Mahlerficent occasion

MahlerFest 2014 orchestra

Mahlerficent

Last night, on impulse from a friend’s suggestion, I had the immense pleasure of attending the main concert for this year’s MalherFest. Historically I haven’t been the biggest Mahler aficionado, but last night did about all that’s possible to make me a convert.

The orchestra itself, comprised of mostly local musicians with a few flying in from around the country, was quite wonderful.

When I lived in Chicago, I went several times to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. When I lived in New York, I heard the NY Philharmonic and many other concerts at Carnegie Hall. (Shura Cherkassky’s birthday concert stands out as an especially fun experience.) When I lived in LA, I went several times a year to the LA Philharmonic.

And yet since I moved to Colorado, I’ve heard precious little live classical music. And yet it’s obviously all around us. I’m really going to have to get out more.

Nebula reading

Book cover for Ancillary Justice

If you're a science fiction fan like I am, here's a new reading list.

Novel

Winner: Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Nominees:
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

(I picked up Ancillary Justice last week.)

Need more selection? There's also the Hugos nominee list, also provided courtesy of John Scalzi, former SFWA head and prolific opinionator on all things SF.

Piggies for tomorrow

piggy bank

Piggies are for saving!

My piggy is Instapaper, Pinboard and Evernote, where I bookmark all the things that my ADD head says, “Oh I’ll want to read this later.” But when does later come? I think it’s tomorrow, and when I realize that, I figure heck! What was I worried about? I can look at that tomorrow? So when does tomorrow actually arrive? And then I realize that it never comes. (!!!!!) And so I go look at the content I want in my piggy, and it bleeds into my browser...slowly, oh so slowly, and I curse Comcast and I open a new tab and go to Feedly while I’m waiting to see what new might be there, and oh there is! So I start reading there and bookmark the interesting bits to Instapaper, Pinboard and Evernote....

Second screen

It's not that we need a second screen, it's that we have an inadequate first screen.

If we're watching a great movie, we're engrossed, swept away. We're not even thinking about the phone in the pocket or purse. We're not wondering what's happening on Facebook or Pinterest. We're not even thinking about that.

That's the point, isn't it?

Delivered overnight to your doorstep: Boxes, boxes and more boxes!

piles and piles of cardboard boxes

I confess, I’ve been sucked into the Amazon Subscribe and Save program. I hate having to battle parking lots and fight the crowds at Target just to buy toilet paper and tissues. It’s so much easier to let the regular staples come to me once a month.

I also do the same with miscellaneous other items – books, the odd tool. (Between Netflix and AppleTV, I’ve cut way back on Blu-rays, and 99% of my music purchases are mp3 downloads.)

And now I find I’m living with a perpetual scourge: Empty boxes. Boxes of all sizes that I have to break down, fold up, stuff into the recycling can or somehow bundle up. And the stuffing material, which (thankfully) is mostly recyclable as well, but is bulky.

Cardboard in, cardboard out. Cardboard shredded up and pulped. Cardboard reformed into new cardboard. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over.

Let’s have re-usable boxes!

Imagine FedEx and UPS had reusable rigid plastic (or, better, starch-fiber) tubs that they used to deliver stuff to us! You get stuff, you unload the tub, you put it out for pickup, just like empty milk bottles of the days of yore.

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