Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Random Things

For lack of better blog topic (also just because it works)... I am going to post 25 random things here...

1. I just installed Windows 7 Beta on my Eee PC 1000h, and as much as I dislike Microsoft, so far it is proving to be faster and more responsive than the original Linux OS (a Xandros flavor) that shipped with it and Easy Peasy (an Ubuntu 8.10 variant with netbook remix interface). Installing it and getting drivers was a headache that I didn't experience with the other OS's, but once installed it seems to be running quicker. Weird. I'm kinda sad.

2. I often feel inadequate as a musician. Despite this, it is my dream to one day do a tour similar to "Passion's One Day"... playing worship at locations throughout the US and giving seminars... all to culminate in one big worshipfest at some location where everyone comes to worship God together and love each other.

3. I'm a sucker for curly hair and accents.

4. In general, I will use an inferior open-source/free software product as opposed to a closed source product for philosophical reasons.

5. I was a fan of Switchfoot, Relient K, Kutless and OneRepublic long before they became big.

6. Even though I enjoy discovering obscure bands that don't sound like anyone else and have similar philosophies of distribution to me (anti-RIAA) sometimes I still enjoy the same pop crap that everyone else listens to. I just don't listen to it on the radio.

7. There are a few people who are solely responsible for introducing me to certain styles of music. I owe them more than I could ever repay.

8. I thrive on interaction with people. People, music and learning new things are three of the biggest motivators in my life. No wonder I enjoy playing new music with new people so much. Anybody have an opening in a band for me?

9. A friend recently pointed out to me that I have a Type-A personality. I'm afraid I'm still in denial. Is it really true?

10. My time at Life Pacific College was probably the best three years of my life.

11. I love to dance. Even though I really suck at it. A hidden camera in my apartment would surely ruin any hope I'd ever have of holding a public office.

12. I am less sure of what I believe after graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies than I did going into it. I do know that I believe.

13. I generally dislike random surveys. I am only doing this because a close friend of mine did and I wouldn't want to let her down. I am also rationalizing it by thinking this isn't a true survey because I get to make up my answers and there are no questions.

14. I really like my job. I wonder if I would like it for a career.

15. My job is not my calling.

16. I shudder every time I catch myself speaking in Christianese. If you are a true friend, please slap me next time I speak Christianese without prefacing it by saying, "Pardon my Christianese, but..."

17. I say "ummm" far to often when I am thinking and talking at the same time. Bad Brad.

18. I love how welcoming my new church is. It's a diverse group of personalities that works very well together. It already feels like home. I need to pray for it more.

19. I've gone for weeks without turning on the TV sometimes. Internet... not so much.

20. I love to make new friends. New connections. New people that God puts into my life to influence me and for me to influence. And I'm nerdy enough to wish that in heaven God has some sort of graph that shows how all of our timelines interweave and affect each other.

21. I have an addictive personality. If I like something, I quickly grow to be nearly obsessed with it. Which has lead to late night conversations, all night gaming sessions and generally the destruction of anything resembling a normal sleep schedule.

22. As much as I want to live a long, full life, I want to die doing something really crazy... taking some huge risk. When my life's flame goes out I want to burn out bright. (See "Secondhand Lions" for ideas.)

23. I want to play piano like Ben Folds and Andrew McMahon. I wish I could sing like Matt Hammit and Steve Perry. If I could play Mozart's "Turkish March" on guitar I would finally be satisfied with my guitar skill.

24. I am a nerd, and proud of it. I am also certain kinds of geek and regularly act like a dork. there is a difference. Ask me about it.

25. This was originally posted on my Facebook. Anybody who reads this blog (if anybody does) is welcome to comment with 25 random things about them. Or just post this on their blog and link me to it in the comments.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Brad's Top 10 Science Fiction Novels of All-Time

So there was a time in my life when I read little else but Science Fiction novels. Over the years I have re-read a few of them, and found most of them to be better than I remembered. Here is my list of my 10 favorite Science Fiction novels.

As an aside, I believe true science fiction, good science fiction, is not merely stories that substitute techno-babble for either a good story or use technology in place of "magic" to miraculously accomplish something, or else it would just be fantasy with lasers instead of wands and space ships instead dragons. Real science fiction examines people, humanity, relationships and involves in the telling of the story science and technology. It is first about people, then about science. It's not some excuse to just babble on about possible futuristic toys. A good Sci-Fi story tells you something, or even better... makes you think about the human race and about yourself.

Without further ado...

  1. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) - I read this book after college, and never knew why I waited so long. I did it in one sitting too, all through the night. Gripping story-line of a kid genius in training to be a general that deals with interesting questions of leadership.
  2. That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis) - I liked this book the best of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy. In my opinion there there little in the way of science in this book, but it still fits that genre as well as any other. Medieval lore meets historical science fiction in this page turner.
  3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) - A sci-fi comedy that is absolutely hilarious, especially if you enjoy British humor and the abuse of non sequiturs.
  4. Dune (Frank Herbert) - Classic of the genre that explores the messiah complex, family and kingdom level intrigue in a desert science fiction setting.
  5. The Last Question (Isaac Asimov) - Actually a short story, very thought provoking ending.
  6. The Andromeda Strain (Michael Crichton) - A wicked nasty virus from space breaks out in the US and scientists try to stop it. Likely formed the basis for more than a few sci-fi TV series plots. *cough*stargate*cough*
  7. Rendezvous With Rama (Arthur C. Clarke) - A interesting "adventure" style book revolving around mankind's curiosity and interest in an alien artifact, time capsule, spaceship traveling through our solar system.
  8. Prelude to Foundation (Isaac Asimov) - I liked this prequel better than the original Foundation mostly due to the style in which it was written. Foundation was broken into what could almost be called "mini-novels" while Prelude to Foundation read straight through with multiple plot twists and a catching ending.
  9. A Wrinkle In Time (Madeleine L'Engle) - A family's father goes missing and his intrepid children travel the universe in search of him. Not exactly a children's book, but often targeted at them due to the primary characters.
  10. The Positronic Man (Isaac Asimov) - Intriguing story about a robot who is nearly (?) human. Brings to mind questions of what really makes one human.
  11. 2001 A Space Odyssey (Arthur C Clarke) - Another book about human nature thinly disguised with technology and "the future".
Top 10 Science Fiction Novels Brad Wants To Read:
  1. 1984 - George Orwell
  2. Starship Troopers - Robert A Heinlein
  3. Neuromancer - William Gibson
  4. Speaker For The Dead - Orson Scott Card
  5. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K Dick
  6. Ringworld - Larry Niven
  7. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  8. Hyperion - Dan Simmons
  9. Flowers For Algernon - Daniel Keyes
  10. More Than Human - Theodore Sturgeon
Did I miss your favorite? Am I lacking something good? Let me know!