Library to go

Updated below.

Looking for some free books for your new eReader? Go here.

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There was a time in my life when, as a pre-teen (can I describe myself as once having been a pre-teen? Probably not, given my age.), and then as a teenager, I read anything I could get my hands on. I remember being in the local small-town library where I discovered a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac on the shelf. After briefly thumbing through it I decided that it was something I absolutely needed to read. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time.

Books about the holocaust also figured prominently at a certain stage, in particular those describing – complete with pictures – the horrors of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and other “work” camps. I was struck speechless at the inhumanity of it all.

I vaguely remember some worn volume describing the NKVD, subsequently renamed the KGB after the war (WWII). Given the book’s condition, it, like many other volumes in the library, was probably donated.

Space. Science fiction. Flying saucers. Yes, flying saucers were big back then. Now, not so much.

Indiscriminate in my choices? Probably, but I never wondered what the nice old lady behind the desk might have thought about my reading list. Nor did I particularly care. I was free to bring home whatever I chose to, and I’m certain that my parents would have descended on said nice old lady and raised holy hell had I been censored. I wonder how that would work today?

The Sony PRS-600 eBook reader

The Sony PRS-600 eBook reader

Now, all of that wonderful experience and the memories can be replaced with one of these. I wouldn’t have missed it for all the world – which, I might add, I have also experienced – but this reader is the cat’s ass! Check out the review if you’ve been wavering, like I was, until a couple of days ago.

Free or paid, there’s no limit to what you can find for this thing. Added bonus: it accepts dozens of formats. It comes with Sony’s own software, but I also downloaded a copy of this to help with non-Sony publications, such as newspapers.

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Update: I picked up an M-Edge Executive jacket for my PRS-600 Touch, and added a light to go with it. Review here. Link to M-Edge’s on-line store here.

XM radio has been replaced by the Myine Ira

Updated below for the Sanyo R227.

Well, almost.

I’ve been a great fan of XM satellite radio for years. In fact, I was an early adopter of the technology with the original Sony 5-channel receiver. It was a great unit for its time, but I eventually replaced it with an XM Roady some years ago. I think  it’s time for another change.

Myine Ira wi-fi internet radio

Today I added a Myine Ira wi-fi internet radio to my electronics. 11,000 stations, and no annual fee. Just about all of the stations I listen to on XM are available. Just about? Hell, all of them are! And yes, most of those 11,000 stations are available from a computer also, but what the hell. It’s the end of the ’00s, and I need updating too.

  • It comes without speakers, but I don’t have a problem with that. It’s plugged into my stereo, just as the Roady is.
  • There are no controls on the unit itself, but I figure the limited remote is good enough for me, just as it is with the much better Roady remote.
  • I already have the 40-channel presets on the Ira loaded and ready to go.
  • Setup was a bit of a bear with the entry of my wi-fi settings and passphrases, but now that I’ve got it set for both of my wireless modems, I’m good to go.
  • I checked some reviews, and noticed that some people have had problems getting it to locate their wi-fi networks. I upped the power setting on one modem, and for me, the problem went away.

My XM subscription is probably going to go the way of the dodo at some point in time, but that’s all right. I don’t do a lot of roaming any more. When I do, I can take this thing with me and keep current in style.

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Sanyo's R227 internet wifi radio

I’ve also added a Sanyo R227. It’s wifi or wired, has eight presets for wifi and eight for fm reception. You can add unlimited stations to a my favorites category when you go online and register the radio. They’ll all show up alphabetically. It also has an alarm if you want to use it to wake up.

Here’s a review.

Snacking on the road

I like to ride long distances when I get out on the road. Stopping to eat in a restaurant is a real treat during those times, but it eats up time when I’d rather be out on the blacktop making distance. I like to get on the road early and put in at least a couple of hundred before breakfast.

So what do I do?

A&W.

You can get a pretty good eggs-over-easy and wheat toast at an A&W. It’s quick, it’s hot, and it’s hard to screw up eggs – although not impossible for some places. I don’t bother with the bacon or the potatoes. Who needs that deep-fried grease first thing in the morning laying like a lump in your stomach until noon?

Occasionally – but not often – I’ll get stuck and try an eat’n’puke, but for the most part I’ve learned my lesson and ignore them completely. My one exception: Tim Horton’s for breakfast, although, strictly speaking, Tim Horton’s is no eat’n’puke. It’s very good food. A late-afternoon stop for soup and a sandwich isn’t to be trifled with should I manage to find one en route.

The CLIF Bar

The CLIF Bar

My personal favorite snack bar is a CLIF bar. It comes in a foil pouch, and packs excellent taste into a small package. In texture, it’s much like a granola bar, although it’s soft, moist and very chewy. I’m not going to go into the relative merits of one bar over the other, since a simple search will pull up all of that information.

Added bonus: CLIF bars can be bought in bulk at any Costco. Each box will come with enough flavors to keep from getting bored with the taste.

When I want to spend time chewing, I pick up some dried beef and stuff it in a fairing pocket. Despite its salt content, I’ll snack on that for a few miles while giving my jaw a pretty good workout. Unfortunately, the salt content is a little high to make it a regular treat, so I don’t buy beef jerky all that often.

Most important of all is staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids can’t be over-emphasized, and the best fluid is water, bar none.

Fire in the hole – epilogue

Quite happily, there were no injuries of any kind to anyone. Beyond that, there’s not much to report.

A little smoke filtered through to my place, but didn’t permeate every room, since I had closed all of my doors before exiting. I’ve already dusted and vacuumed furniture and floors and done all that I want to do, because I just can’t sit around. Officially it’s fall, so I call it my fall cleaning program, early though it is.

Professional cleaners will be doing their thing sometime today or tomorrow. Certainly, the walls and carpet will get some steaming when they show up. Whatever else they do I’ll leave up to them.

The neighbor’s place is another story. Unfortunately, no insurance is going to pay for the damage to her personal property, since she didn’t have any. I can’t believe that someone would live in a place and not have contents insurance, but to each their own.

We’re taking up a collection for her benefit, but it won’t pay to replace much.

Fire in the hole

Last night, the peace and quiet of my wonderful abode was disturbed by a fire alarm and the smell of smoke coming from next door. Accustomed as I am to cockpit alarm bells and horns ringing, and a requirement to solve the problem in order to have them cease and desist, I grabbed my goodies (e.g. wallet, keys, glasses and shoes) and hit the road.

Yeah, yeah, I know. That didn’t stop any warning bells or sirens, but what the hell, I don’t fly any more either.

Truth be told, I didn’t hit the road forthwith.

I felt my door to try and determine if it was warm or hot to the touch. Ditto the doorknob. Nope. Check.

Back to collect the above-mentioned wallet, keys, glasses, shoes and, oh yeah, a pair of long pants. Check.

The nights are cool up here now.

Close open windows. Check.

Feel the door for heat one more time, open it and stick my head out. Check.

HOLY SHIT!

The floor is full of smoke!

Look left. Good to go that way. Check.

Look right. Some guy has a couple of fire extinguishers in hand and is battling a bright orange glow coming from an open door. Check. And…

Fuck that!

I exit post haste, close my door behind me and head left down the stairs and out the fucking door. Check.

Whispering pines, rustling palms

Pine trees whisper, palm trees rustle

Palm trees rustle, pine trees whisper

I was sitting with a woman I was “sort of” seeing at the time. There was a breeze blowing. The palm trees surrounding the oasis were making those sounds that they make when the wind blows.

“Whispering,” I said to her, thinking of an old motel that I was familiar with.

“Palm trees don’t whisper. They rustle,” she replied.

She was right, of course, and I didn’t argue with her. But, some weeks later, in the dark, while in bed, she tried to shove a knife into me. More than once. I didn’t take it personally, but I left town in a hurry and didn’t look back.

Who’d have thought that whispering pines and rustling palms would have had such an effect?

Or, perhaps it was the other woman I was seeing who worked in the same bar. They hated each other’s guts, but obviously they still talked.

Women — can’t live with ’em, and can’t live without ’em.

Men — stupid.

Anyway, that’s the motel I was thinking about when I blurted out the whispering palms in obvious error. It’s closed now, of course, and has been for a very long time.