Please Move to New Blog

Almost three weeks on the new host. Same address:

Again, the subscription list was reset, so if you haven’t subscribed to the new one, go there and enter your email in the subscription box on the right, fill out the captcha, then click the link in the email that feedburner sends you. Or subscribe directly at  I apologize if you’ve already done this. There doesn’t seem a way for me to trim subscribers off the old list. But fear not, this is the last, or close to last pester.

Also, if you read the blog through RSS (Google reader etc) or some other subscription service and are seeing this message — which is only on the old blog — then update your feeds to point at or use feedburner. The old blog is at but it’s kaput. Move on over. The new one is so much sexier anyway.



New Mailing List

Dear subscribers,

The blog is now fully up and running on it’s new host — same url

Yesterday, I sent each of you a feedburner email to subscribe to the new google powered mailing list. If you have not, please take a second to click on the activate link in that email and resubscribe. You can also subscribe here at: or go to the new blog and reenter your email in the right hand sidebar subscription form (which will resend you an activation email).

Thank you!


Moved to New Server

I’ve moved the DNS over to the new server. It might take hours to switch over, but if you see this page (with this post) then you’re on the old server and it will change soon enough. Please don’t post comments here anymore.

If you were on the email subscriber list, please subscribe yourself via the new site’s widget on the righthand sidebar. The new site is easily recognizable by it’s different looking theme with the yellowish “spooky art” header bar. I’ve switched over to using feedburner as my subscription management. I’ll import the emails at some point so either way you will receive a confirmation email about signing up for the new service. Please click the confirmation link and you’ll be back in business. This old list will not receive many further updates.

Moving on Up

I’m moving my hosting from to MediaTemple in the next 24 to 48 hours. The site should remain up but I won’t be doing my daily posts until things are settled out with the move.

Expect theme and feature changes and improvements. By hosting it myself there are all sorts of plugins that I can add: like Facebook comments! There may be some (hopefully) brief wonkiness as I add them though, or the occasional broken feature on the site that was supported by some feature that I have to replace.

Thanks for your patience.

Brief Status

I’m going to hold off publishing the next installment in my So you want to be a video game programmer series until Thursday September 1. The next chunk is on “School” and I’m doing some additional research. So instead today will be a biz as usual food or media post. Tonight is also the night for my coveted Ludobites 7.0 reservation, so Friday will hopefully be a delicious post on that.

And I’m cranking away on the third second draft (call it a 2.5 draft or something) of Untimed 🙂

New Look

My original theme, Quentin, was getting a little long in the tooth and didn’t support custom menus, post formats, and the like, although it was attractive. So I switched to the brand new Quintus which is an updated version. This has necessitated a somewhat inadvertent new look. I played with the CSS a bit to customize it, but my patience for this is limited. The new theme is wider, which is cool, but some elements don’t look as good to me like the comments.

Be sure to check out the new top menu (below the old-school paper). You can click on the top levels and get inline filtering of the post categories, or find in the drop downs various indices and popular posts.

Let me know what you think. Here’s what the old one looked like:

Book Review: The Windup Girl

Title: The Windup Girl

Author: Paolo Baciqalupi

Genre: Sci-Fi

Read: Jan 5-9, 2011

Summary: Interesting Science, mediocre Fiction.


This novel won the 2009 Nebula and tied for the 2010 Hugo. It’s set in an approximately 100-200 years-from-now dystopian future Bangkok ravaged by gene engineered diseases. Fossil fuels are nearly exhausted and society eeks by on “megadont” (gene hacked elephant) and human power.

At first I found this intensely gripping, as the depiction of the future world is crystal bright and highly novel. The prose is fantastic, bordering on slightly literary. The problem is that the story has a lot of characters, five or six main points of view, and I found it very hard to care about most of them. I only really liked Emiko, the gene hacked whore/slave looking for a better life. The American gene thief was okay too. The rest of them I could hardly focus on enough to follow their rambling monologues. Once the relative novelty of the world ground down a bit, I just couldn’t keep myself interested in what was happening. There’s plenty of plot, but it’s moderately byzantine, and I just didn’t care.

Because books are all about the characters. Contrast The Windup Girl with something like Song of Ice and Fire (which I need to write up, but is being adapted into an HBO series). The plot and world in that book are intense, but Martin makes you care for all (well most) of the characters. The Windup Girl has a lot of repetitive rantings. The elderly Chinese guy for example goes on for about two pages in his second chapter about his distrust of banks. Sure this was supposed to instill the sense that he no longer trusts any institution (for good reason), but it just felt self indulgent. The seedy scenes with the titular character in sort of future Patpong where cool though, albiet disturbing.

Let me get back to the world, as this is the biggest strength of this book. The author clearly spent some serious time in Bangkok, and the  foreign, yet vaguely possible future was pretty damn good. I don’t really buy the relying on springs for power, and there’s very little impact here of either nanotech or computers, both of which I think will dominate the 21st century. Still, it was pretty cool. There’s a serious element of “environmental preachy” between the lines, which I suspect is a factor in it’s award winning status. Award gives love a leftist cause. Not that I’m not pro-environment, I’m just not a “causist.” The book reminded me of Neuromancer and Diamond Age in that they described really cool and consistant worlds, but had inadequate character development. Diamond Age in particular is pretty darn boring once you get over the world (which is great). Two many characters, no reason to care about them, opaque and weird motives.

Personally, I think authors should focus tighter on character in these “new world” type books. For example, Consider Phlebas worked for me. People bag on it’s story, but at least it focuses fairly well on a particular guy’s adventure, and the world is amazing. There’s only so much you can do in one book, and a totally new world is a lot. Occasionally someone managed both, like one of my all time favorite novels, Hyperion, but brilliant as that is, even it still suffers from switching the POV so often. But boy does he work some serious pathos into a number of them.