Wanderings

Anything you dream is fiction,
and anything you accomplish is science,
the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.
- Ray Bradbury
November 9th, 2008

Sunday About Nyack

We went garage sailing today. One of the sales was up on Tweed Boulevard, which runs along the high ridge across from Clausland Mountain and eventually becomes the Palisades. It once was a nice spot for young couples to go and park and watch the “Submarine Races” on the Hudson River. Now, multi-million Dollar homes run all along the road.

I took some pictures of the view. That’s the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Piermont Pier and you can just make out the village of Nyack down below, dominated by the ugly condominiums at the foot of Byrd Street, and Hook Mountain in the distance. (See the picasa album here)

I went over to my Mother’s and Larry came in with a giant TV in the back of Harold White’s pickup truck. Harold is one of the few people left in Central Nyack from my childhood.

I got pictures of Zack and Toby. Zack is sick. The cancer is back and his days are numbered.

Some of these pictures were taken with Larry’s new Nikon 5400 (a garage sale find). A very nice camera, indeed. Larry has to go over to Walmart and get a memory card. I took these pictures with my memory card.






November 8th, 2008

Garage Sale Science Fiction Books

DSCN0431 I bought 337 SF books for $20 including the bookshelf.

I just lugged them out onto the enclosed porch. I’ve read about 1/4 of them and at least half I don’t think I will read, but at 6¢ a book, I have no choice.

These are mostly 1980’s and 90s, but there are many old books from the 1960s and a few from the 1950s.

I will make boxes of 10 or so books each that I want to sell, during the next few weeks. For instance, I like Robert Asprin, but I am not interested in reading the Thieve’s World Books. There are a dozen or more of these, so I will be selling them as a lot.

I now own about 600 books, not counting my original stash. I will read about 300 of them, maybe more.

I have been too busy at work to finish my book selling web site. It is about halfway through. I will sell the books there for a dollar or less, and figure the cheapest way to ship. I want to make it so you get a discount for buying more books, as well as saving on shipping. One good thing is that most books weigh about the same so shipping is easy to calculate.

It is interesting that the person that read these (sadly, it was an estate sale) had very similar tastes to my own. I am not as much into Niven and Pournelle as he was, and he had literally everything by M.Z. Bradley. He did, however have lots of great Ace Doubles (always a good trashy read), and stuff by George O. Smith, H. Beam Piper and Murray Leinster (my sf spirit guide). He had a least 30 Andre Norton’s including a few that I’ve never read. He had all of Bradbury and all of Heinlein and most of these were early first edition paperbacks. I’ve already thrown out the L. Ron Hubbard’s and I hope to make more room I as I read and sell them.






September 7th, 2008

Cleaning out the Cameras

I have three cameras. I use the little Nikon (free at a garage sale) most of the time because it fits in my pocket. It is about 8 years old so it does not really measure up to the quality of cameras today. Second, I use the Kodak that Justine sent one Christmas. It is an excellent quality camera that takes good pictures, but it is a little large and won’t fit in my pocket. I also use the big Nikon DX-70 that has the SLR lens and all the bells and whistles. This is especially good with the telephoto lens, but I can’t bring it anywhere where it might be stolen because it is so expensive and it is very very big.

I cleaned out the little Kodak today and found a bunch of pics that I’ve taken, but never done anything about.

First there were cute Gracie pictures (see the cat blog for more).

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Next, the truck went over 175,000 miles. I wanted to catch it in the act, but as you may know this is against the physical laws of the universe.

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Next, I found an odd windmill at the side of the road. This was used to aerate a pond, but it was sitting in the corner of someone’s yard.

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The virginia creeper vines grew up the side of the house in the back and I was shocked to see them. I have no idea how they grew so fast.

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Here are some flowers. A couple are from the back yard, but I don’t where the red one is from.

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I found a strange machine on the side of the road. It had about $20 worth of vacuum tubes.

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I took pictures of a publication from and H.P. Lovecraft symposium that I may blog about. I have a readable version of this on my hard disk. This article describes about how his friends got HPL drunk at a party and he recited lines from the Mikado.

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Now I’ll clean out the Nikon.






August 27th, 2008

Gordon R. Dickson – The Earth Lords

earthlords When I think of Dickson, I think of the Dorsai books that I read a long time ago. These were military SF and probably Dickson, more than anyone else, has defined Military Science Fiction. The war in Vietnam soured me on militarism, so I only read a few of them, but I remember that the Dorsai books were very good.

The Earth Lords (1989) is one of the books I picked up a couple of weeks ago at a garage sale. It is a longish book, about 200K, and suffers a little from what I was talking to J. Erwine about on his blog. There is a general feeling that the prose is padded to make it a longer book. As one of J’s commenters was saying, it could have been edited down by 80%.

The characters are the usual suspects. I am going to write a paper some day on the curse of the reasonable protagonist. The best books have flawed characters. Science Fiction does not. Most SF books suffer from heroic characters who have all the fine characteristics that that author obviously sees in himself, or wants to.

The plot initially appears to be a pretense to paint the image that appears on the cover. It is about a race of super-human little people – the Earth Lords – that live underground and use regular people as "Steeds". They ride around on the backs of humans.

Once the key image is out of the way, the plot becomes the protagonist’s attempt to thwart the Earth Lord’s plan to ruin the earth with a machine that move the tectonic plates and create volcanoes and earthquakes. Yes, it’s a dumb premise. Since it takes place in the 19th century in Canada there are holes in the logic that you could drive a large horse through.

The good things about The Earth Lords is good prose. It reads well and the images are all well painted, although it uses a few too many words. It is hampered by the wooden characters and a love interest that seems illogical and one sided. The plot is not all that believable. A decent read, but not a book I’ll be reading again soon.

Next up is Hellflower by George O. Smith from 1953 – my kind of SF. It’s short, 60-70k so I might have it finished by Friday.






July 19th, 2008

Pompton Lakes Town Wide Garage Sale

It seems that I have been seeing a lot of New Jersey’s Lakes lately. This is fine with me. I like lakes.

We went down to Pompton Lakes – about 30 miles down 287 from Nyack. There was no traffic today. The price of gas has hit $4 and like someone turned off a switch, the traffic stopped.

We went to at least 50 garage sales. It seemed that at least 25% of the homes were having a garage sale. There were lots of sales that we didn’t even get to. Every block had two or three sales.

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I bought some odd stuff like a USB hub and US government publication on ethanol from 1980. (I want to make a post just on this book).

Erica found a few frames and an antique black walnut mirror for $8.

Here are some pictures of Pompton Lake. It was hot and hazy.

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July 13th, 2008

Dover Flea Market

We drove down about 50 miles to Dover, NJ because they were having a town wide garage sale at their flea market. It was not that good. I guess most people at Dover had a lot of junk, but nothing exciting for me.

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There was a cool chewing tobacco ad painted on one of the Dover buildings. I wonder how this survived the ban on tobacco advertising.

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We had coffee from a little luncheonette that had cinnamon and chicory in it. Very good. I bought gas for $3.89 a gallon, probably the last gas under $4 that I will buy for a while.






June 29th, 2008

Three Lakes

Erica and I went down into New Jersey to a community garage sale at Morse Lake. The sale was mostly a waste, but we had a good time driving around the lake.

Here are some of the views around Morse Lake

 

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From Morse Lake we went to what I think is Glenn Wild Lake. (Erica thinks it might be upper Morse Lake.) We took tiny roads where the truck could barely make it through and saw beautiful scenes of nature. The small communities that live at these lakes are different from the snobby "summer people" that go to other destinations. Some of these houses date back to the 1920s and most are handed down through families for years.

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Then on the way back, we stopped by Eagle Lake, where I learned to swim back in the 1950s. The lake was abandoned for many years, but has since been cleaned up somewhat. The lump of green is an island. My Grandfather built a bridge out of logs and branches to the island and he cleaned it up and put a picnic bench on it. The place was so overgrown that I could not get near the place where the bridge was located.

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