Greetings from 53.5° north latitude where it is still hot and getting drier. There was no update last week, so the usual sections are a bit meatier this week: two books, one segment, five beers, and a metric boatload of words.
First up, a quote from the mid-week pickup Brain Pickings email. For this week, Brain Pickings creator Maria Popova went back to 2015 for an article on the famed mycologist, Beatrix Potter. (Yes, she also wrote a book or two.)
Imagination is the precursor to policy, the precondition to action. Imagination, like wonder, allows us to value something. --Linda Lear
The quote is from Linda Lear, who wrote what Popova calls the best book on Beatrix Potter. The quote struck me as I had recently written about imagination in the Gaming section. Imagination is not just for gaming and writing, but also allows us to see into the future and gives us a view at a world we would like to live, which in turn illuminates the targets we need to strive for to bring the ideas in our imagination into reality.
I was able to finish one book and one book-that-was-actually-a-play this week.
Book #25 for 2021 was "Authority" by Jeff Vandermeer, the second book in the Southern Reach trilogy. I read "Annihilation" in 2018 and liked it enough to pick up the second book. This has a significantly different feel than Annihilation as it takes place completely outside the mysterious and deadly zone that was the focus of the first book. Authority is largely the story of an interim administrator of the Southern Reach organization brought in to determine what exactly is going on with the flagging and directionless organization. Throughout the book, the protagonist flounders and control (authority) eludes him, but it is unclear why. The story comes together nicely and sets up for an interesting end to the trilogy. If you are not a fan of psychological terror, this might not be the book for you. There were many scenes which could definitely unnerve the reader, including and one completely freaky spine-tingling scene.
Book #26 for 2021 was the play "R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)". This was originally written in 1920 and was translated to English in 1923. I was drawn to it as it is described as the work that introduced the word and concept of "robot" to English and science fiction. As with all good fiction, the technology is a stage prop, a reason to explore a facet of humanity. In this case, it is a story of human hubris and how the human race lost its purpose and was easily replaced by its creations. Highly recommended. Various versions exist, including on the Standard Ebooks site.
As an aside, I discovered Standard Ebooks this week while searching for a version of R.U.R. The ebooks they publish are much nicer to read than the average fare from Gutenberg, and in fact use the translations from Gutenberg and other sources. Check them out.
I was able to complete the Grenfell-Virden segment in the cross-Canada virtual tour since the last update. When I picked route for this leg, I thought I would have a stop in Virden to identify the transition into Manitoba. Little did I know that Virden had such an outsized impact for a town of just over 3000 people. According to Wikipedia, Virden is the birthplace of the co-founder of Boston Pizza, the co-founder of Reader's Digest, and a former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Nice work, Virden.
Here is the latest progress chart. Since I started tracking my rides for this virtual tour, I have rode 165 times in 305 days for a total of 3007 km.
Five new beers in fourteen days. I am now at 786 unique check-ins in my personal quest to drink one of every beer in the world. One standout, one decent offering, and three that will not make the drink-again list.
Beer #782 was The Tragically Hip Road Apples cider from Thornbury Village Cider House and Brewery in Thornhill, Ontario. I really wanted to love this cider, but it had a weird taste that I just could not get into. (3.0 / 5)
Beer #783 was the King Fallen Flag Imperial IPA from Narrow Gauge Brewing in Florissant, Missouri. This was quite a good beer with a deep flavor that was not overpowered by the high ABV. I have a couple other beers in the fridge from Narrow Gauge and I am looking forward to those as well. (4.0 / 5)
Beer #784 was the Valley of the Giants Belgian Strong from Polar Park here in Edmonton. The first taste was surprisingly good. It was crisp like a lager but definitely a strong ale taste. (3.75 / 5)
Beer #785 was the Bobbing Duck Wit from High River Brewing in High River. I was not a fan of this beer. The taste was overly peppery from the coriander, and I did not taste much else. (3.0 / 5)
Last up and coming in as Beer #786 was the Gold Past Life Czech Lager from The Establishment Brewing Company. For the only other beer I have had from Establishment, I commented that it "came highly recommended and well reviewed so I am surprised how little impact this had on me". Ditto on this one. Admittedly I am not a fan of lagers, but this did not have much to draw me in. (3.0 / 5)
A surfeit of words this week, mostly from "Rosewater: Insurrection" that I finished two weeks ago.
massacring (present participle)
ex post facto
[ˌeks pōst ˈfaktō]