Wednesday What’s Up

What I’m Reading

  • Julie and I listened to Riders of the Purple Sage while roaming around southern Utah, a perfect place to take in this classic. I used to own the entire Zane Grey collection (gift from my paternal grandfather) but never got into the books and eventually let them go. No regrets on that front, but I was surprised at the quality of writing.
  • You can’t tour southern Utah without seeing copies of Desert Solitaire in just about every visitor center bookstore. The irony of course is that Abbey would want these centers destroyed and the parks returned to a wilderness state. The book was quite good if a bit rambling at times. I loved the story of his rafting adventure down the Colorado just before the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam.
  • I listened to the Leonardo da Vinci biography. If Leonardo had only been a publisher / finisher he would have been credited for a great many more discoveries and inventions.
  • Julie and I wanted a long fiction book to listen to on our trip out to NY, so we re-listend to The Talisman by Stephen King. My first and only read was probably about 35 years ago and I don’t think it holds up very well. It is part of King’s world-building for sure (it meshes in, eventually, with The Dark Tower series) but I think there are too many holes to be “believable fantasy.”

What I’m Exploring

  • Packwood Lake – Julie and I met Jacob and Kaitlin half-way and hiked this nice 10 mile round-trip in the shadow of Mt Rainier. A good early season option – some trace of snow and a bit of mud, but in great shape and well trafficked.

What I’m Contemplating

What I’m Listening To

  • Aquilo’s Silhouettes – Discovered this with Shazam app in a Panera and am enjoying it. Hints of Tears for Fears.

What I’m Playing

  • I taught Great War Commander to Doug and lost very badly.
  • I played Advanced Squad Leader online and in real life during the week we were in Oregon between our Utah trip and our drive to NY. I don’t expect any in-person play this summer but will get in a few VASL games.
  • Julie and I taught The Great Dalmuti to our family host in Broomfield, CO. Always a hit with larger groups.

NCWIT Summit 2018

I just finished up a visit to the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) Summit, and the photo you see are my three colleagues and I who all teach computer science at Western Oregon University.

While I learned much from the summit and speakers, most valuable were the discussions and forward progress the four of us made in our specific plans for improving our recruiting and retention of women at WOU.

Hike at Packwood Lake

We took advantage of a warm Saturday during our brief stay back in the northwest to meet halfway and do a hike with Jacob and Kaitlin to Packwood Lake near Mt Rainier. The trail was heavily used but still quiet. Lots of backpackers camped around the lake – looks like a nice intro trail.

Wednesday What’s Up

What I’m Contemplating

What I’m Reading

  • I listened to Fall of Giants and Winter of the World by Ken Follett. Average books but they did keep me engaged during my commutes. Not sure if I’ll read the final book of the trilogy.
  • I read The Republic of Thieves, finishing the Gentleman Bastard series. I think the quality declined slightly with each book though enjoyed the series overall.
  • Julie and I listened to The Litigators as we started our road trip and it was quite fun.
  • I read Origin, the latest Dan Brown novel and it was better than expected.
  • Our highlight of the last month was listening to Lonesome Dove. Superb writing and characters and we can’t wait to watch the classic made-for-TV mini series.

What I’m Playing

  • Doug and I played Up Front before I left on our road trip. Fun as always; wish I owned this game.
  • My first game at GMT West was Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954–62. I’m about to give up on this game. Not that I think it is a bad game; I just don’t grok it yet and don’t know if I will. I want to play one time solo this week (maybe today) before I put it on the sell/trade list.
  • I tried out a new short Arnhem scenario of Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden and think this will be the best way to play a short (5-ish hour) game. 15 turns and the 30 corps show up on turn 8 or so.
  • I taught three newbies how to play Pax Renaissance at GMT West. I’m getting better at teaching the game but can’t say I’m figuring out how to play well. This will go to Keuka Lake with me this summer again.
  • Played a four-player scenario of Advanced Squad Leader that was a lot of fun. Didn’t quite finish as we all had to break for dinner.
  • I played D-Day Dice with Mark Johnson and two others at GMT West. This is a keeper in my collection and we successfully took Utah Beach.
  • The new hotness at GMT West was Great War Commander on 2018–04–28 and this was the last game I played. It is Combat Commander: Europe tweaked for World War I. There will likely be some complaints about realism but I welcome the new scenarios and factions. Some fun artillery, tank, and air support cards as well.