Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Short Book Reviews, Random Thoughts, and a Thank you.

Children of Our Children by Clifford D. Simak: One of the problems that readers have in today's world is that we are so much more used to large, heavy books with many characters, descriptions, and lavish lyrical prose. I am not saying that's a bad thing, but rather a symptom of the complex society we live in. Television shows have long stopped the ability to resolve all problems in 22 and a half minutes, but rather piece together the complicated lives of the characters through a whole season. Or, rather, the conclusions are not so wrapped up, but either take several episodes to resolve, or more interestingly, never do.

The casualties of this style of books and television are the books of the past that seem to be more Hemmingwayesque or that make the characters and description and put them behind the themes and ideas behind the book. Science fiction especially. It is obvious from watching the original Star Trek vs. the newer series, that the characterization is much more complex and the plot lines much more complicated in the newer shows. This is the fatal flaw in Children of our Children. It reads more of a serialized book, or a plot outline for a much more complex and richer novel. The characters meant nothing to me, nor really the plot or themes, only the resolution of the book, which, unfortunately, never came. It just ended. Not one of his better books, and much more worth a complete overhaul and a delving into the situations rather than skipping across the surface.

I also understand why my dad didn't like short stories, for the same reasons. I tried reading a selection or two from a sci-fi collection I had, and found the stories to be mere snippets of a story, with quick and rushed plots, characters, and ideas. Wholly unsatisfying. That is not to say that sci-fi short stories can't be wonderful. Read in high school literature books "Cold Equations" or Bradbury's "The Pedestrian." Amazing works of literature and science fiction!

StoneCrest Mall (actually, the landscaping company that services Stonecrest) is still watering their lawns everyday, which is ridiculous, seeing as how Georgia is on a complete outdoor water ban. What's worse is that they justify that by claiming they have to redo the sod now. Not that I care what my yard looks like, necessarily, but it's not fair that everyone else should have yellow yards while the corporations have dark green lawns.

If you work retail, you should have a demeanor about you that says, "I am here to serve the customers." There should be a vivaciousness about you that shows you actually care about the people you are helping and that there is nothing in the world you would rather be doing than helping them. In any retail job. From what I'm doing at Borders to the french fry flipper at McDonald's. I was driving back from Snellville when I stopped in at a Wendy's to get a quick bite to eat before work. I figured that going in would be quicker than drive thru, and Wendy's here instantly has your hamburger ready. It's called Fast Food. Well, I go in, and the cashier looks like she is a somnambulist, that she could care less about the people around her, and her memory was nothing. She kept looking at the monitor to see each and every thing that she had to put in the bag. It was incompetence personified. I was 15 minutes late for work, and more importantly, I know never to go to that Wendy's again. The other customers in line were fed up, too, and when they summoned the manager, she did little better than the person under her. That's not the way to keep customers.
And some people would think, "Well, that's fast food, you should expect that." Guess what, I don't. There should be the same courtesy and perceived helpfulness there as people selling furniture or cars or whatever. They should strive to sell the best hamburger and, more importantly, the best customer service they can give.
I just bought the coolest book. It's a collectors guide for all G1 Transformers, with pictures of each figure, all parts and pieces, and what not to do when playing with them (oops... most of my old series 1 toys are quite broken). An amazing book. Now they should do the same with the foreign toys and the newer sets.
Finally, I know I've said it elsewhere, but I'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends and brothers as I do. They make my life worth living, and I'll be there for them as long as I'm still kicking. No matter what. :)

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