Archive for November, 2007

Cowboys Slay Giants

On Sunday, I went to see the NY Giants play the Dallas Cowboys at Giants Stadium, a critical mid-season game in which the the G-Men sadly suffered a crushing defeat. I was present courtesy of Doug Cohen whose friend scored him some sweet seats but was himself unable to go; so I was the lucky beneficiary of Doug’s friend’s misfortune. And I was able to enjoy the game merely for what it was, as, being an Oakland Raiders fan, I had no horse in the race. I would have liked to see the Giants win though, being a New Jersey boy; I do tend to root for them as a backup team, and since they’re in the NFC their wins and losses don’t often affect the Raiders, so it’s rarely a conflict of interest (whereas I can’t root for the damn dirty Jets).

IMAGE_00004The seats, as I said, were excellent. You can see how excellent from these crappy photos I took with my cell phone. These were taken from my seat, and being a crappy cell phone camera, no zooming was involved. That’s how close we were. (Click the image for a larger version of the photo.) As you can see, we were on the goal line, so our seats were inferior to a good sideline seat, but as far as goal line tickets go, you couldn’t get much better. Though a group of superfans did have better tickets than us (i.e., they were in the row ahead of us, row 1), and one of them pretty much refused to sit down the entire game, so that was a bit annoying. (I call them superfans because they were wearing these canvas vests with GIANTS spelled out on them. This is not to be confused with uberfans, which are the crazy bastards who paint the letters on their chests, even in frigid weather.)

It was a lot of fun watching the game live; I’ve been to several NBA games and a few MLB games live–I’ve even been to an NHL game, and I don’t even like hockey–but this was my first NFL game. Overall, I was a bit disappointed in the experience, mainly because televised football has spoiled me with all of its great camera angles. I expect I would have a different reaction if I watched the game from a good sideline seat, since that would more closely match the experience of watching on TV. The main problem is that watching from the goal line makes it hard to see what’s going on unless the teams are down in the red zone.

giants_vs_cowboysSpeaking of the red zone, one of the funny things about being at the game is how Giants management are able to sneak advertisements into the game. There’s an official Giants everything, from the official soft drink of the Giants (Diet Pepsi) to (and I shit you not) the official ketchup of the Giants (Heinz). The reason red zone reminded me of this is because there was definitely some advertisement tied into the red zone (might have been the ketchup, actually, which would make sense), but man, it was kind of ridiculous. You know the funniest thing about it though? Those roaming vendors who walk around the stadium trying to sell you food and beverages were selling soda, but not one of them actually had Diet Pepsi, which was odd, since, you know, it’s the official soft drink of the Giants.

Because the stadium grounds is undergoing some construction, there was limited stadium parking, so I had to park at a satellite lot several miles down the road, along with probably thousands of other fans. We were transported to and from the stadium via shuttle busses (good old fashioned cheesewagon school busses, actually). Going to the stadium wasn’t bad, but going back to the lot after the game? Man, what a nightmare that was, filled with awful, dystopic imagery. If you need inspiration for a dystopic setting, going to a major sporting event like that would get you a nice glimpse of what it might be like. Long queues full of surly people, confusion and anger in the air, members of opposing factions eyeing each other with full-on hatred…

But, other than that, I had a lot of fun. If you’d like to see what happened in the game, here’s a recap.

Read More

links for 2007-11-13

Read More

Audiobooks Received 11/10/07

0061445584Mister B. Gone
Author: Clive Barker, Narrator: Doug Bradley

Book Description: Mister B. Gone marks the long-awaited return of Clive Barker, the great master of the macabre, to the classic horror story. This bone-chilling novel, in which a medieval devil speaks directly to the reader, claims to be a never-before-published demonic memoir penned in the year 1438. The sole copy was, so the story goes, created by the inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg himself. But this historic piece of writing immediately vanished without a trace.

Until now…

A demon known as Jakabok has embedded his very self inside each word of this meticulously printed tale of autobiographical terror. The reader is taunted and teased by his pleas for release from the confines of the very ink and paper that provide the vehicle for his life story. Little do they know, the depths of horror they hold in their hands. Reader beware, indeed, as Jakabok (aka Mister B.) escorts you on an unforgettable journey into the ultimate origins of good and evil.


006144775720th Century Ghosts
Author: Joe Hill, Narrator: David Ledoux

Book Description: A dazzlingly original, award-winning collection of visions and nightmares from the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box.

Imogene is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She’s also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon on an afternoon in 1945 . . . Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn’t easy to make friends when you’re the only inflatable boy in town . . . Francis is unhappy. Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he’s an eight-foot tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing . . . John Finney is locked in a basement that’s stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead . . .

The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past . . .


Author: Neil Gaiman, Narrator: Neil Gaiman

Book Description: Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.

"A fantastic story that is both the stuff of dreams and nightmares" (San Diego Union-Tribune), Neil Gaiman’s first solo novel has become a touchstone of urban fantasy, and a perennial favorite of readers everywhere.

Read More

Books Received 11/9/07

image Tunnels
Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

Book Description: 14-year-old Will Burrows has little in common with his strange, dysfunctional family. In fact, the only bond he shares with his eccentric father is a passion for archaeological excavation. So when his dad mysteriously vanishes, Will is compelled to dig up the truth behind his disappearance. He unearths the unbelievable: a subterranean society that time forgot. "The Colony" has existed unchanged for a century, but it’s no benign time capsule of a bygone era. Because the Colony is ruled by a merciless overclass, the Styx. Will must free his father–is he also about to ignite a revolution?


0441015271Captain’s Fury
Jim Butcher

Book Description: After two years of bitter conflict with the hordes of invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that a peril far greater than the Canim exists-the mysterious threat that drove the savage Canim to flee their homeland. Now, Tavi must find a way to overcome the centuries-old animosities between Aleran and Cane if an alliance is to be forged against their mutual enemy. And he must lead his legion in defiance of the law, against friend and foe–or no one will have a chance of survival . . .


image A Companion to Wolves 
Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear

Book Description: A Companion to Wolves is the story of a young nobleman, Isolfr, who is chosen to become a wolfcarl — a warrior who is bonded to a fighting wolf. Isolfr is deeply drawn to the wolves, and though as his father’s heir he can refuse the call, he chooses to go. 

The people of this wintry land depend on the wolfcarls to protect them from the threat of trolls and wyverns, though the supernatural creatures have not come in force for many years. Men are growing too confident. The wolfhealls are small, and the lords give them less respect than in former years.  But the winter of Isolfr’s bonding, the trolls come down from the north in far greater numbers than before, and the holding’s complaisance gives way to terror in the dark.

Isolfr, now bonded to a queen wolf, Viradechtis, must learn where his honor lies, and discover the lengths to which he will to go when it, and love for his wolf, drive him.


image Physics of the Impossible 
Michio Kaku

Book Description: One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. In PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE, the renowned physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent technologies and devices deemed equally impossible today might become commonplace in the future.

From teleportation to the routine use of force fields, Kaku uses the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals—and the limits—of the laws of physics as we know them today. He explains how:

  • The science of optics, electromagnetism, and light may be able to be used to simulate invisibility
  • Enhancing the sensitivity of MRI devices may someday allow us to read minds
  • Magnetic fields, superconductors, and nanotechnologies may eventually enable scientists to levitate an elevator in outer space


An extraordinary scientific adventure, PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE takes readers on a journey into the world of science that both enlightens and entertains.

Read More

F&SF, Dec. 2007 humor, reviews, & criticism

As I mentioned in my interview with David Moles, the December 2007  issue of F&SF is now on sale. That means that all of the non-fiction in the issue is now available on our website:

Read More

links for 2007-11-08

Read More