Saturday, February 18, 2017

5096 Wasted reading time

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mosquitoes are dirty used needles that fly.


I did something today that I have never done before in my life.  I quit a book.  Done.  Finis.  Threw it across the room less than half read.

I hear and read about other people who get partway through a book, and set it aside as not being worth the effort.  I never do that.  I struggle onward and (eventually) finish every book I start.  Sometimes it takes a while.  The House of the Seven Gables, for example, required literally years of coming back to it, but eventually I did finish it.  There were a few others like that.

It's not that I'm especially virtuous or anything.  I'm just pretty careful about what I pick up.  I choose books based on reviews, recommendations, or skimming in the bookstore.  Buying books online makes it a bit harder to skim, so with crap like that shades of purple thing, I sometimes get stuck.  It arrived, I skimmed, and just from a paragraph or two here and there I knew it was so poorly written it would drive me crazy, so I never even started actually reading it.  Stuff like that doesn't count.

Well, I stupidly fell for Michael Crichton's sales numbers again. 

I've read Crichton before, and every time I end up annoyed.  He can't tell a story!  It's like he immerses himself in the topic, learns all the buzzwords, loads up on details, and then writes 300 pages of everything he has learned about the topic, like he wants to show how smart he is, and half-heartedly wraps a thin story around it so he can call it a novel, rather than a textbook.

I got 141 (of 431) pages into Airframe and gave up.  I'm tired of page after page of details on airplane parts, repeated over and over, and thin characters who seem to serve just to spout that stuff.  It really is possible to give us as much as we need to understand the situation, Michael, without page after page of detail!

And then, of course, I remembered that I'd had the same thoughts reading Crichton in the past.  Phooey!  I have a very poor memory.

If you want good mystery, try Lawrence Block.  I've read two of his books recently, and enjoyed both.  

(Yeah, I know the color on the "shades of" thing is wrong, but you know what I meant, and I didn't want it to show up in searches.  Ok?)

Monday, February 13, 2017

5095 Disappearing varmints

Monday, February 13, 2017

Girl Scouts is a brand-name cookie company
that gets away with child labor.


Remember when cable TV subscription meant no commercials on their proprietary channels?   Your monthly subscription payments were supposed to eliminate the need for commercials.  That's what they told us, anyway.  

I got Sirius radio on my car seven years ago, and back then there were no commercials.  Now not only has the subscription fee doubled, but I'm hearing loads of commercials.

I don't understand....

Well, actually I do, I just don't want to.


My neighborhood varmints have disappeared!

When I first moved in here, every evening there were bunnies in the front yard.  Almost every evening an opossum would wander onto the porch, and a family of raccoons would raid the neighbor's garbage cans.  (According to neighbor George, the raccoons had been living in the buried truck in my back bank for decades.)

We had at least two regular skunk visitors.  I know there were at least two because one of them had only half a tail, so he was easy to identify.   They were totally unafraid; one walked across my foot one evening.  

Twice deer cut through my yard while I was standing there, and one evening two does sauntered down the middle of the street, heading toward the bay. 

And we had loads of squirrels.

In short, my tiny yard was full of varmints. 

I'm seeing a lot fewer seagulls and terns, too.  There used to be for years a pair of year-round resident swans on the lake out back, and I don't recall seeing them in at least the past year.

I slowly became aware over the past two years that they all seem to have disappeared.  All gone.  All the beasties.  All but the squirrels, and there are a lot fewer of them.  

What happened to them?  Nothing has changed, not that I know of, anyway.  Poison isn't likely, given the diversity.  Coyotes or foxes are unlikely, because they don't usually get squirrels.  Dogs don't run loose here, but cats do, and I hear outdoor cats are disappearing, too.

I don't understand.  It worries me.