Sunday, December 07, 2008

My day

I went hiking today, sort of. I spent four hours hiking the dikes at the SF Bay wildlife refuge, trying out my new camera and GPS. Oh yeah, the GPS. Delorme PN-40 GPS, which allows downloading color (or black-and-white) aerial photos plus 1:24000 scale USGS topo maps and layering them on the display. It's like having Google Earth in your palm. Works damned brilliant. This is basically their PN-20 grown up, with better speed and more reliable hardware and software. Their PN-20 was brilliant but the technology didn't exist back then to do it right. The PN-40 solves that problem and worked brilliantly for hiking those dikes, which don't show up on any maps but show up just fine on the color aerial photography.

Hmm.... oh yeah, the photographs... I took lots of photos of aquatic waterfowl. But this photo of a groundhog (?) is one of the most interesting I took because of the clarity of the photo and the interesting colors. Shows what the new camera is capable of doing...


After that, I ordered a pizza, and re-read Carol O'Connell's novel Crime School. Just as brilliant the second time around. I'm a sucker for O'Connell's New York Gothic and her sociopathic detective with the blond hair and bright green eyes, and can admire O'Connell's techniques too when I'm not cribbing them, e.g. the way she never tells all of the story and always leaves something hanging to drive you mad and make you want to buy the next novel in the series. Real life is like that, full of mysteries you never know the answers to. The Mallory novels are not "real life" by any means -- maybe Kathy really could fly (the swingset video and the exploding video seem to point that way, as unlikely as it seems to all the characters in the story) -- but O'Connell pulls it off anyhow. And now you know who I crib from for trying to make my own unlikely heroines work, heh.

-- Badtux the Nature Penguin


  1. You might enjoy the "Judge Di (Dee) mysteries set in ancient China...

  2. Um, BT, that is a squirrel.

    A groundhog looks much different and is much bigger.

  3. Groundhog, squirrel, all I know is a) it's a rodent, and b) it's good eatin'.

    - Badtux the Culinary Penguin

  4. Can I make a reading suggetion as well? "The Lottery". I'm not exactly sure who it's by, but its very good; the story haunts you and it doesn't give hardly any answers. Most of the plot is up to the imagination. You could probably google it, its just a short story, no where near a novel. Dont underestimate it though. It haunts you long after you finnish. At least it did me.

  5. Uhm, Anira, your answers are: a) it's by Shirley Jackson (check out The Haunting Of Hill House if you want one of Ms. Jackson's novels that'll chill you more than all the gore-fests that count as "horror" today), b) it's about a harvest festival, and about toxic and deadly traditions (such as the U.S. healthcare "system") that continue on for generation after generation because, well, just because that's how it's always been done, and c) I read it many years ago and feel no compunction to read it again because after you've read it three or four times you've become so cynical about humanity that you declare yourself a penguin and be done with humanity forever.

    - Badtux the Literary Penguin


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