Before we get to the long list of books I read this year, let's do the numbers.
- Blog Posts: 328 in 2008, 322 in 2009, 210 in 2010. I was surprised to see this. I didn't feel like I'd dropped my overall posting rate, but there it is. It makes no sense. Sometimes I'm off traveling, but where is the babbling when I'm sitting in my office in Nevada City and staring out at the trees? Forecast: It looks like I'm heading back to 2007 numbers, assuming I decide not to count the new Frankenstein project in next year's numbers. (I didn't count the two posts for this year.)
- Book Tale posts: 12 in 2008, 11 in 2009, 3 in 2010. That is not an unexpected drop-off. The imaginary irritants that used to spring up in my mind after reading books have not easily survived the move to California. I'd worry about my creative health, but enough other projects have sprung up to take their place. Forecast: I hope they're just being slow to arrive. I'll bake a cake when they do.
- Wee Toaty Explorers: 0 in 2008, 16 in 2009, 27 in 2010. This jump is consistent with the travel increase (to varying locations) that my job has brought. Forecast: I'm starting to see an increase in return visits (which don't seem to generate new wee toaty explorers as often) and an increase in stay-at-home hacking, so I expect to see a slight decline in 2011.
- Biking: There was a lot of whining about hills and stuff, as was to be expected, but I didn't blog about biking as much as I actually biked. My distances are down to the 5-10 mile range, which fall I fully blame on the terrain. I suddenly stopped biking in the last quarter, and I have no idea why. I'm fully expecting to get back in the saddle as the new year dawns. (Last January had some nice biking days, so surely there'll be one or two in 2011.) Here is a combined map of the biking I did (limited to trips that didn't involve putting the bike on the back of a car or renting a bike in Boulder), and a zoom in for no apparent reason.
The challenge from New Scientist:
Send us your very short stories about futures that never were. Tell us where we'd be today if the ether had turned out to exist after all, or if light really was made up of corpuscles emitted by the eyes. You don't have to be scientifically accurate, but the more convincing your story, the more likely it is to win!The limit was 350 words, which is rather tight. I pushed my submission along, but it didn't get selected, so I provide it here for your review:
“I simply refused to wear her damn hat.” Andrew put his end of the bag on the ground and leaned upon his shovel.
“Whoo-ee,” George whistled. “Already dictatin’ what you can wear.”
“It wasn’t simply a matter of sartorial preference on my part.” He mopped his brow and took a sip from his flask.
“No, ‘course not.” George squinted at him uncertainly.
“It means ‘fashion sense.’” He handed George the flask.
“Right, yeah.” They stooped to pick up the bag and continued walking. George kept silent for nearly sixty seconds. “It’s just…well, you liked her and all, right?”
“I will miss her dearly.”
“So, what’s the big deal? Put on the hat; make her happy. She Googled you, right? She still went out with you. The stupid hat couldn’t beat that.”
They walked on in silence. George stumbled forward when Andrew stopped without warning. The bag tumbled to the ground.
“The ‘big deal’, my friend, is that I have a bump here,” he tapped his forehead with the blade of the shovel, “and a valley here.” He tapped the side of his head. “Do you know what the hat will tell her about that?”
George backed up a step at the growl in Andrew’s voice. “That…that it doesn’t fit right?”
“Clever. No. It will tell her that I have ‘irresistable impulses’ and ‘a need for attention and adoration.’”
“Don’t we all?”
Andrew sighed. “She will take that to mean that I am a serial killer.”
“And so you dumped her because of that?”
“I did not ‘dump’ her, my friend.”
“Good! Then you can get her back.”
“I cannot get her back.” Andrew turned and they walked on.
“Why? Surely you can just explain that you’ve never killed anyone and don’t plan to. She’ll believe you; I know she will.”
Andrew stopped and slowly turned to stare at his friend. “What, pray tell, do you think it is we’ve been carrying in this bag to bury secretly in the woods?”
George wrinkled his brow and looked from the bag to his friend. He looked down again.
"You might want to stay away from the hat, yourself."
Well, finally saw the Hallmark movie called Christmas Card. It was filmed in, and takes place in, Nevada City. I enjoyed seeing the town in a movie and watching our favorite librarian chumming it up with Uncle Richard, but I had one huge problem with the movie:
Where do they sell the magic phones where you can get that great cell reception all over the place?
At Sacramento Airport: Do I take the free internet access from Bing or do I take the free internet access from Microsoft Office? Oh, the world is awash with choices!
Do any of my legions of followers know where I can get a 2010 calendar?
So, do you remember that I finally made a decision about which book to do the Moby Dick thing on? Well, I set up a new blog to track the paintings on, separate from this one. If you want to follow along as I make a little painting for each page of Frankenstein, you'll have to jump over and follow Every Page a Painting.
It'll be interesting to see how a more focused blog (let's face it, this one is all over the place) does at viewership.
At any rate, there's some explanatory material up there now, but the paintings will start appearing on 1 January. I'll probably start with releasing every couple of days. We'll have to see how it goes, partly because I can't predict a travel schedule and partly because I need the paint to dry before I scan it.
I wanted to get a head start since the holidays force a bit of family traveling, so I've gotten a few done. I tape them up on the wall to stretch and dry them. (They're mostly only 9x12, so they don't take up much space, yet.) It occurs to me that if I added a little bit of string, my office would look like that of one of those fictional conspiracy theorists that shoes up on TV or in the movies from time to time.
Here's a sneak peek:
OK, so this is post #1601, apparently. Gracious.
I started a new iTunes playlist that I'm calling "Ridiculously Chipper." These are songs that make me grin right at the first few bars. Songs that push out a smile and force my feet to fandango.
Here's what I have so far. Do you have any suggested additions?
New Shoes, Paolo Nutini
This one is my newest purchase. That sure looks like Glasgow in the background. (This was also featured in some movie we saw this fall, but I've already forgotten which movie.)
Code Monkey, Jonathan Coulton
There are about 2.5 gazillion fan videos for this song (including one I showed you two years ago). Since I'm on a six-week gig of straight coding, as opposed to the traveling coaching I sometimes do, this song is pretty much on constant loop right now.
The Christians and The Pagans, Dar Williams
There doesn't seem to be an official video for this one. This bit of fire is an interesting approach, I guess. Only pumpkin pies are burning...
Mrs. Robinson, Pomplamoose
It's this duo's cover that makes me grin. And I think, really, it's the video that makes me smile as much or more than the song.
Birdhouse in My Soul & New York City, They Might Be Giants
Can't have a ridiculously chipper mix without They Might Be Giants. NYC is my ringtone, so it also makes me smile because I think someone might be calling!
500 Miles & Then I Met You, The Proclaimers
I would walk...to Morningside?
Turn Out the Lights (And Go to Bed), Lowen and Navarro
Can't find a video for that one.
Without Love, Tonio K.
And finally, something that's also in my science fiction/fantasy playlist.
Make suggestions to expand the playlist in the comments. It occurs to me that many of these chipper songs are chipper in sound, but somber in content.