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.