THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer

I’d heard about this book, but only just decided to read it after seeing this review

What Has Been Read Cannot Be Unread

InterestingsYeah, I know.  I’m a little late to the party.  This book that everybody seemed to be reading just hit my radar.  I’m practicing up for being a little old white-haired muzzy-headed lady, sweet but confused.  How am I doing so far?

The Interestings are a group of teens who meet at Spirit-In-the-Woods arts camp.  The slightly more predominant protagonist is Julie Jacobson, age 13, average middle class, whose father died in January, and who is fortunate enough to obtain a scholarship to the camp.  She is quiet,  and held back in the midst of the other kids, mostof whom are highly talented in the various arts, and all from well-to-do families.

The camp is owned and run by

Manny and Edie Wunderlich, two aging Socialists who were legendary in the small, diminishing world of aging Socialists.

A small group of teens forms, and decided they were the elite of…

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I have The Magic In Me

As a hobby, I love to fix, modify, (and dare I say it) hack things, electronic things included. That being said, it has come to pass that I am the resident IT professional in our house.

 

I met my lovely bride partly because of a mutual love of reading. We are both voracious readers (she even more than I, but she speed reads). When the first reasonably priced Kindles were introduced, she was living in Mexico, and I was in the US, and she was unable to purchase one because of her location. She was coming North to visit and I bought her a Kindle to take back.

 

It was marvelous, an entire library available where there was a WiFi connection. One problem arose though: those Kindle Keyboard screens were extremely fragile. The screens on both her Kindle and mine cracked, and thee were no replacements available at the time, so we bought new ones. We becan a stockpile of indles with cracked screens.

Recently, replacement screens have become available, and at a reasonable price, so I bought one as atrial, to see if I could replace the screen on my own. Since Google is your friend ( albeit a spying ad-pushing friend) I found a few instructional videos on YouTube detailing just how it was done. With my trusty computer and a full set of tools, I sat down and gave it a go. 

It actually was not all that difficult. Complicated, and I could have used a set of fingers two sizes smaller than the ones I am equipped with, but after about 2 hours of concentrated effort, and a frosty cold adult beverage or two, mission accomplished. My wife now is convinced that I am a total geek, which pleases me no end.

Image(As it now stands we currently have five working Kindles in use: She has a Fire HD, a newer basic Kindle with e-ink screen, and her original Kindle Keyboard which I just repaired. I have a new Kindle Paperwhite and an HDX. AND THEY ARE ALL IN USE, with diffrent types of books and content on each.)

 

The Future of World Trade, or, China’s #2, Soon, #1

It’s common knowledge, that I live in Mexico, a city called Zacatecas, the capital of he State of Zacatecas, located in the North Central part of Mexico. It is also no secret, that I love it here: the people are hard working, mostly blue collar workers, and they are outgoing, and friendly, even to a gringo.

Zacatecas is a somewhat smaller city, even though it is the capital, with a population of about 250,000, and because they are mostly blue collar, incomes aren’t very high. Things like food, and rent are relatively cheaper, even compared to other areas of Mexico, with a high American expatriate population. The drawback to all this is that things an American take for granted as being cheap and plentiful, like computers and electronics, are not, because the population considers them as luxury items that they can’t readily afford, and they only buy them as a big ticket gift item, at holiday time

 

When I need something of that nature, I’m faced with two alternatives: wait until I make a trip back to the states for some reason  and buy it there, or, buy from sources in China, where most of this stuff is made in the first place. Now, you may think it is inconvenient buying from a source in Asia, and nothing could be further from the truth. This is due to a website called: AliExpress, which is rivaling eBay for the biggest online person-toperson sales outlet in the world.

 

Let’s say I want some LED Christmas tree lights, like I recently purchased. They are available here in Mexico, and in the U.S.A., and they are a bit expensive. I bought mine, directly from the manufacturer in China, for less than the cost of an eqivalent regular light set. Not only that, but shipping was free, as it is with most of the items for sale. I’m quite certain that the Chinese government is subsidizing this in order to increase exports, GNP, and build a broad customer base.

 

Now, they are planning to build a high speed rail line, linking Beijing, Russia, and the United States, by means of an undersea tunnel crossing the Bering Strait. I’m quite sure that a lot of people are going to think this is a pelude to some sort of invasion strategy, but seriously, how could that possibly transpire when a carefully placed bomb would close tghat off in a hurry. The invasion startegy I envision is the economic one. China is now the number 2 econom ic power in the world, having already passed Japan, and it has set its sights on the King od the Hill, which is still the U. S. How long it will remain on top though, is debatable.

 

Sci-Fi Contest Winners

Some very cool projects

Hackaday

We’re happy to announce 16 winners of the Sci-Fi Contest! The Hackaday Crew is thoroughly impressed with pretty much everything that was entered. The 50 projects which were marked as “complete” spanned a wide range of Science Fiction universes, and showed off the talent of the hackers who posted them.

As a quick side note: Some people have confused this contest with The Hackaday Prize. That one is still on, runs into November, and offers a trip into space as the grand prize. Get hacking!

Prizes

all-sci-fi-prizes

We have a range of prizes for the winners. The Grand Prize winning team can choose between two packages, one is anchored by a pair of oscilloscopes (an OWON DS7102 and a Rigol DS1052E), the other swaps out the OWAN for a soldering station and a rework station. Top Prize winners can choose between three packages which offer a rework station, a…

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Mother’s Day Thoughts

Accentuating the positive:

A few of my friends are lamenting Mother’s Day for various reasons: one just lost a mother, one recently lost a daughter, others because they had losses some time ago. How I envy you. I lost my mother a few years back, she survived until 93, and I wish I had the happy memories that you have that make you sad for your loss. At my age, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that, as my sister so eloquently once put it, ” You will never have the mother that you want”.

 

Mom was one of three children of the greatest grandparents anyone could ever have. They were brave, kind, modern, intelligent people, and I often wondered why my mom wasn’t more like them. She did things that, and I only figured out why much later on, would have been considered child abuse even back then. Most likely, she had some milder form of mental illness ( I know this because I saw things in our medicine cabinet that I only knew the reason for after I became a pharmacist ) that caused her to do these things. So, she probably did the best she could under the circumstances. Still, fact remains, I did not have the happiest of childhoods.

 

So, for my friends who are saddened by this holiday, I am truly sympathetic to your feelings of loss, because I have had these same feelings while my mother was still alive. BUT, you probably have many great, and joyous memories to think back on, so feel better for that.