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Darth Paradox

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Friday notes [Aug. 14th, 2009|09:34 pm]
Darth Paradox
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shirt.woot! bag derby

Voting closed yesterday morning in the bag-design competition I entered on shirt.woot. My design finished 31st out of 132 contenders, not counting the 35 or so that were DQed for rules violations. I got a total of 107 votes. The top contenders all came in around a thousand, I think. But I'm still pretty proud of my debut effort, and I'll probably be entering another one soon...


I noticed yesterday, arriving at work around 7:30 AM, that it was just barely perceptibly darker outside than usual. I can start to feel summer slipping away from us, and it's not just because of the recent rain. It's supposed to be nice this weekend, but the sunrise slowly creeping later and later is a shot across summer's bow from the encroaching fall...

Back in Michigan, starting around September it always seemed like the world slowly bled out, the vibrant colors of early fall fading as leaves fell and clouds filled the once-blue sky. By midwinter the world was painted in dull shades of slate blue and brown and grey, and you could almost feel Demeter's despair weighing down the heart of nature.

It just doesn't work that way in the Pacific Northwest. The clouds may come rolling in, but the evergreens stand guard against the winter greys, buoyed by the frequent rain. Imposing though the clouds may be, the rains of winter lend the world a constant freshness, and even the barren deciduous trees seem eager to begin the spring's budding. And every once in a while a clear day comes along and the mountains leap from the horizon, snow caps against purple rock rising from the rich, green treeline.

I love the summers here, but I don't feel mourn its loss as once I did. I love living here, no matter the season.


A bunch of people from work went over to our manager2's house yesterday. He had the badminton net set up, so I took the court against the previous winner of a couple games.

I won the first game in a marathon effort, trading game-point opportunities back and forth several times. I was completely exhausted when the next challenger stepped on, but I managed to win that game too. I was still exhausted when the third game started.

By the time I won the third game, I felt like I was warming up.

I ended up running ten or so games straight, and when it was time for people to leave, I stepped off the court undefeated. Apparently I've developed some pretty good reflexes, although my spatial coordination could still use a bit of work.

My forearm's aching today, but it's the good sort of ache where you know you earned it.

Books #57-58: White Night and Small Favor by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #9 and #10)

I've said pretty much everything there is to say about this series. Still entertaining; growing darker. Looking forward to the next one.

Book #59: The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke

This is a collection of short stories set in the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (with the exception of one bit of quasi-crossover fanfic where she writes about the Duke of Wellington's experience in the town of Wall from Stardust). Like the original novel, they're odd little stories, with both the narration and the magic in the typically understated style of the original. I enjoyed them, but I had a hard time developing sympathy for most of the protagonists in the short span we had with each. The stoic British style of writing doesn't really lend itself as well to these stories as it did to the original novel.

Book #60-65: Transmetropolitan volumes 1-6 by Warren Ellis

I struggled a bit with how to classify this; treating each short collection volume as a single book seemed a bit cheap. But the six volumes I own are roughly half of the eleven total in the series, so why the hell not.

Spider Jerusalem is a misanthropist bastard of a journalist who nevertheless cares very much about providing the unvarnished truth to the population of the City he despises. He covers a presidential election only to disregard the "better the devil you know" maxim and propel a soulless monster to victory. And from there, it's war between the administration and the truth. The government doesn't play fair... but luckily, neither does Spider.

This is pretty much the comic that made Warren Ellis and his seriously fucked-up brand of humor famous, and the particularly twisted parts of my mind are loving every page of it. Highly recommended, particularly for those of you who aren't very fond of "people".

Book #66: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Yes, this book is as good as everyone's been telling me. I couldn't describe this book adequately enough to do it justice, but it's a fantastic fantasy book that embraces many of the fantasy tropes and then employs them with a light enough touch to avoid any semblance of cliche, happily abandoning them whenever the story demands it. Mixed in among the feats of arcane magic and the occasional bit of dashing swashbucklery is a meditation on storytelling as cultural memory - the best treatment of the subject I've seen since Sandman.

And now, I have to wait for the rest of the trilogy to come out. My one complaint is that the book doesn't really end satisfyingly at all, but it really is just act one of an epic.


I'm really happy with how Pyrlogos is going. I'm running a bit behind on Monday's comic, but I just scripted out a big scene that will probably take four or five comics to finish, and I think the story's starting to come together. And I've got some big things planned...

[User Picture]From: kaitou_marina
2009-08-15 04:58 am (UTC)
I <3 badmitton. We live near a really nice park now, and we keep talking about how we should get a net and walk down there and use it.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2009-08-15 11:25 pm (UTC)
The park near us just opened too! Might be worthwhile to pick up a set - they're really pretty simple, and not that expensive.
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[User Picture]From: kreeblah
2009-08-15 05:05 am (UTC)
The Name of the Wind

You probably noticed the wear marks in the spine. I've probably read it five times in the last year and I almost never do that with books, even if they're pretty good. I think the best part about it is his phenomenal use of the English language. The book is extremely tightly-written with very few wasted words and manages to have a lot of character to the writing at the same time.

I dunno. It's just a really, really good book and probably the best I've read in years.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2009-08-15 11:27 pm (UTC)
The "character" to the writing is, I think, the way it feels like Kvothe is sitting there telling you his story - and yet, in the midst of the story, the narrator all but vanishes, leaving nothing between you and the story being told. It's very well done.

Want more now. Sigh.
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[User Picture]From: kreeblah
2009-08-16 01:38 am (UTC)
It's partly that, yes, but I don't remember the last time I read something where the author was so careful about his word usage. The best example I can think of offhand is the part where Lochees shows up at the Inn and Kvothe somewhat pissed-offedly begins listing off what he has available to drink. It has an almost poetic cadence to it, which is the sort of interesting quirk that you really don't see in writing.

As far as the narration goes, I believe Rothfuss has mentioned that numerous people have commented on the unusualness of it being in first person (yet working quite well anyway), but his only response was that it was the only way he ever saw it working.

I dunno. I guess I just really enjoy his use of the language.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2009-08-17 08:20 pm (UTC)
I remember one part that really struck me about his word usage. When Kvothe re-met Denna at the inn where he earned his pipes, and Sovoy had started hitting on her... at the end of the night, he said something about how he would have kissed her hand, but "friends don't do that". The bitterness was heavy in his statement, but rather than dropping into his mental state for a paragraph and talking about how he felt betrayed by his friend, he just lets that one statement sit there and moves on.

I get what you mean.
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[User Picture]From: ryvaendell
2009-08-15 05:22 am (UTC)
The passage on Summer is lovely. :)
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2009-08-15 11:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I felt like being poetic. :D
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[User Picture]From: polarbee
2009-08-15 02:35 pm (UTC)
That first part just really makes me want to move there. Colorless pretty much perfectly describes Fairbanks in winter. And I definitely feel it coming. *sigh*
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2009-08-15 11:29 pm (UTC)
Seems like you enjoyed your trip down!

Seattle - and the PacNW as a whole - has a way of sucking people into it. I've heard many stories about people who tried to move away but found themselves coming back, two or five or ten years later because they missed it so much.
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[User Picture]From: iris_of_ether
2009-08-15 10:57 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate the winters here, for exactly the reasons you mentioned.
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[User Picture]From: darthparadox
2009-08-15 11:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you know what I mean, coming from Wisconsin. *shivers*
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