Category Archives: BookLOG

Bits & Pieces

Alright, I have random things to post and dammit I plan to do so!

First, I’m back from Atlanta and had another great “first” day in the PwC Los Angeles office.  Today I met a lot more of the Associates and they’re so young and smart and I feel old and dumb.  Maybe not all that dumb, admittedly, but I certainly feel a chasm of distance between my age and theirs.  Oh well, that’s the way it is.  But I feel like I’m young enough at heart that we’ll all get along just fine.

There is video proof that I was up in the Hollywood Hills home last year!  (sigh…last year….my how quickly time flies).  Doug, who hosted us there, has posted the Vimeo video he took when doing a time-lapse of it.  I was totally there!  It’s fun to see how when it gets dark the onshore flow quickly floods into LA.  There was only a brief amount of time when the lights of LA were really visible before we get engulfed in the Mist!

(I guess you’ll have to click on the ‘Watch on Vimeo’ button to see it!)

Since I’ve been on planes quite a bit the last week or so, I’ve had a lot of time to catch up on my reading, and a big Yay! at that. I finished up Amy Poehler’s “Yes, Please!” and I love her even more.  I then started and finished David Sedaris’ “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” and of course fell in love with it.  His writing is just so damn funny.  He reminds me a lot of Richard Lawson, or maybe it’s the other way around.  Now I’m in the midst of Andy Weir’s AMAZING “The Martian.”  Holy shit, this story is incredible.  I feel like the main character of the astronaut is me at times, especially with his humor and sarcasm.  If you don’t know what “The Martian” is about, it’s about an astronaut on a Mars mission who gets accidentally left behind when a Mars sandstorm forces the mission to be aborted.  He then has to figure out a way to survive – luckily he is a botanist, mechanical engineer, and very funny.  I can’t recommend this book enough.  I still don’t know how it’s going to end but I’m loving the journey.

Madonna-Rebel-Heart-2015-1200x1200Madonna’s “Rebel Heart” has been completely released!  I have really liked the first 9 tracks that were early-access perks…the last 9 tracks though I’ll have to think on some more.  She definitely put a lot of sex on them and I’m not against that but sometimes when you hear a line about if “it” tastes like holy water, you kind of just have to go, “oh girl.”  There is a song though called “Veni Vidi Vici” and I enjoyed it a lot, as there’s a TON of callbacks to her previous songs.  Maybe I’ll get into these songs a bit more in a further post….

Okay, maybe I’m done.  This has been a crazy few days and while I’m adapting, it IS nuts how different things really are for me.  Can’t wait to get paid!  I realize I’m going to have to work out in the morning if I ever want to exercise as I’ll definitely be having later nights.  Especially compared to my previous job!

Watch SMASH or NBC will fire me

Alright, they probably aren’t going to fire me just over that, but seriously, watch SMASH.  It’s a fun, slightly soapy (okay, very soapy) show about making a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway.  It’s not too insider-y (which makes some critics sad and I admit, it would be cool to get a true look at the behind the scenes world of Broadway) and is very easy to watch and follow along with.  Some of the characters are absolutely awful, for different reasons.  The actor who plays the son of Debra Messing is positively the worst actor in television.  His dad or mom must be a producer, or else he slept his way into the show.  There’s no other excuse for him being on such a high-profile network show. The character of Ellis is a terrible character as well, as he’s just a villainous guy who always hears things he shouldn’t and is always in the wrong place at the right time.  Yet as opposed to a villain you kind of love to hate, he’s someone you just don’t understand why he does anything.  So it’s annoying.  With those particular quibbles out of the way, the talent on display is really the reason to watch SMASH.  The musical numbers are fantastic, and most of the cast is truly talented, especially Megan Hilty (who plays Ivy, one of the characters competing for the role of Marilyn) and Katherine McPhee (who plays Karen, the newbie making her big break in Broadway and who was also up for the role of Marilyn).

Anyway, watch the show, especially if you are a Nielsen family.  It’s been renewed for another season, yay!, so there’s hope it can improve its ratings.  A new showrunner is also coming on board for next season, so maybe he can ditch the terrible actor and figure out some better plot threads for these talented actors.  As a hint of the awesome numbers, here’s a clip below.  If a musical were actually made with these numbers, I’d go see it in a hearbeat!  Doesn’t hurt that the chorus boys are pretty hot.


In book stuff, since I last wrote about the Game of Thrones series, I’ve made serious progress forward.  Serious progress.  I’m now on Book 5, A Dance With Dragons, and I think the last time I wrote about it on this site, I was on Book 2.  They’re huge books and so much goes on!  Highly recommended series, and if you can, watch the HBO show too.  Freakin’ epic.  I also just received the latest Stephen King book, another entry in the Dark Tower series, set squarely between books 4 and 5.  Stephen King even says the new book, The Wind in the Keyhole, could be referenced as Dark Tower 4.5.  Haven’t started reading it and probably won’t till I finish ADWD, but I love having a queue of awesome books to look forward to.  Eventually I’ll have to read the last of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series too. Anyway, I brought this up as the website ranked all 62 of Stephen King’s books.  I don’t agree with some of the explicit rankings (Rose Madder is not his worst book by a long shot) but overall, it’s a fun read.  Each book gets a paragraph or two about why it sucks or why it rocks, and those descriptions immediately transported my mind to my own experiences reading these books.  I think I’ve missed about 3 or 4 of his books, but everything else, I’ve been there.  I just re-read IT, which they ranked as #3, and it’s hard to dispute it.  I forgot how good that book was till I re-read it.

Here’s the link to Vulture’s slideshow list:


Monday Mind-dump

I’ve been lax on posting for no real reason.  It’s almost too easy for me to do, but then I don’t.  Here’s why:

Tropico 4:

In some respects, it’s a good thing Larry is back in NYC, as I wouldn’t have been very communicative as if I play video games on my PC, 9 times out of 10, I’m going to play Tropico 4.  It’s a game that lets you play as a dictator of a tropical island, and it’s up to you to satisfy your Tropicans’ religious, entertainment, housing, etc needs.  You can also stripmine your island for its resources and start up lucrative industries, like jewelry, chemicals, weapons, canned goods…  I can’t imagine watching someone play is at all interesting, but when you guide your island to success and watch what just was a dock and a palace into some megalopolis, it’s hypnotic.  I’m on the last mission of the campaign, and shit just got real.  All of a sudden, it’s a much more challenging mission.  I guess that’s good.


Game of Thrones:

Both the HBO series and the books have made me their bitch.  This weekend, I was feeling blah and stayed in for the most part.  On Sunday, I ended up watching the remainder of the season – that comprised of the last six episodes.  That’s six hours – six REAL hours – of television.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I even forgot that I had been doing laundry.  I even knew what was going to happen, as my plan was to read the book first and then watch the series (I was successful).  Yet under the liberating non-constraints of HBO as well as working with the author as an executive producer, you get pure medieval fantasy bliss.  Tons of political intrigue, LOTS of gore, lots of nudity (female AND male) and sex, and quite a bit of wit and cynicism from everyone’s favorite dwarf, Tyrion, a viewer become spellbound.  It definitely is hard to get into during that first episode, because just like the book, a ton of characters are thrown at you.  Yet you slowly figure out who is who and most of their motivations (Littlefinger and Varys notwithstanding) and now you simply HAVE to know what’s going to happen next.

Similarly, the second book, A Clash of Kings, has got me in its grasp.  Book 1, Game of Thrones, ended with quite a bit up in the air, which Book 2 picks right up on.  BOOKLOG notes (spoilers abound now, so feel free to jump ahead to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know what’s happening about 1/4 of the way through the book):  First, the Theon Greyjoy stuff.  It took me forever to remember who he was and why I was supposed to care.  Thankfully I just watched the HBO series of book one, so I got a good reminder.  He goes back to his homeland, the Iron Islands, where his father awaits, but instead of at most a “welcome back”, it’s derision and accusations of being a Stark.  Plus, Balon implies that he won’t be helping Robb defeat the Lannisters…he has his eye on something else.  I’m not sure what that something else, although Theon knows.  Is it Winterfell, since only Bran is there now?  Speaking of Bran, he just finished greeting some of the many lords who are coming to Winterfell to be heard and one of them mentions the decree from Stannis concerning his allegations about Cersei’s incest with Jamie.  That knowledge, combined with his dreams of crows, finally illuminates for him what happened that fateful day on the tower when Jamie pushed him out the window after seeing Jamie and Cersei screwing.  There has been no proof, up till possibly now, that Jamie and Cersei are incestuous, and the current plan by Cersei and Tyrion (who knows full well that it’s true) is to let a similar story float up about Stannis and his wife, although implying the wife and the Fool had an affair that resulted in his grotesque daughter.  Arya’s fate is also unclear as she and Yorick’s boys (all headed to the Wall for the Night’s Watch) settled in an abandoned courtyard and were promptly attacked, getting burned to the ground by a Lannister army.  Arya and Gendry (who was quite attractive, as I had imagined, in the HBO series when Ned found him) escaped through a secret tunnel but what the hell is going to happen now?  And I still can’t imagine if Arya and Gendry are “meant to be”, as there is such a big age difference there.  I like my Arya fierce and independent.  I’m sure other stuff is happening, as in these books, the many threads are all in motion.


11/22/63, by Stephen King:

You don’t think the intricacies of Game of Thrones is enough to keep me occupied, do you?  P’shaw.  I did want to finish Book 1 first before starting this book, as it is huge.  I then started this one, but then I was stuck at the airport waiting for Larry’s flight to arrive so I started reading Book 2 of GoT, so now I am reading these both simultaneously.  Luckily they have nothing to do with each other or are even in the same vein and it’s easy to keep them sorted.  This book is a whole lot of wow too.  The main conceit of this story is that the protagonist, Jake Epping, is made aware of a rip in the time-space continuum that will take you from present-day 2011 to the same day in 1958 every time you go through it.  It’s a real 1958, and any major things you do back then WILL impact your real present, which you’ll be able to see when you come back through the rip.  And oh yeah, no matter how much time you spend in the past, when you go back through the timerip, it’ll only be 2 minutes later in 2011.  The other hitch?  If you come back to 2011 and then decide to return to 1958, it’s as if you pressed RESET.  Everything you did in your previous time trip is undone, so anything good you did that last trip would have to be redone.  BOOKLOG time (Spoilers ahead, so jump ahead to the next paragraph to avoid them):  Alright, so as you can see from the title 11/22/63, this book also deals with Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.  Jake is tasked with this duty from the guy who first found the time rip in his restaurant pantry, but he was unsuccessful in stopping Lee Harvey Oswald.  Jake is pretty much unattached and decides to go for it.  He tests out the whole mechanics of it all by first trying to prevent a dramatic murder in one of his friend’s childhood which happened in DERRY!!!  Derry, the city from Stephen King’s IT, a huge novel I actually just re-read during the Med cruise.  So yay for fortunate timing!  1958 is also the year that IT’s first cycle of terry ends, so Jake gets to see a Derry as it was right after IT was silenced the first time.  It’s a fascinating look back at things in the 1950s, but what was most amusing was that after all the work he does to stop the murder, he is only able to half-stop things from going shitty.  So he leaves 1958, goes back to 2011, sees what happened with his interference, and gets ready to go back in for the long haul, all the way to 1963.  He decides to do Derry in a much more efficient manner this time, and quickly takes out the killer long before the time of the original murder, and then heads off to Texas.  Oswald apparently was in Russia for most of the time leading up to 1963, so Jake ends up biding his time in  a small Texas town.  He takes up teaching English at the high school (just like he did in 2011) and has also met a nice fellow teacher named Sadie.  It’s still only 1960 though, so a couple years left to go.  There are some threads in the story about Jake’s gambling (using Back to the Future methods of knowing how the games end up) that feel unresolved, so I’m expecting that to impact his life.  Plus, you just know that the conceit of the timeline RESET will come back somehow after he’s taken care of the Kennedy thing.  I know it!!!!


I’ve been doing other things too, but those are big timesucks right there.  Happy news:  my sciatica pains are almost all gone.  Did I already write this?  Well, it looks like my doctor was correct about waiting this out.  I was beginning to give up as the pain, over the past 4 months, continued to get worse, move around, change, get better, get worse again, and move around yet again.  At the very beginning of this month, right before Larry left for NYC, the pain really started moving again and seemingly back to where it originated from.  It was weird, and I was oddly hopeful that it was a sign things were getting better.  Yet the pain was just as agonizing.  But then the days came where sitting didn’t bother me that much.  I could get into bed without wincing.  I realized that the pain indeed was going away.  It is still 95% gone and for that I’m grateful.  Now I just have to do my best to try and protect my spine from such injuries.  And for God’s sake, when I have a ton of luggage – take a fucking taxi.  Trains are for when you have one bag.  Not 3 heavy bags each.

Okay, enough for now. I’m going to continue with the BookLOGs and other posts on a more frequent basis, hopefully.  That is, if Tropico 4 doesn’t get me first.

BookLOG: A Clash of Kings

In the quest to determine things to write about, I realized one of the answers to that predicament has been in front of me forever: books!  I read typically during lunch using my iPhone’s Kindle app as well as at night, which is typically when I’ll read a real hardcover book if I’ve got one to read.  Can I say though that the e-Book/Kindle thing is all kinds of awesome?  There are just so many books out there that I want to read but I really don’t want to have to then store them on a shelf somewhere.  Notable exemptions to that rule are any Stephen King or Harry Potter book.  Obviously.  Back to the point, I figured I’ll write about what I’m currently reading and weigh in with any analysis or commentary about the plot as it is now.  Keep in mind I’ll be posting as I read so I won’t have any idea of how the story goes.  Also, this is not a book review.  If you’re hoping not to get spoiled on plot details, avert thine eyes.  But if you’ve read the book before, then feel free to comment but please, please don’t reveal what happens later on in the story.  I will hunt you down and kill you.


A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of the Song of Fire & Ice saga

~pp 106 of 760…chapters TYRION and ARYA

To quickly recap at what point in the book I’m at, Tyrion has returned to King’s Landing from the battle, much to his sister Cersei’s chagrin.  He takes his father’s role as the King’s Hand which also pisses Cersei off to no end, but there’s nothing she can do about it.  Arya has escaped King’s Landing after witnessing her father’s execution at the end of the last book (told you, Spoilers Abound here) through the quick work of Yoren, a member of the Black who guard the Wall who was there to pick up new recruits.  Coincidence?  Arya’s sister Sansa, who is the only Stark still in King’s Landing as a de facto hostage, has finally seemed to realize Cersei and that horrible horrible King Joffrey are not her friends, but is smartly playing politics to save her own head as well as figure out some path towards revenge, at least that’s how I see it.  Catelyn, Arya & Sansa’s mother, tries to council Robb on the best course of action with their limited armies.  And of course at the beginning of the book, we briefly got a look at what’s going on with Stannis Baratheon, the brother of the previous king and the “uncle” of the current one, who also lays claim to the throne of the kingdom.  There we saw that many are under the thralls of Melisandre, the mysterious Red Lady priestess, who heralds the arrival of the Red Comet in the sky as ominous.  Oh yeah, Bran seems to be a wolf in his dreams…

Now that you’re caught up with the overall plot from the first 100 pages or so!  TYRION chapters are always entertaining, and this was no exception. You are guaranteed that there will be plenty of wit on display along with jousting for power within his chapters.  In this one, he just effectively grabbed a huge amount of army power within King’s Landing by ousting Ser Joras Slynt   and sending him to the Wall and replacing him with someone he can allegedly trust.  When you then add in the eunuch Varys, the conversations they have are always layered and packed with double meaning.  Finally they just laid things clear and Varys pointed out to him that power over others comes as long as people believe you have it.  Doesn’t matter if you actually do.  Tyrion continues to reveal his decency when he acknowledges to himself that the slaughter of the whore and her child, who was King Robert’s bastard, was reprehensible, and makes him long for his own whore, Shae.

In the following chapter, an ARYA one, we catch up with Arya who has to pretend to be a boy so as not to arouse suspicions.  There was a brief scare in the last town when King’s Landing Gold Cloaks caught up to the group that Yoren is ferrying back to the Wall.  They were looking for someone and Arya was certain it was her.  But to her surprise, they were sent by Queen Regent Cersei to find her “friend” Bull, a big guy also on his way to the Wall and one who has shown her kindness.  After bad-ass Yoren sends the Gold Cloaks on their way, the caravan now travels on side roads off the King’s Road.  Through conversations overheard amongst the boys, Bull doesn’t know why any queen would be looking for him as he was just an armorer’s apprentice before suddenly getting sent to the Wall.  This revelation is huge – as now we know that there is one King’s bastard who made it out alive before King’s Landing went on lockdown.  Ned Stark discovered this bastard in Game of Thrones and now it’s very intriguing to wonder if Bull will play a much bigger part in this epic series down the road.  I kind of get a weird feeling too that Arya is going to be set up for romance with him too, but Arya is like 11 or so, which seems far too young.  But hey, it’s “medieval”esque times – weren’t you an old maid by 15?

Can’t wait to get more info on Tyrion and Jon Snow at the Wall….and if we will ever find out more about Stannis.