Great

By aaron.axvig, 3 August, 2020

These stories and thoughts of the author's travels around the western US capture the experience of long-distance motorcycle riding in an incredibly great way.  I found myself nodding in agreement so often, having had many of the same thoughts, encounters, and feelings on my trips.

A lot of the writing is very good--so expressive, yet there are a few instances where some camp or amateurishness pokes through.  I guess many editors would fix that, but would it lose some authenticity in the process?  I think so, and I think overall the result is great.

There are philosophical sections, and the first thing that comes to mind when I heard motorcycles combined with philosophy is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I recommend Freedom's Rush 100x more unless you are a philosophy major.  Long ramblings about Phaedrus are out and replaced with relatively simple wonderings and views inside the author's head.  That's all I need.  And the ratio of motorcycle to philosophy is much better too.

Completion status

Rating

By aaron.axvig, 14 April, 2020

This was a great end to the trilogy, featuring some of the grandest sci-fi themes I have encountered.

Completion status

Rating

By aaron.axvig, 7 April, 2020

Very good read!  Plenty of great spaceship-type action, and grand plot strategies that reminded me of the style of the Foundation trilogy.  But also I really enjoyed the sequence where the main character dreams comprehensively about spending time with the perfect woman.

I think I am getting better at processing Chinese names as they were a little easier to remember in this second book of the trilogy.

Completion status

Rating

By aaron.axvig, 25 March, 2020

I first played Minecraft ten years ago, while I lived in my apartment in south Fargo.  I lived there from January 2010 until mid-2011 so I'm going with 10 years...close enough!

It was loads of fun back then as I played on a server with a group of people that I knew at Microsoft.  A few years after that I played for a couple months on a server that I ran, with my brother and a few of his friends joining in.  And a couple months ago I decided to give it another try, with the goal of hunting down some achievements (hence Bedrock edition on PC) and beating "the end".

Achievement collecting has gone pretty well and has made me explore some game mechanics that I never would have otherwise--textbook good use of achievements.  I haven't gotten to the end yet but I think I will get it done sometime.  I recently saw a guy speedrun a random seed in 30 minutes or so which blew my mind.

Completion status

Rating

By aaron.axvig, 25 March, 2020

I have played this a lot!  The Star Challenges are what appeal to me the most--I have 1026 stars currently.  For some of the themes I have trouble distinguishing between whatever two colors they choose to swap for red and black; usually I can fix that by playing with the Android color-blindness compensation settings.  I think I have all the achievements too, except for the Daily Challenge ones.

The expert level Spider and Freecell games can be real stumpers.  Also harder Klondike can be difficult to strategize.  More then once I have asked Anna to figure out a Klondike deal for me and she beats it on the first try.

It is fun to play on PC occasionally too, very nice that all my progress syncs.

Completion status

Rating

By aaron.axvig, 25 February, 2020

Much more going on in this third book, which I really liked.  More big events and especially more explanations of the history of the world.

It reminds me of a college class where the lectures were pretty boring but then one day the lecture involved some real-world uses for the stuff we were studying (how some industrial plants use huge inductors to fix their power factor and decrease their electricity bill).  I told the professor that I really enjoyed the lecture that day, which he probably already knew because I wasn't nodding off in the back of class...shame.  And he responded that you have to lay a little theoretical foundation so that you can understand the exciting real-world stuff.  I see a similar parallel here where the first two books were good enough but sometime frustrating, and this one was the big payoff.

After finishing the second book I read some news articles about the "puppies" factions attempting to influence the Hugo voting around the times that these three novels were coming out.  Definitely an unfortunate series of events!

I found myself questioning the wisdom of letting the Hugo winners list heavily influence my selection of reading...maybe populism isn't necessarily the best indicator of quality (to be clear, nothing against this trilogy in particular).  But on the flip side, I can remember having sympathized with criticisms of other awards (Oscars or similar?) that are selected by industry members, thinking that a group of insiders like that may not be very representative of my interests as a consumer.

Completion status

Rating