Wednesday, October 29, 2008

House, M.D.

This show is hilarious. I really love the cynical quips of Dr. House and his attitude towards medicine practice. For those who haven't watched the show it is great stuff. Here are some quotes from the show, enjoy!

-"You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to quite thinking."
- “Everybody lies.”
Lies are like children: they’re hard work, but it’s worth it because the future depends on them."
"Never is just reven spelled backwards."
"I teach you to lie, cheat, and steal, and as soon as my back's turned you wait in line?"
“Treating illnesses is why we became doctors. Treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable."
"Seizures are fun to watch, boring to diagnose."
"I ask you, is almost dying any reason for not being fun?"
"I'm a jerk to everyone. Best way to protect yourself from lawsuits."
Are you comparing me to God? I mean, it's great, but so you know, I've never made a tree."
Thirteen: "You are the champion of not dealing with your problems."
"My grandson gave me a mug that says that."
"Idiots are fun, no wonder every village wants one."

Could definitely keep going on, if you want to hear/read more, watch the show or go to this page.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Orc King, by R.A. Salvatore

The Orc King (Forgotten Realms: Transitions, Book 1) The Orc King by R.A. Salvatore

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well even though I read this book only a year ago when it first came out, it is still an amazing book. Salvatore never ceases to amaze with his writing prowess. Both morally inspirational, and written beautifully, Salvatore writes with the same technique, speed, and skill that his character, Drizzt, fights with. Here are a few insights to both of those aspects of his writing.


- "Quit being afraid of who you are, of who you might dare to be, deep inside." (92)

- "...emotions cloud the rational, and many perspectives guide the full reality. To view current events as an historian is to account for all perspectives, even those of your enemy." (1)

- "That was all they could do in the end, really. Do their best, accept their mistakes, and go on to a better way." (64)

- "In an honest analysis, change is the basis of fear, the idea of something new, of some paradigm that is unfamiliar, that is beyond our experiences so completely that we cannot even truly predict where it will lead us." (81)

- "It is not just boredom that propels my steps along paths unknown, but a firm belief that the guiding principle of life must be a search not for what it is, but for what it could be..." (165)

- "The ideal is achieved only when the ideal is sought. The ideal is not a gift from the gods, but a promise from them." (165)

- "...he had used the battered and dazed orc king merely as a springboard to launch himself at his real quarry.

"Grguch twisted frantically to get his axe in line with the Dwarf's weapon, but Bruenor, too, turned as he flew, and his buckler, emblazoned with the foaming mug of Clan Battlehammer, crashed hard into Grguch's face, knocking him back.

"Grguch leaped up and came right back at Bruenor with a mighty chop, but Bruenor rushed ahead under the blow, butting his one-horned helmet into Grguch's belly and sweeping his axe up between the orc chieftain's legs. Grguch leaped, and Bruenor grabbed and leaped back and over with him, the pair flying away and tumbling down the hill. As they unwound, Grguch, caught with his back to the dwarf, rushed away and shoulder-rolled over the hill's lowest stone wall.

"Bruenor pursued furiously, springing atop the wall, then leaping from it, swooping down from on high with a mighty chop that sent the blocking Grguch staggering backward.

"The dwarf pressed, axe and shield, and it took Grguch many steps before he could begin to attain even footing with his newest enemy..." (325)

View all my reviews.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eldest (Inheritance, Book 2) Eldest by Christopher Paolini

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow, this book was much better than Eragon. You can definitely see Christopher Paolini mature as a writer and as a person as he goes through this series. I can't wait to read Brisingr now. Eragon really matured as a character and the book had some great twists at the end. Now I must say that some of the twists I caught on to early on in the book, but one surprised me when I realized what was happening. This is not a spoiler review so I won't give away any details. I would just like to give two little quotes that I really liked from the book:

-"I won't tell you what to believe...It is far better to be taught to think critically and then be allowed to make your own decisions than to have someone else's notions thrust upon you." (p. 544)

-"Saphira: 'It takes courage to admit you were wrong.'
Eragon: 'Only if you are afraid of looking foolish, and I would have looked far more foolish if I persisted with an erroneous belief.'" (p. 620)

View all my reviews.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

R.A. Salvatore Book Signing

This Friday (yesterday, the 17th) in Pasadena, R.A. Salvatore hit up Southern California on his book tour for his two latest books: The Pirate King and The Stowaway. The Pirate King is the second book in the latest Drizzt trilogy (Transitions) and The Stowaway is a Young Adult book that R.A. Salvatore (on right) co-authored with his son Geno Salvatore (on left). As both of these books came out this month, I haven't had a chance to read/review them so you can look forward to that. But the book singing was great. Bob (R.A.) and Geno did a great intro and talked about their work together on this project and what they have upcoming. Then they opened up for a few questions (which was interesting to hear what people asked) and then finished up with the book signing. I brought 3 books to be signed and Amanda let me buy The Stowaway there to be signed as well (thanks love for your support). Since Amanda doesn't blog, she sometimes will put input into my comments or posts, so to her: Thank you for the love and support! She went out to the book signing with me and sat around with me and listened and took the great picture above. Thanks! Anyways, this is another official Nerd Alert brought to you by Scott H. Thanks for reading!
This was originally only for DVDs. Again, thank you Amanda for putting up with my Bibliophilia.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heidi Loves My Blog

Heidi said she loves my blog and asked me to do this! I love to read other peoples, so here is mine!

1. Where is your cell phone? Right next to me.
2. Where is your significant other? In the Hallway
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? My momma
5. Your father? My standard for Men
6. Your favorite thing? Books
7. Your dream last night? I remember a lot of darkness, a pillow, and something about becoming a rock...
8. Your dream/goal? Be a CPA and a Father
9. The room you're in? Living Room
10. Your hobby? Reading, book collecting, movie watching...
11. Your fear? Spiders
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Father of one or two, and working at an Accounting firm, with my CPA license in hand
13. Where were you last night? First we went shopping at Victoria Gardens, and then I spent hours in front of the computer working on a group paper with Skype and
14. What you're not? Boring
15. One of your wish-list items? Well, look at my wish list link to the right...---->(below the currently reading box)
16. Where you grew up? Southern California
17. The last thing you ate? Honey Buns and milk
18. What are you wearing? Pajamas
19. Your TV? 30" TV ( I think, I'm not sure)
20. Your pet? N/A
21. Your computer? HP laptop
22. Your mood? relaxed and tired
23. Missing someone? My Utah family
24. Your car? '99 Toyota Camry
25. Something you're not wearing? A shirt
26. Favorite store?, Barnes & Nobel, or Borders
27. Your summer? Busy, hectic, fully scheduled, etc.
28. Love someone? Of course...
29. Your favorite color? Brown
30. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight
31. Last time you cried? I don't remember.

I award the following 5 people to do the 'I Love Your Blog' post!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," or the Bail-Out Plan

Well I'm sure you have all heard about the passage (the second time around) last week of the famous "Bail-Out Plan" for $700 billion. While I'm not for the specific plan that was passed, something needed to be done. So I thought I would discuss some of the issues involved, some repercussions, and (hopefully) add a little transparency to the subject. First off, if you want some light reading and have some spare time, here is a link to a full text of the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008." It's only 110 pages so you should be through it in no time... :)

One ramification of inaction is that many companies use lines of credit to pay employees (in other words, payroll comes from a line of credit). In today's economy and with lender trust drying up, so too are such lines of credit. If those dry up, how will employees be paid? Another problem with lending is many auto-dealerships on the east coast have been closing up shop because they can't sell their cars because they can't make car loans.

"Supporters said the bailout was needed to prevent economic collapse; opponents said it was hasty, ill conceived and risked too much taxpayer money to help Wall Street tycoons, while providing no guarantees of success. The rescue plan allows the Treasury to buy troubled securities from financial firms in an effort to ease a deepening credit crisis that is choking off business and consumer loans, the lifeblood of the economy, and contributing to a string of bank failures." (see NY Times article).

Basically the main point of the Bill is that the government is going to buy an array of mortgages and securities that are worth nothing and thus clogging the nation's financial system. It puts the U.S. Treasury in charge of said securities/mortgages and leaves much of operations up to the Treasury. As of yesterday, the Treasury had $350 billion immediately available for use in buying up these junk mortgages/securities. The fund that these monies will be put into will be overseen by a bipartisan congressional commission that will receive reports from the Treasury every 30 days. Also, the bill has a stipulation that protects tax-payers: if after 5 years the government has a net loss, the president will be required to submit a legislative proposal to seek reimbursement from the financial institutions that participated.

Basically the core of the failed Bill presented on Monday by Mr. Paulson remains unscathed and unchanged. They basically just added some fluff to the bill to quell fears. So what else did they add?

1) The FDIC limits on insured money per person, per institution was formerly $100,000. The new Act passed upped that figure to $250,000 per person, per institution through the end of 2009 at which time it will return to $100,000. This only impacts you if you have that much to deposit into a bank. This was also mainly done to help big savers and older retired people insure their money. Though if it came down to it, they wouldn't be able to cover big bank failures if they happened. From today's headlines, if WaMu and Wachovia both went under and hadn't been bought by other institutions, the FDIC would have had a hard time insuring those deposits.

2) The Bill gives the SEC the right to suspend -- by rule or order -- mark-to-market accounting under Statement Number 157 of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Much blame has fallen on accountants and the "Mark-to-Market" accounting rules. The basic premise of "Mark-to-Market," means that at the end of each reporting period, the carrying value of an asset is adjusted to fair-value. What does that mean? you ask? Basically, fair value boils down to this: fair value is the price you could get for something if you had to sell it right now." In other words, the devaluation of your home (if you own one) on the banks books in today's economy is a result of "Mark-to-Market" accounting. Critics say this contributed to the downward spiral of markets. I say this was just the market correcting itself for a huge home-price bubble. Home prices were inflated way to high and the natural thing for a capitalistic economy to do in such a situation is correct itself. Congress trying to stop that by forcing the SEC to change accounting rules is just price fixing, which is not a good thing. Let the prices come down, if they go too low, people will start buying again (if they can get loans) and the price will fix itself back up. (plus, even if the SEC changes off of Fair Value accounting, it won't matter anyways as we go to an international accounting reporting standard in the next couple years, which uses *gasp*fair value accounting!) (see this article, and also this article).

Basically this particular change amounts to this: Give banks a break by letting them value their bad mortgage assets at a price they could fetch later, not now. But that might just postpone the reckoning. The Mark-to-Market rule was implemented to prevent companies from misleading investors about the true value of their assets. Didn't dishonest investors play a big part in this in the first place? Now we want to help them be more dishonest? What? Investor advocates say scrapping the rule now would encourage exactly the kind of shady accounting that defined the Enron era earlier this decade. "Besides, when the real estate market was soaring a few years ago and mortgage asset values were spiking, no banks complained about having to use mark-to-market accounting," noted Edward Ketz, an associate professor of accounting at Pennsylvania State University.

3)Another part are two tax breaks. Of the two tax measures, one is a package of energy-related tax incentives and the other extends about 30 tax breaks that are set to expire at the end of this year, including a temporary patch that keeps more people from having to pay the alternative minimum tax. One would provide tax incentives for individuals and businesses to save energy, produce alternative energy or mitigate carbon emissions.The other would extend a variety of expiring tax breaks. The most significant of these would prevent millions of middle-income Americans from paying alternative minimum tax for the first time. (more)

4)It will require the Treasury to modify troubled loans to help American families keep their homes.

5) In order for companies to participate, it limits their tax-benefits and also must limit executive pay (in order to prevent "the golden parachute," or big compensations to failed execs) (more).

What do you think?

References (in order of use)

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Foundation (Foundation 1) Foundation by Isaac Asimov

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was definitely a good read. Written in 1951, it kind of gave me a sense of where George Lucas got some of his ideas for Star Wars. There are such elements as: the Galactic Empire (and it's fall), blasters, hyperspace travel, and the traders (reminiscent of Han Solo for me). Not so much a edge-of-your seat type read as it was a compelling novel with great stories.

This is the second Asimov novel I have read and they always seem to be short story collections. While this is not designated specifically as a short story type novel, it is for all effects and purposes. The story takes place over about 600 years and different time periods are broken up into their own little books within this book, each with distinct chapter numbering. If you like Sci-Fi this is definitely one to read. Thanks Chris for the recommendation.

View all my reviews.

Some quotes:

"...childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a child..."

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

"It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety."

"To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well."

Friday, October 3, 2008


Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1) Eragon by Christopher Paolini

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Eragon was a really good fantasy read. Not the best epic series ever, but considering the author started writing this at 15 years old and was a New York Times Bestseller by 19, you have to give him some respect.

The first 30 pages were tough to get through for a staunch fantasy reader (just look at my cloud of things read!). Things seemed repeated from other fantasy series. For example: the brutal, northern mountain range near Eragon's hometown is named "The Spine," hmm, reminiscent of "The Spine of the World" in the Forgotten Realms? Yep. And the biggest city near to Eragon's hometown is named "Carvahall," while I can't put my finger on it, I feel like I've seen this elsewhere. Anyways, it had very generic first pages that were not very gripping.

I can't exactly put my finger on a certain point in the story but it's like the book is a ship launched from a beach: the beginning is not smooth at all; but once you get past the crashing waves and into the deep blue sea of the story, it just sucks you in. I can't wait to dive into the next one! Thanks Paolini for a great read!

Oh, and the other thing that kind of bugged me was a moment when Eragon went out onto the plains and a storm was brewing overhead. He looked up into the thunderheads and imagined the clouds to be the vaulted ceiling of a majestic Cathedral, with pillars, and flowing arches. He grew up in a little po-dunk town at the rim of civilization and has never seen a mid-sized town, let alone some kind of Cathedral. The only other way he would have heard about it would be from some story-teller or Bard, and when do Story-teller's relate the "tale of the grand Cathedral?" I digress and found this artistic writing device to be unbelievable, though it did make a nice mental picture.

Ok, a slow get-go and one sentence that I found to be not believable is no grounds to put down this book. It was a great read, with minute flaws. Hence, four out of five stars.

View all my reviews.