Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

So, it appears that I actually needed a break from this thing. Well, not really from "this thing," as this thing doesn't really require too much thought, most of the time, as anyone who's suffered through these posts can attest. But I guess I did need more of a break than I thought I did from actually thinking and processing and scribbling things down. Along with anything else remotely constructive. The wife--normally an extremely hardworking human herself--has advised me not to feel guilty about this, saying, "that's what vacation is for." And she's right.

Still, I did tell myself that I would do a few semi-productive things on this break, and it turns out I kinda did none of them. Since I last blogged on Xmas Eve, I have had a long, glorious stretch of downtime, including, but not limited to:

*epic matches of both Lost Cities and Dominion with my daughter. (Two great card games, highly recommended.)

*Three movies: Frost/Nixon (surprisingly great for a Ron Howard movie), I've Loved You So Long (French movie starring Kristin Scott Thomas, who is going to be robbed of an Oscar for a stunning performance), and, just today, Milk, featuring maybe the best performance by Sean Penn I've seen since Jeff Spicoli. Seriously, he's unreal in this movie--all beatific smiles and vulnerable openness, totally unlike any other role he's done for as long as I can remember. It's a heartbreaking movie, which of course anyone who knows the actual real life story knows going into it, but it's also a fine testament to a very brave and transformative figure in our recent history, made even more worth seeing in the wake of Prop 8...

*Lots of napping and *finally* finishing Deadhouse Gates, just today. My next book was gonna be either Altered Carbon or What is the What. But I am putting both aside for the moment in favor of the book my wife got me for Hannukah: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I've been dying to read for about 6 months ago, when she first told me about it.

* a lovely, small, quiet New Years Eve with just our little family unit, spent playing Dominion, eating sushi, and watching The Beatles' A Hard Days Night.

My daughter's recent Beatles kick is extremely fun and satisfying for me to watch, as I was exactly her age (14) when I went through my own (first) Beatles fanaticism. (She's listening to Sgt Pepper as I type this now.) After we saw Milk tonight, and on our way home after dinner, she was lamenting the fact that she wasn't born earlier, because she missed out on all the cool stuff that we got to experience first hand. I responded that every generation feels that way---that me and her mom missed out on plenty of cool music that came before we were born..

Her response: "What did you miss out on? Bach?"

Which about as great a New Years Day laugh as any dad could ever hope to get.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't feel too old, most of the Beatles are still alive!

Craig Ostrin said...

I'm on the second sequel to Altered Carbon right now, Woken Furies. Morgan's a great writer, and I love the universe he created. The first book is kind of a pulpy, sci-fi murder mystery, if you're into that. (I was.)

Derek said...

How do you like Sacred 2? I didn't like it... It seemed all that was going for it were scantly clad mystical women, the gameplay isn't there even for a mindless hack and slash.

Ian said...

Amazing how The Beatles is the third most listened to artist on Last.fm.

They aren't even that good....

Ian Jacobson said...

You should check out The Wrestler. Fantastic film. I cried man tears.

Urock said...

Her response: "What did you miss out on? Bach?"

To which your response was: "No, I was around when Bach was just starting."

Robert said...

Haha! We all missed out on Bach. :D

How's your leveling in wow doing, btw?

Brain Blurbs said...

Heard lots of good things about the movie 'Milk'!

And..
Happy New Year as well of course!

Anonymous said...

The wrestler is supposed to be amazing.

also buuuuuuuuuuuurrn

Word Verification:
pricke

Peter G said...

Happy New Year "Dad"!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Jeff, you're a lucky guy.

This blog of yours has reminded me of the Christmases I used to spend as a kid, and as a teenager, with my family.

I'm a single guy with no family of my own so Christmas is always a bit of a soul searching time for me.

The one thing I've noticed with all of my married friends is that every now and then they'll envy me for being single, and will actually say so aloud - this usually happens on a hot summer evening when there are beautiful (and willing) young females swanning around in tight fitting clothing.

But my married friends always 'get even' with me at Christmas time.

Seeing my friends at Christmas time with their families almost kills me - I'm happy for them, but at the same time I can't help but feeling extreme jealousy.

Without fail, every Christmas, when I'm alone, I end up questioning the 'choices' I've made. I wonder, should I have gotten married at some point? Should I have started a family? What's it like to have a kid and watch that kid grow up, knowing that every big decision you ever make will have a fairly profound effect on that person?

And then I think, what the hell is wrong with you... get married... have kids... are you crazy!

The Goose

Matt said...

Happy new year, Jeff

Paul said...

That's a nice quip from your daughter.

So, I'm glad you finished Deadhouse. I've been slowly ploughing through it for a month or so now. I'm having a harder time getting large chunks of this book for the same reason as you, it's so damn dense. (Btw, I actually owe my act of finally starting through the books to you. Erikson had been on my list since way back when the books were only available as imports, but I just never got around to them. So thanks as this is a refreshing change of pace for me in terms of fantasy. I tried a bunch of other authors, but nothing interested me as much as a George R.R. Martin or Robin Hobb until Erikson. So, thanks.)

I wish you coulda started Altered Carbon as that's been on my "to do" list for a while now and I could've used a personal opinion because all the input I've gotten on it come from Amazon. I trust your opinion a bit more than random Amazon user.* You can always find someone online who likes something so, really, what good is their opinion?

*Note: That doesn't mean I'm going to start playing WOW. Your opinion counts, just doesn't drive me to addictions. :P

Wetzel said...

"Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is an incredible book. I blew through it in like 3 or 4 days, I just could not put it down. Can't wait for the next one, though it's sad that there will only be three books in the series.

B. Linus said...

It is great watching an offspring discover the joys of good music. My daughter is only 7, but she has loved the Beatles for the last two years already. Her latest discovery: Aerosmith. The earlier stuff stuff of course. Listening to her sing along to "Dream On" and hitting those high notes is a joy every parent should have. Happy New Year!

Nathanael Rouillard said...

Sorry Jeff, but I've got to take you to task for an innacuracy that just shouldn't be allowed to stand. You can really tell that you've left journalism as the editorial standards have really dropped to the pavement with this one.

Regarding "I did tell myself that I would do a few semi-productive things on this break, and it turns out I kinda did none of them."

I'm afraid that there is a major innacuracy there since spending quality time with loved ones is extremely productive!

jason said...

"Across the Universe" (Rated PG-13 For some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence and language) was a good movie/musical from the past year that does a great job setting the beatles music against a backdrop of the vietnam war. if you or your daughter haven't seen it i recommend it. i'm not a huge beatles fan myself, but i still thought it was really good.

mario66 said...

You're not the Lord of the Rings!!

happy new year

Tydigame said...

More like, "What did you miss out on, Aeschylus?" Just kidding.

evilkumquat said...

As a parent, the smartest thing I ever did was expose my kids to everything I like.

It's a treat watching them dig on Inspector Gadget, Spider-Man and Indiana Jones, and you never heard anything as funny as a six-year-old running around singing "I am Iron Man".

Granted, I'm dooming two innocent children to a lifetime of nerdhood, but on the other, I'm saving myself from all that Hannah Montana crap.

Anonymous said...

I've just bought a brand new MacBook - and what's one of the first things I've chosen to do with it? Why, post a comment at Greenspeak of course. (I'm hoping that somehow this will bring me some good luck.)

Last night, while heading down to my favorite coffee shop to do some writing, I slipped on some ice, and my nice, white MacBook, which was tucked safely away inside my satchel (or so I thought) was completely ruined. That's what happens to your notebook when you fall and land right on top of it. The screen actually cracked right down the middle. I nearly threw up when I opened the lid and saw it.

So this morning I had to go out and buy a brand new laptop (I bought the aluminum version of the MacBook... fifteen hundred clams for that sucker). Hopefully, though, after this unforeseen expenditure, I'll still be able to buy my Dell XPS 730x, which has the new i7 chip in it. This will replace my old 3GHZ P4 rig from four years ago - but really buying two computers during the same month was not a part of my master plan.

Yeah, so great start to the new year for me.

I also tripped on the stair five minutes after Midnight on New Year's Eve. I landed on the floor at the bottom of the stair and just lay there in a heap for five minutes feeling sorry for myself.

Anyhow, worst case scenario: by the end of the week I'm dead. So if you don't hear anything more from The Goose then you'll know that The Goose somehow managed to cook his final egg.

Ah, but maybe now that I've posted here my luck will surely turn around. After all, isn't Green the master at turning his luck around?

The Goose

Stephen said...

"Still, I did tell myself that I would do a few semi-productive things on this break, and it turns out I kinda did none of them..."

Ah, the Gamers Lament.

Barrock said...

I've been interested in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for awhile. And now it's being compared to Charlie Huston on Amazon so now I'm even more intrigued. How is it so far Jeff? I don't suppose you've read any Huston?

I'm waiting on my signed copy of the last Burke book by Andrew Vachss now. It's depressing that it's ending.

Chris Chambers said...

Glad you had a good NY! Here in Perth we just chilled out with a barbeque, with yes, shrimps!

The Richard Morgan SF series goes :

Altered Carbon
Broken Angels
Woken Furies
Black Man

I recommend Altered Carbon, Broken Angels (although much the same as AC) and Black Man (SUPER SUPER GOOD!)

Woken Furies just seemed more of the same as the last two without pushing the boat out too much.

RM decided to write some fantasy bow and his latewst novel is The Steel Remains. I havnt seen it here in Aus yet but I hope its as good as AC!

Hope '09 is a great one for you and the family Jeff!

The Deviot said...

lol that Bach response was priceless.

Maurice said...

What are your impressions of Deadhouse Gates? To be fair, it's better written than Gardens of the Moon, but Erikson really hits his stride with Memories of Ice, which is just as dense, but much easier to follow.

I don't know how fast/often you read, but if you are into anything as long as it's well written, you should read The Shadow of the Wind by Zafon.

Jeff Green said...

Shadow of the Wind has been sitting in my house, ready for me to read, for a year now. Hoping to finally read it in '09.

Starting Girl With The Dragon Tattoo today, and from what everyone says I should be breezing through it. Then next is Altered Carbon, for those anxious for me to read it!

I really enjoyed Deadhouse Gates, MUCH more than Gardens of the Moon. All the Chain of Dogs stuff was fantastic, as was the stuff with Kalam on the boat. It's still so damn dense though, which is both the awesomest part of it but also the hardest. I consulted wikipedia a LOT while reading, just to help me keep it all straight. So: I'm taking an Erikson break, for now, just to plow through a few "easier" books before getting back to Memories of Ice.

The Wrestler: On top of my movie list--hopefully next.

WoW: I've leveled twice this break. Can't believe I forgot to talk about gaming in this post. So I'm level 76 now and climbing, plus nearly done with Prince of Persia, which I loved.

Across the Universe: Yeah, that's what turned my daughter on to the Beatles. Uneven, but great film overall. Never thought "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" was a good song until I saw this movie.

Jim G. said...

Tell your daughter that some random internet weirdo said that the Beatles are lame. Then either one of two things will happen.

1) She'll blow it off. (more likely)

2) She'll go on an EPIC rant saying how people on the internet are dumb. They don't know what their talking about and need to STFU. (It isn't likely, but if it happens bring the popcorn because it's bound to be entertaining!)

KindGalaxy said...

What did you mean Frost/Nixon is good 'for a Ron Howard movie', you're not normally a fan of his other movies or tv shows? Like Arrested Development?
Frost/Nixon isn't something that appeals to me; being a foreigner and a Generation Y adult, but still, seems like a movie to grab on a weekend to ponder over.

Jeff Green said...

Ron Howard: Yeah, I find his movies, in general, to be over manipulative and sentimentalized and obvious--typical Oscar bait stuff. (Though I did like Apollo 13, too.)

And Arrested Development doesn't count--he was just the executive producer. (And yes it was awesome)

Troy Goodfellow said...

I learned Dominion last week, and I like it, I think. I suspect it would be much better with more than two people, though, since we found only a couple of the cards really valuable.

Nice mechanics though, with the whole planning about how to set up a strong string of actions/buys.

hiddengrounds said...

Dominion is great! I've played several times following the sets they recommend in the rulebook, but I find it better to randomly pick 10 sets of cards for our group. Loads of fun!

Erin said...

Dominion! My favorite game right now. I like it equally well with any number of players...but I really like it online on BSW so I don't have to shuffle so much.

Robert said...

I do recommend "What is the What." But I confess I was a little disappointed with "Milk." Penn is great, but it is really hard to escape the biopic gravitational pull....

swift said...

OMG Jeff. That line from your daughter gave me a hearty laugh. Makes me look forward to having one of my own. Thanks bud.

Bobby said...

This comment is a bit belated but I read Altered Carbon a few months. It's a decent book. Not great. Maybe good, I'm still not sure how much I really liked this book. I think I may pick up the next one in the series. It's an interesting world. At least it held. I usually don't care as much for the 1st person perspective in books but this one pulled it off fairly well. Not sure why but I was expecting something along the lines of Blade Runner but it's nothing like that.

I just read this book a few months ago and for the life of me I can't remember how the main mystery of the book was resolved. I guess that doesn't speak very well of it after all.

Echoing what others have posted, it is a pulpy sci-fi murder mystery but I'm not convinced he was such a great writer. This book didn't really grab me. I liked it but didn't love it. I finished the book because I was hoping it would get better.

I may pick up the second book but I'm in no rush to. I'm wanting to read John Scalzi's The Last Colony and start back in on Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Dune: Machine Crusade and Robert Ferrigno's Sins of the Assassin.

If you like Alternate History or near Alternate Future type thrillers, you should try Prayers for the Assassin. It's a "what if" the islamist extremists won. It's not by some right wing nut job so no worries there. It's a bit silly in that I don't think its believable that America could fall like that but its a fun suspend your disbelief type of book. Kinda Red Dawn but for a different era.

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