July 3, 2004
@ 06:49 PM

I just got back from vacation. A week on the beach, sans laptop, sipping mai tais is good for the soul.

Whenever I travel by air I try to use the flight time to catch up on reading popular fiction. This time around I planned to do something different and finish reading Michael Brundage's XQuery: The Xml Query Language but forgot it in my mad dash to the airport. I decided to fallback on a tradition I started a few years ago and searched for a book by Terry Pratchett at one of the airport bookstores. In the past year or two I have noticed that I have been unable to find books by Terry Pratchett in airport bookstores in the United States although I did buy some of his books at Heathrow airport last year. At first, I thought it was because he hadn't published anything new recently but I noticed books from authors that are much longer in the tooth like Jeffrey Archer, Jackie Collins, Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, Mario Puzo, Danielle Steele and Anne Rice. The conclusion I can draw is that there is some Clear Channel-like company that owns a majority of the bookstores located in airports in the United States which has placed an embargo on the works of Terry Pratchett. I ended up settling for the turgid prose of Anne Rice's Memnoch the Devil and Scott Adams' excellent The Dilbert Principle.

Memnoch the Devil was disappointing. I'd enjoyed the previous books in the series (Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned) although I did find the subsequent book in the series, The Vampire Armand, quite dreadful and threw it away without finishing it. The book was fairly unimaginative [especially compared to what authors like Neil Gaiman have done with similar themes], predictable and most annoyingly inconsistent with the very religious works it was supposed to be based on.

The Dilbert Principle was very entertaining and had me introspective about work. I definitely feel there's a lot in the book that rings through about Microsoft as is probably true with any large company. I did find some of his ideas on how to create an enjoyable and challenging workplace spot on although I doubt they'll ever penetrate the consciousness of Corporate America.


I now need to catch up on email. Over 500 messages in my Yahoo! inbox (over 450 from the atom-syntax mailing list) and about 700 in my work inbox. Then there's the 1000 unread blog entries in RSS Bandit. Welcome to information overload...