Home > Uncategorized > Entry 11/19/2009 08:38:32 PM – Mentat 542

Entry 11/19/2009 08:38:32 PM – Mentat 542


     T-Minus 2 days and counting… 

     … And at the moment, I have positively no energy to want to sit here and do my weekly laundry.  Technically I have more than enough clothes to wait ’til my vacation, given that it’ll start Sunday Morning when I run out the door leaving skid marks in the process — but even then I don’t necessarily want to do laundry the first day off either.  And before any of you say anything, yes, the coffee’s been brewed, it’s sitting on my Twilight DVD coffee coaster and I’ve taken a couple of swigs since.  Still though, I’ve got the lethargy which I’m infinitely happier to have than the rage that I had going two days before. 

     Yeah, I had the anger and rages going on Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning.  Pretty damned bad too.  My night started normally, not the over-the-top chaos that I’ve been walking into the last couple of weeks, but not as slow as I’d expect it to be for the winter.  Then at about 2 in the morning I had gotten about 5 excessively stupid people that couldn’t follow the simplest instructions and demanded that it just work for them because they wanted to get online and check e-mail (in the city of sin).  On the last of those 5 excessively stupid people I went off for the rest of the night.  Between the silent rage, the wanting every stupid person that would say "Windows 97" (or even say, "I don’t know") when I asked "What operating system are you running?" to jump out the window of their hotel room and remove themselves promptly from the gene pool…  I fought my impulse to tell people to either "die!" or "just shut up and send your computer back to wherever you got it because you don’t have a clue how to use it and you shouldn’t be dragging it along."  By the end of the night, for my last call of the morning I found myself swearing for 20 minutes straight because I had had it by the end of that time…  To top it off, it was a dreaded call from the typical New Englander that usually starts with, "my…  isn’t working." and invariably ends with "I want it fixed immediately" and filled with either passive-aggressive silence or a stream of comments on how "crappy" the service has been since they switched (or in the case of this last call, all of the above).

     Yes, me…  swearing like a trooper for 20 minutes straight using the ever so lovely and poetic F word as a noun, verb, adjective and various articles and prepositions had a sort of charm at that moment and was enough for me to realize I needed to put myself to bed at an earlier than normal time…  Further, I hoped that whatever it was that bothered me that night/morning would pass for the next day:  New Mood Madness, change of hours to something that my body’s not used to quite yet, the routine stupid people extravaganza I don’t like dealing with from the City of Sin, randomly and completely forgotten manstruation (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=manstruation) that I was undoubtedly due for, or even the usual, ‘no really I’m hating life at the moment because of the end of the year dysfunction we otherwise call "the Holidays". 

     Fortunately for me it did.  The next day when I went into work and worked out what I was going to do with the PTO time I had accrued and not used for the year was set to pay-out (40 hours of it anyway), carried over to 2010 (50 hours of it), and the rest for the two weeks of vacation that I have planned for the next two months.   And yes, as Tracy said, I’m "such a slacker". 


     All right, first cup of coffee through…  my brains are actually working, I have a little more energy, and maybe even building up the gumption to work on the man-eating pile of clothes that spit up my cat that’s sleeping on her bed now…  Then again, maybe not.  It can sit there ’til much later.  I don’t want to deal with it right now… 



     So I finished another book from the portable library that I have in my possession: Michael Brotherton’s Star Dragon.  Frankly, the jury’s out on whether I was moderately entertained by it or not.  It’s sort of a solid book with predictable elements, but I found myself completely apathetic too the five characters that were traveling to SS Cygni on the Karamojo.  Fisher was too obsessive with his research of the dragons on their way to the star 250 (relative) years from Earth, and when he began to play like a team player it came off entirely too disingenuous for my taste.  Captain Fang was trying entirely too hard to prove herself to being the hard-ass Captain of the ship.  Henderson was a third-wheel in this all, and I get the distinct impression that Brotherton didn’t really know what to do with him, so Henderson’s wheels were spun throughout the book.  The Jack (of All Trades) — Stearn — seemed to have the most focus on this, of which looking back in the story I wonder if Brotherton was projecting more than a little of himself into this character… And finally Devereaux didn’t seem to be well written even for a support character. 

     Oh and let’s not forget the AI of the Karamojo, who was called Papa by Captain Fang.  The AI itself was comprised of two elements , human (organic) components of the AI were designed to emulate Ernest Hemingway and the mechanical (inorganic) components more a traditional AI.  While I understood the importance of the human interface, toward the end of the book while the ship and crew were hunting the Star Dragon (a life form that seemed to live in the plasma disc accretion between a binary star system), there were about 5 pages of the AI’s musings of Hemingway hunting of a Rhino in the Serengeti of Africa that I completely was off-put and skimmed ahead as quickly as possible to get away from it.  Admittedly I have never been a fan of Hemingway’s stories, partially because some of his books were required reading in High School, but mostly because of Hemingway’s predilection to men doing "manly things" — war, drinking, hunting, and of course sailing.  Blah….  I get enough of that attitude dealing with internally homophobic gay men trying to be "straight-acting" rather than understanding their own masculinity. 

     While it’s true that the book had the necessary elements that demonstrated the necessary growth and maturity of the characters, I found that I couldn’t relate to any of them as their movements and their actions seemed…  coerced by the writer’s attempt to create specific scenarios to prove their immaturity, rather than demonstrating the necessary synergy of people aware of their environment and knowing that the universe is in fact quite dangerous.  Perhaps it was because of the virtual immortality that Brotherton describe Homo Sapiens of that far flung future had been attained that caused them to forget that death can come from poor decisions in unknown surroundings…  But personally I think it’s more the trends that I’ve seen of science-fiction books in recent years that mankind is in fact getting stupider because the technology attained is allowing people to forget the dangers of the wilds of the universe. 

     Yes, I like the shrewdness of Shatner’s Kirk (Star Trek), or Boxleitner’s Sheridan (Babylon 5), or even Stewart’s Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation) that demonstrates both the understandings of strategy and even bluffing when necessary when facing issues and problems that need to be surmounted.  Brotherton’s book reminds me too keenly of the civilian expeditions of Jack McDevitt where they seem to have the right ideas, but the expeditions go terribly wrong because of human ego, selfishness and failing pride. 

     If I were to give this piece a rating, it would probably be 2½ to 3 stars (out of 5).  I probably would have liked it more if I could find one character to relate too, but alas — the characters remind me all too keenly of the people I’ve worked with in the past (when I was living in Atlanta) — and I thought a majority of them a disreputable, selfish lot with positively no endearing qualities among them.  Not the sort of thing I like dealing with, and certainly not the kind of people I want to read about.  


     Next book I’m reading is A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay.  Seems all right enough, but the first chapter is extremely superfluous and the character that Lindsay draws there nothing but fluff.  Bait and switch is not a good way to start a book in my opinion, but I’ll trudge along just to see where Lindsay’s going to go with this story. 


     That’s about it for the time being…  I want to play a couple of games before I tackle the pile.  Until the next time.

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