10 August 2015

The Waterfront Trail

 There are a lot of good things about the Waterfront Trail, starting with "it exists".  Even understanding "it exists" to be heavily qualified by the presence of shoreline estates, nuclear power plants, and the occasional feature of geography like McLaughlin Bay.

Still, the signage.  It's small, much of it is old, and, well.

Waterfront trail signs giving conflicting advice at a turn

I'm pretty sure that whatever actually placed the signs has real trouble thinking in only three dimensions.

Bicycle at Rouge Hill GO Station
Still, I made it; take the GO to Oshawa, ride back as far as Rouge Hill.  It's a better ride than it was, with the really alarming bits of Victoria St. in Whitby replaced by some quite splendid separated trail and the Halls Rd connection to Ajax having been paved.  (Not going west past Rouge Hill is a combination of my legs voting "done" and not wanting to deal with some combination of Kingston Road and the Hunt Club hole.  Maybe the cycle route plan for Toronto will do some good about Kingston Road in a useful time frame.)

02 July 2015

Getting some use out of Canada Day

Bicycle under the Aldershot GO station sign
Didn't make it to Aldershot; not been cycling enough, and too much headwind.  But aside from the headwind and a squall or two that missed, a lovely day and not even too crowded.

I did realize that Appleby is right at the start of where the ride between Toronto and Hamilton gets pleasant again; no slight to Oakville, but the long trudge along Lakeshore and Rebecca St. -- while entirely serviceable -- isn't much in the character of fun.  So maybe I can skip the long stretch of on-street riding next time.

20 June 2015

A fondness for thistles

Blooming thistle
From a little patch of grass where the rail lines vault over Parkside drive.  In a month or two, maybe goldfinches will be eating the seeds; for now, yes, invasive, yes, spiky, but also this vivid burst of purple I'm fond of seeing.  And the goldfinches don't seem to mind the invasive.

14 June 2015

Yesterday's best bird

Yesterday was the annual Carden Count, where bunches of people haul themselves up to the Carden Alvar for a 06h00 start time and go stand on designated points and spend five minutes counting all the birds they can see or hear.

This requires somebody comfortable with GPS devices, as well as someone who can ear-bird, so I still get to be useful.

A cloudy cool morning, dimmer than usual, and much wetter; it's been raining enough to leave puddles on the surface and established mud, which is tough to do on an alvar -- and a faster spring; the prairie smoke is nearly all done blooming, and the mosquitoes were available in quantity. The expected birds, though; loggerhead shrike (I am hoping the low nesting reports are a side effect of reduced funding and thus fewer researchers, because we found a probable nest location), upland sandpiper, (winnowing) snipe, grasshopper sparrow, vesper sparrow (so many vesper sparrows), golden-winged warbler, indigo bunting, an absolutely brilliant rose-breasted grossbeak, sedge wren, marsh wren, kingfisher, hooded merganser, surprise ruffed grouse, and the inescapable turkey vultures.  (Also a kestrel and a probable distant harrier, plus an osprey on the way up.)  No sandhill crane.  Pretty good day.

But the "best bird" wasn't, it was

startlingly southern moose

Moose have been moving southward the last several decades, as the succession process of former fields gets to actual trees and the habitat starts being moose-suitable, but that's still a startlingly southern moose.  

31 May 2015

Committing book again

So it's not April and it's not quite May, either, but I've committed book again.

Available on Google Play Books

Egalitarian heroic fantasy.  Experimental magical pedagogy, non-Euclidean ancestry, and some sort of horror from beyond the world.

Available via Google Play Books.  (Google Play Books suffering mitigation for ePub downloads.)

Also available on:
  • iBooks
  • Nook -- There's a "submitted" but no error so far.  Also no success so far.
  • Kobo
  • Inktera/Page Foundry
  • Scribd 
  • Tolino - there's no specific link; Tolino is a European device ecosystem, it looks like you have to be inside it to do anything, and I can't read German.  So I'm just going to hope any Tolino users can find the book if they want it.
Yes, that is the Draft2Digital list.  Yes, I will update the links as everything percolates through.  (I'm told iBooks can take weeks, and didn't want to wait.)  No, I won't be publishing on Amazon.  Amazon's thing-like-a-contract continues to be deeply alarming, while their payment mechanisms continue troubling.

I had intended that A Succession of Bad Days not rely on having already read The March North; this is a series book, you'll get more out of it if you have read the first book in the series, but it's not a tight series, this is not the same thread of the overall story, and it ought to be able to stand alone.  Various skilled and capable persons who have already read A Succession of Bad Days have expressed views strongly at variance with this hope of mine.  I can only recommend that if you try A Succession of Bad Days and feel lost, going back and reading The March North might help.

The Google version is DRM-free; the other sources all do whatever their default is, which is not likely to lack DRM.  For those who find the Google Play Books download setup incomprehensible, you are not alone and I have produced some instructions.

COMMENTS CONTAIN SPOILERS

Caution is advised.

11 May 2015

Pelee swallows

The Marsh Boardwalk observation tower provides really excellent views of the nesting barn swallows.

Male barn swallow

Female barn swallow
I like how the female seems to be doing the maniraptoran second pedal claw thing.  I doubt the tension rod is feeling all that threatened, but maybe something is.

30 April 2015

A Succession of Bad Days, further progress update

So, not quite done yet  --
  1. send it out for critique by unfamiliar eyes -- DONE!
  2. get an ISBN -- DONE!
  3. get a cover -- DONE!
  4. copyedit -- Pass 2 and final; at greater than 50% for the copy-editor
  5. generate EPUB -- automated long since; even counting the manual zip step, requires < 30s
  6. make available -- unfulfilled dependencies.
Various (mostly micro-) organisms have been trying to kill the copy-editor.  It hasn't worked, but it has slowed things down substantially.  So no book in April, because there is no more April.

I continue to view this as preferable to "no more copy-editor".[1]

Book in May?  I continue hopeful.

[1]  There's presumably a kind of author who would feel that their robust prose was the real reason the copy-editor succumbed and mwah-ha-ha a bit.  I am not at all that kind of author.