Archive for October, 2008

Polling Place Etiquette

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2008 by Budd Black

A friend of mine from work went to early vote yesterday.  She was suprised while standing in line to be inundated with the chant of Obama, Obama, Obama….  She said that she was very intimidated.  I know when I voted, there were signs up all over the place saying no campaigning past this point, no political material past this point, no talking about the candidates past this point.  I find it odd that this would be allowed by the people working the polls. 

In other election news.  TN doesn't put any party identification on third parties.  They identify Democratic and Republican, but they just say independent for everyone else.  I believe this disuades people from voting for a third party candidate.  I mean if the state isn't going to take them seriously, why should the voter. 

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Book Reviews

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2008 by Budd Black

Battlefield Earth- Wow, was this book long.  It was interesting in parts and boring in others.  It was way better than the movie and so different that the cover makes absolutely no sense.  It follows post apocolyptic hunter/gatherer Johnny "Good-boy" Tyler as he opposes psychlon oppression.  The second half of the book about the intergalactic bank no longer being solvent was especially relavent.  Who would have known.  This book could have easily been two and probably should have.  It is much too long to really enjoy.  Toward the end (last 500 pages or so),  I was reading it for the sole purpous of finishing it and moving on to something else. 



How to Survive a Robot Uprising- This book was more non-fiction than I would have thought.  Sure it has some pretty funny lines, but it is very educational on the state of current robotics and technology that will inhabit future robots.  Given recent new about man-hunting robots, this book is kinda scary.  It isn't a hands down survival guide the way that the Zombie survival guide was, but it was fairly good.  It is on the short side, but it was feeling kinda stretched by that point anyways.  I would recommend it go on your shelf by The Zombie Survial Guide. 


This volume of Sandman didn't disappoint.  It was a great story with interesting characters and an interesting concept.  It isn't my favorite volume, but it is still very good. 

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QotD: Cast My Ballot

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 28, 2008 by Budd Black

The election is a week from today, who are you going to vote for?

There was a time in this country that asking this question was considered rude.  It is none of your business whom I am going to vote for.

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2nd Annual Horror Movie Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 27, 2008 by Budd Black

James, Richard, and I got together for our annual "It is close to Halloween and we need to watch some horror movies" day.  Richard made taco soup and we had plenty of other snacks.  Last year we watched 1402 and Slither both really good.  This year we watched a mixed bunch.

First was The Happening



This one was okay.  The twist in this movie is that there is no twist.  It was an okay movie.  A little slow and sappy, but it was okay.


Sweeny Todd was horrid.  It was slow.  I don't know if the songs weren't any good or if the actors just couldn't sing them, but they were unengaging.  Once the blood started flowing, it looked really fake. 









This one was a lot of fun.  I mean it was completely unrealistic and kind of insults your intelligence, but as long as you turn off the science part of your brain, it rocked.  Lots of good old fashioned violence.  It was a lot like road warriors and the crew actually refrenced this in the extra features.  Just a fun movie.


This one was fun also.  I found myself quoting lines from the Zombie Survival Guide even though it was a vampire movie.  A lot of the stuff works for both situations.  That book will change your life.  I have not read the graphic novel this movie was based on so I can't compare, but the movie was good.  Lots of fun yelling at the TV that the characters were being idiots. 

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What Have I Done?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2008 by Budd Black

The other day, I was riding down the road listening to the radio and I was flipping through the presets.  I knew at least the name of every song that came  on.  Most, I knew some of the lyrics too.  Then it hit me.  The brain is a miraculous thing to be able to store this much stuff.  I wonder how much smarter I would be if mine wasn't crammed full of popular music.  How much have we limited our growth by filling up storage space in our brains with music. 

I didn't set out to learn the words and tunes to these songs, but gained that knowledge passively.  Why is it then, that I have to work so hard at learning other things?  Does my previous knowledge of popular music make it easier for me to remember more.  Which childhood memories had to make way so that I could know the word's to Free Falling. Don't give me that "we only use 10% of our brains line."  I have seen video of the electrical impulses fired while dreaming and a majority of the brain lights up like Christmas. 

Every year the popular entertainment history grows more and more and children are expected to know about all of it in order to be cool or fit in.  Are we heading towards an Idiocracy?

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Keep on booking

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 9, 2008 by Budd Black

What was the last book you bought?

I was at Goodwill the other day and got 1) A Brief History of Time

2) Lord of the Flies

3) Indian in the Cupboard









Name a book you have read MORE than once

Watership Down, Dune, Starship Troopers, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lesson Before Dying, Where the Wild Things Are, You're Too Big, Porky Pig, Lama Lama Red Pajama.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?

I guess the Bible is pretty obvious.  Books usually just change my perspective on aspects of life, not life as a whole.  I guess I don't read enough philosophy

How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews

Sometimes I don't even know, but it does remind me of a post I once did.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Fiction, although I enjoy some non-fiction as well.  Black Hawk Down was amazing.

What’s more important in a novel – beautiful writing or a gripping plot?

Gripping plot, try reading some Henry James and you will see what I am talking about. 

Most loved/memorable character (character/book)

Hiro in Snowcrash and Hazel in Watership Down

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?

How to Survive a Robot Uprising

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?

Dauntless:  The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell.  I finished it on Tuesday.  I finished Battlefeild Earth on Sunday.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?

Yes,  Kushiels Dart comes to mind.  I tried and tried to give the book a little bit more time to draw me in, but it never did catch.  Sometimes you have to let the book go and move on to something else or you will just stall at that book. 

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Inspired by Me

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 8, 2008 by Budd Black

As a parent, I go through my activities hoping to influence my children in a positive way.  Hoping that the things I do will be more influencial than the things they learn from their friends, television, or the world in general.  The times when I see these influences come through are rare and memorable. 

I am in a book club.  Once a month a few friends and I meet at an eatery and discuss a science fiction book.  My wife works nights, so I usually carry the kids along for the ride.  They get bored, but I have usually brought something for them to do while they wait. 

At this months meeting, my oldest suggested that we read some Magic Tree House books so that she could get in on the discussion.  Then, last night, she came up with the idea that she start her own book club.  She had a list of friends that she wants to be a part of it.  She wants the meetings to be at McDonalds (I agreed with her that a place with food makes it better).  She was very excited by the idea.  I asked her if they would read only a certain kind of book and she said, "No, we will read all kinds."

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't proud of her.  Here was an activity that I enjoyed with my friends and I was setting an example of behaviour the whole time.  It just goes to show you that children are watching even when you think they aren't or they say they are bored.  Show your children positives and try not to be too suprised when they show you those positives right back. 

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