Book Report: The Big Oyster

It's kind of a history of the oyster. It's kind of a history of shellfishing in New York City harbor. Once there were oysters. Then they were overfished. Then they were cultivated. Then water pollution came along, turning the oysters into disease vectors. It was OK. The book, I mean. The book was OK. The disease vectors were less than OK.

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Link: Plain ol' Tasha

Tasha draws a comic. It's pretty good. She was inspired by Jim's Journal, and that inspiration shows.

You might think I'd link to a good comic to recommend it. But I never got around to it.

Yesterday, I bought toenail clippers. I suddenly recognized that Tasha and I shop at the same drugstore.

So I linked to that.

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Book Report: Station

This comic book is a murder mystery set on the International Space Station. It was OK. Maybe if I were more of a space-nerd, I would have liked how the story brought in well-researched bits of ISS lore. As it is, I just treated most of that stuff like technobabble and concentrated on the mystery--which was workable, I guess. As it was... this comic was OK.

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Book Report: The Ipcress File

I came up with an idea for a board-game like computer game. The board was going to be a map of the city. And there were these bits of secret info to move across the city. You control some agents that can move info. Or they could recruit ordinary citizens to move the info instead. Folks could pick up info from "drops" and carry them to other "drops". It as interesting to think about how to generate a fake city map, how to choose where to put the drops, how to figure out some "routes" for citizens... But it was shaping up to be a game with as many chores as any Real-Time Strategy game, but without the cool explosions. That's the problem with a quiet spycraft game. Not enough explosions.

Oh, right, my point. Spies. The Ipcress File. It's a spy story. It's a fine spy story. It's nice enough. It was kind of tough to get ahold of--my usual libraries had lost track of their copies. I ended up getting it from Link+. Which seems a little silly since I didn't like the book that much. How did this end up on my reading list?

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Book Report: Cosmonaut Keep

There's a parallel story; humanity's learning the secret of a light-speed interstellar starship drive; humanity's rediscovery of same, hundreds of years later. There is politics, humor, ... I dunno, this book had a lot going for it, but I never got into it.

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Puzzlehunts are Everywhere: At least one Burninator Reported as OK (albeit Tired)

Save the Burninators

It looks like they're OK. Tell the rescue party to stand down.

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Site: Seattle Travelog #13

The exciting news lately is that I've had free time and I've been keeping solid food down. Thus, I've finally put together travel notes from my recent Seattle trip. There are some notes from MS Puzzlehunt 11.0 in there. Plus some photos of the Pier 86 High-speed Grain Terminal. Plus bonus Buffy Night. It's not so coherent. Hey, give me a break, I've been sick.

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Book Report: The Undercover Economist

It's another book explaining economics to the masses. Why did I start reading this? I should have known better. I've read too many popular-economics books lately. I stopped reading this one partway through.

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Book Report: Houdini the Handcuff King

I was going to start this off with a cute paragraph about how I'm "handcuffed" to Debian Sarge (an old version of the OS) on my main home computer because I only have dialup access, my dialup provider hangs up if I try to stay on for five hours, and it's going to take nine hours to download some Perl package... but that's not an interesting anecdote.

All right, so what is Houdini the Handcuff King? It is a nice little comic full of life lessons about public relations. And the importance of working with people you trust. I'd let a juvenile read it for the educational value. Imagine: before we had cable television, people would wait around for an hour to watch a guy in handcuffs jump into a river and swim back up to the surface.

Of course, since I only have dialup access, it would probably take me four hours to download a 30 second YouTube video of some handcuffed weirdo jumping into a river.

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Book Report: Disgrace

This past weekend I spent plenty of time in the company of BATH folks doing secret things. Normally I'd be bouncing up and down and eager to tell you about what happened, but... Actually, even if I wasn't sworn to secrecy, I wouldn't be bouncing up and down right now. By Sunday, I was running a sleep deficit. Let's hope that made me a better puzzle playtester, simulating "the stupid hours". Now it's Monday and I'm still behind on sleep. Nothing makes sense, I stumble around, I stare slack-jawed at the world, I mumble incoherently, I make no sense, I can not write.

Good thing I have an old pre-written book report about the novel Disgrace:

This novel by J.M. Coetzee is set in South Africa. It has symbolisms aplenty. If you read this book and you knew someone else who read this book, then you could have a conversation about the thin veneer of Western Civilization. You could talk about the use of various things as metaphors for a state of grace. You could... oh good grief, I certainly hope that you could find better things to talk about.

Whatever. I'm going to bed.

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even Oklahoma

Oklahoma has it going on. I'm not just talking about Martin Gardner.

A Treasure's Trove: A Fairy Tale About Real Treasure For Parents And Children Of All Ages is an illustrated children's book written by Michael Stadther and published in 2004. The "real treasure" was found by deciphering clues in the book that lead to twelve tokens that could be turned in for unique jewels, each representing an insect or character in the book. ...The finders and locations are:

  • ...The sixth, the Firefly token, was found in Foss State Park in Oklahoma by Jason Davis of Berkeley, California
  • ...The thirteenth, Pook (a doth), was found in Newaygo State Park, Michigan, by Terri Gulasy of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Tammy Nunnally of St. Mary's, Ohio
--Wikipedia: A Treasure's Trove

This Terri Gulasy lady sounds pretty hardcore:

A couple of months later, Gulasy and her family traveled to Pennsylvania in their motor home for a summer getaway. The proximity of Pennsylvania to Michigan enticed Gulasy to drive to the state park in a last-hope effort to find the token she and Nunnally had desperately been trying to locate.

As their motor home pulled into a Newaygo State Park campsite, their tires dug trenches in the wet ground. The Gulasy family began searching the campsite, hoping to find the token. It wasn’t until they returned to their motor home that they spotted a glimmer of gold peeking out from the tracks their tires had dug!

"It seems as though it was fated for us to find Pook. Who knows how long it was buried beneath the mud’s surface," said Gulasy, a software engineer. "We were meant to find the token. It’s simply mind-blowing!"

--"Pook Pokes Into Families' Lives"

According to this article, Ms Gulasy collaborated with someone she found on the internet. They promised to split the reward--and they did. With a sense of fair play like that, it sounds like she ought to do more puzzle hunts.

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Book Review: Copies in Seconds

It's a history of the invention of Xerography. Eh, it was okay.

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Book Report: A Walk In the Woods

Bill Bryson confirms that hiking is difficult. This book was OK.

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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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Book Report: The Legend of Grimjack, Volume One

I have been hearing about this comic book for years. It, along with "Sam & Max", were the great comics which I'd never be able to read because their rights were tangled up in legal limbo.

One volume in to the recently reprinted Grimjack, I am liking it fine. It is a good comic. It is not changing my life the way that "Sam & Max" did, but what could? Ostrander the writer says that he set out to write a hard-boiled barbarian book. He succeeded.

This book does not seem that great. I am not yet sure why people were still talking about it years later. Then again, this is just volume one of the collection. The first dozen issues of Cerebus were nothing special, and they were about a hard-bitten barbarian. But that grew into "High Society", so I guess there is hope for the future of this reprint of Grimjack.


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Book Report: A Rabbit in the Air

David Garnett wrote this book, A Rabbit in the Air, about his experience learning to fly. This book was published in 1932. He calls airfields "aerodromes". He provides cockpit drawings. He provides some description of what it feels like to fly. He mentions a remedy for short-necked pilots.

This book was OK.


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