Monday, January 29, 2007

Are you there, God? [part two]

Finished The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, last week, and have to say that, overall, I was disappointed. I thought that he made some interesting points (given both my current and past careers, I found the discussion of religion as a form of child abuse very interesting), and additionally argued well for the acceptance of atheists as normal, healthy people, rather than wicked heathens who should be outcasts.

But what struck me throughout the book, and really turned me off, was the smugness with which the author made many of his points. It seems odd to try and make the point that atheists are not all intellectual snobs, looking down their noses at religious people as ignorant, but then basically prove that same point by looking down his nose at religious people and portray them as ignorant (or worse). I guess I was hoping for a more clear-cut "here is why I am an atheist and why atheism is okay" book, rather than a manifesto. To be fair, Dawkins makes it clear early in the book that he is out to convert, so I was not necessarily surprised by the tone of the book. However, part of what I dislike about religion is its attempt to make me a believer; trying to make that aspect of religion work for the anti-religious comes off as insincere and ugly.

I'll give this book a nice, agnostic C.

(btw, if you look to the right, you will see that, with my next book, I have decided to take a little break from philosophy and heavy literature, and read something that is just fun. I'm only a few pages in, but so far, so good!)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Laettner for three...

Received our 2007 NCAA tournament tickets in the mail today; this picture is the view we will have during the first and second rounds in Lexington.

Not exactly courtside, but right in the middle and definitely worth the price. They may not let me in if they read that subject line, but that's pretty unlikely.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Maybe the birds did it!

I finished The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers, and I think the nicest thing I can say about the book is that it was written very well. Did I care about any of the characters? Not really. Did I relate to any of them? Again, not especially. Did the plot explore any topics I find fascinating? Nope. So why keep going? Because the writing was that good. I think a good comparison would be this: imagine sitting at a dinner party, listening to a not-terribly interesting story, but the storyteller is James Earl Jones. With a voice like that, I would listen to a reading of the phone book for a little while.

Same with this book. I finished it about a week ago, and I already would be hard pressed to remember large portions of the plot, but what I do remember is enjoying the voice. I will certainly look at other works by this author, but I wouldn't necessarily give this book a strong recommendation. I'll go B-.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The geeks are in charge

I loved it when Lost did this, and I love that Heroes is doing it as well.

This sort of subliminal advertising, that requires me to actively seek out the ad, rather than passively sit back and be fed images of sexy women and alcohol and such, is, I'm a little embarrassed to admit, just good geeky fun.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


balk /bawk/ v. 1. To stop short and refuse to go on [ex. The horse balked at the jump]

Something I am going to try to be better about, now and into the future (call it a resolution, if you must), is give myself permission to stop reading a book if I am just struggling to get through it. Usually, once I start, I feel like I have to see it through to the end, find out if it gets better, etc. No more; if I am bored or uninterested, I am going to start stopping.

Case in point: Snow, by Orhan Pamuk. I got about half way through this book, and I realized that I had been reading it for about two weeks. If you read this site, you know I have a lot of reading time on my commute, and usually finish a book in a week, sometimes faster. I realized part of the pacing problem: I just truly didn't care. The writing style was somewhat engaging, but the story just put me into a stupor, and I further realized that I had no interest in how the story continued, let alone ended.

If you finished this book, and think I am missing out, let me know. As for me, I have a growing pile of books from the library that I want to read, and it is time to allow myself to move on.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday, Yummy Sunday

What a weekend! Started it off by coming in 4th place in an online freeroll poker tournament (started with 1,800 players!). Best $7 I earned (that's right, earned!) this weekend. True, it was also the only $7 I earned this weekend, but that's beside the point.

Sunday, we tried a fun dim sum place for lunch before doing some shopping (they have fun pictures of some of their menu items here). We've heard really good things about this place, and it was good, but we've had better. The salty pepper fish was pretty amazing, but I am not sure I would go back (the wait was pretty long, although to be fair, we went at the height of the yum cha rush).

BTW, in case you were wondering, I think even Bono would punch me for that title.