Travels and Images
WEEK 36 2005
Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
Saturday 10 September
- what the heck, this spring I read a bunch of alternate history sci-fi books.
I should list books #22 Worldwar: In The Balance, #23: Worldwar: Tilting the Balance, #24: Worldwar: Upsetting the Balance, and #25 Worldwar: Striking the Balance,
all in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series. In this series an alien race
tries to invade the Earth. Expecting to find only medieval era
technology, they show up at the beginning of the second world war with
stupendously advanced technology - but only a limited amount of
supplies. After initial successes - including the invasion of the
United States and Soviet Russia, things bog down. It's all well
written, if rather long. We see many of the movers and shakers of the
second world war - Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, fighting a new and
different battle. We have a cast of dozens, many of which Turtledove is
happy to kill off. There is Sam Yeager, a minor league baseball player,
inducted into the army fighting the Lizards on the outskirts of
Chicago. There is the female scout pilot in biplane, over Siberia. The
german tank officer, and the alien
tank officer. There is the ongoing effort of the Americans to secretly
build a nuclear bomb from scratch, that of the Russians to build one
with stolen alien plutonium, and the Lizards inability to realize the
importance of sea power and transport - they are a dry world species.
These four books were then followed by a series set in the 1960's - a
generation later, but the same world. There are some captured 'Lizards'
raised as human. There are captured humans raised as Lizards. There is
an armed truce with the aliens occupying certain areas of the world.
The real alien invasion fleet - the colonization fleet - is arriving,
and various goings on occur, including a widespread alien drug habit
based on the human herb of ginger. So #26 is Colonization: Second Contact, #27 is Colonization: Down to Earth, and #28 Colonization: Aftershocks.
There is actually another book, that I haven't read, Homeward Bound, including Sam Yeager, in which the humans build a star ship and go to visit (peacefully?) the aliens in one of their star systems.
Oddly, I only own a couple of these books. Alternate military history
really isn't a favorite genre of mine, but these were well enough
written that I checked them out from the library and bought a couple
(used) volumes the library did not have.
Friday 9 September
Friday - Phoebe is a big cat, and his perch is an average sized office chair - sometimes it falls over:
"Funny, this chair has shrunk since I was a kitten..
I again Katrina-donated today, at an animal rescue place, Best Friends.
Man, I wish these places would get Paypal or something, I hate putting
out my credit card number on the web, even after doing a bit of a web
search and finding that it is a legitimate charity.
Light posting for the next few days.
Thursday 8 September 2005
- over at the Volokh Conspiracy David Bernstein writes that the AALS 2006 meeting in New Orleans is canceled (probably). And I immediately thought of a variation on the old lawyer joke:
Q. What to you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean Lake New Orleans?
A. A good start.
Disclaimer: don't get me wrong, I like most of the posters at VC. I
find jokes about engineers and programmers funny as well. The meaner
In other, not so amusing news however, the remaining civilians in New Orleans,
having survived winds of 100+MPH, flood, loss of power, water, fuel,
phone, and sewage utilities, medical care, police and fire department
abandonment, endured fires, rioters, looters and all the rest...are now
to be starved out by their own mayor and governor. For their own good, of course.
In other Hurricane Katrina news, Latvia has offered help!
Wow, that's great. Just imagine what Victor Von Doom can do with his
amazing mutant powers (as recently showcased in the documentary Fantastic Four). He can power hospitals, probably even the whole Louisiana electrical grid. I wonder if the other...
What? I' trying to write here!
He's from Latveria, not Latvia?
Never mind. Bummer.
Hey, I didn't know Leonard Nimoy was in THEM!.
Wednesday 7 September 2005
Wednesday - why did New Orleans flood? The French are to blame, of course! Heh. [via Samizdata]
Watching the news tonight, a talking head (TH) is fishing
for bad news on CNN. He is interviewing the mayor of Baton Rouge, I
think, where the population has doubled lately with refugee's. First
question is about the traffic. The mayor responds that it's bad, yes, but
that the city engineers are redoing the traffic lights and soon there
will be police and guardsmen to direct traffic at intersections to make it all good. Non-plused the TH asks if BR likes all the new population? The mayor answers back that they are happy to extend a hand to their friends and neighbors. Desperate now the TH asks about the schools - aren't the schools just too crowded? Mayor: we've set up shifts for teaching, it's under control, all the kids can get a good education...
That mayor will never
get another interview. Straight to the point, positive, with a grasp of
details, he is clueless as to how the game is played. Hasn't he been
watching Nagin and Blanco?
Book #21 is Glen Cook's Whispering Nickel Idols,
a Garrett P.I. novels. Garrett is a detective in the Travis McGhee
tradition, only set in a world of sorcerers, elves, fairies, dwarves,
and so on. I've enjoyed earlier books in the series, but this one
stinks. The book is poorly edited - words and phrases are mixed up. The
plot is slow to develop, and meanders about. The denouement, usually
done in a Nero Wolfe fashion, is feeble. Cook's efforts have been
getting worse and worse, sadly. That's $6.99 I wish I had back, and
probably the last time I'll buy a book of his to read. It's the library
- maybe - from now on.
It's too bad, his Starfishers series, and the early Black Company
novels were wonderful. Earlier books showcased Cook's talent for
entertaining names and titles, in a way reminiscent of Jack Vance, and
had tightly knit and fairly gritty plots. This was just...blah.
I guess no one keeps their edge forever.
Tuesday 6 September
Tuesday - a bit stiff and sore, but not too bad. No bicycling today, however. Back to work!
Plaque at the top of Mt. Baden-Powell
Monday 5 September 2005
Monday - the HIKE!
My brother Mike and I hiked Mt. Baden-Powell. The mountain is located
on the eastern end of the Angeles, just off of Highway 2. It is about a
4 mile hike one way, with a 2800' elevation gain to about 9300'. This
would be Hike #81 in Trails of the Angeles.
It was a beautiful day for a walk, cool, clear, bug free, and virtually
all under large shady pines. The switchbacks were well done, a bit
steeper than optimum on occasion, and the trail clear and well
maintained. There were a number of other people on the trail, but it
was long enough that we were rarely in eye-or-ear shot of them (save at
the top). Several people brought dogs - one, a basset hound, seemed to have no trouble in reaching the top!
We brought plenty of water, and a nice lunch for the top, and admired the view for an hour or so before heading back.
Sunday 4 September
Sunday - not a lot to say. Just doing
normal Sunday things. Doing a bit of work on making an emergency kit.
The problems of the gulf coast after Katrina remind me that I never
finished my kit - it has water, certainly the most important item, but
I sent my review of last week's Alone Across the Atlantic into Amazon.com.