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Phil's Rambling Rants

June 28th, 2008

June 28th, 2008
11:01 am


True progress
For somewhere around 20 years, all of my pants have been waist size 40.

Today I'm wearing the brand new size 38 shorts I bought last night.

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07:15 pm


Out and Back
I tried hiking the Out and Back trail at Kickapoo.  I've been wanting to explore this area since last summer, but the signs for it warn that it's 7.5 miles and rugged, and I wanted to be sure that I had a day with decent weather and that I was in shape enough to be up to the challenge.  It turns out that I shouldn't have worried; the only thing that was challenging, at least where I got, was figuring out where the trail I was supposed to be following went.  In addition to the hiking trail, there are mountain bike trails and horse trails, and they cross each other as they wind through the area, and I lost the blazed hiking trail about 2.5 miles in and wandered on the trails I could find.  For as long as I was on it, the Out and Back trail was more level and easier walking than any of the other trails at Kickapoo, to say nothing of the Lake Mingo trail at Kennekuk.  Perhaps it suddenly got genuinely rugged around the next curve after I got confused and strayed -- but it seems unlikely.

Still, it was a very pleasant walk; there was an overlook over one of the former strip mine ponds that was so pretty that I ate my lunch there and then stayed another hour and read a book.  I'll definitely visit the area again, and probably intentionally follow the route that I took by accident today, minus a couple of places where I started down a path and then came back when I decided it was the wrong one.

I had the camera and macro lens.  There were many dragonflies, and I believe I got some good pictures of them, and of various other flowers and bugs.  There was a box tortoise on the path when I had about one mile to go, and I took a bunch of closeups.  Maybe I'll even start the process of getting the photos onto the computer, looking through them, and perhaps even posting some.  Unfortunately, I need to make dinner now and I need to be in bed in a couple of hours, so pictures tonight are about as likely as flying pigs.

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08:39 pm


Book review: Hunter's Run
Today's book review is Hunter's Run by George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham.

This is a weird novel.  It has one major MacGuffin which requires extra suspension of disbelief, because it's one of the most annoying scientific blunders in popular sci-fi, covered over with some quasi-magic mumbo jumbo.  It's absolutely central to the plot, but a little hard to swallow.  However, the mumbo jumbo is handled well enough that I was able to get past it and follow the story.  Really, the hardest thing about enjoying the story is that the central character is a nasty sort of person, and a lot of the story takes place inside his mind, which (although it's handled fairly well) isn't a very pleasant place.  There is definite character development, but the characters are hard enough to identify with that I found it hard to really care, even as our hero clearly comes out a different and better person than he went in.  There's a rip-roaring adventure story woven through the psychological stuff, which is pretty good, and there's some interesting societal speculation.  I was definitely not bored; it's an intriguing book, but I only partially liked it.  7 out of 10.

One note: this book is full of Spanish profanity, or at least a lot of words that I assume from context are not usable in polite company.

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09:25 pm


AKICILJ: Ambervue Sunglasses
I need new sunglasses; the frames on the ones I mostly wear are falling apart beyond the limits of my kludging together with superglue and bits of paper clips.  I don't want to pay a lot of money, because when I was younger, the mean lifetime for a pair of sunglasses was a couple of weeks before I either sat on them or lost them, and although I haven't had this problem lately, I'm sure it would come back right away as soon as I bought an expensive pair.  I've been quite happy with my "as seen on TV" Ambervue glasses, but I have not seen them available for sale in a bricks-and-mortar store for years.

Googling on "ambervue sunglasses" found 3,570 hits.  There are plenty of on-line shops I can order from.  But none that I've heard of.  If anyone I know happened to look at those Google results and say "hey, I've bought stuff from site X that's selling them and they gave me good service", I'd be happier than just trying a place at random.  If anyone can find a good quantity discount, I'd be happy to buy several pairs in the hopes of not having this problem again for a long time, and I'll owe you a beer.

In a related question, I had my eyes checked a few weeks ago, and they said that I actually could benefit a wee bit from corrective lenses.  (I've never worn glasses, and I can function just fine without them.)  It occurs to me that I might be able to kill two birds with one stone if I actually got corrective lenses that were also good sunglasses.  And I've heard that there are places on-line where you can get good prescription glasses for much less than they'd cost at the local optician -- maybe even down to a price a paranoid cheapskate would be willing to pay.  Any suggestions, or am I hoping for too much here?


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