I’m been in Hotchkiss, Colorado with Amy the past few days enjoying the run up to Christmas. Amy has family here (on the western slope of Colorado near Grand Junction) and we’ve been hanging out in this town of 800 doing what you’d expect.
It’s pretty useful to head over the continental divide every now and then and remember what small town America is like. The houses do NOT have high speed Internet (so – I’m typing this at Weekender Sports – the local sporting good store owned by Amy’s uncle – surrounded by all the snowmobiles and guns one could ever want.) I managed to find the local coffee shop which does a nice Starbucks imitation, but I’m yet to find any democrats. That said, the people here are delightful and I always am welcomed as family, which takes the edge off this cranky jewish boy at Christmas time (years of therapy haven’t managed to cure me of my annoyance at not getting gifts on December 25th and I’m too stubborn to just accept fate.)
So – I’ve been reading.
I started with The Runes of the Earth – Stephen Donaldson’s newest book (book seven) in the Thomas Covenant Chronicles. This sent me back to eight grade sitting in study hall devowering Donaldson’s books between fantasizing about how I was going to kick all my friends butts at Dungeons and Dragons. Donaldson has mastered the epic fantasy – I’ve read them all – and I think he’s the best (Zelazny comes in a close second for me.) Thankfully Donaldson decided to write “the final trilogy” – this is the first book and it lived up to my expectations. If you are a fantasy fan, give Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant Chronicles a try – but start with the first one – Lord Foul’s Bane
Next up – Wil Wheaton’s magnificent Just A Geek. I’m not a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, so I missed the whole Wil Wheaton / Wesley Crusher thing. I saw Wil’s book referred to by enough bloggers that I grabbed it one day just to see what it is about. Wil is great – he mixes a real book, his blogs, and his personal evolution in a captivating, hilarious, and endearing way.
Since Wil managed his own Movable Type-based web site, I decided I should learn PHP (since I recently PHP-enabled my site.) PHP 5 was a good start and – as expected – PHP is pretty simple, but extremely powerful. Now – I’ve just got to figure out what I want to do with it.
Jenny sent me the publishers proof of Leg The Spread. This is a fascinating romp through the Chicago Merc (and other Chicago exchanges) from a woman’s point of view. While it reinforces a truism that male traders are generally disgusting creatures, it’s extremely well written, gets underneath the personalities in the trading pit, and highlights a handful of incredibly powerful women and how they’ve adapted and succeeded in a male-dominated, testosterone-laden scene. I’ve never been to the Merc, but whenever I see it on CNBC, I’ll think of it differently.