Eight years ago, there was a Facebook thing going around about 15 Books in 15 Minutes – write down within 15 minutes 15 books that have stuck with you. I saw it pass through my Memories and started thinking (I didn’t look at what I wrote back then…perhaps I’ll visit after I write this and see…) about what books I would choose, 2017 version. But I’m not playing the time limit, nor, apparently, the 15 limit. Here are books that have stuck with me – mostly fiction, and some background as to why. The first five are in preference order, the rest are sort of fungible…and this has been a chore to format…Wordpress seems to have a hard time with a lot of images, links and whatever… Continue reading
Posted in Books, Personal thoughts
Tagged Andy Weir, Christopher Stasheff, David Marquet, Dumbing Us Down, Fads and Fallacies, Four Lords of the Diamond, George Simpson, Ghost Boat, Harry Potter, Isaac Asimov, Ivanhoe Gambit, J.K. Rowling, Jack Chalker, James Loewen, James Morrow, John taylor Gatto, Lies My teacher Told Me, Lord Foul's Bane, Lord of the Rings, Magician, Martin Gardner, Maxwell Anderson, Midnight at the Well of Souls, Neil Burger, Only Begotten Daughter, Raymond Feist, Reluctant Sorceror, Simon Hawke, Stephen Donaldson, The Foundation, The Martian, The Quality Instinct, The Warlock in Spite of Himself, Thin Air, Thomas Covenant, time Wars, Tolkien, Turn the Ship Around, Well World, Wizard of 4th Street
Extraneous observation to share before I get in to the topic of the day: Having interviewed several times in the last six years, I have determined that going through the process with a current employer for a new position is harder than going in cold to a prospective employer. The challenge of trying to dispel some existing impressions while reinforcing others…? Tough. But that’s a story for another day…
Anyway, after reading and writing about The Quality Instinct last week, I tried to use Max Anderson’s five features when looking at a few exhibits last Sunday. Dylan and Drew had a class at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA)and I went off on my own to test my new knowledge on Loren Mozley and Greek and Roman artifacts. After their class, Andrea, the boys and I all toured three current exhibitions: Chagall: Beyond Color, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum, and Cindy Sherman.
Of course, Andrea and I had differing opinions. And this piece today is about my opinion…
Posted in Art, Movies, Personal thoughts
Tagged Chagall, Cindy Sherman, Dallas Museum of Art, Iron Man 3, Joss Whedon, Loren Mozley, Marc Chagall, Marvel, Maxwell Anderson, Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Downey Jr., Stephen Hawking, The Quality Instinct
One component of my job entails overseeing quality assurance on construction projects. Contractors are responsible for quality control, while we assure they do their part. When it comes to the use of the federal and municipal funds that I have stewarded for the last 20 years, I have exacting standards…and, I’m to understand, an “extreme sensitivity to details”. At least, that’s how an architect described our walkthrough to the contractor on one job.
Now, I am practical – there is a diminishing point of return at which high expectations turn to nitpicking because we all know that the value goes down as soon as we drive a building off the lot – but as he said, I am sensitive to details and there’s really no reason for anyone to expect or receive work of less than acceptable quality. I – and my team – are quite good at this, but I’m always looking to add to my toolbox and I find new or different tools in the most interesting places, such as a book on art, which rises to the top of the “of the week” items for this post.
Posted in Art, Books, Interests, Personal thoughts
Tagged Arthur C. Clarke, Bucking Bock, Colin Razinha, Construction quality, Dallas Museum of Art, Dan Roam, Frank Gehry, Gentry Lee, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Henry David Thoreau, Jack Chalker, Maxwell Anderson, Old Rasputin, Quality, quality assurance, quality control, Rahr & Sons, Rama II, Rem Koolhaas, Russian Imperial Stout, Shadow of the Well of Souls, Steampunk Poe, The Back of the Napkin, The Quality Instinct
Saturday was a beautiful day and we needed to focus on the outside chores…trimming back all of the bushes, some of the trees, beginning the task of getting the pool ready for swimming, etc. I worked on the pool for about an hour before rousting the troops to get on the greenery. After six years living here, I still can’t figure out who plants a sweet gum tree right next to a pool, nor can I understand planting that pernicious weed honeysuckle. Another year for me to dislike it and it hasn’t even starting reeking yet (That’s just me…Andrea likes it). While pulling out some of the long runners from behind a less aggressive bush, I discovered a small moving mass of dark fur.
It turned out to be FOUR small masses of fur…kittens. Tiny kittens. Probably less than three weeks old. I let them be while we moved on to another part of the back yard, for the mother would show up now and then atop our ten foot wooden fence and look down on her charges.
After we worked our way to the front yard, Drew and Dylan saw the momma racing on the other side of the house, across the street, with one of the kittens in her mouth. Over the next hour or so, she moved two more, but the last one was alone for quite a while.
I read somewhere ages ago that dogs and cats don’t have a concept of four or more – one, two, three…many. The species will propagate fine with those three. Whether or not the counting anecdote is true, this particular mother stopped one short of “many”. When it became apparent that the mother wasn’t coming back, Andrea rescued the six inch long mewler and set about trying to figure out how to care for it and find someone else who could take over the care.
This shot is me, exhausted after all the yard work (unfinished, unfortunately, as we ran out of battery charges for the hedge trimmer), holding the tiny critter as I was “reading” a book on my iPad – note the reading glasses. Meanwhile, Andrea contacted someone who fosters cats/kittens and learned that the kitten might not last the night as it refused the fake milk Andrea got at the pet store. Persistence paid off, though, and Andrea did get the little one to drink some. I didn’t wake nearly as much as Andrea (exhausted, remember? that’s my story), but that tiny critter did survive. And the fostering contact found a host who had a nursing mother cat, so Andrea’s taking the kitten now to meet up and hand off, hopefully to a better life.
Posted in Art, Beers, Books, Personal thoughts
Tagged A Universe from Nothing, Aeropress, Blue Moon, Cass Sunstein, cubits, Culture Lab, Dallas Arts: A Creative Conversation, Dallas Museum of Art, Dalls Arts Week, Echoes of the Well of Souls, Is God a Mathematician?, Jack Chalker, kittens, Lawrence Krass, Leonard Mlodinow, Mario Livio, Maxwell Anderson, Mike Rawlings, New Scientist, Noah's Ark, Nudge, Oliver Sacks, Richard Thaler, Robert Anton Wilson, Stephen Hawking, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, The New Business of Design, Tom Peters, yard work