Friday, March 16, 2018

And The Numbers Say ...

I had my annual blood test a week or so ago and the numbers were not good.  The past year of low activity and poor eating habits gave me numbers that roughly match my worse numbers ever.  My worse were back in 2009 before I started training for my Caminos, RAGBRAI, and the Appalachian Trail.

The specific numbers giving me trouble are my high LDL Cholesterol (207 vs less than 200), high Glucose (128 vs less than 100), and pre-diabetic A1C (6.3 vs less than 56).  These have always been my trouble spots.

So it's time to hear this wake up call.  I have successfully tackled these numbers before.  I know what I need to do.  Watch my diet.  Reduce my carbs.  Get off my butt and exercise.  Lower my weight.

I'm getting older and, not having a goal to work towards like I 've had for the past five to ten years, I'm sure it won't get any easier.  I never have been very good at self control and maintaining an exercise regime.  Hopefully the twenty miles I walked this week will be a good start.  But keeping it up has always been hard for me and, frankly, is not getting any easier with time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Book: Jeremy Robinson's "Infinite"

Book number five for the year is Jeremy Robinson's "Infinite".  It seems I've been reading a lot of mediocre science fiction lately.  This one just adds to that list.

"Infinite" has an interesting premise which tries very hard to be engaging but you can feel a twist coming a mile away (in my case I saw it coming three quarters of the book ahead).  Since I saw the twist coming when it arrived it was a bit underwhelming

Reading the afterward after finishing the book, you find out that the author was battling health issues while he wrote the book which may explains the rather shallow style of the book.

I gave the book three stars out of five on Goodreads.  I kept hoping that I would be surprised but in the end it was a predictable read with little depth.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Warning: Jump Ahead

Don't forget to turn your clocks ahead an hour tonight or you will be late all day ... or is it early all day?  While I try to figure that out, here is a picture of an orchid:

An Orchid ... backlit.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Another Passing

Yesterday, Marilyn, my Mother-in-Law, passed away.  She was a good woman, and good mother, and a good wife to Cecil who passed away nearly two years ago.

February 28, 1933 - March 5, 2018
I liked her and she approved of me which is all a son-in-law can ask for.  I am told, when my back was turned, she would sprinkle water at me in the hope the baptismal dishwater would save me.  Thank you for trying Marilyn.

She will be missed by everyone who knew her.  Like Cecil, every life she touched was made better.

Here is a link to her obituary.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

First Sign Of The Coming Spring

Today was a beautiful day.  I would say it was a preview of the coming Spring.  Temperatures peaked at 68℉ (20℃) and it was nice to walk outside in my t-shirt and bare feet and not feel cold.

Another sure sign that spring is in the air: the first Robin in our backyard.

First Robin of 2018 in our backyard.
Winter isn't over yet and we have a few more weeks of mixed weather on the way but this little preview was a welcome change.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Book: Jeff Vandermeer's "Annihilation"

I saw the preview for the upcoming movie adaptation so I decided to check out the book.  Jeff Vandermeer's "Annihilation" is an odd little book.

The book follows a team of scientist (all women) who are sent to 'Area X' which has mysteriously appeared.  The only defining feature of Area X is the border barrier.  Other than this the book is incredibly vague about what makes Area X weird.  Yes, every expedition into Area X except one have either died or disappeared.  This is never explained.  Yes there are hints about strange creatures but the descriptions are so thin that it's hard to tell what is wrong with them.

The characters do not have names being referred only by their professions.  The characters do not act natural which is probably done are purpose to heighten the tension and weirdness of the narrative.  The location of Area X is never mentioned.

This vagueness was kind of disappointing.  This is the first book of a series so more details may come in later books but frankly I needed more to keep my interest.  The first book of a series is supposed to suck you in but I am not sure I will even read the other two books.

As I read this book I kept thinking that the storytelling style was similar to H. P. Lovecraft.  This seems appropriate since I also considered Lovecraft's horror to be vague and a bit disappointing.

I gave this book three out of five stars on Goodreads.  This may be a a case where the movie may be better than the book.

P.S.  The hardcover version of the book is listed at $153.87 on Amazon.  This for a two-hundred-ten page book.  Crazy!

P.P.S. Happy World Book Day!!!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Olympic Withdrawal

For the past two weeks I have had the Olympic games on the TV nearly every day.  Now, I have always been a fan of the Olympics and I have always watched some of the games, but this year for some reason I watched a whole lot more than usual.

I really enjoyed the snowboarding, skeleton, luge, and just about any sports that involved whipping out.  I also enjoyed the heck out of the curling - it helps when you actually saw the team qualify for the Olympics.

To be honest, I did not devote 100% of my attention to the games at all times.  I often surfed Twitter while the games were on.  Even while they were often just in the background, they provided a comforting, mostly non-political, backdrop to my life these past two weeks.  The games officially end tonight and I will miss them. 

It's time now to catch up on some of my streaming that I put off while I watched the competitions.  Time for some "Altered Carbon", "The Expanse", "The Tick", among others.  Netflix and Amazon Prime Video ... here I come.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Photograph: "Orange Hibiscus Bud"

Another flower picture.  This bud is from an orange colored hibiscus plant the Wife gave her father for the lake house on Lake Cornelia.

"Orange Hibiscus Bud"
by Bruce H.
At the end of the summer lake season the hibiscus returns to Omaha where it winters in front of a sliding glass door in our basement.  This hibiscus, along with our own red hibiscus blooms through the winter until they can be moved outside.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Photograph: "Rose [HDR]"

Another picture from my new camera. This is a close up of a rose in the Wife's valentine flowers.  The camera is set to an HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode that boosts the colors creating an interesting effect.

"Rose [HDR]"
by Bruce H.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Number Seven

I've owned one film camera and six digital cameras over my lifetime.  My first digital camera recorded pictures on floppy disks (One picture from my current camera would need seven floppy disks to record!).  I killed my second digital camera by dunking it in Malibu Creek.  My third, the one I took on my first Camino, is still around and still works.  My fourth was my Canon T1i DSLR I won in a photo contestMy fifth - bought for it's compact, rugged, waterproofness - died while snorkeling off the Galapagos Islands.  This camera was replaced by another compact, rugged, and waterproof camera of a different brand.  Last week I bought my seventh digital camera, a replacement for the T1i which started to die of old age last year (the exposure sensor is going flaky and randomly overexposes pictures).  I upgraded to a Canon Rebel T7i.

Here are a couple of my first pictures with the new camera: 

Old Man Iago.
Iago is looking grey these days.

A picture of an hibiscus from the rear.

"Behind the Petals"
by Bruce H.
The new camera is similar to the one it's replacing.  I bought just the body since all my old lenses work on the new camera which saved me some money.  It has a better sensor and several new functions that I will have to learn.

It has a flip out touch screen which is handy for some awkward over the fence/crowd pictures. The screen can also be folded in towards the body protecting it from scratches.

One of the things I was excited about is the Bluetooth and WiFi support.  Unfortunately the app doesn't run well on my Chromebook so WiFi connection is flaky and Bluetooth doesn't work at all.  I blame this on Chromebook/Android hybrid idiosyncrasies.  Nevertheless I have managed to upload pictures to the cloud and to my Chromebook over WiFi though it would be easier to just pull out the memory card and plug it into the Chromebook.

The camera has all the bells and whistles. It's missing only one thing - GPS.  Strangely enough GPS is mentioned in the setup but it is not implemented in the camera.

Now I just need to get out and find things worth photographing.

P.S.  This camera was partially funded with Christmas/Birthday/Anniversary money from the Mother-in-Law.  Thank you!