Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fool Me Once...

So some people might remember this post about me getting on the wrong train at MacArthur.

This morning I was a little earlier, and was standing with my bike at my usual spot having noted that the next train (Concord was next) was a few minutes out.  I have my headphones on, and I'm reading, so I vaguely hear the sounds of a train coming, so I begin getting ready.

Then I not that the train is shorter than advertised, so I check the signs.  They say "Richmond".

I didn't get on, but I watched several people rush on and I wonder if they ended up going the wrong way for a few stops like I did that one time.

I do wonder though, why the train occasionally ends up on the wrong track.

Is it a switching issue?  Or is it just a little hiccup?

Either way, I was glad I had arrived 5 minutes prior.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Triskadekamania - The Conclusion

So "The World's End" was lots of fun.  I'm kind of glad I came across an interview with Simon Pegg, because I had some cool things to look for during the movie, but they might have been more fun to look for on a second viewing.

Afterwards, Jennifer and I wandered around Bay Street, and had lunch at the Elephant Bar.

Then we rode back home and did laundry.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


It was thirteen years ago today that Jennifer and I got married.

Today we've gone bicycling for breakfast, explored the extent of the new bike trail to the new Bay Bridge.  It's a little short of the toll plaza so far, but we're looking forward to the new trail.

Now we're waiting for Simon Pegg's new movie "The World's End".

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blood Song - Raven's Shadow

So today at lunch, I finished Anthony Ryan's Blood Song which is apparently the first book in a saga about the Raven's Shadow.

Jennifer always describes books that move her as movies.  She talks about dodging for the hero during a fight.  She talks about seeing the action like a movie while she's reading.  I can think of some that I've experienced that way, and now I have another.

As I read Blood Song, I could feel some of Ryan's influences.  The literary style of the story is reminiscent of the Kingkiller Saga by Patrick Rothfuss (also an amazing series).  There are elements that hark to the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  And in the way that the occasional person talks, there is just a hint of Terry Pratchett.

Now that is not to say that it is a book that is just a mishmash of other people's work.  The action is fast and just carries you through.  I kept expecting the book to nearly be over because so much had happened.  And yet the story keeps going, carrying the tale and making you want more.

I am certainly looking forward to a sequel.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Perfect Apple

So those who know me know that I eat very little fruit.  I don't like berries, I can't handle citrus pulp, and feel the same way about the skin of an apple.  I will suck a lemon wedge dry though.

I discovered that I could eat apples when I peel them or cut into them and eat out to the skin.

Eating apples started to become a regular thing during my field courses during my undergraduate work.  We got to make our lunches, and one time I grabbed an apple (red delicious).  I had my Leatherman with me, and at lunch time I skinned it, and it was one of the best tasting things I had ever eaten.  Plus it gave me some needed sugar and water.  And as an added bonus, the pile of skin that I was smart enough to pile up away from where my team partners and I were eating gave the flies a place to gather and not bother us while we ate.

After returning to civilization, I would occasionally try to recreate the experience, but then I had to hunt for the right flavor and texture.  I wanted something slightly tart with a crisp texture.

After much experimentation, I found the braeburn apple.  It has become my go to, and yet still there is a surprising amount of variation from apple to apple depending on the color, the date, and their age.

Every now and then I get the perfect apple.  One that is crisp, moist, sweet with a hint of sour, and no hidden bruises.

But today, I read this article, and fear for my apples.

And you cannot imagine how difficult is was to type "apple" so many times.

Monday, August 12, 2013


So today is a day of split feelings.

I am glad that BART is running.  All thanks to the governor and judge who enacted a 60-day cooling off period for the union and management negotiations.

At the same time I am bummed, because I could have worked from home.  There's just something nice about working at a computer and having a purring cat on the desk with you.

But I guess that ius all delayed until sometime in October, unless of course negotiations get everything worked out before then.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

And the Words Just Keep on Coming...

So yesterday on BART, I suddenly came to the end of Bowl of Heaven by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford.

I say suddenly because as I read the last page there was a very clumsy segue from what the captain of the orbiting ship is thinking about the giant structure his crew has been exploring and a page telling me the title of the next book.

Now, it was no surprise at about two-thirds progress that the book wasn't going to resolve, but I expected some kind of stressful event at the end.  Some minor revelation that would engender some anticipation on the part of the reader.  Instead the last four chapters are perspectives from the two exploring ground crews, a perspective from the aliens, and then a brief chapter from the captain.

I've read almost everything Larry Niven has written including all of the Ringworld series, and Niven knows how to wrap up a story.  Even ones that you can anticipate as having sequels he wraps up the small threads leaving the big thread dangling, and usually will give a little cliffhanger.  I can only guess that this is Benford's writing style, since I've only read anthologies that he has been editor for.

So now I move on to some different things.  I've started Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat which has already been very fun and entertaining, and might last me through tonight.  It's fast and funny, but it's a comedian's book, so it's not very deep.  And if you haven't heard or seen his stand-up, you really need to.

After this book...  I'm just not sure.Perhaps I'll read Discworld again.  Pratchett has said that the 40th book of the Discworld series is coming out in October.  I could easily be through the other books and short-stories by then.  I might even have time to read the fourth installment of the Science of Discworld.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Book Reviews

So earlier this week, I completed Ted Kosmatka's Prophet of Bones.

This is a book I could see turned into a movie.  And it would work with or without the parallel world tenet that potassium-argon radioactive dating had been discredited.  And I say that it would make a good movie in that it read well and I could see the movie kind of action in my head, and yet it didn't seem like a novelization of a script.  I will certainly look for other works by Kosmatka.

The only thign that really bothered me was one possible villain who seems to disappear.  In the movie in my head, I was totally expecting him to jump out near the end.

In the intervening days, I have read Larry Niven and Matthew Joseph Harrington's The Goliath Stone.  And I tore through this one.  It read fast even for a Niven book.  I think it could have easily been twice as long.  The reader follows four people in various levels, and the story is fun, but I did find myself wishing for more story.  It moved fast and was fun, but I wished it could have had the intensity of Footfall or Lucifer's Hammer.

Now I'm on to Niven and Gregory Benford's Bowl of Heaven which already has overtones of Ringworld  and Rendezvous with Rama.  It does have a "thicker" feel to the story, but is still intriguing already.

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