Book Review: The Way of Shadows by Weeks (4 stars)

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

3.8 out of 5 stars

Read in December 2009

Similar in style to The Lies of Locke Lamora or The Blade Itself – gritty fantasy, bloody coups, relentless pace, morally challenged characters. The fantasy elements played second fiddle to the fighting, poisoning and similar training of the first half of the story. As the story unfolds, many characters names change, but not to protect any innocents.

Graphic violence and obscenities, while prevalent, were well placed and not over-used. The fighting sequences didn’t thrill me, nor did the political intrigue. Lately, I’m beginning to believe that the fantasy genre only has two avenues of expression – political power struggle where all the players wear gray or prophesied chosen child on a quest in a black and white landscape.

Weeks surprised me with a handful of precious tender moments between the characters, some of which brought tears to my eyes, often occurring in the vilest of surroundings or events. I smiled at some of the clever dialogue, but never laughed out loud.

Weeks managed to provide me with enough glimmers of hope and light amidst the dark, depraved, nihilistic fog to satisfy my yearning for redemption. He reminded me that no matter how abhorrent the deeds, the transgressor is always worthy of another chance. He allowed his characters to suffer, giving them the opportunity to stretch beyond their perceived limits, grasping for the fleeting glimpse of salvation and becoming better and stronger as a result.

Good character development with some twists and turns that managed to stay believable. Stands alone well, but leaves many questions unanswered.

Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Jordan and Sanderson (4 stars)

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

4 out of 5 stars

Read in November 2009

Re-Read in March 2013

While I’ve read, and liked, nearly everything published (non-YA) by Sanderson, I started reading The Gathering Storm with a chip on my shoulder. And the Prologue disappointed me a bit. It just didn’t feel right. The more I read, however, the better I felt. By the end of the novel, I honestly couldn’t tell you what parts were authored by Jordan and which were authored by Sanderson.

Since this is the twelfth book of the Wheel of Time series, I’m going to avoid any kind of plot synopsis and spoilers. I will say the story moved forward significantly in this volume. I am very pleased with the ending, not so much that it stands alone, but that it was a logical place to stop in the story arc(s).

I felt the lion’s share of the novel dealt with Egwene’s story arc. I enjoyed and savored all of those chapters, especially the one encapsulating the return of Verin. I am also very satisfied with the progress made on Elaida’s story arc.

Rand was the hardest character to read and relate to, as expected. Most of his character development is internal, brooding and dark. The weather forecasts his state of mind quite well.

Surprisingly, Mat’s story appealed to me. Usually, I have to force myself to read chapters relating to Mat, as he’s always been my least favorite character in the cast.

Perrin gets only a couple of chapters. Aviendha gets more and makes quite a leap during her last appearance in this novel. I really wanted to see more from her story arc, but I can wait, patiently or not.

Cadsuane blundered signficantly about midway through the novel, so that provided a bit of drama. Nynaeve learned, instinctively, weaves never before tried since the Age of Legends (assumedly) and essentially became Rand’s backup Aes Sedai adviser.

I recommend this to all Wheel of Time fans, even if you gave up back around volume seven or eight. Sanderson is the right choice to take us to and through the Last Battle.

March 2013 musings:  I re-read this as part of a months-long group read of the entire Wheel of Time series that began in April 2012.  I resolved to add the ebook edition to my library each month and I purchased the first nine volumes in the series.  I wanted to take better advantage of my commute time (over two hours every weekday) and my evening walk-the-dog time (between 30-60 minutes most days), so I switched to audiobooks on the tenth book.  At first, I thought the male reader narrated a bit fast, but by the time I reach The Gathering Storm, I couldn’t imagine anyone else reading the male and female points of view.  I love knowing how to properly pronounce the unique phrases and proper names.

Book Review: Tigana by Kay (5 stars)

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

5 out of 5 stars

Read in August 2008

A parent’s grief at the death of their child can be a terrible thing. When that parent is the world’s most powerful wizard, and his beloved son dies in battle in one of the last provinces to be conquered, the grief becomes an all encompassing spell. And so starts the drama that is Tigana and the struggles for independence and remembrance against Brandin (the Tyrant and sorcerer).

My first thoughts when I started reading this story were of events in our own history where tyrants have tried and very nearly succeeded in obliterating a race of people. Tigana takes this one step further. Brandin, in his grief and yearning for revenge, pursues the path of genocide but also casts a spell which makes it impossible for anyone to remember the name of the province where his son died. Only those born in that province before his spell was cast can say the name – Tigana. Brandin plans to extend his life sorcerously so that he will outlive anyone who had been born in Tigana, thereby sealing his revenge forever and assuaging his grief.

The tale revolves around several key remnants of Tigana, namely Allessan, the youngest and only surviving prince of Valentin, Prince of Tigana; Baerd, son of Valentin’s sculptor and Alessan’s right hand man; Dianora, Baerd’s sister and lover, who was taken in tribute under a false identity (the tribute captain believed she was from a different province). Dianora becomes a saishan (like a mistress or concubine in Brandin’s harem) and eventually wins Brandin’s love. There are many other characters, all of whom are entangled and ensnarled by the circumstances which are boiling and erupting across the peninsula of the Palm.

I will restrain myself from spoiling the ending. I will say that even though this is a fantasy, and there is magic and magical creatures, all of this is merely a background to the drama of the lives hurtling along the paths of their destinies.

Book Review: The Blade Itself by Abercrombie (4 stars)

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

4 out of 5 stars

Read in March 2009

The first three hundred pages of this book were riveting. Most of the rest were entertaining and exciting but ultimately the ending disappointed somewhat – unless you like leaping off a cliff to the next book. Lucky for me, that next book is in the mail and I can soar back into the story soon.

There isn’t a character that isn’t fascinating in this story. Glokta, the tortured torturer; Logen, the wise almost pacifistic barbarian; Jezal, the arrogant noble on a collision course with reality; Major West, an upstart commoner with the weight of the world seemingly on his shoulders; Bayaz, the mythical First Magi and his young and only apprentice Quai; and, a host of other supporting characters no less conflicted.

The Union is frothing with political intrigue. It has an Inquisition to ferret out treason and traitors, but no religious backing to legitimize or limit it’s power. It has the backing of the government and the Arch Lechter uses all that power to further his own ends and those of his allies on the Closed Council.

The barbarians at the gate, led by self-proclaimed king Bethod of the Northmen, has succeeded in uniting the divisive Northmen and has plans to invade the Union’s northern most member, Angland.

The old Empire is rousing from slumber under the leadership of a new, younger Emperor, and has also set it’s sites on the Union, or rather its lonely peninsular member Dagoska, far from the center of the Union in Adua.

Bayaz sends out several calls via his colleagues, summoning specific individuals to him. The purpose of this is not immediately apparent. The first one to answer the call is Logen Ninefingers, also sometimes known in the north as the Blody-Nine. Bayaz, Logen and the apprentice Quai set out south to Adua. Bayaz does not tell Logen why he called him and Logen is content to be called and joins the trek south.

Once in Adua, Bayaz, as First Magi, attempts to fill the only vacant seat on the Closed Council. It is held in reserve for the First Magi and has been for thousands of years. But no one, least of all the Arch Lecther, believes Bayaz can possible be THE Bayaz of legend. And Bayaz, of course, doesn’t do magic tricks on demand. An em-passe? Hardly. It only gets more interesting and bloody with each turn of the blade.

This story was quite a ride – lots of action, fighting, intrigue, and fascinating characters. Be forewarned that the ending is a bit abrupt and you will want the second book on hand to continue the adrenaline rush.

Book Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (5 stars)

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

5 out of 5 stars

Read in July 2008

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, a novel of epic fantasy relating the struggle for freedom of an oppressed class of people, known as the skaa. A few key players attempt a daring plan to overthrow a seemingly invincible regime, with a supposedly immortal god-like Lord Ruler.

Mistborn’s is fast paced and enthralling. The point of view stays mostly with the two main protagonists, Kelsier and Vin. Kelsier is seeking revenge upon the immortal Lord Ruler, who he blames for the death of his wife. Vin, a street wise and abused young girl, is rescued and recruited by Kelsier to join his elite crew of thieves. We watch her come out of her shell, slowly learning the value of trust and friendship. We also learn of Allomancy, one of the Mistborn world’s forms of magic, through her eyes when Kelsier discovers that she is one of the rare breed of Allomancers.

As Vin’s character develops, she garners more of the focus of the story. We see less from Keslier’s viewpoint. Even though Vin’s had a hard go of it, she can still react with shock to Keslier’s actions and unwavering hatred for the nobles, the skaa who work for them (willingly or not) and the Lord Ruler. The hidden story within the story has the familiar rags-to-riches tale, but with a twist I’ve only seen a couple of times before.

I was completely enthralled by Vin throughout this book, but more so towards the climax. I rarely become so attached to characters that I weep with empathy, and sympathy, for their predicaments. Brandon Sanderson masterfully tugged on my heartstrings with his vivid characterizations. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great action/adventure story, especially one with spunk and heart.

On Amazon Acquiring GoodReads


October 25, 2013:  Great article in Salon from a couple of days ago on How Amazon and GoodReads Could Lose Their Best Readers.

September 20, 2013: Amazon has started deleting reviews for other members and also deleting shelves, without notice or warning. Visit this announcement thread for more particulars:  Important Note Regarding Reviews

And here I’ve quoted one of the best of the posted feedback messages from Wendy Darling:

I’ve been thinking about what I want to say since this announcement went live, and I almost said nothing–because at this point, it seems obvious this Feedback thread, like countless others before it, is pretty futile anyway.

I want to be clear: my opinion and decisions are a matter of principle rather than a matter of being directly affected. I’ve been pretty careful about my shelving and still stand by every single review I’ve written, and as much as I don’t care for the idea of policing shelves, I respect GoodReads’ right to change its TOS.

But like most people, I am absolutely appalled that user content has been removed without warning. What was the purpose of that? Why was it so dangerous to allow people the opportunity to edit their shelves and reviews? What would you think if you heard that Twitter was removing user content without notice, or policing your lists? Why aren’t private shelves an option? And most importantly, who was this gesture meant to impress or appease?

To make matters worse, to hear the language that was used in the email that Steph Sinclair and others got chiding them for operating in a way that wasn’t “in the spirit of GoodReads” is infuriating. The amount of time, thought, and dollars that goes into writing reviews and maintaining a blog is enormous, and all those people do it purely because of their generosity of spirit. To use that kind of language is a huge slap in the face, and diminishes the tremendous amount of good that those reviewers do for books with the positive reviews and features they produce. I am astonished that unpaid reviewers are constantly expected to take the feelings of professionals into account, when those who point the fingers at them don’t take 5 minutes to do simple research into the type of reviewers they are. I suspect that this move comes on the heels of several ill-conceived, agenda-driven, poorly-researched posts from Nathan Bransford and Salon and Huffington Post, but it seems that no one also weighed in the backpedaling that was done after those posts were published.

Both positive and negative reviews are an important part of a site like this (it’s the reason why so many of us have trusted its reviews until now) and I wish authors would understand that this site as a goldmine of market research. There is a huge opportunity here to learn about reader habits, discover strengths and weaknesses in their work, etc. But because a handful of vindictive authors are unable to separate their work from their egos, and because they fail to understand how to engage appropriately in the marketplace, GoodReads has become an increasingly hostile place. As the lines between personal space and community hangout and author advertisements continue to blur, the message that GoodReads is sending with this action is that this is NOT a safe haven for readers at all. It has taken ages for them to acknowledge any inappropriate behavior from its authors, and there is still a disingenuous lack of sync between what users are told and what is presented to authors, as evidenced by the screenshots we’ve seen in the last day or so. I have never expected GoodReads to come out strongly in defense of specific, and extremely damaging, attacks on their users by the authors that they court for advertising. But I did expect that they would minimally keep their promise to protect the rights of their users.

There are an alarming number of friends jumping ship to other sites. For myself, I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. But I do know that I’m probably going to start treating this site merely as a cataloging tool. I’ve always interacted here as part of the community, not as a place to serve my own agenda or ego, but I am not comfortable with investing so much energy into a place that feels it can yank my reviews and shelves without notice. (I mean, obviously any website can. But should it?)

Right now, I’m considering a number of options, including:

— only posting a star rating and brief reaction, with a link to my blog for the full review
— unchecking the “feed to GR affiliates” option
— no longer making any librarian edits that don’t specifically benefit me
— taking my profile private

What’s ironic is that when this announcement went live, I was in the middle of planning a post acknowledging a milestone that I passed on GoodReads a couple of weeks ago. I have never put much stock into numbers and rankings, but 10,000 friends and followers did feel like something to celebrate. But all that seems pretty meaningless now.

Last note: I’m very glad Carolyn Crane and a handful of other authors have spoken up. There are a ton of notable authors who have voiced their negative reactions to this new policy on Twitter, but I hope they will also step forward to chime in here, where it counts. There are a lot of users eyeing an exit, because positive sunshiney conversations are only of interest to people who don’t actually read, or who don’t engage in analytical thought–and the loss of people who post critical reviews also means you’re losing a countless number of positive reviews as well.

As reviewer rights erode and as the trend of stifling conversations continues, it seems that GoodReads is becoming a place that is no longer a safe or trustworthy place for readers. And that makes me sadder than I could possibly ever express.

As a result of her post and the rest of the feedback to GoodReads most recent shocking actions, I’ve created an account at BookLikes and have started the import process of my books, reviews and shelves.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the import completes successfully.

August 6, 2013: Today, I received the following e-mail from GoodReads:

Hello Jon,

Several of your reviews were recently flagged as self-promotional in nature by other Goodreads members. As these reviews seemed to be solely an advertisement for your blog (and did not discuss the book), they have been removed from the site. If you’re trying to promote your site, we would suggest reviewing the books on Goodreads itself and simply linking to your blog at the end of each review.


The Goodreads Team

(sent via the e-mail address)

I replied promptly from my Android smartphone:

Be honest. You removed them because I called Goodreads on the carpet about being bought by Amazon. And now you’ve proved my point by removing my reviews.

Thanks for providing more proof of Amazon’s continuing nefarious acts.

Jon Moss

I checked my review count on my profile at GoodReads.  This morning I had 355 reviews.  After I received this e-mail I had 266.  Nearly ninety (90) reviews deleted.  Most of them contained a single paragraph as follows:

Due to the acquisition of GoodReads by Amazon on March 28, 2013 and my existing and continuing boycott of all things Amazon, the review I wrote after reading this book has been relocated to my blog and can be found in its entirety by following this link:

I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am.  I shouldn’t be hurt, but I am.  My intention wasn’t to self-promote my blog.  I’m just a small fish in the huge ocean of the internet bloghood.  My intention was to make people aware that Amazon is not your friend.

July 26, 2013:  After a nearly six week hiatus, Otis showed back up in the GoodReads Feedback group commenting on integration between Amazon Library and GoodReads.  He’s still trying to reassure the ‘readers’ at GoodReads that’s there’s nothing untoward happening behind the green curtain.

June 11, 2013: Not entirely related to GoodReads, but definitely about Amazon, as reported by Publishers Weekly from the Apple Trial: Rupert Murdoch Wanted to ‘Screw’ Amazon

June 9, 2013: Belated Update (originally published by Otis on May 22, 2013):  An FAQ on Amazon’s Acquisition of GoodReads.  And, as I suspected, my data at GR is now Amazons:

Will Amazon have access to my Goodreads data?

Yes, as a subsidiary of Amazon, we can share data as appropriate under our privacy policies. How does this impact you? Primarily in two ways:

* Amazon and Goodreads could use the data to look for ways to offer you a better service on one or both sites. For example, by providing you with personalized advertising based on your reading tastes (similar to the advertising we already have on Goodreads).
* Amazon and Goodreads could analyze the data to see what kinds of new features or services might be useful on one or both sites.

So my campaign to sabotage my data is vindicated.  I will continue to move reviews here to my blog and unrate books at GoodReads.  My apologies to my GoodReads friends and followers.  In the case where I decide not to review a book, I will leave my GoodReads rating initially after I finish reading it, but will eventually unrate the book to continue corrupting the data Amazon collects from me via GoodReads.

I have no plans to leave GoodReads, as I enjoy the groups too much and the interactions with reading friends.

May 9, 2013: While not specifically related to the Amazon buyout of GoodReads, this morning’s article in the Huffington Post reveals continuing nefarious deeds of the etailer behemoth.

A link to the Huffington Post article: “Amazon Warehouse Workers Sue Over Security Checkpoint Waits

And should the above link ever break, I printed out the article to a PDF available here:  “Amazon Warehouse Workers Sue Over Security Checkpoint Waits

April 19, 2013: Not that I’m an Apple fan (aside from the apples that I can each autumn), but apparently Amazon nixed any hopes of seeing GoodReads integration in iBooks with their deal:  Amazon-GoodReads deal quashed Apple iBookstore plans

April 15, 2013: Another interesting article coming out of the London Book Fair: Is Amazon Good or Bad for the Publishing Industry?

April 14, 2013: I find it interesting that Otis  has been mostly absent from the GoodReads site since making the announcement late in March.  To see what I mean, check out this link to his GoodReads account’s comment activity in the GoodReads Feedback group.  I’m going to hold him personally responsible for the last sentence in this comment:

Breaks my heart to see BunWat leave.

I don’t know her well enough to know her reasons, but I will just guess she isn’t a fan of Amazon. While I don’t expect everyone to love this decision, I believe it will be a very good thing for the vast majority of readers, and think Goodreads has a very bright future in front of it. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the people at Amazon, and have found them to be good, bookish people that are excited about creating a better future for readers and authors.

One thing I am sure of: I expect to prove to you all over the coming months and years that this will be good for Goodreads, for readers, and for authors.

— Otis Chandler, CEO, Goodreads (emphasis added).

Only time will tell.

April 12, 2013:  Just read this article via a Publishers Weekly Tweet:  Booksellers Urge Court Not to Toss Amazon E-Book Suit

April 9, 2013: Decided I should probably link to this post from my snub stubs at GoodReads, since this post is no longer sticky and will quickly get buried in the tide of migrating reviews from GoodReads.

April 2, 2013: Changed this post from a sticky post.  For an explanation of my star ratings, please visit my ‘Two Stars or Not Two Stars‘ blog post.

April 1, 2013:  In addition to relocating my reviews here from GoodReads and leaving behind a stub link, I am stripping the ratings from my GoodReads reviews as well.  I’m manually entering the rating in the review with the link, but clearing the actual star rating from the GoodReads database.

I apologize to my author friends.  GoodReads was the only place I rated and reviewed books.  Now the only place I will do that is here, in this Amazon-free zone.

To make it easier to find the book reviews and ratings, I modified my menu (see above) to include a Ratings area.  The Reviews menu has been expanded to include Fiction and Non-Fiction items under the Books submenu.

March 31, 2013:  I wanted to pass along a good article I just read published at Salon entitled ‘Amazon buys GoodReads: We’re all just data now.’


Original Post from March 30, 2013:

GoodReadsPlusAmazonYesterday, GoodReads announced ‘exciting news‘ to it’s community of volunteer librarians, reviewers and readers.  Otis and Elizabeth and the rest of the GoodReads team had agreed to joining the Amazon family.  Of course, they were excited.  They sold out the only vibrant independent reliable source of book reviews and recommendations for cold hard cash in their pockets (rumor has it the sum could be over one billion dollars).

I heard the news late in the day and immediately felt sick to my stomach, disappointed and angry.  After reading comments on the blog post referenced above and other threads in many discussion groups on GoodReads, I was not alone in my reaction.

I make no secret of the fact that I boycott all things Amazon.  I have similar feelings about other modern-day monopolies (like Microsoft and Adobe).  I have not purchased a book or an ebook from Amazon in years.  I own a Nook and an Android smartphone.  I support open source software initiatives and net neutrality.

The first thing I did last night when I had calmed down enough to see clearly and think coherent thoughts was to export all my book data and reviews from GoodReads.

The second thing I did was to think about what to do with the hundreds of reviews I’ve written over the last five years and posted at GoodReads.  Some of these reviews were re-published here on this blog.  I do not want Amazon to profit from my time and effort in crafting those reviews.

So, to thwart the juggernaut, however infinitesimally, I plan to remove each review from GoodReads and repost it here.  One of the first hurdles I will need to overcome is finding a different non-Amazon source for book covers.  I will leave behind a short explanation where my GoodReads review previously resided together with a link to the blog post housing the transported review.

What sort of an explanation should I leave behind?  I’ve been mulling over a few sentences while driving home and during dinner.  Let me try a few of them out here:

Due to the acquisition of GoodReads by Amazon on March 28, 2013 and my existing and continuing boycott of all things Amazon, the review I wrote after reading this book has been relocated to my blog and can be found in its entirety by following this link …

After Amazon devoured GoodReads on March 28, 2013, this review fled the postapocalyptic and dystpoian writing on the wall and sought sanctuary at my blog’s refuge …

Fear not!  I bring you tidings of great joy.  My review escaped the clutches of Amazon and can be found, safe and sound, at my blog …

I haven’t made up my mind about continuing my activities within the many groups I participate in and moderate.  GoodReads was such an integral part of my life.  It helped me rediscover my love of reading, fostered my nascent writing hobby and nudged me to branch out as a fledgling blogger.  I have met and made many wonderful new friends who share a love for similar flavors of books and broadened my reading horizons.  It also reunited me with old reading buddies from high school and former employers. Five years ago, I relied on the ‘New Fiction’ shelf at my local library to find something to read.  Now, I have hundreds of books lined up in my reading queue.  I just don’t know if I can walk away from my reading friends and GoodReads.

I am resolved, however, to never again write a review on GoodReads.  I may not even rate books there anymore.  I will have to play that by ear and see what happens over the new few weeks.

So don’t be surprised if you start to see a lot more activity on my blog in the coming days.  Reviews will sprout here like spring flowers in May after April showers.

Comet and Crescent Moon Sail into the Sunset

Comet PanSTARRS (30 mins after Sunset, March 7-20, 2013)You can tell it’s spring time in Kansas by my frustration with clouds and astronomical observing.  I don’t grumble much, so long as the clouds provide relief for our record drought, as they did last weekend with two days of good rain on top of the melting snow left over from Winter Storms Q and Rocky.  I decided to skip, again, the ASKC‘s Messier Marathon, scheduled for Monday evening, mostly because it fell on a week night, but also because the clouds did not appear to be cooperating.  And the drive home, westward, did not fill me with confidence for my odds of spotting comet PanSTARRS and the thin crescent moon, potentially one of the youngest I’d yet observed.

Upon arriving home, clouds still obscured the sun sporadically to the west.  My husband and I grabbed a quick bite to eat at the local Arby’s and I walked Apollo upon returning home, despite the brisk wind out of the northwest.  I had just sat down to watch something with Terry when I checked out the window one last time.  Miraculously, the western horizon appeared cloud free.  I handed Terry the remote, shoved on my boots, grabbed the camera, binoculars and tripod and ran to the van.  As I drove west along Eisenhower Road, I received a call from my Dad, who was back in Lansing, at the spot where we observed the Transit of Venus last June.  I told him I was heading to a small rural church parking lot at the corner of Eisenhower and County Shop Road, because it has slightly less light pollution than the hill overlooking Main Street (K-7/US-73) in Lansing. 

I arrived about ten minutes before eight o’clock.  I uncapped my binoculars and took a quick look at the thin crescent moon, one of the slimmest ones I’ve yet observed.  Later, I calculated it was also the youngest I’ve observed, just twenty-nine (29) hours old.  Here’s the photo I took of it fifteen minutes later, after I’d setup the tripod and put the telephoto lens on my camera: 

Young Crescent Moon (8:04 p.m. CDT 03/12/2013)

I continued to take photographs for another twenty-five minutes but never did find the comet with my naked eyes.  Using my binoculars, I did locate comet PanSTARRS about a quarter after eight.  When I reviewed my photographs after downloading them to my computer, I realized I’d actually captured it earlier, in a photo taken one minute after the one shown above.  The best shot of the crescent moon and the comet came another fifteen minutes later though:

Click image for rest of album

I plan to keep trying for the rest of the week, or as long as comet PanSTARRS is visible.  I may even drive down to Powell Observatory Friday evening.  I read an announcement via the Astronomical Society of Kansas City‘s Twitter feed declaring a special pre-season opening of the observatory to view the comet. 

I called my dad back, since we’d gotten cut off by bad cell phone reception out in the county.  He confirmed his inability to spot the comet without optical aid and wished me a good night.  I packed up the equipment and returned home.  I fed the dogs while I downloaded the photos to Terry’s computer and quickly reviewed them, selecting a few of the better shots to upload to Flickr to share with family and friends.  By that time, I needed to hit the sack, so I left writing this blog until morning. 

Happy hunting to all of you this week.  Grab a pair of binoculars and look west, young men and women, look west for comet PanSTARRS. 

Bring binoculars to pick the comet out of the twilight low in the west. (Don’t expect it to look this obvious!) The scene is drawn for about 40° north latitude, and the Moon is placed for a viewer near the middle of North America.

Roxy Remembered

Roxy (Christmas 2011)
Roxy (Christmas 2011)

One year ago today, Terry and I laid to rest Roxy, our beloved yet ditzy female Rottweiler.  I find it imminently appropriate that today is also the dark of the moon.  When I walk out to the van this morning, I will quickly and easily be able to find Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the heavens, a fitting reminder of the brightest memories I have of Roxy.

Welcome Rain with Hot Tea and a Good Book

Tea, Book & Lewis

“You can never get
a cup of tea large enough or
a book long enough to suit me.”

C.S. Lewis

I made my monthly trip to downtown Leavenworth to drop off donations at Goodwill and refill my tin with my daily favorite tea, Irish blend, at Queen’s Pantry.  For some reason, I missed this sign (see above photo), prominently displayed to the right as I entered the store.  I only happened to see it as I turned slightly to my right to open the door as I exited.  I stopped, read the quote, and just had to snap a photo.  Apropos for a rainy Saturday, wouldn’t you agree?