Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review: The Morganville Vampires (omnibus edition of Glass Houses and The Dead Girl’s Dance)

Morganville Vampires

I pretty much avoid sparkly vampire stories. I’ve never read Twilight, and have not seen the movies. I am only vaguely familiar with Anne Rice’s stuff. I have been “self-sheltered” from vampire fantasy fiction. But when I saw that Penguin Books was re-releasing Rachel Caine’s The Morganville Vampires in omnibus editions, I asked for a copy of the first one (Glass Houses and The Dead Girl’s Dance). I wanted to get a feel for this whole area of fantasy about which I was mostly clueless.

Glass Houses and The Dead Girl’s Dance were both written from the perspective of 16-(almost 17!)-year-old Claire Danvers, an exceptionally smart girl who got into college early. She wants to go to Yale or MIT, but before her parents will allow her to live on the other side of the country, they are making her do a two-year term at a close college in Morganville, Texas. This proves to be a rather unwise decision on the part of her parents, as Morganville happens to have a lot of vampires. Our little Claire ends up in the thick of them rather quickly.

In Glass Houses, Claire is getting harassed and beaten by other girls in her dorm, so she takes refuge in an off-campus house with three roommates. Claire and her roommates become the four central characters of the story as they try to unravel the bloody secrets of Morganville while trying not to piss off the local vampires. Glass Houses ends and The Dead Girl’s Dance begins in the middle of the same knife swing. In The Dead Girl’s Dance, the four girls get deeper into the vampire doodoo, and it’s fun to speculate about how they are going to get out of it without nuking the entire town.

The Morganville Vampires books are definitely intended for teenage girls. I suffered through several detailed descriptions of hunky dudes with windblown hair, various shoe selections, and lots of kissy-face action. But I knew what I was getting into and, to be honest, none of the girly stuff was overdone. I felt that Rachael Caine wrote the extremely smart 16-year-old perspective rather well.

I have only a few real complaints, mostly with the first book: In Glass Houses all of the characters except for Claire felt a bit shallow and the plot felt rushed. It’s almost as if Ms. Caine needed to get this opening book out of the way in order to get into the more juicy bits of her story. In The Dead Girl’s Dance several characters go through changes that bring them more depth and the plot is more complicated and feels more cohesive. I wondered whether these two books were originally written together, because it certainly felt that way.

I enjoyed The Morganville Vampires books, even though I’m way outside the intended demographic. I think it’s safe to recommend them to any fantasy fan that needs a break from their usual fare. I can definitely recommend them to our teenage readers. I would advise parents to read to them first, though, especially if your young one is under 15 or 16. There is some suggestive content, but all of it falls within a PG rating.

There are seven Morganville Vampires books out now, with #8 (Kiss of Death) on the way. I hope Penguin plans on publishing the rest in the 2-for-1 package, for it makes it a worthy purchase.

See this review and others at

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Best Served Cold

Joe Abercrombie is a master of his trade, and his trade is dark fantasy. He is becoming the standard bearer for gritty realistic fantasy, and Best Served Cold might well be the masterpiece that represents that sub-genre. Monza Murcatto is a renowned and very successful mercenary, or was…till she was stabbed, beaten and thrown from a mountain side by her employer. Best Served Cold tells the tale of Monza and her quest for revenge. Monza contracts a party of unsavory characters to aid her in her revenge quest. The story goes from dark to black to “a wet match in the bottom of a dark cave”. Everyone suffers, lots of people die, the trail of blood and tragedy that Monza leaves in her wake is unprecedented. Abercrombie takes what appears to be a simple tale of revenge and twists it into a sanguine journey of self discovery on the part of each character. No other author I’ve found works so hard to create likeable characters out of such nasty individuals

The book is exceedingly well written, so much so that I have really no other option but to give this book 5 stars. It really is an amazing work. Reading his work is always bitter sweet for me. I know I’m going to get an amazing story, with unique characters told in a way that only Abercrombie is able to pull off. All the wonderful writing comes with a price for the reader. The price is that it changes you a little, it’s altered my perception of what fantasy can be. Before reading Abercrombie I was blissfully unaware of how truly brutal and tragic fantasy as a medium can be. Sure there is George R.R. Martin and his love of killing off main characters, but these books are different. In Martin’s work I never had any doubt that I was observing the story from the outside. With Abercrombie he makes it a point to bring you there. I feel the character’s spirit break in the hands of the torturer. I know the person that was on page 112 is now someone else on page 113, and it makes me sad. There is no redemption, no “making it up” later…they’ve simply changed. It’s a very real and unsettling thing to experience as a reader, and it’s a feeling that’s not commonly found in fantasy. The heart of Best Served Cold is how Abercrombie strips our “heroes” down to their core and reveals with in them who they truly are.

I have a love hate relationship with Abercrombie’s books. I will most certainly continue to read them, they are just too incredible not to. I will be sure to keep something exceedingly happy to read right afterwards. Best Served Cold is technically a stand alone novel, but I would highly recommend reading The First Law Trilogy prior to this since I get the feeling of an overall “Big Picture” taking place in this world. Read this book if you are ready to have your thoughts on fantasy challenged. Do not read this book if you like your fantasy to be a pleasant escape from the harsh realities of life. -JB

See this review and others at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Google Wave invites

I think just about everyone that wants one has one, but if you don't and would like one. All you need to do is follow my blog and comment on this post and I'll send you an invite. I have 15 it's first come first serve. I'll need an e-mail address to send the invite to. You can choose to post it in the comments (e-mail at or drop me a line a at geeksonfireblog at with the name you used in your post and "wave invite" in the subject line and I'll send it straight away.

Tis The Season! #3: Child's Play

Another unique charity that I like a lot and thought I should share.

Since 2003, over 100,000 gamers worldwide have banded together through Child’s Play, a community based charity grown and nurtured from the game culture and industry. Over 5 million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.

This year, we have continued expanding across the country and the globe. With almost 70 partner hospitals and more arriving every month, you can be sure to find one from the map above that needs your help! You can choose to purchase requested items from their online retailer wish lists, or make a cash donation that helps out Child’s Play hospitals everywhere. Any items purchased through Amazon will be shipped directly to your hospital of choice, so please be sure to select their shipping address rather than your own.

When gamers give back, it makes a difference!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Review: The First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher

The First Lord's Fury

Grab your helms, shields and swords, fantasy fans. In The First Lord’s Fury, Jim Butcher is taking you to war! In the 6th and final book in the Codex Alera series, Butcher not only takes you to war, but makes you laugh and cry along the way. The First Lord’s Fury is a very suitable ending to what I found to be a most enjoyable fantasy series. The Codex Alera series takes place several thousand years after a lost Roman legion found its way to another world and rebuilt a society. The novels’ setting, the realm of Alera, is therefore loosely based on ancient Roman culture. The story follows a young man named Tavi through his eventful life and The First Lord’s Fury is the ultimate conclusion of Tavi’s story. In the previous books, Tavi finds himself in impossible situations and relies upon his wit and support from loved ones to win the day. The First Lord’s Fury is no different in that respect. Where this book differs is that the weight that’s been placed upon Tavi has grown significantly. A feeling of utter desperation takes root in all the characters. People die, families are torn asunder, the realm is in total chaos, and everything depends on the rest of my review on

The copy I used to review this book was sent to me by Berkley Publishing Group. It was released in the US(11/24/09)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tis The Season! #2: Iraq Stars Inc.

For my second highlighted charity I selected IraqStar

Iraq Star Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the necessary reconstructive surgeries to assist war veterans recovering from physical and mental injuries. It's the Foundation's hope that reconstructive surgery will also help our veterans heal from emotional trauma, increase self-esteem, and ease their return from their pre-war lives.

I seen them highlighted in an episode of American Chopper. Seems like such a great "filling the gaps" type of charity. Providing much needed non life threatening cosmetic surgery for injured veterans. The VA facilities are often only capable of basic surgery, just enough to allow the vet to function in day to day life. Iraqstar takes that one step further. Great charity.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tis The Season!

From now till New Years I will be posting various charities that I think are worth taking notice of. I typically like charities that have a more hands on or practical approach to helping people. If you have a charity you'd like me to feature just reply to this post and I"ll check them out.

Ok the first the charity I'd like to feature is WorldBuilders or rather Patrick Rothfuss's collection front for Heifer International

Heifer is a kick ass charity in that instead of sending supplies that is often stolen are used on black markets, they choose to provide sustainable food a whole cow, or a hive of bees. Agriculture education, things like that. It's actually quite an amazing charity. As a bonus if you donate through Pat's link you get entered into a series of drawings for various gifts donated from the fantasy community. Lots of cool stuff check out the links above to learn more.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fallen Princesses - DivineCaroline

Back from the holiday...and thought I'd start off with some lovely pictures of Disney the real world.

Photographer Dina Goldstein gives us a more modern interpretation of the classic fairy tale princess. Her work can be found at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn

The Silver Skull (Swords of Albion)

My review is now up on

There are times when you read a book that’s so amazing to you that you feel the author had you personally in mind when they wrote it, that’s exactly how I feel about Mark Chadbourn’s The Silver Skull. The Silver Skull is set in an alternate version of the Elizabethan England period. The story follows Will Swyfte the greatest spy England has ever known. He’s handsome, daring, smart and dangerous. He’s everything a great spy should be. With Spain on the brink of war with England and the Unseelie court pulling strings behind the curtains; Will has been tasked with saving the whole of England from certain doom. Sounds kind of silly does it not? The core of the story is indeed a spy/adventure story. On the surface the plot does feel a little like an Elizabethan James Bond novel, but in reality The Silver Skull is so much more than the rest of my review on

The copy I used to review this book was sent to me by Pyr publishing. It was released in the US(11/05/09)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Screw Lawn Gnomes: I'm getting a Jawa!

I'm a fan of the spartan garden (ie: not much work required). I'm not so much into Garden Gnomes (who should all burn) but this garden gnome is almost enough to convince the Mrs. about my position. I can picture it now, arrid desert landscape with my R2D2 cooler being scrapped by Jawa Gnomes.

Via Geekologie.
Product Site

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Musical Geekiness - sequencing with a big ol modular synth

A New Low for Humanity: Juggalo Furries

With the year 2012 right around the corner, I'm starting to see signs of society collapsing. I don't know weather to laugh or cry at this unholy union.  Juggalo Furries. No, that is not a typo, and yes, appearently its real.  Juggalos are the makeup wearing, not-quite-emo fans of ICP. Furries are people who like to bang anthropomorphic animals.  When these two oh so easy to mock subcultures collide, all suck is let loose.

You don't believe me?  Check out the video below. I couldn't stop laughing.

Edit: It's been brought to my attention that this may even be an entirely new species. In that case, humanity may be saved.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mother Nature crying in a glacier

I'm a picture kind of mood lately appearently, and this is one of my favorites. I do work at the EPA, so I notice things like this. Found on ABC's website through Fark.

Isn't nature cool sometimes?  Click to see the full size.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fork Lift Accident destroys vodka

Found via Break, a fork lift accident performs the ultimate sin... Alcohol Abuse.  And by abuse I mean destroys a quarter million dollars in Vodak within a couple seconds.  Lets have a moment of silence for the spirits that were never drank.


Fork Lift Accident Brings Down The Warehouse - Watch more Funny Videos

Oh, and I hope the guy is OK.... or something. whatever.

VGC Top Ten: Hottest Videogame Babes on

VGC Top Ten: Hottest Videogame Babes on

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Yes, there is nothing more phenomenally geek than drooling over video game babes. So thanks to VGC for compiling this list. There are plenty that they missed. I was always partial to Morrigan from Dark Stalkers...

Book Review: Bleak History by John Shirley

Bleak History

Bleak History’s story is in the not too far off future New York. John Shirley has created a world in Bleak History is not too different from our own, with the exception that the spirit world (The Hidden) has become a force that manifests itself through various “gifted individuals”, giving them special abilities. One such individual is Gabriel Bleak, an ex-Army Ranger, now turned bounty hunter. Ever since leaving the Army Gabe has been under the watchful eye of a shadowy government agency that tries to use this hidden world and its gifted people in its anti-terrorism agenda. They want Gabe Bleak and will do just about anything to get him. The main portion of the plot in Bleak History is about the pursuit of our hero. The chase goes on and the story unravels in some expected and unexpected ways.

Gabe’s powers make for some great action, rooftop leaping, gun play, and explosions, then mix that in with all kinds of help from the denizens of The Hidden. John Shirley knows how to draw an image in your head, which is one of the many reasons why this book is addicting. The pacing of the story is perfect for a Hollywood film, which I’m quite sure this book is destined to be (in fact according Shirley’s website the film rights have already been arranged). Having said that, I must point out that the pacing feels a little off in book form. The story flows so smoothly through 90% of the book and then ends rather suddenly, but it’s not so bad that it subtracts from my overall feelings toward the book. Basically I’m telling Mr. Shirley I wanted his book to be about half again longer, I enjoyed it that much.
The characters are well developed and Shirley does an excellent job in portraying them in a way that you understand their motivations. He portrays Gabe’s inner struggle with his conscious quite well. It’s not just Gabe that has depth, but all the characters in Bleak History have more stories to tell. I hope they get that chance in an ongoing series.

In conclusion I will say that this Urban Fantasy delivers on many levels. I want more books set in this world with these characters. I want to see a movie made from this book. I hope Mr. Shirley realizes he has something special here, with loads of promise. I see the same elements in Bleak History that I seen in Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. I can see Gabriel Bleak becoming as iconic a character as Harry Dresden. I highly recommend this book to any Urban Fantasy fan who enjoys a straight forward plot, interesting characters, and a fast pace.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Microsoft to open up the .pst format. Your data will still not be safe.

Microsoft, under the banner of their Open Specification Promise is opening up the infamous Outlook .pst format for developers to implement into their projects. Great.. a whole new generation of software that corrupts its data after a gigabyte or so.

From the site:

"In order to facilitate interoperability and enable customers and vendors to access the data in .pst files on a variety of platforms, we will be releasing documentation for the .pst file format. This will allow developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice. The technical documentation will detail how the data is stored, along with guidance for accessing that data from other software applications. It also will highlight the structure of the .pst file, provide details like how to navigate the folder hierarchy, and explain how to access the individual data objects and properties."
Da link

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bruce Lee playing Ping Pong!

Appearently this is a commercial for Nokia, so I'm not sure how legit this is. Nonetheless, its still badass. Bruce Lee is playing Ping-Pong with nun-chucks. Freaking Nun-chucks! And then when you think he's done, he ups the ante even more.

Check it out below...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Changing a few things

I'm going to be changing some stuff on the blog over the next few days. I'm focusing the the subject matter a bit more, and I'm going to bring on a few bloggers more to contribute content. Keep an eye out for some cool things to come.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm now reviewing books for

I've recently joined the crew at this wonderful fantasy website. Be sure to stop in and sign up for the blog. They have over 900 authors reviewed. They do giveaways and interviews, and all sorts of cool stuff.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Review: Nightingale's Lament (Nightside, #3) by Simon R. Green

Nightingale's Lament (Nightside, #3)

The Nightside stories are so hard boiled it’s hard to put in perspective, but I’m going to try anyway. If you took Dashiell Hammett’s corpse rolled it in batter then deep fried it till black, you would have a pretty good approximation of what Simon R. Green is going for. Nightingale’s Lament is the third book in the Nightside series, and follows the same mold the previous books do. The story is basically another case file for John Tayler. He’s been tasked to discover the the cause behind the mysterious suicides surrounding a young singer’s performances. Through the course of the mystery he once again uses his reputation and collection of odd characters to help in solving the case. Simon R. Green continues to introduce new and fascinating characters into his narrative.

So far with each installment Green has tightened up the writing, and really shown how exciting this world can be. The gritty fast paced style is really starting to grow on me. Nightingale’s Lament is full of memorable lines, I’ll call the them Taylorisms. For example:

“"I don't use guns. Never have. They have too many limitations."

“That man could brood for the Olympics, and pick up a bronze in self-pity while he was at it”

"Condiments, Never leave home without them”

Those are just a few of many great quotes. The book’s tone is almost always tongue in cheek, but it remains just serious enough to keep the suspense high. Green has something special with the Nightside series. I hope he continues to improve the narrative, and keeps these things coming out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pic of the Day: Hi!

My brother's dog Leo. He has a head shaped like a softball. Leo is one of my favorite people.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Book Review: Agents of Light and Darkness (Nightside, #2) by Simon R. Green

Agents of Light and Darkness (Nightside, #2)

I'm a little late in my review of this one. I thought I should go ahead and share my thoughts since my review of the first one left more to be determined. This is the second book in multi-volume series by Simon R. Green. The story once again follows the almost always abstruse John Taylor. The private detective, pseudo psychic hitman gone good guy who is really good at finding things. In the first book you learn John is a former Nightside badass who in his time away from the nightside developed a conscious, and went back into the disturbing scene that is the nightside to help someone in need. This book follows a similar premise, except maybe on a larger scale, since it's the Nightside itself that's really in danger. I liked this book more than the first one, I always try to read at least two books of a series before truly deciding if I like it or not. Mr. Green takes the hyperbole that annoyed me so much from the first book and takes it down a level or two, which is good. He spends less time talking about how wild, crazy and scary his world is and more time developing the characters that so desperately needed expanded upon. This is a short book (as are most of the nightside books) and very enjoyable read. There are a ton of cool and colorful characters. I look forward to seeing how these characters develop through the series. I've purchased the rest of the series through #8 to read at a later day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ayutaya Ruins

A quick clip of some the ruins in Ayutaya, Thailand. I took the video this past June.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Toolbar from Hell

Just had a client complain that their internet was acting up. I open Internet Explorer and this what I see....think this might be part of the problem?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scambaiting: A past and future hobby

I was digging through my online photo albums and came across my collection of scambaiting trophies. I thought I would share a few of them with you. I've forgotten the back story to most of them. When I was in my scambaiting prime I would have dozens of these guys on the line. Before sharing the pictures, I should probably explain what scambaiting is and why it is done.

Scambaiting is essentially using the methods and tactics of scammers to turn the tables on them for humorous results. As you know the internet is full of frauds, crooks, and scam artists of all shapes. My hobby particularly focused on advance fee scams. For instance the e-mail youall get from some lone Nigerian (other locations are used as well) business who desperately needs your help to move millions of
dollars out of the country. The scams typically reply on the greed and gullibility of the victim, though not always. I always liked to take on the ones who were using the sympathy of a victim in order to scam. Often they would claim to be handicapped or from an orphanage. I've even received scans of x-rays of god knows what to prove their injured status.

I enjoyed exposing these bastards for the scumbags they are. They take great pride in ripping off people. check out for a good site that has some funny stories and picture, plus a good look at how these guys operate. Now for a few of the ones I managed to capture.

This is Ollie (holding the chain) and his buddy. They were using their access to an entertainment group in order to scam people into sending them cash to support "the arts". We know he was a scammer because he was using a flagged e-mail list that we seeded into the scammers e-mail chain. These lists are highly guarded in scammer circles and are handed around or sold to other scammers who needs fresh lists of e-mail addresses to spam. The only way for him to obtain this list was be in that circle. He sent e-mails to several other baiters on the list also. He was very prolific e-mailer and not shy of the camera. My baiter name was "Maxx"
From Scam Baiting Trophies

This is also Ollie and my prize jewel trophy he delivered to me. How I convinced him to do this is a trade
From Scam Baiting Trophies

Meet Fateu. He was a Nigerian furniture maker by day and a e-mail scammer by night. This was my first trophy. Fateu was in the bible selling business. For small $500 fee he would make sure that he bought $500 in bibles to distribute to the needy children...unfortunately for him he e-mailed the wrong individual and all he got to do was wish the largest anti 419 fraud site a happy birthday.
From Scam Baiting Trophies

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pad Thai Tips

I can't share our entire recipe, since I'd likely be murdered in my sleep. I can however give you a few tips to ensure your pad thai is tasty. One thing to keep in mind is that every Pad Thai is almost always different. Every Thai restaurant claims theirs is the best. A lot of Thai restaurants add red food coloring and vinegar to it, those are usually the bad ones. Bean sprouts should be fresh and not overwhelmingly numbered in the dish. I never understood why some restaurants mound up the sprouts. In our experience noodles are cheaper than sprouts...maybe they used canned. The most important part of Pad Thai is the base you use.

I recommend the Por Kwan brand of pad thai sauce

The noodles are also important. We use a few different brands. Usually the more simple the lable the better the The best ones are typical in plain clear packages written in Vietnamese and Thai. Most asian groceries have couple good brands. Avoid any name brand with expensive packaging that you might find at a regular grocery.

Keep in mind also is Pad Thai is supposed to be a little sweet. So add some ground peanuts and a few pinches of sugar. Enjoy! If you decide to make some, leave me a comment and send me some pictures to let me know how it turned out.

The AVN is reaping what they sowed

The AVN is reaping what they sowed

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book Review: Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1)

I read this book after I ran out of Dresden Files. I read it sometime ago, but thought I'd post my review since the newest in the series (and the last) is coming this November. Jim's little blurb at the end of his books had convinced me to give it a whirl. Let it be known, this is not to the caliber of The Dresden Files. It is a good book none the less. The story follows several characters in the world of Alera, who find themselves intertwined together in a land on the brink of war. This is a book of themes. Bravery, honor, love, family and sacrifice are all themes predominately displayed through out the story. Alera itself is not described in much detail, and the reader is left mostly to context to piece together what the world is like. The main characters are likable, but not easy to identify with. What I liked most about the book is its simple yet engaging storyline. It's essentially good vs evil. I'm sucker for a story where the good guys wins, and heroes get the girls...or guys. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys classic fantasy story telling. I do however caution Dresden fans, this is not Dresden Files, or even Dresden files like. This is the start of an epic fantasy that Jim has often talked about wanting to write. A very good start so far.

Clip of the day: Chatuchak Weekend Market - Bangkok Thailand

A little clip form my trip to Thailand this past June.

Barnes and Nobles Not so Great Deals: A Visual Guide

From my previous you know that I'm frustrated by Barnes and Noble's lackluster coupon deals. They're not good. Thought I would share this weeks coupons from the two biggest book selling companies

LAME...might as well have a "pay no sales tax" sale at B&N. Looks like I'll be making a trip to Borders this evening.

40% off anything you friggin want. If it's in the store, you want it? Bring this coupon and Borders will take 40% off. Now that's a coupon

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pic of the Day: Prepay in Advance

sooo...I should pay you now for gas I get tomorrow? Should I phone it in first? I'm not sure.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Book Review: Deathlands: Pilgrimage to Hell by Jack Adrian (Christopher Lowder and Laurence James)

Pilgrimage To Hell (Deathlands (Paperback))

This is the first book in a long running series called Deathlands. The series is written by several authors writing under the pen name James Axler. This is the one that started it all, and I've waited a long time to be able to read it. I enjoy a good literary art piece as much as the next book nerd, but sometimes the old gray matter needs a break...well here it is. I've been looking for a good action Mad Max esque post-apocalyptic book for quite some time. A literary masterpiece this most certainly isn't. It is exactly as one would expect it to be.
Life as we know it was obliterated in a nuclear apocalypse in 2001. Pilgrimage is set several generations after the nuke. Ryan Cowdar and Krysty Wroth are the main protagonists with an array of supporting characters. Ryan is a mysterious bad ass with an eye patch, Krysty is a tall big boobed combat trained red headed beauty. Together with their team of warrior merchants they take on the ruthless baron of a "Plague Pit" town. There is lots of bloody action, over the top characters, with a bawdy and macabre humor tossed in. If there were a template to be made for "Books for Dudes" this would be the mold to start with. The men are manly, the women are beautiful. Sex is brief and very "Dude-centric". It was the first time I'd seen the word "pumping" used to describe the act of intercourse. Mutants (Muties) and Cannibals (Cannies) are the common foe in the Deathlands. This book is awesome for the very same reasons Chuck Norris, Rambo, and demolition derby's are awesome.

SWEEPSTAKES OVER; FEDOR SIGNS WITH STRIKEFORCE - MMA WEEKLY - Mixed Martial Arts & UFC News, Photos, Rankings & more

- SWEEPSTAKES OVER; FEDOR SIGNS WITH STRIKEFORCE - MMA WEEKLY - Mixed Martial Arts & UFC News, Photos, Rankings & more

This sucks. I've been a huge fan of Fedor since his early Pride days, and this is a huge blow to me. My first question is why? In my wildest imagination I cannot imagine how strikeforce would be a better option for Fedor over the UFC, unless of course it's the fear of competition. Who will he fight in strikeforce? Verdum? Overeem? Who cares about either of those? I want Fedor int he UFC, I want him to pummel Lesner or battle Cotoure...none of that can happen now. I lost a lot of respect for The Emperor due this move. I think we've just witnessed the end of the greatest fighter in MMA. Fedor's career has jumped the shark, well before it was due.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pic of the day: What a dead puggle might look like

Why dowsing makes perfect sense - opinion - 29 July 2009 - New Scientist

A really great article showing the thought process of your average Skeptic. I often struggle with the want for fantastic inexplicable phenomenon and the rational thought processes that dismiss them.

Why dowsing makes perfect sense - opinion - 29 July 2009 - New Scientist

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Book Review: Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic by Gina Kolata

Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic

The book was published in 1999, but it reads like it was written just a few weeks ago. The information Gina presents is so relevant to today that it's eerie. I am fascinated by the parts of history that our textbooks seem to forget, and the 1918 flu is probably one of the largest omissions in our historical texts. In it's two phases ( lighter spring outbreak, followed by the massively deadly fall outbreak) it managed to decrease the world population significantly and took out more lives than WW1 and WW2 combined. Utterly devastating and completely forgotten in popular culture. The book starts quickly diving right into historical narrative of the time. the first 5 or so chapters are fascinating, but start to drag a bit when the topic switches to the 1970's swine flu debacle. The book picks up again when the author starts telling the story of modern day scientists investigating the near century old virus. Gina does a great job in putting the potentially boring scientific details into a story that is both informative and entertaining. I highly recommend this book for any history buff, or even anyone interested gaining in depth perspective on what's happening with the H1N1 virus outbreak happening right now.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Moved from previous Blog: *insert author name* is Awesome!

I got on a author autograph kick for a few weeks and was quite successful. I'm going to combine the posts and repost them here:

Jim Butcher is Awesome!

I went to a book signing for Jim's newest Dresden Files book Turn Coat. It was an awesome time and Jim is a great speaker. I took video and posted it up on youtube.





Patrick Rothfuss is Awesome!!

I recently read a book called "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. An excellent read and simply amazing that it's the author's first novel. There are very big things ahead for Pat. I am frequent reader of his blog ( and he seemed very down to earth an happy to receive feedback from fans. So I wrote him a letter, which is not something I've done for any author I've been a fan of before. I sent him the picture below and a note requesting him to sign it. I included a Thai keychain and some Thai currency...a mock bribe so to speak. Then a couple weeks later I got this back! Thank you Mr. Rothfuss.

Oh and buy this man's book!!!...two of them!!


Piers Anthony is Awesome!!

After some back and forth through snail mail I was able to get the Ogre himself to sign my picture. Very awesome for an author of his stature to still take the time to sign silly photos for fans.

Barnes and Nobles Not so Great Deals

I'm on the B&N mailing list. I receive weekly e-mails with coupons and deals. They all have one thing in common, the deals almost always blow. Take for instance this weeks e-mail:
Subject: "Free B&N eReader -- Plus 6 eBooks on Us!"

Sounds awesome right? I could hardly wait to pick out 6 six books I'd like to read, even if the format was proprietary, hell if the reader turned out to be good I might even buy a couple to support the cause. Upon clicking the links I quickly realize the books for free are pre-selected, and also suck. Ok well not suck, since they are literary masterpieces...but they are all public domain! Here's the list:

little women
last of the mohicans
sense and sensibility
pride and prejudice
pocket dictionary

pocket dictionary?'re killing me BN. You're coupons are always found wanting. Take a lesson from Borders and start coughing up some 40-50% off anything you want, or an occasional buy two get one free. 10% 4 get 1 or even buy 3 get 1 are not enough to get me in your store.

New Blog

This is my new home. I'm leaving my own domain and moving over to googles blogger. I'm tired of the spammers constantly bombarding my site, and with nothign but friends and family as traffic, it's not worth the hassle. I'm keeping the domain to use as a repository for stuff, but this is place to read my blogs from now on. I'm going to to be reposting some of my earlier blogs, but I'll do it little at a time.