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Luigi’s Wine Cellar June 30, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography, Toys.
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An energetic charming 80-something sold me his Chevy Astro van in impeccable shape.  While I was in his house looking over the paperwork I looked out the back door of the kitchen and into a vineyard…in downtown Concord, CA.  This fellow had been making his own wine for thirty-something years and had amassed a little bit of a collection as shown above.  Click on the picture to see the panorama properly.

Balclutha Panorama June 30, 2013

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balclutha panorama

Made with Autostitch.  Click the picture to embiggen.

Point of Honor, by Madeleine E. Robins June 30, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Uncategorizable.
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Point of Honour, by  Madeleine E. Robins is an interesting animal; an historical detective story with swords and romance set in an alternate (English) Regency.  Aack!  Trying to summarize it in a single sentence does not do the book justice; it really is very well done with charmingly unlikely heroines: the Fallen Woman protagonist (Sarah Tolerance), her catamite friend, her aunt the madam and her cheerful but practical hooker pal. These are set against political murderers (three of them, and a small army of henchmen) amid the potential civil war (well, dangerous politics) of succession.  Nasty business, requiring quick thinking, swordplay and science (science, bitches!).
I liked it and read it through in an evening enjoying the mystery portion thoroughly, and thinking as I read how like Hammett and Chandler the plot began to turn;  I began anticipating betrayal at several places and was not disappointed. although one betrayal was not what I expected at all (good job, Madeleine!).
Full disclosure: the author is an acquaintance through Girl Scouts and gave me the copy I read.  Madeleine E. Robins has written several other books in romance, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction and a super-hero novel, so she’s been busier than the other girls.  Her oldest daughter is a minor celebrity (with me): L’enfant Terrible. Her video appears on the DVD of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Although this book is outside of my usual admittedly eclectic sphere of interest I will read a few of her others.  All but two of her books are available as Kindle books, except the Daredevil book and the latest Sarah Tolerance mystery.  The ebook versions are almost all available at sfpl.org and of course, amazon.com.

Two-headed Cooter June 28, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants.
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This North American river turtle, also known as cooter, was born at the San Antonio Zoo last week. Conjoined-cooters

That rarest of North American river turtles, the Two-headed Cooter, was born at the San Antonio zoo.

I may have blogged about this before.

Vi Hart is a Genius June 27, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brain, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Music, Mutants, Video.
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God, I love to hear her think out loud.  She sounds like the inside of my head, although much more cogent, inventive and rational.

Also, she doodles really well, and sings very well.  Watch the whole thing and see if you don’t agree.

Another Perfect Father’s Day Gift June 18, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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from my youngest step-daughter.  She’s very smart and creative, and knows most of my weaknesses (as shown above).


The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons June 13, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words.
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The Fall of Hyperion, read by Victor Bevine, this sequel/conclusion/part two of the series neatly ties up the ends of a huge, sprawling epic story of war, pain, AIs gone amok, men gone mad, women gone suicidally sane and poets gone, well, god-like.1

Yeah, it’s confusing to hear me tell it; that’s why you need to get the audiobooks (both of them) and set aside your commute for three weeks to listen to it, driving slowly and carefully.  Seriously.  You really don’t want to miss any of this, or your exit (like me).2

The story of pilgrims on a quasi-religious trek to meet the Lord of Pain includes a female private detective carrying her late client’s baby, an exceptionally (and egregiously) foul-mouthed poet, a time-travelling military hero, an academician father whose daughter is aging backwards (and is now near birth),a treeship captain (I am not going to explain that; read the book), a pain-wracked Catholic priest and a traitorous diplomat telling their incredibly strange stories to each other (I reviewed Hyperion earlier) is, amazingly, fully assembled into a coherent story which is moving, human, funny, charming, gut-wrenching and tragic by turns.3

I understand there are more books in this series, but I am currently reluctant to read them, since these two books are nearly perfect as they stand.


1. I doubt I will ever forgive Dan Simmons for injecting meaningful poetry into what should be “ordinary” science fiction. Shame it works so well—but I digress.

2. No, really.  I might have ended up in Santa Rosa.

3. Curious as to how he does it?  Get the books.  Listen to and/or read them.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Weekend June 9, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography, Toys.
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IMG_20130526_201925 My wife persuaded my mother sainted, white-haired mother and my sister to spend the night at Pigeon Point Lighthouse’s hostel.  It’s really just a cheap trick to hang out with Mom more in a way that’s comfortable for everyone and it worked really well, as Spring cooperated fully:


Scenes of natural beauty such as this naturally attracted better photographers (or at least better equipment):


This guy was getting aerial footage of a flight around the lighthouse.  I got his card but lost it, mores the pity.

Exciting update:

Besides the view, we met a collective of Mills College graduates down for a weekend of writing for their magazine project:


Don’t let your babies go off to liberal arts colleges.  They’ll come back tattooed.

The Importance of Symbolism in The Ritual June 9, 2013

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This is the podium just prior to the opening of the Wednesday night meeting. 

Urgent Reminder That It’s Spring June 9, 2013

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography, Uncategorizable.
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In the San Francisco Arboretum.  Right damn now, people—you think these blossoms will stay awaiting your convenience?  Get here and enjoy yourselves.IMG_20130609_142839 IMG_20130609_144943 IMG_20130609_144732 IMG_20130609_144642 IMG_20130609_142856