Archive for ‘Books’

June 17, 2010

Xanth!

Wow!! I found a torrent for all 33 Xanth novels in ebook form. (If you need an explanation of what torrents are, I don’t really feel like explaining, so I will let Wikipedia do it for me. Click for torrent explanation.) Piers Anthony is one of my favorite authors. I’ve been reading his Xanth series since I was about 16 They’re all about the world of Xanth where everyone has a magic talent and the world is full of crossbreeds of all sorts of fanciful creatures. He uses a lot of puns in his humor, but the way he uses them is great. For better explanation I will consult Wikipedia for you (One of my favorite websites. I know it’s not perfectly reliable, but it’s great as long as you take it all with a grain of salt.)

History

The name Xanth is in itself an unintentional pun, which matches the playful tone of the books. Anthony has said that the coincidence of the word Xanth sounding like a portion of his name (“Pier-XANTH-Ony”) was unintentional, and in fact he only realized this years after the series was first created.

Anthony commonly states that he originally intended for Xanth to be a trilogy, and after the wild success of the first three books decided to expand the series to nine books. An extremely devoted fan base persuaded the author to continue writing the series, which is now open-ended. He has since declared, in the Author’s Notes of Cube Route, that this 27th book ended the first “magical trilogy” and that he was beginning a new one with the 28th, punning on the fact that 27 is the third power of three, i.e. three cubed.

Inhabitants and Talents

Each human character in Xanth is born with a unique magical ability, called a talent. With the exception of the curse fiends and the child Surprise Golem (Daughter of Rapunzel and Grundy Golem), these abilities never repeat exactly in individuals throughout the entire history of Xanth (although nearly identical talents show up on occasion.) Though many talents are limited in scope (called the “spot-on-a-wall” variety), the series focuses mainly on individuals with “Magician” caliber abilities (one of the criteria for serving as King of Xanth).

In addition to the human characters, Xanth is populated by centaurs, demons, dragons, fauns, gargoyles, goblins, golems, harpies, merfolk, naga, nymphs, ogres, zombies, curse fiends, and other fictional beasts. Though initially introduced as obstacles to the human characters, some individuals from those groups become main characters in later books of the series.

As the series progresses, some of the half-human species are discovered to have the potential to possess magical talents. The centaurs of the primary centaur community, Centaur Isle, exile any centaurs who demonstrate a magical talent (although some centaur communities are more lenient about possession of talent); however, they tolerate talents in “lesser” races such as humans. Goblins and harpies are shown to have the potential to possess half-talents, the complementary half existing in a member of the other species, (i.e., a goblin must team with a harpy for them to utilize their talent); the hostility between goblins and harpies proved a major obstacle to any serious effort by them to work together to develop these potential talents. Other non-human species are also shown to possess potential for talents.

Those are the basics and then Wikipedia provided plenty more links, in my copy and paste fun, for anyone who needs the basics of mythology and magical creatures explained to them.

Anyways, if anyone thinks these books sound interesting, like I said, I found a link to download all 33 of the books. Look around, you will probably find plenty more books you’d like to read. There’s a torrent for these really erotic Anne Rice novels. They are hot and well written. They’ll get you pretty wet if you’re like me and like those kind of books.

Also, check out the Dragonlance Collection. There’s a whole lot of them in the torrent. I can’t swear to how good they all are but I do know that quite a few of them are well written, engaging fantasies. They’re set in the Dragonlance world, which is a D&D type setting. It’s very outlandish, like Xanth, but much more serious. My brother got me into them when I was 9. I read them for years.

June 17, 2010

Death

Her’s another pretty good one out of my Outlaw Bible. I like the path of reasoning this one takes. It reminds me of myself.

Death

Death is a funny thing. Most People are afraid of it, and yet they don’t even know what it is.

Perhaps we can clear this up.

What is death?

Death is it. That’s it. Finished. “Finito.” Over and out. No more

Death is many different things to many different people. I think it is safe to say, however, that most people don’t like it.

Why?

Because they are afraid of it.

Why are they afraid of it?

Because they don’t understand it.

I think the best way to try to understand death is to think about it a lot. Try to come to terms with it. Try to really understand it. Give it a chance!

Sometimes it helps if we try to visualize things.

Try to visualize, for example, someone sneaking up behind your back and hitting you over the head with a giant hammer.

Some people prefer to think of death as a more spiritual thing. Where the soul somehow separates itself from the mess and goes on living forever somewhere else. Heaven and hell being the most traditional choices.

Death has a very black reputation, but, actually, to die is a perfectly normal thing to do.

And it’s so wholesome: being a very important part of nature’s big picture. Trees die don’t they? And flowers?

I think it’s always nice to know that you are not alone. Even in death.

Let’s think about ants for a minute. Millions of ants die every day, and do we care? No. And I’m sure that ants feel the same way about us.

But suppose – just suppose – that we didn’t have to die. That wouldn’t be so great either. If a 90 year old man can hardly stand up, can you imagine what it would be like to be 500 years old?

Another comforting thought about death is that 80 years or so after you die nobody who knew you will still be alive to miss you.

And after you’re dead, you won’t even know it.

—Joe Brainard

June 17, 2010

Scab Maids on Speed

I have this book called The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and it’s full of this beautiful and disturbing raw poetry. Here’s one of my favorites out of it. The very ending is near and dear to my heart.

Scab Maids on Speed

My first job was when I was about fifteen. I’d met a girl named Hope who became my best friend. Hope and I were flunking math so we became speed freaks. This honed our algebra skills and we quickly became whiz kids. For about five minutes. Then, our brains started to fry and we were just teenage speed freaks.

So we decided to seek gainful employment.

We got hired as part time maids at the Holiday Inn while a maid strike was happening. We were scab maids on speed and we were coming to clean your room.

We were subsequently fired for pilfering a Holiday Inn guest’s quaalude stash which we did only because we never thought someone would have the nerve to call the front desk and say, THE MAIDS STOLE MY LUUDES MAN. But someone did – or so we surmised – because we were fired.

I suppose maybe we were fired because we never actually CLEANED but rather just turned on the vacuum so it SOUNDED like we were cleaning as we picked the pubic hairs off the sheets and out of the tub then passed out on the bed and caught up on the sleep we missed from being up all night speeding.

When we got fired, we became waitresses at an International House of Pancakes.

We were much happier there.

— Maggie Estep

The funny part is mine was Waffle House. I was friends with all the methheads at the IHOP across the street though, too. The stupidity of youth.

June 16, 2010

Reincarnation

Lord Krishna to Arjuna and Sanjaya: “Learned men do not grieve for the dead or the living. Never have I not existed, nor you, nor those kings; and never in the future shall we cease to exist. Just as the embodied self enters childhood, youth, and old age, so does it enter another body: this does not confound a steadfast man…. Nothing of nonbeing comes to be, nor does being cease to exist; the boundary between these two is seen by men who see reality. Indestructible is the presence that pervades all this; no one can destroy this unchanging reality. Our bodies are known to end, but the embodied self is enduring, indestructible, and immeasurable; therefore, Arjuna, fight the battle! He who thinks this self is a killer and he who thinks it killed, both fail to understand; it does not kill, nor is it killed…”

–Excerpt from “The Second Teaching” in the Bhagavad Gita: Krishna’s Counsel in Time of War

June 16, 2010

Excerpts from Confucius

1-4 Master Zeng said, “Each day I examine myself upon 3 points. In planning for others, have I been loyal? In company with friends, have I been trustworthy? And have I practiced what has been passed on to me?”

1-16 The Master said, “Do not be concerned that no one may recognize your merits. Be concerned that you may not recognize others.”

2-2 The Master said, “In the Book of Poetry are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence, ‘Having no depraved thoughts.'”

2-11 The Master said, “A person who can bring new warmth to the old while understanding the new is worthy to take as a teacher.”

2-15 The Master said, ” If you study but don’t reflect you’ll be lost. If you reflect but don’t study you’ll get into trouble.”

2-17 The Master said, “Shall I teach you about knowledge, You? To know when you know something, and to know when you don’t know, that’s knowledge.” (“You” is the personal name of the disciple Zilu.)

2-19 Duke Ai asked, “What should I do so that the people will obey?” Confucius replied, “Raise up the straight and set them above the crooked and the people will obey. Raise up the crooked and set them above the straight and the people will not obey.”

3-23 The Master instructed the Music Master of Lu, “The pattern of music is something we can understand. Music commences with unison, and then follows with harmony, each line clearly heard, moving in sequence towards the coda.”

4-3 The Master said, ” It is only the truly virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others.”

–The Analects of Confucius

June 13, 2010

Egyptian Ritual of Judgement

I have come unto you; I have committed not faults; I have not sinned; I have done no evil; I have accused no man falsely; therefore let nothing be done against me. I live in right and truth. That which men have bidden I have done, and the gods are satisfied there-at. I have pacified the god for I have done his will. I have given bread unto the hungry and water unto those who thirst, clothing unto the naked, and a boat unto the shipwrecked mariner. I have made holy offerings unto the gods; and I have given meals of the tomb to the sainted dead. O, then, deliver ye me, and protect me; accuse me not before the great god. I ma pure of mouth, and I am pure of hands…

I offer up prayers in the presence of the gods, knowing that which concerneth them. I have come forward to make a declaration of right and truth, and to place the balance upon its supports within the groves of amaranth. Hail, thou who art exalted upon thy resting place, thou lord of the atef crown, who declarest thy name as the lord of the winds, deliver thou me from thine angels of destruction, who make dire deeds to happen and calamities to arise, and who have no covering upon their faces, because I have done right and truth, O thou Lord of right and truth. I am pure, in my foreparts I have been made clean, and in my hinder parts  have I been purified, my reins have been bathed in the Pool of right and truth, and no member of my body was wanting. I have been purified in the pool of the south…

from The Book of the Dead

June 2, 2010

Nasty Virus Multipication

Proteins also defend the body against disease, A virus — whether it is one that causes flu, smallpox, measles, or the common cold — enters the cells and multiplies there. One virus may produce a 100 replicas of itself within an hour or so. Each replica can then burst out and invade 100 different cells, soon yielding 10,000 virus particles, which invade 10.000 cells. Left free to do their worst, they will soon overwhelm the body with diseases.

–Understanding Nutrition , 11th Ed,; Ellie Whitney and Sharon Rady Rolfes

May 28, 2010

Textbook Excerpt: Gay Marriage

So I’m doing a cram study night for my American Federal Government test tomorrow, and I’m reading the chapter on politics and personal liberty. I think I may have several different excerpts from this chapter to post tonight. After reading this section on gay marriage, I ahve to say a huge chunk of the human race appalls me.

“The Supreme Court has not yet spoken out on gay marriage — marriages between persons of the same sex. Several state courts, including the Supreme Court of Massechusetts, have held that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment entitles gay couple to marry, that to deny them marriage rights while recognizing heterosexual marriages amounts to discrimintation. The issue is complicated by the constitutional provision that requires all states to give “Full Faith and Credit” to judicial proceedings of other states. This provision implies that gay marriages in any state must be recognized in all states. Congress passed a Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 declaring that no state need recognize a gay marriage. But Congress failed to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay sex marriage,”

Politics in America, 8th Ed., pg. 506;  Thomas R. Dye and Bartholomew H. Sparrow

This just absolutely disgusts me. I don’t understand why the Supreme Court won’t step in and make the obvious decision. There is no constitutional right to deny gay couples marriage. I have gay friends and family and they are just as good of people as any one else. Hell, better than most people and I fully think they deserve every single one of the same rights that heterosexuals do. Not a single activist can give a logical reason why it shouldn’t be allowed. All the reasons are emotional or religious, with no basis in anything real or important. It is forcing some citizens opinions on everyone and no one wants that done to them. People are so damn close-minded

May 27, 2010

The New Wave of Emo

So, before I get into the point of this, I read over last night’s post and I feel , strangely enough, it was well thought out. The writing was choppy and had no flow or rhythm, but the words were heartfelt and important. And I have not raised my voice yet. I just keep reminding myself it only takes a few weeks of forcing new habits to learn to adopt them for good.

Anyways, I found the most retarded video ever. I love Twilight and Jacob (he’s sooo hot), but this is ridiculous.

I mean grow the fuck up.  I love the saying “You’re unique… just like everybody else” I mean, fuck, attaching a wolf tail to your ass. What the fuck is that? I hope those kids get their asses kicked on daily basis for being so gay. No offense to homosexuals everywhere.

May 25, 2010

Drink This, Not That

This is so cool.  It almost makes me want to go buy the book. Borders posted this cool little tidbit on Facebook. Most entertaining to me is the coffee part. I love macchiatos. They’re my favorite coffee.

Excerpt

Drink This, Not That

by David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding

ICED COFFEE

Drink This
Dunkin’ Donuts Caramel Creme Iced Latte (16 oz)

260 calories
9 g fat
40 g sugars

Not That
Starbucks 2% Iced Dulce de Leche Latte (16 oz)

420 calories
16 g fat
52 g sugars

In the hierarchy of espresso drinks, lattes sit squarely at the bottom. That’s because they’re more milk than java, and are susceptible to huge pumps of sugary syrup from eager-to-please baristas. A macchiato gives the same caffeine kick for a tiny fraction of the caloric cost by swapping out the excess steamed milk for a thick crown of frothed milk. It’s a simple but meaningful switch for caffeine junkies looking for a healthier fix.

BEER

Drink This
Guiness

126 calories
10 g carbohydrates

Not That
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

175 calories
12 g carbohydrates

Surprised? Most people think of Guinness as a beer milkshake: dark, thick, and rich enough to induce tremors of guilt in thirsty partakers. But a 12-ounce serving is as low in calories as some watery light beer selections and can save you up to 50 calories over other full-flavored brews like Sierra Nevada. Part of that comes from the alcohol percentage: Guinness has 4 percent alcohol, and the Pale Ale has 6 percent. Switch out a six-pack a week and you’ve just saved yourself nearly 7 pounds this year.

LUNCHBOX DRINKS

Drink This
Minute Maid Fruit Falls Tropical

5 calories
1 g sugars

Not That
Capri Sun Pacific Cooler

100 calories
26 g sugars

Make this switch in the little ones’ lunchboxes every day of the school year, and you’ll cut 25 cups of sugar?enough to make 1,600 chocolate chip cookies?from their diet. But, still, I have to give Capri some credit: They recently announced that beginning this spring, they’ll be cutting the sugar and calorie content of their namesake beverage by 25 percent. When asked why, a Capri Sun rep said that parents more than ever are looking for healthier choices that their kids will like. I couldn’t agree more, and it’s hopefully the beginning of an important sea change in the types of foods and beverages companies market to our kids.