Book Reviews, Reviews

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

★ ★ ★ ★

Managing expectations is difficult. Because I enjoyed Name of the Wind so much, when I finished it I dove right into Wise Man’s Fear. I think now that that was a mistake. There was very little chance I would have enjoyed the book as much as the first in the series. That said, I still like Wise Man’s Fear quite a bit, but it definitely had its faults.
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Gear

Go Bag March 2014

I changed a bunch of stuff about my daily Go Bag (what I take to work every day). So I figured it was time for an update. The biggest change is that I swapped out my Timbuk2 bag for a Powerbag. The Powerbag has a built-in battery pack for charging mobile devices. I added this, because I built a LibraryBox, and the Powerbag can power the LibraryBox. I also got a new laptop; trading in my Macbook Air for a Thinkpad. It’s great to be running Linux again.


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Book Reviews, Reviews

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

There are very few negative things to say about The Name of the Wind, so I’ll start there. I found the structure of the book to be very confusing at the start. I was 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through it before I came to grips with how the story would progress. And even then, it was because I was discussing the book to someone who had already read it and the second book in the trilogy (the third has not yet been published). It’s much more obvious to me now that the stuff happening in the Waystone Inn is basically just filler, and that the heart of the book is the story in a story; the story the inn-keeper is telling. This book is filled with stories within the story. Sometimes even stories within the stories within the book’s story. Confused? So was I. After understanding that the flashbacks are the real meat and potatoes, and that the majority of the book revolved around this, it was much easier to keep track of what was going on. It’s easy to see now that the inn-keeper is telling his tale to Chronicler and that it will take three days’ time – hence The Name of the Wind being Day One of The Kingkiller Chronicles.
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Book Reviews, Reviews

The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs by David C. Unger

★★★★★

I really wanted to like this book, from the moment I read the title and added it to my reading list. I am very interested in politics/political philosophy, history, and my country’s complete lack of regard for the principles on which it was founded. This book is right in my wheelhouse. It’s preaching to the converted. And yet even I didn’t find it convincing. It’s pretty hard to write a book so poorly that you unsell people who were already sold on your ideas.
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Personal

Admitting Defeat / Lessons Learned

Today, on the same day I decided to give up on a personal project I’ve been working on for months, I also gave up on a project that was already live. I decided to force myself to reflect on these failures by writing about them, and to force myself not to feel too bad about them by listing the positive things I have learned and can take away from these projects.

After admitting defeat on several fronts today, I watched this speech Adam Savage gave at The Amazing Meeting #7, and decided to make use of these failures.

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tech

Setting Up a VPN Connection on Linux Mint 16

I worked from home yesterday for the first time since getting Linux Mint 16 installed on my new laptop. That meant I spent all of yesterday morning figuring out how to get the VPN connection to my office working. I ended up having multiple problems throughout the process, and none of the guides I found were definitive or included all the steps required for resolving the entire issue. I’m recording this for posterity, in hopes that people will be able to find it and won’t have to dig through multiple sources just to get stuck on the next issue down the chain.

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Gear

EDC 03/2014

I obsess about the stuff I carry on my person even more than the stuff I carry around in my bag. This is what I currently carry.

You can see older iterations here, if there are any.

  • Handkerchief
  • Phone (Nexus 5 w/EFF sticker)
  • Saddleback Leather Wallet
  • Calling Cards
  • Part of the EFF sticker back; reads: Say it out loud: “I want an attorney” and “I invoke my right to remain silent.”
  • Credit card-sized folding phone stand (been carrying it for years; can’t remember where it came from)
  • Keychain
    • TEC P-7 clip (I LOVE this thing. It’s all the advantage of carrying a lanyard on your keys w/o looking like a goon while it hangs out of your pocket.)
    • S-biner
    • Swiss Army Knife w/pen & flashlight
    • Ear plugs in a cash stash
    • Keys
    • USB Stick
    • Happiness opener
  • Watch
  • Notebook; reads: PLEASE Do the right thing
  • Fisher Space Pen
  • Chapstick