee's (I'm not even going to bother calling them cubicles) with her name, followed by " Extension Cubicle" and inserted them into the name plate frame on each desk over the actual occupant's name. And then I glued an eviction notice to one of the monitors on each desk (other than her two cubes, that is).

Unfortunately, she took the following Monday off to celebrate some obscure holiday, so my joke was sort of a swing-and-a-miss. I did encourage my fellow employees to leave their eviction notices and extension cubicle name plates up for about a week. But on my next telework day, the killjoy took them all down.

I thought about trying to revisit some of the other pranks I've pulled (mostly on Dave) that were slightly more effective, but I don't feel like it. Maybe later.

This next thing isn't a prank, but I'm going to talk about it anyway...so enjoy.

My cube is now a shrine to Batman. It became a Batman shrine to compete with the Superman shrine that another co-worker setup when he moved into his cube (the text-reading-challenged co-worker mentioned in my last rant, Alex). One of his Superman items is a Batman vs Superman picture, which gave me an idea. Prior to his arrival, I didn't have a single Batman-related item in my cube and had never even thought to bring any Batman decor to work. But I thought it would be funny to answer his love for Superman with a feigned love for Batman.

But then, as I generally do, took it too far. So I now have a buttload of Batman stuff in my work space and have far outpaced his Superman acquisitions. I haven't purchases anything new other than a Batman toy for $2.00 from Barnes and Noble and too many $5.00 comic frames from Michael's to display Batman comics. All the comics were already in my collection. I even contributed (negatively, I thought) to my nemesis's cube decor with a couple of Lex Luthor comics (the anti-Superman). But that flopped. He actually liked them. I think the only thing my Batman vs Superman battle is proving to anyone is that I'm a gigantic nerd. The Star Wars calendar, Flight of the Conchords poster, and math clock on my wall don't help dispel than notion.

Xenia strikes again!

Another noteworthy thing: Xenia has released a new song called Catch Me If You Can. It's good. You should download it - legally, so Xenia gets a few cents from your 99 cent purchase.

Books

Also, here's something I neglected to share - a couple of slightly more detailed "book" reviews than the usual nonsense I've been sharing. I say "book" because they were ebooks, so they don't feel as much like real books to me.

A Vanishing Glow
by Alexis Radcliff

If you're a fan of RA Salvatore's Corona books, specifically the Saga of the First King series, I suspect you'll be a fan of Alexis Radcliff's novel, A Vanishing Glow. The setting, the fictional world - it all felt so familiar (this was an impression I received very early into the book, which was strengthened as I read on). And I don't mean this to be a criticism of the writing - I'm a big fan of Salvatore's books. I really enjoyed the books in the Saga of the First King series. Despite the similarity to Salvatore's writing, I wasn't really hooked by the story until I was a couple of hundred pages in (it took a few weeks to read the first half of the book). But as the pace of the story picked up and the plot became more concrete, I found myself pulling the book up on my phone and reading whenever I had an idle minute - quickly tearing through the second half of the story. The intertwining plot elements kept me guessing about who was really pulling the strings from behind the curtain, right up to the end.

If you're unfamiliar with the Saga of the First King novels, my comparison to Salvatore probably didn't mean a thing to you. So here's an attempt to explain. A Vanishing Glow is set in a medieval European-type world, though not our own. It's very similar, but obviously not anywhere on this planet in any timeline. As in our own world, there are no dragons, hobbits, elves, dwarves, goblins or other Tolkienesque inhabitants of this fictional world. And magic isn't really present, though there's some argument for magic. The technology of this world feels an awful lot like magic (and the embracing of the technology by at least one of this world's religions), but really feels more like science than magic - especially with the steampunkish robotic body parts and other machines. Salvatore does something similar with gems that feel a lot more like magic than science in his Saga of the First King stories. A visitor from either of these worlds would likely see science in our universe and nothing more than magic.

I look forward to a sequel to provide some closure to the characters who didn't really get a "happy ending" (or any other kind of ending) in this introduction to Ghavarim.

Our Fair Eden
by Harry Manners

I'm as big a fan of Dystopian fiction as the next guy. I love Steve Stirling's Emberverse novels (Dies the Fire and its many sequels), John Barnes's Daybreak novels, Steven King's stabs at the end of the world in the Dark Tower books, The Stand and Cell, Cormac McCarthy's more introspective approach to post-apocalyptic life in The Road, and even appreciate the more politically oriented writing of DW Ulsterman (Dominatus and its many spinoffs). I'll even mention a Glenn Beck I read not long ago, and really enjoyed to my surprise, The Overton Window. You could even throw Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer, Frank Herbert's The White Plague), and pretty much all of Isaac Asimov's books were post-apocalyptic in some way, though from a much different angle. I'm generally reluctant to start reading a series marketed as teen or children's lit, so I've never read The Hunger Games or Divergent books, but I've appreciated the movies. And who isn't a fan of The Walking Dead?

So now, having displayed my End-of-Days credentials, I present to you another recent discovery: Our Fair Eden by Harry Manners. This is one of the very few books with which I started by reading a digital version. I have several digital DW Ulsterman books on my tablet these days and only one paper version on my bookshelf (the first of his stories that I read, Dominatus), so maybe this is a trend I'll be, despite my misgivings for digital books, pursuing further in the future. Anyway, back to Our Fair Eden...

My first and last impressions of Our Fair Eden were of a smaller scale Hunger Games or Divergent (impressions made without the benefit of, as I mentioned, having read any of those books). It wasn't exactly like either of those stories, though. The story did take a fresh approach to the humanity-on-the-ropes trope - sending the survivors of global catastrophe off to one or another oasis in desolate landscapes (as I understood the story, these desolate landscapes were expected to become future lush landscapes due to a global climate in flux). But the protagonist of the story was never really adequately formed in my mind. The one characteristic that was explored was his homosexuality, which I found distasteful...but maybe that's just me. I also found many very interesting aspects of the story (the soldier-clone-guards and their soylent green diet, for one) to be underdeveloped, leaving me unsatisfied. And the story's ending was disappointing. I don't demand a happy ending with every book I read. But if there's no hope and no sense of accomplishment, I'm left wondering why the story was even worth telling in the first place? Is it just meant as nothing more than a cautionary tale?

I honestly don't know if I'd pick up a sequel.

Race Wars
by DW Ulsterman

These stories are almost post-apocalyptic, but definitely with a much darker, politically-tainted scenario. This is really just another approach to tell the same stories in Dominatus, Tumultus, and the Mac Walker stories. Or really any of his stuff. Big government is plotting to turn every American against his neighbor (neighbors with different pigmentation, anyway) and take out any opposition to the plan, within the government or without. Ulstermnan's writing has improved markedly since Dominatus, so his stories have become much more readable.

It's funny how the events in these stories mix in my head with the Once Second After characters and even some of the Walking Dead events/characters. It's just a big mess of doom and gloom sloshing around in my noggin.

The Force Awakens
by Alan Dean Foster

This is the only book (physical or ebook) that I've actually read since the last post. And like all the Star Wars novelizations, there were a good many confusing omissions from the film that were fleshed out. Like what happened to Poe when the tie fighter crashed on faux-Tatooine? Or what's the deal with the new death star super-weapon? And since Alan Dean Foster penned the very first Star Wars novel, his voice fits the story perfectly (unlike the horrible, barely readable mis-fit of the author's style in Aftermath).



So that's pretty much all I have to say. I say good day, sir.

I said Good day!



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