31 August 2014

Complicated Sky

Horizontal rainbows
It's not often I see these, but the 24th was a very complicated sky.


So I've been going out to the Bird Studies Canada High Park Nighthawk count (18h00 - 20h30, nightly, until 6 September 2014 on Hawk Hill in High Park in Toronto).  Nighthawk numbers have been variable, but one gets reliable as distinguishing the distant nighthawk from the distant chimney swift and the sneaking ring-billed gull.

I have neither the skill nor the equipment to get good pictures of flying nighthawks; if there's light, they're high, and if they're low it's nearly dark, and they're always moving fast.

Nighthawk kettle.  All those dots
Centre of the nighthawk kettle
Single nighthawk in silhouette 
It wasn't that dark, quite, for that last shot but I have a weakness for those shades of blue.  It's difficult to make myself give them up when that's what the processor gives me by default.

Camera mass

It gets you something.

Pocket camera
Next day, DSLR, macro lens
I don't always -- don't usually -- have room for it, but it matters sometimes.  Not going to stop carrying the pocket camera, sad there won't be another one in that line of descent (Fuji seems to have abandoned the F-series) but yeah.  The third of a kilo of glass and expertise does get me something.

29 August 2014


 So, on 13 August, I was out cycling and was hit by a car.  I was crossing Logan on the Martin Goodman trail; the driver was turning off of Lakeshore on to Logan in the apparent (and false!) expectation they had the right-of-way.  The Hypothesis' fork and front wheel didn't survive; the wheel looks fine but when a dynamo hub shocks you through the wheel rim, something has gone wrong.  (Also, when the mechanic has to cut the front skewer to get the wheel off the fork, you start to suspect how the hum hub may have gone wrong... [Though the hum has definitely gone wrong, too.])

I'm fine; there was some minor bruising, the kind that doesn't hurt when you move, never mind make moving harder, and it's faded. The driver's insurance company has been remarkably easy to deal with and the final release has been mailed off, so I'm expecting the comfortable price of a replacement fork and wheel to arrive next week.

Immediately post-collision, with the rando bag off
This is an ex-fork
The former fork's off at True North for paint-matching purposes against the new fork.  I'm trying not to wince at the prices for the rack struts, riding the Experiment, and generally developing a desire for a much more distinct bicycle infrastructure with the kind of barriers that would stop a full articulated cement truck at 100kph.

07 August 2014

Book Reviews

The March North

People have been saying nice things!

Brad DeLong recommended it.  The Three-Toed Sloth is overtly pro-sequels.  Andrew wrote a detailed review that's also up on Goodreads.  Brad quoted the leaves want whose review is almost a review of my writing objectives.  (leaves does get to read the rough drafts, which might be considered an advantage.)

Please excuse me while I go make faint squeaky noises of authorial delight.