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text 2018-12-29 22:00
24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 - Kwanzaa, Task 3 (Visiting Africa)

Thinking about this task, I realize that quite a few African destinations are sitting on my travel bucket list.


I've been to Tunisia and I've done the big "must see" things in Egypt, but I'd still love to return to Egypt one day and see some of the remaining sights; particularly Alexandria, Mount Sinai/St. Catherine's Monastery, Abydos, Dendera, Deir el-Medina/Medinet Habu, and Al Fayoum/Meidum.




I'd also like to see Morocco (Marrakech, Fes, Benhaddou, Essaouira, Merzouga Dunes and, if only for sentimental reasons, Casablanca).


Most of all, though, I'd like to visit Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa one day, particularly:


* South Africa (Cape Town / Table Mountain / Western Cape, Garden Route, Kruger National Park / Sabi Sand Game Reserve, and various other parks and reserves -- e.g., Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Karoo National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, and Phinda Game Reserve)


* Tanzania (Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Ngorongoro Crater)

* Kenya (Maasai Mara, Lake Victoria)

* Victoria Falls (border of Zambia & Zimbabwe)

* Namibia (Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei Dunes, Spitzkoppe, Skeleton Coast)


* Botswana (Kalahari Game Reserve, Okavango Delta, Tsodilo Hills, Nxia Pan National Park, Makgadikgadi Pans - in winter)


* Virunga Mountains Gorilla Conservation Area (Uganda / Rwanda / D.R. Congo)

* Madagascar

* Seychelles or Mauritius


All of which, I suspect, is going to call for more than one trip ...


(Images sources: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)


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text 2018-12-28 18:53
24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 - Kwanzaa, Task 2 (Misdirection in Books)
The Wench Is Dead - Colin Dexter,Samuel West


Obviously, Agatha Christie is still the reigning queen of misdirection in a mystery, but for this task I'm going to go with Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse series, which I am bit by bit revisiting at the moment, courtesy of the splendid audio versions narrated by Samuel West. The solutions of Dexter's books frequently depend on anagrams, crossword-style clues and similar instances of lateral and "six degrees of separation" thinking (the protagonist isn't named Morse for nothing), all which he tends to employ to great effect -- not least since before you've cottoned on to the particular sleight of hand he is using at any given time, the plot still seems to make sense to you and you might well think you're on to quite a different solution.  The Wench is Dead has always been one of my favorite books by Dexter, not least because it also contains a bit of historical fiction writing (of sorts) and a story within a story -- in essence, it's Dexter's bow to Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair.

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text 2018-12-27 20:38
24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 - Kwanzaa, Task 4 (Kwanzaa / Vegetable Dinner)

Boxing Day very-late-lunch-going-on-dinner ("linner"?  "dunch"?) was orange duck with potatoes, mixed vegetables (several different kinds of carrots, green beans, peas, and cauliflower rosettes), mixed green salad, and freshly pressed pink orange juice.  I think that should do it, as far as various kinds of crops are concerned ...


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text 2018-12-24 21:53
24 Festive Tasks: Door 21 - Kwanzaa, Task 1 (Favorite Book Heroes and Their Nemeses)

For this task, I think I'm going with some of the great classics that helped establish the hero / villain dichotomy ... as well as its recently most successful reincarnation:


1. Sherlock Holmes vs. Dr. Moriarty (and in pastiches, vs. everybody from Jack the Ripper to Count Dracula ... as well as ... really just everything, including boredom, as BT just reminded us)


2. The Four Musketeers vs. Cardinal Richelieu and Milady


3. Edmond Dantès aka The Count of Monte Cristo vs. the conspirators Mondego, Villefort and Danglars


4. The Hobbits, Gandalf and The Fellowship of the Ring vs. The One Ring, Sauron and Saruman


5. Harry Potter and his friends vs. Lord Voldemort and the Deatheaters


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text 2018-12-19 23:48
Kwanzaa-24 Tasks



Task 1: “Africa” was originally the name of the Roman province originating from the North African empire of Carthage, which was mythologically founded by Queen Dido and blossomed into Ancient Rome’s only lasting opponent and nemesis (until it was finally conquered by Rome in the Punic Wars). So: who are your five favorite book heroes and their respective nemeses?


Shoot! This is so freaking hard. Just going off the top of my head here. I will not be held til this later if the mood changes and or if I just happen to have some wine. 


Image result for wine gif


1. Roland versus the Man in Black/Crimson King. Stephen King's The Dark Tower seriesi is epic. It will break your heart again and again and you will want to thump the fuck out of King when you finish it. Speaking of that, I am so getting back to this series in the New Year. 


2. Lyra Belacqua versus Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter. Go run and read His Dark Materials series. I love it. Lyra was the heroine that you root for throughout the book. We finally have Pullman in his own way dealing with the "problem with Susan" that C.S. Lewis bungled badly. 


3. Cinder versus Queen Levana. The Lunar Chronicles was so good. Going to thank Moonlight forever for introducing me to this series. 


4. Cory Mackenson versus growing up. Boy's Life was so good. I was sad when that last pages came. This could have definitely been a series. 


5. Kate versus Roland. The Kate Daniel series concluded this year and Ilona Andrews gave us a great ride. The whole series was building to this moment. 


Task 2: In Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, the “Finis Africae” is the hidden center of the labyrinth which constitutes the monastery’s library, protected by a number of intricate, misdirecting devices. Tell us: Where have you recently encountered clever misdirection or a labyrinthine plot in a book?


Hmm clever misdirection in a book was definitely when I just finished "Towards Zero" by Agatha Christie. I was totally floored by the reveal there. I thought the bad guy was someone else and when Christie shows you the way via Battle figuring things out I felt like an idiot. 


Task 3: Tell us: If you could travel to Africa (for those living on the African continent: to a part of Africa that you don’t know yet): Where would you want to go?


Hmmm. It's weird, I have never thought about it until now, but would love to go to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. It looks beautiful and I would love to see the plants and animals. 



It breaks my heart every time I hear about illegal elephant and lion hunting going on in Africa. I am happy this place is protected. 


From Wikipedia:


Because of its biodiversity and ecological significance, the park has been listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a World Heritage Site. As a national park, it is designated as a Category II protected area under the system developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which means that it should be managed, through either a legal instrument or another effective means, to protect the ecosystem or ecological processes as a whole.[citation needed]

The administrative body for all parks in Tanzania is the Tanzania National Parks AuthorityMyles Turner was one of the park's first game wardens and is credited with bringing its rampant poaching under control.[11] His autobiography, My Serengeti Years: The Memoirs of an African Game Warden, provides a detailed history of the park's early years.


Task 4: Have a meal involving vegetables (= crops) and / or corn, or another form of traditional Kwanzaa dinner. Recipe suggestions here: https://kwanzaaculinarians.com/


Oh nice. I actually just ate harvest chili which is just a fancy way of saying vegan chili. It had a ton of vegetables in it. My friend dropped off a ton of food from Trader Joe's and dropped this and some lentil soup off too. I don't think you want a picture of my dirty soup bowl LOL. Here's a link to the recipe though: https://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/4420


I copied over the ingredients for those who don't want to go to the link though.




Book: Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean, or by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author, or a book with a green, red, or black cover.


I already read a book for this one. So here's a gif of Obama dancing with and high fiving Santa Claus. 


Related image

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