Thursday, September 20, 2018

WorldCon San Jose, Aug 2018

WorldCon San Jose, Aug 2018

Midsummer Night's Dream

I'm a big fan of trying out new things.  This year that meant going to WorldCon simply because it was nearby.  It's a gathering of science fiction writers and fans and the random assortment of folks who have found their tribe with this group.  It must be one of the oldest conventions around.  We do read/watch a fair bit of science fiction but we are not writers and don't know this crowd so this is my very small view into the world.

 Cthulhu priest

Costuming got highlighted in the main hall and I was delighted by the diversity of fandoms represented.
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Spy vs. Spy

Dr. Who

Cool badges!

I got to  hear Jo Walton read from her upcoming book!  There were a couple of readings that should have been in bigger rooms but overall the spaces were busy but not over-crowded.  I also attended panels on putting together anthologies, a fan review of Babylon 5 and The Making of Coco (my favorite).

 Hugo awards are a big deal and the exhibit on the trophies was cool.  The trophy itself always has the rocket but is redesigned each year and hand crafted.


Another exhibit was on slide rulers. They even gave a tour, which we couldn't make, but I found delightful that it existed.

Cylindrical slide rule-who knew?  Quite a few people I'm sure and now me.

Frank Hayes was a guest of honor with both an exhibit and a featured talk on a topic totally new to me-filk music.  That is sci-fi/fantasy themed songs in a folk music style. So a sea shanty about space pirates.  And the classic Never Set the Cat on Fire. 

I love learning from people who have a passion for their niche.  I doubt I will listen to more filk music.  I'm just happy it exists.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Pacific Grove August 2018

Pacific Grove August 2018

A summer weekend at the beach-no schedule, lots of hanging out and eating :)
Since this is northern California a beach mostly means a rocky shoreline-lol!

Which is pretty amazing, you can see the kelp clumps and wildlife from the cliff tops.

And sure, sometimes there is a smidge of beach.  Wherever there is 20 ft of consecutive beach everyone flocks there, putting in kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, making sandcastles, swimming and picnicking.

Where there is no beach you still have flocks of people climbing over the rocks to get a good photo of the ocean,

Which is pretty much impossible since it is too huge and overwhelming.  But we all try.

The town of Pacific Grove is incredibly cute.  The blocks near the ocean are full of tiny beach houses with tiny lawn areas.
 Most have cute decorations/house paint/gardens. I loved the little free library.  I even bought books at the library book sale.

 Love the lobster mailbox! 

It is super near the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.  My photos don't do it justice so I will just direct you to the live jelly cam!

and point out that in the play area you can dress up as ocean creatures-how cute it that!!!

We also went to the Dennis the Menace park-fantastic!  The biggest twirly slide I have seen and a super long suspension bridge.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Yosemite Sept 2017

Yosemite Sept 2017

Yosemite was so amazing in the spring with all that water but we didn't get in much hiking so e- and I wanted to go back and stay in the valley.  I picked the end of September with the kids back in school it would be less crowded and the weather should be great.  Good plan!  Of course it snowed just days before our visit!

We went to fancy dinner in the Mountain Room with the view of Yosemite Falls out the giant picture window.  While waiting for the shuttle bus we hung out in the lobby and were amazing by how many folks just showed up hoping to get a room or a campsite.  Yeah no, the place is packed.

All the roads opened back up but we were staying in the Curry Village tent cabins.  These are almost unchanged from the original-canvas covering a wooden floor, a single light bulb, no heat.  They are delightful and way more comfortable than the ground, but you still need your down sleeping bag.

 Even then it took me a few hours to get to sleep only to be awakened by the folks behind us getting up at 5:45 and having a long drawn out conversation about their plans for the day.  In Italian. I couldn't understand, but couldn't quite ignore it.  Eventually they left and I took a morning nap.  I complained about them the whole rest of the trip.

We hiked up Bridal Veil falls and returned via John Muir-this is part of the trail if you want to hike Half Dome, which is on our 'Love To Do' list.    

First you hike up up up.

Relax and take in the great view from the bridge.  Those are Girl Scouts on their litter pick-up hike.  The trail was spotless after they went through.

Then you hike up up up.  The top of Nevada Falls is in sight!  The trail is a bit precarious and people filled.  The sound is unreal and there are always rainbows.

But you can take a nice rest at the top.  Watch out for the squirrels who are definitely trying to steal your snacks.

Since we took the John Muir trail back you have to go up up up some more.

The overview of Nevada Falls is soooo worth it!

Not to mention the rest of the landscape.

Keeping an eye out for geological markers-big fun.

Don't skip Happy Isles-it is super easy and has information of rock slides that is neat.

After a better nights sleep we went out on the Mirror Lake trail.

Most folks walk out to the lake and just go around.  If you have the time take the loop trail-out to the little hiker on the map.  

It is longer than you think and has almost no signage, but you can see a rock fall close up.

The rock fall after crossing over it.  The fall exposed the white inside of the rock.

On the way back we took Highway 120, Tioga Road.  Longer but it is so scenic it is worth the extra time to get out of the park.  Definitely stop at the memorial near Groveland that has information on the 2013 Rim Fire.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Books and kitties Jan-March 2018

Books and kitties Jan-March 2018:  So many good books, so little time

I haven't posted pics of the kitties recently-they are too cute!  This is Spock, the most photogenic.

-by Richard Stark
The Hunter:  Totally old school pulp hard-bitten crime fiction?  The author is actually Donald Westlake and there is a whole series-may see how many are in the library.  Oh!  And there is a small set of graphic novels that e- says are fantastic and we already those first!

-by Nick Harkaway
Tigerman:  So much fun!  Totally fan service for comics lovers.  In a totally interesting, new-to-me world.

Mr. Darcy-totally misunderstood

-by Curtis Sittenfeld
Eligible:  A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  So fun!  I would totally recommend to both lovers of the original and newbies. 

-by Fredrik Backman
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry:  I listened to this and was transported.  I love a good tear-jerker. I will read anything he writes.

-by John Green
Looking for Alaska:  Totally John Green style.

-by Terry Pratchet
Moving Pictures: One of my favorites to date.

-by Jane Yollen
The Emerald Circus:  Loved this!!  Classic stories seen from a different POV and all short stories.

-by Sue Grafton
Y is for Yesterday:  Nooooooo!   How can there not be a Z?  I have been reading this series since the beginning and was prepping myself to read them all again before Z came out.  Now what to do?

Mr. Carcy has a shoe fetish-lol!

-by Lemony Snicket
All the Wrong Questions:  When Did You See Her Last-book 2 of 4!

-by Ursula K. LeGuin
Wizard of Earthsea and Tehaunu:  Ahhhhh-so satisfying.

-by Johnathan Letham
Ecstasy of Influence:  Essays on his influences and other thoughts.  I love his writing and enjoyed all these little snippets.  Sadly I took down 10 new authors from his recommendations.

-by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything :  Awesome fun book-for nerds.  Explores ideas like an elevator to the moon.

-by Atul Gawande
Being Mortal:  Highly recommend for folks growing older and not wanting to deal with mortality or children whose parents are at that stage.

-by Jill Lepore
The Secret History of Wonder Woman:  This has been on my radar for awhile and then recently the movie came out, which I missed, so I finally dived into it.  Nice autobiography of a complicated situation and people.  The most interesting characters are all the women.