I know I read them out of order, but since I enjoyed Seeker so much I picked up Jack McDevitt’s Polaris recently and just like it’s successor it’s a great read. It features the same duo of Chase and Alex, a little earlier in their careers, trying to solve the mystery of the Polaris, a spaceship whose passengers disappeared mysteriously 60 years ago. Mr. McDevitt has a way with characterizations and plot twists that keeps you guessing until the very end. I sincerely hope that he will be writing more books set in this universe.

Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS

I went down to Competitive Cameras today and picked up Canon’s 70-200 F2.8L IS lens as an early Christmas present to myself. After seeing how soft the long distance shots from Devil’s Tower came out using my old 70-300 F4.5-5.6 I decided to get a real long lens. Well, this one certainly is. It’s a big, heavy sucker, but it takes great pictures. The image stabilization is incredible. I’m back in the position of having equipment which is better than me so I guess it’s time to find some stuff to shoot with it. I’m going to try the moon tonight to see how well the image stabilization works out.

Brewing A Weizen

The weather’s finally cooled off enough that I can start a batch of beer so after browsing The Cat’s Meow 3 a bit I settled on a weizen recipe that looked interesting.

A shopping expedition to Homebrew Headquarters to pick up ingredients later, I started in on it. I’ve tweaked the recipe a little, so here it is in it’s final form:


  • 6 pounds, United Canadian wheat extract (60% pale/40% wheat)
  • 1 pound, Briess 60L crystal malt
  • 1/2 pound, Paul’s roast barley
  • 1 pound, honey
  • 2 ounces, Cascades hops (boil)
  • 1/2 ounce, Cascades hops (finish)
  • 1 vial, White Labs Hefeweizen IV Ale Yeast WLP380

Steep crystal and toasted barley in 2.5 gallons water for 40 minutes (use grain bags to make this easier). Add extract, honey and bittering hops. Boil wort for 1 hour. Remove from heat. Add finishing hops and steep 2 minutes. Chill and pitch yeast. After active fermentation stops, rack to secondary. Bottle 7 days later or when fermentation has pretty much stopped.

The State Fair Of Texas

I took a personal day today and went to the State Fair. It was my first trip out and while I’ll probably go again, it won’t be for a few years. Fair Park is pretty cool though, with lots of Art Deco buildings to see. I had to have one of the original Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, which was good. I also tried the fried Coca-Cola, which wasn’t.

The most memorable part of the day was the butterflies at the botanical gardens exhibit. I’ve got some really good pictures of them that I’m going to enter in the photography competetion for next year’s fair.

Take a look at them over in the gallery.

Academ’s Fury

I finally finished Academ’s Fury this morning. It’s been the book that I’ve been reading when I work out at the gym but I was so close to the end and the story had gotten so engrossing that I didn’t want to put it down any more.

In the second book of the Codex Alera series, Tavi is in the imperial capital studying to become a Cursor and working as the First Lord’s personal page. In the meantime an old enemy has resurfaced and certain powerful families have started working to overthrow the First Lord. Tavi gets caught in the middle and has to use his wits to get out of it and save the kingdom.

This series certainly isn’t the same as the Dresden Files, and Jim Butcher has created a believable world with well developed characters and a good story arc. Here’s hoping the third book keeps up the tradition.


I picked up Tinker on a whim, mostly because I’m a big fan of Baen Books in general and was pleasantly surprised. It’s a fun book about an Earth where, due to a technological accident, Pittsburgh is transported to an alternate reality where elves and magic are real. Tinker, a girl raised in that Pittsburgh, living her life around magic is thrown into the middle of an ancient war and has to take on more responsibilities than she’d ever thought. There is a sequel out, Wolf Who Rules, which has been added to my Amazon wish list.

Even More Bargains

Well, I headed back after lunch and picked up another one of those UPSs and found a pair of Linksys brand high gain antennas for my WRT54G as well. With the discounts on both of them it was like getting the antennas for free!

Going Out Of Business Sale Bargains

One of the CompUSA stores near where I work is going out of business and having a huge sale. Based on some Internet searches it looks like they’ve marked things up before marking them down, but the markdowns are still making them good deals. I picked up some Mac stuff including an iCurve laptop stand, a MightyMouse, and a keyboard all for 50% off. I also picked up a new 900VA/540W APC UPS to supplement my current UPS. I’ve got that one up and running now and will probably head back over tomorrow to see if they’ve still got any and get another one so that I can replace the big rack mountable one that I’ve currently got.

The iCurve is great. It’s got the screen at a great height to work and with the new mouse and keyboard in place the Mac’s that much easier to use and it’s staying cooler as well!

Hatshepsut at the Kimbell

I took a little time today to head over to Fort Worth to go see the Hatshepsut exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum. It was a really good exhibit with a lot of small and large pieces and good explanations of each one and their significance. It’s going to be there until the end of the year so if you’ve got some any interest in seeing it, buy some tickets and go!

Afterwards I headed over to the Amon Carter Museum to look at the Remingtons and was pleasantly surprised to find a photography exhibit featuring works by Robert Glenn Ketchum. That’s another one that everyone should go see. After seeing it I realize how much I’ve got to learn about photography.