Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Star Wars Animals

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

The creatures are the best part.

Okay, maybe you disagree there, but one of the things I’ve always loved best about any science-fiction is the creatures. That’s true whether it’s the sandworms of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, the low-rent costumed animals in the original Star Trek TV series, or the vast array of alien creatures in the Star Wars films. Now, I’m not a huge fan of all of the CGI revisions that Geore Lucas made to the original trilogy (ie Han shot first! And the original Death Star explosion was fine, thanks.), but I absolutely love the combination of practical effects and computer graphics that made all the creatures on all the planets come to life. Whether it was bantha or the rancor, the original trilogy had great and setting appropriate animals that made the Star Wars universe seem a little more real. And, whatever your feeling about Episodes I, II, and III, Industrial Light and Magic really earned their name with the beasties on Naboo, not to mention the other creatures that show up in the least likely places.
So, when I saw this video from the Star Wars Kids channel titled Every Creature in the Star Wars Movies, I had to share it with you. It’s literally less than five minutes and still manages to cover all 90 named alien animals in all the movies so far. Definitely worth a quick look on a Friday when you’re trying to avoid a bit of work.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!


Creative Lists

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

This is not a new idea.

But, then, I remember hearing when I was in high school that there are no new ideas under the Sun, only new ways to implement them.  And, remember, every story you tell, is uniquely your own.  So, the age-old question about creative ideas, right?  Where do they come from?  The answer I got was that they come in a plain, brown wrapper from Schenectady.  (That was from Frank Herbert, author of Dune, via a phone…
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10 SciFi Books “Everyone” Claims To Have Read

Filed under: Art,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, that may be going a bit far.

I mean, I know a lot of people who aren’t into science-fiction at all, so they may not claim to have read these books or have any interest at all.  But, they are a pretty good hit-list of interesting ideas in science-fiction.  And, I suppose that’s why the folks over at IO9 probably suggested that instead of claiming to have read these books, that you actually read them.  I’m pleased to say that I’ve read several of the books on the list, though not all, and they do make a good suggested reading list for people interested in science-fiction classics.
IO9’s list of 10 Science-Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (and why you should actually read them) are:

  • [amazon_link id=”0060512806″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Crytptonomicon[/amazon_link] – by Neal Stephenson
  • [amazon_link id=”0441013597″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dune[/amazon_link] – by Frank Herbert
  • [amazon_link id=”0140188592″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gravity’s Rainbow[/amazon_link] – by Thomas Pynchon
  • [amazon_link id=”0553382578″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Foundation[/amazon_link] – by Issac Asimov
  • [amazon_link id=”1582344167″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell[/amazon_link] – by Susanna Clarke
  • [amazon_link id=”0452284236″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]1984[/amazon_link] – by George Orwell
  • [amazon_link id=”0486219623″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]First and Last Men and Starmaker[/amazon_link] – by Olaf Stapleton
  • [amazon_link id=”1612420133″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Long Tomorrow[/amazon_link] – by Leigh Brackett
  • [amazon_link id=”0375706682″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dhalgren[/amazon_link] – by Samuel Delany
  • [amazon_link id=”0316066524″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Infinite Jest[/amazon_link] – by David Foster Wallace

I’m pleased to say that I’ve read a significant number of these, namely Cryptonomicon, Dune, Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and 1984.  And, The Infinite Jest is in my To Be Read pile.  I have to admit that I tried reading Foundation, but it just didn’t appeal to me.  I know his work is classic and he was a genius and all, but Asimov’s work always read like a Physics lecture to me.

In any case, there’s a bit more for your Summer reading list to go find and read instead of working on a Friday afternoon.



Goodnight, Dune.

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:10 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Frank Herbert is one of my favorite authors.

I read his masterpiece, [amazon_link id=”0441013597″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dune[/amazon_link], in Junior High and proceeded to gobble up just about everything he wrote thereafter.  In fact, for several years, I re-read [amazon_link id=”0441013597″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dune[/amazon_link] about every other year.  But, I’m not so fanatical about his work that I can’t appreciate a good parody.

Which brings me to the IO9.com supplied Goodnight, Dune.
Yes, it’s an adorable mashup of the science-fiction classic and [amazon_link id=”0060775858″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Goodnight, Moon[/amazon_link], the children’s book.

Hey, it’s Friday, go check it out and enjoy.


Rejuvenated Job Market?

Filed under: Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:56 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Well, so they say…

Now, my wife still can’t find work in web-land, aside from some small, personal contracts, but according to this article on Wired News, the job market is picking up. Of course, this is an anecdotal upswing, but it’s a start. As budgets loosen up, so does the job market. And, since tech-geeks took such big hits during the down-turn, it makes sense that we’re starting to get re-employed. After all, the data must flow (written with apologies to Frank Herbert).

Well, I hope all you out-of-work network geeks are starting to get nibbles at least. Good luck!


Favorite Fantasy Author

Filed under: Fiction — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I just got a reply from my favorite fantasy author, Lawrence Watt-Evans, today. I’ve read almost all of his work, except for the Lords of Ds series which I just couldn’t get into for some reason. I especially like his Ethshar series of books and stories. I really like the flow of his style of writing, what people in the writing game call an author’s “voice”. It’s real familiar and comfortable to read. I find his work more relaxing than just about any other author I’ve read, including the incomparable Frank Herbert and Ernest Hemmingway. (I read those two authors for different reasons than I read Lawrence Watt-Evans.)

Anyway, I’ve been working at writing some fiction again (no, not my resume!) and I ran into a bit of a snag: naming. See, I’ve been hiding behind that for a relly long time, something in the neighborhood of ten years, to keep from writing. That bothered me enough this past week to get past it and just start writing. But, before I did, I turned to my favorite fantasy author to see how *he* made his character names.
Well, the lucky, *professional* author was off in Europe on vacation, so he didn’t get a chance to respond to me for a week, or so. Lucky me. If he had, I might not have actually started writing the damn story. See, he went through a process much like I had been trying to go through, but I had some significant difficulty with it and I used that as a reason to not write. So, if he’d responded sooner, I might have gotten bogged down again.

Anyway, I wanted to encourage everyone in the world to go buy Lawrence Watt-Evans’s books. I highly reccomend “The Misenchanted Sword” and “With A Single Spell”, which are both great places to start in the Ethshar books. Also, I highly reccomend “Dragon Weather” and its sequel “The Dragon Society”, which are not set in Ethshar, but are superior fantasy novels. Keep in mind, this isn’t Tolkein-esque work here, it’s much, much more accessable than all that. Nor is it a cheap copy of someone else’s style. Lawrence Watt-Evans is in a class all his own.
You can find out more about Lawrence Watt-Evans, and Ethshar, at Ethshar.com or Watt-Evans.com

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