Thought for the Day
Chris Pic
Oprah is growing on me.

Chris Pic
I roll my protesting body out of bed once/twice a week to play early morning basketball with a group of guys at the local YMCA. It's a lot of fun, and a helluva great workout. The stable of players numbers about 20, so it's no trouble to dial up 10 guys for each session. The group is diverse in terms of age (early 20's thru early 50's) and economic standing (broke kids looking for a job thru senior VP's at local companies). What it is not diverse in is race....we're all pasty gangstas. Which brings me to my delimma earlier this week.....
We had our 10 guys and were on the court sweating it out before sunrise earlier this week. There happened to be a handful of guys on a side court that morning. About halfway through our games three of the guys hopped into the game while three of us rested (yours truly included). So I'm sitting on the bench chatting it up with the other two guys when an older guy who is the father of one of the new players comes up to us and starts chatting too. He looks right at me and asks how his son is doing. I don't know squat about the three new guys who joined in, so the logical reply from me is "Which one is your son?".
Now here's the dilemma: the Dad is not a pasy gangsta like the rest of us, and a quick scan at the court allows me to pick out which kid is obviously his son. "Obviously" may be a stretch, because aside from skin tone the kid looks nothing like his Dad. Should I say "Which one is your son", and look like an absolute blind idiot? Or should I point to the kid and say "Oh, the kid's holding his own", and thus prove that I jumped to race as the identifier for the kid instead of height, color of shirt, etc.
Maybe I'm making too much out of this.

Books Books Books!
Chris Pic

Life's busy, but there's always time for books!  Here's some thoughts on ones recently completed
as well as some misfires.  Fair warning....nothing here warrants inclusion in the NY Times book
review by any means.  

The Lost Regiment Series, Books 1-6 (William Fortschen): 

I'm combining the first six books of this series into this blurb....what can I say, I'm lazy.
This is a series I actually read several years back.  I think due to new Fortschen books that
have recently come out (all good, by the way) I felt drawn to picking these up again.  I was a
bit hesitant---purely because I had such a good warm and fuzzy from the first time around.  Many
times when I read a book several years after my initial read I walk away disappointed.  The book
hasn't changed, but my perspective has.  Perhaps I've matured, or just plain see things
differently.  Maybe I'm just more demanding than I was as a teenager or in my early twenties. 
Whatever it is, I shouldn't have worried----these books still kick ass!  Mix in wonderful,
complex characters, complex military strategy, Civil war history, a gate to another world, and
oh...9 foot tall monsters who would love to suck on our beloved heroes bone marrow.  Sound
corny? Perhaps.  But in Fortschen's hands this is a war to the death, and not a single page
should be missed.

For Love of Mother Not (Alan Dean Foster):

Speaking of being disappointed by a re-read.....this is the poster child.  I have great respect
for Foster.  The man is absolutely prodigous in his output, and whether it's a movie tie in 
(check him out...he's done the novelization of almost every major sci-fi movie in the last 25
years.  No shit.  Many times his tie in is better than the movie.), or a story of his own, the
books are always worth reading.  I've been reading and collecting Foster's work for 20 years
now.  Thought it was time to dust off one of his earlier works....and also the first book in a
long standing series (Pip & Flinx).  I must have been 16 when I first read this.  I remember
thoroughly enjoying it.  Looking at it from the eyes of a 34 year old it's just plain tired and
juvenile.  Thoroughly disheartening to say the least.  Now I find myself looking at all the
Foster books on the shelf and wondering if I'd have a similar reaction the second time around....

One Second After (Fortschen): 

Another Fortschen.  This is a new one and is a post apocalyptic story set in modern day US. 
This has the usual Fortschen elements which really resonate with me---the central characters are
flushed out in great detail and the plot is interesting.  Also, very unusual for a post
apocalyptic novel, the descent from our cushy modern life to Hell is actualy very plausible it's a little scary.  Most novels of similar ilk use global nuclear
warfare, asteroid impacts, magic, etc. to drive the "change".  It's refreshing (and yes, still
scary) to see such a plausible cause.  One Second After is also a college lecture on
techology/medicine circa 1880 cleverly disguised as a fictional narrative.  Fortschen has
certainly put in the research into One Second After, and I appreciate it.  In my mind he's set a
pretty high standard for himself----I expect all Fortschen books to have such a level of
research and realism---anything less would be disappointing. last point:  I'm thankful
Fortschen is starting to do things without Newt riding his coat tails.  Good for you Bill!

The Law of Nines (Terry Goodkind): 

Hey lookie here!  Another mammoth, juicy adventure involving Richard Rahl!  Yeah!!!  Oh
wait....this isn't Richard Rahl, you say?  And this isn't part of the Sword of Truth series, you
say?  It's actually set in modern day US you say?  Agh!  The thing is, Goodkind has provided so
many enjoyable hours with the Sword of Truth series that I kind of felt I owed it to him to give
this a shot.  At best, it's a cursory tie in to SoT.  That being said, it wasn't a bad read at
all.  A little long winded at times, but still entertaining.  I'm very curious if there will be
more coming (Goodkind certainly left room for more), or if this is simply a stand alone. 

Dragon Keeper (Robin Hobb)

Here's a challenge for you.  Picture yourself as a fart being blown out of a truckers ass. Now
write a narrative about your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions as you are being ejected from
the dark, warm comfort of your home into those tight sorta whities.  It's not easy to do.  Robin
Hobb is the best I've come across at it.  The fart in this case is a snake crawling into a hole,
then subsequently coming out as a dragon at a later date.  I read it and I'm know EXACTLY what
this dragon is thinking, and I understand the creature.  No shit---it takes amazing writing
skill to take something so mundane (albiet fantasy-based) and make it interesting. 
Unfortunately the rest of the book is a stinker.  Three of Hobb's previous four trilogies I
really enjoyed...another one just sucked.  Guess which category this falls into.  I tried so
hard to get into this one.  When Hobb is on, she's damn near world class.  Also, she knocks out
maybe one book a year (something to do with family and having a life apparently), so it will be
another 3-4 years before I lay my hands on a new Hobb trilogy (technically this is only a two
book series....maybe the editor realized what a stinker this was and aborted the normal three
book cycle).  I feel even worse about this because I read it via an illict e-book.  If I even
marginally enjoyed this I would have bought it new at the store....promise. 

The Magician (Lev Grossman):

This is actually an accidental pick up.  My wife's book club recently selected this as the
flavor of the month.  It piqued my interest because it wasn't their standard fare (e.g., the
down trodden in Iran, poor women being abused in Pakistan, handicapped kids in Afghanistan being
taken advantage know, the stuff that warms your heart and makes you feel good inside).
 The Magician is something of a cross between Harry Potter and heroic fantasy---with a
consistently more gritty tone than Potter.  It sounded interesting, so I gave it a whirl.  30
pages later I quit.  Just didn't mesh with the main characters and was constantly annoyed by the
writing style.  An interesting side note---only 2 gals in the book club finished it too.  Looks
like next month is back to safer ground....perhaps genocide in Africa?

Chris Pic

Is this DUDE inspiring or pathetic?  I'm completely on the fence. 

I'm rooting for the guy because he's found something in life he really truly loves.  It doesn't matter what those in the mainstream things of it.  He's loves mid major college basketball, and damn the torpedoes, he's going to embrace it.  The world might be a brighter place if everyone reached more for their true passions and loves. 

On the flip side I think he's a pathetic SOB because he's nourished this interest to the detriment of his marriage, his financial stability and his health. 

I'll continue peeking in on this guy to see how this pans out. 

Why?--Because a Good Chortle is Needed
Chris Pic
Been a long day----came across the joke below and got a good laugh out of it. 

A completely inebriated man was stumbling down the street with one foot on the curb and one foot in the gutter. A cop pulled up and said, "I've got to take you in, pal. You're obviously drunk."

Our wasted friend asked, "Officer, are ya absolutely sure I'm drunk?"

"Yeah, buddy, I'm sure," said the copper. "Let's go."

Breathing a sigh of relief, the wino said, "Thank goodness, I thought I was crippled."

Good Job, LJ!
Chris Pic
I see that LJ is starting to roll out an actual blog search utility.  Give it a whirl here

This has been the one significant issue I have had with LJ in the past year.  With a true blog search tool I really believe bloggers with similar interests will be brought closer together.  Sure, the tags serve their purpose---but applying tags is cumbersome and it's difficult to tag all relevant parts of your entry...especially if you are prone to lengthy entries. 

Good job, LJ!  Please don't start charging me now.....
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Sickness Update
Chris Pic
Our daughter is now back to her usual spunky self.  Momma and Poppa are lagging behind unfortunately.  I believe both of us have bottomed out---we just need this weekend to relax and recouperate.  Hopefully by Monday we'll be back to charming selves again.

Big ahout out today to Mangino----way to lay an EGG!  The fine tuned offensive engine you've crafted the past 2-3 years sputtered and died.  The one team you are just dying to beat comes into your home turf, sans their top three offensive studs, and you roll over.  Very disappointing for the KU faithful.  Kudos to OU for stepping up. 
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Chris Pic
Learned yesterday both the wife and I have it.  Thankfully we both have a minor case.  With rest and drugs we'll get over we're concerned about the baby.....we're about 15 weeks into the pregnancy and sure hope this doesn't screw anything up. 

A real blogger would churn our reams of great material relating his/her experiences with H1N1.  Not I .  Take it from me---it's a flu bug, and it sucks, but thatt's the extent of it.  I'm going back to bed now. 

Egad! A thickness hath fallen upon our houth!
Chris Pic
No kidding----my daughter, wife and I are all sick. I'm keeping us fortified on medicines, so I hope this crap goes away very soon.

So how are you on this beautiful morning?

Very Interesting!
Chris Pic

My better half pointed out to me recently that a Google search of "Chraeda" now pulls in over 180 hits on Google. I especially like the international flair.

As blogs go this one is probably about 86,000 in terms of popularity.  But that's okay---it's not about having a trail of sycophants drooling over the latest Jon & Kate gossip or links to bikini pictures thrown up. At the end of the day this blog is my therapy----it's important to me to have some dark corner of the internet reserved for my thoughts, ideas, and mental fluff.  It's gravy if someone else out there periodically gets some enjoyment out of this.

Of course, this exuberance is somewhat diminished when Google returns 1,390 hits for the term "syphilitic monkey" (go on, try it).  So here's my goal for the next 12-18 months----"Chraeda" will, MUST overtake "syphilitic monkey" on Google!  It's going to take a lot of effort.  But I'm confident that with gritty determination, and a little bit of luck, we'll get over the hump.  And I promise, no bikini pics or celebrity gossip will be used in the process!



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