Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just a bit of bile

Found out my credit card got compromised. Fun times that.

To the ratfuck bastards who decided to go apeshit with said card, I leave you with these thoughts:
  • May you contract something that lives you with a painful burning in your genitals for the balance of your life.
  • May you also contract something that delivers you unto a horrific world of pain while rotting your body and keeping you alive in pain for as long as possible.
  • May you suffer horrible poverty beyond human imagining.
  • May those who care for you spurn you and walk away.
  • And I really hope you wind up in prison with a cellmate who is in charge and enjoys deviant sex acts.
I realize this is passive-aggressive, but in all fairness, if you (mysterious credit card thief) were in front of me right now, I would probably be more direct in my displeasure. So I gotta settle for this. Life ain't fair.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Odds and Ends of the brainstem

Had a bacon, bacon, bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato sandwich for lunch today.

Could have used a little more bacon.

Got about a third into "The Providence of Fire" by Brian Staveley and decided to stop for a bit. It's kind of a slog. Lots of misfortune happening to people and folks talking about bad stuff, but not a lot actually happening to move the story along.

Now switched over to "Half the World" by Joe Abercrombie. The sequel to the brilliant "Half a King", I'm already well-in and I just started this morning. I need to pace myself if I want this book to last the week, but it's so good...

Sent by a friend:

I believe no further commentary is needed.

So... this. Seriously. $200 for this thing? It's cool, but $200 cool? I am not presently convinced.

Review: "Emperor of Thorns"

I finished the third novel of Mark Lawrence's "Broken Empire" series the other day on BART.

I have to say I liked "Emperor of Thorns" a lot better than "King of Thorns". "King" felt a little aimless while "Emperor" tied threads together and brought the Dead King into play finally.

Lawrence remains solid in book three with his world-building and does an admirable job turning Honorious Jorg Ancrath into a vaguely-heroic character by the end. I personally feel the ending was a bit rushed, but I was still satisfied, especially after he clearly-established all the stakes.

All aid, it's a clever mix of technology and magic in a gritty story of a nasty SOB's quest to fuck up anyone who gets in his way.

Solid read.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Thoughts on beer

Ah beer, how I love thee.

My long weekend was spent partaking no small part of the bounty of hops and other things. I had my Smoked Amber, my brown ales, and other beers as I tried different lunch locales over an extended President's Day weekend.

As almost an afterthought, I bought a bottle of Lava, an Icelandic smoked stout, from a taproom I visited yesterday.

As today is Mardi Gras (or, as they say in the UK, "Pancake Day"), I opened the bottle, toasted some folks and drank the beastie.

I have to say, the Icelanders don't impress me with the smoked beers.

The Germans? They can do smoked beer right. The Scots can do some good smoked beer. I expected an ice-laden volcanic island to have a good sense of smoked flavoring but while I liked my bottle of Lava for its taste, I found it distinctly lacking the "smoked" flavor I so craved. It was a tasty bottle, but severely overpriced.

Next time I'm off to BevMo to buy some bottles of the German stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: "Malice" by John Gwynne

Holy crap that was a good book.

If you take nothing else from my inane ramblings, take that I thought "Malice" was an excellent read and recommend it.

Set in a pseudo-Celtic world of giants and mortals known as "The Banished Lands", "Malice" tells a woven tale of multiple souls caught up in a battle between good and evil.

Shades of Dante's Inferno color "Malice" as the machinations of the Lucifer-analog, Asroth try to bring about the destruction of the world through mortal agents. There's Evnis, an overlooked second-son with ambition and some serious psychological issues. There's Veradis, a loyal swordsman and warrior who feels overshadowed by his older brother and neglected by his father. There's Nathair, who suffers some epic delusions of grandeur. There's Kastell, a slighted young man who takes a convoluted journey to find out who he really is. There's Cywen, a girl with a warrior's heart born in a world where women aren't generally permitted to fight. And finally there's Corben, the brother to Cywen, who just wants to become a strong warrior to protect others but is lined up for far more than he bargained for.

"Malice" is an easy read, with solid, flowing storylines. Gwynne does the multiple point-of-view thing that George R.R. Martin is famed for, and isn't above taking a POV character off the board. His magic, like Martin's, is terrifying, if a bit less-understated. Oh, and there's a few other familiar tropes.

Still, it was quite enjoyable. I placed an order for book two of his series before I was even half-done with book one (which I just finished a little over two hours ago). If you're looking for something half-way between an Arthurian legend and "The Song of Ice and Fire" books, I'd suggest picking up "Malice" and giving it a read.

Review: "King of Thorns"

So I kind of burned through "King of Thorns" by Mark Lawrence.

The sequel to "Prince of Thorns", "King" continues the journey of Jorg of Ancrath, a psychotic anti-hero in a disturbingly-familiar world.

I'm not really sure exactly what to say about this book. While I enjoyed it, it was less-engaging than "Prince of Thorns". The style was similar, with a mix of present-scenes and flashbacks. I like the explanation for the existence of magic and all that. I also appreciated the point-of-view of Katherine, an important character from "Prince of Thorns", as told through her journal entries. Still, the story felt a bit hollow in parts. The resolution of the Prince of Arrow felt off somehow and there were chunks of Jorg's four-year journey that didn't really keep me engaged.

My commuter-book is now "Emperor of Thorns", if only to complete the series. We'll see where this goes.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Review: "Prince of Thorns" by Mark Lawrence

At the recommendation of a friend, I got "Prince of Thorns" as my commute-reading.

I finished it in a few days and found myself hungering for more, so the remaining two books of the series are en route to me as I type.

Set in a seeming-medieval world, it is the tale of Jorg, a prince-turned-bandit leader.

I'm not going to mince words: Jorg is an asshole, as protagonists go. He's a sociopathic nutjob and more than a little evil.

I loved reading about his exploits.

Lawrence created a refreshing character and changed the rules of the game pretty quickly mid-book, when I realized I wasn't reading what I thought I was reading.

Nicely-played, Mr. Lawrence. Nicely-played.

Apparently there's a sequel series set in the same world. I may have to pick that up as well.

Not much of a review, is it? Well, I really want to hash out the details a bit, but to discuss the book in any detail potentially-spoils it, so I'll have to resist the urge.

If you like your anti-heroes, "Prince of Thorns" is worth a read.