Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mostly librarians science fiction/fantasy book club

I am coming up to 10 full years of participating in a science fiction and fantasy book club. Established years earlier by a group of state agency librarians, the group has been meeting monthly for lunch and book discussion at a downtown location near most of our workplaces.

We have members from a number of agencies, including the state library, the secretary of state's office, corrections, and now several lucky retirees. Some members are extremely well-read and knowledgeable about SF and fantasy, for others each author and book are a new experience. We gather once a (fiscal) year for a pot-luck on a weekend to choose the books for the coming year. We try to have a nice mix of genres, with at least one classic and usually a vampire book for one fan of that genre. One member is an expert in horror, so his suggestions are highly valued.

Here are the books we will be reading this fiscal year (thank you RF for compiling the list.) Read along and comment if you'd like. I'm hoping to soon create an online spreadsheet or database to list all the titles that have been read in the last eleven years.

8/08 Chabon, Michael / The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (alternative history)

9/08 Miller Jr., Walter M. / Canticle for Leibowitz (classic post-apocalyptic)

10/08 McDevitt, Jack / Seeker (space opera, archaeology, mystery)

11/08 Zelazny, Roger / A Night in the Lonesome October (fantasy)

12/08 Stirling, S.M. / Dies the Fire (post-apocalyptic)

1/09 Adams, Douglas / Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (comic sci-fi)

2/09 Robinson, Kim S. / The Years of Rice and Salt (alternative history)

3/09 Hill, Joe / Heart-Shaped Box (horror, ghost story)

4/09 Huxley, Aldous / Brave New World (classic dystopia)

5/09 Scalzi, John / The Android’s Dream (interstellar diplomacy, satire)

6/09 Maguire, Gregory / Wicked: the Life and Times of The Wicked Witch of the West (fantasy, cautionary tale)

7/09 Meyers, Stephenie / The Host (alien invasion)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Exploiting the Gullible

Maybe you've seen it on TV, an exclusive offer to purchase (limit 5 per customer) a September 11th commemorative "coin"

They include their website:

Here's part of their description of what they are selling (my emphasis):

Today history is being made as National Collector's Mint releases this Government Authorized Non-circulating Liberian legal tender September 11th Commemorative. This $20 Silver Leaf Coin-Certificate is payable like a Silver Certificate in coin-of-the-realm.

Its giant 3-1/8" inches by 7-3/8" inches size dwarfs every U.S. legal tender note in circulation

Struck in .999 Pure Silver Leaf!

Each is individually numbered!

On the front, the frosted Twin Towers stand out against a mirror-like background, much as they did in the gleaming sunlight of that fateful morning, double dated 2001-2008 with our promise - "We will never forget!"Another historic first: This Silver Leaf Coin-Certificate displays a standard $20 denomination on one side. But on the other side, it's the first time ever that two separate numbers have been used to add up to the full $20 face value - it uses 9 and 11 to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy.

The final issue price was to be set at $39 but during this special release, it can be yours for its face value of just $20.00!

Now, let's not forget that this is Liberian legal tender. The U.S. dollar is worth approximately 57 Liberian dollars, making the face value more like 35 cents.

Please folks, DON'T buy one. Oh, lest I forget, you can purchase a box for your "coin" for $9.95. And wait, there is shipping and handling too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Caught on Google Street View

Me on Google Street View
Originally uploaded by siegel_jackie.
Wouldn't it be cool to see the vehicle used to photograph Google Street View we all thought when the service was announced.

Little did I know that one of those vehicles was following behind me as I rode my bike to my athletic club (score a point for me for actually going to the athletic club.) I wish I had eyes at the back of my head, what a big missed opportunity.

I came across myself on Google Street View quite by accident. Of course I checked out my house and my block when the local newspaper announced that Google had added our city to the Street View locations. Not a soul on the street.

But, the other day I was checking out a real estate listing and wanted to make sure the address listed was the house I was thinking of. I thought it was pretty cool that they seemed to have captured a bicyclist on three or four of the waypoints. Looking closer I realized it had to be me. Confirmed by my S.O. and my sister (who else would recognize my backside)

Anyone else find themselves on Google Street View? My S.O.'s middle brother was out gardening when the vehicle came by his neighborhood in Los Angeles. Nice butt shot of him too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

He brings home an award

S.O. won a 2nd place award for his category of car. He was jazzed that his dented Datsun roadster got any award, let alone 2nd place. His elation was tempered by the realization that only three cars were entered in his category. But, at least he didn't come in dead last. Could be the 3rd place finisher was there by himself and didn't have a spouse to vote for him.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Datsun roadsters come to Mt. Shasta

Neil's 1966 Datsun 1600
Originally uploaded by siegel_jackie.
This was our 5th year attending the annual Datsun Show and Shine in Mt. Shasta. This year S.O. stands a good chance of walking away with the prize in his category, even though he has not put any work into restoration. We'll find out tonight at the awards dinner is he won on charm, cause he won't win on looks.

This year, probably due to the price of gas, only 20 roadsters came to the event. That means less competition,in fact there was only one other car in his category.

Yesterday Mt. Shasta city was beautiful with blue skies and clear view of the summit of Mt. Shasta. Overnight the winds changed and the smoke from the many northern California fires are obscuring the views.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Isn't the minimum drinking age 21?

My local supermarket is promoting a brand of flavored vodkas.  Nothing much  wrong with that but I wonder who the vodka company is trying to attract with their new flavors.

Three Olives brand's new flavors are: cherry, root beer, and grape.  

Enough said.