March 9th, 2005


Alas, Poor Pirates...

After a good start, I'd slacked a bit on the stationary bike. Didn't get on it at all last week. I have done much better so far this week. Three nights in a row, about 20 miles total. I could easily have gone longer, as my legs have been fine. The main problem has been acclimating my butt to the seat.

While pedaling tonight, I was watching an ESPN report on the just announced congressional hearings on steroids in baseball. Seven players (Canseco, McGwire, Giambi, Sosa, Schilling, Palmeiro, and Frank Thomas) have been subpoenaed to appear. I find it curious that Schilling and Thomas are on the list. Thomas has been outspoken that there's been a problem for a while, so maybe they want him to name names. I find it incomprehensible that they don't want to talk to Barry Bonds, but apparently Barry gets a free pass even when he's not batting these days.

Later, I was watching the Hall play favored Georgetown in the Big East tournament, and was quite hopeful for awhile. They had an eleven point lead with ten minutes to go. Alas, their point guard is a freshman, and thus subject to freshman mistakes. Georgetown came back to take the lead. Still, the Hoyas gave the Hall a golden opportunity to tie or take the lead with 17 seconds left, but the Hall gave it right back, and lost by six.

I didn't expect them to win, as this was certainly a rebuilding year, but blowing that big a lead really sucks.

I'm currently reading Hellspark, by Janet Kagen, a book I probably got accidently from the SF Book Club. Or not. It's entirely possible I ordered it, since it's a novel about first contact, a subject I've always been interested in, featuring an interstellar trader, and sounds similar in tone to Poul Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn books, which I liked a lot. Anyway, it was sitting unread in a box for years and years until I finally put stuff on my shelves, so I decided to give it a try. I note that it's gotten excellent reviews at Amazon, so that makes me hopeful.

It's been slow going. All of the characters introduced so far come from different worlds and cultures, and even are possibly different species (it's unclear about that last so far), with differing languages and customs. Kagen spends a lot of time on the subtleties of communication between the various cultures, detailing things such as the body language and gestures that are part of that communication. It's all very immersive, but I wonder if there's going to be a point to all of it. I'm hoping it's valid build up to show the potential problems to be faced in dealing with a completly new species, and will be very disappointed if it's all just chrome, because she's really loading it on. The other problem I'm having is that she's using an idea I've had for years for one of the novels I'll never write, and I'm envious. Also, now if I ever do write it, I'll feel like a copycat.