The Five Stages of Trump Victory Grief, (now with Bonus Stage)

Denial

There is no way that Americans would elect a racist, sexist, liar to the White House.

Anger

Holy crap, people are actually voting for someone who wants to bring back torture and targeting civilians!

Bargaining

Although, if Hillary wins a few of these small states, and there is a last minute swing….

Depression

The world is screwed.

Acceptance

I guess there only so much he can screw up in four years; maybe this will be a good wake-up call for the U.S.

Bonus stage; pre-emptive Schadenfreude.

Oh boy; I can’t wait to rub this in Trump supporters faces when it all hits the fan.

2016 in Books: Books 30 to 34

image_1.jpg

I haven’t posted an update of my reading progress or this year in a while, so guess it is time for a quick catch up.

img_8289

Book 31: Deaths End

First off, the final part of Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past sci-fi trilogy. I was really looking forward to seeing where Liu was going to take his story of impending alien invasion. Each entry in this trilogy has followed a different character and presented itself as a unique take on the idea of alien contact, and alien invasion.

The last instalment was no exception. It was a great read, and as expected Liu took the tale to extreme corners of the imagination, whether it be three-dimensional being entering fourth-dimensional space, or the terrifying account of people and cities being destroyed via ‘two-dimensionalisation’. This story was quite gripping, but also a very intensive effort.

Having finished the entire trilogy this year I definitely recommend it.

img_8196

Book 32: Ghost Flight

After the dense thinkathon that was Deaths End, it will be good to get back into a light adventure novel. Having watched my son enjoy some of Bear Grylls children’s novels, I decided to see what kind of a story Bear is able to put together for us adults, and picked up a copy of his first adult novel; Ghost Flight.

I have to say it was a pretty cracking read, kept up a good pace of action, and had a story intriguing enough to keep me guessing. As one would imagine, there was a bunch of tradecraft and survival skills thrown in, with detailed descriptions of things like parachute deployments, and best practice for jungle trecking; but that was part of the fun of reading a Bear Grylls novel. If anything, it reminded me of one of my favourite authors, Matthew Reilly. I shall be getting the sequel soon…

img_8286

Book 33: Mythomania

I don’t know why I bought this book on my Kindle, and honestly, I am struggling to get through it. The premise sounded interesting enough; a modern analysis of how myths are still alive in our current era, whether it be through the persona of the president’s plane Air Force One, or a critical analysis of the Kardashians tv show. Each chapter is a small essay on some obscure topic, with analogies to myths from humanities past, and frequent references to French philosophers. And while some of its topics are interesting (neon lights and their place in culture for instance), others seem to be trying too hard to analyse trivial topics (I don’t need to hear that much about Judge Judy thank you).

I am finding this book hard to finish actually, as too often the author’s views seem stolid, or perhaps just too disparate compared to my own. When he decries the modern e-reader as an inferior experience to physical books for example, and complains about the need to have an electrical cord attached, I can’t help but feel he is just trying to rationalise a personal preference. Funny though as I am reading it via my awesome Kindle.

I shall finish the book however, as though it isn’t at the top of my books for this year, I have nevertheless learned from it.

img_8273

Book 34: The Four Legendary Kingdoms

Matthew Reilly! Some people balk at his writing, but honestly I love it. His stories are a romping great read, and as long as your expectations are aligned accordingly when you pick up his latest stories, you are rarely disappointed. I won’t spoil what happens in this one, as fans of the series will like to enjoy the ride along the way. But I will say that it was great to have a new Matthew Reilly book in my hands. Reilly seems like one of those rare authors whose presence you can feel alongside you when you read the book; you can tell that he is having as much fun telling the story, as you are reading it.

Can’t wait for the next one, but until then I will have to make do reading Hover Car Racer to my son, in an attempt to indoctrinate a new young mind to the wonders of Matthew Reilly.

Now, on to my next book…

Random mornings with my son

One of my favourite parts of the day is my morning walk to school with my son Harrison. Being stuck in an office all day isn’t the best way for a primate to live, so a refreshing start to the day is always welcome. Plus I get the added benefit of being able to spend some time with my son; it’s a win-win.

Usually we talk about whatever is going on at the time, or whatever Harrison is fixated on at the moment, so there have been many walks dominated by Harry Potter theorising, Superhero discussions, Dragon tales and so forth. But we also talk about other topics in the world in general.

Today’s walk involved an update on the progress of SpaceX’s goal of colonising space (and eventually Mars), spoiler alert: they suffered a little setback.

SpaceXExplosion-1.gif

But the main reason for this post is because Harry wanted me to look up Geladas when I got to work. Geladas for those not in the know, are a distant relative of baboons, and not an Italian style of ice cream, as I originally thought. He has been watching a bunch of Deadly 60 episodes, and clearly this animal appeared on one because he had manifold facts to tell me this morning. He told me where they live, what terrain they like, their diet, what hunts them, etcetera. But what he really wanted to tell me was about their teeth. Specifically about their canine, teeth, about how they are the largest of any primate, and how they like to show them off by flipping up their upper lip.

Let me tell you, I thought I knew what to expect, but I didnt expect it to look this terrifying:

This looks like something a Predator would struggle to add to its trophy wall!

At any rate, I just thought this was cool, and figured I would share it with you all (whoever that may be). To finish up though, let me leave you with a more comforting image of our not so distant primate relatives; these little dudes enjoying a nice relaxing hot spring:

6270785-media_httplh4ggphtcom_InBzD.jpg

MM

September 2016

Some things I am looking forward to from this month:

marvels-luke-cage.jpg
Luke Cage on Netflix
Netflix did such a great job bringing Marvels Daredevil and Jessica Jones to television, I can’t wait to see what they do with this character. Also on Netflix this month is season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I am strangely addicted to for some reason…

Note.JPG

New $5 note
The new Australian $5 note enters circulation today, and I hope I can get a hold of one before the month ends. I don’t really know why I am looking forward to this, it just seems cool to have a new unit of currency on the move. Especially as it proves once again that Australia does it best when it comes to innovative currency.

DeathsEnd_CixinLiu.jpg
Deaths End by Liu Cixin
I read the first two instalments of Liu Cixin’s science fiction trilogy earlier in the year and loved them, so definitely looking forward to this. Indeed I must have enjoyed it so much that, unbeknownst to me, my alter ego ‘Slightly Inebriated Mathew’ purchased the next book in the series on Amazon. It was only weeks later when I went online to check the release date, that I was informed it had already been purchased. Yay!

trmp1.gif
Trump and Hillary debate.
As an Australian I have been watching the U.S. election with a strange sense of detachment, fascination, and dread. The whole thing seems so surreal with Trump doing all the crazy stupid things he is, that it often makes me laugh. Then I realise that this is the 21st century, and in a globalised world these far away political shenanigans will no doubt have an effect on my life. So, though he has already started struggling in the polls now that he has an actual opponent, I can’t wait to see how these debates go down (if they do at all) because I think it will give a real indication of just what is real in this farce of an election, and what is a result of the media (be it social or otherwise).

writing.gif

Write a novelette
I have been challenged by my wife to turn one of my old NaNoWriMo ideas into a novelette over the next two weeks. While I am not that confident in my ability to get this done in time, nor to make a story that people might find worth reading, I am nevertheless keen for the challenge. So stay tuned to this space if you are a fan of poorly written amateur science fiction!

There are no doubt other things that have slipped my mind at present (oh, like I Contain Multitudes, the book about the microorganisms that live within us that is realised today), but this is just a little sample of what sprung to mind when I woke today to find that somehow September had snuck up on me.
What are you people out there looking forward to this month?

UPDATE:

Two more things I forgot:

  • SpaceX reusing a rocket for the first time in history!
  • new iPhone (because I might be able to get one, maybe. Probably not. But I can dream.)

 

Brown soup, weird dogs, and why my wife is the best

When you are looking for that right person in life, you don’t always know exactly what properties they should have. Sure you have an idea; you want a caring person perhaps, or someone who appreciates the same things that you do. But then further down the line there are other things that you find in your partner, that you never really knew you wanted, but that you will be forever grateful for.

One thing I love about my wife is that she is willing to go out of her way to humour me in some of the strange challenges I occasionally set for her.

Take for instance last night’s soup:

Now, tasty though it was, it isn’t really the best looking soup out there. But believe it or not, that’s kind of the point.

Over the past few months Lizzie has converted me into a soup lover. In the past, soup for me was either vegetable, creamy chicken, or else something relegated to other peoples menu items. It almost definitely came out of a can; needless to say, I wasn’t a soup guy.

Then my wife started making these wonderful concoctions, and things began to change:

Corn Soup; tasty as

Cauliflower and Walnut Soup; for the win!

Suddenly I couldn’t get enough soup. I was taking it to work for days afterwards; I am now a soup guy.

So after all these wonderful, colourful, flavourful meals I gave her a challenge; “Your next soup has to be a black or brown mess!” And thus was the origin of last nights scrumptious french onion soup. #OPDelivers

I knew she would be up for the challenge. After all this is the same woman who, after I informed her that I wanted my next dog to be a weird little thing, managed to find this creature who, is now a loving member of our little family:

So yeah, my wife is pretty awesome.
MM

Gods Danm you Autocro3ect!!1!

AutoCorrect.JPG

AutoCorrect, you have saved me in the past from so many mistakes. Over the past twenty years, hours upon hours of proof-reading have been simplified through your ingenious algorithm.

But sometimes AutoCorrect; sometimes you really frustrate me.

Take the above for instance; I missed the double ‘t’ in better. So what do you offer me? What common word must I have meant when I wrote ‘beter’? What slip of the finger could have produced this lexicographical anomaly?

No, I didn’t mean ‘biter’. Fan of beer that I am, this isn’t what I had in mind. Stretching the likelihood when you suggest ‘beater’ and ‘beret’. But it is your suggestion of ‘bitter’ that really bugs me. You know why? Because there is a bloody double ‘t’ in there. So you can clearly extrapolate and know that double ‘t’s exist as a thing to correct towards. There is a double ‘t’, but also an ‘i’ instead of an ‘e’! Give me credit where it is due AutoCorrect, and don’t take away one of my correct letters.

Seriously, ‘better’ is a common word, and I missed one letter.

You should know better AutoCorrect, both literally and figuratively.

Work rant complete.

MM

Book 25 for 2016: Waking Up

13768114_995036007271221_1342801662_n

I am an ardent atheist, and have spent a lot of time over the years engaging with religious people online. Though I think I have a pretty good handle on a lot of the arguments presented for religions, I always stumble when people start talking about spirituality.

What the hell do people mean when they say they have a spiritual experience, or that they are spiritual people? It has always seemed like some extraneous addition to the human condition, something that I can easily do without; akin to astrology, or having a favourite AFL team.

To me it has always seemed that those struggling to explain spiritual experiences are simply in need of a good thesaurus.

Recently however some other ideas connected with this have been showing up on my radar with increasing frequency. Constant posts on the web extol the virtues of meditation as confirmed by science, I read a great article the other day about how Buddhist thought can be applied to modern psychology theories, and one of my old university friends appears to have embraced the spiritual side of life with a bizarre  fervour.

So when Sam Harris’ book appeared in an Amazon Kindle sale, I couldn’t help but click buy. I have had some great success this past couple of years with realigning my thinking on topics by finding the right book on the subject. Whether it be The Compassionate Carnivore helping me to square the circle that is my taste for meat, but distaste for killing animals, or The Better Angels of Our Nature giving me a new optimistic view of humanity’s moral progress through history; I have learnt never to doubt the transformative powers of a well written bunch of words.

And while I don’t expect to become spiritual myself, I am hoping that by understanding this phenomenon in other people, it will give me a better understanding of how a thing like this fits into their lives.

#2016inbooks #spiritualshmiritual

Book 24 for 2016: Quirkology


One of my favourite channels to watch on YouTube is Vsauce. For those of you who haven’t watched any of these videos, i highly recommend you go check some of them out right away. They cover everything from mathematics, science, culture and art, but always from a perspective that you likely never looked at before. One video questions why your ‘bottom’ is actually in the middle of you, another questions when will will run out of music.
During a recent binge watch, I noticed this book popping up numerous times in the references, as well as the author’s name on other videos and articles. So when the book appeared at my local $10 book shop I couldn’t resist.

Quirkology refers to the multitude of scientific studies conducted by professional scientists into the strange little idiosyncrasies of life; the quirks. Things like why people’s name often reflect their occupation, or how people in dangerous situations will be more likely to find people sexually attractive. Or even how people are more likely to do well in a game of trivial pursuit if they are told beforehand to think about a professor (or conversely will do worse if they think about a football hooligan).

#2016inbooks #superfluoushashtag