Book Report: First in Space

I am back from the No More Secrets Game, which was pretty excellent. I think it was excellent. My memories are pretty hazy. Since coming back, I've sent one piece of email and left one voice mail message with the contents "Sometime between Saturday and Monday I made a note that I should [email|call] you, but I can no longer remember why. Why am I contacting you? I bet it's pretty important." It turns out that being 29% of a 3.5-person team is pretty busy; it's not so conducive to note-taking and insightful reflection. I got pretty frazzled.

Speaking of doing fun things in spite of a lack of cleverness [cue segue], the graphic novel "First in Space" was fun.

Reading the Right Stuff, you see that airplane test pilots mocked early human astronauts "a monkey made the first flight." But this monkey was pretty impressive. Or, rather, Ham the Chimp was pretty impressive. This comic book, First in Space, is Ham's story. Hold your breath as Ham endures difficult tests! Wince when you find out that Ham's official name was "Chop Chop Chang"! Thrill to the glory of space flight! Wipe a tear from your eye as you contemplate the deeds of this brave ape.

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Book Report: The Tapir's Morning Bath

This book, by Elizabeth Royte, is about a cluster of scientists at a research station on an island in the middle of Gatun Lake, an area flooded during the creation of the Panama Canal. The scientists study animals and plants. Royte wrote about them, volunteering her services as an unpaid research assistant. The book was interesting, though I suspect that these scientists are not much fun at parties. Royte stayed with them for a year, on and off, and manages to pull out some great anecdotes from her time there. Bert kept mostly to himself but followed the gossip. Chrissy chases spider monkeys and collects their poop so that she can measure hormone levels. Bret (not to be confused with Bert) observed bats and decided that we can grow old or dodge cancer, but not both.

I don't try to figure out my annual "fave reads" anymore. And it's only march. But I bet that if I tried to figure out my fave reads for 2007, this book would be on it.

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Link: BillMonk, Billing for the People

I was just checking out BillMonk, a web site that allows people to keep track of the money they owe each other. You and five friends go out for lunch and you need to deal with the bill? Let one guy pay and enter the amount in the BillMonk. Next time, someone else can get lunch, and tell the BillMonk. The BillMonk will keep track of who paid what. So if you paid when people went to the expensive place, and Pat paid when people went to the cheap place, Pat still owes you a bit. Use it to keep track of which roommate owes rent, to handle one-on-one transactions, whatever.

The bad news is that BillMonk is a service of the company "Code Monks", and one of the founders of "Code Monks" is Chuck Groom, and I still owe that guy three bucks for coffee back from when we worked together at Blue Mug.

So I guess I'll sign up for the service. But in this BillMonk transaction, I think Chuck is the monk, but I am the monkee.

(via DLoft)

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