Saturday, October 14, 2017

SLSO - Show #1

S and I have attended our first symphony of the season, and it was a Mozart spectacular!

On the schedule were the following:
  Don Giovanni Overture
  Piano Concerto No. 16 in D Major
  Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major
  Symphony No. 40 in G Minor

S and I both agreed that the second half of the performance was superior to the first, but the whole show was quite enjoyable - as Mozart usually is.  As G said, "probably the only thing better would be an all-Beethoven show."

I'll keep an eye out for that one....

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th and Halloween in the same month?!  This can't be good...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Game Of Thrones -- Take 2

I finished Game of Thrones while I was in NC for E's wedding. Instead of lugging that brick along with me so I could read the last 50 pages, I downloaded the ebook.

I have tried a few other ebooks since The Martian, but this was the first one that I was able to get through in ebook format. Much like The Martian, I think ebook may only work for me if the story is compelling -- suspenseful, funny, or otherwise somehow keeping my attention from being distracted.  I tend to be easily distracted; something that requires a lot of focus (such as a dense history book) is not a good candidate for me to read as an ebook.  I read them on my phone, which is designed to promote distraction.  So that's something that just isn't going to work, unless perhaps I am on an airplane or otherwise have no cell or wifi service.

Back to GOT! The first book does a lot of scene-setting, following a few of the major families in their quest for the crown (or to avoid it, as the case may be).  Since I have seen 6+ seasons of the HBO series based on the books, I have an idea of where things are going, and I don't want to say too much.

However, I will reiterate the good advice that I received: if you are not a world-building reader on a regular basis, it may be helpful to watch the show first.  The books have a lot of funny names and strange language, and I found it extremely useful to have a face to put with the names.

Having said that, this is the longest book I have gotten through in some time, and that alone should tell you something!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind."
   -- Henry James

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Road Trip Adventure - Part II

On our last camper trip, we headed south.  That made sense, since it was November.  On this recent trip, in July, we went north.

We took off from Durango with our first stop at Palisade, Colorado.  (Delicious peaches, by the way.)  We rented a couple of mountain bikes and headed up to the top of Grand Mesa to spend a couple of days.

Oh, Grand Mesa.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the views are stunning.  It's also lovely because, though it was 90 degrees down in Grand Junction, it topped out near 70 upon the mesa.  Excellent weather for mountain biking.  We rented from Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade, and the guys there were great.  They gave us their cell phone numbers in case we needed anything after hours, set us up with a dropoff in case we wanted to leave the bikes when the shop was closed, and gave us maps and tips on where to go.  Plus we got a free half-day rental.

The bikes we rented, unfortunately, were not so awesome.  We were both on Ibex Mojos, and neither of us felt like we had good control over the bike.  I really struggled with the tracking; I couldn't pick a line to save my life.  Even if I could manage to get my front tire between two boulders, I always seemed to slam dead into one of them with my back tire, and just couldn't get over them.  So that was clearly not the bike for me.  Or S, whose comment was "'responsive' and 'agile' are not the words I would use to describe them."

We did, however, see some lovely things.  For our free half-day ride, we did a trail near the base of one of the local ski areas.  The wildflowers were amazing, but as twilight grew closer, the mosquitoes came out in force, so we turned around and headed back to the car a bit shy of the end of the trial.

We had a beautiful campsite atop the mesa that night -- cool breezes and sweeping views could not be beat!

The following day, after a delicious breakfast of Pop Tarts and peaches, we rode the Mesa Top and Indian Point trails. On the way out, the trail was quite muddy, which was lots of fun.  (Rentals, right?)  Once you get a bit farther into the ride, the trail takes you right out to the edge of the world.  There were some really fun swoopy sections of singletrack through the meadows, but again we were disappointing by the Mojo's ability to best even the smallest of obstacles.  By the time we were on the return leg, the trail had dried out significantly (love that mountain sunshine!), and the bikes were much cleaner, after 14 miles of having the mud bounced off of them.

We had another beautiful campsite, and it was cool enough that it made sense to build a fire.  This is me, cooking over the fire.

We decided to forego another day of biking, each being sufficiently convinced that the Mojo was not a good choice.  We ventured back into Palisade to return the bikes, and discovered that the only place in town open for breakfast on a Sunday morning is the local bar.  Nothin' wrong with that.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Road Trip Adventure, Part I

Recently S and I had occasion to take a road trip to Colorado in a lovely Dodge Caravan secured by S's friend Z, who is our hook-up at Enterprise. It turns out it's extremely difficult to rent a minivan in the summer and our other option was a small U-Haul, so Z really came through for us.

We left on a Thursday afternoon and stopped at Char Bar in Kansas City for dinner.  The interior was mind-numbingly noisy, so despite the gnats and 90-degree temps, we sat outside.  At least they had seats in the shade.

The food was good. We had the Trifecta platter with potato salad and an extra side of mac 'n cheese. My favorite of the meats were the burnt ends, but they were all good. The potato salad was made with very small pieces of potato, which is unusual but was a nice touch. Mac 'n cheese can't be bad.  We had an energetic waiter who gets extra bonus points for bringing us a free beer.

We hit the road after dinner and stopped for the night at the Midland Railroad Hotel in Wilson, Kansas.

It was built in 1899 and was a frequent stop for railroad travelers, but the interior was destroyed by a fire in 1902.  It was renovated and reopened, and operated more or less continuously (including during the Great Depression), until it closed in 1978.  The 1973 movie Paper Moon, starring Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, was filmed there.  (P gave me Paper Moon several years ago for Christmas, and I highly recommend it.)  In 1997, the Wilson Foundation bought the building for $35,000 and then spent $3.2 million renovating it. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our hotel room was small but we'll appointed. There was a nice comforter on the bed and good-smelling shampoo, but I had a problem that I don't often have when I went to take a shower: I couldn't get the water cold enough!  Yes I know, that seems impossible. But true. I guess that's what happens when you're in the middle of Kansas in the middle of the summer.

The beautiful main staircase in the hotel.
Though it is a small town, Midland has an Opera House (under renovation) and a museum.

The hotel had continental breakfast, which we helped ourselves to before hitting the road again.  The remainder of the trip across Kansas and into Colorado was uneventful, though the scenery improved drastically as we neared and then entered the mountains.

Upon arrival, we traded our minivan for a camper and headed to points north.  More on that to follow...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What I Watched -- Nightcrawler

S picked out Nightcrawler at the library one day while he was waiting for me to get off work.  I didn't really know what we were getting into, but it looked like an action film of sorts from the cover.

It is not an action film.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou, a "night crawler" who listens to the police scanner then goes zooming off to crime scenes as a freelance videographer hoping for juicy footage he can sell for top dollar to the local news stations.

What makes the movie interesting isn't Lou's line of work or the stuff he sees; it's he super creepy ability to manipulate everyone he comes into contact with.

Bottom line: this is not a happy movie, but if you're in the mood for disturbing (and who isn't, really?), it's good for that.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Goals 2017 -- October Edition

It's a new month, and I need a new project.  A change of pace.  So here it is:

Clean off my desk.

My poor desk - which is a lovely, large, flat surface - has been the repository of much paperwork and other miscellany lately, and I have been too busy or uncaring to deal with most of it.  Now is the time.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Goals 2017 -- September Recap

Guys, huge success!  I didn't have one truckload of stuff for K&J, I had two!  And thanks to S for driving the second truckload of stuff to their new house on his day off!