Monday, April 19, 2010

Yann Martel

Yann Martel, reading from his new novel Beatrice and Virgil at Third Place books in Lake Forest Park on April 18, 2010.

Yann Martel's Life of Pi is one of the great novel's of the 21st Century so far, and to get the opportunity to hear him read from his new work was something I looked forward to for several weeks.

Martel is an excellent reader, not as easy as it sounds, and his Q & A was interesting and thoughtful. His disclosure that he recently received a note from President Obama about Life of Pi was a real contrast to the responses he has got from his own Prime Minister in Canada about all of the books he keeps sending to Ottawa.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exene Cervenka acoustic set

at Easy Street Records 04-16-2010

A good crowd, not like a mosh pit packed, but good turned up for a cool acoustic set from Punk legend Exene Cervenka of X fame.

A free concert in a record store is a very cool thing. A 6pm start time on a Friday night is brutal when commuting in but it turned out to be not too bad and I even found decent parking. Let's face it, the drive in was an all or nothing deal, because if I had got stuck or could not find parking the whole thing was a waste of time and gas. It was like the Gods of Punk Rock wanted me to go to this.

It had been many many years since I had a can of Rainier ... and so when a guy offered me one, it felt right, even if it will be the last one again for a while ...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Venus and Moon April 15

Low in the twilight sky on the night of April 15, the thin crescent moon phase and Venus ... worth pulling over and taking some quick shots and video of, even if I did freak out a couple of joggers by standing in the dark taking pictures on a sidewalk ...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A cool view of Seattle

Flying in from PHX a couple weeks ago ...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Team Alice heads to Forks / La Push

Road trip on 4-7-10 ...

Bear in mind that Forks / La Push is where the books are based, not where the movies were filmed. There is a difference.

When one embarks on a journey like this one either needs to completely embrace it ... or try and talk someone else into doing it instead. I chose to embrace it. I have read the books, taken my daughter to opening night of a movie, and now done the Forks Tour. We had a good time and my daughter was ecstatic. These are the things we remember.

Part of the fun of having read these books is that I get to drop my actually informed opinions on unsuspecting students. The collective exasperation on the part of 8th grade girls when I explain that I think that neither Edward or Jacob is right for her and that Mike is not a viable alternative is quite entertaining. For the record, Edward loves what she is because he can't read her, not who she is. Jacob has a puppy love crush on her from when he was little combined with genetic and cultural hatred for Edward. Mike is just a wuss. Bella should have taken the opportunity to go away to school in some place like Vermont and dated, getting over the entire vain "losing my beauty because I am so old at 18" crap.

A couple years ago a friend and I went on a day trip to Neah Bay and ended up being the very first car on a ferry home. That sounds great, other than that it meant that we were the very last car to miss a ferry and had to sit an extra 40 or so minutes before getting home when we had been driving all day. Even the ice cream stand there in Kingston isn't worth an extra 40 minutes in a parking lot. However, that sort of luck was completely reversed when in both directions me and the kids were right on time for the morning ferry and were buying our ticket as the ferry was loading and were one of the last 5 cars on a ferry home. Much better.

In re the stigma or taint of Twilight. Come on you haters, let other people enjoy what they enjoy in peace. Kids are reading these large books and talking about them and it is leading to them reading other books. They are going on pilgrimages like this because of books. Books. People's tastes are there own. Let it go, and then go back upstairs your mom has dinner ready.

The night before the trip my daughter thought it would be a good idea to make some signs ... hence the Team Alice sign. Of course, she also added, "Dad, you'd have no chance with her," but that's okay. I didn't cancel the trip because of this.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Some Easter Disc Golf

All went well til I slid down a muddy hill on my @$$ to retrieve a wayward disc of my daughter ...

Braided Easter Bread 4-4-10

I saw this made on the Food Network last year on one of their bakery shows and dug up this recipe and have been waiting to make it for months. Took all morning today, even with help.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Book list 2010 ... month three

Every once in a while I randomly plug in the names of authors I like to see if they have any news or new releases. It helps. I suggest others do it too. I need to be at certain benchmarks in order to hit the 100 book goal. For instance, this month I need to be at 25 and next month I need to be at 33. I am already a month ahead and need to be for my own mental well being. I almost feel like a slacker this month, but this month has sort of sucked emotionally and my brain has been moving at a constantly rapid pace so it has been hard to settle in a read sometimes. Yet, I look at the total and made over the minimum to stay "on pace".

Taming a Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Lessons from Napoleon Dynamite by Adam Palmer & Jeff Dunn
Ended up reading this on accident while I was at the library with my son while he was doing homework. Title caught my eye. Not really the sort of thing I would normally read, but they do a nice job of deconstructing the film.

Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale by Chris Ayres
As someone who has felt the economic bubble burst and its aftershocks for the past several years this felt familiar, other than the dates with supermodels. Still, his idea of selling furniture on CL in order to meet single women made a degree of sense which disturbed me at the time and while writing this.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim: Essays by David Sedaris
Unfortunately, these stories go to the too much information end of the spectrum. And fortunately, they go there because it is what makes these essays worth reading. Real life is more interesting than fiction most of the time.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I first "heard" of this novel on another blog on blogspot. Then, shortly after I saw something about this pinned to a board behind a desk in a classroom. Two such endorsements were enough for me to add this to my library list. This is the first book over 500 pages on the lists for the year and it kind of makes me feel like I need to make sure there are a few more, just on general principle. When I finished this book it gave me a feeling I have only felt from a few things I have ever read; genuine jealousy over the talent of the writer. This is a staggering work of genius.

Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid by Dr. Denis Leary
Denis Leary speaks his mind, even when it seems like he goes to far. I do think he sometimes crosses the line, but he is always worth a listen - or in this case a read - because the best comedy and insights come from blurring that line and saying some things that bite really hard. Plus, he feels about his cat exactly like I feel about the one that lives with me; if he could he would eat me but doesn't because he doesn't need to.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
I saw the title and synopsis and could not help myself. As a historian and teacher it is nice to finally find out some hidden details of the real motivations behind the Civil War. This is a guilty pleasure, and a quick read, but worth the time. I cranked through this.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks
Very practical knowledge in the event the world really is ever actually overrun by zombies. I feel so much more prepared now.

Jim Walden's Tales from the Washington State Cougars Sideline by Jim Walden & Dave Boling
It took me a few games to get into Coach Walden as the color guy on Cougar Football broadcasts. In 1986 I was a frosh at Wazzu during his final season and remember a lot of what he writes about.

Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf by Bill Murray & George Peper
Reads like a long rant, which it is. For someone who generally seems as private as Murray this is an interesting look into what makes him and his comedy tick.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu
I have always meant to read this. Over the years I have read little bits and pieces so it was nice to read it straight through. People say the lessons apply to many things and for the most part I can see how that can be true.

March total = 10 / YTD = 37 (goal 100)