links for 2007-10-31

Continue Readinglinks for 2007-10-31

Recent Reading

It was about this time last year that I got behind in reviewing what I had read recently and gave up and simply posted a list of recent reads. Must be the time of year. I’ve definitely been having trouble getting through any book; I have tons of things half read, and I’m very frustrated by that. I used to read a lot on the weekends, but the last couple years we’ve been so busy that most of my reading is done at night before I go to bed, and I’m irritated by the stop and go effect.

Chicago from the Air
by Marcella Colombo, Gianfranco Peroncini
Crappy book. Very difficult to read, and not easy to get a good idea of what the whole of Chicago looks like from above. Could have been much better done.

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft
by Simon Houpt and Julian Radcliffe
Cool book on major art thefts throughout history, and how the current inflated price of fine art drives recent thefts.

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
“Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax’s novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-the name of the devil in one of Carax’s novels. As he grows up, Daniel’s fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a “porcelain gaze,” Clara Barceló; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Fermín Romero de Torres; his best friend’s sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide.”
I took this on the cruise with me and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Poe Shadow
by Matthew Pearl
A young lawyer in 1849 Richmond sets out do discover why his hero Edgar Allen Poe died under strange and unfortunate circumstances. His investigation confounds and disappoints his family and friends, and eventually lands him in jail for murder. But his instinctive sense that something about Poe’s death wasn’t quite right leads him on. I enjoyed the book, but there are definitely sections that dragged, and I found myself as exasperated at the hero as his own family at times.

A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder–How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place
by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman
As noted in the Amazon description — “that organizational efforts tend to close off systems to random, unplanned influences that might lead to breakthroughs.” They have some very valid points, and very entertaining examples; the book was definitely worth reading.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart and Carson Ellis
Young Adult Fiction
“After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting “gifted children looking for special opportunities,” he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure. The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks, and he, Kate, Constance, and Sticky become the Mysterious Benedict Society.”
I really enjoyed this kids book, it was very inventive and reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books from childhood – The Westing Game.

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links for 2007-10-30

Continue Readinglinks for 2007-10-30

Weekend Wrap Up

These wrap ups are turning into a long list of “finished chores” aren’t they? Oh, well. At least we’re getting shit accomplished. Eventually I’ll write something that someone other than me wants to read. We’ve made some pretty major purchases lately (see dog fence and truck shell), so we’re trying to stay and home and enjoy the house, and avoid spending large wads of cash, so the emergency fund can replenish itself. We did well on that; I think we spent less than $10 bucks this weekend.
Saturday it was raining, and I couldn’t work in the yard, so I went through all my board games and weeded out a bunch that needed to go to good will. Unfortunately, I kept more than I got rid of from the stack I had identified as “getting rid of.” But I have some plans for the one’s I’m keeping. And I rediscovered a number of games that should be fun to have people over to play.
I also spent a chunk of the morning organizing tools in the basement. This was fun because Stephanie’s dad is big on giving her tools, and she has lots of stuff that I’ve always wanted to use. There’s still more organization to be done, but I have a better idea of what we own, which is good.
While Stephanie ran board games to good will and went shopping for her costume, I scraped peeling paint off the siding on the front porch and repainted. These were the areas where water leaked down onto the walls from the roof where the idiot roofer left our gutters off the house all of last winter. I wish I’d scraped and painted earlier; it looks much better. So the porch is presentable for trick-or-treaters. We also put out a giant spider web and some other creepy decorations. This make me wish I had never gotten rid of the life-size plastic skeleton I used to own, though. He’d be great sitting on the bench on the porch.
Saturday night I dressed up as a pirate and Stephanie dressed up as Eloise one of her childhood favorite books. Stephanie looked great, but I’d say I don’t think my pirate costume was terribly successful, and I probably won’t wear it on Wednesday to work. We did have fun at the party, though.
On Sunday, we set a few tasks for ourselves:
1. clean the cat litters out (don’t worry; I won’t narrate that)
2. Put together the log rack we bought earlier.
3. Put together the fire pit we bought earlier.
4. do some errands for the neighborhood association.
5. read
6. watch some of the backlog of shows we have DVR’ed.
7. Plan the grocery list for the week.
I wonder why I only capitalized the items that begin with “p”? Hmmm. Anyway, we got all that done. I also managed to staple some chicken wire fencing over some of the gaps in the fence so Spike can’t crawl through them.
In all, it was a very pleasant last weekend in October.

Continue ReadingWeekend Wrap Up

for the BIBLE tell me so

Via Shakespeare’s Sister:
for the BIBLE tell me so is an award-winning documentary that looks into scripture and “in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible.” Check here for a listing of current screening locations.

Continue Readingfor the BIBLE tell me so

links for 2007-10-28

Continue Readinglinks for 2007-10-28