August 12, 2006

I have a backlog problem

I love to read. I read technical books, comic books, fiction, economic theories, etc. At the moment, i have a fair amount of stuff piled up to finish reading, though. I have one small, 3-high shelf unit in my office. This was chosen deliberately to limit the amount of stuff that i have out and in my queue. 2 weeks ago, though, i also had 3 knee high stacks of books lying around as well. I cleaned those out on a sunday afternoon and was left again with my 3 high shelf and no more. Those three shelves are a bit daunting though. Here are the books in my queue right now:

Bottom Shelf:

  • Code Complete veresion 2, Steve McConnel
  • Higher-Order Perl, Mark Jason Dominus
  • V For Vendetta, Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  • Ghost World, Daniel Clowes
  • Winsor McKay, Early Works vols I && II
  • Scary Godmother: Ghoul's Out For Summer, Jill Thompson
  • Stray Toasters, Bill Sienkiewicz
  • Hutch Owen: Unmarketable!!, Tom Hart
  • Abe: Wrong for all the right reasons, Glenn Dakin
  • Big Questions #s1-8, Anders Nilsen
  • The Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers, Scott Kelby
  • Metropol #s 1 & 3, Ted McKeever
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller
  • Sandman: A Game of You, Neil Gaiman
  • A Walking Tour of the Shambles, Gene Wolfe & Neil Gaiman
  • Various issues of Software Development, Dr. Dobb's and Wired
  • Voice of the Fire, Alan Moore
  • How To Win in the Chess Endings, I.A.Horowitz
  • UBIK, Philip K. Dick
  • How To Solve Chess Problems, Kenneth S. Howard
  • The Psychology of Children's Art, Rhoda Kellog with Scott O'Dell

Middle Shelf:

  • No Books! Only printer media for the new epson, plus dvd-rs and cd-rs.

Top Shelf

  • Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Herge
  • Krazy & Ignatz: 1929-1930, George Herriman
  • Canon GL2 Instruction Manual, Canon
  • Open Source for the Enterprise, Dan Woods & Gautam Guiliani
  • The Pragmatic Programmer, Andy Hunt & Dave Thomas
  • Getting Things DONE, David Allen
  • Java 2 Complete Java 2 Certification, Phillip Helller & Simon Roberts
  • Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture, Martin Fowler
  • Agile Project Management with Scrum, Ken Schwaber
  • Refactoring, Martin Fowler
  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code, Michael Feathers
  • Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming, Peter Van Roy & Seif Haridi
  • Walt and Skeezix: The complete Daily Comic Strips, Frank King
  • The Complete Peanuts: 1950-1952, Charles M. Schulz
  • How We Are Hungry, Dave Eggers
  • Squeak: Learn Programming with Robots, Stephen Ducasse
  • Practical Development Environments, Matthew B. Doar
  • The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander
  • The Man in the Ceiling, Jules Feiffer
  • Jaka's Story, Dave Sim & Gerhard
  • Melmoth, Dave Sim & Gerhard
  • Make Magazine, issues 1-5

whew. i am tired. now i need to go curl up with a good book. :)

January 22, 2006

Joe Sacco Comic on Iraq Torture Case

I haven't read any of Joe Sacco's work until now, but this 8 page piece in the Guardian (pdf file) is excellent.

Comics are a weird beast. Not film, not literature. Journalism? In this case, definitely. In others, not so much. The incompleteness of the drawings, the pacing left to the viewer, the lack of voice, demands more of the reader. I have read dozens of stories like this, listened to broadcasts about the abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, but none have had nearly the same effect as this short, simple story.

I will definitely be picking up more of Sacco's work in the future...

August 22, 2005

this must be the place

I love to read about artists. The experience is very inspiring. After the rush of inspiration, of identification and of attempting to transport myself into the space of that artist, i inevitably reach a single conclusion.

I don't give a shit who fucked whom, what drugs someone did, who fought over credits with whom, or even who is nice to grandmas and kittens. I don't know these people, and won't. I have this [music|photograph|film] and in my experience with it, my history with it, i add it to my life. Nothing else matters, except in an academic sense, so not at all.

I am currently reading "this must be the place: the adventures of talking heads in the 20th century" by David Bowman. The writing is pretty terrible. Like a lot of music bios i have ready, there is a big mixture of "this happened, followed by this, while the country was experience x y and z." In this book, all of that is combined with dreck such as:

Then there was Adrian Belew. He belew everyone away with his rhino guitar.

Oh man. That is a terrible, terrible pun. Not that it will stop me from devouring the rest of this bio tomorrow, but still. ick.

November 11, 2004

Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman at the Chicago Humanities Festival

Here are my notes from the interview that Neil Gaiman did with Gene Wolfe. These are pretty much my straight notes, so don't expect something wonderfully structured.

The interview was incredibly amusing and gave me a very good feel for Wolfe as a writer, if not for his work. I will be checking some out from the Bartlett Public Library, or borrowing some from Ed if all goes well.

Continue reading "Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman at the Chicago Humanities Festival" »

August 4, 2003

Blankets, by Craig Thompson

I just finished Blankets, by Craig Thompson, author of Goodbye, Chunky Rice. It was good. So good, that when I put it down after 250 pages last night, and tried to go to sleep, I had to get up and finish it. I will have to read it again, but for now, it is still all soaking in. The artwork is fabulous, the story is incredibly rich and touching and true.
The story flits between childhood and highschool, first love and Bible camp, and the fear of finding your own identity. There is no sentimentality in this book. The love is real, and passionate, and ultimately fleeting. The exhiliaration the main character feels leaps off the page and into the reader. The lows are crushing.
I need to read the book again. Give it a little more time to soak in.
As an aside, I used part of Goodbye, Chunky Rice in the introduction to an article I wrote a coupla years back: Comics Vs. the Net: Can Comics as We Know Them Last Forever?. Not a bad article. ;)

May 7, 2003

i love chicago comics!!!

i missed the fabulous free comic book day, but one of the friendly folks at chicago comics said, "Were you the guy asking about the peanut butter and jeremy?" "no," I said. "Hmm. Well, i think we have some of the free comic book day comics left. let me get you one." "Cool. thanks!"
Yeah, that was cool.

Also cool is the bag of comics I walked out with:
Magic Boy & The Robot Elf by James Kochalka
Berlin #s 8 & 9 by Jason Lutes
Oddville! by Jay Stephens
Fantastic Butterflies by James Kochalka

Yay! Add to that pile of joy a good Thai dinner with Chuck and it has been a good evening. :)

May 6, 2003 book

coverdoing another review for the chicago perl group. Up this time is Programming Visual Basic .NET, 2nd Edition by Jesse Liberty.

I am about a third of the way into it and it is OK. I will have more thoughts as I finish, but the book seems to drag for the first 150 pages. Either that or I am just tired of another half-assed introduction to object-oriented concepts.

We'll see............

April 25, 2003

Mac OS X Hacks Full Review

I have finished my review of Mac OS X Hacks from O'Reilly.

The review will also soon be posted up on the chicago perl mongers site.

The full review is on the complete page for this post. The short version of the review is that if you want to trick out your Mac OS X installation or want to start digging into the unix side of your Mac (go on. you know you want to), this book is a must have.

Continue reading "Mac OS X Hacks Full Review" »

April 14, 2003

Mac OS X Hacks

mcosxhks.s.gifI am starting to go through O'Reilly's Mac OS X Hacks to do a review for the Chicago Perl Mongers.
So far so good. :)
Aside from some trouble getting a couple of perl modules compiled to run the examples, there are some great tricks in here. My G4 is very happy. ;)
UPDATE: I compiled perl 5.8.0 on my G4 and everything is peachy-keen now.

April 3, 2003

slaughterhouse five

not to build a list of what I have been reading to impress people, but to keep my head straight and to try to get more out of what i read.

sorry. disclaimer over.

i have felt like billy pilgrim a lot over the past few weeks. not because i have been unstuck in time. I think it is because I have been sleepy and I am shocked that we have not had any explosions here since the invasion of iraq.

i will add more to this note later. right now I am at work and very sleepy.

March 24, 2003


i have been ingesting a lot lately:

The Divine Invasion
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

Combine that with some truly excellent episodes of Six Feet Under and my brain is swimming.
More on the Philip K. Dick work will be coming soon, as this is one of the few works dealing with serious Christian thought that is not a preachy diatribe or a rally against its oppression. Well, they are that and great fiction.

March 15, 2003


Just finished Neil Gaiman's Coraline.

The story was full of dark humor and some wonderful pen and ink drawings by the incomparable Dave McKean.

The story reminded me a lot of Clive Barker's The Thief Of Always, but nicer. And I believe that I liked Coraline's tenacity and straight-forwardness much more than the protagonist of Thief.

Despite the fact that the story is an "all ages" story, there is a lot of depth here. A fun scary read.

March 10, 2003

krazy kat 1925-1926

bill blackbeard may be alienating or insulting as many people that may otherwise GET interested in Krazy Kat in his introduction to the fantagraphics book, KRAZY AND IGNATZ in "THERE IS A HEPPY LEND - FURFUR A-WAAY" THE KOMPLETE KAT KOMICS 1925 & 1926.

He decries the ignorant masses of the present day and editors of the 20s and 30s for not "getting" krazy kat. Ok. Fine bill. Act like the snotty dicks at the record store who are cooler than the customers because they know what albums are coming out. Instead of offering the reader something useful or interesting, what we get is a slight, bitter introduction.


This is a shame. The work itself is magnificent, the chris ware design for the book is very subtle and the reproductions are great. I was just left with an ugly feeling after the intro.


March 9, 2003

reading "After the Snooter"

I have forgotten why Eddie Campbell is probably my favorite comics author. This book is reminding me.

One quick thing...... Eddie talks a lot about money in this book and it reminds me of some of the stuff Jello Biafra says on his recordings about how as a successful or influential artist, people have animosity towards him because of his success. This completely ignores all of the hard + art work that has been done for 20+ years to become an indie icon. Feh.