Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review: Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Emigrating from India, a teenage boy named Pi finds himself in a lifeboat after a storm sinks the cargo ship on which he and his family were going to Canada. Except Pi is not alone in his lifeboat. There's a hyena, an orangutan, zebra and Richard Parker, a Bengal tiger. As you can imagine, this situation lends itself to a very interesting, creative story.

I will give this book that much. It is original. And it is well-written. It took nearly a quarter of the book before the ship that Pi and his family take is even mentioned. And that was a bit disappointing to me.

There were some parts, though hard to believe, made wonderful short stories within the larger one. For instance, a carnivorous island and the taming of Richard Parker. But as a whole, I didn't really care for it.

But if you're tired of the typical boy meets girl story and are looking for something truly different, I would recommend this book. The ending alone will cause you to think and possibly re-think the whole of the book.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tricky Tricky

I'm going to show you a little trick. Now this is difficult being on the Internet, but I think I can do it.

Take a pen and paper and write down the following:
  1. The year you were born (be honest, no one will see this but you!)
  2. The year of an important/significant event of your life
  3. Your age (again, be honest)
  4. How many years since the significant event (for instance, if you put 2000 for No. 2, then you would put 8)
Now add it all up. Scroll down, and I'll tell you what you got.

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Did you add it up yet?

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You should have gotten either 4015 or 4016 (some exceptions may have gotten 4014).

Thank you thank you thank you

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hump Day Humor: George Carlin

In honor of the late George Carlin, here are two of my favorite videos of his.


The first, the difference between baseball and football.


http://www.youtube.com/v/YphEUa5LPjM&hl=en">


The second is the infamous, and my personal all-time fave, the 7 words you can't say on television.


ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Cereal

What were the three original flavors in boxes of Froot Loops breakfast cereal?

Orange, lemon and cherry. The O-shaped cereal was introduced in 1963.

Some close answers this week, but no one got all three. Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Trivia: Cereal

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post offering interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment if you know the answer or if you'd like to take a guess. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

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What were the three original flavors in boxes of Froot Loops breakfast cereal?

Monday, June 23, 2008

LOST S5 hints

Carlton Cuse, writer/producer of LOST, participated in a TV forum in China in which he teased Season 5. Here are some highlights:
  • Jack v Locke/Science v Faith has been a major theme in the show, and in Season 5, their roles will become reversed when Jack becomes more of a Man of Faith and Locke becomes more of a Man of Science
  • We'll see what happens to Locke and the Others after Locke takes over as leader
  • Locke's story is not complete. There's a somewhat famous man named Jesus Christ who was resurrected
  • Production for Season 5 begins in August
A blog called Apropos of Something has put together a list of the top 30 WTF?! moments over the first four seasons of LOST. My personal favorites:
  • Richard Alpert doesn't age
  • Dr. Arzt blows himself up
  • Ethan's name doesn't appear on the flight manifest
  • Oceanic 815 is found at the bottom of the ocean... with no survivors
  • Locke was in a wheelchair before he came to the Island
Complete list of 30 WTF?! moments.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hump Day Humor: The Annoying Peasant

Thought this week I'd post a clip from Monty Python's The Holy Grail. This scene is when King Arthur comes up on a peasant who knows quite a lot about government.

"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

Awesome.

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Harry Potter

What is the name of the national wizardry newspaper in the popular Harry Potter book series?

The Daily Prophet

Congratulations to Mochaface friend SP who was the only one to to get the correct answer (and leave a comment).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Trivia: Harry Potter

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post offering interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment if you know the answer or if you'd like to take a guess. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

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What is the name of the national wizardry newspaper in the popular Harry Potter book series?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Findings from a Road Trip

Last week on our way down to Gruene, Texas for some river floatin' fun, we drove past a church with a banner that read "30 Minute Worship." Nope, I'm not kidding. It's the church for Christian on the go, when an hour church service is just too long.

It says so much about our short attention spans and need for instant gratification. I wish I had a picture, but I have something better... their web site.

So if you're near Waco and looking for a quick God fix, stop by for a 30 minute service.

(It's official. I'm going to hell.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harry Potter Prequel

As you may have heard, JK Rowling wrote an 800-word short story as part of a charity project. The card with her handwritten story was auctioned off today for almost $50,000. While she has been adamant that it is NOT a prequel, it is a story featuring James and Sirius during the first wizarding war with Voldemort but likely after they finished at Hogwarts.

You can read the story online for free by going here then clicking 'Read our authors' and selecting Jo. If you have trouble reading her handwriting, try this link.

Hump Day Humor: Resume Blunders

People make mistakes. That's a fact. But when it comes to resumes, proofreading is essential. Found a web site that lists 150 funny resume mistakes, bloopers and blunders. Here are some of my favorites with my commentary in italics:
  1. “Skills: Strong Work Ethic, Attention to Detail, Team Player, Self Motivated, Attention to Detail” Apparently not enough attention to detail.
  2. Other Interests: “Playing with my two dogs (They actually belong to my wife but I love the dogs more than my wife)”. And why would anyone admit that to a potential employer?
  3. Why Interested in Position: “to keep my parole officer from putting back me in jail” Well at least s/he is honest.
  4. “I am great with the pubic.” Only applicable if s/he was applying for a job in the porn industry.
  5. Candidate explained an arrest by stating, “We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig.” Because the size of the pig is what matters.
  6. “Consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.” And s/he is proud of this? What a stellar candidate. I cannot imagine why s/he is looking for a new job.
  7. “Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement.” This had to have been a frat boy fresh out of college for which he had no part in paying.
  8. “Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.” This person would be worth hiring only for the entertainment value her/his bad syntax would provide.
  9. “It’s best for employers that I not work with people.” It's best for this person to not work with me too.
  10. “Let’s meet, so you can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over my experience.” Let's not and say we did.
  11. “I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.” Was this Sarah Jessica Parker? Because I'm glad she cleared up the confusion.
  12. “Marital status: often. Children: various.” This has to be from a man.
  13. “I am loyal to my employer at all costs..Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail.” Feel free to respond to my trash can.
  14. “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.” As long as he was instrumental.
  15. Objective: “I want to play a major part in watching a company advance.” Another recent college graduate.
  16. Reason for leaving: “I thought the world was coming to an end.” And how did you escape the cult again?
  17. Qualifications: “Twin sister has accounting degree.” And my grandfather ran his own company.
  18. References: “Bill, Tom, Eric. But I don’t know their phone numbers.” Do they know you?
  19. Experience: “Any interruption in employment is due to being unemployed.” Hi Captain Obvious.
  20. Hobbies: “Mushroom hunting.” Those pesky mushrooms are such a nuisance to society!
  21. “I am a ‘neat nut’ with a reputation for being hardnosed. I have no patience for sloppywork, carelessmistakes and theft of companytime.” The quotations around neat nut actually apply in this case.
  22. Educational background: “Highschool was a incredible experience.” And sadly it was probably the best time of this person's life.
  23. Objective: “I am anxious to use my exiting skills.” You can use your skills to exit my desk and go to my trash can.
  24. Resume: “I have a lifetime’s worth of technical expertise (I wasn’t born - my mother simply chose ‘eject child’ from the special menu.” Apple fan boy
  25. Experience: “My father is a computer programmer, so I have 15 years of computer experience.” I do not get the logic s/he is using here.
  26. Background: “28 dog years of experience in sales (four human).” Such creativity. Too bad it probably didn't work.
  27. In the section that read “Emergency Contact Number” she wrote “911.” I hope someone helped this poor woman.
  28. “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.” Another application for the porn industry.
  29. Application: “On the line that asked what “sex” he was, he wrote “occassionally”.” Dumb and a bad speller.
And finally the best one ever...
Experience: “Have not yet been abducted by aliens.” Key word = YET. Why don't you stand out in the desert while you wait for the job offer and hope you get a call before you get abducted.
There are many more if you want to read them all.

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Monuments

How much does the Eiffel Tower shrink in wintertime?

Six inches. It expands that much in the summer heat.

Congratulations to new Mochaface friend Momma Mary, who was the only one to get the correct answer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Milestones and Windsurfing Shame

I passed a milestone and didn't even notice. I've posted more than 500 times and completely forgot to celebrate! Oops. And my 500th post wasn't particularly inspiring. Will have to try and remember to do something fun for the 1,000 post.

Oh well...

This past Sunday, DBF and I decided to take my relatively new windsurfing equipment out to the lake and get some sailing in. (Yes, I windsurf. And though the coast is more of an ideal spot, windsurfing can also be done on lakes. You can probably go out to just about any lake in the North Texas area from April-June on the weekend and see windsurfers out there.)

Only the wind was way too gusty, and I got blown to the other side of the cove. My options were to sail out and try tacking to get back to the shore I started from. Or, get it close to the shore where I can stand and walk it back. Given the gustiness of the wind and that DBF swam out to help me, I decided to walk it back.

You would think that this situation would humiliate me. Oh no. Last month at Lake Whitney, my sail became detached from the board, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE. I was slowly swimming it back for who knows how long, when a nice gentleman from the Houston area stopped to help me (and who said chivalry was dead?). I made it back to shore on my own accord, mostly anyway.

And to top that, last summer on my first weekend windsurfing, I got out and was struggling to get back to shore. After swimming the rig into shore for a while, I did accept a tow from the guy on the jet ski.

All this may have you think that I can't make it back to shore. Which is just not true. I hope.

Tuesday Trivia: Monuments

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post offering interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment if you know the answer or if you'd like to take a guess. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

<><><>

How much does the Eiffel Tower shrink in wintertime?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters."

Today, J.K. Rowling delivered a commencement address to the incredibly lucky Harvard Class of 2008. (Seriously, why couldn't she have been at A&M in 2003? If she had I would definitely be able to remember who at least spoke at my graduation.) Her speech is incredibly inspiring and does not center around her success with Harry Potter - well she did throw in a gay wizard joke for good measure. But rather, the speech focused on her failures beforehand and how imagination can change the world, not just financially but real change.

On the fringe benefits of failure:
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.
On the importance of imagination:
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared. If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
With such eloquence and wisdom, it is not wonder that she turned out to be such a success story. Or, that she is one of my heroes. fyi - the headline is a quote she used at the end from Roman philosopher Seneca.

The full text of her speech is available online, if you would like to read the rest of it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hump Day Humor: Dear God

Kids say the darndest things. Even to God.

I would have probably written a letter to God like this one when I was little. Hell I may have.

Such wisdom from someone so young.

Well, at least she's honest.
I don't even want to think about what he's going to be like when he's all grown up.
There are more if you found these funny.

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Music

The title of what popular Frank Sinatra song is inscribed on his tomb?

"The Best is Yet to Come." Sinatra is buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.

Congratulations to Mochaface friend SP for being the only one to get the answer.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday Trivia: Music

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post offering interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment if you know the answer or if you'd like to take a guess. The answer will be posted tomorrow.

<><><>

The title of what popular Frank Sinatra song is inscribed on his tomb?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

LOST S4ep13

Before I get to the finale, I want to take a step back to the episode directly before this one - part 1 of the finale. At the beginning when the Oceanic representative goes to the back of the plane to talk to the Oceanic 6, you can get a rough glimpse of a person sitting away from the 6. And the representative gives whoever it is a grim smile. Who is this person? Can't be someone from 815. I have no idea who it is.

Four days ago, the best finale - possibly episode - of the entire series of Lost, and not just this season, aired. I've procrastinated in writing this post because I'm still speechless. Normally I have a page full of notes to write these posts from. My sheet from this week doesn't have a lot of writing on it. I'm simply in awe. Of the genius in the story, the writing, the acting.

The code name for the finale, Frozen Donkey Wheel, was so clear. It's what moves the Island - in space and possibly time. I would so love to learn how it works.

Sawyer is almost unrecognizable from the jackass who sat on the beach in the first season while everyone else helped others, organized debris and tried to survive. The outcast has become lovable. Partly because of Kate I believe. But he's also found a place where he fits. I think that's partly why he was an outlaw in the real world. He couldn't find a place to be himself. And here he is jumping out of a helicopter to save fuel so the others can be rescued. So selfless of him. I heart him just a little more - okay maybe a lot more - because of that. And of course we got a shirtless, wet Sawyer out of the deal when he swam back to the beach. I'm not complaining. ;-)

We got another confrontation between the man of science Jack and the man of faith Locke. I love these confrontations because it reflects what has been a long standing argument in reality. And honestly what is often an argument for me internally. The most frustrating thing with Jack is even when he sees the Island disappear with his own eyes, he still can't have the faith and accept that maybe - just maybe - Locke was right. We do see in the flash forwards that he does eventually accept that truth. But in the moment, he can't bring himself to believe in it.

So Charlotte and Miles decide to stay on the Island. I get why Charlotte does - especially since she believes that it's where she was born. And if that's true, why would she be taken away from the Island. Especially given the difficulty women have of carrying a baby to full term and giving birth successfully. If she left the Island as a baby, does that have some kind of impact on pregnancies? I'm really looking forward to that storyline.

Why does Miles decide to stay on the Island? Perhaps his ghost busting skills plays some factor in that.

And Farraday was on the Zodiac in the middle of the ocean when the Island disappeared. Did he go with the Island? Or is he still with all the socks floating in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight?

Penny and Desmond's reunion was probably the best scene in the two hour episode. Their story has almost become as big and as great as the story of surviving and getting off the Island. And seeing them come back together was such a big payoff. DBF was surprised to see her on that boat. I wasn't. After Desmond's call from the freighter, it did not surprise me to see her on a boat searching for Desmond. I'm curious to see how Penny tries to keep Desmond from her father. He's sure to do something if he finds out that Desmond has gotten off the Island. At least that's assuming that we'll still see Penny and Desmond, and they won't disappear.

Ben. What an amazing character. One of the best characters on the show. Just because of the depth and complexity he brings. Of course a lot of that is thanks to Michael Emerson who does a brilliant job portraying this creepy creepy man. Just at the end of last season he was acting like a spoiled brat shooting Locke because he didn't want to give up his position. And in this finale, he's accepting his fate and Jacob's decision to have Locke succeed him as the leader. They're working together to move the Island. And then Ben apologized and shook his hand as he took his exit from the Island he loves so much. I never thought I'd see him do that, and my heart went out to him as he took his first steps into exile. And with his offer to help Jack and the rest of the Oceanic 6, plus the dead Locke aka Jeremy Bentham, get back, I'm suspecting that he's hoping he can come back as well.

What I'm possibly most curious about is why Locke left the Island. He's the biggest advocate for the hard-to-define Island, and he's become the new leader. The confidante of Jacob. So what drives him to leave his heaven on earth? Whatever the reason, the Island has to have given its blessing because Locke dies. And we've seen Michael and Jack unable to die after they've left the Island.

Now we face another 8 months without a new episode. And Team Darlton are going to be on radio silence for most of that time so we'll be lucky to get any new information. I have all of season 4 saved on my TiVo to last me until it comes out on DVD. How do you plan to make it through the drought?