Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Currently Reading

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.

Dr. Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. His last book Guns, Germs, and Steel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. It was a study of factors affecting the buildup of societies. I haven't read it, so I'll shut up about it now.

In Collapse, Dr. Diamond has identified five key factors that can possibly lead to the collapse of a society. He has applied the comparative method to examine past cultures and present cultures to see the effects of one, a few or all of these factors on the cultures.

He explains his method of analysis much better in the very first chapter than I can here, and he guides you into each cultural study. His prose is plain and well written for an easily accessible reading.

This morning I finished the chapter on Montana and began the next on Easter Island, and it's been a fascinating read already.

Although the main title of the book, Collapse is provocative, the subtitle of the book is the more illuminating part of the title based on what I've read so far.

The Falling Sand Game

Want to spend a little time playing on the internet? Create your own world of plants, rain, walls and fire. Then watch them interact.

Go here to play the Falling Sand Game

(Via Coudal Partners)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Hate it When That Happens...

Crawled under the covers last night and cracked open a new book, Katherine Neville's The Eight. Got about six or seven pages into the first chapter, and thought, "this seems very familiar." I believe I've read the book already, but I couldn't find another copy on my bookshelves. It's possible I loaned the book to someone, and that's all the more probable since I checked the exerpt on Amazon.com and it doesn't go as far as I read last night.

You must understand, I love digging into a brand new book, but I've done so much reading over the years that I can't keep track of them all. I'm not one of those people who memorizes song titles and artists--I need to hear the song in order to recognize it. It's the same for me and books. I can remember a few books by their titles and/or authors, but there are so many that occasionally one slips through that has been there before. I think this is going to call for drastic measures--I'm going to have to keep a list of the books I've read so I can reference it before I buy a book (too difficult to remember all the books on my two-books-deep shelves).

Maybe I'm just tapped into a higher conciousness of hive-type thought where I can access all the plots ever conceived by any author... ha, not!

Come on, 'fess up, this has happened to you too, right? Anyone, anyone...?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Illo Friday "Cats"

When my cat (Gimli) comes up for a snuggle, this is the view I get just before he settles in. Please note the rear claws--extended for a fast getaway in case something goes awry in the final approach.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Illo Friday "E is for..."

Entertainment Weekly. Received it last night, read it this morning, cut it to pieces this afternoon for a collage in my Moleskine. All in all a good day.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Illo Friday "Sea" Part 2

Here's the finished product. Harumpf...meh...okaaay. Oh well, at least it was fun to do.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Illo Friday "Sea"

This was a quick sketch I did this morning from a photograph taken by Oskar Kihlborg (viewable at the Volvo Ocean Race weibsite link below). It's one of several desktop images I'm using at the moment.

I went out and purchased myself a Moleskine pocket sketchbook last night, and tonight I'll be trying some watercolor on this art, and I'll detail it in pen after that. All experimentation on my part, so you may or may not see the final results. Pffftht...so there.

Currently Reading

It's a wonderfully imaginitive book and a bit of a faster and lighter read than The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

Both books provide escapism (something I greatly enjoy when I'm reading), but they are thought provoking too. I haven't been able to walk away from a Murakami novel yet without having to unwind myself from the empathetic chord binding me to the main character.

Mr. Murakami has a fairly long bibliography, and I'll probably pick up another of his novels sometime.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sailing Anyone?

The Volvo Ocean Race is heading into it's second leg, and the Southern Ocean is to be tackled as they head for Melbourne. Follow the race here:

Volvo Ocean Race

There are some interesting navigational tactics being played out right now as the movistar's navigator has decided to maintain a more northerly course, while the rest of the Volvo fleet has chosen to head south a bit more for the westerlies that could propel them a bit faster toward Melbourne. It remains to be seen whether the gambit will work for movistar.

Thanks for reading!