Bike Ride

It’s a long week­end Mon­day here in Cana­da, so I went for a nice long bike ride today. 23km and change, in a bit under two hours. There was quite a wind out of the east, so I’m hap­py with that time.

I had my cam­era with me, and so I snapped a cou­ple pho­tos: a goose land­ing in the riv­er, above, and a train under the 1st Street bridge, below.

Train under the 1st Street Bridge

I did­n’t get a pho­to of the fam­i­ly in the not-yet-open splash park on 1st Street south of Rich­mond (Kins­men Park, I think), mak­ing do with a water-gun fight.

Encyclopedia Brown

When I was a kid, I read a lot. I worked my way through the Hardy Boys mys­ter­ies, and even read a Nan­cy Drew book or two before I decid­ed those were more in line with my sis­ter’s sen­si­bil­i­ties.

One day I dis­cov­ered Ency­clo­pe­dia Brown in the local pub­lic library, in a book of ten short mys­ter­ies whose end­ings were hid­den at the back of the book, like a puz­zle book. I was hooked. I read all the EB books the library had, and—if I recall correctly—I also dis­cov­ered that inter­li­brary loan would bring me new tales.

As I aged, I dis­cov­ered that names like “Franklin W. Dixon” and “Car­olyn Keene”, authors of the Hardy Boys and the Nan­cy Drew mys­ter­ies, respec­tive­ly, were “house names”, false iden­ti­ties adopt­ed by writ­ers who would write one or two or ten nov­els in the series, then move on. I long assumed that Don­ald J. Sobol, the name on the spine of the Ency­clo­pe­dia Brown col­lec­tions, was also a house name.

I was wrong. Don­ald J. Sobol was a real per­son, a sin­gle, sin­gu­lar author, and this is his sto­ry.

A year without glasses

Eye (photo by Vanessa Bumbeers)

This time last year, I was still wear­ing hard plas­tic eye-shields to bed, thanks to my laser eye surgery. But my vision has been 20/16 since then, and the only glass­es I’ve had to wear are sun­glass­es and (to my wife’s ever­green amuse­ment) read­ing glass­es.

Thanks to Dr. Rocha and his entire crew for mak­ing my eyes bet­ter than they’ve been since, oh, grade 2 or so.

(That’s still not my eye­ball. Pho­to by Vanes­sa Bum­beers on Unsplash)

Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald

My first encounter with Gor­don Light­foot’s clas­sic song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzger­ald” was actu­al­ly read­ing the lyrics pub­lished as a poem in a high-school Eng­lish read­er. (I had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence with Simon and Gar­funkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, though I think I’d prob­a­bly heard that one on the radio, my dad being an afi­ciona­do of the ’60s sta­tion KY58.)

So for Throw­back Thurs­day, please, enjoy this tale of human woe and the sink­ing of a mas­sive freighter in a storm on (spoil­er alert!) Lake Supe­ri­or.

Head­er image from Wiki­me­dia Com­mons, CC-Attri­bu­tion-Share­alike, orig­i­nal­ly by Green­mars.

Green Things

Gene Cernan in the Lunar Rover

For the first time in my life­time, there are liv­ing things on the moon.

Con­sid­er: Apol­lo 17, the last crewed mis­sion to the moon, left the lunar sur­face in Decem­ber 1972. (I was born the next year.)

And now? Now, right now, in Jan­u­ary 2019, seeds have sprout­ed in a Chi­nese rover on the far side of the moon.

Head­er image: Gene Cer­nan in the Lunar Rover. Tak­en by NASA, and in the pub­lic domain.

William Gibson: Grand Master

William Gibson

It’s got a nice ring to it.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to William Gib­son, one of my favourite authors, on the announce­ment that he has been named the lat­est Damon Knight Grand Mas­ter by the Sci­ence Fic­tion Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca.

The Damon Knight Memo­r­i­al Grand Mas­ter Award rec­og­nizes “life­time achieve­ment in sci­ence fic­tion and/or fan­ta­sy.” Gib­son joins the Grand Mas­ter ranks along­side such leg­ends as C. J. Cher­ryh, Peter S. Bea­gle, Ursu­la K. Le Guin, Isaac Asi­mov, Ray Brad­bury, and Joe Halde­man. The award will be pre­sent­ed at the 54th Annu­al Neb­u­la Con­fer­ence and Awards Cer­e­mo­ny in Wood­land Hills, CA, May 16th-19th, 2019.

Via Tor.com, here’s the offi­cial announce­ment.

Head­er pho­to by Nik­ki Tysoe, used under a CC-BY license.

Bye, Flickr

tl;dr: "Buy a Pro account or we'll delete over 2,500 of your photos"

I’ve been a Flickr mem­ber since almost its incep­tion. I signed up some­time in 2004. I’ve been there through it all, and most­ly enjoyed my time.

But when the new own­ers (ie, Smug­Mug) tell me they’re going to start delet­ing my pho­tos if I don’t pony up for a Pro account, well, that’s it. I’m out.

Bad move, Smug­Mug.

(Aside to Mr. Pen­sato: I’ve been doing a bit more work on Blinky.)

PS: I’m in the process of mov­ing my pho­tos off Flickr and onto my own per­son­al site (ie, this one). So I’m not going to lose sleep over the whole “your pho­tos are get­ting delet­ed” thing. Let me know if you’re inter­est­ed in the sim­ple Word­Press plu­g­in I’ve built in order to pull my pho­tos.