The Emotional Pumpkin


Monday, June 27, 2005

I bet you've been wondering

why I haven't posted in so long. There's a good reason, and his name is Jack Reacher. Earlier this month, during the first of my sister's weddings, I found myself stuck at the arrivals hall in the international terminal of O'Hare airport, waiting for an incoming relative whose flight kept getting delayed (every 10-15 minutes, for a total of over 4 hours. I am not kidding.).

Now, since I was driving, and I thought we'd be in and out quickly, I neglected to bring anything with which to occupy myself. No iPod, no PSP, no books, no nothing. About an hour into my interminable wait, I went upstairs to the departures area, where I reasoned there'd have to be a bookstore. And sure enough, there was.

I wasn't expecting to find a book to read, since as some of you may know I mostly read (and can't usually keep a long enough attention span for anything but) sci-fi. I took a look at the bestseller rack, though, just for the hell of it. At number 26 or 27 was a book called The Enemy, by some guy called Lee Child. All the quotes on the front and back covers bore effusive praise to the tune of: "this guy is the best thriller writer you're not reading...yet", or "he's the next Tom Clancy", etc., etc.

The blurb on the back seemed interesting enough, but it had yet to pass the real test. I've learned the hard way, being so picky about writing, that I have to pick up a book and read the first page or two of it to make sure the writing doesn't annoy me before I plunk down the money to buy it. So I cracked it open. Inside, I found a treasure. Brutally spare prose, tight plotting, an absolutely gorgeous mastery of dialogue, and film-like editing. And as simple as that, I was hooked.

The Enemy is the eighth (of nine) in a series of stand-alone novels, all featuring a main character named Jack Reacher. As it happened, this book was actually a prequel to all the rest of them, so it was a good place to start. Tonight, I finished reading the last of the books that have been released in paperback, and am waiting on my local library to get a copy of the ninth one (newly released in hardcover) back in so I can read it. Very, very good stuff; highly recommended.

I've recently posted

a couple of new Blogger templates: Deco and Retro. Check 'em out!

Close, but no cigar.

Looks like someone was listening: there's now a Google Maps widget available for Dashboard. Unfortunately, it does not provide for driving directions, just for looking up single locations. Seems to me that's the whole point of maps websites.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Good grief!

Oh HELL yeah. That's all I have to say.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Apple's ditching IBM to switch to Intel? Say it ain't so.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

This is intriguing

From Slashdot:
According to an MSDN Channel 9 interview with an Office file-format developer, the next version of Microsoft Office (Office 12) will default to newly-developed XML file formats in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The new formats will apparently include XML files along with other files (images, etc) inside of a Zip file. Microsoft will also be providing extensive documentation of the new format to the public through MSDN.

This just in:

Apparently Microsoft will be dropping the "My" prefix (e.g. My Documents, My Pictures) from Longhorn. (Via Slashdot)

Ha! I knew it.

From Slashdot:
An interesting study made by to two Penn State researchers shows that increases in homework may actually hinder educational achievement (Coral Cache) instead of improving it.
Like I needed someone to tell me that.

Not to put too fine a point on it,

but this is big news:
A group of scientists have developed a mathematical method to fight certain forms of cancer. The study has taken the team several years, but the first trial on a human has been successful.
The actual paper can be found here.