January 31, 2005

Lost Glove #39

glove in the gutter near a man hole cover

This one is about 15 feet off of my commute route. I wouldn't have noticed it except I drove through this intersection a couple of days ago and it caught my eye. Sought it out for a picture on my way home tonight.

Posted by jeffy at 11:39 PM in Lost Gloves , Photo Log | Comments (0)

January 30, 2005

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

book coverI read some Steinbeck in high school as assigned reading and he was okay. As an adult I happened to read his Sweet Thursday and acquired a new appreciation of his writing. The Pearl is one of the books I had to read as a kid and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot more reading it for pleasure.

Kino is a pearl diver. He lives in a hut with his woman Juana and their infant son Coyotito. The baby is stung by a scorpion. They have no money to pay the doctor. Kino prays that he should find a pearl sufficient to save his son's life. His prayer is answered too well when he finds the pearl of pearls. It is a pearl to inspire dreams in its owner and avarice in all others. It brings Kino and his family no good.

Steinbeck is a writer who can somehow give the effect of minimalism while using heaps of artful ornament. He writes with layer upon layer of meaning and ends up with a page turner. It's great stuff.

I'm not going to try to analyze the book. I think I already did that when I read it in high school. I will say that it seems like the early part of the book over-romanticizes the poverty that Kino and his fellow divers live under. The other thing that struck me as I read it was the similarities between this story of the corruption of men's souls wrought by a talisman of great power and that other story that can be described thus: The Lord of the Rings. Steinbeck's treatment of the material leans much more toward the tragic. It's also significantly shorter.

Posted by jeffy at 11:09 PM in Book Reviews | Comments (0)

Arthur Ganson

A mailing list I'm on pointed me to a page with video of the scultpures of Arthur Ganson. The sculptures are machines built from various stuff, bits of wire and string, gears, found objects. Some are hand-cranked, others have electric motors. They're extremely cool.

If you don't have the bandwidth to view the video online, he offers a DVD. And evidently PBS's Nova: Science Now did a brief segment on him.

Makes me want to buy a copy of Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements and make something out of all the boxes and boxes of spare bicycle parts I've got out in the garage.

Posted by jeffy at 02:45 PM in Bloggage | Comments (0)

January 28, 2005

Friday Copy Cats

small cat in smaller box

Alice is a tiny little cat, but she is still significantly bigger than a DDD box.

Theo is a big strapping lad so there's just no hope at all. Not that that stops him trying.

bigger cat in same small box

In case you hadn't guessed from the rash of picture postings, our wireless is working again. Once you've been able to post from any old flopping spot in the house, having to sit at the pc in the office is just no fun anymore.

I ended up just upgrading to the newer qwest router which has integral wireless since they insisted there was nothing wrong with the old router despite the fact that it clearly didn't work the way it once did. Lo, the new one allowed me to undo all the kluged settings they made me do to get connected through the old one. Nothing wrong with it, not a thing.

More book reviews this weekend, I promise, Dan. I have a few other things in the works too.

Posted by jeffy at 01:04 AM in Cat Blogging , Photo Log | Comments (1)

Lost Gloves #37 & #38

tan leather work glove on a fog line

The left was straddling the fog line and as soon as I got off the bike to take its picture I saw its mate in the ditch.

tan leather work glove becoming one with the verge

There are a record number of gloves out on my routes right now. #23 from back in September is still there becoming one with the pavement. #33 reappeared recently after disappearing under a pile of leaves for a while. Then #35, #36, and these two haven't had time to move too far yet.

Posted by jeffy at 12:30 AM in Lost Gloves , Photo Log | Comments (0)

Lost Glove #36

soggy glove with leaves

Saw this one on Monday.

Posted by jeffy at 12:08 AM in Lost Gloves , Photo Log | Comments (0)

January 27, 2005

Lost Glove #35

rubberized work glove on paved shoulder alongside cracked concrete road surface

Sometimes I think I should call these Pavement Snapshots instead of Lost Gloves. I liked how the composition came out on this one, but the one below is more fun despite its flaws.

glove, yellow curb, XXX drive in

This glove is from back on January 5th. Since these shots were taken, it has moved about 20 feet to the NW.

Posted by jeffy at 11:41 PM in Lost Gloves , Photo Log | Comments (3)

January 23, 2005

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer (repeat)

cover: castle on rocky coastStevermer's book starts off seeming to have a generic fantasy plot and setting, but as the book progresses she consistently makes things more surprising.

For the first chapter or so, the book seems to be in a standard pseudo renaissance fantasy setting, but slowly it comes clear that it's set in an alternate Europe of the early twentieth century, complete with motor cars, revolvers, and the Orient Express.

Faris Nalaneen is the teenaged duchess of Galazon. She has been sent to Greenlaw College by her uncle who mostly just wants her out of his way while he collects as much political power as he can muster before Faris reaches her majority. Outwardly, Greenlaw appears to be a standard finishing school. And Faris is certainly ripe for some finishing, she is brash and headstrong and reckless.

But as the title implies, Greenlaw also teaches magic. Though "teaches" is perhaps a misnomer. Magical ability is inborn, and its use seems to be largely intuitive rather than deliberative. In its effects, the magic in the book seems to be derived from what magic would be like if the magic of the actual period (things like stage magic and mesmerism) were real.

The book is in three sections. The first shows Faris's three years at Greenlaw. The second follows her from Greenlaw back home to Galazon by way of Paris and the third considers how Faris comes into her political and magical power.

It's a pleasingly complex young adult fantasy novel.

Posted by jeffy at 12:16 PM in Book Reviews | Comments (0)

January 21, 2005

Another week, another cat picture

cats.  cute ones.

This one's a rerun for anyone who got our Christmas letter this year. Sorry.

I have a few book reviews queued up. Maybe I'll get around to writing one or two before next Friday rolls around. Time has been absorbed by some other stuff I'll write about one of these days.

Posted by jeffy at 01:01 AM in Cat Blogging , Photo Log | Comments (0)

January 14, 2005

All cat blogging, all the time

big cat in a little egg carton

Another from the archives (I've got a million of em, you'll see). Egg cartons are irresistible, especially when they're precariously balanced atop the recycle bin. I've got another picture from 10 minutes later with Alice in the same pose. Ah heck, here it is:

slightly smaller cat in same egg carton

I assure you that no human intervention was involved in these poses.

Network is still limited to one hardwired windows box hence I can't bring myself to do much blogging (input or output). Next week doesn't look good for working on it either, alas.

Posted by jeffy at 11:01 PM in Cat Blogging , Photo Log | Comments (3)

January 07, 2005

Got it!

Alice catching tail on scratching post

Second in the occasional Friday Cat Blogging series. That's Alice playing her favorite game: Catch the Tail. The picture is old, from November of 2000, but she still does this any time she comes across a precarious perch, the higher off the floor the better.

BTW, I don't have a good reference monitor at the moment. Leave me a comment or send me email and let me know whether that picture is too light or too dark or just right in your preferred viewing environment.

Wow, it's been quiet around here, hasn't it? We drove to CA the Monday after Xmas to see family and returned this last Monday. With Rachel and Becky and me all taking turns behind the wheel, the 14-hour drive is almost (but not quite) tolerable. At least we were blessed with decent weather in both directions.

Read on for more tales of woe...

When we got back our phone was out. I did the usual troubleshooting and discovered that there is no phone box on the outside of our house. It might be in the crawl space, I'll have to check the next time I'm down there (not soon, please!) Anyway, Qwest came out and found that the problem was at their box where one of our wires had corroded away and broken.

Unfortunately while the phone service came back, the DSL didn't. I got on the phone to their support line and we were able to get the windows box to talk to the network by changing the TCP/IP settings to use 10BaseT instead of the default. Qwest is not interested in determining why this was necessary, nor in determining how to get my wireless access point to talk to their router again. The only way they could get the iBook to talk to it was to hard-wire to the router and use a fixed IP address. The support weenies contend that the fact that these kluges will let my computes talk to the internet proves that there is no problem with their systems and that I should leave them alone and surf the net over a cable like a good little luser. I don't think so!

Anyway, that's all by way of pointing out (unnecessarily, I'm sure) that I've been spending way too much time playing amateur network engineer and way too little playing at being a blogger. Hopefully I can get this junk sorted this weekend and maybe be able to post a couple book reviews and a glove or two in the near future. And catch up on the hundreds of posts in my aggregators.

Posted by jeffy at 08:13 PM in Cat Blogging , Photo Log | Comments (2)