The Double Phoenix

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    In progress: Cyador's Heirs by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

    Listening to: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon.

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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Well, life as I know it, basically.


Posted by spragujs on March 9, 2012

Traffic cover artI finished with Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt recently.  The book details many different aspects of driving and how our reactions affect us and our driving.  We all tend to think of driving as really, a pretty easy thing to do.  Some (at least in the US) go so far as to think it a right as opposed to a privilege.  However, think of it more like Vanderbilt does.  “[Driving] is actually an incredibly complex and demanding task: We are navigating through a legal system, we are becoming social actors in a spontaneous setting, we are processing a bewildering amount of information, we are constantly making predictions and calculations and on-the-fly judgements of risk and reward, and we’re engaging in a huge amount of sensory and cognitive activity–the full scope of which scientists are just beginning to understand.”  Not really so easy after all.  (Go human brains!)  In spite of all this, we’re not really good at multi-tasking, hence the problems people have when trying to eat, do their make up, adjust their stereos, mess around with their phones, etc. while driving.

This book is about traffic with a heavy side of psychology thrown in.  Many facts you might not believe, and many more you likely will and just haven’t thought about them yet.  I even learned a bit about different cultures after reading about how various places drive.  I found all of it quite fascinating.

I know at the very least Traffic made me think more about the mistakes I make while driving and to pay more attention to what I’m doing.  I have to admit though:  no matter how much I realize I shouldn’t, I’ll still keep listening to my audiobooks.  It’s what keeps me awake (particularly on long trips), so that’s important too!  😉  And, because of the epilogue, now I want to take a driving course.  I’m curious to know if I’m any good at driving, or if I’m like everyone else and just think I’m pretty good at it.  I’m no race driver, don’t get me wrong, I’m just wondering about the daily stuff.

I recommend reading this novel if you’re interested in psychology or traffic at all.  From the reviews I read, some folks didn’t get what they wanted to out of this book, but I’d say, based on the title and subtitle, it was exactly what I expected.  I do have to note, in case anyone follows this recommendation:  the last 1/4 of the book is acknowledgements, notes, and index so don’t be surprised like I was!  I also just realized that the notes are listed by page number, which means that the text of the book is cleaner, but I didn’t even know the notes were there till I got to the epilogue (and wondered what the last 116 pages were for), so I never looked any of those up (nor would I really have known when to look).  Still, I suspect many people won’t be reading the book for the notes, so it’s likely this was the best way to go when publishing.  In any case, enjoy!  And if you’re interested in more info check out the How We Drive blog.

Posted in Life, Off the Shelf, Reading | 2 Comments »


Posted by spragujs on May 26, 2011

So, I’m back from a long hiatus. Not for the blog, I’ve taken much longer unannounced breaks here before, but this time from reading fun stuff. I was studying to become certified in my profession. I did manage to pass the test, but more importantly (which maybe is telling as to how I feel about said profession these days), I get to read the good stuff again! Hopefully I’ll have posts for you all to read in the near future! Some of them will be somewhat quick and dirty because I read them before my break and because I’m also a slacker in general, so I’m going to try to catch up on the things I should have posted before. That’s all for now.  Thanks for bearing with me!

Posted in Life, Reading, Work | 1 Comment »

50 Books in a Year

Posted by spragujs on May 12, 2009

Woot!  I just read 50 books in a year as was the challenge by Shelfari as described on my 50 Book Challenge page.  I think now I’ll start a new page to keep track of this year.  I’m totally going to keep the ones I’ve already started too.  😉  Now to see if I can’t read more than I did this past year!

Posted in Life, Reading | Leave a Comment »

DVR Fixed!

Posted by spragujs on May 8, 2009

Woah!  So, AT&T has pretty good service (at least when it comes to new products)!  We got the U-Verse package about a year ago (give or take) and our DVR gave out earlier this week.  My roommate called them at lunchtime today and they tried to get him to sign up for a 12-4 we’ll-come-fix-it timeslot, but he asked for the 4-8 one instead since we’d actually be home then.  (If only we’d known they’d come right away, I’d have pestered him more about calling!)  😉

Anyway, they just brought a new DVR box.  We did lose what we had saved on our old one, but it meant that we wouldn’t get behind anymore.  Also, they have our show programming saved on a server somewhere so we didn’t have to go and reschedule them all or anything.  So, however much I don’t like the scheduling capabilities of their DVR, I have to give AT&T props for the fast service (and of course for the DVR that will record 4 shows at once)!

Posted in Life, TV | Leave a Comment »

DVR Woes

Posted by spragujs on May 7, 2009

My DVR died Tuesday morning.  I watch a lot of TV, as any of my TV posts surely indicate, but the DVR makes it much more manageable (sometimes that should read possible) than if I were to try and watch all those shows in real time.  I can watch one when I eat lunch, or part of one when I eat breakfast.  I can catch up on stuff during the weekend.  The DVR just makes things so very convenient that I’d not willingly give it up.  And it’d be super hard to go back to watching in real time.  As a matter of fact I haven’t watched any TV since Monday night.  Partly because the shows I’d watch on those nights are on too late to watch them when I want to.  Partly because I never got caught up after being out of town for the weekend and so the shows that were on would have been out of sequence for me.  😦  So, now I’m stuck.  At least I’ll be able to watch the Dollhouse finale tonight on the cable box!  And I’ve gotten a lot of audiobook reading done.  😉  Still, I wish my roommate would call AT&T already…

Posted in Dollhouse, Life, TV | Leave a Comment »

Imager by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

Posted by spragujs on March 29, 2009

Imager cover art

To start off with, Mr. Modesitt was inspired to write this book by the state of today’s society.  Read his very interesting blog on the subject here.

Imager is the first novel of the Imager Portfolio.  I enjoyed the book greatly.  It was some pretty typical Modesitt writing, just within a new world and a new style of magic.  Also, while it had some similar jobs for our hero, it sounds like as a spy/patroller, the potential directions for this character may be different than the war trappings that so many of Modesitt’s other fantasy novels have taken on.  His writing still feels fairly formal to me, not just the dialogue, but also the whole narrative.  

Unfortunately, the book felt a little like a long drawn out prologue to a much bigger story.  Though I suppose it could be due to it being the first novel in the series.  This time though, unlike when I read Karen Moning’s books, while the story did not end with a cliffhanger it left me wanting to read more right now!  Oh well, on the plus side, the manuscript for the next book is complete, so hopefully it won’t be too long before Imager’s Challenge comes out!

For a bit more about Imager, here’s another blog post I wrote recently, comparing this world to that of Harry Dresden.  🙂

Posted in Imager Portfolio, Life, Reading | Leave a Comment »

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Posted by spragujs on December 22, 2008


Ok, so a couple weeks ago, I finished Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. This is a book that was probably written to a younger audience than I fit into (I’m over 25, dontcha know?), and yet, it’s a book that I think everyone should read. (Kinda how I feel about American History X, though this book is much less depressing than that movie!)  As it happens, this post is not really going to be a review of the book.  For posterity though, I enjoyed it a lot, feel it could easily fit into the horror genre, and have a friend who felt it was too teenage angsty at least at the beginning.  (I’ve encouraged him to try and look past that part as that’s not really what the book is about.)  😉

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Life, Reading, TV | 1 Comment »

Robert Jordan passes

Posted by spragujs on September 18, 2007

Well, I’m sure that most people to whom this matters have already heard about it. It was a sad day on Sunday the 16th when Robert Jordan passed away. I didn’t hear about it till Monday. All the various things I’ve read have made me cry. I wish the best to his family and friends who will now have to live without him. Beyond the usual, I don’t have that much to add, but I thought I’d link to a couple of places where folk can read about what’s happened and will be happening. Also, I have an additional thanks to add as a very large number of the people I now consider good friends are so because of RJ’s books. Clearly his writing has had a large impact on the world even though a lot of people might not have known who he was. 😦

Notes from Dragonmount where RJs blog was hosted
George R.R. Martin’s tribute

Posted in General, Life, Reading, Wheel of Time | Leave a Comment »