2011/09/28

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch,
Narrator:
Genre: Nonfiction
Year: 2008  
Acquired: Library
Rating: 4.5/5


Book Description from Barnes and Noble:
A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"—wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

Book Review:

This is a book I think that everyone should read sometime in their lifetime.In the book Randy Paush is diagnosed with 10 tumors in his pancreas and has only months to live. If this happened to you what would you do? There are many people that would feel sorry and be down on themselves. Randy displays that is not what he did. He lived life to fullest and in the moment even after he found out about his condition.

I did identify with him every so often throughout this book. I am I huge sports nut, a complete geek as well as father of a daughter. If I were to go now, Aqua Girl would have little memory of me as well. This is what was hard for me throughout this book. I like that he made DVDs of messages to his children as well as videos of them spending time together.

The Last Lecture shows people to enjoy life and will the little things really matter in the end. To me this book changed me of how I look at life and put so many things in perceptive. 

I am glad that I left early for work a week or so ago and went to my local library and took a look at the audiobooks. I saw this book and figured i will give it a try. Now looking back on it I am glad that I made the choice to read this breathtaking book.

2011/09/25

The Two Towers and Return of the King Schedule

 With the Fellowship of the Ring all finished. So now you may ask when do we start the 2nd book. Little Red Reviewer did a great job splitting up the next book for us. Carl from Stainless Steel Dropping  kindly agreed to host a discussion section for the rest of the books we will be reading in the read a long. 

Here is the reading schedule:
 The group can start reading October 8th, earlier if you want to.

The Two Towers
part 1 - Departure of Borimir  -  Helmsdeep            Discussion October 15
part 2  - The Road to Isengard - Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit     Discussion October 22
part 3 - The WIndow on the West - The Choices of Master Samwise     Discussion October 29



The group can start reading November 5th, earlier if you want to.

The Return of the King
part 1 - Minas Tirith - The Battle of the Pelennor Fields     Discussion November 12 
part 2 - The pyre of Denethor - The steward and the King   Discussion November 19
part 3 - Many Partings - The Grey Havens                          Discussion November 26 

It is not to late to join the Read along either comment on this post or over at Little Red Reviewer or Stainless Steel Dropping. Go to twitter and use hashtag #LOTRreadalong.  We are all glad that you could join in with a great group read.

2011/09/24

Fellowship of the Ring Section 3 Group Read





Gandalf: I once knew every spell in all the tongues of Elves... Men... and Orcs.
Pippin
: What are you going to do, then?
Gandalf
: Knock your head against these doors, Peregrin Took! And if that does not shatter them, and I am allowed a little peace from foolish questions, I will try to find the opening words.

Well here we go everyone we have made past some obstacles with Frodo and the Company. This section covers the end of Fellowship of the Ring, and was even more eventful than the last section.  Frodo's quest is suddenly so much bigger than himself, so much bigger than anything he could have imagined. The consequences of failure are dire, yet the consequences of success have their downsides too.

Please remember not to post your discussions until Saturday. 

on twitter?  use #LOTRreadalong
Join in anytime by expressing interesting in the comments of this post, or tweeting myself or Little Red Reviewer.

In this section, much of the journey is spent in the darkness of Mines of Moria. Here this section tests the Gandalf from the start and, continue to test him until the end.There was so much to keep you on edge of your seat with Gandalf battling the Balrog. After both of them fall down, then the Company lead by Aragorn is leading the way through the Misty Mountains. 

This section to me at least supersedes section 2. I cannot believe the amount of action and debate that company id put through especially after that they last Gandalf. 

What what others thought:
 Stainless Steel Droppings
Little Red Reviewer 
Book Den 

Questions or discussion topics from Andrea over at Little Red Reviewer.


Gandalf and the Balrog, just Wow.  Just a short scene, but oh so intense!  With their mentor gone, how will the group go on?  Even when they do reach Lothlorien, no one seems to know how to get where they are going.  They had been dependent on Gandalf making the decisions, and now he is gone.

I think that with Aragorn assuming the command of the company now and helping calling all the shots for the group. There is no Gandalf it is going to be quite something now, but Aragorn was leading the group earlier throughout the book with no Gandalf present. 

I think that group did rely on the great Gandalf a bit to much at times. In this instance, it now shows that the group has to find out and choose which way is going to be the best for the group from the information that the company gathers throughout the quest. Then they have to choose if they will use the info or not.

Galadriel and her Ring. She knows the Ring of power must be destroyed, but with it's destruction comes the de-powering (is that a word?) of her Ring as well. The Elves must leave Middle Earth or forget who and what they are. For her, this is a no win situation. Frodo's success effectively means the banishment of the Elves in Middle Earth. I wonder if that makes him more likely to do everything in his power to succeed, or less?

I think that Frodo knew that there would some people(species) that would not all benefit from success in the quest.It like life basic physics: When every action there is an equal reaction.  Galadriel state that she would prefer the success in the mission.After their discussion Frodo knowsGaladriel would like the see Sauron to be defeated. Rather than see Sauron ruling all of Middle Earth with his ruthless evil.

I do thin that it was admirable that Frodo offered her the Ring. Even she knows the risk of having the Ring in her possession. Galadriel knows that the Ring would corrupt her as the power of Ring clouds Sauron thoughts and agenda.

Boromir - I didn't trust from way back at the Council at Rivendell. His conversation with Frodo at the end of Fellowship made him look like a know-it-all with a world view of colonialism and imperialism. Is this Tolkien taking a shot at the old fashioned British world view, or am I reading way, way too much into it?

It is hard to trust Bormir, it has seemed like that he has had his own agenda since he appeared with the Fellowship. I think it is an old fashion British view as well. It seems like that he want to fight now. In that, Boromir is trying to convince Frodo to use the Ring as a weapon. This is something that Gandalf and the Council advised the ring NOT to be used as by any means.

After spending some time in Lothlorien, Sam realizes the Elves aren’t quite as scary or as strange as he first thought. I wonder if when he gets back to the Shire if he’ll realize the Hobbits in the next town aren’t quite as strange as he once thought.  I really don’t think this is an overt “message” story, but I do wonder if Tolkien didn't mind throwing in a little message of “those folks in the next valley aren’t as different as you think.

I like this thought right here. This is a great life lesson for everyone and not just Sam. Just because somebody is from the otherside of the railroad track does not mean that the person, elf or hobbit should be valued any less. Tolkien did show many people to judge a book by what is inside and not what is outside. 


The individual in which that you are associating with may have more than offer if you would take time to get to know them. I do think if Sam does get back to the Shire will think that Hobbit from the next town over are not any more strange than Shire Hobbits.



I only stared reading fantasy a few years ago, and I keep running into this undercurrent of choice.  Bilbo has to choose to give up the Ring.  Frodo has to choose to take on the quest and be the Ring bearer. Even Boromir is choosing how he feels about the Ring and what it could bring him.  In the end, this is all coming down to how we choose to live our lives from moment to moment. 


Right here is a geat case that shows that our lives are greatly impacted with a few choices select. Just look at how Bilibo's and Frodo's lives have been deeply impact from one chose of Bilbo finding and hiding the ring. Frodo deciding to be the Ring Bearer. Frodo is riding out to the end and try to destroy the Ring or all this will be for nothing in the end.

And the obligatory: what was your favorite part of this section?
  


 I am sure that I am not alone in this one. I liked the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog. It was full of action and good verses evil. It is sad that Gandalf technically did win the battle, but the Balrog's whip caught him by the leg to drag him down as well. I know I only choose one this time. This is the one that turns the whole book in a totally different direction. I do think that Tolkien has so many life lessons in just this book.






2011/09/17

Fellowship of the Ring Group Read Section 2

"It is no small thing to have come so far, and through such dangers, still bearing the Ring."

Welcome everyone to the second section of the Fellowship of the Ring read a Long. part one is here, if you would like to take a look at the post.

This week is my turn to decide what to ask the group. I could not believe that I had to narrow it down to 5 question. I could have asked so many more in this action packed part of The Fellowship of the Ring. I know that you have lives outside of books(scary thought), I did not want it to seem like a term paper or anything like that. This past week read chapters At the Sign of the Prancing Pony thru The Ring Goes South. Discussion posts are not to go up any sooner than Saturday. We( Little Red ReviewerStainless Steel Droppings or Geeky Daddy) you are added to the link lists so that everyone can see your bloggy thoughts as well.

Who twitters here? I do and if you do as well use the hashtag #LOTRreadalong for discussing this group read.
Other  Discussions:
 Little Red Reviewer
All BookedUp
Stainless Steel Droppings
The Written World
My Rammblings
Blue Fairy's Bookshelf
Mithril Wisdom

 Here are the questions below:
1. What was your initial thoughts of Strider/Aragorn when Hobbits met up with him in The Prancing Pony? Did you think that he was linked with the Riders?
2.What was the biggest surprised to you during this section of the Fellowship of the Ring?
3.Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers of the history events of the war that is upon the Fellowship?
4. How far do you think you would have lasted if you were Frodo and nearly becoming a Rider?
5. As dangerous quest unfold to become, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo til the end?

Here are the answers to my own questions:


1. What was your initial thoughts of Strider/Aragorn when Hobbits met up with him in The Prancing Pony? Did you think that he was linked with the Riders?
I was not that sure about him at first. I did feel the same way that Sam felt toward Strider(whatever his name is) just not that sure if I could trust him.At the Prancing Pony he was made to be an outsider and did not feel all that welcomed there at the inn. So how could the hobbits and readers really trust him from how he was being portrayed.

Well yes I did feel that Strider was connected to the Riders. Well that is until the later that the Butterbur failed to deliver to Frodo and the party. After reading Gandalf's letter then I was assured that Strider was the the travel guide that the hobbits needed.The last thing that the hobbits needed was to get themselves in anymore pickles. He was truly there to help the hobbit out and not lead them into some kind of a trap.

2.What was the biggest surprised to you during this section of the Fellowship of the Ring?

The biggest surprise to me in this section was finding out the true identity if Aragorn. He is the heir of Isildur. Yes the same Isildur that cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand. That right there just through me into a loop. It got me on the edge of my seat and wonder out loud. "Huh..now I did not see that whatsoever."

3.Do you like that Tolkien goes in depth and tells the readers of the history events of the war that is upon the Fellowship?

The  way that I grew up, yes I love this historical part of Tolkien. This is in my element, I grew up in a household(well my dad at least) that try to help you find out why we are dealing with the issues that is currently bestowed upon us.I
 like the stories that whomever it is and finding out when the hobbits and company are really try to get rid of the ring in the first place.

4. How far do you think you would have lasted if you were Frodo and nearly becoming a Rider?

I think that I am strong willed and have a high tolerance for pain. I do have about as good as luck that Frodo and the Hobbits have as well. I feel that I may have last as long as Frodo did with the help of his friends trying to get him the medical attention that he needed.

Well i would like to think that I would have lasted as long as Frodo anyways.

5. As dangerous quest unfold to become, the other hobbits want to stick by Frodo til the end. Would you sacrifice yourself and stick with Frodo til the end?

Who thought of a question like this I would like to know. Oh yeah it was me..:) As close as Frodo and the other hobbits are, I do not think any of them would even think of about leaving the party. They started this together and will end it together.

As for me, I would sacrifice myself to go with Frodo and it would matter what we would come up against. As long as we could get the quest accomplished I would be at  Frodo to the ends of Middle Earth.

Other Thoughts:
I thought that this sections was so much more serious than the first section. It seems that the fellowship is really starting to get down to business. I just could not believe how much more action there was in this part of the Fellowship of the Ring.

I surely hope that you come to join us with the last section of the Fellowship of the Ring. i just wonder what new things will we learn about Frodo, the Ring and anything that relates to the Fellowship. I hope to hear from you then.
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2011/09/15

jalapenos are hot

This is what my daughter did about week or so ago. She is 15 months and we(my wife and I) were preparing dinner. In that Aquagirl found some jalapeno seeds that feel onto the floor. In that decided to eat them. Kids I tell you they eat anything.
After finding out how hot it was, she was not a happy camper. So I got her a nice bowl of ice cream before she went to bed. Hey who doesn't like a bowl or ice cream before bed time. I wish that she would learn from her expeiece in this event.

I am pretty sure that she will do it again, but maybe think twice if it looks like a seed.

2011/09/10

Fellowship of the Ring Part 1

 Welcome to the Lord of the Rings Read a Long. During this month we as a group will be discussion The Fellowship of the Ring(FOTR). If you do a post, leave your link in the comments, and Little Red Reviewer and myself will edit our co-hosting pages to include a direct link to your post.Are you one twitter? use hashtag  #LOTRreadalong

This past week, we read the first 8 chapters, of the  FOTR. The kind Little Red Reviewer took care of the questions this time.In the FOTR the first 8 chapters we covered.  Here we go:

1. Hobbits seem to have songs for everything!  I didn't realize this was a musical. . . . how are you liking all the songs? 
2. I love that we learn about Gollum and his past so early on. It gives a dark and foreboding (dare I say, perilous?) feeling to the whole thing. Were you surprised that the story took a dive towards the dark and scary so quickly?
3. Tom Bombadil!  what and who is he???  If you met him in a forest, would you trust him?

4. What did you think when Pippin, Merry and Sam told Frodo about their "conspiracy", and that they pretty much knew what he was planning from the beginning?
5. What's your favorite part of the book so far?


View other  blog discussions:

Little Red Reviewer
Stainless Steel Droppings  
All Booked Up-Elena

1. Hobbits seem to have songs for everything!  I didn't realize this was a musical. . . . how are you liking all the songs? 
I never thought that you could have a musical in a book, but that is what it seems like right now. Tolkien did make it work. It does show you that during simple times, all you needed to do was strike up a song to lighten to mood a little bit.I sure do wish that was always the case, but not that sure if people would like to hear me sing in the first place.

Singing in a book is different, I for one am not all the use to it singing and being jolly during an adventure.

2. I love that we learn about Gollum and his past so early on. It gives a dark and foreboding (dare I say, perilous?) feeling to the whole thing. Were you surprised that the story took a dive towards the dark and scary so quickly?

I was not that surprised to learn about Gollum and his past so quickly. Frodo needed to know how Bilbo came into the possession of the ring. The past also shows how dark Gollum really is as well.He murdered to get his precious and then was consumed by the ring and that is all he thinks about.. It is interesting to find out that ring chooses who it goes with majority of the time. The ring might be shiny, but it show there is much more than meets the eye and the amount of history behind it is unreal.

3. Tom Bombadil!  what and who is he???  If you met him in a forest, would you trust him?

I do think that this Tom fellow is some kind of a cross between a elf and human. Maybe he was a love child or something.:) I do think that I would have to trust somebody that got my companions free from a Willow tree that was swallowing them whole.I would trust him enough to follow him home.

While reading this I sure do wish that I did live in Middle Earth. The kinds of adventures that these people sure do have. Just makes a season want to get away.


4. What did you think when Pippin, Merry and Sam told Frodo about their "conspiracy", and that they pretty much knew what he was planning from the beginning?


I thought that it was clever that they used Sam the most trusted one in the group as the spy. It was funny that Frodo was dumbfounded that they knew what he was planning on doing as soon as he could.There is so much more to Sam than meets the eye.
I think that this was great planning to really find out what Frodo was up to before he pulled wool over their eyes. This just shows that his friends will be with him until the end of the journey.

5. What's your favorite part of the book so far?

I will say that my favorite part  book is when the group goes  into the Haunted Old Forest. It reminds  when I was kid going into the forest behind my parents house when it was dark. You could swear that the trees were moving toward you and even talking. Also getting turned around was an easy feat as well.
I can relate that Frodo and his party quite easily.

This is all for the week discussion questions. Let me know what your thoughts are about the questions listed about. Next week I will be asking and answering the questions.