Saturday, May 26, 2007

My Review (of Drop Dead, My Lovely)

My wife and I just got back from a week in Orlando where I was able to read a few short, "just for fun" books. The first of which, Drop Dead, My Lovely by Ellis Weiner is the story of a PI out of touch with the modern world. Following a head injury, Pete Ingalls awakes believing he is a tough talking, 1940s private investigator and goes forth to open his own PI company.

The story itself is cliched and not too inventive; Pete has a sexy, aspiring actress as his secretary and his clients are "dames in distress" with missing persons work. There's plenty to love and hate about the book, but what I kept in mind is that it's meant to be a fun read. The dialog, often touted in reviews as one of the high points of the book, is noir-ish and rich. However, the dialog is so over the top at times that it hits you over the head and you wonder if the author did this accidentally or intentionally, the intent is often not clear. That said, it's easy to find yourself snickering at the remarks and quips made by Ingalls.

My other grievances are the story lines that at times are difficult to follow as the characters of the clients are difficult to differentiate. I also felt that the author stretches a bit near the end of the book to tie everything together and make sense of the plot.

Those misgivings aside, I found Drop Dead, My Lovely to be a pleasurable, quick read. It was easy to get attached to the absurd character of Pete Ingalls and his intelligent, profanity wielding secretary. This is a recommended read for anyone looking for something fun and easy.

My Markers

My internship seems to be marked more by significant calls than anything else. This morning, my crew and I worked a cardiac arrest and things went exactly the way they were supposed to. It was like the validating run of my whole internship up to this point. I got the intubation on the first attempt, I ran the scene efficiently and smoothly, made good use of the firemen that were there, and literally made every effort to save this person's life. I talked with some of the firemen at the hospital afterwards and they told me that when they walked through the door, they could immediately tell that I was calm, in control, confident, and that I knew exactly what needed to be done. It was such a great thing to hear that I'm actually progressing as a Paramedic intern.

I can look back at certain calls during my internship and pinpoint certain runs where things clicked into place. My first field intubation made me realize that it's nothing like the OR. My first acute MI made me realize that I needed to step it up and be more efficient on scenes. When I went on my first overdose, things went great because everything from school just came together. Now, I've worked in the field as an EMT-Intermediate for 2 years already, which by no means makes my a seasoned veteran, but it definitely gave me a tremendous head start on my internship. On my evaluations that my preceptors note that I'm knowledgeable and skillful, but needed more challenging calls to progress. This morning was the call that marked the "confident intern" point of my internship. I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I'm not as self-doubting and apprehensive as I was a month ago.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Dice

US troops in Iraq are holding their first ever game convention for all allied troops and civilian contractors wanting a day of RPGing. Ziggurat Con will be held at Camp Adder/Tallil Airbase on June 9th. Trouble is, the troops are in short supply of gaming essentials, such as books and dice. Those wanting more information, or to make a donation of materials or money, check out the link below. Thanks to Fear the Boot for putting the word out there.

My Review (of Red Mars)

I just finished (well, two weeks ago anyways) Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars and I have to agree with most of the reviews of it that I've read. The story, taken as a whole, is fantastic. However, I put the book down for about three months because the story dragged so much in the middle. I found that some of the characters, especially that of Michel Duval and the entire section of the book dedicated to him, were boring and tedious. The environmentalist views spread throughout the book sometimes beat you over the head. And Robinson obviously uses the novel to promote his own political viewpoints, which is his prerogative.

What I enjoyed the most was how detailed and richly descriptive the novel is. Mars is literally brought to life as if Robinson had been there himself. The science is incredibly researched and believable and is a highlight of reading the book. The story is sweeping, spanning the journey to Mars by the first 100 explorers, the initial frontier settlements and terraforming efforts, to the relative overpopulation of the established city-settlements and the social and economical strife that follows. Robinson does a fantastic job of keeping the individual stories of all his characters distinct and easy to follow as he picks up one and leaves off another. And while frustrating to some, I enjoyed reading different sections of the story from different character's perspectives.

Overall a great, epic read and I'm looking forward to the following Green Mars and Blue Mars.