Homer's Travels: October 2021

Sunday, October 31, 2021

BOO!!! ... Part Two

The Wife was looking out our very dirty deck sliding door when she noticed what looked like children's hand prints.  She took a picture and I tried to enhance it a bit to make the prints stand out better.

Picture taken by the Wife and edited by me.

We haven't had any children in our house for ages.  Haven't seen any children in our yard.  Maybe a ghost child paid us a visit on Halloween?

Or maybe there is a more ... natural ... explanation. Last week I raised the bird feeder from four foot high off the fence to around seven foot in the hope that I could keep the racoons from eating all the food.  I suspect that this may have pissed off the racoons and the strange, childlike prints on our glass door were in fact racoon prints.  The front paws of racoons are similar to human hands but you usually can see their claws in the prints.  The screen on the glass may explain the lack of claw prints.

Were you a racoon or were you a ...

Ghost Child?


Wishing everyone a happy and safe Halloween.  The Wife and I don't really do anything on Halloween except turn off the lights and ignore the knocks on the door.  If I were to participate and I had to pick a costume I would go as a 'Vaccine Mandate' since, apparently, millions of Americans are scared to death of them.

  Happy Halloween Everybody!!!  

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Book: Randall Monroe's "How To"

I've read other books by Randall Monroe and I read his cartoons almost daily.  Any nerd out there should be familiar with XKCD.  Monroe produces humor with a scientific slant that I enjoy and this book, "How To", does not disappoint.

The book is similar the the first one I've read, "What If?", in that each chapter posits a problem which Monroe then solves using science taking it to absurd, and often funny, limits.  In short it's a book full of solutions if you happen to not believe in the K.I.S.S. principle.

I enjoyed this book.  It was hard not to smile about some of the shenanigans explained in the book with scientific precision.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  Worth your time if you have a nerdy, science-based, sense of humor. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Trash Panda Bandits

Every Saturday I fill the birdfeeders.  The main feeder holds six pounds of bird seed that I mix by hand to attract the biggest variety of birds.  The feeder is attached to a cord that I can raise or lower for easy filling.  I did it this way to prevent squirrels from eating the seed.

Despite my efforts, inevitably the feeder is empty by Monday morning.  I have always thought this was weird since the small birds in our yard could not possibly eat that much food in two days.  The only time this would be believable would be in the Spring when the blackbirds migrate through and swarm the feeders.  Another strange fact was that the feeders were being emptied out at night … hmmmm.

Birds visiting the feeder.
So I decided to solve the mystery once and for all and I purchased a hunting camera.  The camera is made to be attached to a tree or post and is triggered by motion.  It works at day or night.  I filled up the feeder, placed the camera where it had a good view of the feeder, and waited a week.

Two racoons burgling the feeder.
It really didn't take long.  I was expecting to see a racoon, sometimes referred to a trash panda since they like trash and they are related to pandas, but I was a bit surprised to see two.  I also learned it takes two visits to totally empty the feeder (Note the top picture with the birds - the feeder is half full after the racoon's first visit).

A Trash Panda taking a selfie.
I am considering adding another section of pipe to raise the feed out of the racoon's reach.  I would rather feed the birds instead of the racoons and the food would last a lot longer if only the birds are visiting.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Book: C.M. Kosemen's "All Tomorrows: A Billion Year Chronicle Of The Myriad Species And Varying Fortunes Of Man"

This was a book recommended by the Wife's students.  I have read similar books before.  They fit in a genre of their own.  They are science fiction written as non-fiction.  They are often written as histories but cover speculative future events.  Books like "After Man", "Man after Man", and "Expedition" are examples of the genre.  Since I am fond of this type of fiction I decided that this would be my next read.

C.M. Koseman's "All Tomorrows" turned out to be a hard book to find since it isn't sold at Amazon.  I eventually found a PDF of the book on some server which I believe was in Russia (yikes).

The books covers the rise, fall, and rise again of the human race(s).  It covers a huge amount of time.  But for the scope of the book, it s very short.  A page of text is followed by an illustration of the evolved … or genetically modified … human descendant.  I found the text to be too brief and superficial and the illustrations to be amateurish.  The three books I linked to above are much better examples of this type of fiction with detailed texts and gorgeous illustrations.  "All Tomorrows" pales in comparison.

I gave this three stars out of five on Goodreads because there was a spark of something interesting there but it didn't quite deliver.  It could have been so much better.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Eighth Caminoversary Of The End Of My Second Camino

Today marks eight years since I sat on the rocks and watched the sun set on my second, and most likely last, Camino.  I remember the strong sense of completion.  You would think this would have been accompanied by a feeling of accomplishment but it was kind of sad.  GV told me, years after that day, that she cried as she sat with me there in the waning light of the day.  I think I understand how she felt.  Our Camino was over.  Something important was coming to an end.

When I hiked the Appalachian Trail I really wanted to have the same feeling but it never came, at least not with the intensity of the end of the Camino.  This just proves how important the Camino was to my life.  Some things can only be experienced once and doing them again is just a faded copy and this is why I commemorate the end of my Camino and the growth it brought.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Round About Way To A Similar Destination

 A couple things reached the same destination this year.  Both took different routes … both had different reasons … but both got to the same place.

The first started as a pandemic lockdown project for the Wife.  Over the past year or so the Wife has pursued a dual citizenship.  The first is American, naturally, and the other is through genealogy.  The Wife has ancestors from Luxembourg and for the past year she has collected birth certificates, wedding records, death records, and other genealogical proof of her Luxembourgian ancestry.  She had filled out requests and forms, often multiple times, and submitted her application for Luxembourgian citizenship.  She reached her goal in August when she was granted citizenship.

A blurry picture of the original
Walking Sister travel bug.
The second has been talked about before in Homer's Travels.  In 2007 I sent out a geocaching travel bug called the Walking Sister.  It travelled around the United States for almost four years before it turned up missing.  I had a duplicate of the travel bug tag so I made a new Walking Sister.  This time I dropped her off in Santiago de Compostela, Spain on my first Camino.  It was soon picked up and started travelling around Europe.  Starting from Spain it went to Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and even took a side trip to Cyprus.  Combined the two versions of the Walking Sister have visited one thousand six hundred and eighty two geocaches and have travelled 40,189.9 miles (64679.2 km).

So how are these two things connected?  Last week I received an update.  The Walking Sister's latest stop is in … Luxembourg.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Book: Becky Chambers' "The Galaxy, And The Ground Within"

My next book was the fourth in a loosely tied together series set in the same universe.  Each of the four books can be read stand alone.

Becky Chambers' "The Galaxy, and the Ground Within" is an odd book.  It is the story of a group of people from various races stuck together and having to interact.  This book feels more like universe development.  There is only a small amount to conflict and action.

I found the book interesting because I'm interested in different social structures and how members of each would interact with each other but it probably not everyone's cup of tea.  I have to admit that a little more conflict and jeopardy would have been welcome.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  It kept me interested but it may not be for everyone. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Happy Birthday To The Wife!!!

I want to wish the Wife, the love of my life and my most wonderful travel companion, an awesome birthday.  I can't wait to see where we will travel once we have the freedom to just 'go that way.'