Tag Archives: books

Camping in the Rain

The weekend was certainly interesting. Friday evening, we met the Wiitalas (Matt, Shiela and Drew) and Winklers (Steven, Velta, Mara and Peter) at the Maumee Bay State Park. Laura and I arrived just as the Winklers were finishing dinner (steak and baked potatoes) preparations. We had two campsites, one for the two tents (ours and the Wiitalas’) and the other for the dining fly and the Winklers’ pop-up camper. Almost every other site in the immediate vicinity was occupied by kiters, who had descended upon the park for their annual (?) gathering. There were windsocks, windmills, banners and (of course) kites everywhere.

Unfortunately for everyone, it rained most of the day on Saturday. We had just gotten the dining fly erected a little before 8:00 Saturday morning when the first rain came in, and the weather just went downhill from there. We spent much of the day clustered under the dining fly, the screened walls of which didn’t offer the best protection from the rain unless you were standing in the very center of the fly (which was occupied by a picnic table). The next dining fly we get will be a bit bigger, I think, and have retractable tarpaulin walls.

Breakfast Saturday morning was bacon and eggs, cooked in the rain. We spent the remainder of the morning running in and out of the dining fly, as it would rain one minute and be bright and sunny the next. I managed to get a good bit of American Gods read before the sun gave up entirely. As afternoon approached, we determined that a trip to the nearby Wal-Mart was in order. The rain was coupled with stifling heat Friday evening and much of Saturday, so the dry, cool shelter offered by Wal-Mart was very attractive. When we returned to the campground, Laura declared that it was lunchtime (so much of camping seems to revolve around the meals).

At one point after lunch on Saturday it was pouring so hard that everyone abandoned the dining fly and sequestered themselves away in tents, campers and vehicles. Laura and I sat in the MVoD listening to the first disc of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which we’d picked up from Wal-Mart (along with ice, chips, charcoal and other supplies). After about an hour, we returned to the dining area and began preparations for dinner. In spite of the rain, it was decided that we’d cook dinner in the fire ring.

Laura was determined to have s’mores for dessert, so Matt and I held our umbrellas over the fire and roasted marshmallows in the pouring rain, both getting thoroughly drenched in the process. The sight of two grown men huddled over a smoking fire roasting marshamallows in a downpour was undoubtedly very amusing. Unfortunately, our digital camera was sitting back home on an end table, so the moment wasn’t captured for prosperity.

The rain had moved east by Sunday morning, so Laura didn’t get any extra water in her pancake batter. After breakfast, we packed up our gear and headed home. We were all on the road by 10:30, and Laura and I arrived home a bit before 1:00.

I spent much of the day ripping the 17 Harry Potter CDs to Apple’s proprietary AAC format, renaming all of the tracks to a common format (“Chapter 01, The Other Minister-A”, “Chapter 01, The Other Minister-B” and so on) and then changing the file extensions (from .m4a to .m4b) so they’d all be bookmarkable in iTunes and on my iPod. While I ran between Laura’s computer and mine (her DVD-ROM drive is better for ripping the discs, while the music collection resides on my computer), Laura listened to the CDs in the living room. I had all of the discs ripped and organized by late evening. Laura finished listening to the book at about 6:00pm yesterday, while I finished at about 3:15am today.

Hearing the Dark Tower

Dark Tower V: Wolves of the CallaThe Dark Tower V – Wolves of the Calla
Stephen King
Read by George Guidall
ISBN: 0743533526

I own multiple versions of the first four installments of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, including Books I – III in softcover, Book IV in hardcover, Books I – III on CD, and Book IV on (gasp!) cassette. I’ve been slowly acquiring this series on CD over the past year, usually finding each installment for about $20 at Half Price Books.
Continue reading Hearing the Dark Tower

Multi-Media

After dinner at Max & Erma’s last night, Laura and I did a little shopping at the Barnes & Noble where she used to work. We picked up On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt, Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop and Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters by Dick Staub, which Laura presented to me and said she wanted “just because of the title”.

I searched for but was unable to find the CD Discozone by The O Zone. Their ridiculously catchy tune, Dragostea Din Tei (AKA Mi Ya Hi), has been in my head all week thanks to that blasted Numa Numa Dance. I’ve listened to snippets of the other tracks on the disc, and I liked what I heard, so I’m looking to buy it (else I’d just download the one song from iTunes). Better luck next time, I guess.

Later, we watched What the Bleep Do We Know?, which isn’t exactly an easy movie to describe. If I had to summarize its content I would do so thusly: Science meets spirituality meets mysticism and they discuss the nature of God, the human experience and mind over matter on a quantum level.

Robbing the Bees

I made a rare trip to Burger King for lunch this morning in search of the elusive Double Whopper with cheese. The Diane Rehm Show was on NPR and Diane’s guest was author and amateur beekeeper, Holley Bishop. Ms. Bishop wrote the book Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey–The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World (ISBN: 0743250214). She also sounds an awful lot like Gwyneth Paltrow (at least to my untrained ear).

My father tried his hand at beekeeping some years back, and I came across the remnants of the trade/hobby a few times during my childhood. In a second floor section of the barn not used to store hay bales one might have found a smoker (a smoke-belching, coffee pot–like contraption used to keep the bees docile), the wooden hive framework and various other accoutrements of the beekeeper. Apart from these things, however, I don’t know much about the process or about my father’s experience with it. I’m sure he’s made occasional mention of it in conversation over the years, but I have an extremely selective memory and the chances that I was paying any real attention are quite slim.

I think I’d like Holley Bishop’s book to be on The Bookshelf, for a couple of reasons. First, because the few minutes of conversation I heard between the author and the radio host were far more fascinating than I would have suspected such a topic could be. Second, because it’ll give me an excuse to talk to my father about something he was interested in as a younger man. An excuse I probably shouldn’t need, but which might be good to have in any case.

The Naughties: Now Starting Their Fifth Fabulous Year!

Potpourri
New Years Eve dinner was at a fondue restaurant called Potpourri. Everything was quite yummy, and we all smelled like we’d been deep-fried when we left. Laura polished off most of a bottle of Chloe Sevigny Cabernet Sauvignon by herself, and was a wee bit on the tipsy side. Her condition was upgraded to Downright Drunk after we got home and she drank a strawberry daiquiri. There was a bit of channel surfing and we wound up watching part of an episode of South Park before switching to the ball drop. Afterward, I was very tired, and there was a lot of talking going on, so I didn’t really absorb much of Jabberwocky. I’ll have to watch it sometime this week.

Buried Blueprints: Camelot
It’s a puzzle I’ve had for probably six years, and quite possibly even longer. My every attempt to assemble this puzzle has been thwarted in some way until very early Sunday morning. Taking advantage of my new roll-up puzzle caddy, Laura and I began assembling the puzzle on Saturday afternoon. When it came time to leave for the movie, we rolled the thing up so the cats couldn’t get into it. After the movie and dinner, we came back home and finished assembling the thing. It took rather a long time, and we didn’t get to bed until nearly 5:00am. Methinks I’ll swing by the Great Lakes Mall to see if the puzzle place is still there. I need puzzle glue and a new puzzle.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
I own and have read the first two books (The Bad Beginning and The Reptile Room) upon which the movie is based. I have yet to pick up the third (The Wide Window), but will likely do so very soon. The books are incredibly, horrifically funny. The movie adaptation is a reasonable effort, but doesn’t quite capture the feel of the books. It’s not a problem with the cast (good performances all around) or visuals (very pretty), but rather with the script and editing. Overall, the movie tripped over itself in the process of cramming three (admittedly short) stories into 108 minutes. On more than one occasion, characters casually mentioned some name or event in such a manner that it seemed the audience ought to have heard about it before.

1,023 Songs
I’m using roughly 20% of the capacity of my iPod. I’d guess that roughly one-fifth of that is Christmas music. I’m thinking about deleting all of the holiday tunes, though. Not because I’m worried about disk space, but because I don’t want “O Tannenbaum” coming up when I use the Shuffle Songs mode in July. I have more than enough music at home to fill up the iPod, but my computer time is torn between ripping CDs and playing City of Heroes.

Every (Work)Day
“If I check your [blog] every day, I’m going to expect you to write in it every day.” That’s what Laura said. So, I’m going to try to update once a day, Monday through Friday, whether I have anything to say or not (call it a New Years Resolution, if you must). And, honestly, not having anything to say has never stopped me from posting before.