Redniss – Radioactive

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love & Fallout, 1st ed. by Lauren Redniss

Date read: 28-29 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Redniss' Radioactive

Hardback, 205 pages

Published 2010 by It Books

Source: Deschutes Public Library

This was an excellent book! It is a work of art from the tactile cover to the paper used to the (mostly) cyanotype prints to the custom-designed typeface, which was created by the author.

This is the story of Marie Curie and her work, of the men in her life and their work, of her family and their work, of the times, and of science. It does not focus entirely on the Curie’s and spins off into other issues such as the bombing of Hiroshima,  Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, The Manhattan Project and Irving Lowen’s FBI file, radium-based face cream, famous Poles, and so forth.

The use of color is generally excellent but, while I understand the intent, the medium-dark gray on black does not work (p. 106). It is appropriate as it is Marie’s description of being faced with Pierre’s lifeless body after he was run down by a horse-drawn carriage but it almost impossible to read.

There are some endnotes, which mostly provide citations to the various quotes used throughout.

Highly recommended! Excellent and beautiful. Although it did leave me wanting far more details of some things. I may have to read a “proper” biography of this remarkable woman.

This is the 33rd book in my GN2015

It also counts for my Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

Update (30 January 2015): This also meets the A book based on a true story criterion for the 2015 Reading Challenge.

10th Blogging Anniversary

Today, 29 January 2015, is my 10th blogging anniversary. Public blogging anyway. My 1st public blog was on Typepad and was called … the thoughts are broken…. It is a line from the Grateful Dead’s Ripple. First post: So, what is this about, and for?

The blog has been many things over the years and as of Jan 2013 I have had two more of them. I used to do a weekly “Some things read this week …” post of serious things read seriously and there were a couple years of hardly any blogging and now this month of January 2015 I already have posted 32 reviews of graphic novel and manga. WTF is that?! Not doubt many other odd juxtapositions could be found. Graphic novel reading challenge that I got off to a far better start than imagined possible is the “the” of the WTF, by the way.

As for 10 years, I’m stuck between saying, “So what?” and wanting someone to do a serious multi-faceted analysis but seeing as that would only be me the hell with it. I guess I can’t quite just say “So what?” either.

I as said, it was initially called … the thoughts are broken…, then became Off the Mark (Jul 2006), and has been habitually probing generalist since July 2009. The story of naming(s) can be found in the assorted posted linked below. Some are anniversary posts and some are more about naming or somehow seem relevant to me.

Anniversary posts

29 Jan 2005 Inaugural post

12 Jan 2006 Sort of a pre-anniversary post

29 Jan 2006 1st anniversary post and metaphors of orality

2008 3rd anniversary post and LISNews Top 10

Let there be songs to fill the air.”

2009 4th anniversary

“She found me in an alley and my life will never be the same.”

6 years later: I had no idea how true that statement would become and how deep it could resonate, nor did I have any idea the state of good represented by the proposition.

2010 5th anniversary [good shorthand version of history]

Other posts

20 Jul 2006 Welcome to Off the Mark Name change the first

20 Oct 2006 habitually probing generalist: the story of a label

20 Jul 2008 Mark has been Off for 2 years 2nd anniversary of Off the Mark

19 Jul 2009 habitually probing generalist Name change the second

24 Jan 2013 Two new blogs

Some numbers and a list

  • Most posts/month: 50 in May 2005; 2nd is 43 in November 2005
  • Most posts/year: 371 in 2005; 2nd is 296 in 2006
  • Least posts/year: 6 in 2013; 2nd is 10 in 2014
  • First month 0 posts: November 2008
  • Longest stretch no posts: 9 months (23 January – 22 Oct 2014); 2nd is 5 months (21 April – 22 September 2013)

As one can see above and definitely below, I got off to an amazing start. The content was highly varied back then too. I have no idea how I managed the first few years as I was a full-time grad student and worked 20 hours/week. Clearly I was generating a large quantity of writing for my degree(s) work also. Crazy.

It was a heady time and many of us—students and otherwise—were cranking out so many words trying to have discussions and move the field along: Chad, Joy, Jenica, Dorothea, and so many others. Some are still around; some aren’t. Some are in different venues and I couldn’t point you at the old “them” if I wanted. That’s fine; I just wish the reasons were less innocuous than they are in a few cases.

In my 1st year (actually a little less as am going to calendar year end not 29 Jan), I posted over 31.7% of all existent posts. In 2006 it was 25.3%, in 2007 18.8%, with 2008 (4th year) being the first year to be under one-tenth of the total at 7.6%. So in my first two years I posted 57% of my content and by the end of the third has posted 76.1% of it all. Wow!

Then again, over 33 posts before January ends (as I am already at on the 26th; with a couple more in draft for Jan.) has, well …. Well. Look at that. It has never been done before. The most in January was 27 in 2006 and then 20 in 2007. Ha. Go, me!

Number of posts per month by year

2005
Jan 8
Feb 18
Mar 23
Apr 42
May 50
Jun 29
Jul 30
Aug 23
Sep 34
Oct 41
Nov 43
Dec 30
Total 371

2006
Jan 27
Feb 28
Mar 35
Apr 32
May 17
Jun 20
Jul 17
Aug 23
Sep 20
Oct 22
Nov 30
Dec 25
Total 296

2007
Jan 20
Feb 31
Mar 10
Apr 21
May 30
Jun 21
Jul 17
Aug 17
Sep 13
Oct 15
Nov 10
Dec 15
Total 220

2008
Jan 16
Feb 11
Mar 11
Apr 11
May 11
Jun 10
Jul 5
Aug 6
Sep 6
Oct 2
Nov –
Dec 1
Total 90

2009
Jan 4
Feb –
Mar 2
Apr –
May 2
Jun 1
Jul 2
Aug –
Sep –
Oct 1
Nov 1
Dec 1
Total 14

2010
Jan 1
Feb 3
Mar 2
Apr 4
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug 6
Sep 9
Oct 11
Nov 2
Dec 4
Total 42

2011
Jan 7
Feb 5
Mar –
Apr –
May 1
Jun –
Jul 4
Aug 5
Sep 2
Oct 1
Nov 3
Dec 4
Total 32

2012
Jan 6
Feb 4
Mar 2
Apr 3
May 1
Jun 4
Jul 2
Aug 1
Sep 2
Oct –
Nov 24
Dec 6
Total 55

2013
Jan 2
Feb 1
Mar –
Apr 1
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug –
Sep 1
Oct –
Nov –
Dec 1
Total 6

2014
Jan 2
Feb –
Mar –
Apr –
May –
Jun –
Jul –
Aug –
Sep –
Oct 1
Nov 4
Dec 3
Total 10

2015
Jan 32 (25 January 2015)

2005-2015 1169 posts total

Cheers for making it all the way down here. I have no idea how this blog will continue to manifest but I am still saying things, even if much less (here), so will keep it. I honestly wish I had more time to read back through it. The 100s of 1000s of words I wrote contain a few good ones, along with a couple excellent ideas. It shows a fragmented, erratic, (somewhat) incoherent path but it was mine.

There is also a lot of insight and wisdom in the comments by others. I want to thank every last person who made one or more since the beginning.

I’m still “sewing.” I’m still listening. I keep trying to make some sense but … the thoughts are broken ….

Thanks to all who were along for the ride and those here now and in the future.

Peace and love.

Mina and Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 2

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Book 2 by Denise Mina (adaptor), Stieg Larsson (adapted from), Leonardo Manco and Andrea Mutti (illustrators)

Date read: 25 January 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Mina and Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 2

Hardback, 1 v. unpaged

Published 2013 by Vertigo

Source: Deschutes Public Library

Meh. Read this last night when I couldn’t sleep and my knees were really hurting so I got up in the middle of the night. About the same as the first book. Seems harder to follow than the movie. Will quit this series now.

This is the 32nd book in my GN2015

Mina and Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 1

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Book 1 by Denise Mina (adaptor), Stieg Larsson (adapted from), Leonardo Manco and Andrea Mutti (illustrators)

Date read: 25 January 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Mina's adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 1

Hardback, 1 v. unpaged

Published 2012 by Vertigo

Source: Deschutes Public Library

This is the other book I grabbed when we were a few minutes early for a program at the public library on Saturday. I saw the original movie (not the pointless American remake) when it came out and thinking quickly thought the graphic novel might be OK. I did not realize that it would be two volumes per book in the Millennium trilogy though.

It has been a couple years but this seems fairly true to the movie; I have no idea how true that is to the book. It is also a lot easier to take than the film. The film may not quite be on the level of Requiem for a Dream but it gets close and may be worse for folks sensitive to sexual violence. Oh wait. Yeah. Not quite Requiem [Requiem has that base covered too]. 

I did pick up the second one from the public library today. We’ll see how that goes.

This is the 31st book in my GN2015

Exercise goals for 2015

Back in December when I saw the endocrinologist we had no real leads so I brought up that I needed to get back “in shape” so we could help ascertain what are “real” symptoms of whatever is the health issue and the those of the larger health issue of absolutely poor fitness.

I have always been a “fair weather” exerciser. Motivation is my personal downfall. I have the education and knowledge (and personal library) and was even once certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Fitness Trainer and am a US Army Master Fitness Trainer.

So. This year. I am trying to build on the motivation I grasped at at the doctor’s office. I do NOT like how I feel and how my illness makes me so I am currently highly motivated (for me).

For annual review at the start of the year I grabbed some numbers I had written down at least a year ago, maybe closer to two, for a “goal.” I was to walk a minimum of 4 mi/week and run (once I started) a min. of 15 mi/week. Surgery and forest fires and a move and selling the treadmill all added up to zilch running and pretty much the same for walking. Since Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café was about the only place to walk from our previous place and it involved a big hill it was hard to get in 4 mi/week.

Where we live now we can do all kinds of walking, although I would do a LOT more if Bend would do something about being a pedestrian here. You know, like they actually want them. Starting with some freaking sidewalks, everywhere. And then enforcing clearing of sidewalks, etc.

Anyway … we live quite near Pilot Butte State Park so I decided I wanted to walk a minimum of 4 mi/wk AND climb Pilot Butte an average of once/week.

We began the new year with a pre-dawn climb with a new friend. There was a couple day fresh pack of snow on the trails and we crested four minutes before sun up. Good thing too as it was in the single digits temperature-wise. Quite glorious actually.

Picture of the sun peaking over the eastern hills from the summit of Pilot Butte, Bend, OR

Sun up (7:41 am) 1 January 2015 from the crest of Pilot Butte

I managed to climb it again with Sara six days later and then by myself six days after that. I treated that one as sort of a “fitness test” and it almost killed me despite a strong start. My back really tried to completely break me during and for a couple days after. My next climb was about eight or nine days later (but still making average) and I took it much slower. I also took the road up that day and the trail down, instead of trail for both. My back still hurt a fair bit but began much later and did not last as long.

Picture from the summit of Pilot Butte on 7 January 2015 just a few minutes past sunup but looking west to the Cascades.

The summit of Pilot Butte on 7 January 2015 just a few minutes past sunup but looking west to the Cascades.

Another issue with climbing the butte is that from our house, if I take the most likely way and then the trail up and down, it is a 4.5 mi walk. So achieving my Pilot Butte climb gives me more mileage than I had as a goal. Silly, boy.

Nonetheless, I decided that maybe I am not yet in the shape necessary for climbing the butte. I could always take the base trail around and get in a lot of up and down and several miles but not the mostly up and mostly down of trying to crest.

With that in mind, this morning I tried to find the base trail from our way in and got off to the wrong start and was doing way too much climbing pretty much straight up the side. NOT what I had in mind. I retraced and re-found my way to the base trail and took it the whole way around. My back was not happy early on but after my mis-taken route it only made sense.

I have decided that taking the base trail around or some even longer version can count as “doing” Pilot Butte for now. When I got to the trailhead I also found the poster and cards for the Century Club.

Picture of Century Club tracking postcard

Postcard to track your Century Club progress. Available at the signpost for the Club near the trailhead.

Basically, for them, up and down once or around the base trail once is “2 miles” and 50 times gets you in the Century Club and a certificate. Some of those folks have clearly been doing it for decades as they have thousands of “laps”.

So my revised goals are:

Walking

  • 8 mi/week [till needs to go up]
  • Pilot Butte 1x/week
  • Make the Century Club by the end of 2015

Running

  • That is flexible as I have no idea if I will be in good enough shape to try running soon but I hope to, especially if the weather stays anything like this. Ha ha ha.

I am also building myself a pull-up bar from galvanized steel piping. I have an over-the-door one but I can’t make it work in this house. I am hoping that by having it there and handy I will treat it as a exercise of opportunity.

I am also doing (too infrequently) a little hopping around aerobic/calisthenic/strength routine that takes about 5 minutes to do.

There is also a Pilot Butte Challenge in September that I would like to do perhaps in 2016 if I can get in much better shape. But that is another day. I may go to registration on 7 February to see about volunteering. That way I can easily learn more about how it is run; managed, that is.

When I got home today Runkeeper joyously announced that I had achieved the most elevation gain in a month, 3488 ft. I’m guessing that’ll get broken soon.

My main goals are: to build cardiovascular endurance, gain strength, sleep better, be in far less pain, be able to determine a pain is indicative of an actual short-term problem versus arising from gross structural inadequacy, and those sorts of larger-scale more important things than simply tracking miles or reps.

Speaking of more important things, I leave you with one of my favorite junipers on Pilot Butte:

Picture of a juniper tree on Pilot Butte at Pilot Butte State Park, Bend, OR

Anno – Sakuran: Blossoms Wild

Sakuran: Blossoms Wild, 1st ed. by Moyoco Anno

Date read: 24 January 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Sakuran: Blossoms Wild by Anno

Paperback, 296 pages

First published in Japan in 2003 by Kodansha Ltd. English language version produced by Vertical 2012.

Source: Deschutes Public Library

I grabbed this when we were a few minutes early for a program at the public library on Saturday. The blurb on the back begins: “In Sakuran Moyoco Anno lifts the veil on life in the Edo-period pleasure quarter, Yoshiwara. ….” Yoshiwara came up briefly early on in Ōoku, which is also set in Edo-period Japan, and much more so in Book 3 so I thought I’d give this a try.

Rated Ages 18+ and while not rife with sex it is present, as is murder and a bratty child. I liked it well enough but the main protagonist is/was that bratty child. Maybe I was hoping for more about the protocol and running of the pleasure district. We did learn a bit about courtesan levels and names but not that much beyond the names. Nor much else beyond that overall.

Decent but not overwhelmed.

This is the 30th book in my GN2015

Yoshinaga – Ōoku 4

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 4, VIZ Signature ed. by Fumi Yoshinaga. Akemi Wegmüller (Translator)

Date read: 23-24 January 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover of Ōoku 4 by Yoshinaga

Paperback, 216 pages

First published in Japan 2008 by HAKUSENSHA; English language translation rights arranged. VIZ Media, 2010.

Source: Deschutes Public Library

These continue to be fine but not sure how much longer I’ll continue, although I did request the next two volumes from my public library. Mainly just varying amounts of court intrigue amongst differing peoples across time.

This is the 29th book in my GN2015

Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 11

Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius v. 11), Electronic ed. by Phil Foglio (story, pencils), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 21 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius volume 11

Ebook (PDF), 172 pages

Published 2010-2011 by Airship Entertainment & Girl Genius

This material originally appeared from November 2010 to November 2011 at www.girlgenius.net

Source: Kickstarter reward for backing The Rats of Mechanicsburg game.

Lots of laughs! I think this volume had me laughing more than any other. So many good in jokes and little jabs and other humorous touches.

Maxim, Oggie and Dimo meet with the Jäger Generals. No saluting for these boys:

Dimo: “Ve vos detached.”

General Khrizhan: “Ah–Indeed hyu vos. Und hyu found uz a Heterodyne gurl!”

Maxim (looking sheepish; how is that even possible?): “Vell… Ectually she kinda found us. Doz dot still count?”

General Khrizhan: “Ho, Yez.”

Maxim (under his breath): ::whew!:: (p. 65)

Tarvek and Gil are hilarious together:

Tarvek: “… I will renounce my crown if you walk down there right now”

Gil: “… That bad?”. (p. 105)

When everyone else advocates Agatha smash up the over-sized monster cat clanks Agatha embraces her heritage:

Excuse me? Those are my fun-sized mobile agony and death dispensers. They’re works of art! You can break your own stuff, thank you very much.” (p. 107)

The Doom Bell has wrung!

By the way, I should have mentioned that the previous three volumes all won Hugo Awards for Best Graphic Story in the first three years of the category (2009-2001). The creators of Girl Genius removed themselves from consideration the next year “in order to show that the category was a “viable award”.”

This is the 28th book in my GN2015

Yoshinaga – Ōoku 3

Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, Volume 3, VIZ Signature ed. by Fumi Yoshinaga. Akemi Wegmüller (Translator)

Date read: 19-20 January 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover of Yoshinaga's Ooku 3

Paperback, 231 pages

First published in Japan 2007 by HAKUSENSHA; English language translation rights arranged. VIZ Media, 2010.

Source: Deschutes Public Library

This story continues the one in vol. 2, which I considered a distraction from where the story was heading at the end of vol. 1. But the end of this volume seems to be in confluence—not temporally but more thematically—with the end of vol. 1 and I hope they pick back up there. I am in possession of volume 4 so will learn shortly.

This volume is mostly court politics and it fills in some reasons for a few things but mostly shows the delivery/acceptance of things we’ve already taken as the state of things. Some of it is interesting but it gets old. If volume 4 doesn’t head in more interesting directions I may give up. Still. is enjoyable.

This is the 27th book in my GN2015

Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 10

Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius v. 10), Electronic ed. by Phil Foglio (story, pencils), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 19 January 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius volume 10

Ebook (PDF), 156 pages

Published 2009-2010 by Airship Entertainment & Girl Genius

This material originally appeared from December 2009 to November 2010 at www.girlgenius.net

Source: Kickstarter reward for backing The Rats of Mechanicsburg game.

As the title suggests, we meet another of van Rijn’s Nine Muses. Shenanigans galore. Zola is loose. The Castle has been shut off. Airman Higgs.

Includes the short story “Maxim Buys a Hat,” colored by Katrina Hao. More Jägerkin, and assorted, backstory and just plain fun.

This is the 26th book in my GN2015