Wednesday Reading

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:58 pm
chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)
[personal profile] chomiji

After I finished re-reading The Story of the Stone by Hughart, I continued on with Eight Skilled Gentlemen (also a re-read). Both books are considerably weaker than Bridge of Birds, but they're both still amusing and full of interesting little details.

Most of the other things I've read this week have been online articles that are research for the same project that got me re-reading Master Li and Number Ten Ox.

After several days of that (and writing, and work being chaotic and stressful), I wanted something pleasant and easy. So I spent some time on Big South American River, looking up favorite children's authors. I discovered that not only has someone put a number of my favorite Sally Watson historicals into e-books, they also included Poor Felicity (although the author herself seems to have re-named it The Delicate Pioneer, which strikes me as a really "dead" title). I first read this at a Girl Scout summer camp, where I was a pudgy bespectacled weirdo bookworm who hated sports but was totally unafraid of snakes and bugs, and I haven't seen it since.

Felicity Dare is a sickly, rather spoiled 19th-century Southern (U.S.) girl whose parents lose all their money in bad investments and decide to go out west to settle in Oregon/Washington territory. Both parents die along the way, leaving orphaned Felicity to her good-natured but hapless uncle. They end up in what eventually becomes Seattle, where Felicity gradually becomes healthier because of being out in nature (shades of The Secret Garden!), makes friends with kids who would definitely have been considered below her social class back East (include some Native Americans), and learns to forage, cook, and shoot a rifle. There's also an ongoing feud with a rough-hewn boy who despises her for most of the book. In the end, when her snooty cousins show up at last (they went by ship instead of overland), she has to confront their faulty assumptions and her own grudges.

It's fun, slight but with lots of interesting details, and an easy, fast read (aimed at about 10-13 year-old readers).

reading wednesday

Jul. 26th, 2017 07:59 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

Chimera, by John Barth. Last read in college, when I was studying computer science, and everything Barth said about alphabets and stories seemed to be a direct reflection of something Turing discovered about numbers and computing machines. "The key to the treasure is the treasure."

• What did you recently finish reading?

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. I had been putting this off, because my non-SF-reading friends were saying it was really good but my SF-reading friends were finding it disappointing, which usually means I'll find it disappointing. Turns out it's really good!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson, for Tawanda book group.

Passing the hat

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:01 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My vet has an interesting receptionist and so what I was told would be a sixty dollar trip for their shots is in fact a two hundred dollar trip. This is all part of the seemingly futile effort to find them new homes. If people could donate towards the trip, that would be great.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
How to Make a Clichéd High Fantasy Cover

I am reminded of the cover of a Joe Abercrombie novel where every time I took another look, I noticed yet another sword the character on the cover was carrying.

I hate photography failures

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:49 am
thewayne: (Default)
[personal profile] thewayne
So I'm at the observatory last night, it's the third night of my wife's four night shift, and for once, the weather looks really good: we've had a storm cell parked on top of the mountain for a couple of weeks. I set up my camera on the floor in front of the telescope, check all the settings, all looks well. Empty memory card, I'd topped-off the battery before I left home, camera settings were where I wanted them. My wife told me that the observer was watching just a single target, so I wouldn't get much in the way of star streaks, but that was OK - it was more of an experiment to see what it would look like. I started the external timer firing once a second, she turned off the lights, opened the dome, and we went downstairs to the control room for a few hours.

I knew the camera battery was good for about 4.5 hours in colder conditions, and I started it shooting at about 20:00, just before sundown, so I kind of expected it to still be firing when I went back up about three hours later. No visible red LED on the camera. Maybe it was between exposures. Get down to the floor of the telescope: nope, it was dead. So take it off the tripod, sling it over my shoulder, grab my tripod and head back downstairs.

I figured the battery was dead and I had a card full of images to look at. I did stop to look out the telescope slit: absolutely gorgeous night, couldn't have asked for a nicer sky. So down in the control room, just for kicks and giggles, I try to turn the camera on. And it turns on. And shows a battery just under completely full.

Hit the button to playback images. It took 240 images before stopping. A whopping five minutes of exposures. Didn't even get past sundown, which would have been nice to have the sky transition. Complete waste of time.

I don't know what happened. Camera battery was fine. Remote timer battery was fine: I replaced it with a new battery after I got it (I bought a used unit). 32 gig memory card was empty and freshly formatted when I started the night. The camera was set to turn itself off after two minutes, but the timer was tripping it once a second, so the auto power-off should never have triggered.

*sigh*

We did have a good time, chatting with people in the control room. Another astronomer from the other telescope had just returned from eight days in Japan, visiting her aunt and cousins. Had wonderful stories, especially about toilets, TV, and scarily-expensive coffee. Talking to their computer guy about a switch that had confused itself about its IP address and he couldn't find it on the network. I suggested trying to find its MAC address, but that didn't work. We talked about the summer shutdown when they do heavy maintenance on the telescopes: the 2.5 meter mirror is about to get crated up and trucked to Tucson for its annual re-aluminaization, and it's possible the 3.5 will get redone this year even though it was done only two years ago.

And, of course, playing with the poodles, talking about Gay of Thrones (Funny or Die recap of the HBO series) and Orphan Black.

a nightmare this morning

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:08 am
ritaxis: (Default)
[personal profile] ritaxis
It starts with me watching a bit of a Trump speech or presser on a tv in a public space. It's unsettling but it's also foreshadowing. I go home--in this case it's an urban apartment, half below street level, in a brick building. It has big windows, and I can see into it before I go in. Ted's got a large group of people over to play a role playing game on a big table made of a sheet of masonite placed on trestles. This doesn't make me happy because we hadn't discussed it and I feel the need to decompress with him, to talk to him and listen to him.

When I go down into the apartment the kitchen is largely gutted. The line of cabinets is there, but empty, with doors and drawers gone, and the countertop is gone too. It's weird, because we hadn't discussed this either and I'm hungry and can't do anything about it and I can't talk to him because all these people I don't know are here. I go outside and the same thing is happening to the neighborhood--pieces of it are being gutted without any announcement. The place next door has had a bunch of valuable Precolombian artwork placed around the floor and on the sidewalk, which gives an inkling of what's going to happen there. A woman in overalls and a hardhagt is working and she hints that she doesn't know much about all this deconstruction but what she knows she can't tell me. Also, when I tell her about what's happening in my house she's really embarrassed, as she seems to have witnessed the work and to have some knowledge about that I should have but she doesn't feel she can tell me about that either.

The people in my house never seem to go home and I can't see any way to proceed so I just hang around getting more and more upset. Finally the game is over and some of them have left and I'm desperate and also I've been listening to him talk--or not talk-- and there's something about it that seems deeply wrong. So I just up and ask him what's going on with the kitchen. He doesn't say anything: he just looks embarrassed. I tell him it's just so weird that he didn't tell me anything about it, never mind asking me, he didn't even tell me, no warning. He says something but it's inadequate, it's not even the beginnings of an explanation or defense, and I see his eyes are so vague and kind of stupid and it hits me that he's not normal and he won't be getting normal again, that he's got dementia (like his grandmother) and life will never be the same. I'm off worrying about this and I say the word Alzheimer's to one of his guests and she's embarrassed  but what's much worse is when I wake up and realize that no, he doesn't have Alzheimer's, he's dead, he's gone, there's no Ted left to worry about at all.

Lush and soaking wet

Jul. 26th, 2017 10:21 am
mount_oregano: Let me see (Default)
[personal profile] mount_oregano

I spent 17 years living in Madrid, Spain, which was long enough to forget what summers in America’s Midwest are like. This is my first full summer in Chicago, and I grew up in Milwaukee, with very similar weather, so none of this should be a surprise. But it is. The contrast is just too great.

When I first arrived back a year ago, I’d forgotten how lush and green things are in this part of the United States. And not just green – lots of flowers, too. There’s a reason for that. I’d forgotten how much it rains, often in the form of thunderstorms.

Chicago’s average rainfall in July is 3.7 inches. Madrid’s average for July is 0.4 inches. In other words, on average in July, Chicago gets nine times the rain of Madrid.

The July average is 3.7 inches, but so far this month, my corner of Chicago has received 4.94 inches, with more rain forecast for tomorrow morning. August tends to be an even wetter month with an average of 4.9 inches of rain. Areas northwest of me in Illinois are already suffering from record floods.

It’s hot, it’s wet, and as a consequence, it’s buggy here. But that’s not all bad. I can watch moisture-loving fireflies sparkling in my back yard – on evenings when it isn’t raining.

— Sue Burke

You know what I didn't mention?

Jul. 26th, 2017 11:12 am
filkerdave: Made by LJ user fasterpussycat (Default)
[personal profile] filkerdave

On Friday, July 14th, the girlfriend and I went over to the Animal Adoption Center here in Jackson. Someone came home with us. We still don't have a name for her (I've suggested Purrito, but that's been vetoed. Given the date she came home, maybe I should push for Marianne).

Food! Glorious Food!

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:21 am
lsanderson: (Default)
[personal profile] lsanderson
Traces of Controversial Herbicide Are Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
By STEPHANIE STROM
The ice cream brand joins the list of food companies that are grappling with trace amounts of glyphosate in their products.

The Hot New Thing in Guatemala, Land of Coffee? It’s Coffee
By ELISABETH MALKIN
Guatemalan coffee is revered at cafes around the world. Now it is gaining a devoted following not far from the farms where it is grown.

CITY KITCHEN
Miso duck is good in any season, but especially as the star element in a main course salad, perfect for summer.
An Instant Way to Bolster Flavor


Miso imbues everything it touches with a sweet, salty, nutty complexity.
By DAVID TANIS
Recipe: Grilled Duck Breast With Miso, Ginger and Orange

A GOOD APPETITE
The base for a good nondairy ice cream relies on alternative milks, like those from hemp, coconut and cashew.
Vegan Ice Cream Enters a Golden Age

With a huge variety of plant-based milks now available on the market, nondairy ice creams are getting better than ever.
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipes: Nondairy Ice Cream Base

Hot Enough for You? Try Eating Something Even Hotter


On summer scorchers, Korean tradition calls for a boiling bowl of chicken, rice and ginseng that’s believed to work better than anything cold.
By DAVE KIM
Recipe: Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)

For the Chile Aficionado, a Good Book


By FLORENCE FABRICANT
The chef Maricel E. Presilla’s new book, “Peppers of the Americas,” is an encyclopedia of facts and recipes.

THE POUR
The Delicious World of Bruno, Chief of Police

Martin Walker shares the wines and food of the Périgord region, which inspired the fictional world of Bruno Courrèges, his small-town French police chief.
By ERIC ASIMOV

Bo Pilgrim, Founder of Pilgrim’s Pride Poultry Products, Dies at 89
By ROBERT D. HERSHEY Jr.
Mr. Pilgrim joined a brother in taking over a Texas feed store owned by their father and transformed it into a company with 35,000 employees and operations in 17 states and Mexico.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:47 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] el_staplador !  A day of beauty and joy!

Profiles in Courage

Jul. 26th, 2017 07:22 am
supergee: (disgust)
[personal profile] supergee
In 1999 a professional football player named Cecil Collins was caught climbing through a window with intent to rape and was sentenced to prison. The unusual part was that he was on the Disabled List with a broken leg. That was my go-to example of admirable personal qualities turned to bad ends until yesterday, when John McCain bravely overcame grievous health problems to vote to let millions of people die.
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