Death and the Senator – Arthur C. Clarke

Wow… I just finished a fantastic short story by Arthur C. Clark, Death and the Senator. (The full story is available at that link.) The story of a Senator facing death, and through it, facing his own life was incredibly rich for me. I was impressed by the character’s conquering of his ego, as well as the realizations he makes that transform him to one who in the end was able to sincerely appreciate and admire the time and life he had to live. 

I think there is a lot to be learned from this story and I will look forward to revisiting it again in the future.

Pirx the Pilot – Stanisław Lem

I recently had a fantastic time reading both "Tales of Pirx the Pilot" and "More Tales of Pirx the Pilot" by Stanisław Lem. The stories were excellent in their sheer adventure as well as their thoughtfulness.  One of the aspects of these stories that stuck on my mind was how human the characters were.  By this I mean that the people of the story all had the same issues humans have today, that despite being in the settings of space and on other planets, they still had many of the same existential questions and daily struggles that are found in life today.

(This is something that I’ve enjoyed so much about Lem’s work that I have read(as well as in the stories of Ted Chiang), that the technological or fantastical aspects of the stories are not so much the center of the story, but rather they serve a much larger story that involve a broader human story. I think the speculative fiction and fantasy texts and shows/movies that I’ve most enjoyed all exhibit these qualities.)

I also found myself quite impressed that these stories of Pirx not only solicited these very probing questions for me, but that they were also highly entertaining adventures as well!  So far of the texts by Lem I have read I have very much enjoyed their thoughtfulness as well as their entertainment and humor, and I am already looking forward to reading more of his works.

Starting the Year by Organizing

So far this year has started off well with reorganization of myself.  I realized that one of the biggest problems in terms of focusing myself the last few months of 2008 coincided with my switching over to using a Blackberry and not having my calendar and tasks organized on it.  Considering how much the tools I had used on my Palm TX were important for managing myself, I decided to finally get things worked out on the Blackberry.  Originally I had resolved to write some custom software to do this, but after some exploration I finally settled on using Remember the Milk for managing my tasks, using the milksync program to synchronize my tasks to the site with my Blackberry, as well as using Google Sync to synchronize my calendar with Google Calendar.  This took some days to work it all out as I had to fix up my old calendar data once importing into Google Calendar, but I have been absolutely excited to finally have a good work process worked out for myself and a satisfactory set of tools to work with.

Although there is still a number of things left to do to finish the transition, I already I feel much better organized and more focused on my work.  I am looking forward to returning tomorrow to California and working on tidying up our apartment, and settling back in to move forward with all of my personal projects.