Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Holiday Season Is In Full Bloom

We have two Christmas cactuses.  This year it was a very close competition to see which would bloom first.  The older, larger in one in our living room opened up this afternoon and won the race.  The smaller one in the kitchen will be fully open tomorrow if not later tonight.

The first bloom of our Christmas cactus.  The holidays are now in full bloom. 
This is a little later than last year but the Christmas season is back on track.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

...And Down They Came

Last Sunday I put up the ornaments on the oak tree (Here's the post).  I predicted that a few would blow off with the forecasted winds.  Well, I was right.  THIRTY balls blew off the tree over about three days.  There were balls everywhere!

Thirty Christmas Ornaments in a pile.
I was going to put them back in the tree once the winds were gone but I changed my mind.  The tree, despite missing thirty ornaments, still looks festive so I'm not rehanging the balls.  It's just too much work for this old man.  Bah Humbug.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Photograph: "A Blue Whale ... And A Few Penguins Too"

I've been waiting to take pictures of snow but nature is not cooperating.  We have yet to have our first snow of the season.  So, instead, I will post a picture of a colorful Blue Whale I took on my walk last week.  Enjoy.

"A Blue Whale ... and a few penguins too"
by Bruce H.
(Original artist unknown.)

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Book: N. K. Jemisin's "The Stone Sky"

The third book of N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, "The Stone Sky" completes the story told in "The Fifth Season" and "The Obelisk Gate" and is the fourteenth book I've read this year.

The first two books of the trilogy won Hugo awards for best novel.  The third book was as good, if not better, than the first two.  Having said this, I'm not sure why it won the awards.  It's not a bad set of books but, frankly, there is nothing special about the story or the storytelling.  It's a perfectly good fantasy trilogy but, in my opinion, it belongs in the middle of the pack, not the top.

The story follows our main character and her daughter as they head towards their inevitable conflict.  The journey is brief and almost throw away.  The conflict at the end is a bit anticlimactic.

I gave this book, and hence the trilogy, four stars out of five on Goodreads not because it was good but because it's not bad.  It was entertaining enough to be okay and there was nothing in the books that put me off.  It's good filler when you don't have anything else to read.

Monday, December 04, 2017

They're Up!

I put the Christmas ornaments in our oak tree on Sunday.  This is a bit later than usual since the leaves didn't drop until this week.

In the last twenty-four hours three balls had dropped.  I rehung the three and a few hours after another dropped.  The wind was picking up and I went out to hang it back in the tree when a gust of wind blew five more ornaments from the tree - a couple hitting me in the head and back. I collected the fallen ornaments and brought them inside.  I will hang them when the wind dies down and, based on the forecast, I will be picking a lot more off the lawn in the next few days.

Our decorated oak tree.
(Picture taken by the Wife.)
Last year fifteen ornaments dropped on the first few days.  Wonder how many will drop this year.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Learning Lessons With Ira

Photo from Wikipedia taken by Tom Murphy VII
Last night the Wife and I went to a live show with Ira Glass, host of This American Life.  The show, 'Seven Lessons I've Learned: a Night with Ira Glass', was Ira talking about his career, the show, and the rather random sampling of the lessons he has learned over the years.

The show was a humorous mixture of talk and multimedia that was very satisfying.  Ira Glass is of a liberal bent and, Omaha being the most liberal part of conservative Nebraska, he tip toed around the politics of modern America.  He didn't really have to, I think, since the applause he got showed approval for the few political musing of the evening.

This is the second time we heard Ira speak.  The first time was during a taping of stories for a future show at UCLA back in 2007.  He hasn't changed much which is a good thing.  He gave us an entertaining two hours which ended with questions from the audience.

Barring something unexpected showing up, this will be the last event we have planned for 2017.  A good end to a full year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

I Catch Myself ...

I write a funny post or
post a picture or
retweet an interesting meme.

I wonder if they will laugh or
smile or
leave a witty comment.

But then I catch myself
and remember
they are no longer there.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Photo Move ... Complete

On Saturday I finished moving all my photos from Flickr to Google Photos.  I mentioned three phases in my August 11th post.  As I mentioned, the first phase took six days and the second phase too fifteen days.  Today I finished phase three.  It took me one hundred and six days to relink all the blog posts.

This sounds like a lot but I didn't work on it every day.  The first few weeks I maybe worked three or four times a week but I soon reduced that to only one day a week - usually on the weekend while I was doing laundry.

While it started out a little tedious I soon started looking forward to working on the transfer.  I read through my old posts, remembering through pictures I'd forgotten I'd taken.  I've done a lot and seen a lot since I've started Homer's Travels.  A lot of emotions boiled up at times, both good and bad, happy and sad.  A lot of life.

Now comes the hardest part of all this exercise: deleting my Flickr/Yahoo accounts.  Google Photos is not very social at all and affirmation through Flickr likes and comments will be missed.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Holiday Season Begins

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving yesterday.  I enjoyed a turkey dinner with my Mom and her family.  The Wife enjoyed a turkey dinner with her family.

After I got home, and after I gave my food some time to settle, I put on some Christmas music and put the tree together in our living room.  I will confess that I like Christmas music.  I've even caught myself humming Christmas music in the summer months.  The music always gives me hope.  Of course, by the end of the holiday season, I am usually tired of it all.  Too much of a good thing ...

Our tree is a nearly eight foot (2.4 m) tall and is lit up with multicolored LED lights. My job is to build the tree and string up the lights.  The Wife adds ornaments later.  I personally prefer the simplicity of just lights without ornaments.

There is a downside of having the tree up.  The best place for it is in front of the picture window that looks out over a farm field east of the house.  This window lets a lot of bright sunshine into our living room.  During the holiday season the tree blocks about half of the light.  This can be important since it tends to be so dark during the winter.  We usually don't noticed it too much until we take the tree down and the room lights up.

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year.  While it can seem hectic at times the whole spirit of the season is positive and uplifting.  I have not been very positive or uplifted most of this year and I am looking forward to some of this spirit rubbing off on me over the next month or so.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wishing Everyone An ...

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

For everyone in the United States who are celebrating with family and friends, I hope you find something to be thankful for in 2017.