Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Final Score

Heh heh.

Packing Catharsis + Scrabble Whinge

Getting rid of stuff is, of course, one of the great pleasures of a move. Just dropped off at the Used department of Harvard Book Store:


Copies of my books in lots of languages, including a few in English. They won't put everything on the shelves right away, so if you're curious if anything specific is available, ask at the desk, or email usedbooks@harvard.com.

Thanks to Steve, Emily, and Jenni for your help with my piles of books. Extra thanks to Steve for helping me lug them! Thanks also for the packing boxes :o)

In other news... I regularly play Scrabble on my phone, against the expert computer. Maybe I average one game a day (maybe more). When I first moved from playing the advanced computer to playing the expert computer (which is the highest setting), I probably got destroyed for the first ten or twelve games... but I learned from it. After that, I started to win. Now I win about half the time. But it has always been, and continues to be, a frequently ridiculous endeavor. Below, please see Exhibit A: my current game in progress.


I started by putting down "zooty" for 52 points. Great start to a game. Computer responded by putting down "epizooty." For 63 points. "EPIZOOTY." Come on! "Epizooty" is NOT A WORD!

Saddled with three i's, I then put down "pixie" for 30 points. Computer put down all seven letters, spelling "belonged" on TWO double word scores, for 86 points. At this point, after two turns, Computer's score was already 149.

So I put down "yeah" for 51 points, and still I'm losing. All three of my opening words scored at least 30 and two of them scored 50+, and I'm still losing! And now I have two v's!!!!! AGH!

At least Computer was forced to waste its k on a 19-point word. We'll see what happens next. But seriously. Epizooty???

From freedictionary.com:
epizootic, epizooty n
a disease affecting many animals at the same time; an epidemic amongst animals. — epizootic, adj.
 Good grief.

I hope all my readers are doing well today and that none of your animals are experiencing any epizooties.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Last Few Days in Pictures, Again

At the Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts, they keep the register on display, set to October 19, 1895.
One traveler on this list is from Ohio, but the rest are from sooooo nearby... my friend pointed out that in 1895,
Lowell (about 14 miles from Concord on today's roads) and Waltham (about 11 miles)
were far enough away that you might reasonably want to stop at an inn overnight.

In the skies above Vermont, I saw a cloud shaped like a pegasus.

At SkyVenture in New Hampshire, Kevin...

..and I did this thing called indoor skydiving that involved entering what is basically a spherical windtunnel...

where the wind holds you up and bats you around, and you feel like you're flying.

Kevin adopted more of a superhero stance

whereas I literally look like I'm about to attack someone and I'm way too happy about it.

It was fun, and interesting, and different. You can get a discount with a Groupon, in case you'd like to try it yourself.
BTW, some of you have been around the blog long enough to remember the flying I used to do regularly.
For comparison purposes, the indoor skydiving was fun... but no, it was nothing like this.



Closer to home, I'm trying to hide from myself that I'm about to move house. What? Boxes?
I don't know what you mean; I see my favorite winter scarf, which I've draped across the bookshelf,
as one does.


In my office, there is a big red blob that certainly does not have 20 boxes beneath it.

Just some Moomins. Move along please.

I've also knitted a turtle washcloth....
As practice for knitting my turtle blanket square.
Pattern, by SMARIEK, is here.

All seven buds are blooming on the orchid!

And I'm plotting, and, in free moments, still reading mystery after mystery after mystery.

*happy sigh*


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In case I didn't sell you on the Summer of Darkness app...

Here's what I found just now when I picked up my phone.


More info about the app here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

1816, Summer of Darkness -- the most fun iPhone/iPad app ever!

Mary Shelley fans, romantic poetry fans, geology fans, Switzerland fans: have you heard of the iPhone/iPad app Summer of Darkness?

From the app's website:

"Between 1812 and 1815 several large volcanoes erupted around the world including Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which was the largest volcanic eruption in a millennium. Ash accumulated in the atmosphere and changed weather patterns worldwide.

"1816 became known as the Year Without Summer. The average global temperature dropped by several degrees. Crops failed, many starved, and the normally beautiful Swiss summer was shrouded in gloom and rain. The world was prophesied to end in July."

And, what else was happening? Mary Shelley (then Mary Godwin), aged 18, was traveling through Switzerland with her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley and her step-sister Claire Clairmont... who was in pursuit of her erstwhile lover Lord Byron... who was also in Switzerland, because he'd fled England in an attempt to avoid debtors and scandal. This was the summer when Mary Shelley began working on Frankenstein.

It's currently the 200th anniversary of the Year Without Summer! If you download the app Summer of Darkness, you'll get real-time updates of what all of these people were doing that summer. Letters written; poetry tinkered at; travel journals scribbled; reports of illnesses, heartbreaks, inspirations, arguments, challenges extended and met. This is just a guess on my part, but I bet we'll get a pretty clear sense of what an asshole Byron was, too. It's a win-win! :o) I for one can report that when I pick up my phone and see a notice that my dentist called and a reminder that I need to buy groceries, I'm also really happy to see a notification that Claire just wrote an impassioned letter to Lord Byron.

Poor Claire.

This app was created by Anindita Basu Sempere and Andrew Sempere of Digital Scenographic. Read more about the app here: http://summerofdarkness.com. And find it worldwide through the iTunes store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/summer-of-darkness/id1102090467?ls=1&mt=8.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Last Few Days in Pictures

I finished a major revision I've been working on since before Halloween. Whew!

I took a trip to see my parents for Mother's Day.
Here's a blurry picture of me and my Dad
in Wanamaker's Department Store in Philly, on a very rainy day.
They have a famous organ in the store. My Dad talked about
going to concerts when he was a kid.

Moments later, watching the Philadelphia Philharmonic get ready to play.
(My Dad calls this "batting practice.")

Scrabble tragedy. Is there anything worse
than having a 7-letter word and no place to put it?

Knitting a TARDIS washcloth :o)
(Pattern by Arwyn Arising can be found on Ravelry, behind the comments tab.)

When I got home, I discovered that five of seven buds are now open.

The sun set on Boston while the Red Sox beat the Oakland A's.

And I'm reading and rereading mysteries, in preparation for diving into a revision of my other book that's in revisions.

I also found a new home. I'm moving! (To the next town over.) Cambridge, I love you and I'll miss you. But you're too expensive, and also, you're LOUD.

May all the goodness continue... though I wouldn't complain of a slower pace.

And that's the news from here.