Made Me Laugh

Recommended: The Palace Job

by Michael Alderete on 11/18/2013 · 1 comment

The Palace Job is, by far, the best audiobook I’ve listened to in at least a year. Think Leverage meets Firefly meets The Wizard of Oz. (If you know Steven Brust’s Dragaera, it’s a better fit than Oz.) The book is fun, funny, and thrilling from start to finish.

The Palace Job

First, the novel itself is terrific, with a great cast of characters, very-good-occasionally-awesome dialog, and lots of clever ideas. There are many laugh-out-loud moments, and it’s one of those books you power through, and then re-read sections, just to re-live the fun. I re-listened to the second half of the book (~5 hours) the day after finishing it, and found lots of neat, tight-fitting details that I had missed the first time.

Second, the narrator, Justine Eyre, is awesome. I pretty much never give a narrator the “golden voice” badge after just one book, but this performance was so strong, I was awarding it before the novel was half finished. Indeed, it was her voice on the 5 minute sample that convinced me I wanted to purchase and listen to the book sooner rather than later. She easily handles the two dozen or so distinct characters, with clear differences in tone and accent that make it easy to tell who’s speaking at any given time. And her performance really takes the humor to the next level, particularly with the dialog.

Who This Book is For

The book feels, in the best possible way, more like Firefly than anything I’ve come across. The characters, their relationships with each other, and a captain who never set out to be the good guy, but kind of ends up being one anyway. If you loved Firefly, as I did, you will love this novel.

My wife is a fan of Leverage, which I absorb by osmosis, and it has a bit of that feel, too. Action, capers, revenge, and humor. If you like Leverage, you’ll like this book.

Someone, maybe Greg Rucka, described the book as Ocean’s Eleven with a unicorn. That works, too, and if you like Ocean’s Eleven, or (forgive me) horny unicorns, you might like this book, too.

At any rate, the author is already working on a second book, in what I hope will be a long series. This first book stands alone, but I’m very excited to know there will be more.

Highly recommended.

Update: Here’s another review of The Palace Job, from Sigrid Ellis. He notes the same qualities I did, even down to the Leverage comparison. And writes “If you are the audience for this book, you will ab-so-freakin-lute-ly love it to pieces” — which I absolutely am, and did. :-)

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Sign of Machine Intelligence?

by Michael Alderete on 8/28/2007

A friend sent me the following screen capture from Google News:

Google knows that President Bush thinks poor kids without health insurance is funny

I take this as another sign that the first true machine intelligence will emerge in the Googleplex.

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Microsoft packaging parody video

by Michael Alderete on 3/1/2006

OK, lots of people are pointing to this “parody” video, Microsoft Redesigns the iPod Package, but since it involves the iPod, I thought I’d call a little more attention to it.

Microsoft Redesigns the iPod Package

It’s funny because it’s true, and because the music is perfect. But it’s also interesting because it perfectly illustrates the differences between the Apple and Microsoft design aesthetics — and I’m not talking about packaging. The iPod is so well done not because it’s had so many features added to it, but because it has had so many taken away. The saying “Less is more” is no less true for being cliché.

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Corporate drone

by Michael Alderete on 12/17/2005

I was surprised to discover this evening that Rochelle’s very creative movie (given the constraints of our 1999 digital camera’s 10-second video limit) is not the top result for corporate drone on Google.

I have to admit, I bought Apple’s iMovie, and then Final Cut Express, and then upgraded it, all without producing something as compelling as what Rochelle dreamed up on a (slow) Happy Boss Day at the office. Check it out.

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What a nut job…

by Michael Alderete on 11/20/2005 · 2 comments

Sorry, but this made me laugh uncontrollably for 2-3 minutes. Tears down my face. I knew I had to post about it, and ended up laughing even more when I thought of the headline…

Rugby fan castrates self

Really, how do people come up with these ideas?

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 8/31/2005 · 1 comment

Heard around the office…

“You can’t take tomorrow off, I’m already out of the office.”

“How come?”

“Our au pair is at Burning Man.”

If you’re not familiar with the linked terms, be sure to view the definitions…

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 6/23/2005

Overheard during a discussion of who wears the pants around here:

“Not only do you wear the pants, you won’t even let me put on underwear.”

“I wish my life was that good…”

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Keeping Up With The Jones Poverty Party

by Michael Alderete on 6/4/2005

As usual, Rochelle’s invitation to a recent party is funny and worth preserving. In addition to Rochelle’s birthday, this was the “coming out” party for our new kitchen (even though it wasn’t quite finished). We do regret that we didn’t get to the grilled cheese sandwiches on the griddle, but at least we did make quesadillas.

Worst of all, we forgot to take any photos during the event, especially of people in the kitchen. We’ll just have to try harder (or drink less) next time.

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Fire & Knives

May 17, 2005

I was just referred to the Fire & Knives cooking and food site with the “recommendation” that “Here’s a nice little food site that is snobbier than youse guys…” I decided it was a keeper when I laughed out loud at this description of wonder bread in a new shape:

Cunning bakers have responded, not with an authentic baguette but with a preservative-laden, turd-shaped travesty called — with callous humour — a French Stick. It’s exactly the same rubbish they extrude into white loaves but delivered in a staggeringly inconvenient shape. Trying to eat a sandwich made with one is like trying to fellate a torpedo.

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The joy of BAC

March 11, 2005

This story of portable breathalyzer abuse passed my “laugh out loud” test.

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Quotation of the year candidate

September 4, 2004

“We?” “Yeah. I’ll watch.”

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Our saviour on the web

July 12, 2003

Well, Jesus has a home page. What’s even better is, you can fill out a simple web form, and be saved! E-commerce meets eternal salvation, another brilliant example of how the internet has made all kinds of transactions more efficient. Thank god!

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