28 December 2011

87. The Vig

The Vig - John Lescroart

Good cops...bad cops...ex-cons gone straight...mafioso on the take...hot girls wanting to be famous...insurance money...understanding ex-wives...bartender buddies that should have an honorary psych degree...not so perfect goons and hitmen...whoopee!

It was OK. More of the same. No thrill. Just another story. Predictable. Even the best plans are doomed to overlook some minute detail that will unravel the entire plan in very convenient ways. Whatever.

16 December 2011

86. Whitewash

Whitewash - Alex Kava

Eh. This was just your average every day run of the mill nothing special but it was entertaining.

The part I found most fascinating was the very idea that organic materials left over from processing plants (chicken heads, etc.) could be turned into oil by accelerating the supposed process by which oil is created naturally. Imagine the potential.

The part I found ridiculous is that they could do the same with hurricane debris (lumber, plastics, metals, etc.).

So, what it came to was that the company producing this new oil was having to pay for the chicken heads and stuff because fertilizer companies wanted that same stuff. There was cost involved. On the other hand, due to numerous hurricanes, the government was paying 50 dollars per ton for someone to haul stuff away. So, the corporation that spent billions on inventing and building this plant and making it work so that the country, and the world, would not be dependent on Middle East oil fields, was suddenly so short minded that they took shortcuts that they knew would put dioxins into a river...just to save a dollar short term.

I think that is ridiculous. A corporation invested billions. Now the author wants us to believe they would not refine the process for what they said would be two more years in order to recycle the debris waste safely? That is insane! No corporation is going to risk billions in order to save a few hundred thousand. Especially when they were just about to be awarded a contract that gave them exclusive rights to supplying the Department of Defense.

They threw away a future. They discarded an awesome invention and MASSIVE profit potential in order to save a dollar right now? Totally ridiculous.

Other than that, it was not bad, except that maybe there were too many characters and different story lines that just happened to all coincide in the end and make a nice neat little package. Yeah yeah yeah.

06 December 2011

85. Crisis

Crisis - Robin Cook

A medical thriller that I listened to making trip to and from work. It kept me interested, but was less than thrilling. I had a suspicion that the cause of death would be from the pills given by the doctor. It sucks when I figure it out so early.

What really bugs me is that the doc had some guys come in and rough up his own kids in their home. What a douche!

05 December 2011

84. Bus Stop

Bus Stop - William Inge

This is a play. I discovered it in an advertisement at the back of the book Rally Round The Flag, Boys! and decided to give it a try. It was written in 1955 and is supposed to be a comedy. I did not find it all that funny. It was also supposed to be a "romance". I did not find it romantic either.

I bus driving through Kansas makes a scheduled stop at a diner only to discover the road ahead is closed due to a winter storm. The play is the interactions between the passengers and the diner workers...oh, and a sheriff.

It was OK, but not funny and definitely dated.

I don't read plays much. The stage direction stuff was disruptive to me. I don't know what all the codes mean and therefore it took away from the flow of the story as I tried to visualize what was happening. I may have enjoyed it more if I knew what all those abbreviations meant. Bah!

83. The Land That Time Forgot

The Land That Time Forgot - Edgar Rice Burroughs

I loved this book. It mixed modern technology (kind of) with the world of dinosaurs and cavemen. What a riot.

The book was published around 1916. A World War I German U-Boat (submarine) ends up in a fantastical world somewhere in the South Pacific where time has stood still.

It is a fantastic read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I listened to this one on my MP3 player during a recent road trip. It passed the time and kept me awake and alert while driving. Much better than listening to crappy music on the radio.  :-)

82. The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops - E. M. Forster

This was an excellent little science fiction novel first published in 1909. What a crazy world.

People no longer live on the Earths surface. They live in isolated "cells" beneath the surface. They stay within these cells all the time and communicate with each other and interact with the rest of the world through a world-wide network that supplies all their needs. This network is called "The Machine".

Travel is permitted, but is very rare. Usually it is only used to fill vacant cells when people die. But, Vashti (an older woman) gets a call on the machine from Kuno (her son) asking her to make the two day journey to visit him because something magnificent is about to happen. After much convincing she agrees and travels by airship to Kuno's home on the other side of the planet.

During the trip Vashti is forced to actually interact with other people without using the machine. That whole sequence of events is quite interesting.

She arrives at Kuno's place to find that he is some kind of rebel now. He leaves his cell and has visited the surface without permission or authorization from the machine. Vashti is angry that Kuno would go against the machine in this way. Kuno insists that the machine is breaking down and that the world needs to prepare. Vashti calls him a lunatic and returns to her own home/cell.

Needless to say, Kuno is correct. The machine slowly breaks down until there is nothing. No lights. No food. No air circulation. No communication. Vashti must once again open her cell and sees that the outside world has gone crazy. People are dying all around her. Kuno comes to try and save her.

What they realize before they all die is that man must be connected to the natural world.

It sounds stupid, but it is a pretty darned good story.