katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Played enough Yahoo! Chess to boost my rating up to the high 1400s, where it had been a while ago, though whenever I play when sleepy it has the tendency to fall to the low 1400s or even mid-1300s. Also played enough Yahoo! Go to know that I still suck at it. :-)

Anyway, here's with the first book review:

Ursula Le Guin and Tales from Earthsea )

This whole commentary was written when half-asleep, so if any sentence doesn't make sense you'll have to forgive me for it, until I see it and correct it tomorrow. Cheers.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Last couple weeks I have been contributing again to Wikipedia, which I had mostly neglected the months before. A week ago I created the article on Color revolutions (though many others have edited it since ofcourse) - today I made a pretty little map for it.

I'm not very fond of the tulip pic I found but I rather like the rose.


In that website project I'm doing (and which I've completed for a long time now really except that they've not sent me the final texts I need to insert), supervisor told me to make some of the photos (at the photographer's request) so they can't be downloaded. Disabling right-click and the like. Fool's game really -- all pics can be downloaded in *some* way, if only by grabbing screenshots -- and supervisor knew that as well so she just told me to make it so they can't be downloaded *easily*. Still I went to it -- blah blah, disabling right-click, blah blah, making photo that it can't be downloaded with "saved as", that it can't be dragged from the screen to the desktop -- even so that its url couldn't be seen at first glance by someone inexperienced reading the source code of the page. Supervisor would be happy with much less I'm sure, but I took it as a game and went the extra mile. Easy enough.

Only problem is my annoyance at Netscape's incompatibility with IE over some of the most fundamentals of Javascript - like disabling right-click. Still checking to see if (like IE) Netscape and Mozilla allow such disabling to happen only over one specific image (because disabling it over the whole page is *gah* utterly obnoxious).


I read recently "The Left Hand of Darkness", which is the second Ursula Le Guin novel I've read (or perhaps the fifth, if we count the four stories in the EarthSea volume I have as separate items -- as they probably indeed should be seen).

My impression of it, and my first impression of Ursula Le Guin's plotting as a whole: A crescendo who's climax falls just a tiny bit short. The most interesting elements of the story are the ones she never really delves into. In Earthsea, I'd like us to see a bit more about the nature of names, about dragons. About the ways of magic itself -- but it largely remained in the background. The story tells us that there are many ways for wizards to discover names, but we're not told even one, even though Ged exhibits the power. Dragons appear at times but even at the end we know little about them and what makes them tick. Vaguely disappointing. And in "the Left Hand of Darkness", the things that intrigued me most were the ways that planet Winter would change with their joining of the Ekumen and the foretelling abilities. But both remain undelved into.

Exceptionally cool worldmaker... but her actual stories keep on leaving me vaguely unsatisfied.

Octavia Butler is a new author I've read (two books so far "Wild seed" and "Dawn") and with her the feeling is similar but different. Ursula Le Guin reaches an end with her stories, even if the middle doesn't dig into all the points I'd have liked her to have dug. Octavia Butler on the other hand at the end of both those novels felt me unsure that it was really the end. Sure some events happened that mark it "the end", but events of similar magnitude and importance had happened at many random times throughout the series -- many points where Octavia Butler could have marked her ending -- even though it'd have been just as vaguely disappointing.

In this case though it's not even the sense I get from Le Guin -- namely that she doesn't delve enough. In Octavia Butler's case I kept on feeling she was retreading old ground throughout the story.


No April's Fools today, though I *had* planned to write about the way the Da Vinci Code talked about Jesus' Martian ancestry and the Illuminati/Vatican conspiracy to hide that little fact. I then thought that people may actually think I was spoiling the actual content of the book and get mad at me for ruining their pleasure. Or else they might think I was spoiling the actual content of the book and not read it themselves. :-)

Read it. No Martians involved, I promise. Cool story, though the ending disappointed me a tiny bit. I may talk about some more in a future post.


katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Aris Katsaris

July 2011

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