Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Book Quote

From Helliconia Spring by Brian W. Aldiss:

...life has a quality rulers cannot touch.

I have thought about this but something that good writers can do that most of us can't is state a thought simply and elegantly that most of us take whole paragraphs to try to say without ever really getting the point across.

Interesting Sweet Potato Recipe

I saw this Melting Sweet Potatoes recipe on Facebook and want to link to it here so I can find it again. It's very simple but interesting to me for some reason. You might laugh at me but, to be honest, the 500 degree oven temp kind of freaks me out a little bit but I'm going to try this sometime.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hello February

It seems like everyone hates February. I often hear people say that the only good thing about is that it's short. It's true that we have had some of our worst weather ever in February but to me February feels sort of... I'm not sure this is the word I really want to use but sort of hopeful. This is because the days are getting noticeably longer. It's a little less dark. It's increasingly possible to imagine spring. (March, on the other hand, makes me impatient because it's usually still cold in March and it starts to feel like winter will never end.)

Saturday it was 80F. Today it's gray and cold, more like February is "supposed to be" but that's okay. I had Saturday and today it's still not freezing and the sun will come out and it will warm up again soon. February is okay.

I took the picture in this post a few minutes ago, between 8:15 and 8:30.

Valentines Day

I don't really care much about Valentines Day one way or the other. It's a nice little "holiday" I suppose but I'm not that emotionally invested in it. We're not really overtly romantic people which suits me just fine. Too often things that look romantic in the movies come across as creepy in real life. Guys who have been called "creepy" might want to make a note of this. Don't try too hard. Just be real.

I think the jewelry stores, and in particular DeBeer's, have ruined Valentines Day. When we were kids it was just that fun little day when everyone got those little Valentine cards that always had some kind of silly pun on them and when you were grown up you would get a prettier card and if he was really serious maybe a heart shaped box of chocolates, a third to a half of which are slightly icky (Seriously, why doesn't anyone make Valentines chocolates that are all one kind, like all chocolate covered cherries or all coconut so you can have a whole box of your favorite kind?) and that was pretty much all there was to it. Just a nice, fun little day.

Now it's become so complicated. Guys are expected to come up with the perfect gift, "perfect" meaning expensive, and there's a definite suggestion that the woman is expected to "put out" in response to this perfect gift. Sorry folks but if that's the way it works that's a payment for services, not a gift. Also, there's now a stigma against being alone on Valentines Day - like it's so sad and the worst thing in the world. I blame sitcoms for that.

Listen people, the movies are not real life. TV is not real life. DeBeer's commercials are not real life. Just because we see it on TV does not mean that we are required to play along. Just do your own thing, whatever feels right, whatever makes you happy and don't be all angsty about it. Take back Valentines Day and make it the cute, silly little day it used to be.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Earth Images of the Week

I was watching a documentary series about Antarctica Saturday so I decided to do a little exploring on Google Earth. Not much to see down there but this area looks sort of interesting.

From farther out:

Fortunately, it's quite a bit warmer on my part of the planet.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Bit of Spring in February

More Books

As I already mentioned, I was reading Neal Asher's Dark Intelligence. Excellent story, great fun. It's the first of a trilogy set in his Polity universe and features a very interesting AI character - one of the insane ones - seen in earlier novels. This AI is being hunted separately by two humans, one of whom is being rapidly transformed into something not human.

As I said in the my earlier post I have the second book in that trilogy and I thought about reading it next but since the third book hasn't been published yet I decided there was no point in getting in a hurry about it. So I read Binti instead. You can read an excerpt here. It is not long, a novella, and I read it all in one day. It is excellent and unique, about a teenage girl from a tribal culture who is accepted by a university off world but her parents forbid her to go and her brothers and sisters ridicule her ambitions so of course she sneaks away and goes anyway. On the way she meets people who look down on her because of her traditions and vicious aliens who hate humans. A very worthwhile read.

What do you do when you have two books you want to read immediately? You go looking for a third one. I looked to see if there was anything in my Kindle Recommendations and was shocked and awed (in a good way) to find Brian Aldiss' Helliconia Trilogy for $5 and change. I had found Helliconia Spring over a decade ago in a used bookstore and loved it but I couldn't find Summer and Winter anywhere. After a while I gave up searching and mostly forgot about it. So of course that's what I'm reading now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Just a Few Links

Vintage Wallpaper - Very interesting designs. I guess it's just as well they don't make it like this anymore. I would have a terrible time deciding what I want on my walls.

How to Transfer a Photo to Wood - A fun thing to try sometime

Fairy Doors

Fat Cat Art

Reading for Longevity - People who read books live longer.

Fy Nyth - Life in a tiny house in Wyoming. Gorgeous nature photography. Take some time to browse the archives.