Saturday, May 30, 2009

Visited Michigan, picked up the flu


So two weeks ago was my friend, Jim's, wedding. I was part of the wedding party show I flew in a couple of days early and helped Jim and Heather put together the wedding, keep everyone sane, and just hang out with my best friends from high school. As usual, sleep was not a huge priority.

I arrived and AY picked me up from the airport in Lansing. We grabbed some pizza and beer while at the Crystal. Talked video games (Fallout 3), Red Wing's hockey, and just caught up. Aaron was my best man in my wedding, but we just haven't kept in contact like we should. I am going to endeavor to do a better job of that going forward. Finishing the night we played some hockey when Jim got home.

The next day was the bachelor party. Jim's favorite activities are golf and poker so that was the plan for the day. Five of us heading about 40 minutes out of time to golf. Two of us had never been golfing before so it was bound to be an interesting day. Poor AY got stuck with the two of us who had never golfed while Jim and the best man, Rob, headed out ahead of us. Jim and Rob were able to make it through all 18 holes while the 3 some were only able to get through 9 holes. Wow do I suck. After that, we hit Legends where Jim and I each bought a box of football cards hoping to score the latest rookie sensation as an autograph or piece of Jersey. Either way, we both drew blanks on this one. Ouch. Which left us with perfect time to head over to a charity poker tournament. Jim did best of any of thus ranking 7th, but was not able to get his draws. I was first out, but again this was a first for me and I got a little bit anxious when I had a couple of decent hands and then those. We finished the evening with a little two on two hockey. It was a lot of fun.

We all spent the next day getting things for the wedding finished up. Heather's sisters were running the decorating of the reception hall with Rob and AY. Jim and I went to pick up the tuxes and also pick up a bunch of other random things we needed from party stores and the like. Afterwords was the rehearsal and dinner, which was some phenomenal food. And then back to the hall for some final touches to the reception hall.

The wedding itself was very pretty. The bride looked stunning. The groomsmen looked bored. The maid of honor looked ready to get the show on the road. There were lots of folks at the wedding and reception and it all went well. Only one minor glitch which was the loss of the ringbearer pillow, which in the tradition of something going awry at a wedding is a pretty light one. Photographs before and after the wedding which I am still waiting to see. Reception started a bit later than we wanted with the amount of photos and travel time. Jim was a little disappointed with the reception. I am sure he pictured it being the big party of weddings past. I thought it was a good reception, but it was not a huge extravaganza. Memorable moments for me was when Jim sang a song for Heather, as Jim did such an excellent job on it, and also as all the groomsmen ditched their shoes for something more comfortable.

When it was was all over, basically we had the wedding party and Jim's parents cleaning up the hall. It took till pretty late. Jim, Heather, and Rob headed off for Detroit as their flight to Aruba was the next day, while AY and I headed to Stevie's hotel to crash before my flight out the next morning. 1 hour of sleep and sitting next to someone coughing probably led me to my last two weeks of sickness, but it was a trip well worth it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Book Review: Line War by Neal Asher

To follow up on my previous post on the Ian Cormac series. I recently received the final book in the series. I was a little miffed that it took so long to move across the Atlantic ocean to arrive here in the States, but it did finally arrive.

I am currently in the middle of reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln and was about to take a trip to Michigan for a wedding. I really didn't feel like lugging around this huge volume and decided it was the perfect opportunity to read a little pulp.

Line War is set in the same universe where AI's control humanity. Rather than seem like evil controlling dictators, they come across benevolent gods working to help humanity and themselves along. The Polity (the AI/human government) is threatened over the series of books by Jain technology which is from a 5 million year dead society. This technology has the ability to aid, corrupt and control any organic intelligence it touches. The final chapter in the saga has Ian running around the universe trying to solve the mystery of why a Jain/Rogue AI combination has been seemingly random attacked multiple Polity worlds while his lover Mika is working with an alien organic construct known as Dragon to hunt down the source of Jain technology and perhaps find what happened to the Jain themselves.

It is tempting to ruin the end of the story. I didn't find this book to live up the expectations set by the series. Ian Cormac, the unflappable super agent, is seen just hopping around on a wild goose chase through the entire book. You are introduced to a character in Randle Fiddler who you don't know if you should trust or not, but then the author gives it away a couple of chapters later. I know by the end that he did it for other interesting dialogues he wanted to told, but overall it degraded the stories possibilities. Mika who you originally see as a pure human who is cold and analytical, slowly becomes this scared creature that is not completely likable. In the end, the book degrades down to a common conspiracy theory and collapses to an endless struggle against power and corruption.

That all said, if you have invested time in the first four books which were all quite excellent, you will likely go in for this one, but realize that it is the weakest of the series.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


It was nice to have some visitors this week to play with Miranda and give us some adult conversation. My parents came into town for a week and they were able to help us get straighten out and entertain Miranda too. It was quite nice. Weather in Seattle was decent. We had a couple sunny days but mostly it drizzled. Temperatures were generally pretty nice for this time of the year. Unfortunately things have been a bit busy for me at work so I didn't get to spend to much time with them. Maybe the next time I see them in August will work out better.

Miranda seemed to have fun. She has mentioned them a few more times today but most of it Michelle and Miranda were down in Kent wandering around. I stayed home and did some more work. I haven't really talked about my reading of late. I picked up a couple of books that I wanted to try.

1) Rendezvous with Rama. Great book from a master author. The story is a bit dry but the concepts and characters speak volumes outside of the written work.

2) Jennifer Morgue. Another fun Charles Stross book dealing with computer technician/demonologist/super spy. This is the second book using this universe and main character. I liked the first one and the second one was fun as well.

3) Pattern Recognition. William Gibson explores a book of brand identity and recognition surrounding a obscure piece of film that is slowly leaked via the internet. I didn't particularly like it. It's pacing felt off and it felt like a very odd blend of low tech, spy-thriller (without the thrills), mystic, adventure. Just didn't really dig it.

4) Blindside. This book about left tackles in football is pretty darn interesting. It tells the story of Michael Oher, a poor boy in a bad neighborhood that through a series of events brought him into a family that loves him and the opportunity to play this vital position. He just happened to the 23rd overall pick in this year's NFL draft. The writing style in the book was enjoyable for me.

5) Freakonomics. Pretty interesting book. Causality and coincidence really call into question certain events and statistics through history. This book takes a view at those events and the data behind it to attempt to find the connections.

6) Team of Rivals. I am currently in progress for this look at Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet. So far, so good.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Lions 2009 Rookie Mini-camp

Well I spend some time looking for a list of undrafted free agents and also players trying out for the Lions. I happened to find that "canusaylions" on the comments for Killer's article has posted a list.

2009 Undrafted Rookie Free Agents No. Name Pos Ht Wt Age Birthdate Exp College Hometown
14 Boldin, Demir WR 5-11 205 22 6/20/86 R Wake Forest Pahokee, Fla.
47 Downey, Andrew LB 6-1 231 22 3/9/87 R Maine Kingston, N.Y.
64 Gerberry, Dan C 6-3 302 23 11/10/85 R Ball State Austintown, Ohio
68 Gill, John DT 6-3 302 22 10/28/86 R Northwestern Los Altos Hills, Calif.
1 Waters, Swayze K 5-11 178 21 5/18/87 R Alabama-Birmingham Jackson, Miss.

2009 Rookie Orientation Tryout Players No. Name Pos Ht Wt Exp College
6 Justin Goltz QB 6-5 220 R Occidental
21 Gerald Riggs, Jr. RB 5-11 229 1 Tennessee
23 Antone Smith RB 5-8 191 R Florida State
28 Bradley Pruitt CB 6-1 195 R Northern Illinois
29 Leslie Majors CB 5-9 168 1 Indiana
36 Marcus Demps S 6-0 198 1 San Diego State
44 Marcus Parson CB 5-9 186 R Ohio
45 Johnell Neal CB 5-10 183 R Central Florida
46 Bret White LS 5-11 240 R Georgia Tech
50 Chris Kemme T 6-6 306 R Akron
52 Ben Person G 6-4 302 R Ohio State
53 Cliff Ramsey G 6-6 299 R Boston College
57 Jovan Olafioye T 6-4 321 R N. Carolina Central
58 Steve Jonas G 6-4 307 R Colgate
59 Dylan Thiry T 6-7 328 1 Northwestern
61 Ryan Kees DE 6-5 277 R St. Cloud State
67 Ricky Hope DE 6-1 250 R Texas A&M-Commerce
69 Chris Murphy DE 6-2 284 R Gannon
73 Chris Gaddis C 6-1 300 1 Villanova
78 Marcus Smith DT 6-2 260 1 Texas A&M-Commerce
80 Ernest Jackson WR 6-2 215 R Buffalo
83 Sean Bailey WR 6-0 184 1 Georgia
89 Will Judson WR 5-7 162 R Illinois
90 Daniel Holtzclaw LB 6-1 242 R Eastern Michigan
98 Spenser Smith LB 6-1 237 R Eastern Michigan