Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Path of Daggers

The Path of Daggers re-read at Tor Publishing

The Dreams and Speculation Discussion

I have to confess that I enjoyed this book more than the previous three books. I find that I'm more engaged in the good vs. evil context, and I'm less repelled, confused, or bored. That's not to say that all is good, but I feel more tolerant. Is it just me? Have I become more... submissive?

One of the most tedious aspects of the Wheel of Time (so far) is the unreflective dominance/bondage/submission theme. But I felt at least in Path of Daggers that the Aes Sedai played out the theme within a larger cultural background, more context-conscious and less prurient.  The reader sees the Aes Sedai clinging to the claims of knowledge and wisdom in their elaborate hierarchies even when actual knowledge is absent or lost, and that since the Asha'man (male channelers) and Dragon Reborn have become realities, the Aes Sedai are losing their certainties and must become more individually engaged in problems of knowledge and action, not merely asserting dominance and superiority. In other words, they seem more human. The scenes of the worst cringing, by the Kin (the not-so-secret-after-all ex-Aes-Sedai society) are alleviated by the mockery they suffer from the Atha'an Miere Windfinder and Wave Mistress channelers, who as outsiders (with their own deeply hierarchical dominance culture) aren't especially impressed by the Aes Sedai. The Forsaken have a more peripherally menacing role in this book, so we're not entertained by extended gratuitous torture scenes, nor are there many detail-relishing Aes Sedai debasing scenes, and Egwene doesn't have her bare bottom spanked, thank the Light.

I had the distinct impression that Path of Daggers benefitted from judicious editing, rather more than Crown of Swords. There were cases where I suspected that would-be drawn-out scenes were cut down to paragraph summaries — quite a relief.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Duplex printing for Brother HL-2170W laser printer on Mac OS X

I've been disappointed with this printer's lack of at least manual duplexing: you know the routine, print even pages, flip paper, refeed in the right direction, print odd pages. I use the same printer on my Windows bootcamp/VM, and that driver has a nice set of instructions and pictures, showing the user how to feed the paper in easy steps.

Anyway, after another stint of research, I found out where this is accomplished in the Mac OS X driver.

How to print duplex on Brother HL-2170W printer on Mac OS X

In short, the even/odd pages setting is under Paper Handling, not Layout.

Manual duplex printing from the paper tray
  1. Choose "Print" from the File menu and open the Print dialogue.
  2. Choose the "Paper Handling" option in the Presets.
  3. Choose "Even numbered pages" and click on Print.
  1. After the even pages are printed, remove them from the output tray, flip over the paper and place back into the paper tray, so that the printed pages face up, with the bottom edge first.
  2. Again choose the "Paper Handling" option in the Presets as you did in the Step 2.
  3. Choose "Odd numbered pages" and click on Print.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Photos: Rosalie and me, and Dad, 1964-1968

A few amusing photos that Rosalie pulled out of her album.

She gave them to Dad, he scanned them, and sent them to me.

Me and my sister: our own culture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review: The Dying Earth

Please read and comment on my review of the audio book The Dying Earth by Jack Vance, published at Dreams and Speculation.
The Dying Earth influenced a whole generation of science fiction and fantasy writers who grew up in the 1950’s and 60's.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My life as an avatar, part 1: Kesmai

My trolls

My stuffed dolls
Since childhood, I always dreamed of being other than myself, being a better, stronger being, in a more beautiful, nobler world. As a child, this usually involved pretending to be a wild horse (yes, girls love horses) or enacting made-up dramas and comedies with stuffed dolls, trolls, or even Corgi and Matchbox cars. Any obect that spoke its personality to me could be a player in an impromptu, creative, dramatic experience.
My Corgi cars

I stumbled into a job at Kesmai in 1993, one of the earliest developers of multiplayer online games, where I discovered the joys and pitfalls of alternate realities. I became a devoted player of Legends of Kesmai, a thief named SoSneaky.
Source for this LOK screenshot: Shadow Bay Sentinel
Legends grew out of Island of Kesmai, an earlier MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), for which Compuserve customers --this was before the World Wide Web-- paid an expensive hourly rate for the privilege. It was an enhanced MUD (multi-user dungeon) that used an ASCII character generated map to enhance the mainly text-based interface. Remember that early computer monitors were monotone and did not display graphics (with the Atari and Commodore 64 as notable exceptions.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: The Name of the Wind -- and yay, I'm a guest blogger!

Thank you TJ at Dreams & Speculation for allowing me to be a guest reviewer! More incentive for me to read and write.

My review of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is here.

TJ has a lovely, popular book review blog focused on sci-fi and fantasy genres. I'm very impressed with what she's put together; she must be a reading and writing machine.