Archive for March, 2009

09
Mar
09

Jeff Noon’s “Vurt”: Acid heads remember cyberpunk

I had meant to sign up to Goodreads earlier, but completely forgot. Well, thanks to Twitter, I remembered. Here’s a quick review I slapped together 3 minutes ago. I finished this novel (well, almost finished…) about a month ago, and felt pretty bitterly disappointed. It was OK. But there was this hope that it would hit me like those old William Gibson and Bruce Sterling novels did in the BBS era. Back then, those books had a kind of gleaming freshness that captured this weird underground zeitgeist. Unfortunately, I think I’m now too old to get caught up in many new underground zeitgeists, and I think the whole internet boom that surrounded the cyberpunk movement has created a situation where those movements themselves will be harder to germinate. With the internet long ago gone “0-second”, I’m sure there’s ton of mini-bursts of heat to capture the attention, but when will something as large as the initial personal computer boom hit again?

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Vurt

Vurt by Jeff Noon

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Starts out with an interesting premise straight from the bowels of early 90s cyberpunk: People eat LSDesque feathers to get high, get hurt and generally escape reality. The landscape is a dystopia. The protagonists are mutants, shadow people, aliens and cyborgs. Techno music is rampant, though there’s a surprising lack of computer lingo and presence. It’s more rave-culture than mirrorshades.

And as novel as it all starts, it sort of ends up churning it’s wheels. For me, there was too much emphasis on dream-state Vurtcursion flashbacks, and not enough actual plot. The “experimental” writing gets tired as the storyline peters out. What starts out as an interesting premises actually devolved into a somewhat rambling snooze, and I ended up donating my copy about 4/5ths of the way through.

Maybe decent reading for someone just searching for an interesting novel and concept. However, I was hoping for what would have been, to me, a rare unearthed Cyberpunk era gems.

View all my reviews.

02
Mar
09

Asciigod update B0.09

Not a lot going on these days in the realm of “writing”, “constructive thoughts”, “healing the world” or “making babies”. Scratch that last one holmes, I’m makin’ more babies than Raelians. Blowin’ powder dust like Mugwumps out the Urethra (Justin Warfield style).

Shit’s just been super busy, but I felt the need to bless the mic with some K.N.O.W.L.E.D.G.E.

Work, school, baby mama, health. It’s the cycle, but it’s OK. My awesome financial strategies have turned out to be failures. But hey, there’s still 40 odd years, am I right?

Just got done with some homework for an Investment class at school. Since content’s not exactly quantity nor quality here, I figured I’d cut and paste my “mini-essay” in here, get my word count for the year above 300, and call it a night. I gotta head to work, so see ya’ll on the dark side!

“ESSAY” (LOLRIGHT ASCIIGOD 2009) RE: Aggressive Investing?

“Due to my relative youth, and long time horizon for retirement I feel I can currently invest aggressively to meet my retirement needs. I am in a situation with more than 30 years to save for retirement. This puts me in a position that, historically, indicates the “numbers” of the markets are in my favor for long-term growth. Despite any 5, 10 or even 15 year periods of negative performance, it behooves me to invest aggressively now. Of course this aggressive position needs to be tailored as the years pass, with investments moved from aggressive to more stable and income producing positions.
For instance, assume I would like to retire with $2,000,000 in stable and/or income producing securities in 30 years time. Assuming I start with a relatively modest $20,000 base, and contribute only $5,000 a year, given a relatively conservative assumed return of 10% on these investments, the total saved for retirement would be $1,434,648.60.
But that isn’t quite enough!
Actually, to equal that sum in “today’s dollars”, adjusting for a 3% inflation, I’d need to raise $3,482,267. To meet my $2,000,000 goal in “today’s dollars”, I’d need even more: the princely end balance of $4,854,525. A daunting task! In fact this exercise has made me realize just how much more “aggressive” I need to be.
And that isn’t just aggressive in terms of investing. The 10% expected return is solid, and is as much as I can legitimately use to “crunch” these numbers. So the difference will definitely have to be made up of with more aggressive saving. That’s right! Additional funds are needed. Let’s recalculate assuming my wife’s income contribution matches my own $5,000 yearly deposits, and that we both up the ante an additional $2,000 for a total of $14,000 per year addition to our nest egg.
This results in a balance of $2,882,195.99 at the end of 30 years. Not quite good enough, but honestly, at some point this exercise has to become an issue of quality of life and financial management. Not considering other sources of income, dividends, and property I feel safe to say this sum would certainly get us by “OK”. And if not, we could always trade in our hover car for a less expensive model.”

DON’T DO DRUGS KIDS.