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review 2018-11-14 08:12
Beams of Energy: "Waldo & Magic" by Robert A. Heinlein
Waldo and Magic, Inc - Robert A. Heinlein

(Original Review, 1980-08-21)


My chief objection to models which suggest we will be much better off with satellites beaming down power to the ground comes in several pieces:

1. I have been told that solar flux in the bands used by solar cells is no more than twice as high in orbit as in, for instance, the American Southwest. Granted, there is some advantage to having the power available for longer periods but even a synchronous satellite would be shadowed for ~2.3 hours a day which would not be at the minimum demand time;
 
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-11-05 16:24
"Old Buildings In North Texas" by Jen Waldo - wonderfully quirky
Old Buildings In North Texas - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If ever there was a book that deserved having the term "novel" applied to it, "Old Buildings In North Texas" is it. I've never read anything quite like it.

 

I was hooked from the start. How could I not be with an opening like this:

"The situation: before they'd let me out of rehab, someone had to agree to act as my legal custodian. There it is, the snappy truth about why, at the age of thirty-two, I live with my mother. She now has control over every aspect of my life from my finances to my laundry. One little cocaine-induced heart attack and it's back to my childhood to start over."

This is not a Hallmark, "the Twelve Steps saved my life - praise the Lord" view of overcoming addiction. This is not a teaching aid with clear moral messages. It's the story of a woman in love with cocaine but having to deny her lover if she wants to have a life.

 

This is a story of recovery, rather than redemption. As our heroine (no pun intended) puts it: "I'm working to get better not to be better". Of course, she isn't always working very hard. She disdains her court-mandated therapist, is irritated by her parole officer and infuriated to be back under her (perfectly reasonable and deeply supportive) mother's supervision.  So she finds a way to freedom, a personal path to her new life. Does it matter if it's built on lies and deception, trespass and theft and placing her heavily pregnant baby sister at risk? Actually, no, it does not. Suck it up.

 

Our heroine takes up "urban exploration" as a hobby. This initially involves finding a way into and exploring old abandoned buildings in North Texas but leads on to systematic, profitable looting.

 

I liked the voice of the main character, especially as performed by Sally Vahle in the audiobook version. She wasn't always nice but she was always authentic. Her mixture of anger, denial, simple curiosity, complicated obsessions and determination to escape is beautifully described. She presents her worldview with humour and enthusiasm without allowing herself to sugar-coat the issues - well not much anyway.

 

Old abandoned buildings in Texas are almost characters in their own right in this book. Jen Waldo made them seem so real to me that I had to check whether the type of building she talks about actually exist. They do. You can go here to take a look at some. I've put my favourite pictures,  ones that remind me of places visited in the book, below:

texas

Jen Waldo has a unique voice, I'll be reading more of her work to find out what else she has to say.

 

 

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text 2018-11-02 17:09
Reading progress update: I've read 8%. - what a start
Old Buildings In North Texas - Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the rest of this book lives up to its opening sentences, I'm going to be a very happy reader. It starts with:

 

"The situation: before they'd let me out of rehab, someone had to agree to act as my legal custodian. There it is, the snappy truth about why, at the age of thirty-two, I live with my mother. She now has control over every aspect of my life from my finances to my laundry. One little cocaine-induced heart attack and it's back to my childhood to start over."

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text 2018-05-08 14:31
Erster Satz | Henry David Thoreau: Ktaadn
Ktaadn: Mit einem Essay von Ralph Waldo Emerson - Henry David Thoreau

Am 31. August 1846 fuhr ich mit Eisenbahn und Dampfboot von Concord, Massachusetts, nach Bangor und ins Hinterland von Maine, um einen im Holzhandel tätigen Verwandten bis zum Damm am westlichen Nebenfluss des Penobscot zu begleiten, wo er Land kaufen wollte.

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review 2018-04-25 16:13
Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey - Martin Handford  
Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey - Martin Handford

How much do I love these? You can find me sitting in a bookstore or library, unwilling to check out because I'd have to put them down for a few minutes. Surprisingly, the PandaBat didn't really burn out on them.

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