Blog

Some of my thoughts, on anything from books and poetry to humans and birds.

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Sep 27, 2021 - 8 min read
📖 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Eleven years ago I was momentarily consumed—as a young man gets when life isn’t actively kicking him in the groin—with impressing a love interest. My obsession lead me to my first copy of War and Peace, …
Jun 06, 2021 - 6 min read
📖 Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens

While I disagree with Chris (he hated this nickname) on some things, I feel like I owe him a review. He bored me with the first half of his book, and so it is only fair that I do my best to carry that punishment forward.
Apr 17, 2021 - 5 min read
📖 The Humans by Matt Haig

When I was about 15, I contemplated ‘turning into’ an alien (or a robot, or a robot alien) forever. I would act like one for the rest of my days, and people would either believe me and leave me alone, or they would not believe me and …
Mar 20, 2021 - 2 min read
📝 I Moved for the Weather

I’m often asked, why did you leave? And in response I say — I left for the weather. This beautiful, wonderful, weather.
Back where I’m from we don’t have the same clouds, same sun, or same air. The air here is better.

Feb 21, 2021 - 1 min read
📝 Death Is a Wonderful Thing

Death is a wonderful thing.
You take some flesh and bone in a bag, add plenty of water, and a little bit of salt.
Shake it a little, rattle the engine and it springs to life.

Dec 18, 2020 - 4 min read
📖 Timescape by Gregory Benford

The sexism is strong with this one, and so is the casual racism.
'You can’t judge an old book by the standards of today', and I agree. If you enjoy reading books from years past like I do, you know that they’re often accompanied by a heavy load of …

Dec 06, 2020 - 5 min read
📖 Schild’s Ladder by Greg Egan

There’s Hard Science Fiction, and then there’s Greg Egan Hard. I had never heard of the honorable Mr Egan before a friend spoke to me of him many oscillations ago, some time in late 2018. This friend I here mention had never failed me with book recommendations (science fiction ones in particular), and so I, with some hesitation, took the plunge.
Sep 12, 2020 - 8 min read
🦜 Loneliness

About 7 years ago, I woke up to discover that one of my birds, Melody, had died. Her partner, Birdie, was next to her body. He was in distress; chirping as loud as he could, circling her, and pushing different parts of her body with his beak in an attempt to get her to respond.

It was a heartbreaking sight. A once …

Nov 17, 2019 - 9 min read
👻 Ghosting Culture, and How We Break Things Off

About a year ago, a close friend of mine disappeared. I’d known them for 10 years, and one day they were gone, without a word. My messages and calls went unanswered. Had I done something wrong? Were they hurt? Dead, maybe? I thought about it for weeks—months! Of all the possible reasons for this bizarre and perplexing situation, the truth was …
Oct 01, 2019 - 10 min read
📖 Becoming by Michelle Obama

‘Even if we didn’t know the context, we were instructed to remember that context existed. Everyone on earth, they’d tell us, was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.'
I wouldn’t have picked up this book were it not for the recommendation of a friendly stranger whom I got to know over a cup of coffee in a cozy café …

Aug 19, 2019 - 4 min read
♞ What Chess Teaches Us about Effective Presentations

A few years ago, I was giving a talk at work on ‘fun presentations’, as part of an inter-departmental information sharing program. In a corporate environment, fun can be a rarity, and some of us took every opportunity we could to inject more of it in our work. At the time, I was new to …
Aug 14, 2018 - 4 min read
📖 The Vital Question by Nick Lane

‘Onions, wheat and amoebae have more genes and more DNA than we do.'
There’s one question that’s baffled us for as long as we’ve been around, and that is: How did life—complex life, in particular—begin? This book is Nick Lane’s attempt at answering that question.

Jun 07, 2018 - 2 min read
📖 The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

‘I know this is hard for you to accept, but heterosexuality is considered an emotional dysfunction. Relatively easy to cure.'
One of the things I enjoy most about Sci-Fi is how it makes you think about—and question—the present state of the world in ways you might have not considered before.

Mar 08, 2018 - 4 min read
📖 Play Winning Chess by Yasser Seirawan

‘You don’t have to be 7 feet tall, as quick as Carl Lewis, or as strong as Mike Tyson to play chess. All you have to do is think.'
As a kid, I thought I played good chess. In reality, I only knew how the pieces moved, and I came to this realization last year, when a chess set gifted to me by my brother rekindled my …

Oct 11, 2017 - 2 min read
📖 The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

Every time I read an Arthur C. Clarke story (I’ve read four so far), I’m left with an intense desire to leave Earth and explore space, followed by a period of sadness at the realization that I will likely take this fantasy to the grave.
Arthur Clarke isn’t the most gifted of writers, but …

Sep 04, 2017 - 3 min read
📖 Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward

“Go in a direction others do not go.”
I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of Robert Forward before being introduced to this wonderful book. A huge thank you to my friend Cassy for dragging me out of that hole of ignorance! Dragon’s Egg is the story of the cheela, a civilization of …

Jul 01, 2017 - 6 min read
📖 The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

In 1859, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published, forever changing our understanding of life. As revolutionary as it was, parts of it were wrong, and for a good reason. Darwin, 150 years ago, was ignorant of the existence of DNA, and of genes. Had he been alive today, …
Jun 13, 2017 - 3 min read
📖 Dune by Frank Herbert

This is, by far, one of the most epic Sci-Fi stories I’ve ever read. I found it a little tedious to get through at times, but Frank Herbert’s extraordinary world-building skills made it worth the effort. (The missing half-star is for the slight tediousness.)
May 25, 2017 - 2 min read
📖 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Republic of Gilead (formerly known as the USA) is a hardcore Christian Saudi Arabia with the batshit cranked all the way up. It might also be Mike Pence’s American Dream. May the lord open. Or not.
Jan 30, 2017 - 2 min read
📖 Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

‘According to the history books—though no one could really believe it—there had been a time when the old United Nations had 172 members. The United planets had only seven; and that was sometimes bad enough.'
This is a wonderful first-contact story. …

Dec 26, 2016 - 2 min read
📖 Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg

David Selig is a lonely man. He has the ability to see into other people’s minds; to hear their every thought. He keeps a low profile, and makes his living by writing term papers for students. As he gets older, he begins to lose his gift—or is it a curse? He’s not sure. Either way, it’s …