Sunday, August 9, 2020

Cool Georgia libraries

A friend brought my attention to this link, a list of the most beautiful libraries in Georgia, so I checked it out.

A few of them are just "meh," in my opinion--I don't care much for modern architectural trends--but a few are pretty awesome-looking.  My three favorites are the Mary Willis Library in Washington, the Carnegie Branch Library in Savannah, and the Dog River Library in Douglasville.

The Carnegie Branch Library began as the Carnegie Colored Library, a place for black residents during segregation.  It's a rare example of Prairie-style architecture in Savannah.  Even more interesting than its appearance, though, is that it was the local library for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas back in the day.

The Dog River Library is a new one, built in 2011.  What makes this one interesting is that it has an architectural "theme," and that theme is "library in the woods."  That theme isn't terribly clear on the exterior, but when you check out the interior, you can't miss it.

Here's the architect's web page for the library.  It's pretty neat, and you can see the "woods" theme in the interior photos.  You can also read about all the "eco-friendly" stuff they incorporated as part of the theme.  Check it out.

I saved the best for last.  The Mary Willis Library is the oldest one on the list, built in 1888.  It's done in the Queen Anne architectural style, and it has a stained glass window made by the Tiffany Company at a time when Louis Tiffany was actually alive.  Authentic Tiffany glass, folks.

Another author has some pictures of the interior, including the Tiffany window, so check out her blog post about it.  It's just a gorgeous place.  I definitely need to pay it a visit someday.

Thanks to notthatamanda at Writer Sanctum for pointing me to the list.

R.I.P., Kamala

James Harris, a.k.a. Kamala the Ugandan Giant, has passed away.  He was 70.

I used to watch wrestling when I was a boy back in the '80s, and Kamala was one of the wrestlers who was active during that time.  I was young enough to believe it was all "real," and I sincerely thought the wrestling promoter had ventured into the heart of the African jungle to recruit a real-life cannibal.  I actually thought Kamala would start munching on his opponents at any moment.  The man absolutely terrified me.

From Wikipedia:

The character was a vicious Ugandan headhunter with face and body paint copied from a Frank Frazetta painting. His backstory was that he was a former bodyguard of deposed President of Uganda Idi Amin who had been discovered by J.J. Dillon during an excursion to Africa. A promotional vignette aired on WMC-TV featuring a spear-wielding Kamala seemingly emerging from a steamy African jungle; the vignette was actually filmed on Jarrett's farm in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with the steam effect created using dry ice. To establish Kamala as a monstrous character, Jarrett instructed him to wrestle in a brawling style with chops and biting. To preserve kayfabe, Harris wore robes and refused to speak English while in public in Memphis.

Kamala wasn't just a gimmick, though.  Don't let the fat belly fool you; the man had some real muscle.  He body-slammed Andre the Giant, no easy feat.

Later in life, of course, I learned about the reality of the wrestling business, and I grew to have more respect for professional wrestlers as performers rather than as just athletes.  I especially gained some respect for the villains, because they have to endure all the negative crap they get from the kids day in and day out--kids like me who believed it was all real--and that's got to really wear on a man's soul.

Mr. Harris suffered health problems later in life, particularly diabetes.  He would eventually have his legs amputated.  There's a short documentary on YouTube about his struggles.  It has over two million views.  It's only seven minutes and change.  You won't regret watching it, I promise:

R.I.P., Mr. Harris.

Friday, July 31, 2020

They grow up so fast

I'm talking about mosquitoes, of course.  :/

On Tuesday, I noticed some mosquito larvae swimming around in an outdoor container--a saucer thingie for a potted plant to sit in--that had some water in it.  So I did what any reasonable person would do.  I dumped the water on the ground and washed out the container thoroughly.  I put it back dry.

Three days later, I looked again.  The saucer once again sported a crop of larvae.  Even more this time!

I couldn't believe it.  Just three days, folks.  That's all it takes.  These things reproduce fast.

If you've got any standing water outside, check it for mosquito larvae.  And then check it again three days later, because they like to come back.

They like to come back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Comet Neowise

I think I saw Comet Neowise the other day.

It was a hazy night, thanks to someone in the area who did some burning and filled the air with smoke.  Not sure who it was or what was being burned, but as soon I opened the door, the stink hit me.  A bit of an annoyance.  In spite of the haze, I decided to try to spot the comet anyway, because it was an otherwise clear night.

And I think I did.

It sort of follows the Big Dipper across the sky.  It's on the "cup" side opposite the "handle."  Find the Big Dipper, then move away from it in the opposite direction of the handle.  The comet is a faint smudge.  I couldn't see it with the naked eye at all.  I needed my binoculars, and even then it was hard to find.  And I'm still not sure that what I saw was actually it.  I think it was, though.  It was in the right place, and it was a "star" that I couldn't bring into focus the way I could the other stars.  (I.e., it was fuzzy as a comet would be.)  And there looked to be a barely perceptible streak leading away from it.

The comet is best visible after dark and before sunrise.  I think it was around 10:30 P.M. when I saw it.

You still have a few more days to see it before it moves on.  If you miss it, though, then you'll never get another chance, because it won't be back for over 6,000 years.

It rained today, and the sky is cloudy and foggy right now, so no stargazing tonight.  I'm going to try to spot it again, though, if the opportunity presents itself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dipping my toe in the Kobo Plus waters

Kobo announced that they've added Canada to their list of nations eligible for the Kobo Plus subscription reading program.  They've also abandoned the minimum enrollment period (which was two months, I think).  So I've decided to give it a try.

I've enrolled my short stories and my trilogy box set in the program.  I have not enrolled the individual Free Space books or the Wheel of Fire books.  Like I said, I'm just dipping my toe in for now.  I may add the rest of the books to the program later.  We'll just have to see.

In the meantime, if you or anyone you know is a Kobo Plus subscriber, then you or that other person can now read some of my stuff for free as part of your subscription.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Finally feels like summer

Most of the summers of this century--in this area, I mean--have been cooler and wetter than the summers of my youth.  The past few days, though, have been hot and sunny, and the grass is starting to dry out.  It actually feels like summer now.  It's a bit nostalgic.

The good news is that the lack of rain means more time to do things outdoors.  The bad news is the potential for increased stress on plants.  But that's the way of things.  Everything in life involves a trade-off of some sort.  Each of us has to weigh our options as best we can and make the choices that seem to provide the lowest cost-to-benefit ratio.

2020 sucks so far, but the suckitude won't last forever.  Hang in there, folks!  This too shall pass.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

You're never too young

Mary Shelley was only twenty when Frankenstein was published.  She started writing it two years earlier at the age of eighteen.

Kids, if you've got a story in you... don't hold back from writing it just because you think you're too young.  Give it a shot.  You never know what might happen.