Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm Sneezing at all the Blog-Dust

Well, it's been a loooong time since I posted, hasn't it? What can I say? In no particular order, here's what's happened to me:

-- I met a lovely woman (first initial Z.); we've been seeing each other for quite a while.
-- I finished my payroll accounting gig, then went out of my mind for a little while in December and January on all these part-time jobs, stressing out over my disappearing bank account, and trying to be creative.
-- I sold my feature film.
-- I joined a sci-fi/fantasy book club.
-- Grandmother died (finally! She was gone long before she left, if you know what I mean).
-- And I'm now working one full-time gig at a film festival (as a web programmer), and doing a rotation of side work (budgets, web programming, etc.) to make ends meet.

Well, enough about me. How about something more interesting:

Quest, By Charles Pasternak

A terrific book. I'd love to see this as the textbook in a high-school course of some kind, but where to place it - science or history? Simply, it's a tracing of the urge to quest, which Pasternak says is what distinguishes us from other animals. He finds the roots of questing in our single-celled ancestors, who developed mechanisms for turning towards and moving over to light and food sources. He traces this urge from single-celled organisms through our ape forebearers, providing a nice summary history of evolutionary theory, paleontology, and anatomy along the way. He then goes on to trace the history of several of our original civilizations, including their language, culture, and history, then speaks of the quests involved in art, religion and science. The last section of the book talks about current trends in our quest - genetically modified foods, gene therapy and stem cell treatment, and the impact of our species on the globe.

It's a good companion piece to Jared Diamond's work (he of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse). There are important differences between Pasternak (who's more conservative overall, and fundamentally more optimistic) and Diamond (who's more liberal, an dnot so sure we will make it), that will make for interesting reading.

Well, that's it for now. More earth-shattering stuff to come.



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