Various & Sundry, 11/4/09
Posted on November 4, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 27 Comments
Things and stuff:
* First: Look! Birdy!
After I snapped this shot I switched lenses so I could get a better shot with the telephoto lens, but by then this bird had flown. Bummer. Still, pretty bird.
* Subterranean Press wishes to inform all of you that the signed, limited edition of The Last Colony has shipped to everyone who preordered it. And if you did preorder it: Thanks, man. Also, there are still a few copies of the limited available, should you want to pick it up. The previous limiteds in the series sold out, however, so move on it if you want it.
The note at SubPress also notes that they’ll soon be working on the limited edition of Zoe’s Tale, which I am especially excited about.
* My pal Alethea Kontis wants you to nominate a favorite bookstore for an award. Here are the details:
The Women’s National Book Association wants to know about bookstores in the United States that excel at inspiring interest in reading, as well as creatively bringing books and young people together. They will present the annual WNBA Pannell Award to two bookstores–one a general bookstore and one a children’s speciality bookstore–at the 2010 BookExpo America. Each recipient will receive a check for $1,000 and a framed piece of original art by a noted children’s book illustrator. Nominated stores have the option of making their submissions to the Pannell jury electronically or by sending hard copy materials by mail.
To nominate your favorite bookstore (even your own!) that works within the community to instill the love of reading in young people, please provide the following:
1) Name of store
2) Address and phone number of the store
3) Contact person at the store, including email address (most important!)
4) A brief reason (just a sentence or two) of why you believe the store is deserving of this award
5) Your name and affiliation to the nominated store.
Please send your nomination to email@example.com. Deadline for nominations is Jan. 15, 2010.
The Pannell Award was established in 1981 by WNBA, a century-old national organization of women and men who work to promote reading and to support the role of women in the book community.
This year’s winners, incidentally, were Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati and Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop in LaVerne, CA. I used to to live in LaVerne, you know.
* Hey folks, a gentle reminder: just because you sent me an e-mail doesn’t mean I always see it immediately. I get several dozen legit (i.e., non-spam) e-mails a day, so sometimes e-mail just falls off my radar. This is why I encourage you to resend after about a week if you’ve not heard from me and wanted to. However, when you resend, try not to be snitty about the fact I haven’t responded. Because that just encourages me not to respond, on purpose this time.
* Listening to the full album of Raditude, the new one from Weezer, from which I borrowed yesterday’s video. Verdict: Weezertastic, but I do sort of casually wonder what happens to Rivers Cuomo when he gets to the other side of 40, and his whimsical 20-something schtick starts getting a little creepy. His problem, I suppose, not mine.
Cuomo could have a bland, middle-age-fueled nervous breakdown like Pete Townshend, hopefully without that whole kiddie porn fiasco like Pete had a few years ago.
“After the Fire” anyone?
That’s a gorgeous bird! A cardinal?
We had a woodpecker the other day, which gives me mixed feelings — he was very pretty, but he was hurting the tree. (On the other hand, the tree in question was badly mangled by my property’s previous owners, and is not in great shape anyway.)
It is indeed a couple. We have a pair of them who nest nearby.
Oh this is a perfect opportunity to bring up something that I have wanted to share. We have organized a somewhat informal book club at my office with like-minded geeks where we trade books and recommend new authors and such. A few months back we read the OMW trilogy. Man what a debate you started John.
After finishing Last Colony there was a heated debate over the definition of “Human”. It revolved around the concept that Jane was “the first fully human” special forces soldier. Our religious friend was thinking of it from the human soul view point and said that she was always human. I was looking at it from a combo nature and nuture standpoint saying that 1. her body was alien even if her brain was human and 2. Her life experience of being “switched on” was a completely alien experience. She was a different species at most or possibly a different race at least.
I won’t bore you with every detail of the debate, but it all broke down when I asked “do you think the Gamerians are human?” and heads started spinning.
It was all great fun.
Thank You for that.
Also, woodpeckers do not hurt trees. They eat insects, which *do* hurt trees.
I miss living in the middle of nowhere. Cheap, no traffic, plenty of room, and nature gives you free shows every now and then.
When I was an intern at Spin Magazine, I met Brian Bell and he has to be one the nicest guys in rock. He spent a lot of time chatting with the staff before and after their cover shoot. A class act all around.
The cardinal is gorgeous. Do he and Mrs. Cardinal stay for the winter, so you can get those fabulous Currier and Ives snapshots?
Do Ghlaghghee, Lopsided Cat, and Zeus hunt these birds?
Kodi Appreciation Society
Rebecca… woodpeckers poke holes in trees. This destroys the bark, and damages the living, outer-section of the tree. This exposes the inner portion of the tree to damage, which can result in rot, greater insect damage, and quite a few other things.
Yes, they eat insects. But they look for the insects by tearing through the tree’s defenses. And they also do the same to make nests.
Or do you honestly think that gouging a golf-ball-sized hole in the trunk of a tree doesn’t cause any damage to it? (Well, in this case, half the size of a golf ball.)
Cardinals? Dem’s good eatin’! (if you’re a cat)
And here is a good article about what they do, and why it isn’t always damaging for the tree. (In my case, again, it was — I examined the hole it made after the bird left. But the tree has other problems, and they’re certainly not the woodpecker’s fault.)
Isn’t it Rivers Cuomo, rather than Cuomo Rivers?
SEF wrote: “Yes, they eat insects. But they look for the insects by tearing through the tree’s defenses. And they also do the same to make nests.”
On the other hand, holes in trees are very useful habitat-wise for any number of critters. And presumably trees have evolved ways of surviving smallish, shallow injuries like that.
I’m guessing that woodpeckers don’t do too much damage to trees, since they’ve evolved together. In terms of threat level, woodpeckers don’t really measure up to Dutch Elm disease or the Asian Longhorn beetle. I can’t think of any forests that were denuded by woodpecker activity, or any forests where there aren’t any trees older than 30 years because woodpeckers kill them before they hit 40.
Now, if you’ve got a particular nice tree in your yard, and you want it to stay as healthy as possible, then maybe woodpeckers are a concern. But I don’t think they’re some major threat like the Asian Longhorn.
I find the blue Jays to be very cool birds. They love peanuts. I buy them in the shell.
I’m looking forward to my copy of the Last Colony.
Used to see a lot of cardinals in MO (St. Louis) too. Like many animals, it is the males that look so great. The females are rather drab.
Blue Jays are pretty, but they’re jerks. We have a feeder out back, and they drive off all the other birds when they show up.
Big Blue Bullies
I’ve been strafed by territorial California jays before. Nasty birds.
My Jays are pretty polite. The pecking order at the feeder seems to be: Black birds, Doves, Jays, and a mix of twenty more. But I don’t really see the jays pecking away others. I’ve seen doves do that far more often. Maybe they all get enough to eat and just don’t worry about it too much. I’ve been feeding these birds for at least ten years.
Thanks for the heads up on the bookstore award. My local independent does a great job at this, and I’m going to nominate them.
Guess I’ll have to nominate Vroman’s since Mrs. Nelson’s was already a winner.
John – how about a second body for that telephoto lens, eh? Used D300? ;)
What years did you live in La Verne?? What a HOOT to see my hometown mentioned in Whatever!!
Members of my family attended Bonita High from 1938 until 1990. (Only 4 years at a time though.) Three of us are grads from the University of La Verne …
huh. you know John, I picked up one of your books for the first time at Joseph-Beth in cincinnati. They had your stuff on a little display, and I left with Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigades.
your link leads to the image of the last colony rather than the subterranean press page selling it
I don’t know how you feel about Chuck Klosterman (who isn’t to all tastes), but his new collection Eating the Dinosaur has an essay about Weezer (well, in part– it’s also about Werner Herzog and Ralph Nader) where he claims that Cuomo “writes completely straightforward lyrics, presetned through music devoid of irony. He exclusively presents literal depictions of how he views the world, and he (almost exclusively) plays guitar riffs that he’d personally want to hear as a fan.”
I’m not entirely sure I buy the argument, but it makes a certain amount of sense, and his discussion of how this intersects with the psychology of the typical Weezer fan is pretty entertaining.
LOL, I forgot about how the Blue Jays were bullies! Yes, they would dominate and protect the bird feeders and keep all the others away.