Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Review: Eragon

Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1) Eragon by Christopher Paolini

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book very much. I haven't seen the movie yet so I've been looking forward to reading this for a while. The story is mostly well thought out and well told. The characters are three dimensional and engaging as is the fictional world the author creates for them; although he kind of has them wondering all over the place a bit. As my friend Dan pointed out, it’ similar to Harry Potter and other science fantasy books, even Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz, where the main character is an orphan being raised by an uncle and discovers a special talent and power that changes their life.

In this case 16 year old Eragon lives with his uncle and cousin and is out hunting in the forest when an unusual stone appears nearby through magic. This sets off a series of events leading to a quest. Along the way Eragon learns more about the wider world and meets a Dragon, a Dragon Rider, an Elf, a Witch, battles a Shade and meets a wide range of other creatures and characters.

To my mind two things about the writing could have been a little better. First, some things happen a little abruptly. It may be that I’m used to JRR Tolkien or Mercedes Lackey where events and emotions are anticipated and analyzed after; in the case of Ms. Lackey, it’s done too much. The other thing that could have been better is that it’s a little over written. The author seemed to go a little out of his way to use unusual words. He didn’t use extra long words or obscure words, but it seemed apparent that his thesarus was nearby. Perhaps the teenage science fiction geeks this book is aimed at like that, but lately I prefer it when things are kept simple and the story is allowed to shine through. This book is the first in a trilogy; authors naturally refine their writing as they go along so I’m looking forward to the next two books.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


What the two previous peaceful, pastoral photos didn't show is that between the Driver Building and the First Presbyterian Church is 10 lanes of noisy, smelly freeway; Interstate 5. Freeways are horrible dangerous things that should be covered over where ever possible. Funds from gas tax should be diverted from building additional lanes and put into mass transit. Maybe if we weren't spending $10 million a day fighting a war we shouldn't be in we could afford to do some cool stuff like that; along with educate and feed and care for our children.

Gee. Was that a rant? Who's writing this blog? I'm starting to sound like my roommate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

First Presbyterian Church

This picture was taken from the parking garage attached to our office building looking northwest back at the spot where I was standing yesterday when I took the picture of our building. Besides this beautiful church they have schools and other buildings taking up a whole city block.

- Yesterday during lunch I walked up 5th to Laurel to visit my bank. Bankers Hill is a nice residential neighborhood but it's kind of a no-man's-land between downtown and Hillcrest for restaurants and shops. I asked the teller where to go for lunch and she recommended the deli inside the liquor store across the street. It was a very nice, popular deli and I got a really nice salad and Sobe to drink.

While I was waiting in line to pay a commercial came over the radio in support of Proposition 8, to ban gay marriage in California. I don't have a TV and the Smooth Jazz radio station I listen to doesn't play political commercials so this was the first one I'd heard. I couldn't catch all the details but I could hear complaints about things that will be mandatory if it doesn't pass and how awful it's been in Massechusetts since gay marriage became legal there and how the children will be exposed to horrible things and I got so upset because it's all LIES! Nothing new will be mandatory; nothing horrible has happened in Massechusetts since gay marriage became legal there; and the only thing horrible the children will be exposed to is listening to conservatives spout hate. I don't understand why they so enjoy creating what they are calling a “culture war” that divides us further when they should be looking for ways for us to come together. Even though gay people aren't participating in their “culture war”, yesterday I certainly felt like a victim of it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Digs: The Driver Building

The company I work for moved 2 weeks ago. It was a month long, painful, exhausting process and the dust is just beginning to settle. They'd been in the previous space over 10 years but could no longer justify paying for a lot of square feet that wasn't producing new revenue. We're still in downtown but not in the middle of all the action like we were. Before there was a YMCA, a Pure Fitnes, and a Navy workout facility all within spitting distance. I'm going to miss seeing all the guys jogging by during lunch.

The new neighborhood is still a little bit in transition; no Starbucks in the buidling, or even within sight, but there is a really nice coffee shop/cafe down the street and an incredible Persian restaurant in the next block. No 7-Eleven across the street but there is a liquor store 2 blocks up and the owner is real nice.

Even though we have less square feet, we still take up the entire 6th floor. And the building is half way up Bankers Hill giving us great views in all directions. From my desk I can see San Diego Bay and the airport.