Month: January 2006

Heavy winds in Tahoe

Just when I thought I could have a nice weekend of snow and carefree gliding, the weather forecast tells me it’s actually going to be extremely windy (44mph) over the weekend. Sigh!

Snow conditions are still reputed to be excellent, and a few inches of fresh snow may fall on Saturday, making for a nice day Sunday.


The night I arrive, we had a spectacular full moon that had a great time blasting light all over the island. You didn’t need any lanterns or other devices, so bright was it.

Looking towards the mountain, we saw the usual rain clouds hammering the upper slopes. All of a sudden, a huge greyish ring forms, and we realize we are seeing a rainbow of moonlight. Is that a moonbow?

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (T. Ryan)

Ok, I’ll give it away immediately: this is one charmer of a book! It’s the story of a woman who escapes an abusive husband and chronic poverty by participating in contests and winning prizes in a big way. She is so good at it, she makes a living with it and eclipses her husband’s earnings.

All in all, though, it’s at the same time the story of ten kids that have to suffer through a childhood full of strictures just to find themselves a wonderful family that will stick together forever. This is all told with the honesty that accompanies American family biographies, revealing all in a humorous tone.


Collapse (J. Diamond)

"Guns, Germs, and Steel" counts as one of those eye-opening books that correlate things you hadn’t thought about before, just like "Godel, Escher, Bach" a while back. I enjoyed it immensely, and I was looking forward to whatever Jarred Diamond was cooking up next. Which turned out to be the present book, Collapse.

was about how European societies dominated the world because Europe benefited from climatic benefits that no other area of the world had. While the premise was deeply flawed (China had none of the benefits, rose much faster than Europe, and then declined), it was a very interesting read, since it pretty much said that any culture would have made it to the power of Europe if it had had the advantages that Europe enjoyed.

Collapse focuses on societies in the past, present, and future that have collapsed, are collapsing, or will collapse. The book is entirely different than its predecessor, because it expounds a cause that is not rooted in the past, but that affects the present, which of course puts the whole book in the category "controversial."


Getting There

{moszoomimglink:Looking out from the living room}This time the trip was longer (2 weeks) and the need more desperate. Would I be able to propel the construction to the next level? Would we be able to finish on time? And could I really see that people were working?

Well, it looks like progress is swift, and that I was certainly right when I complained about the slowness when I am not there. We got it to the point where I can name the items still missing:

  • Wall to the master bedroom and MBR closet
  • All swinging doors (14, plus closets)
  • Fixed doors to the kitchen
  • Drywalls and mud
  • Painting
  • Electrical (all)
  • Plumbing (finish)
  • Bathroom and kitchen tiles


Whale Rider (2002)

A sob story of colossal proportion, Whale Rider falls under the category "minority trying to keep its culture alive." In this case, it’s the Maori culture in New Zealand we are talking about, and the story of a family that loses its only male offspring and has to live with his twin, who will have to take over the destiny of the tribe.

Acting is pretty good, admittedly, with the young hero having received more than a few awards and nominations and being pretty certain of a real chance at an acting career. As far as the rest goes, the actors move one more than expected – there is always a danger with a movie about a foreign culture that one doesn’t understand the emoting, but this movie is savvy about avoiding the risk.