February 2020

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Mon, 02/24/2020 - 09:34

The second novel in this trilogy.  Overall a good read.  After the hint about the moon at the end of the first novel, I expected more to happen with that in this novel.  Instead it is just a build up (explanation) of the mechanisms that will presumably be used to manipulate the moon in the third novel.  And those mechanisms are so tediously explained, in such an "emotional" way that it is really a challenge for me to read.  Unbelievably, this second novel also ends with basically the same cliffhanger about the moon.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 02/22/2020 - 11:09

This was a pretty solid read, interesting story line and good world-building.  The writing style was not my favorite with so many paragraphs consisting of one short quip by the character and then a few sentences of the character's thoughts adding further context.  Sometimes it seemed like a really tedious way of revealing the "world" to the reader.

The Greatest Generation Speaks by Tom Brokaw

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Wed, 02/19/2020 - 21:30

The writings compiled in this book do an excellent job at describing the mostly negative impacts that WWII had on its contributors, certainly making me feel like I have it pretty easy (I do!).  It did get pretty repetitive and is not what I would describe as a page turner past about halfway.  I closed it up with about 20 pages left to go, not that it was bad but just that I didn't feel that I had anything to gain by reading the last 20 pages (nor the previous 50-100 pages).

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Wed, 02/19/2020 - 21:24

I haven't watched this movie for 10 or 15 years but I still found myself trying to remember it for comparison.  I'm not sure there is that much similarity!  I suppose the majority of the content of the book is not suitable for the movie screen.

I did enjoy the philosophical parts, there were some interesting ideas.  For example, the discussions of value, who is qualified to vote, etc.

Achikaps

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sun, 02/09/2020 - 15:21

I found this game on the No Bullshit Games page, which lists games that don't have IAPs or ads.  So generally they cost a couple bucks, and I believe this one did.

I really like the mechanics of this game.  Little agents move around your system of facilities automatically performing tasks.  It reminds me of the World/Kingdom of Keflings which I played nigh on a decade ago.  Setting up automated systems like this is one of my favorite game mechanics.

UnCiv

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 02/01/2020 - 15:41

I found this clone of Civilization (the fifth release I believe?) on the F-Droid app store.  I played through on the apparently pretty easy settings that were mostly default and got a science victory on my second playthrough.  On my first playthrough I reached 100 turns and got a message from the developer saying something like "I'm sure by now you've noticed that the game is incomplete" and just sort of put the game aside for a week or two until I decided to try it again.  Maybe the AI isn't finished as I was never attacked, or maybe it was just on that easy of a difficulty.

A week on South Bimini

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 02/01/2020 - 12:37

We spent a week and a day on South Bimini until the weather was right to sail east.  On the first day I did customs and immigration at the airport in the afternoon.  Then we started meeting all of our new neighbors; about 12 boats had arrived to the marina with us that day, and it was almost empty previously.

We spent some time marveling at the comically clear water.  It was about 10 feet deep around the docks and we could see perfectly to the bottom.  There were lots of minnows, plenty of 6" fish, and even some 12-18" ones.

The first or second day we went to North Bimini to see what it had to offer.  Louise came with to help.  The dinghy parking situation was not that good, just an aluminum swim ladder on a beat up concrete wall, with the east winds making some weird little waves to push our dinghy into the wall.  We walked around for about an hour.  Very interesting.  There was what appeared to be the power plant of the island, which I think was just a large diesel generator.  It makes sense that the marina charges $30/day for power, and we have seen some that have meters and charge $0.80/kWh (4-8 times what you might pay at a house in the US).  There were some grocery/convenience stores, some just small rooms absolutely packed full of packaged/canned food and some with a little more organization and potatoes, onions, etc.  Most prices are double that of an average US grocery store.

Crossing to Bimini in the Bahamas

Submitted by aaron.axvig on Sat, 02/01/2020 - 11:49

On January 7th we left No Name Harbor just as the sky began to lighten.  As the sun rose above the horizon we were clearing the last channel markers off of Cape Florida.  A few boats were ahead of us and as we went a few more appeared behind us.  There were about 10 boats visible in total.

We held a course maybe 20 degrees south of straight towards Bimini in order to make a little headway south before reaching the Gulf Stream which would swiftly carry us north.  I don't remember the exact characteristics of the Stream that day but let's just say that about 5 miles out it became strong, so I altered course to maybe only 5 degrees south of straight east (yes, that would be 95 degrees).  I altered the settings of the chart plotter so that lines indicating both heading (direction the boat is pointed) and track (direction of boat movement over ground) angles emanated from our location marker.  It was interesting to see them differ by 15 degrees or so due to the combined current and boat movement through water.