Ready Player One - Ernest Cline, a mini review

After seeing a bunch of online hype about this book, I bought a paperback copy of Ready Player One to keep me company on an international flight. It started off on the wrong foot, a gratuitous eighties trivia wankfest with no end in sight. Then the narrative started and it was pretty damn good and I read the whole thing in one sitting. I was an easy mark, stuck on a plane, but it was still pretty good and I am reading it again. The plot is almost irrelevant, (rich guy dies, creator of massive virtual world, creates virtual world competition to inherit his fortune, all based on his childhood in the eighties, story ensues), I was very comfortable with the all the cultural references having lived it. I was born the same year as the author (and the character who set up the eighties virtual universe) so I am right there in the sweetspot where all the D&D, movies and arcade and console games mentioned are very real to me. I am guessing if you were born between 1970 and 1975 you might feel the same way. I am not sure how much older or younger you would have to be for the cultural references to be enough lost on you that you might not enjoy the book. Its a good read, but it really relies on your familiarity with the eighties. You probably should have played some role playing games and spent some time in arcades and on atari consoles as well. So, uh, if you are about 37-42 and like easy reading Sci-fi and played some D&D and arcade games back in the day, you will probably love this. Otherwise, I have no guarantees. Ideally, you should buy this in ebook form. Even more ideally the ebook would have built in emulators so you could play all the games mentioned in the book, but I bet it does not. It should be a movie soon, so maybe you can just watch that, because at this level of meta entertainment, it should not matter all, there is no real literature being achieved here. Or just watch tron. Yeah! - new recommendation, just watch Tron or better yet, Tron Legacy, cause its pretty much the same thing as this book. But with more Jeff Bridges. Tron Legacy baby! Woo!


Gardening the mighty 1/5 acre

It has been a reasonable to great garden year. We had a reasonable winter, very dry late spring/early summer, and then a really good monsoon season starting in July and continuing through the present. The fire season up here was mercifully brief, especially compared to last years disaster. Fruit trees are doing great. The mule deer continue to be a problem and we put in some raised beds.

We had a sandy gopher and ant ridden patch in the middle of the front yard that we were able to grow some corn and pumpkins in last year. This year the ants were out of control and became extremely swarmy. After a couple of years of slowly escalating ant control methods we finally called an exterminator. I feel bad about that, but it allowed us to go in the front yard without getting swarmed and bitten by the ants. The ant/aphid combo was also killing all the aspen trees in the yard and many of the flowers. Anyhow, with that done, I blitz in the raised beds in a week and planted some rootbound pumpkin and squash that I had delayed planting. I also put in some beans to see if I could get something out of this summer.

The mule deer mowed down all of our tomatoes repeatedly (even though they were in pots on the porch), until we wrapped them in chicken wire. We have a few corn coming up. We got lots of apricots, one peach and are in the process of harvesting apples and plums.

Anyhow onto the photo dump:
Apricot gathering in early July:


It was a good, not great apricot year. We at many fresh, froze the rest for smoothies and ice cream. more apricot phots here

The raised bed.
Helper spawn helps clear and flatten

Scoping exercises

More betterer

Gopher guard, 1/4 hardware cloth

Second layer

Inspector Spawn making sure I did a good job

Fill with sand, dirt, compost etc...

Mule deer help trim everything
Mule deer in the yard

Rain and boots and family and cats help grow the squashes
Rainy day and the raised bed

Solitary peach of goodness
Lone peach

Apples are about ready
Apple city, man

Plums are finally coming in
Plums and family

delicious yet a touch sour still
Plums, just about ready