Sunday, April 13, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

The Martian by Andy Weir is a novel I was quite intrigued to read. The book takes place in a near future in which we've successfully had two manned missions to Mars and it is only our third one which runs into problems. The book kicks off with a sand storm overwhelming the astronauts, forcing them into an emergency evacuation. During the evacuation astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead. Now stranded alone on Mars, Mark, must figure out a way to survive on Mars for 4 years until the arrival of the next planned Martian mission.

Okay this book is technically Robinson Crusoe in space but it is funny and engaging and well worth the read. I'm sure that some people will nit pick that the science is not 100% correct in this book but then they are missing the point. Obviously Andy Weir did his homework and gets a lot of it right but the story is about Mark Watney and how he is able to keep his head even when confronted with such a huge amount of adversity. The book itself keeps you guessing on whether or not Mark will actually make it through 4 years alone on Mars. I really liked and would recommend this book.
Nemo: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill is another in the long series of graphic novels in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe. In it we have the daughter of Captain Nemo who is now firmly entrenched as the Captain of the Nautilus and wanting to leave her mark on the world in much the same way as her father. Needing to step out of the long shadow of her father she travels to Antarctica to attempt a voyage whom her father was unable to complete. It is there she and her crew run into Lovecraftian horrors. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Comic Covers Now Supports DC Comics

My extension to Muzei called Comic Cover now supports DC covers. You can now select Marvel, DC or all under the customization section.

Let me know what comic company I should target next in the comics.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams updated by Gareth Roberts. Any new Douglas Adams is always good and an un-produced script Doctor Who script so much the better. Tack on the fact it is the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana and I'm in heaven.

The Doctor and Romana are responding to a Time Lord distress call in Cambridge. What follows is a lot of crazy shenanigans and running about. Old time lords, crazed time lords, Cambridge students and Time Lord artifacts. I'd recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Adams or Doctor Who.
The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis is the second novel in his Milkweed Triptych trilogy. WWII is over and the English Warlocks have defeated the Nazi Supermen but at a great cost. Now the cold war has set in as Russia has moved decisively to secure the Nazi Supermen technology. Now the only thing that stands between the expanding USSR and the British Isle's are the warlocks and someone is killing them.

This is a really worthy follow up to Bitter Seeds and the questions that were brought up at the end of that book were more than answered here. I can't wait to get onto Necessary Evil!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman is a book I've been meaning to read for a long time. It is considered one of the top books to read for user interface designers. The version I have can be considered to be a bit quaint as it was written and published well before the invention of the cell phone so it can be a bit jarring when read it. However it is filled with a bunch of practical advice and I found it to be quite enlightening.
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin is not exactly a biography of the man as it doesn't cover his full career rather it focuses on his accession into stand up super stardom. It is a funny and poignant look into his early life and career written by Martin himself. I really enjoyed reading it and I understand he reads the audio book version himself.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

The Simpsons And Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh is a fun book combining two of my favourite things, math and The Simpsons. In it Singh goes through a number of Simpson's episodes and explains the mathematical jokes embedded within. A high percentage of the writers on The Simpsons have advanced degrees in math or physics.

If you are a fan of this type of humour you probably already read xkcd and SMBC.
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf is a diet book, I mean that's no shock, it's right there in the title. As a man of advancing years (that's not true, I'm not old) I've gained a couple of extra pounds around my midsection (that part is true) and I looked into this Paleo craze a bit. The diet has got a good hook to it, eat like your neanderthal ancestors and the pounds will just fly off and you'll be healthier.

Basically, you need to avoid any refined foods so stuff like bread, pasta and boxed foods are out. Considering this is probably where the majority of Americans get their calories from crossing out these foods amounts to a calorie restriction diet. Sure you can eat as much protein and veggies as you want but it is way harder to over eat these foods.

Does the diet work? Yes, yes it does. I tried it out myself for two weeks and I found it worked extremely well. I lost 10 pounds over the two week period and these strange things called abdominal muscles started appearing.

Did I stick with it? No, I found it way to hard to avoid eating refined carbs. Possibly as life becomes more predictable for me I'll be able to get back into the paleo lifestyle but for now I'm going to drink that beer and eat that morning glory muffin.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson is the first Hilda book I've ever read even though it is the third one released. I'd heard great things about the series but they are not exactly easy to pick up. Luckily I was given this one as a Christmas gift and I loved it.

Hilda lives in a world that is slightly magical and there is a question of exactly how much folks besides Hilda can see of the magical world. Based on events of the past few books Hilda and her Mom have had to move into the city where Hilda befriends a talking raven who she is helping regain his memory. They have adventures in the city as Hilda discovers more and more of the magical elements of the city. It reminds me quite a bit of Gaiman's Neverwhere in that way.

I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to going through it with my daughter as it is perfectly suited for kids of all ages. Just trying to decide if I should track down the first two books before diving into it.
Revival Volume 2: Live Like You Mean It by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton continue their rural noir series. I love the way this creepy mystery is unfolding. To recap live in a rural Wisconsin town is turned upside down when the dead come back to life. Although they are not mindless zombies, rather they can jump right back into their normal lives, or can they.

This really is a great book. I'm not a big fan of horror but this book is the right mix of humour, mystery and suspense.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Books I've Read This Week

Batwoman Vol. 3: World's Finest by Hayden Blackman and JH Williams III.  Whelp, this is the last volume of Batwoman I will be buying. Like I said back when I reviewed volume 2 I wasn't super struck on the non-linear story telling in the last volume and a bit of that continues in volume 3. At least we get JH Williams III back on art duties but with both Blackman's and Williams rather public departure from the book this will be the last volume I'll be picking up.
Mind the Gap Volume 3: Out of Bodies story by Jim McCann and art by Rodin Esquejo continues to be one of my favourite books. The trippy super natural murder mystery continues to unfold. Just go buy the first trade.