Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shopping

Because I didn't get enough shopping on Friday, I did a little more on Saturday (comic books), and then Jennifer and I did even more today.

Our first stop was Transports in Oakland where for the first time I tried on some FiveFinger Shoes. The store in Oakland did not have the Flow, but they did have the KSO. I tried them on for size, and liked them, but they didn't have them in black. But their store in Berkeley did.

So we drove over to Solano Avenue, and bought a pair of the KSOs there. I tried a pair of the Flows, but the big toe on that one is a little bit smaller, and it was uncomfortable to wear. Plus I think the shoe of entire neoprene (or whatever) would be a bit hot over time. I also got a pair of toe socks which I am very happy with as they keep the shoes from sticking to my feet.

We hit a few other stores, including The Xocolate Bar, which had some amazing chocolates which Jennifer and I both highly recommend.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wonderful Day

My friend Dian is very happy.

We had a fun day together and she shared wonderful news.

She's on her way to New York, and has been visiting family and friends.

We went to Yammy Sushi in El Cerrito, Charles Chocolates in Emeryville, used book stores in Berkeley (Dark Carnival, Pengradon & Pegasus Books, Other Change of Hobbit, and Black Oak Books), and finished with dinner at Beckett's.

All around, a fun day, and I wish her only the best.

Ever and Always.

Because No One Does...

Awesome. Just so much awesome.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quo

Things are pretty stable and normal.

...

I just made a typo and corrected it, but consider this word: noirmal.

Is that how you would describe things as normal in a noir setting?

I'm just asking.

Laundry Day

... see you there...

Or not.

Anyway, did lots of laundry because I hadn't in a long while.

And I managed to finished Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. I enjoyed the book, but it left me wanting more. Not in a bad way, but not the great way I am always hoping for. It was still the best of the Mercy Thompson series. And I look forward to more books in the series. Maybe it felt like a bridge to me. It had good action, tied up plot threads, and set a few possibilities up. And then again maybe this is the good feeling of wanting more.

I think what made it hard for me was being in a woman's head who is dealing with the aftermath of being raped. It's something that will (probability willing) remain completely alien to me. And still it is uncomfortable as a man to read about that situation. But certainly it says something for the author to be able to get those emotions across.

Now I move on to the third Kate Daniels book. And maybe I'll give myself permission to read my comic books again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie Night

Tonight, Jennifer and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Now, I had heard it was a lot like Forrest Gump, but I didn't see that at all beyond the movie being set in New Orleans. However, knowing the premise of the movie I thought it would be a rip off of The Confessions of Max Tivoli: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Greer which is the story of a man who ages backwards.

However, at the end of the movie we learned that the movie was based off of a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. So more like Max Tivoli was inspired by the original short story of Benjamin Button.

The movie itself we found touching and enjoyable. Two hours and forty minutes went by extremely fast.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Like the Corners of my Mind...

Well, today just kind of fell apart.

One player ended up sick, and she wasn't able to come, so due to the small group, I cancelled the game, but we kept the up the plans for a burger cookout. No one other than the other two players came, so the four of us had a nice meal with burgers, beer and chips, with a little salad and fruit for the ladies.

And tomorrow it's back to our regularly scheduled work week.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Prep and Play

Today I bought a lot of stuff for my combo GURPS beginner's game and Memorial Day cookout.

I got burgers and fixings, beer (Guinness 250), and chips. The others are bringing salads or sides, and beer (or other drinks).

So we'll play, then cook and eat, and then maybe go for a swim.

I also went up to Fairfield for a little dinner with the Sorrells, and we watched Reservoir Dogs.

Strange movie.

Settign Up the Office

Most of yesterday I spent slowly putting things away in the new shelving units in the office.

I'm tyring to to keep some of the disorganized styles I've had, but four decades of chaos are hard to rewire.

I also got my comics this week. There's a new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen call 1910. I haven't read it yet as I'm reading Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Turn Coat

I have just finished the latest Harry Dresden book. It is 418 pages of joy and excitement.

How do you know a good book?

When you are on page 321, and the big fight is just about to begin.

A great book?

When what you think is the big fight is penultimate.

Jim Butcher is an amazing storyteller.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Chain, Follow the Chain

So I'm reading today's comics, and I get to Two Lumps; specifically this strip.

So I head over to Amazon to see if Jasper Fforde actually has a new book out.

No such luck, but he does have a book due out December 29.

So I decide to head over to his official webpage. And then I see that the Thursday Next series is a planned octology.

GAH!

Although I have to admit that the new book sounds very interesting.

Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.

Eddie’s world wasn’t always like this. There’s evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.

Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.

Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's Word is...

...Methane.

Methane is the simplest of the hydrocarbons. It is one carbon atom surrounded by four hydrogen atoms. It's description is reminiscent of iocaine powder: odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It poses no known health risks other than the possibility of it displacing oxygen, and its tendency to burst into flames at high enough concentrations (between 5 and 15%).

It can even dissolve in water. The water becomes cloudy with the dissolved methane, but is safe to drink. Just so long as you don't go swallowing lit matches.

And a certain community in Colorado has enough methane in their groundwater, thanks to a nearby methane pumping field, that they can set their tap water (pumped in from a groundwater well) on fire as seen in this video.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Recent Readings

So I've finished a few books recently. I'll save the best for last so...

First off there's The Steampunk Trilogy by Paul Di Filippo. This is another book that I decided to read after Sci-Fi Museum in Seattle. There are three parts to the book (trilogy, duh) which are really more like novellas. All three are a might odd, and take a different look on past events. I'm not sure how to describe it all. I've never read any steampunk before, and I'm not sure if I will again. Victorian times really don't interest me, and neither does the tech. I think I'll give William Gibson's The Difference Engine one more shot, but that will probably be it for steampunk for me.

Another book i noted to read from the Sci-Fi Museum was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. As it turns out, I think I've read this one before, but things were vague enough that I either skipped around through it, or I just experienced a book length sense of deja vu. Either way, DADoES? is an interesting book that avoids going into the real details of the androids making it so that you accept them as established technology that people know about but are not familiar with. of course now I have to watch the movie again. I've not really sat through the entire film since the first time I watched it with my parents as a kid and didn't get it. I think I might have a better understanding now.

And finally, a recommendation from Dian: Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson. Jennifer read this one first because Dian's description of it seemed right for her. Jennifer found it beautifully written, but also very depressing. I read it and found the tears flowing freely through the first two-thirds of the book. It wasn't that I was sobbing, but my typical running tears I get when I'm full of emotion or creativity. The feelings in the book are very strong. The interesting thing is that the sex of the protagonist is a mystery, and one that remains unresolved. You don't need to know it, and perhaps that allows the reader to put themselves into the mindset more strongly. This is another author I'll be looking into more.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

LEGO for Adults

This evening I assembled the bookshelves/desks/drawers for the office.

And it took me back to being a kid with my LEGOs. There are no words in the directions, and all you get are arrows and part numbers.

But everything looks great.

Pictures soon.

The Redesign

And last night we painted.

I got home and Jennifer was finishing up taping and putting the plastic down. So we walked over to Subway and got dinner, and then we painted.

The walls looked great this morning.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh, The Weekend

Yesterday a group of us had a great time at the Livermore Scottish Games. We drank much beer, had shots of whiskey, and I bought two swords and two knives. On sword is a cheap replica of Hardafang, and the knives are cheap replicas of Legolas' fighting knives. The second sword is long and straight, but is just impressive looking. Now I need some more magnetic sword holders.

Today Jennifer and I were going to meet some others to go see Star Trek on IMAX in Dublin. Instead Jennifer and I got caught up in a project that involved IKEA. We're finally getting around to redoing the office in the same way we've redone the rest of the house. So we go two bookshelves, and two desks to go with them and a set of drawers as well that insert into the bookcase.

And so if you're redoing the room, you need paint, so we stopped by a hardware store and got that as well.

When we got home, the first thing we did was measure the wall. As it turns out we'll have about 3/4 of an inch to spare. It's going to look great.

The rest of the evening we spent emptying the room, and moving the stuff in it to the sitting room.

I just got finished vacuuming,and we'll probably have to have the carpet cleaned, but we're all set to start painting tomorrow.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drinking and Kilts

Yeah, I almost forgot to post and I'm sleepy.

Livermore Scottish Games today.

Lots of fun, and lots of sun. But no sunburn.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Mighty Huntress is Our Pom

All right, below is a picture of the rat that my cat Pom caught last Thursday. We didn't see it until Friday morning (about 1:00 AM) when we got back from seeing Star Trek. It was very neatly placed in the very center of the garage where it would be between our two cars.

She's a good cat, our Pom. You'll note that the rat would be almost 8 inches long if it we straightened, and the tail is at least that long as well. Pom might just be 15 inches from her shoudlers to the base of her tail, and about 12 inches tall at the shoulder.

We are all very impressed.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thin Skin

So a little over a week ago, I wrote a little review of Mathematicians in Love (Non-Buyer's Pleasance).

A couple days ago I got a comment posted by the author (Comment).

I just have to say that I'm amazed at the tone and content of his comment.

First off, I'm not a published author; not really. I had a short story published in a 'zine once, but that was run by a friend. I've got some short stories I'd like to get out there, but I don't think it will happen anytime soon. However, I've had people read my stories, and I know that not everyone likes them all.

Now, were I a published author with as many books as Mr. Rucker has under his belt, I would not push someone away who didn't like one of his books. I would recommend other books as possibilities to try. I'm sure he liked the book he wrote; you can't write something be it a song, story, or even a RPG adventure if you don't like the content. But to expect everyone to love everything you wrote as much as you do is unrealistic.

I had considered looking into some of his other books, but with an attitude like that, I think I'll pass.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Adrian Mole

Well, I think I did a good job of trying, but the depressing events in the books became to much, and I cannot read another book.

I read The Adrian Mole Diaries, Adrian Mole: The Lost Years, and Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years. However when it came to trying to read Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, I had to throw in the towel.

Written by Sue Townsend, the books are done in a diary style, and showcase a boy growing into a man. And yet the man is not one you would want to know or even care about. I like British humor, and many British authors, but the humor in these books is either too dry for even me, or just non-existent. The first book was amusing, but the humor quickly went away in the other books. I probably tried harder than I normally would have, but I was trusting a friend's recommendation.

I'll have to ask her if she's actually read all of the books or just the first volume.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Done

And we're all done.

Got home, and Jennifer and I went out for some food.

Now, I'm just reading.

And looking forward to an extra two hours of sleep tonight.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stockton - One More Day

It's the little things that make a job difficult. Especially when it's a well full of silt and clay in suspension in the water that makes the well too buoyant to stay in place or the sand pack to fall into place making it impossible to set the well.

We're letting the casing sit overnight, and we're going to hope all the sediment settles out and then we'll set the well in the morning.

Then we just have one more well to go.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Visit from the Owners

Friday we got a phone call from our landlady saying that she needed to come see us on Sunday. This is in response to an inspection conducted by the county. Apparently this is part of a way of protecting renters. The place needs to be up to code, and well kept.

There's a log list of things that need to be done, and some have needed to be done since we moved in.

They (she and her husband) are very impressed with what we have been able to do with the place, and so we look forward to the work which at present has a due date of June 11.

It's a Day

Gamed today, and had a fun time. I'm amazed how long the adventure is lasting. It's fun, but there's so much happening you'd think it'd be over now. We figure we'll finish up next time, but next time is unknown until we hear about people's schedules.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Done with the Week

... and almost done in Stockton.

Very tired after a logn day, after a short night.

Boldly Going Late into the Night

Today was a wonderful day in the field. Nice and sunny, and a strong wind most of the day. It kept the vapors under control, and most of the heat off of us.

We managed to get the rest of the extraction wells (2 vapor and one groundwater) completed today. All that is left is to set the well boxes.

Tomorrow we'll be drilling in someone's backyard.

***

And even with the great field accomplishments, I managed to go see Star Trek tonight. My coworker was incredulous that I would go see a movie at 10:00 PM, and then plan to get up in time to be on site in Stockton at 7:00 AM.

Perhaps.

But the film was amazing. Everyone gets there one line. The new crew is great, and the story is pretty tight (for Star Trek).

The sign to watch for in engineering is the gratuitous oxymoron: INERT REACTANT.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Field... The Field...

And so with today's two vapor extraction wells installed, we are right on schedule to complete our latest job by next Thursday.

Should things go well, we'll be ahead of the game by at least one day possibly two tomorrow.

***

Last night I read a Jim Butcher short story, and this evening I've finished another one. they really are amazing, and they give a good momentum for what's going on between the full length novels.

I think I'll just set Donnerjack aside for a while.

***

And tomorrow night, Jennifer, Holly, and I are going to see the new Star Trek. I'm, excited, Holly is excited, and Jennifer is beside herself.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Stockton Countdown

So here's how it is:

We're back at my site in Stockton, and we're getting some backlog finished as well as preparing for our pilot test before our system install. We have to install:

1 deep offsite groundwater monitoring well
1 shallow offsite groundwater monitoring well
2 groundwater extraction wells
4 soil vapor extraction wells

We got the first groundwater extraction well installed today. I'll be out there through next Thursday.

Please remember to tip your waitresses.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Non-Buyer's Pleasance

While in Seattle, I almost bought Mathematicians in Love by Rudy Rucker (also here). I finished it this evening, and I'm glad I didn't buy it.

I can say that I read the book.

And that's about all I can say. I had hopes for it based on it's jacket description, but wow did it just kind of peter out.

it starts in an alternate world, and the events and such there are intriguing as well as some of the topological math and science brought into the story.

Then about halfway through it gets weird.

Then it settles down in a second alternate world.

Then it get even weirder.

And then it fizzles.

I suppose you could say that it ties things up nicely, but It was reminiscent of a Roman candle that gives great eruptions until the last one that just...

pffft.

And More Reading

Burning through the books lately, but then these have not been really difficult reads.

I read the supernatural short stories, and they were good. It's always nice to have additional Kelley Armstrong and Jim Butcher stories to read.

Two additional books I read this weekend were recommendations from Dian.

The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend is a fun book written in diary form by a boy who begins the book at age 13 3/4. It's very British, with dry humor, and kind of sitcom-ish with the way things are misunderstood. There are two other books I have requested at the library, so I look forward to seeing how the tale goes.

Candy Freak by Steve Almond is a book written about the candy industry, focusing on the small candy producers. It turns out that I have a few dark chocolate bars from one of the plants that he visits. It wasn't a great book, but it was informative. It does make you crave candy while reading it though.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Home Safe

Did a lot of reading today. Then decided I could read and workout, so went to the gym too. I'll be missing out for a while with working in Stockton this week and next.

Will talk about books I finished today in next post.

Jennifer is back from her trip to Seattle. She just got back about an hour ago, so no it's time for sleep.

A Little After Midnight

So today was a day of little things.

I slept a little later than normal (8:30).

I made a little drive to Livermore for my comics, and got a few free ones for Free Comic Book Day.

I came home and read for a little bit, then I got ready to visit the Sorrells.

We three and Adam went to BJ's in Vacaville, and spent a little while eating and drinking in the bar.

Then we went back to the Sorrells' place, and watched a little Vin Diesel in Pitch Balck.

Now I'm a little tired, and am going to read for a little while before I put myself to bed.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Other Reading

Okay, so Donnerjack really hasn't been keeping my attention of late. I've had some books come in from the library, and then built a list while I was in Seattle, and got a new stack of books from the library that I have to work on now.

While in Seattle, I finished Princeps Fury, which was a very good read. The momentum was such that I ended up staying up late reading Sunday night.

Also Dian had a fun book she had been given that I devoured while I was up there. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is almost a graphic novel, but is more like a novel with storyboards interspersed in it. It tells the tale of a boy and his serendipitous time living in a train station.

I also read a couple tales from My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding. Which had a Harry Dresden story in it as well as a story by Kelley Armstrong. Both were fun little tales, good for tiding me over until the next full length book comes out.

And finally, although it was a complete book, Backup would barely qualify as a novella, and is really just a bound short story. It's another Harry Dresden story, but this time told from his brother Thomas' perspective.

And then this evening I just finished the first of a new group of books from the library. This one was Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and its' about an old man remembering his time in a traveling circus during the Great Depression. Totally not my normal thing, but very entertaining. And quite the fast read. I got it at the library yesterday, and just finished it.

Now I'm on to another couple collection of supernatural short stories with tales by Jim Butcher and Kelley Armstrong again. And tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day!

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