With some of the money I inherited from my dad, last year, I bought an 11–16mm f/2.8 lens for my camera. In plain English, it’s a nice fast lens with a nice wide field of view, which means that it’s great for astrophotography.
Tonight, the stars aligned for me, as it were. There was almost a 50/50 chance of some aurora sightings, per SpaceWeather. The temperature was a balmy ‑1°C, which was a pleasant change from the ‑25°C and ‑35°C nights we’ve had for the last couple weeks.
Long story short, there was a faint haze to the north. Editing with Gimp brings out quite a bit more than the naked eye could see.
As my camera clicked away, I leaned back against the car. At one point I thought of Kurt Vonnegut’s quote: If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
I just got notice that the book I requested via Inter-Library Loan—The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories and Other Stories—has arrived at the desk. By coffee time I’ll have it in my hands, and by evening I’ll be reading some Gene Wolfe short stories.
I’m probably more excited about this than I should be, but then I’m a late-in-life Wolfe convert, and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
Wolfe is the one that once tore to shreds a pretty common writing trope—calling something indescribable when it isn’t really—and then, I like to think, poked fun at his own advice a few years later in a different novel. I’ve seen him described more than once as the writer’s writer, and I look forward to reading some of his short works.
Happy Hollow Bean, y’all.
…“And what is the purpose of this celebration?”
“To collect the all-important food.”
Read the rest
Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s “Time Traveler” feature, I now know that the following words’ and phrases’ first recorded use happened the year I was born:
And dozens of others, too. How about you?
(Maybe later I’ll indulge in a caipirinha.)
I recently finished my re-read of Gene Wolfe’s Fifth Head of Cerberus. Feeling pretty smug, thinking I’d caught a lot more than I’d picked up on first reading it, I Googled
fifth head of cerberus analysis, which led me to a passel of articles on Ultan’s Library, including Proving Veil’s Hypothesis [warning: many, many spoilers] . And… wow.
I had no idea.
I still have no idea.
But I’m glad there’s at least one writer out there as subtle, as sneaky, as sly, as Gene Wolfe.
2 alternate takes (and more, so much more!) on my Flickr account.
Sometimes it’s absolutely worth it to stay up past your bedtime.
With my birthday money, I bought myself a new lens—a Tokina 11–16mm f/2.8.
It works pretty well. I can’t wait for a darker night; I’m looking forward to trying to get some galaxy photos.
A couple years ago, I had an epiphany while reading Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun, when the narrator Severian pointed out that
It is always a temptation to say that such feelings are indescribable, though they seldom are.
Today, though… Today I was finishing Wolfe’s superb 1988 novel There Are Doors, and I happened upon this on page 294:
Which is it, Mr. Wolfe? Which is it?
I must admit, though, it’s nice that, immediately after he calls the sound indescribable, he proceeds to describe it with delightful economy. Wolfe may be fond of unreliable narrators, but his prose is reliably amazing.
Just finished registering my new toaster oven (or “mini oven” as the company would have it). On the last screen, where I’m encouraged to set a password for my new account (one more I’ll probably never sign into again), I was asked two questions:
- Do you want to receive occasional emails from the company about products and services? (No. As usual.)
- Do you own a Nespresso™ machine?
Curious as to why they’d be interested in my situation vis-à-vis Nespresso™, I did a quick Google search for
[company name] nespresso. Turns out that the company makes compatible landfill-choking pods for the Nespresso™ machine.
Live and learn.