A Wilburer has been lurking in my inbox for five years, and has now been correctly relocated to its proper place. What am I talking about?
I finished reading part 1 of the roving mad adventures of the Knight of the Rueful Countenance (Don Quixote, he of the windmills). Being somewhat tired of that, I'm postponing part 2 for another time. In the meantime I will read other things, my busy (heh) schedule permitting.
I have linked to an extremely fun (and free) racer called Nitronic Rush. Why don't you go play it?
The wheel is turning and you can't slow down. / You can't let go and you can't hold on. / You can't go back and you can't stand still. / If the thunder don't get you then the lightnin' will.
What's up, you ask? Enjoying life, I answer.
There's a heat wave sweeping over Norway, which means taking a walk in the day is out of the question, so I've been taking late evening walks when it's cool enough to do so. I don't feel like writing much in this heat, but I'll give an update of the books I've read recently, in category form.
- The Biomega series
- The Flood/Ark series by Stephen Baxter
- Childhood's End, The City and the Stars, and A Fall of Moondust, all excellent Clarke books
- Look to Windward, a Culture novel
- Zima Blue and Other Stories, my first try at Alastair Reynolds
- Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
- Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton
- Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
- The Happy Atheist, P. Z. Myers' first book!
- Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
- Varieties of Religious Experience by William James, a book that went over my head
"Hidden so deep in veils of deceit, imprisoned in twisting spells. / Are we the plaything of fiends, or merely the dreams that we're telling ourselves, telling ourselves?"
My web site is now much more mobile-friendly. I've taken advantage of CSS Media Queries to apply custom styling for "desktops" (width above 800 pixels), "tablets" (width between 500 and 800 pixels) and "mobile" (width below 500 pixels). To see the effects of this, if you're on a desktop, change the width of the browser window until the changes kick in. Immediately you'll notice the navigation bar changing and various margins and padding becoming smaller to compensate for smaller screen real estate, but there are a lot of subtle changes here and there. I'm still working on making this better. Most conspicuously, tables still look horrible on smaller screens and the Books page needs more work.
There is also a scroll-to-top button in the bottom right corner of the screen (if you scroll below a certain level).
I have a lot of updates. More another day.
I've finally gotten into a good reading groove, and I've managed to read a bunch of books. The Reason-Driven Life, Bad Science, Food of the Gods, The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss, Breaking Open the Head, Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar..., The Hunting of the Snark, Odd John, The Abominable Earthman, and Cosmos. I also read two Clarke books, The Songs of Distant Earth and Imperial Earth, and bought a couple of more that I'm planning on reading very soon. I also read a short manga series, Uzumaki, and I'm currently reading some others (which I'll hopefully complete soon).
I spent some time pruning the books database, culling irrelevant books or books with poor reviews, or simply books with no review which I plan on re-reading and giving a proper one.
I also noticed a horrendous mistake on the Books page which has been there since the beginning: manga books would have their cover images (back and front) reversed for the simple reason that they're read from "back" to "front"! (These are relative terms, of course.) That was a silly mistake, and it's fixed now.
And I added a link to Ektoplazm, an excellent repository of free music (of varying quality, but a lot of it is good).
I spent an hour fixing something on my Books page that's been bugging me for a long time: You can now toggle the visibility of the contents of books when there are multiple books being displayed, independently (example), whereas before it was limited to one book (when multiple books were displayed you'd get a permalink to that book's own page).
I read the Scott Pilgrim series of comics and watched the movie of it, both of which I found mildly entertaining.
I did some minor janitorial work here and there on the site.
There's a cold wave sweeping over this part of Norway, which means I get to take far fewer walks than I'd like to.
Do I blog?
Something I forgot to mention which happened a few months back: I got a job working for a company called Etrip as a programmer, which explains the dearth of updates.
I converted all the PHP code that deals with databases (which mostly means the Archive and the Books page, but some other places too) from the MySQL (procedural) way of doing things to the MySQLi (OO) way of doing things. Right now, there's no difference, but I want to eventually take advantage of some of the advanced features of MySQLi (like prepared statements). Rummaging through my code, I found a lot of other things that could be improved, but what I really want to do, when I have a good chunk of free time available, is rewrite my entire damned site. In the meantime, if you find something that's horribly broken, please contact me.
I've read two Bradbury novels, Dandelion Wine and its sequel, Farewell Summer. They were sadly only moderately good. I've also done some minor janitorial work on the Books page. Nothing major, just small patches here and there. I have great plans for that page, and the way the code is structured now, I'm hoping that extending its functionality will be a breeze.
I return from the dead!
Hopefully this'll be last of the long (really long) hiatuses. The reasons for my extended absence are manifold, but in short, I've suffered a serious lack of inspiration and initiative. Since the last post my plan had been to again set up an RSS feed, but I discovered that there's no set standard for it, and so I simply gave that up, not wanting to choose between several competing standards and conventions and whatnot. Besides, my web site isn't a newsletter, right?
So in the preceeding year I've actually managed to read some books. I'll simply list them:
- The Woman Warrior
- The Grand Design
- What We Believe But Cannot Prove
- Revolt on Alpha C
- To Open the Sky
- The Dawkins Delusion?
- Rocks of Ages
- Why Evolution is True
- The Fifth Essence
- Cosmic View
- Time Gate
- H. P. Lovecraft Omnibus Vol. 2
This is an abominable rate, I know. I am also painfully aware of the fact that my reviews are short and not that informative. The problem is that I don't immediately review the books I read right after I've read them, when they're fresh in my mind. But then again, if there wasn't room for improvement, where would the fun be?
I've got some stuff in the works, though. Doing nothing is boring, and I'm bored of being bored.