When You're Out of the Office

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item When You're Out of the Office

  • Books - any of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels - pure escapism.

    Best Christmas buy ever though was when travelling to South Africa for christmas - a 24 hour plus trip. We bought the children three of the Harry Potter books, unabridged on cassette read by the inimitable Stephen Fry and armed with a Walkman each, they were so engrossed that we were halfway across the Karoo before the first "Are we nearly there yet"!

  • Bit of dutch chauvinism here. There was a movie called "Zwartboek" this year which was a really good one for dutch measures. I know it's been released outside Holland as well and I think it's worth watching.

    Best christmas gift I ever got was the news that my wife was pregnant from our first child.

    Merry Christmas everybody !:cool:

  • One of my favourite movies this year: Stardust.

    De Niro's performance alone is worth the entrance fee

  • I'd add another recommendation for the Jack Reacher series.

    Take a look a the work of Quintin Jardine as well. He does two series: Bob Skinner and Oz Blackstone.

    Bob Skinner is the Deputy Chief Constable of a Scottish police force.

    Oz Blackstone is a PI.

    Both good series, both worth starting at the start rather than jumping in to the middle.


    There is no problem so great that it can not be solved by caffeine and chocolate.
  • It's brain candy, but tasty, John Birmingham's Final Impact. It's the third book in a trilogy (I truly hate that phrase, but they must be some kind of marketing thing, who knows) where in a heavy carrier battle group from 2021 who've been fighting a hard war against Islamic terrorism for twenty years accidently gets transported back in time. The first book lands them in the middle of the battle of Midway, accidently sinking the entire American fleet. History goes downhill from there. It's a little choppy and kind of goofy in a lot of ways, but Birmingham is a fun writer, so it's good escapist fantasy stuff. Brain candy.

    For something a bit more serious, a new history of the French & Indian War by Walter Borneman is worth the read.

    The book I hope I'm getting from Santa is a little older, but if you haven't heard of it, it might be good. It's called Caveman Chemistry by Kevin Dunn. 28 Projects formthe the Creation of Fire to the Production of Plastics... My kids are going to love me in equal amounts to how much my wife will hate me. I can't wait.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Theodore Roosevelt
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  • I've been (re) reading the Foundation series of books by Isaac Asimov. Good books, especially if you read the entire i Robot series first.

    ONe of the best movies I saw this year was Grandma's Boy. Hillarious.

  • For a real rollercoaster adventure read The Judas Strain by James Rollins. He's always good for a thrill-a-minute. The basic premise will scare your pants off. (Read it with your significant other. :D)

  • I've enjoyed all three of the Bourne movies and have Superbad, Transformers and Spiderman 3 set aside for the next week.

    When time permits I try reading the Tom Clancy novels. I have the two newest but havent been able to get past chapter 2. Life is just plain insane when you've got two kids ages 4 and 3.

    Have a happy holiday all and look forward to hearing/reading from all of you next year.




  • For me, I haven't been reading too many books. But I've listened to a lot of audio books since starting my job here. For those of you with young children, if you're going on a long car ride and want them to listen to something, I recommend The Cat in the Hat and other Dr. Seuss Favorites, as narrated by Kelsey Grammer (from Cheers, Frasier) and other famous actors and actresses. I've been a huge Dr. Seuss fan all of my life, and when I downloaded this audio book, it was a great walk down memory lane.

    I'm currently listening to Dan Brown's Digital Fortress.

    Happy holidays (Christmas, Kwanzaa, Yule, Boxing Day, and any others I may have missed) 😀

  • A lot of the reading I've been doing this year is to keep up with my 12 year old. 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' is a great book. It looks like a really long book but there are many illustrations so it doesn't take that long to read. Just started on Julian Mays' Boreal Moon trilogy. I strongly recommend her book Intervention to anyone.

    There's a new Blade Runner collection just released on DVD. I'm looking forward to checking that out.

    Happy Holidays!

  • An under-rated movie that I liked (although I think it came out in 2006) is "Stranger Than Fiction", with Emma Thompson, Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hulce and Linda Hunt. (Great cast, and I really liked the premise.)

    One of my favorite Christmas movies is the "Muppet Christmas Carol" with Michael Caine. He gives 115% in a solid re-telling of this classic story.

  • I'll add my endorsement of the Reacher novels. Great stuff. I'v ealso been reading anything by James Rollins, the Agent Prendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. Right now, I'm reading The Hunters by W E B Griffin. I'v ealso become more familiar with Curious George, Dr. Seuss, the I Spy/Can You See What I See series, and a variety of other children's books thanks to my 5 year old son.

    Best new, to me anyway, TV shows are out of the UK, New Tricks, a smart police show that's not available in the US yet, but worth watching if you can get your hands on it, and the three latest seasons of Doctor Who. I spent 4 months overseas this year, and was reminded yet again that the US TV shows aren't really up to the standards of the best of the rest of the world.

    For the new year, I want to get up to speed on SQL 2005, after spending the last 6 years dong SQL 7 and 2000 work, and become familiar with .NET programming so I can understand what my developers are saying.

  • chris webster (12/21/2007)

    One of my favourite movies this year: Stardust.

    De Niro's performance alone is worth the entrance fee

    Seconded, thirded, etceterad! I picked it up last night at Best Buy as a last minute additional Xmas gift. I wish it had been released a little earlier: my folks FINALLY started watching movies on DVD, and I Amazon'd them a copy of the 20th (or was it 25th?) anniversary edition of Princess Bride. I would have sent them Stardust, but it wasn't out at that point.

    (re: DeNiro: we saw Golden Compass last weekend and were wondering if Sam Elliot had a secret in the captain's cabin :P)

    Oh, well. I'll give it to 'em later.

    Also seconded the Terry Pratchett books. I don't recall the name of the series, but his Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, and Wings (IIRC) are three excellent books. I also heartily recommend The Wee Free Men and Fistful of Sky, two exceptional young adults books (as is Bromeliad Trilogy).

    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • Comedy:

    I like Bad Santa this time every year. It's raunchy (language/scenes not for the kids) - the boxing scene cracks me up every time. Another funny one is Better Off Dead (John Cusack). 1980's teen angst told from a weird and original perspective. O' Brother Where Art Thou - I could watch it a 100 times. Animal House and Caddy Shack. The Fletch movies (Chevy Chase). Young Frankenstien/Blazing Saddles. Any Will Farrell movie.

    The classics (for our younger friends out there):

    Best Years of Our Lives - 1946 Academy Award winning story about vets coping with return from WW II. This one is a must see.

    The Blue Max - Great movie about pilots in WW I - told from the German side - George Peppard, Elke Sommer, James Mason. Some great flying scenes in this one.

    The Sand Pebbles - About a crew on a military ship in China during the Boxer Rebellion rescuing missionaries - Steve McQueen, Richard Crenna. May sound boring, but McQueen movies never are.

    To Kill a Mockingbird - Small southern town murder/trial with Gregory Peck and short appearance by Robert Duvall as Boo Radley - a truly great, classic movie. (See Peck in 12 O'Clock High too).

    The Shining / Chinatown / One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Jack Nicholson at his best.

    Barry Lyndon - Kubrick's 1975 epic about the life of an 18th century dandy. Costuming and scenes are stunning (Academy Award winning). If you like history, a good story, and this period in time, this is a good one.

    A Clockwork Orange - another Kubrick movie about futuristic life in England - Malcom McDowell.

    Double Indemnity - 1944 classic murder mystery

    Blade Runner - people still talk about this one. Harrison Ford as a futuristic detective in a society where it's difficult to tell the androids from the humans. Sean Young. Re-Released this year with extra scenes.


    Pan's Labyrinth - Spanish - a little girl in 1930's Spain - a lot of magic - and a good story.

    Das Boot (The Boat -1981) - WW II (German) U-Boat life at it's grittiest - Jurgen Prochnow is amazing as the melancholy, fatalistic captain.

    Cinema Paradiso - a man, a projector, a theatre - and a great story.

    My Life As A Dog - Swedish - a boy copes with a chaotic family life.

    Swimming Pool - an author takes a vacation in France - and gets a lot of (unexpected) material for a new book. Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier.

    There are many others in this category I just can't think of.


    The Station Agent, Memento, The Illusionist, Rescue Dawn, Down in the Valley, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, The Proposition, The Usual Suspects (1990's)...many more.

    Bad movies I liked:

    Meet Joe Black. I know this one was panned bigtime, but I liked it. It probably made some lists as one of the worst movies ever. The acting was really bad...I just can't explain why I liked it. Maybe it had something to do with Clarie Forlani!

    The Hot Spot - (1990's) Steamy story about crime, money, lust in a small southern town. Jennifer Connelly, Virginia Madsen, and Don Johnson - yes, Don Johnson - probably the best thing he ever did. Cheap thrills!

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