Posted by Dirk under: Uncategorized.

I changed the commenting so that you can’t comment on any posts that are more than 15 days old and you have to be logged into jakedog.org to even comment on the newer ones.

I was getting way too many spam comments.  Even though Akismet was catching them all, I think it was slowing down the website, having to deal with them all.  In two days I got over 1500 spam comments.

Screw those asshole spammers.



Charles Stross – Halting State

Posted by Dirk under: books.

Cool book set in a possible near future (2018 is the setting, but it was published in 2007) where a bunch of orcs and a dragon rob the bank of an online MMORPG which causes a cascading series of events in both the real world and the online world.  Set in Scotland (and several online worlds).  I liked it quite a bit. Lots of references for an old gamer like me and lots of cool thoughts about what the future holds from Mr. Stross.  You should check it out.  (and I think he just came out with a sequel of sorts).



Robert V.S. Redick – The Red Wolf Conspiracy

Posted by Dirk under: books.

I liked this book. I started the second one in the series a few minutes after finishing this one.  It’s got a magic book, a race of  8 inch tall warriors, nasty villains, cool heroes, a magic ferret (or ferret-like creature), a really big ship, and lots of other good stuff.  If you’re looking for something read while waiting for G.R.R.M to bust out his next book, here ya go.



L.A. Meyer – Under the Jolly Roger / In the Belly of the Bloodhound / Mississippi Jack

Posted by Dirk under: books.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th books in the Bloody Jack series.  The main character in the series is Jacky Faber, a girl/young woman from the slums of London who disguises herself as a boy and joins the Royal Navy (in the first book of the series) and her adventures continue in subsequent books.  They are easy to read and fun and highly unlikely 😛  I hope to give the first book to my niece when she gets a bit older (and learns how to read….)



Steven Gould – 7th Sigma

Posted by Dirk under: books.

I’ve never read Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, but I think I’ll put it on my to read list.  Since I never read Kim, I can’t say how much 7th Sigma is like it, but I assume quite a bit, including the main character’s name.

Some time in the not to distant future a plague of mechanical bugs appear in the American South West.  These bugs are self replicating and they are attracted to all metals and the EM waves put out by pretty much all electronic devices.  They converge on any source of either of those two items and eat it, using it to make more of themselves.  Also, if anything soft, like a human body, is near by when they swarm, they eat their way, quickly, through that also.

This book is set a while after this plague manifested.  Oh, also, the bugs didn’t cover the whole world. They seem to prefer the sunnier parts of the SW.  There are still large parts of America where it is business as usual. In the bug zone though, there is no metal or electronics.  This is the world where the main character, Kim, grows up and lives.

The area is being repopulated by folks that don’t mind the limitations caused by the bugs.  Kim is a very sharp young guy who ends up working as an undercover agent for the Rangers that patrol the bug area.  He is very effective at this.

It’s a simple but fun book. Was dandy to read on my vacation.



Paolo Bacigalupi – The Windup Girl

Posted by Dirk under: books.

 This book won a ton of awards, including the Hugo and Nebula awards, which are about as big as SF book awards get.  I thought it was pretty decent too, though it didn’t really pull me in the way some books have in the past.  I liked the ideas and future world that he presented, but I think I’m a character guy and his characters didn’t really do the trick for me.  I just didn’t connect with them, I guess.  Still, a very cool book with lots of interesting ideas of what the world might be like after we run out of cheap fossil fuels and have some accidents with genetically modified food crops.



Alan Campbell – Sea of Ghosts

Posted by Dirk under: books.

First book in a new series. Campbell has some pretty cool ideas in this book, very original stuff, and I read the book pretty quick, it kept me engaged, but there is something about it, I think the way he writes his characters, that sort of leaves me flat. I’ll be reading the next book in The Gravedigger Chronicles though.



Another brief book catch up post

Posted by Dirk under: books.

Bernard Cornwell – Gallows Thief: Wrote the very popular Sharpe series (which were also made into several movies), Cornwell writes fun historical adventure books.   In this one a down on his luck gentleman in London takes a job to prove that a painter really did kill a nobleman.  I enjoyed it.

Bernard Cornwell – Agincourt: A book about the famous battle of Agincourt (Some dude named Shakespeare wrote a play that involved it too) told from the perspective of an English archer.   Cornwell is good at creating villains that get me rooting for them to die in some horrible way.   Another fun book.

Bernard Cornwell – Redcoat: I was on a Cornwell kick.  This one is about part of the Revolutionary War, told from the viewpoint of a British Redcoat.   Another pretty enjoyable read.

Stephen Gould – Blind Waves:  Set in a near future, after the polar ice melts (or something like that) and lots of flooding has happened along the coasts.  Set along the coast of Texas and is about a lady that does salvage who finds something in a sunken ship that causes some bad people to come after her to keep her quiet.    Decent read, kept me interested.

Naomi Novik: First three books in the Temeraire series.  I mentioned these in a previous thread.  An entertaining romp around the Napoleonic War era with a British Naval Officer turned Airman and his dragon.   I am currently reading the 4th one.

Robert Silverberg – Hawksbill Station: And odd little book about political prisoners that get sent back in time, on a one way trip, to about a billion years in the past.  Published in 1968.

Neal Asher – The Voyage of the Sable Keech: I really like Neal Asher’s books and I’m surprised he isn’t more popular in America.  This is a sequel to his book Spatterjay, which I liked a lot.   I don’t think this one was quite as good, but it was still enjoyable.  I like the world he has created on Spatterjay.

John Christopher – The White Mountains: Another older book that I read about on some list of favorite books people read when they were younger.   This is the first in a trilogy about a future in which Aliens have basically domesticated humans and three boys that try to revolt.   It’s pretty thin and written for younger readers and didn’t engage me all the well, though I’d probably have liked it when I was a kid.   Probably won’t pick up the rest of the trilogy unless I find em used someplace.

Laurie R. King – The Moor: Laurie R. King has written a series of novels based on the premise that an older and semi-retired Sherlock Holmes meets an intelligent young woman who basically replaces Watson.  Eventually they get married.   The books are told from the pov of the woman, Mary Russel, and though the books are probably http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue I still have enjoyed all the books I have read in the series.

Richard L. Boyer – The Giant Rat of Sumatra: Another Sherlock Holmes story, this one is pretty much a straight up telling of a Holmes adventure.  No smarty women coming between Holmes and Watson here, just some bad guys that need to be caught.  Not bad.

Sam Keith (from the journals of Richard Proenneke) – One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey: In 1968 Richard Proenneke had himself flown into a remote lake in Alaska where he built himself a log cabin and lived through the winter.  He pretty much retired there and lived in that cabin off and on for the rest of his life.   This book is an account of his first year or so there, how he built his cabin and stuff like that.   Not terribly exciting reading, but I dug it.  Proenneke was a heck of a guy.



Health Care Bill

Posted by Dirk under: politics.

I very much want a good public health system here in America. Something like what Canada has would be splendid.  That isn’t what we got this weekend though.   What was passed had too many insurance lobbyists help in writing it.   Bloom from my message board posted this link which addresses many of the flaws of the bill that passed.

A lot of people are saying this is just the first step.  That now that it has been passed it can be improved upon.  I suppose.  But my pissy side thinks it won’t be improved.  I have a real problem with individual mandates and no public option from which to purchase health insurance.  The Federal Government just gave all those for-profit health insurance companies a great big present.

And another thing, if I ever have some old fucker who is on Medicare get in my face and tell me that a single payer option would lead to socialism, I’m gonna punch him in the face.



Karl E. Meyer – The Dust of Empire: The Race for Mastery in the Asian Heartland

Posted by Dirk under: books.

Sometimes I read non-fiction.  Random non-fiction books grab my attention for some reason.  In the case of this book, it was that cover photograph.  Those dudes look pretty badass and that was enough for me to grab the book.  Also, that area of the world is pretty interesting, as in the old Chinese curse of “May you live in interesting times.” type of interesting.

Karl E. Meyer gives a pretty good overview of  the area and the history of turmoil and turbulence there.  Chapters  include some on Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, The Caucasus and Central Asia.  I seriously doubt any part of the world has had more fighting and blood spilled on it than the areas in this book.

Considering America is basically occupying two of the countries in that area, knowing a bit of the history of the area seems like a good idea.  If you are interested in such history, this is a pretty good book to get you started.