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Life update

Griffy Lake and Me

There are some lakes or reservoirs around Bloomington; closest is Griffy Lake, part of some IU nature preserve area. I found it once a year or two in, here: I biked past the UU church to see what was on the other side of the highway, found a curving road with a forested ravine that reminded me of California, and then a sign marking the lake ahead. After which I turned around, because I didn't have the water or energy to go -- or rather, to come back. Lakes are downhill, after all, and the slope was already alarming.

Summer of 2004, John visited, offering to take me someplace for my birthday. Instead of driving for an hour to go someplace I hadn't been, I opted for Griffy -- close, but hadn't been there; less driving, more hiking! Which we did. Never went back, though.

Saturday I decided to try biking more -- I seem to have switched modes from 'in a rut' to 'in a rut with energy' -- and specifically to try for Griffy again, on the grounds of distance (a few miles at most, nothing much, but more than most other destinations of interest), slope, and depth of interestingness of the destination. I didn't make it, partly due to trying an earlier road which didn't go through -- made it to the sign, then turned back again, being more than halfway through my water bottle already. It's HOT. I should have tried this earlier, when it was cooler. Oh well..

Sunday I tried again! No more water, but no detours, went past the sign, wheeeeeee..... that'll work your brakes, if you don't want to risk going around a curve into a car. Finally I'd returned. I found out that boat rentals are $6/hour, and there's no running water, but a free big dispenser bottle. A turtle went "bloop!" into the water away from me; I saw some little blue damselflies. saganhawk showed up; he'd been inspired by my Facebook status message from Saturday and gone on his own. We did a bit of hiking, though couldn't tell whether the 0.3 mile nature trail diverges from the 1.x mile hiking trail. Talked about bikes -- road vs. mountain, light vs. solid -- and finally headed back to avoid getting caught in a storm (which didn't happen; saved itself up for Monday. Hoo boy.) I had to walk up a fair bit of the initial slope, it being too painful and draining to ride, and I'm not sure I bike any faster than I walk up such grades. Slower, maybe. Saganhawk's probably in better shape, but also has a much lighter bike and slightly bigger wheels. I could casually lift his bike in one hand; mine... no. (At home I weighted mine: 39 pounds. Definitely not an underhand lift by my wrists.)

24 minutes there with a few delays, 25 back. I intend to return, there's a fair number of trails, at the lake and up at the parking lot into the preserve area.

Computer woes

Laptop fan was getting really insanely whiny and irritating, so I tried taking it to PC Max. $49/hour, $98 total labor, and I spent $50 on a replacement fan ordered online; they initially called me with a $90 price for that, which as I pointed out was over 1/5 the cost of the laptop when new. I finally got it back today; it is quieter, though not nearly silent. It's also now oblivious to the headphones being plugged in; I suspect they knocked something loose in taking it apart.

In the meantime I'd been using my eee, having been too lazy to clear off the desktop. It's one reason I have a link storm piled up; the eee is nice for access, but there's a lot that I don't feel like doing on it. Partly the small size of the screen, partly odd sensitivities in the interface -- which reminds me, the page-down key on the returned laptop is now really sensitive.


College!Sarah mailed me Gene Wolfe books as a post-Christmas present, The Book of the New Sun and The Urth of the New Sun. I've read them in the past couple weeks. Good, fun. Far future Dying Earth stuff, initially with a hard fantasy/hardish SF feel, though it got more fantastic as it went on. Lots of funky vocabulary, very 'literary' in ways, but I think I got most of it. Sometimes not very subtle.

I also read the Tokyopop translation of the first Full Metal Panic novel. It's no better than the other Tokyopop's I've read... correction, might be better than the Scrapped Princess translation. Frigging middle school target writing style.

Politics and health care

Over the years I've written Indiana Senators Lugar (R) and Bayh (D) a fair bit, Lugar more than Bayh oddly enough. Partly because he was in the majority, partly because his office is good at sending replies of enough length and detail to give the impression someone actually thought and read about it. I tend to be cynical but wonder how much he tries to do himself, or if sufficiently interesting letters get passed on to him. Most recently I expressed support for Medicare for All or a public option in health care reform, which involved a change: used to be I could e-mail him, and I'd get a paper reply; now I have to go through some web form, and I got an e-mail reply. Doesn't directly address my points, so on consideration could well be a form letter, but an odd choice of form.

Summer Anime

I'm still meh about most of the summer selection.
* Bamboo Blade: kendo team, mostly girls. Fair bit of moe and silly.
* Tales of the Abyss: pseudo-SF fantasy based on a video game. Full of annoying (self-centered main character Luke, admittedly with later excuses; ubercute squeaky animal Mieu you want to smother); silly Fon forces and babble. It's getting a bit better, but, eh.
* Boogiepop Phantom: dark horror in modern Tokyo. Well done, disordered chronology (like Baccano, or Suzumiya, without the fun energy), probably would take re-watching or a marathon to properly get. Half-length. Well done does not mean "I want to watch it again."
* Michiko and Hatchin. 10 year old orphan? girl and criminal adoptive mother-figure in Brazil, looking for Hatchin's father who may or may not be dead. One of the top two of the lineup, I like it, though it doesn't urgently compel me. Good characters; Michiko's a bit over the top, Hatchin's a realistic mature-version girl... currently realistically annoying.
* A Certain Magical Index. More moe and laughs, mixing up espers and weird science and magic, doing a surprising hard reboot partway in, and I still don't care. Has just introduced a possible robot character that seems to narrate her own life, as in "What are you up to?" NAME asked wonderingly where NAME is the name of the character that I've forgotten.
* Samurai Champloo. The other of the top two. It's by Shinichiro Watanabe, of Cowboy Bebop fame, and has some abstract similarity. Guy, guy, girl. Fair bit of difference: rival guys not partners, the girl is the thing keeping them from fighting each other, she's far more personable than Faye Valentine. Gets kidnapped a lot, but also unkidnaps herself a fair bit, with other forms of competence. Has a Bebopy mix of silly and dark episodes. Nothing as silly as the MUTANT ALIEN FOOD FROM THE FRIDGE.

None of these have me bouncing in my seat in anticipation. Of course, these are all the series that weren't good enough for the fall. Also I get to compare them with my passionate love affair with Crest of the Stars.

I've seen the first two episodes of the new Haruhi Suzumiya. Now that's good, though the second one probably would seem slow to people. I've read the fan translation of the novel, I know where it's going; they could have paced it better.


KGS purged my accounts so I have to start over. Currently at 13k official rank. At home, I've been playing cgoban again, getting up to being able to beat it with 2 stones or even as black, plus one or twice as white, though I've been losing as white after that.


Damien Sullivan

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