Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Just Another Tree

I was outside this weekend and for some reason I noticed that the pattern of the limbs of this tree, which I've seen every day for more than 20 years, looked especially pleasing. That's what I love about where I live. Somehow there's always something new to notice, even if it's always been there.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Random Linkage

The Sound of Imaginary Islands

World's Fastest Museum - a beautiful modern train

Discourse Markers - Like, you know, filler words in French and other languages.

Victory Display - Some gestures are hardwired into our brains, not learned.

The Great Wallpaper Rebellion - We're talking about the stuff you glue to your walls that everyone thinks is tacky. I like wallpaper but, sadly, I won't be putting any of this on my walls.

Overheard in Walmart - I must live in a really boring part of the country. Not only do I rarely see anything People of Walmart worthy, I don't even hear any interesting bits of conversation.

Secret Rooms

Mini-Truck Garden Contest - One more example of the Japanese being awesome

Kitschatron - A Tumblr that I must take time to explore soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Clouds

This is a really old picture. For a while I was really into taking pictures of clouds so I have a couple of hundred of them at least and I thought I would start posting some of them here once in a while.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Been Reading

I have been reading a lot, actually, but I'm only going to mention a couple of the more recent ones I've read.

Catherynne Valente's Space Opera is not the kind of book I'm normally into. A lot of people have compared it to Douglas Adams' novels. I can understand the comparison; there's a similar kind of irreverence and silliness but Space Opera is in no way a copycat. I first read the first chapter on Tor.com and I was charmed by the extreme wordiness and clever metaphors so I bought it. (Kindle) After the next couple of chapters I started to get impatient with it and considered quitting but it was still interesting enough that I wanted to see what happened. Would the entire Earth be destroyed all because one guy couldn't sing well enough? Well, if you care, you'll have to read it and find out for yourself. I won't spoil it.

There is going to be a movie, which surprises me a little. It wouldn't be my first choice of book to be made into a movie but I'm sure it will be entertaining if it's done well.

Oh! I almost forgot. There's what you might call a catchphrase in Space Opera which is one of the most true and profound bits of wisdom I have ever read: "Life is beautiful and life is stupid." Isn't it though!

Another, more exciting, book I finished recently was Gareth Powell's Embers of War. This is so my kind of book. Pure space opera like I thought no one was writing anymore - starships, weird planets, aliens, action, politics, drama. I finished it in what was for me record time. Unfortunately the sequel won't be out until next year.

One of my favorite things about Twitter is all the authors I'm discovering. At first I was following only two authors, then authors started following me. Obviously just to get my attention so I would buy their books and it is working. That's how I discovered both of these books and there are a lot more that I want to read soon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Morning Walk

I was walking through the woods behind my house a few days ago and saw this little "guy".

And a little farther on...

They were both small, about three inches across, I think.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Monteverdi

This music was mentioned in a book I recently finished reading, Firebird, by Tony Rothman. (More about the book later. If I get around to it.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Spoiled, Privileged Person First World Problem

It's funny how we so quickly become dependent on little conveniences that we were perfectly fine living without for most of our lives. Take, for example, package tracking. I hate when I order something and there's no or only minimal tracking info, such as only the date shipped and an estimated delivery date. But sometimes knowing can be as bad or worse than not knowing.

I ordered a t-shirt from an Etsy shop. (It's going to be a gift.) It shipped from Seattle via DHL. From there it went to Raleigh, NC. My package spent several days in Raleigh then finally shipped to Grand Prairie, TX, where it apparently spent several more days. I say "apparently" because on the day it finally arrived here Tracking showed that it was still in Grand Prairie.

I have the t-shirt and I didn't especially need it in a hurry but I would just like to know why. I'm pretty good at map reading but you really don't have to be to know that North Carolina is way far the other side of Oklahoma from Seattle, WA. And then there was the extra stopover in Texas. I admit that I really don't know a lot about how shipping works but that route seems terribly inefficient and wasteful.

And while we're on the topic of shipping, how long do you think it should take for a package to get here from the other side of the planet? I have only ordered internationally a couple of times but from my limited experience and reading the experiences of others three to four weeks seems to be typical. I just don't know. If you, personally, traveled around the world by plane how long would that take? According to this page it's possible to do in three to four days. That's a complete circumnavigation. Since we're talking about packages though, I'm talking about, at most, halfway around the world. And I know there's a lot of handling of packages that adds time but still, it seems to me that it should be possible to get a package from Europe to the middle of the U.S. in about two weeks.

But what do I know? As I said, I'm not a shipping expert, just a spoiled, impatient consumer. You know, if someone could finally invent the transporter we could get packages in just an hour or two. Sometimes Star Trek makes the real world look so lame.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Beautiful and Stupid

An incident Sunday morning made me think of a line from Cathrynne Valente's novel Space Opera: "Life is beautiful and life is stupid." A 79 year old man was injured trying to rescue a turtle on the highway.

That was beautiful. What a sweet old man, caring about the life of a turtle. But it was also stupid. There is a lot of traffic on that highway and most of it going 10 - 15 MPH over the speed limit. I understand, but it's not worth it.

I wonder if the turtle is okay.