Thursday, August 21, 2008

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Well, the stepsisters are ugly, as is this downer of a novel.  The plot seems very contrived, almost forced, as it works it's way to the ball, and abruptly deflates after it.   Much of the problem is that where the fantastic is acceptable in fantasy novel, for example "Wicked", it feels out of place in the more realistic setting of Confessions.  I did not particularly enjoy the characters either, so this book held very little charm for me.  If you want a good book about Dutch painters, girls coming of age and poverty, read "Girl with a Pearl Earing."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There and Back Again

I became quite tired of the bacchanalia that descended on the house this weekend, and so I took my leave and went for a jaunt on my bike.  It's the first ride of any duration I'd undertaken since coming to college, and it clocked in at a mild 20 miles, riding from my house up the Pacific Coast Highway to Davenport and back.

The Google maps topo feature renders this as deceptively flat, due to it's 200' increments.  I last drove on the PCH two summers ago, and that was at night, and only to Bonny Dune Road, which is quite a bit closer to Santa Cruz then Davenport.  Thus, I wrongly assumed that the ride would be much flatter then it was.

I started out around 11:16 pm, and it was extrodinarily foggy.  The kind of fog that clings and beads up on your eyelashes, and drips off your helmet.  Visibility was very poor, as my bike light is not particularly impressive, and the fog was dense enough to cut out most of the moonlight.  I tried to keep a reasonable pace up the hills, but not knowing where they ended made it iffy on judging how fast to take them.

A two or three mile out of Santa cruz the fog thinned out, and the light of the moon was more than enough to see by.  The valleys were still shadowed in some places, and my light stared to die, the combination of which resulted in me bouncing over a large branch of of some kind, and taking a stick in the drive chain.  Amazingly, nothing was damaged.

The coast and ocean were impressive in the moonlight, and I'll have to make another expedition out with a camera next full moon.  Other than the occasional car honking at me, I made it to Davenport without further incident.  I did at one point pass a van that had stalled on the opposite shoulder; the occupants were rather intoxicated and found it amusing that I was riding about at night in the fog.  On my return they were still there, and far less amused.  The best comment made was, "You sumg-ass Mf'er, you went there and now you're coming back again."  Indeed I was returning, but I was not particularly sumg at the time, as my headlight had totaly failed.

The retun ride was even more fun than the outgoing, despite the fatigue.  I had a good endorphin rush going, knew where the hills were, and had warmed up a bit.  I made poor time up the hills, but made up for it on the reverse sides and the flats: My incoming time was only a minute longer than my outgoing.  I averaged ~15 mph across 20 miles, which I think is reasonable for having not ridden extensivly in years.

I have a few new squeaks on the bike now, I'm fairly certain that some crud got into the chain and is making a racket.  Perhaps I'll clean and lube the chain this weekend, perhaps after I go for another ride.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

HaHA! Blog.

So, Yup.  Really need to get some stuff finished up and posted here, although I've been super busy.  Work, looking for housing, all that good stuff. Oh, got rid of my email sig, that's new and exciting.  Decided that I didn't want to explain to every house I emailed that I wasn't in a frat, and that it's an equation describing thin slit diffraction.  That also leads to the "So, are you a science major?" question, which I dislike.  Mostly because laughing in their face, and saying, "God, I wish I was, then I'd have a job after college," isn't considered an acceptable response.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

There Will Be Blood

I watched "There Will Be Blood" last night, and quite enjoyed it. Daniel Day-Lewis was excellent, and I'm a sucker for well done period pieces. Well worth the viewing.
Robert Alverson