Sunday, December 09, 2018

Omaha ... Curling Capitol?!?

Last year Omaha hosted both Curling Night in America and the Olympic Curling Trials.  This year Omaha is co-hosting (with legs in Suzhou, China and Jonkoping, Sweden and a grand finale in Beijing, China) the Curling World Cup.  This year the world cup includes ten nations - USA, Canada, Russia, South Korea, China, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and Scotland.

The Curling sheets in Ralston Arena.
This leg is being held in Ralston Arena which is like five minutes from where I live.  I went to the opening session on Wednesday, another one on Friday, and, with the Wife, the last session on Sunday which showcased the men's team final.  The women teams and mix doubles were earlier on Sunday.  Team Schuster, the American team, won the the Men's event, Japan won the Women's event, and Norway won the mixed doubles' event.

My souvenir from the Curling World Cup: a tiny curling stone only an inch and a half across.
Last year I bought a T-Shirt as a souvenir.  This year I bought a scale model of a curling stone made with authentic granite (from Scotland) and a metal handle.

A few photos (taken with my cell phone) can be found in my 2018-12 Curling World Cup Google Photos album.

I am always surprised what events pop up in Omaha.  My hat is off to the people who book all these events.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Photograph: "Frosted Cafe"

This is the sign for the now defunct Bohemian Cafe in downtown Omaha. The sign faces north.  Can you guess which way the wind was blowing when it snowed on Sunday?

"Frosted Cafe"
by Bruce H.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Christmas Season Has Begun Again.

While, for me, the holiday season starts with Thanksgiving, the season of Christmas starts with the blooming of my Christmas Cactus.  Today, a bud that I have been following for the last week, bloomed.

First bloom of the 2018 Christmas season.
This plant is a descendant of the Wife's Great-Great-Grandmother's cactus.  It is quite possible that this plant, and all the clippings I have gifted to other family members, continue a line that is over one hundred years old.

Christmas is finally here and all is good with the world.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Book: Victor Lavalle's "The Ballad Of Black Tom"

I have only read a little Lovecraft.  Horror, on the pages of a book, doesn't do much for me.  To me horror is a visual and aural experience.  I received the e-book of Victor Lavalle's "The Ballad of Black Tom" as a free gift for subscribing to the newsletter (as was "All The Birds In The Sky" I read in October).  This book is a take on H.P. Lovecraft's world that twists the racial inequalities of the Jazz era with the horror that is Cthulhu.

The book is a short read and, like most short stories or novellas, always feel a bit incomplete to me.  I always feel the author should have taken the time to filled out their world a little bit more and built up richer character backstories.

I can't say that I dislike this book.  For what it is, a short horror novella in the Lovecraftian tradition, it is perfectly fine and I gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads because of this.  If Goodreads let me though, I would have given it three and a half.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wonderful, Profound, And Amazing

It's hard to believe it's been two years. Thank you for making my two Caminos so wonderful, profound, and amazing.

From, 08/26/2018

Monday, November 26, 2018

Entry, Descent, And Landing ... Successful!

Congratulations to the NASA/JPL team for a successful entry, descent, and landing of the Mars InSight!

Mars InSight
Photo Credit:  NASA/JPL
I watched it live on NASA TV.  It was fun to see how happy the scientists and engineers were after each milestone was reached.

Again, good job Mars InSight team!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Book: Becky Chambers' "Record Of A Spaceborn Few

"Record of a Spaceborn Few" is the third book of Becky Chambers' Wayfarers series.  This series is interesting in the fact that all of the books are so low key and there is very little climactic action in them.  In most cases this would be an issue but the world and characters the author is building are interesting.

The first two books were linked together by a couple characters but the third introduces a whole new list of protagonists.  These are people living on the Exodan Fleet, ships that took the survivors of Earth to the stars after an ecological collapse.

In a way, the main character of all three books is the world the author has built.  The people are just instruments to show off the Galactic Commons, the Exodan Fleet, and other facets of her universe.  Characters and action are secondary.

I like this universe and I am curious how Chambers will flesh out her world.  I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Turkey Day!!!

The Wife and I had a great Thanksgiving Day feast at my Moms.  Now I have a full belly and am kind of sleepy in a content sort of way.

Happy Turkey Day!!!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Great Weekend In Sioux Falls

The Wife and I had a great time celebrating the wedding of her niece in Sioux Falls, SD. Nothing better than bunch of family, a bevy of babies, and a beautiful wedding.

Congratulations Caity and John!

Now I just have to come down from this sugar high ...

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Book: John Scalzi's "The End Of All Things"

This year I seem not to be able to get enough of John Scalzi's Old Man's War series.  My latest read, "The End of All Things" is the last in the series.  I will miss it.

The book takes off where "The Human Division" ends.  In this last installment we discover who was trying to divide the fragile peace in our part of the galaxy.

The book, like "The Human Division" is divided into independent sections, following different characters, which come together in the end to tell the story of transformation.  Not sure I like this disjointed style but it wasn't a show stopper for me.

I like these books and this series, a true space opera.  I do have to admit that I prefer the earlier books of the series better than the latter works including this one.  Having said this, I still enjoyed reading this book.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  I will miss this series but, fortunately, there are other books to wet my Scalzi appetite.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Water Freezes ... Who'da Thunk It

I went for a hike at Indian Cave today.  Thinking back, I realized that this was the first time since I moved here that I hiked in the winter.  I've done city walks in the winter but, until today, I never went to a trail.

A snow frosted trail in Indian Cave S.P.
When I started it was around 15℉ (-9.4℃)*.  I'd hiked a couple miles when I got thirsty.  When I hike with a backpack, like I did today, I use a 2 liter water bladder.  I grabbed the drinking tube, gave it a suck, and got ... nothing.  Examining the tube closely I realized the water in the tube was completely frozen.

A view of the Missouri River from the top of a ridge.
Farther down the trail I stopped to have a snack and rest my legs.  I pulled the water bladder out of the pack and found it not frozen so I got my fill of water.  The tube thawed out a little while later as the day warmed up.

I'll have to keep this in mind as I do more cold weather hikes.  If I want water to drink I'll have to forgo the bladder for bottles I can stick in my coat to keep thawed.

I ended up doing just over 9 miles (14.5 km) with about 2,000 ft (609.6 m) elevation change.  I have to admit, with the 35 lb (15.9 kg) pack, I was a bit pooped at the end of the hike.

This isn't the coldest I've been out hiking.  I once snowshoed in -5℉ (-20.5℃).  I got some awesome pictures on that snowshoe.  It was magical.

Monday, November 05, 2018

One Chance To Get It Right

Tomorrow America has one chance to get it right.  The midterm elections may be a critical point in the history of our democracy.

Before the 2016 elections, I expected the Democrats to win the presidency but there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach that would not go away.  That gut feeling was right.  Now people are predicting a "Blue Wave" or even a blue tsunami.  Once again I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I really hope that it's wrong this time around.  I don't want to see a blue ripple or worse, a red wave.

If you haven't voted yet, get out there and vote.  Don't let this be our last chance to get it right.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Cutting The Cord

This was year we started experimenting with cutting the cable provider cord.  At the beginning of the year our cable company provided TV, telephone, and internet services.  In addition to this we had a no-contract dumb cell phone, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.  At the peak we were paying $285 a month for communication, information, and entertainment.

We started cutting in March when we replaced our landline and our dumb cell phone with smart phones (t-mobile unlimited everything).  Doing this actually increased our monthly costs by $30 (some because the cost of the phones is included in the cell bill).  In my opinion the extra services provided by the smart phones - instant access to the internet wherever you are, access to travel apps when on the road, being reachable when you want to be - is worth some of the increase.

The next step was at the end of July.  We subscribed to Hulu with Live TV.  We decided to try this service out for a month or two to see if it could replace the cable TV.  Hulu has a mediocre library of TV and movies but it did cover things that were not included in Netflix and Amazon Prime, services we already had.  What Hulu has that the other services didn't was around fifty channels of live TV.  It has most of the channels the Wife and I watch the most and it had more sports channels than we had with our cable provider.  Most of the shows I can't watch on Hulu are available not-live on Netflix  (or even Hulu).  Our main concern was video quality.  We'd tested Hulu once before but it was a bit jittery and buffered often.  This time the experience was completely different.  Buffering was infrequent and the experience was much improved from January.

The final test was in September when college Football started.  After a month of watching without any major issues, including not reaching the terabyte data limit of our cable provider, we cancelled the cable TV. Our cable provider is now only our internet service provider.

When we cancelled our cable TV the cost of the internet went up by about $9 but this was balanced by a dramatic drop overall.  The final number, which includes cable internet, cell phone service, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu with Live TV, is $220 a month.  This is a savings of $65 a month or $780 of savings a year.  Not too bad.

I am happy with our setup (The Wife appears to be happy too).  My viewing habits are changing as I am binging more than watching stuff live.  I'm especially reliving my childhood by catching up on old cult classics I didn't have a chance to watch when I was a kid.

Now excuse me, I have a few more seasons of Monty Python to catch up on.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Feliz Día De Los Muertos

It is the Day of the Dead.  Take some time today to remember those who we cared about and have passed on.

A pile of the Wife's skull bracelets.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy All Hallows' Eve

A hay bale skeleton on display at Indian Cave SP.
Happy Halloween everyone!

This year the Wife and I will skip the giving of candy.  Not enough kids came by last year and we couldn't, and shouldn't, eat it all the candy ourselves.

Flamingos disguised as buzzards at Indian Cave SP.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book: Charlie Jane Anders' "All The Birds In The Sky"

I received this book as a free ebook.  It won the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novel.   I'm not sure who is choosing these winners.  The book is OK but not great in my opinion.

Charlie Jane Anders' "All the Birds in the Sky" follows two children as they grow up to be leaders in their two factions: Technology vs Witchcraft.  Civilization and the environment are breaking down and the world is moving towards armageddon.  The two factions are working to save the world though they are mostly opposing each other.  In the end the two protagonists bring their considerable skills together to halt the decay.

The book was OK.  It was well written.  The issue I had was the shallow feeling of the story.  It misses some depth.  The opposition between the two factions should have been more pronounced.

I also have issues with the rather stereotypical portrayal of the protagonists.  The tech-centric geek is a guy.  The nature loving witch is a woman.  The witch was a little goth when she was young.  The geek hated to go outside in nature and was awkward.

The ending was abrupt and wrapping up in too quickly.  There was no discussion of the aftermath of it all.

In the end I gave the book three stars out of five on Goodreads.  It could have been better.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Swish - Crunch

I returned to Indian Cave SP yesterday and saw that the colors had faded to shades of brown.  This is the time of year when the visual delight of fall colors gives way to the auditory one of the swish - crunch, the sound made as my feet move through the carpet of fallen leaves covering the hiking trail.

A ladybug on my hairy arm.
I exited the trail on the way back to my car when I was surprised to see a thin cloud of swarming insect.  I sat on a bench to rest and was immediately joined by four or five ladybugs landing on me and my cell phone screen as I was taking pictures.  I don't think I have ever seen so many ladybugs at once - the closest was in 1996 on the ladybug trail in Sequoia NP though those were huddled on the ground warming themselves in the sun.  These were buzzing around me as I sat on the bench and as I walked the miles or so back to my car.  A few even joined me on the drive back to Omaha.

A ladybug on my pants leg.
The ladybugs were a nice ending to a rather tough 8+ mile (12.8+ km) hike.

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Fifth Anniversary Of A Wonderful Ending

This is the fifth anniversary of the end of my second Camino.  Five years ago Gv and I arrived in Fisterra and left our footprints in the sand before watching the Sun set over the Atlantic Ocean.  A day of wonderful, and melancholy, memories.

The end of our second Camino on the beach near Fisterra.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Crisp Air

What a difference a few days make.  After a fairly substantial 3 inches (7.6 cm) of snow on Sunday, the temperatures finally stabilized at a comfortable and slightly crisp fall-like 60℉ (15.5℃).  Combine these temperatures with the changing of the foliage and I'm finally getting into the Fall spirit.

A red tinged leaf with morning dew on the trail in Indian Cave S.P.
Over the past three or four weeks I have been going to Hitchcock Nature Center and Indian Cave State Park and over this period I have watched the trees turn gold, yellow,orange, and red.

Indian Cave has the most colorful foliage.
In the past I have always been either too early or too late to see the Fall colors in 'full bloom'.  Hiking a couple times a week has given me the opportunity to admire the change.  Hitchcock's colors are predominantly gold and yellow.  Small bushes add pops of dark red and parasitic vines added orange.

Orange leaves of a parasitic vine.
I wish the colors would stay all winter but the leaves will soon be falling.  On a walk earlier this week I walked on some sidewalks covered in green leaves that fell after the Sunday freeze, never getting the chance to turn colors.

A pop of yellow at Hitchcock Nature Center.
Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons.  This year has been a bit strange with the higher than normal temps and rain.  The Fall has also taken on some melancholy hues with the memories of 2016.  Nevertheless, I still have a warm place in my heart for this change-filled time of the year.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

First Snow !?!

The weather this fall has been weird.  Record high temperatures followed by record low temperatures.  I always look forward to the crisp fall days but this year we haven't had them yet.

A late fall flower wondering what this white stuff is falling from the sky.
Today we had our first snow of the season.  It was supposed to be a light dusting but it turned out to be a bit more substantial triggering a Winter Weather Advisory.

Our oak tree's leaves haven't changed color yet but they are covered in heavy snow.
It's a bit early for snow here.  I do remember a snowfall this early sometime in the last ten years but I don't remember which year.  Usually the first snow is in November or December.  Like the last time it snowed this early, it won't last long.  This week - a month late in my opinion - the crisp fall air will finally arrive bringing the temperatures back to normal and melting all the snow.

Visibility is a bit limited by the falling snow.
I wonder if this is a preview of the winter to come.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Book: Jon Meacham's "The Soul Of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels

I needed a pick me up so I checked out Jon Meacham's "The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels" from the library.  I hoped it would give me some perspective on what's happening in our world today.  I don't think it did what I expected.

Meacham wrote this book to show that America has seen the current problems before and the country has always made it out the other side of each crisis.  Racism, misogyny, fascism - our country has seen them all over and over throughout our history and each time we made it through.

This should have been encouraging to me but it wasn't.  What I read was that racism, misogyny, fascism, and all the other evils have been beaten down over and over again and they just come back.  We have never, truly defeated them.  I finished this book a little bit more pessimistic.  Sigh.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  You can't knock a well written book because it exacerbated my pessimism.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

E*A*R*L*Y *** V*O*T*I*N*G Is Here!!!

If you live in Nebraska you are allowed to vote up to thirty days before election day.  Today I exercised my right and my duty and voted in the 2018 midterm elections 

In the past I have posted about my voting urging other people to get out and vote no matter who you vote for.  This year I feel different.  I still think everyone has the duty to vote.  Voting is important.  What has changed is who you will be voting for.  I cannot vote for any candidate from the Republican party.  No matter how flawed the Democratic party and their candidates are, they will never sink as low as the current hypocritical, anti-science, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, 45 rubber-stamping Republican party.

The electorate has to take a deep breath, carefully consider the choices in front of us, look at the facts, and choose the non-Republican candidates.


Saturday, October 06, 2018

Happy Birthday to the Wife!!!

To My

It is an honor and a privilege
to be married to her.

I can't wait to see where our
lives take us next.

Monday, October 01, 2018

A Different Side Of Bill Murray

On Saturday the Brother-in-Law told us that Bill Murray was going to be in town at the Holland Center.  Turns out it was Sunday night so we bought tickets.  This was a bit short notice for us but we'd done things with shorter notice before.

The show was Bill Murray on vocals with Jan Vogler on cello, Mira Wang on violin, and Vanessa Perez on piano.  It was a combination of storytelling, poetry, spoken word, and classical music.  It was a semi-sophisticated Bill Murray.

Our view of Bill Murray - mostly in profile with emphasis on his bald spot.
When I realised what it was going to be I wondered what I'd gotten myself into but it turned out to be entertaining and, while no Sinatra, Murray can carry a tune when he needs to ... and he does a mean tango too.  The readings were interesting and often humorous.  Murray was a bit self-deprecating and didn't shy away from some minor political commentary.  His reading from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was considered by the Wife (an English teacher) to be one of the best she's ever heard.

After the encore Murray was given a bundle of roses which he began to throw out to the woman in the audience.  He spotted the Wife.  We were in a second tier box seat to the right of the stage.  He threw a rose up but didn't make it.  To his credit he didn't give up.  He threw a couple more until the Wife, perilously close to going over the rail, caught the rose to the cheer of the crowd.  The last rose went to the unnamed piano music page turner after she got the loudest cheer from the audience.

In the end, we had a great time with our new friend, Bill Murray.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Hiking Hitchcock In The Rain

When it comes to hiking in the rain I'm a chicken.  You would think that I thought I would melt.  I am trying to change.  Today I went hiking at Hitchcock with a 34 lb pack in the light drizzle.

It wasn't raining too hard but I think a drizzle is a good start at changing my feelings about walking in the rain.  I was wearing my Ferrino Trekker backpacking rain coat so I was fairly dry.  I love that coat.  It keeps me nice and dry from the knees up and I didn't overheat like I did with my old rain jacket.

Cool Fungi (???).
There is one secret to keeping cool in rain gear.  If you push your sleeves up to your elbows, exposing your forearms, you will cool down.  Yes, your forearms will be wet but you won't sweat like you are in a sauna.  I figured this out on my last Camino and it worked well on my hike today.

There is more rain in the forecast this week and I'm sure I will be doing more hiking in the rain.

Monday, September 24, 2018

I Have That Rising Water Feeling

I went for a bike ride today heading south and east along the Papio Creek and Missouri river.  The rivers are high with the Missouri river approaching flood stage which, I believe, is unusual for this time of year.

The Keystone and Bellevue Loop bike trails run on top of or beside the levees along the two rivers.  The trails dip down to pass under road overpasses.  The last dip under was along the Papio creek where it feeds into the Missouri river.  The river was backing up into the creek raising the water levels.  This is what that underpass looked like this morning:

A flooded Bellevue Loop bike trail.

I ended up going over the road to get around the water.  The trail ends at Haworth park which is closed due to flooding.  There is a farm field between the trail and the Missouri river along part of the trail.  Today this field was a lake that was being enjoyed by three pelicans, a rather rare sight near Omaha.

In the end, I ended up riding 41.5 miles (66.7 km) which is the longest I've ridden since RAGBRAI back in 2015.  My thighs are still screaming.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Happy First Day Of Autumn!!!

It is the fall equinox today and I went out to celebrate with a hike at Hitchcock Nature Center.  I've been going to Hitchcock once or twice a week for a while now to train myself for hill climbing.  I've been training with a 35 lb (15.8 kg) backpack to give myself a good workout.

We've had a hot August and the past few weeks have been tough hikes.  Between the heat, humidity, and clouds of starving mosquitoes, it's been a struggle to meet my distance goals.  Fortunately fall has arrived and with the changing of the seasons the temperatures have dropped nearly thirty degrees.  The lower temperatures and the blue skies made today's 6 mile (9.6 km) hike much more enjoyable.

Over the past few weeks I've seen the Monarch Butterfly migration come through.  Soon birds will start migrating through the area and the leaves will start changing.  I think I seen something different every time I visit Hitchcock.  I even saw some Iowan Hemp this hike - might explain why Iowans are so happy.

A little Iowan Hemp along the side of the trail.
I think Autumn may just be my favorite season.  I hope you all have a great first day of Autumn!!!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Book: John Scalzi's "The Human Division"

After finishing "Zoë's Tale" last March I re-entered the world of the Scalzi's Old Man's War.  My latest read was the next in the series: "The Human Division."

The book is a fitting continuation of the saga.  Earth and the Colonial Union are divided.  Rivals to the humans, and especially the Colonial Union, are vying for an alliance with the Earth thus depriving the Colonial Union from its life blood.  In the background a mysterious third party with unknown motives is sabotaging the negotiations.

The book is a good romp in the Space Opera genre with interesting characters.  The one thing I wasn't keen on is how the book was put together.  The book was published by the chapter.  This means each chapter almost has to be an independent short story that, when combined with the other stories, make one coherent novel.  This made the book feel a bit disjointed at times and transitions from one venue to another were sometimes a bit jarring.

I still liked it and gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads.  The book ended with many loose ends that will be tied up in the next book of the series already available for purchase.

Friday, September 14, 2018

To Brighten Things Up A Bit

One of the Wife's Sunflowers.
To help balance out the ugly politics and the ugly hurricane news, I give you two pictures of the Wife's sunflowers.  She's tried to grow them for awhile now and pests had conspired against her by eating most of her attempts.  This year she was successful.  They were not large but they were pretty ... before the bugs ate them.

A small - 1 inch across more or less - sunflower.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Seventeen Years Ago Today ...

Seventeen years ago today the towers began to fall.

They continue to fall today.

When, if ever, will the falling end?

Friday, September 07, 2018

Canada: Magnet Edition

People who follow Homer's Travels knows that the Wife and I collect travel magnets from our world travels.  Our Canada By Rail trip was no different but I think we went a little overboard.

One of my favorites - a multicolored polar bear from Churchill, MB.
We bought magnets at every stop along our train trip across Canada from west to east.  We bought a magnet for each city, each province, and each attraction we visited.  In Jasper we also bought magnets for attractions we did on our honeymoon which we took before our magnet habit started.

An Inukshuk from Vancouver, BC.
In the end, after seven provinces, seven cities, and a large number of attractions, we ended up with fifty-four new magnets (bringing our total to four-hundred-fifty-seven).

An inclusive version of the Canadian flag acquired I Jasper, AB.
I have photographed all the magnets and added them to the Travel Magnets tab (at the top of the web page under the title).

A Sailing Ship from Halifax, NS.
Awhile back the travel magnets moved from the refrigerator to a sheet of plywood clad in metal.  Later I added an additional half sheet of metal clad plywood.  Both display boards are now full and there is not enough room for most of the Canadian magnets.  I will have to look for a way to expand our magnet displays.

A Halifax Lobster with springy legs.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Eaten Alive

I went to Hitchcock Nature Center yesterday to do a short hike.  The short hike turned into an even shorter hike.  Apparently all the rain, heat, and humidity is the ideal environment to breed mosquitoes.

I've been going to Hitchcock a lot lately since it's the only place in the area to add elevation to my hiking.  I am also going back each week in the hope to catch the Monarch butterfly migration that comes through here in August and September.  Last weekend I didn't see nary a mosquito but yesterday - Yowza!

I started my hike and was immediately swarmed.  I would wipe my hand along my arm and kill four to six mosquitoes at once.  All I could see as I walked the trail were mosquitoes swarming around my head.  I don't remember anytime the mosquitos were this bad.  Not even in Churchill or Alaska.  After maybe fifteen minutes of swatting, smacking, and swearing I gave up and headed back to the car.

Today I have too many bites to count on my arms and a few more around my neck.  My elbows, apparently, are a mosquito delicacy.  I got welts everywhere and they are starting to itch.

Next week when I go it will be a long shirt and lots of bug spray before I head out again.

Now I'm wondering how long does it take for West Nile to start showing symptoms?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book: C. Robert Cargill's "Sea Of Rust"

C. Robert Cargill's "Sea of Rust" is an interesting take of the robots-take-over genre.  The book is set fifteen years after the death of the last human.  Fifteen years before that robots and Artificial Intelligences (AIs) gain sentience and, after getting rights from the humans, begin to kill to keep those rights.

The post-human world of robots and AI is bleak.  Warring AIs compete for dominance by absorbing the experiences of the independent robots.

The book becomes a typical quest story popular in fantasy novels.  While the robot angle is interesting it isn't enough to make the book better than adequate.

I gave this book four stars out of five stars on Goodreads because, while it is a mediocre work, it at least has an interesting take on an old theme.