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Digital Sextant : Blog archives
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{ Monthly Archives } March 2009

In which I am “geek friendly”

From Discover magazine’s science fiction blog: The geek-friendly choices include Georgetown University’s  “Philosophy and Star Trek,” the University of California at Irvine’s “Science of Superheroes” (plenty of new material for that syllabus these days), “Myth and Science Fiction: Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lord of the Rings” at Centre College, UC Berkeley’s “The Strategy of […]

Qimo 4 kids

This weekend, I installed the Linux Ubuntu distribution Qimo 4 Kids on a computer for Avery.  It’s got a cool, cute interface and looks like it will be great for her.  There are big buttons right on the bottom (like the Mac Dashboard thingy) that lead to the games and other 3-year-old friendly stuff.  She […]

Sort-of Live blogging my tax return adventure

While it’s installing, TurboTax says I can connect to the TurboTax community for advice.  Yeah, that’s what I want — a social networking community of other dunderheads to help me mess up my own taxes. After a few initial questions, it says “TurboTax is the right software for you.”  I wonder what conditions it would […]

The Crime Writer

by Greg Hurwitz; narrated by Scott Brick The eponymous protagonist finds himself in a hospital, amnesia clouding his memory, homicide detectives claiming he’d murdered his former fiance.  One murder trial later, he’s out and finds himself framed for another murder.  This guy just can’t catch a break. Hurwitz oscillates between fairly prosaic descriptions of the […]

News from traveling family

It’s a work weekend here in Chicago, because Jenny and the kids have gone to Michigan for a visit.  Jenny related this story from the weekly breakfast Jenny’s mom has with her grandfather (thus, Avery’s great-grandfather): As they dug in at Denny’s, Avery reviewed her relationship to the men around the table.  “Great Grandpa,” she […]

Some additional thoughts on Rock Band

In a short break from my work day, I played a bit of Rock Band 2 today. Some new thoughts. The RB2 website is annoying because you can’t delete unused or lost bands. Since we had our data crash, the original bands we made are stuck there. Lame. But there is a photo generator, which […]

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

written and narrated by Chelsea Handler I listened to Handler’s book on my trip to Minnesota, a nice drive that took way too long and led to some “amusing” exchanges between Avery and I.  The book is pretty funny, overall, and Handler’s storytelling style reminds me a bit of David Sedaris without so much erudition.  […]

Tickets for Death

Radio interview finally available

A couple weeks ago, I was interviewed on WBEZ, Vocalo.org radio show.  Here’s my live, on-air performance. You can listen to or download the appearance below.  It’s roughly 88MB, 50 minutes long or so. Brendan Riley’s Radio Appearance on WBEZ.

In which I lose all my comic book geek credibility

because I really liked Watchmen. For those of you who haven’t read it, here’s my short version of why I liked Watchmen.  When Paul Verhoeven made Robocop and Starship Troopers, he was both parodying and reveling in the dreck their genres demanded.  I chalk most of the things I didn’t like about Watchmen up to […]

2009-03-22 Tweets

Everybody’s working for Spring Break. Four classes to go. # Sooooo much email # I got off at the wrong train stop today. It’s gonna be a long one. # My weezer CDs, they hardly get played; my obsession with Ani DiFranco has ended; if my task is anything certain these days, I would prob […]

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe I re-read this book in preparing to teach it for my New Millennium Studies class this semester and enjoyed it still.  I’m most interested here, however, to talk about the role of the title in shaping the book.  Unlike many books I read, whose titles are more prosaic in describing the shape […]

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On the road again

In Minnesota.  Weather’s nice.  Be jealous.


Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, narrated by Simon Prebble I was certainly interested in this book anyhow, but I listened to it because a reader strongly recommended Simon Prebble’s narration of it.  Oddly enough, the other time I’ve listened to a Prebble audio book was The Bounty, another book about the sea, shipwrecks, […]

Tickets for Death