I enjoyed this pretty thoroughly as a kid. It came up, of all things, while shooting the shit an in interview for NVIDIA's compiler team last month (?I enjoyed this pretty thoroughly as a kid. It came up, of all things, while shooting the shit an in interview for NVIDIA's compiler team last month (?!?), so I guess the lesson here is that even garbage comes in handy sometimes (for that matter, a brief biographical sketch of Robert Wilson I read a decade ago happened to come in handy talking to a Fermilab alum just last night, and my understanding of the female mind was largely shaped by Baby-Sitters Club, Cat Power lyrics and the Molly Bloom soliloquy from Ulysses so keep readin', kiddos!)....more
Ahhhhhh. Thank you, Mr. Chasin. Assembly on the ATARI was awesome, and best of all it actually *sounded different* when you loaded it from your ATARIAhhhhhh. Thank you, Mr. Chasin. Assembly on the ATARI was awesome, and best of all it actually *sounded different* when you loaded it from your ATARI 410 Cassette Drive (It also required different instructions, since rather than loading data for the BASIC interpreter, you were swapping out the image itself -- mmap(2)ing directly into code from the disk, basically, hence no return to the BASIC prompt when you exited a program (meaning a reboot every time you wanted to run it, which quickly led to very small (i think i managed ~44 bytes by the time i was 10 or so) loaders+trappers). Ahhh, halcyon days of yore which modern programmers never knew!...more
More than anything save perhaps "WarGames", this book changed my life and set it off on its current direction. A great, great classic. Full text is avMore than anything save perhaps "WarGames", this book changed my life and set it off on its current direction. A great, great classic. Full text is available here....more
i read this a few times, trying to figure out what all the hubbub was about. never could get into tolkien; the only things i ever really enjoyed werei read this a few times, trying to figure out what all the hubbub was about. never could get into tolkien; the only things i ever really enjoyed were the appendices to LoTR (the text itself i could have done entirely without)....more
I'm a bit too upset by the forced #2 position of what was and always will be, to me, the first book of the series, yeah yeah yeah I know what Lewis'sI'm a bit too upset by the forced #2 position of what was and always will be, to me, the first book of the series, yeah yeah yeah I know what Lewis's position is on the subject. Let's say Lewis decides, later in his life, that he's a Mormon. He's shedding tears about all the preëxistence lost, calculating the tithe complete with compounded back interest, throwing out all his tea bags. He's been reborn, is working to Restore, and plans to rename himself C.LDS. Lewis. The whole 9 yards and 3 heavens, capiche? And he declares that the Voyage of the Dawn Treader is now the Voyage of the Rvnd. Brigham Young, and they're sailing not to the End of the World but to Salt Lake City, and Repicheep takes all the merpeople as wives. What would you do? Accept it, make like Winston Smith and handle the order to narnchron 3 boatname dawntreader doubleplusungood refs unship rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling? Well, you can take your Narnia rewritten fullwise, and you can cram a 15-ton statue of Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky right up your ass with walnuts, buddy....more
Hrmm, probably the first seriously-themed book, aside from the Bible, I ever read (possibly beaten out by A Wrinkle in Time or Number the Stars; no reHrmm, probably the first seriously-themed book, aside from the Bible, I ever read (possibly beaten out by A Wrinkle in Time or Number the Stars; no records of this era exist, entrepreneurial verve not having yet leaped from the pages of Horatio Alger and settled in Otis Chandler's head as GoodReads) -- we hunkered down over this one in the fourth grade. I remember only two things, really:
(a) the textbook's ownership record, with its "White-White-White-White-White-White-black". Our teacher pointed out the negative lack of capitalization, but I was meanwhile learning the value of a minimal user interface. I distinctly recall thinking something along the lines of, "if these buttheads had just printed two columns and had people X their color, they wouldn't need to worry about this scheme at all, which people are just going to screw up along the way in any case, and besides if the whole objective has to be pointed out to the readers I don't think this was terribly effective oppression in the first place. I mean, more than anything, you just don't mix up grammatical agendas with hate agendas; didn't we learn from "God?" and having to worry about capitalizing pronouns of Holy Antecedent, did these rednecks seriously want to fuck their syntax up what with planting season coming etc."
(b) struggling to take the book seriously as a novel of the South. I'd not yet learned that beyond our amniotic (if inaccurately-named) Great Circle aka Interstate 285 lay lands where men fear to tread, valleys of death with names like Macon, Jackson, Oxford in Mississippi, Mobile-Birmingham-Auburn -- hell, everything from about Kennesaw to Arkansas, really -- Valdosta and five hellish weeks of annual August football camp, an inviting tourist destination called Locust Grove (and no, they didn't lose a war or anything. This is why you ensure your Council of Commerce is properly remunerated, people), Douglasville (where I was once invited to shoot steroids and, an hour or so later, an assault rifle -- "just wherever you want man, that way over there"), hellish roadkill incineration facilities that involve multiton cranes, powerful oxidizing agents, and in all likelyhood several million free-floating ppm of neuromaculating prions -- my dad would inspect their hoists four times a year. miphitis would advertise the day's handiwork, a dark shroud moving in oleaginous ascent, and to this day i hate myself for being unable to run over and hug the man in all his pungency, hug him for waking up at 0400 to leave the Circumscribed City, climb 200 feet in the air over chemically-stoked fires packed with various states of the whole shitty Southeast's mangy roadkill, inspect hoists of 1960's American vintage (companies and manufacturing floors and grim furnaces of steel smelting and NASA -- poor NASA -- raised up like Appalachians and left barren as the moon's face), hoists for which manuals never existed and he's rebuilt twice anyway, all the while huffing fat tokes of prions and musk du felinefuego so that I could go to an Atlanta catholic school instead of a cherokee county shithole. "Somebody's gotta burn the possums and puppies, young Nicky, somebody's gotta burn the cats and rats, and they all need cranes" he'd recount in a jovial singsong (after a few showers), and we'd laugh about all those possums and puppies we'd smelled together.
...kinda went on a tangent there, sorry. Anyway, visit Atlanta. We're not like the rest of this place. FLY DELTA JETS....more
This cunningly-woven allegory of the Cold War's nuclear buildup is simple and gripping enough for children to understand, if a bit fleshless. Our adolThis cunningly-woven allegory of the Cold War's nuclear buildup is simple and gripping enough for children to understand, if a bit fleshless. Our adolescent narrator, one Leigh Botts of California (both an immediate reference to Harvard President and Interim Committee member James Bryant Conant and a deep frappe indeed to the testicles-or-vagina of Bridge to Terebithia's androgynous lead character), devoid of a father figure (the waning British Empire, their ocean-spanning fleet here captured in Botts Senior's beet-trucking service), has his lunch repeatedly stolen (bombed) by unknown (presumed Japanese, un-interred and dangerous) students or perhaps external forces (Rome-Berlin Axis, spreading spectre of Bolshevism, Reverse Trilateral Commission, etc). Ms. Botts strikes an elegant and delightful, at times even eerie, Kittie Oppenheimer throughout. Leigh launches an all-out crash program to develop an alarm system (note the reference to Teller's "Alarm Clock" (failed) layered thermonuclear device, prior to the Teller-Ulam application of reradiation, plasma and finally ablation), sparing no expense (a jowly local electronics store owner's a passable cameo for General Leslie Groves). Finally, with the weapon system complete, Leigh flies a bus we may as well dub the Enola Gay to school...only to find that, as the sole remaining hyperpower, his defenses have become his undoing. We dream of a world without the threat of nuclear extinction and shed a tear as Leigh opens his lunchbox, assaulting friends, foe, and self with literally hundreds of millipascals of acoustic overpressure in a scene that disturbingly anticipates the 9/11 incidents and perhaps also steroids in baseball.
Let Leigh Bott's alarm be an alarm for all of us.
There was also something about butterflies, the details of which I've forgotten. Maybe that was just Jurassic Park. No...no. Anyway, doesn't matter, a classic tale of love in the chivalric era....more