quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Finally finished a book I originally started almost 10 years ago (15 Dec '02 - I only know this from an old LiveJournal post): Lois McMaster Bujold's "Shards of Honor." I must say the "Aftermath" chapter, a sort of epilogue, was an interesting counterpoint to the end of the book, & a bit unnerving and distressing. Having already recently read "The Warrior's Apprentice," I think that was a better place for me to start a second attempt at reading the series, and I'll probably read the rest in LMB's internal chronological order (filling in "Falling Free" at some point in there).
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Photography

I've been looking over a bunch of the photo work I did from when I was trying to do it professionally. I've been thinking about digging out versions of some of the works that don't have my old business copyright stamped on them and posting them to my current personal gallery. I've found some of them, but I still need to look through several more discs to find the scans of some of the older film galleries (Mono Lake, Cayonlands, etc., so I don't have to dig out the slides and rescan them). I've also noticed a serious decline in the quality of my photography, IMHO, since I shut down the business. I know for a little while I was burned out, but I think it's mainly a lack of desire to take as much time with each shot since I've been busy being back in school. I know what to do behind the lens, but on most of my trips lately, I've been more in sightseeing mode than concerned with trying to make great art. While looking over older shots today, at first I thought maybe I was less satisfied with the digital camera than with my film work, but since I got the digital right before we shut down the business, I don't have much overlap to compare, and I do think it's more me than the camera.

Reading

Since Toni and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince recently, it reminded me I still haven't read the last book in the series, and I'm not sure it's going to happen before at least the first film (if not both) comes out. I know pretty much what happens (I'm not hung up about spoilers), but still do want to read it. I haven't read A Feast for Crows yet, either, the latest in George R. R. Martin's series. On vacation in May, I started reading Katherine Neville's The Fire, the sequel to The Eight, one of my favorite books of all time, but only got about half finished before vacation was over. Haven't picked it up again since. On that same trip, I actually managed to listen to the audio version of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, with Toni, on our way out to Massachusetts. If Toni hadn't gotten the audiobook, I probably still wouldn't have read it. We have audiobooks for Harry Potter and for the Martin book, and I think that may be the only way I'm going to get through those before I'm done with school. I think they may be a good thing for me to listen to while I'm riding, at least indoors (I'm fairly certain using an iPod isn't legal for bicyclists here, and the concept seems too dangerous to me, anyway).

Bicycling

I'm so bloody out of shape it isn't funny. I don't really care what the scale says (we don't even own one), but I haven't been comfortable with my own fitness and lack of flexibility for my current size for a while. Sitting in the car for close to three hours a day total when I was still commuting up here from Fishers really aggravated what was already becoming a sedentary lifestyle. My latest trip to Boulder, seeing so many cyclists in a bike-friendly community got me missing it. Since I've been home from there, I've started riding the stationary recumbent bike for a few minutes three days a week. I've only been doing three to three and a half miles in fifteen minutes, but it's a start. I want to work up to getting out on my road bike at least once before the season is over. I need some new cycling shoes and cleats for my clipless pedals, because I want to try them again and see if they can help me with my stroke, but I think I may wait until the start of next spring's outdoor riding. I haven't really used them since soon after I got the bike because I was having problems getting unclipped and was falling over when stopped. Of course, I've missed the past two workout days because I thought I was coming down with what Toni has (cold that turned into nasty bronchitis within two days) - my entire lymphatic system was swollen and I was aching all over for more than two days. Feeling almost back to normal today, so I'm hoping to get back on the bike on Tuesday, my next scheduled day. Missing long rides, I've set a personal goal to be able to ride another century ride either by the end of next summer or the following (starting where I am, I'm pacing myself very cautiously right now). I looked at the one I did in 2002 in Death Valley for the JDRF, and the fundraising minimum has gotten ridiculous - $4700 compared to the $3000 I had to raise only seven years ago. There are plenty of other century rides around the country that are the kind that just require a reasonable entry fee, including one right here in Lafayette.
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Terry Pratchett gets a knighthood

I think this impresses me more about Liz than about Sir Terry deserving it (which, IMHO, he does). :-)

Someday I'll have time again to read more Discworld and other Pratchett stuff. Someday...
quasigeostrophy: (snoopy share)
Speed Bump for Wednesday, May 16

Not that I don't read anymore. In fact, I will probably read more this summer than I have in any equivalent time period in the past. But it won't be fiction.
quasigeostrophy: (Linus-research)
Reading a book on lidar for my term paper, I came across this little nugget (technical details edited to spare you):

...blah blah technical mumbo-jumbo, and the group of lines is called the Q branch.

The Q branch? Okay, then. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (Calvin - Fun)
Far below the outer fringes of the cloud of electrons lies the atom's tiny, dense core, held together by the strongest force in the universe.

That's how my chemistry textbook author starts out the final chapter of the book, Nuclear Reactions and Their Applications. It's one that is actually covered in the first semester class, out of order from the book, but I hadn't read it in my catching up so far. That first sentence sounds a little bit Carl Sagan-ey to me, like this author was definitely ready to wrap up this book. I've already posted about his apparent fixation with pee in various chapter problems. Let's see if (and how, if so) he can work in urine in a nuclear chemistry sense... :-)
quasigeostrophy: (hypnotoad)
I liked the book. Not a literary breakthrough and a bit telegraphed, but an entertaining and quick read. Even though I've heard the movie (understandably, considering the book is a lot of exposition) drags, I may go see it for the heck of it.

Currently, I've been half paying attention to a documentary on The History Channel called Beyond the Da Vinci Code which is uncovering the truth behind many of the so-called claims in the novel. I like the approach of this documentary. The facts are being presented neutrally. I've read so many similar debunkings that annoy me with a tone, explicit or implicit, of "Dan Brown got it wrong!"

Give me a break. He wrote a work of fiction!!

Many years ago, I fell in love with a novel called The Eight, the first book by Katherine Neville. It's still one of my favorite books. It's a creative placing of historical characters from around and after the time of the French Revolution linked to another story thread set in the 1970s. They're all where they were, doing for the most part what they did that is recorded historically, when they did it. But Neville changed their motivations, often extremely. To me, whatever his actual intent, Brown's The Da Vinci code is the same sort of thing, except only with present day protagonists.

People having cow puppies about things Brown claims in the novel about the Catholic church and so forth, IMHO, just need to get over it.
quasigeostrophy: (Bugs drag)
Meteorological phenomenon or not, I say this would be a great rock star name: Eddy Viscosity
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
Ben Franklin's 300th Birthday is today. One of the last true Renaissance Men. A man after my own heart. One of my favorite satirical books is his compilation of essays called Fart Proudly.

I want a national holiday for Ben. :-)

And now, I must be off to my 11-hour school day...
quasigeostrophy: (tornado)
Sheesh.

On the way down to Louisville yesterday, I was perusing the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Weather I had picked up a Half Price Books a while back, thinking it might be a nice little reference to keep in the car. In the How to Use This Book section, though, I was rather amused at an example set of instructions:

You are visiting friends in Kansas who live just a few miles from your house, and you have heard on the radio that a tornado watch has been issued. You scan the sky and notice that a small funnel has formed at the base of a thick thunderstorm cloud overhead.

1. Turn to the Thumb Tab Guide. There you find a vortex-shaped silhouette standing for the group "Tornadoes and Other Whirls". The symbol refers you a particular group of the Color Plates.

2. You look at the color plates and quickly surmise that the funnel shape in the sky overhead may be the beginning stage of a tornado. The captions refer you to a particular text section.

3. Reading the text, you become convinced that there is a tornado forming. You and your friends immediately seek the storm shelter and wait for the threat to pass.


Uh... yeah. Sure, I'm going to do all that reading when I know there's a tornado watch and I see a funnel forming overhead. Riiiight. Here's my version:

You scan the sky and notice that a small funnel has formed at the base of a thick thunderstorm cloud overhead.

1. You gasp and shout, "Gah!!"

2. You immediately seek the storm shelter and wait for the threat to pass.


Much better. :-)

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