Tag Archives: Tom Peters

My 2013 Reading List – First Six Months

I started the year with another ambitious goal of 100 books (using the Goodreads site to log and track), as last year I read 119. Through June, I’ve managed 58.

I’m grouping the books as I did in last year’s recap by the month in which I finished them (and fiction/nonfiction subgroups.) As the list is already quite long, and I’ve decided to tag all of the authors and titles, I’m publishing the first half of the year as a standalone.

Some quick stats for the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): heavier on the nonfiction (again) for the six months so far this year:

  • 34 nonfiction
  • 24 fiction
  • 9 of the fiction were Arthur C. Clarke novels. The last of the Big Three (Asimov and Heinlein being the other two, though Heinlein doesn’t warrant the distinction…IMO), I think he did well with science fiction and not so well with things that involve people.
  • I’ve rated 10 as five-star on Goodreads
  • I gave 2 books a one-star rating (not-only-no-but-really-no)
  • I’ve linked all of my Goodreads reviews (even if only one line) to each title, in case anyone is interested in what I thought.

And, now to the books of the first half of 2013…

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An unexpected surprise, a dose of art, and Hawking

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.

IExhausted aslepp holding kittent 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.

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Simply Shocking!

English is such a trippy language. Words can mean so many things. It’s time for my spring push to prepare the pool for eventual use, and I have to shock it. So I went out in my starkers and yelled “Boo!”

Oh well. Didn’t work last year and didn’t work this morning either. Back to the old chemical methods…multiple bags of shock.

People shock us all the time. No need to explain, I’m sure.

Another shock comes when we mistake small packages for being harmless. Last night I found a tiny ant – it was black and didn’t look like a fire ant – crawling on my hand and before I brushed it off, it apparently bit me right between the knuckles of my first and second fingers. It itched for a while and when I woke up, I thought I had slept on the hand…it felt numb like that. Turns out it was swollen and the numbness was my skin being stretched. A less than three millimeter ant injected enough formic acid to cause that much of a reaction? Shocking!

There’s medical shock, impact shock, hair shock (okay, shock of hair), shocks of grain (sheaves stacked for drying) … lots of shocks. But “shock” also has the electrical connotation.

As long as I can remember, I seem to have an … (pardon) … attraction to static electricity. I don’t mean that I like or am obsessed by it. No, more like the other way around. I’m sure those who live in dry climates, or even just dry seasonal climates have experienced that spark getting out of a car. Or, walking across a room and grabbing a door handle only to receive a jarring jolt of reality that electricity is all around us. For whatever reason, my body seems to pick up more than the average person. And when it lets go… Bam!

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Ain’t that a kick in the…

So, I finally get over tooth pain from an abscess, Andrea comes home, we prepare for a local getaway weekend for our anniversary (27 years on March 29th, I’ll thank you!) and I suffer a flair up of a recurrent affliction. Grrr.

How to say this? Uh, epididymitis is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy. Okay, sure I would if I had a worst enemy…and the enemy was a “he”. First time I incurred the wrath of all the fertility gods combined was in 1989, and I’m not sure what triggered it this time but I went from “okay” Thursday afternoon to “groan” later that evening to “yes, dear, you’re right… we need to go to the ER… I’m not arguing any more”.

Andrea and I went to the opening of the Plano Art Association‘s 125 Show (a juried, annual event open to all artists who live within 125 miles of Plano, TX) on Thursday and then off to pick up some things for the weekend. By the time 07:30 p.m. rolled around, I was in a wee bit o’ discomforting state. And, still denying the trend, my thought was to call my doctor in the morning, pick up a prescription and be on our way to Fort Worth. Yeah. Right. That simple…not. While packing, Andrea saw the repeating grimaces and knowing my normal pain threshold to be high, told me in no uncertain terms that we were going to the ER. Remember? 27 years, right? She got no objections from me. So just before midnight on anniversary eve, our personal paramedic Colin drove us in his new (well, new to him 2006) Subaru WRX to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Rockwall. Not the most comfortable ride for a man whose nethers need not have been jostled, but I endured.

On the way over, Andrea and Colin were discussing what to say if we got pulled over… If a male cop, just tell him my condition and he’d probably run escort. If a female, Andrea would feign labor. In the back seat, I only heard part of the conversation over the exhaust roar and was thinking, my luck it would be a female doc. Which it was. Modesty be damned when in pain, right? She confirmed the diagnosis – during which I stood up in the stirrups and grabbed her bottom lip – and, after I retrieved my fingernails from the ceiling, she ordered up an ultrasound to make sure nothing was twisted down there. But first…they gave me morphine! And I had no idea how welcome it would be.

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