Thursday, December 14, 2006

'Shark' has a touching bite

'Shark' is a really, really good show. James Woods is fantastic, the stories are compelling, and I've cried during every episode I've watched because I've been touched by the relationships between the character Woods plays, Sabastian Stark, and his daughter Julie, played by Nickelodeon star Danielle Panabaker.

I'm not a critic, so I won't wax poetic. Just watch the show. It's good.

Monday, December 11, 2006

'Challenger Park' hits home

Just finished reading "Challenger Park" on the plane and I'm awestruck by it's human-ness. I was initially drawn to it because of it's setting and content ... the space program in Clear Lake, Texas, where I grew up.

But what was more awe inspiring, or terrifying even, was the human interactions that Stephen Harrigan brings to the story. In reading the book I already had an intimate knowledge of the setting (Clear Lake, not space), but there are so many other story lines that I could relate to. ... especially having a child with asthma -- though I fear that more with my wife than with my son.

I heard about the book during the Texas Book Fair and kept an eye out for it at airport bookstores and supermarkets for weeks before getting a copy from the library. I haven't experienced that kind of anticipation for a book in a long time ... probably since the last Harry Potter release.

I gobbled up stories and the interviews I could find with Harrigan talking about the book ... I was drawn to his explanation of the inspiration behind the book ... of being at a relative's soccer game in Clear Lake and someone leaning over and pointing out a mom at the side of the field, saying "she was in space last week."

How could I not be intrigued by that? It's a convergence of childhood with adulthood ... growing up in the shadow of the space program -- I could see Johnson Space Center from my back yard -- And now, as a parent and a husband, I can feel all the other emotions in the book, too.

Louis and Walt questioning faith ... well, I struggle with that almost daily. I've given my life to Christ, but that doesn't stop me asking, wondering, seeking ... I'm not immune from too many questions, too much humanness and selfishness.

What a wonderful and frightful collection of feelings all flying together at once. Maybe I am the perfect storm for this book, but I think Harrigan has weaved a wonderfully complex and for me personal web here. It's reached me like no other book has since William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition," though that one crept into my life more than nailed it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Beta Blogger broke my archvies

I switched to the Beta version of Blogger tonight, and while I like some of the new features (labels, an updated dashboard, etc.) and can appreciate the underlying changes (datebase-hosted instead of html pages), going to the new platform BROKE ALL MY ARCHIVES!

I did check all the help docs for known issues and the like, but didn't find anything regarding archives. I sent a note to the help desk and got back an automated message that says, basically, don't expect to hear back from us 'cause we're really busy fixing your problem.

The Zilker Christmas Tree

The Zilker Christmas Tree is one of those "Keep Austin Weird" things ...

iTunes mix

Trying a new thing here ... the iTunes iMix. There are actually supposed to be two more songs from the BoDeans ... Black, White and Blood Red and Going Home, both from Joe Dirt Car.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Boys will be boys, but today that's terrorism

Four teenagers were arrested this week in Hays county for having "bomb" materials. What this amounted to is they mixed styrofoam and gasoline to make a napalm-like flamable gel.

That was my secret to winning the fire-building contest in Boy Scouts when I was a kid. I also made gunpowder with sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter. We, too, had a copy of the "Anarchists Cookbook".

I made nunchucks, had bottle rocket wars and all kinds of things that today would get you thrown into Guantanmo Bay. We were just boys doing what boys do.

Now, four kids' lives are ruined for practically nothing. I'm so glad I grew up in a pre-9/11 era.

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