Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Books and theater May-June 2015

Books and theater May-June, 2015

Great vacation reading rounded out the list this time.

 Disneyland roses looking awesome!

Last opera of the season!  Umm, have you ever tried to follow the plot?  This is really one for the music, not the story.

The first weekend in May is Free Comic Book Day.  We love FCBD!  We try to hit at least 3 different stores and buy things in addition to the free comics.  This year my favs so far are Bob's Burgers and SpongeBob and Teen Titans.  Favorite purchases are The Amazing Squirrel Girl and the Power Puff Girls super smash-ups (PPG plus other cartoon network characters mash up in the same universe)


by P.D. James
A Death at Pemberly:  I had forgotten what Pemberly was when I checked out this book-I just like P.D. James....but it is the estate that Mr. Darcy owns in Pride and Prejudice!  A mash-up-yeah!!  So you have the familiar setting, but a little murder mystery.  Sadly it was not my favorite, the pace is a little too slow for my taste.  But it wasn't hard to finish and glad I read it.

by Molly Bang
-Picture This:  Short but insightful!  She talks you through why pictures make you feel a certain way-color, shape, context.  Super fun, recommended for anyone who wants to be a visual artist, or folks who appreciate art.  I think I got the recommendation from Edward Tufte's book....


Not a play/musical, but live entertainment at our local comedy club, Rooster T Feathers.  Comedy shows are usually not my thing, but it was fun.
Plus I won the raffle!

Latest book I read was a manual-the Graphics Standards Manual was recreated by a kickstarter....and it combines the NYC subway and design, so we had to have it.
so worth it!  They photocopied the manual, which was originally in a binder format and the pages are huge.  It includes some good introductory notes giving context and explanations.  Most of the book are the letters/numbers, but the additional info is interesting.

This flow chart explains when you give people what information.  Don't try to clutter every sign with all the info, just present it as needed.

Details on the spacing required between every letter/number/symbol combination.  Love the detail!!

Examples of the colors are included-here is my favorite, the red 1/9 :)

Not sure it really counts as 'reading books'  but finished the sections on Vancouver on some travel books from the library.

by Markus Zusak
-The Book Thief:  I'm about a decade late to this party...better late than never.  Obviously well written, a bit hard to read all in one go because it is in Germany during WWII.  

by R. L. Lafevers
-Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist, Book 1, Flight of the Phoenix:  young kids book-read because the young neighbor was reading it :)

by Ho Sik Kim
-My Sassy Girl, vol 1-5:  short graphic comics, the most terrible ones I have ever read!  It is supposed to be about this couple, and the girl is 'sassy' but he loves her anyway.  Nope, she is a terrible, abusive person and he stays because he wants to have a hot girlfriend and maybe someday she will kiss him.  We got these for free and it was too high a price, I will literally put these in the trash so no one else can read them.

by Amy Poehler
-Yes, Please:  excellent read, both funny and insightful.

by Ron Johnson
-So You've Been Publicly Shamed:  Interesting!  It is a bit all over the map, hits it from a bunch of different angles and doesn't feel exactly complete, but I'm glad I read it.  Details being shamed on twitter (or other internet platforms) these days and does a great job following up on a couple of folks remember AIDS-tweet lady who was on a plane when it happened...great to know more details and how it turned out.  Lesson-don't pile on, it is rarely as simple as it seems....

by Hillary Mantel
-The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher:  meh, a collection of short stories where the characters are not as interesting as her historical fiction.  They all felt the same-confused, unhappy, people in sort of scary stories.  

To the theater!
The Santa Clara Players group is smaller than Sunnyvale but managed to put on this delightfully punchy Tom Lehrer review.


by Kazuo Ishiguro
-Never Let Me Go: have heard good things about this author so giving it a try.  One of those slow reveals of a world that is just sort of different from ours though the story is focused on the people.  a combo of coming of age and sci-fi?  Not sure what to call it.  Nice enough that I will put his current one in my library queue.

by Donna Tartt
-The Goldfinch:  best seller from a couple years ago...also a coming of age and more story.  I really loved the best friend, Boris.  Even though it was super long it kept you going.

by Celeste Ng
-Everything I Never Told You:  great story of a family love and loss and miscommunication.  A bit of a hopeful ending.

by Max Gladstone
-Three Parts Dead: this is actually the first in the series, so I guess I started reading them out of order, but so far they just seem to be in the same universe, not connected up.  I'm loving the universe!

Okay, it is not official theater...but the lumberjack show on Grouse mountain was clearly choreographed and incredibly entertaining, so I'll add this here.

by Arnaldur Indridason
-Reykjavik Nights:  the prequel in a series though this is the first I've read.  Crime story set in Iceland!  A bit slow, but I've been promised the others pick up the pace.

by Toni Morrison
-God Help The Child:  Ms Morrison writes people that are so believable you think she must have crawled into their heads-brilliant.  Anyone who thinks that racism ended with civil rights or some other time needs to read this and really try to understand Bride...

by Amanda Downum
-Dreams of Shreds and Tatters:  not as good as I had hoped for, somehow there is too much about the folks getting hurt and still staggering around anyway.  Also, too much description of the smells, I get it, but it is so not me.

by Christina Henriquez
-The Book of Unknown Americans: compelling story set up.  The main story is told alternating between two of the players and then every third chapter gives the back story of one of the side folks.  You can see the badness coming but can't stop it.  Beautiful.

Friday, May 29, 2015

All the bike rides!

2015 bike rides

I've been riding my bike a lot recently.  First it was training for the trip down the California coast, then it was the Strawberry Fields Forever Ride.  Pictures from training rides-many photos thanks to M who remembers to stop and take photos!

One of my biggest issues was hills and not getting up them.  To train DancinTurtle and I went to Rancho San Antonio and went up this gnarly hill.  It took me months but I got to the point where I didn't have to walk up it anymore!

Riding the same route meant I got to see the park at very different times.   Like cloud covered

and completely sunny.

Often the valley has some clouds over it, here are three different versions



Some times they are almost exactly the same

only difference is the clouds.

One ride was to loop around the bay on the Dumbarton Bridge.  Near Coyote creek trail
there is this most mysterious sign.  I tried to figure out which tree they meant...

but never did.

Another great ride is up Stevens Canyon road

at the end.  Going back is all down hill and such fun.

Start of the big bike day

that's the ocean out there

first rest stop where they had coffee, soup, and homemade power bars.  

Had to photograph this for DancinTurtle.  

lunch stop!  A group of folks with there antique cars was also there, so we had to bike all the way to the back for our spot-but at least the mileage counted.

Third rest stop at Gizdich Apple farms had apple pie and ice cream, apple cider and music!

Also where we discovered that even though we had been riding the green route

we could change to the red route and cut out 5 miles and 500ft of elevation-that saved our day!

and we were still happy campers at the end!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day weekend 2015-swineapple and bike ride

Memorial Day weekend 2015

A couple memorable things this weekend-first, the swineapple.  That would be pineapple stuffed with pork ribs and covered in bacon.
Finished product-next time I would use more bacon.

2 pineapples

pared and cored

1 lb peppered bacon

3 boneless country style pork ribs

green onions just cause

The pork and green onions go inside

recreate the pineapple and wrap with bacon

I used a bunch of toothpicks

but wish I had more bacon.  Troy helped by trussing it before smoking-that is the way to go!

finished pile of swineapple-delicious and pretty easy

Had a great bike ride with Krista.  In the park was a Minecraft party.

It was hard to photograph the tnt because all the kids wanted it :)

We biked under the 280 to get to the Sawyer Camp trail


and bike past the Crystal Springs Reservoir.

On the trail is one of California's oldest Laurel trees-who knew!





 Watch us bike!

Deer!

Flowers!

The dam at the top of the reservoir-just before the final climb!