Book Giveaway

I have a couple copies of my book that I'm going to give away.

Giveaway The First...

I have made a list identifying my top 25 all-time favorite comedy films.  It's highly unscientific and I would likely have a different opinion if I re-made the list now, but it's saved and will remain as I listed them.  The first person to add a comment to this posting that can name 3 of the top 5 wins a book.

The Rules:

  • 1 entry per person per day (Multiple entries will be deleted and disqualified)
  • You can't win if you won during the last giveway (Seriously, if your table is still unsteady after using the last copy of my book that you won to shim under the leg, then it's probably time for a new table rather than another copy of my book).

If I don't have a winner by 4:00pm CST Friday (which I think is unlikely) then I'll randomly select a winner from all the entries.


Four Down, One To Go

Wednesday marked the completion of my fourth exam in my ongoing quest for MCITP certification. The test du jour was MCTS 70-643 Configuring Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure. Seriously... that's the name they came up with. As I had done with the three previous exams, my primary study material was the Microsoft Training Kit. This book was even more to-the-point the than those that I read for the other exams. I think that's what I like most about this series of books; They're direct and focused, while still giving an overall broad view of the subject matter. -- read the full post at / --
Read more

A Favorite Zen Poem

Just wanted to share one of my favorite poems.


Crimson-weave carpet,

silk reeled off select cocoons and boiled in clear water,
sun-bleached and steeped in dyes of crimdigo flower,

dyes turning thread crimson, indigo depths of crimson,
then woven to grace the Hall of Widespread Fragrance.

The Hall of Widespread Fragrance is a hundred feet long,
and the carpet's crimson weave will stretch end to end,

its iridescence soft and deep, its fragrance everywhere,
plush weave and mirage blossoms beyond all compare,

awaiting beautiful women who come to sing and dance,
gauze stockings and embroidered slippers sinking deep.

Even those carpets from T'ai-yuan seem stiff and rough,
and Ch'eng-tu rugs thin, their embroidered flowers cold:

they'll never compare to these, so warm and sumptuous
and sent each year from Hsuan-chou in the tenth month.

Hsuan-chou's grand Prefect orders a new pattern woven,
saying they'll spare no effort on the emperor's behalf,

and then a hundred reverent men haul it into place,
the weave so thick and silk so lavish it can't be rolled up.

Can you fathom what it means, O prefect of Hsuan-chou:
for ten feet of carpet
a thousand taels of silk?

Floors don't feel the cold- people do.  People need warmth.
No more floors dressed in clothes stolen from the people.

--Po Chu-I (772-846AD)


Anyone Know a Film Director?

OK, time to talk about something important. Something that has been on my mind for the past few days and I think it's time we all just face it head on. I'm talking, of course, about Moonraker . Remember the film from the late 70's? If not, you're one of the lucky ones.  Unfortunately, I remember it. I remember it as a steaming pile of disorganized crap.

    At the time, I didn't think too much about.  I've always been a tremendous fan of the James Bond franchise and I just saw this as an unfortunate mistake.  But, earlier this year I decided to set about reading all the original Ian Fleming novels.  When I got to book 3, "Moonraker", I was blown away.

    The character development, depictions of London, and the relatively tight geographic setting for the novel should have made it a perfect candidate for film adaptation. Instead, the powers the be decided that post-WWII tensions between Britain and Russia were not relevant enough... and also because of a little film called Star Wars, they decided to move Moonraker into outer space.  I know, it sounds like such a good idea, how could it have gone so wrong?

    So yesterday while I was discussing theme songs from James Bond movies with my wife (seriously, those are the kinds of things we talk about) I began to feel cheated.  Cheated by the 1979 incarnation of Moonraker.  This could have been... no, SHOULD have been a great movie.  But, I'm an optimist and I don't think it's too late.  After my initial skepticism with Daniel Craig, I'm completely on board with him as the hard-ass Capt. James Bond from Fleming's novels.  He's the obvious choice for a film version of Moonraker.  I'm not even going to call it a remake because the first attempt was so far off target as to be an unrecognizable effort.

    I'd love to see it stay fairly true to the original novel with the 1950's setting.  Movies don't have to be currently politically relevant to be good.  

    Time for casting.  I haven't ironed out the cast yet, but I'm thinking about it. Feel free to share any of your ideas and opinions in the comments section. Here are my thoughts so far and I'll follow up in the future as things begin to flesh out.

    We know (or at least I do) that Craig IS Bond.  That's the easy part.  And, if we're going to stay true to the novel, then that means that Judi Dench won't be our "M".  Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing but respect for her since she took on the role, but for our return to the Blades club we'll need a "new" M.

    Beyond Bond, the second most important piece of casting is for the villain, Sir Hugo Drax.  The 1/2 German 1/2 British hero-turned-villian is an amazingly crafted character in the novel and deserves some thought as to who could step into the cinematic role.  I'm already imaging the card playing scenes at Blades between M, Bond, and Drax!

    Next up is Gala Brand; the girl that Bond didn't get.  She's a British special agent assigned as the assistant to Hugo Drax.

    Also, we have the roles of Willy Krebs and Dr. Walter to fill.  But, no Jaws and no Chang as, thankfully, they were not a part of the original story.

    That's it.  A sparse few major characters and only a few settings, but I believe this could still be a great movie.