What I’m Reading Lately…

First the updates, though – I’ll get to the books in the links. :)

The Crossfit competition this weekend was great! (I was cheering, Kerigan and lots of other friends were competing.) We had a gorgeous sunny day, and a really nice crowed showed up, both to compete and to support the competitors.

I’m really proud of Kerigan for participating – it was his first competition, so he was a ball of nerves for a few days before, but he did great. Not only did he work hard and push himself even harder than usual, he came in 5th overall in the men’s scaled division! Congratulations!!!

Today, it was back to the WOD – I’m kind of surprised and impressed that Kerigan was ready to get back to working out so soon after a day of four hard workouts. :) For my workout, I was pleased to get through all of the runs without walking – lots of shuffling, but no walking. And I got through all the squat-clean thrusters without any serious knee-tweaks, yay!

Writing is going fairly well, and I’m enjoying working on my Ice story. It’s going into some interesting places now that I have more than one human on the planet. :)

Speaking of which, here’s a tidbit…



“All right,” the man growled. “Sally, call in that New Arctica medic. She can get her butt down here and make herself useful for once, instead of being a pain in mine.” One of the women turned away and started speaking rapidly into her com. “You,” he said, pointing at Jade. “Can I trust you not to attack any of us with that thing?”

“It’s a tent pole,” Jade said, leaning her head wearily against the object in question, “And I’m not a threat to any of you, or your colony. I promise.”


Book Links!

Poor Jade… finally she has some people to talk to, but they don’t seem to like her very much.

But enough about my story, here’s some of what I’ve been reading lately, and planning to read soon. (I was going to talk about several authors, but I only just finished writing the bit about Hugh Howey, and it’s already almost bedtime. Robin McKinley and Alexandra Sokoloff will have to wait for another day.)

Hugh Howey

Hugh Howey is a pretty inspirational person, (check out his blog!) but his books blow me away in their own right. He wrote the short story “Wool” (free on Amazon) while working in a bookstore and put it up on Amazon. (Along with several other stories – he’d been working at this writing thing for quite a while before becoming an “overnight” success.)

People liked it. Lots of people liked it, and wanted to read more in this world of an underground silo of humans surviving under a post-apocalyptic wasteland. So he wrote another story, and another, and so on, and eventually collected all five of them in the Wool Omnibus.

I highly recommend it, for pretty much anyone. There’s a compelling blend of despair and hope in his stories, and very profoundly human characters, but mainly they’re just really good stories!

Of course, the world of the Silo begs the question: How did it get this way?
Which brings me to what I’m reading right now, the Shift Omnibus, which includes Shift 1-3 and tells the story(ies) of how this all came to be. I’m about half way through, and it’s excellent. Really excellent… and the only way I could make sure I made this post was *NOT* to pick up the book when we got home from Crossfit, because otherwise I’d be reading right now.

Next up, possibly after taking some time to digest and read other books from my queue, will be Dust, which was just released on August 17th.

The blurb says:
“WOOL introduced the silo and its inhabitants.
SHIFT told the story of their making.
DUST will chronicle their undoing.
Welcome to the underground.”

Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. :-D

Anyway, my “Go to bed!” alarm just went off, so I’d better wrap this up. G’night, all!

Happy Wednesday?

I have no idea what to title posts sometimes…

Crossfit was good. I’m finally starting to go the whole week without giving my knees any nasty tweaks. Now I’ve just got to keep that up.

Writing was good, even if I only had a half hour for it today. Still, a half hour is a half hour!

I keep promising myself a bath, and then not following through… Last night, it was because I spilled boiling water over my hand and didn’t want to aggravate the burn with a hot bath. Tonight… tonight, it’s just that by the time I had supper, and started feeling like I have enough energy to draw a bath, it’s almost bed time. And I’m going to want to soak for a while, if I invest all that water in a bath and add some bath salts, and maybe one of those bath bombs that I got on sale and haven’t tried out yet. And then I’ll need a shower.

Which means no bath tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Or Friday. Or… Well, Sunday should be free. We’ll see. :)



She was heading toward the river when she saw Tanya cutting through the woods and decided to follow. Even with her injured leg, the medic was clumsy enough in the forest that she had no trouble keeping up, and noisy enough that she had no chance of hearing Jade approaching behind her.

“There you are!”

Jade leaned against a big pine tree, letting its trunk hide her from view.



Bath links. Why not?

The word “Bath” comes from a similar Old English word, from a proto-Germanic word, and the original sense of the word was to heat something up rather than to immerse in water.

The town of Bath in England is well known for its hot springs. The Romans built up a bathing complex around them and named it Aquae Sulis, after the goddess that had been revered there by the natives.

Carbonated baths have apparently been shown to have all sorts of health benefits, possibly relating to absorption of carbon dioxide through the skin, which increases surface circulation and lowers blood pressure. The Nauheim Bath in Germany appears to be the most famous naturally occurring one.

The nearest I could find close to home is the fizzy bath bombs you can buy in stores or use any of the dozens of guides online to make your own, but in Japan, Mitsubishi is selling an artificial carbonated bath for use in hotels, spas, and hospitals, and appears to be working on a consumer version.

And you thought they only made cars… (well, I did, anyway!)

Didn’t I just do this?

Boy, posting two days in a row… not sure what I’m going to do with myself. :)

Today was a good writing day, which is a nice change. This weekend was not a good writing weekend. I did write, but…

Some days, I feel confident and happy with my writing. Even first draft crap doesn’t phase me, because I know it’s the path to the second draft, which is always better. I know that no matter what I’m writing, I’m getting better by practicing, and that at least some of what I’ve written has pleased the friends and family who have read it.

Other days, I don’t really feel confident at all, but still enjoy the process.

And then there are days like the last two, where not only do I feel like everything I’m writing is crap, I feel like it will never, ever be good, and anyone who’s ever said nice things about one of my stories must have been delusional.

Don’t worry, it passes.

I’m very pleased that I *did* write this weekend, in spite of the mood. Working through it might even be what made it finally lift today. :)



Jade raised her eyebrows, trying to stay still and non-threatening. If she wasn’t careful, the medic would sedate her, and then she wouldn’t find anything out.

Tanya pursed her lips and gave Jade an evaluating look. “I think maybe I should give you a sedative. This is obviously a big shock to your system.”

“No! Please, I’ll be good. I want to know what’s going on.” Jade sat on her hands, trying to look non-threatening.



Interesting Links

Kerigan and I watched a National Geographic special on Gorangosa National Park in Mozambique last night that was pretty interesting. The wildlife of the park was decimated by their civil war, and the special was all about the efforts to restore it. One of the most interesting bits was about how they’re working with the local populace too – working to improve their lot in life so that they don’t need to poach wildlife. You can read more about it here.

In another example of conservationists working with the people who might otherwise be motivated to kill their charges, researchers in Hawaii, based on community input, have recruited the school children to help with going through footage from “critter cams” tracking the activities of the Hawaiian Monk Seal.

And finally, in keeping with the theme, here’s a nice example of big business working for the environment rather than against it: Global Forest Watch 2.0 will use Google Earth data to track illegal logging operations in real time, and Nestle and Unilever are supporting the project. It’s not just out of the goodness of their hearts, of course – as corporations, they don’t *have* hearts, for one thing! But I’m a fan of enlightened self interest – it ensures an ongoing motivation.

Not a post-workout post…

I might have to re-evaluate this posting plan… We’ll see. I know I go in phases with posting here, where sometimes it just doesn’t make it far enough up the priority list to actually happen. I’ve had an off week or two, so maybe it’ll go better for a bit. :)

Anyway, here’s a scintilla, and then some links!


She cleaned the solar charger carefully, and then the entire casing and even the wrist strap, but her com remained no more responsive than a rock. There was no external evidence of what had gone wrong – no cracks or leaks or soft spots. Not even much in the way of scuffing. It must be something internal, and she didn’t have the tools to even open it up, let alone diagnose and repair the circuitry inside.



Methane ice worms – sounds like something out of science fiction, right? Maybe in the seas of Europa? Nope! Scientists have found them colonizing methane hydrates on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico!

Continuing the science fiction theme, take a look at this inexpensive prosthetic designed by a teen using a 3-D printer. $500 vs. $80,000 for a prosthetic hand that will grip and manipulate objects is pretty astounding. He’s now working with NASA, and has given a cool TED talk.

And finally, could this be the precursor to Geordi La Forge’s visor? The current version is only approved for treatment of a specific cause of blindness, but who knows what they’ll do with it next!

Vacation time turns all my routines on end…

That’s my excuse for not posting Friday, anyway. ;-)

Wondering if I should switch things around here too – maybe put the scintilla second or third, instead of first, start the post with updates and so on, and fit the fun links in somewhere. Might as well try it out now, right? Let me know what you think!

So, we took Friday and Monday off, so it’s back to work tomorrow. It was a lovely long weekend, I must say. We did quite a bit of nothing in particular, and I got a cleaning bug and did some straightening up, especially today. Kerigan helped with weeding out all the cords and electronics that should go to the recycling center instead of cluttering up our closets, yay!

In exercise news, we made it to Crossfit both Friday and today, yay! We also went for a nice five or so mile walk yesterday. And cleaning counts! Especially since I also rearranged some furniture.

In writing news, my Ice story came up during our long walk, and Kerigan had some thoughts on the world and culture that I really like, and hope to make use of. :) I didn’t actually do a whole lot of writing, but I’m finding myself entirely unremorseful about that – probably because I needed the downtime.

In other news, I mixed up seasoned burgers for supper that were really yummy! 1/2 lb ground beef, about 4 Tbsp worcestershire sauce, and about 1-2 tsp each of onion powder, chipotle powder, garlic salt, and white pepper. Plus a grated Mexican cheese blend I had left from tacos last week. Very,very tasty.

That’s about it for updates, so on to the links!


Fun Links

I spent some time yesterday meandering through Wikipedia links on geology, so I thought I’d share some of my more interesting finds.

It all began with the Richat Structure in the Sahara Desert. Isn’t that a cool image? It’s so big you can see it from space, and is apparently an example of an eroded dome.


Of course, that made me wonder what a “dome” is in geological terms.

Which led me to reading about laccoliths. Isn’t that a fabulous word? Laccolith. If I understand correctly, it’s the bit from underneath that pushes strata upward to form a dome.

A hydrolaccolith, where the pressure is caused by water and ice rather than magma, is also known as a pingo, another most excellent word. Pingo. Pingo. Can’t you just see Rowan Atkinson saying “Pingo,” and making it sound entirely ridiculous?

Why yes, this is how I amuse myself when left to my own devices. Hopefully, I’ve amused you too. :0



Right now, that didn’t matter. Right now, she just had to focus on surviving today, and then tonight. “And the best way to do that,” she said, “is to stop pushing myself to get back to camp, and take things step by step here. I have enough roots to keep myself fed. Water… is problematic, but it won’t kill me yet, and if it rains again, I’ll be fine. Shelter… I’m not going to make it back tonight, even if I leave everything and go now. Which would be stupid. So… I stay here today. I can build up a bit of a lean-to, gather up my roots, and spend some time fixing my bags. Then tomorrow, I travel. All right?”

© 2010 Catherine Wechsler, used with permission.

© 2010 Catherine Wechsler, used with permission.


On Ice Cover
Refuge Cover
The Trouble With Wishes Cover