Rest in peace, Grandpa Al. I miss you.

Book Report: Road Fever

What does it take to drive from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay in less than a month? Will, determination, and paperwork. A big stack of paperwork. Folders and folders of paperwork. Visits to consuls. Border crossings. Bribing customs agents.

Driving from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay is not the story I expected it to be. Author Tim Cahill and adventure driver Garry Sowerby described themselves as documenteros, and they spend a lot of time in South America shuffling documents.

The result is a surprisingly good book. Thanks to Tom Lester for pointing me at it during our January road trip.

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Book Report: Something From the Oven

Laura Shapiro wrote this awesome book about home cooking in 1950s USA. There are many interesting stories here. There is the tragic tale of Poppy Cannon who tried to convince the world that canned tomato soup was a good start towards a gazpacho--but the really tragic part was her personal life. There is the emergent persona of Betty Crocker, including Marjorie Child Husted, one of the main components of that persona. There are failed food industry campaigns--after the success of fish sticks, they tried to sell fried breaded everything.

There are many good stories in this book. You should read it. Ideally with the song "Betty Crocker, Punk Rocker" playing in the background. But if you can't swing that, don't let it stop you from reading this.

Also thanks to this book, I know I should check out some food writing by M.F.K. Fisher.

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Link: Joel on Hungarian Notation

Just when I thought I was going to have to read the papers myself, Joel Spolsky wrote a readable paper about the non-braindead version of the software engineering technique Hungarian Notation. Is the technique worth using? I used to think "Hell no!", but I'm backsliding to "I guess not."

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Book Report: Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man

This comic book by John Porcellino was informative and thought-provoking. The mosquito abatement men walk through nature, learning its beauty. And they slaughter millions of insects along the way. John met interesting people and insects.

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Book Report: Epitaph in Rust

This is an old novella by Tim Powers. I liked it. It recently showed up in a two-novella conglomeration with The Skies Discrowned. I'd already read that novella, and hadn't liked it. So it was a gamble to pick up this conglomeration. But I'm glad I did.

Anyhow, Epitaph in Rust is a fun swashbuckly noirish post-apocalypse political thriller. Reading this, I heard echoes of Dinner at Deviant's Palace, but I suppose that really Dinner... contained echoes of this earlier work. It's a fun bit of fluff.


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