The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge, Part One

Our local library (where I'm lucky enough to work part-time) is doing a program this year called The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge. The challenge is to read 50 books in 50 weeks and they have to fit into a list of 50 categories supplied by the library. I didn't think I'd do it because I don't read as much as I used to and I wasn't that interested in the category idea.
But I started keeping track of my books, found that I was reading more than I would have expected, and thought it would be good to support my friend and fellow librarian, Rasheil, who is running the program. She said I could be kind of creative with the categories, too. Plus, if you succeed at the 50 books in 50 weeks challenge, you get a sweatshirt! And Rasheil said I could get one that zips in the front. So I'm going for it, and at this moment in August of 2018, I've read 33 of the 50 books.
In this post, I'll write about five of the books I've read and the categories they fill (or t…

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

I thought it would be fun to read this series, since there is a British TV show based on it that looks interesting. But after reading the following, I'm done: Hildegard Staunton was paler than he remembered from her husband's funeral. Her short hair was blonde and curly; her eyes were large and green. Her eyebrows were pencil-thin and she wore no lipstick; as a result, her face looked as if her feelings had been washed away. So, it's only possible to read feelings on a woman's face if she's wearing lipstick? I had no idea! If the book had been written in the '50s or something, I probably could have overlooked this, but no, it was published in 2012. I may be overreacting, but there's a lot of good stuff to read and this time, I choose not to spend my time on something that implies that women absolutely must wear makeup or they can't get along in society.

More of Chad's photos of the eclipse, 21 August 2017

These are small, low-quality versions of the photos. If you're interested in high-quality files, you can contact Chad directly. His email is included in a link at the bottom of the post.Stepping to Totality, Chad's composite of photos throughout the eclipse. The center photo, during totality, is without any kind of filter. The blue filter shows sun spots really clearly. The orange filter looks like what we saw through our eclipse glasses. Photos without a filter during totality, which lasted over 2 minutes. Check out the sun flares! The Diamond Ring, which appears at the beginning and end of the total eclipse, as the sun starts to appear again. This is kind of what it looked like during totality. These are the two prints that Chad has available. You can email him here for info.

Total Solar Eclipse, 21 August 2017

This is what I wrote in my journal not long after we saw totality in our front yard for about 2 minutes 19 seconds:That was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I’m afraid that I’m so tired my brain is going to forget how it looked – black circle surrounded by glowing white flames, sunset colors along all horizons around us, very bright red planet to the south, very bright white planet above, dim star next to the sun, nearly dark, shadow bands along the sidewalk just before and after, the diamond ring as the totality ended. It was awesome and beautiful and amazing. When it hit totality, everybody started exclaiming and shouting like a much louder response to fireworks or something. The response almost seemed involuntary. Everyone said the animals would freak out, but it seemed like it was just the humans who freaked out. Really, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. So beautiful and awesome and cool. I’m so glad there were a bunch of people here to experience it with us…

Pre-Eclipse Activities, August 2017

Vera and Glen brought a cotton candy maker that Mira really enjoyed. She is forbidden (by me) from eating cotton candy unless it's freshly made and she witnesses it. (That's just how cotton candy is supposed to be!) So being able to actually make cotton candy herself was pretty great.

Also, please enjoy scrolling through these photos of Mira jumping on the rocket launcher thingy that Vera and Glen brought.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter -- And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

I realize that I'm nowhere near my twenties anymore, but this book is fantastic and has joined my short list of required reading for my kids and anyone who has anything to do with young people. I read it. Then Jon read it. Then I sent copies to my sisters who have older kids. I made Zed and Phin read it and Jacob is partway through it. Even though my kids aren't working dead-end jobs or trying to "find themselves" while we support them, the book resulted in some good decisions for one kid in particular. He knows who he is.

Here's a Ted talk by the author to get the gist.

I highly recommend both the book and the talk.

World domination via spam

I get a fair amount of spam despite spam filters. Sometimes it's so bad it strikes me as good. Here's one example:Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:28:20 -0700
From: Lucifer <>
To: Recipients <>
Subject: Global Call
Message-ID: <>Become a member of the Great Illuminati and posses riches, connections and fame. all the power you ever wanted, don't miss this opportunity grab it because there may not be another chance.We open door of acceptance once in ten years, and few are chosen. I really congratulate you for this great offer on your door step. We choose people, people don’t choose us. You can be among the chosen this year. The great association Has been in existence since May 1, 1776 named The Illuminati (aka Bavarian Illuminati). What does this mean? The name derives from the Latin illuminatur, which means “the enlightene…