Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gradual and Silent

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
- James Madison

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Soursop / Guanabana

I had nectar of guanabana (also known as soursop, gaviola, etc). The Wikipedia article says "The flavour has been described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavour notes contrasting with an underlying creamy flavour reminiscent of coconut or banana." As far as I could tell, though, there wasn't much taste difference between that and pear. A hint of citrus, perhaps. But it's a New Thing which has been tried.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gell-Mann Amnesia

   Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward--reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
   In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story--and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
-- Michael Crichton

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 End of Year

My goals from the beginning of the year--I've bolded the ones I accomplished:

  • Climb Mt Rogers and Buffalo Mountain
  • Take yoga/aikido/tai chi/something class--had a physical training class and I've signed up for a tai chi class starting in January
  • Revisit Costa Rica
  • Try new foods--things like pummelo, chayote, cherimoya: chayote, horned melon, oysters Rockfeller, gin, some Indian food, kubideh, doogh, 
  • Attend LibertyCon, Historicon, SLC ComicCon, GZGECC and others
  • Visit Mesa Verde, Shiprock, Monument Valley
  • Reconnect with the Charlottesvillains 
  • Study investing
  • Write 120,000 words of fiction
  • Visit Virginia ACW battlefields

Events from the year:
  • January: so cold the pipes froze; announced retirement
  • February: retired, went to Costa Rica; sold Mum's house in Montreal (and got a batch of furniture from it); and went to GZG ECC 17 in New York.
  • March: new carpet
  • April: visited Knotts Island; a 750ft ship dragged its anchors and went aground at Chick's Beach; and I went to RavenCon, where I met Michael Z Williamson and Sarah Hoyt, among others,
  • May: quiet 
  • June: visited some ACW battlefields around Richmond; hada visit from Greg Rees and his partner Julie; saw a bear near Willis; visited Jon and family in Nashville; the Huntsville Space Center; LibertyCon, at which I met Miriam Ringo, Dorothy and Peter Grant, Bill Fawcett, and Toni Weisskopf.
  • July: Gwen's brother Chris visited; a tornado touched down about 2.5 miles away; celebrated Independence Day in Williamsburg; camera class
  • August: helped Josh move from Blacksburg to Christiansburg; replaced a panel for the upstairs glass door.
  • September: attended Salt Lake City ComicCon; joined Diana for a tour of New Mexico (and bits of Colorado and Arizona)--Santa Fe, Taos and Taos Pueblo, Tierra Amarilla, Farmington, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Four Corners, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, Albuquerque.
  • October: visited James and family and stayed at the Homestead, which included a trip to the shotgun range and the falconry mews; replaced the heat pump; saw two bald eagles together over the Lynnhaven.
  • .November: NaNoWriMo, at which I did better at teaching than doing; six crowns installed on front teeth; went to the Farm for Thanksgiving, and it snowed.
  • December: installed a new faucet on the kitchen sink; Josh and Gwen came here for Christmas, then they headed out to Philly, NYC, and Boston.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Temperature is 70°, and strawberries are still growing in the garden boxes on the deck. Pretty nice weather for Christmas Eve. Josh and Gwen and Diana and I are going to the 11pm candlelight service, then coming home and opening one package each.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Close Action

Josh and Gwen drove down from Blacksburg last night, and then this morning Josh and I drove up to DC for a Close Action battle with Mark Campbell (with the battle report onthe Battle Honors blog).

It's fun traveling with Josh. We had a variety of "You May Be A Redneck Space Marine" jokes:

  • "Them critters was tyrannids? Ah thought they was revenooers. Well, reckon it's all the same."
  • "You may be a redneck space marine if all your tanks are painted orange, they're all numberd 01, and they all play Dixie"
  • "We wuz so poor, our chapter paint scheme was black and white. And we didn't have no black paint either."
  • "You may be a redneck space marine if your Chapter Librarian is illiterate."
  • "When I was growing up, we walked to school, barefoot, through waves of tyrannids that was chin deep..." 
We talked about D&D and other RPG campaigns he wanted to run, and monsters he'd designed for them. His monsters for the most recent campaign were designed to function together, with would have been nasty to go up against them. We want to do a Monster Hunters International campaign, and a Dark Heresy campaign, and a D&D or Fantasy Hero campaign, and....

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Box of Money

Josh and Gwen arrived from Blacksburg tonight, so his main birthday present was somewhat delayed, but he seemed to like it: a box of cash. I'd gotten 260 bills (denomination unspecified) and broken up the bundles so what he saw was not "a couple of small neat stacks", but more "one big pile". He chuckled, he threw handfuls on the floor, he chortled, he rolled around in it, waving handfuls and laughing maniacally. We were all tickled. :-)