The Tao of Willie by Willie Nelson

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Mon, 07/27/2020 - 16:58

A book of many very short chapters with positive messages.  Willie gives lots of uncontroversial advice, mostly along the lines of be kind, let others be, enjoy life, etc.  A chapter about biodiesel was a bit out of touch when it comes to practicality.

While this is not a full biography or anything, it does discuss a lot of his past.  So now I know at least a little history about Willie.

Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sun, 07/26/2020 - 12:57

A pretty interesting history of the early days of science fiction, centered around the magazine Astounding.  I would have rated it fairly boring but as I became more familiar with the characters it became more engaging.  Admittedly, some of the most interesting was when it got into the forming days of dianetics and Scientology.  I say "admittedly" because I regard these as trash topics and don't really think that it is worthwhile to spend time learning about them, but it seems that I the same inner urges as most do to rubber-neck that wreck.

Minecraft: Dungeons

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 07/18/2020 - 07:20

This is basically the first dungeon crawler that I have played, except Gauntlet: Legends a long time ago at a friends house in Fortuna, ND on his N64.  The genre doesn't seem to really suck me in anymore as I usually play two levels of Dungeons and then call it quits for the night.  Still, I have made it through the first two difficulty tiers and am just a couple levels into the Apocalypse tier now.

Overall it is decent fun, adequately polished, good value at $30, etc.

Quantum Void by Douglas Phillips

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 07/18/2020 - 07:13

Great for the price I paid, which is free since I signed up for the Kindle Unlimited free trial (and set a calendar reminder to cancel it).  Hey, there are a lot of books that I won't even read for free so this is still a compliment.

Good pacing and very nice mix of real quantum theory with some made up stuff, and an accompanying final "chapter" that tells you exactly what was real and not.  There were some hints at time things in the story which the third book Quantum Time will surely get deeper into.

Sphere by Michael Crichton

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sun, 07/12/2020 - 09:42

Excellent read, nice mix of psychology with sci-fi.  A lot of technical details of how they are able to survive in various ways underwater are ignored but I think that is the right choice as it lets the story stay focused.

I will be grabbing Michael Crichton books when I see them in the future.  I knew he was a very popular author but I don't think I had read any of his works prior to this one.

Quantum Space by Douglas Phillips

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 07/11/2020 - 08:42

An easy read for the easy price of free via Prime Reading.  Good enough that I will probably spend the $4 for each of the sequels in the next week or two.

The balance of real quantum theory and made up stuff was OK, and the puzzles of the communication devices were nice.  The analogy to explain how 3D space appears from a fourth dimension was very reminiscent of how it was described in The Three Body Problem.  In the afterword the author does cite The 4th Dimension by Rudy Rucker as "a fun book about dimensions" so maybe that is a prior work that both of them built on.

Microsoft Sudoku

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:27

While I have long been familiar with Sudoku puzzles, this is my first experience doing them at a rate of more than one per several years.  I cannot imagine a more helpful UI that wouldn't feel like plain cheating.  Which is to say that the UI is very helpful but I am still convinced that I am really good at solving.  Doing puzzles on paper would surely be a slow and frustrating experience for me.

NYT Crossword

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:16

Anna plays the new puzzles as they come out and I play from the archives.  I have completed May and April 2019 and almost completed March 2019.

For Monday and Tuesday I can usually finish the puzzle after revealing 1 to 5 squares that stump me.  For all the other weekdays I play with autocheck on, which helps a lot because I can guess.  Then I still usually have to reveal ~5 squares, and often more on harder Friday puzzles.  I often play in the evening when I have had a few drinks or in bed while falling asleep so not when my mind is the sharpest.

The Rothschilds: A Family Portrait by Frederic Morton

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 13:39

Fairly interesting book about the Rothschilds family.  I'm writing this up maybe six months after I stopped reading it, and I made it about 2/3 of the way through.  I guess now I know that there was a father and five sons, they were into banking, had a lot of nice houses/castles, etc.  To many names to remember though!