Review

Book Review: The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson

I listen to NPR on my way home from work. During All Things Considered, NPR reviewed the book The Dragon’s Tooth and had the author speak to the premise and characters briefly. I was intrigued about the adventure story but what caught my attention was its setting; Wisconsin. I am proud to be from Wisconsin and decided to pay the $9.99 for the e-book.

The Plot:

The story revolves around 3 teenagers, the Smiths, whom are reeling after losing their father while their mother lay in a coma state. Their possession resides in a run down hotel; The Archer. These kids turn out to have a link to an enchanted and bizarre town in Wisconsin; Ashtown, only entered through a series of tunnels and pathways. The Smith kids, minus 1, are brought to Ashtown via the lawyer of their godfather who gave them a set of keys before he died in a fiery death. The keys purpose are unknown until more details are revealed from members of the Order of Brennan in Ashtown. To claim their godfather’s assets the Smith kids must pass a series of skill tests that are well outside a common teenager skills; flying an airplane as one of the skills.

The Characters:

The Smith kids are well written and their relationships amongst one another are well understood. It is easy to become wrapped up into what their future will be. Daniel the oldest does not play a big part in the book as he was ‘captured’ before entering Ashtown. Antigone, the middle girl, plays a mother type role to Cyrus the youngest boy.

My Recommendation:

I’ll be honest, I was expecting more from this book. I understand this is the first of likely a series of books but the first half of the book was slow moving and once the story entered the mythical land it was not described well enough to fall in love with the setting. Some of the supporting characters were not supported with background information which made them seem insignificant to the plot. My confidence is not entirely lost on this series, but I’ll need to be blown away by the potential of the second story before committing more of my time.

Later,

Derek

Family, Viewpoint

Apple in Education: My Take

Okay, so I am an Apple fanboy. I own all the products, I hate using my PC at work and I asked for iTunes gift cards for X-mas. Apple provides and engages my ‘geekness’ in all their gadgets and technology but to be honest they are only pieces of technology that make life a little easier. Today…Apple came out with iBooks 2, iBooks Author and iTunes U.

These 3 products will change the education world…forever. And in my opinion, not a moment too soon. Education is a laughable topic as it takes a back seat in funding and investment. Teachers rarely get the respect they deserve and do so much with so little. My family and I, unfortunately, live in a state which is ranked near the bottom in terms of education. This ranking is quite concerning for me as a parent of a 2 and 4 year old.

Apple’s product release today brings hope. Apple is putting curriculum building materials into the hands of author’s and teacher’s so they can build a new era of content and effortlessly bring it to students. I’m thrilled about these products as I, as a parent, plan to leverage these tools to help teach my kids even if not yet integrated into his or her school(s).

Check out the keynote speech here:

Apple in Education Keynote

Later,

Derek

Viewpoint

A Political View: Ron Paul

Is anyone else sick of the government?

Wait for it…yes, you probably are. I have opinions about a lot of subjects (just ask Becky) but politics are something I stay away from for two reasons; (1) I have never voted for a President and (2) I don’t do a great job educating myself on candidates. Let’s dive into each and then I’ll explain some of my thought process on the upcoming presidential election.

(1) I’ve felt my one vote was meaningless in the grand scheme of the presidential election process. This thinking is of course wrong…I’m here to admit that. I still understand my upcoming vote is still only worth 1, but blogs like this posted to Twitter and Facebook could result in 1+ for a prospective candidate. That is quite powerful.

(2) I am just beginning to learn about Ron Paul as a presidential candidate thanks to Friends on Facebook for posting links and articles. I read almost all of these and am becoming more and more passionate after each one.

Personally, I think the media and other government officials are afraid of Ron Paul. These groups of powerful individuals don’t want to become exposed for the corrupt people they truly are. The media (CNN, Fox News, etc.) dictates our viewpoints based on what they broadcast. Thank goodness for social media outlets for bringing ‘other’ issues and views of the truth to the forefront. Sifting through all of the information can become quite confusing and can distort the truth. You need to be comfortable with whom you believe to keep any kind of sanity.

As it stands today, I’m going to back Ron Paul in the upcoming presidential election because I believe he brings the right perspective to government and United States’ appropriate approach to global policies.

If you are pissed now in any way at the government and their antics, don’t fool yourself and just FLOP back over to Romney and put up with this crap again for another 4 years. Take a stand, be heard…Vote for Ron Paul.

Later,

Derek

Family

Reflection Time: 2011 and now 2012

All throughout the news, websites, television programs and even Facebook are timelines of 2011 and looking back at the year regarding all topics. I admit, I’ll look through them to see what kind of events are deemed “important” or worthy to remember. Some shake loose memories that were stored away associated with that particular moment in time.

2011 was a semi-big year for me professionally. Becky and I have what seems to be like big years since before we got married; house in 2006, married in 2007, Colton in 2008, Amelia in 2009, I don’t remember what happened in 2010 but just look at 2008 and 2009 and you’ll understand. Anyway, in 2011, I left my job at Apollo Group after 10 years to start another chapter at Medicis Pharmaceuticals. I have not looked back after the professional move and am now enjoying a higher quality of life. My time away from work is truly spent away. I now am focused on creating rich memories with Becky, Colton and Amelia.

In 2012, I am looking forward to the many experiences to be shared with my family. We will make plans to go on vacations and trips…but I have found some of the best moments are never planned. I’m now going to spend the couple days putting together a 2011 video montage that Becky and I can watch for years to come.

We popped the cork on 2012 last night with great friends. Becky and I are cleaning up the corks this morning and will enjoy a quiet day around the house. Here’s looking to 2012 to be filled with rich, quality and exciting memories!

Here are two photos; the first on January 1st 2011 and the second a recent one at Disneyland.