Unexpected Hobbies

Over the years, I’ve gained new hobbies while old ones faded away. Some have stuck with me for a very long time. I still love playing computer games, watching cartoons, and although I haven’t done it in a long time, I’m still interested in model airplanes and cars. But there are some hobbies I never thought I’d get into.

About six years ago, when I started getting serious about photography, I also developed a liking for long distance walking. The longest I’ve walked is thirty-five kilometres in one day, and I usually walk around fifteen these days. I was never interested in that kind of exercise before, but I find I can relax mentally when I do it.

The next two I haven’t started, but I can see myself doing in the near future. Ten years ago, I’d have thought is never do them. The first is wine tasting. I’ve developed an interest in tasting wine, but I don’t think it’ll be serious. When I was younger, I didn’t like wine for some reason. Probably just drank the wrong wine.

The other is gardening. This kind of runs in my family, so maybe it was inevitable. I’d like to grow some vegetables and flowers, but is like to make and take care of a Japanese style garden. They would be quite the task, but I think I’d start small just to make sure I enjoy it.

Are there any hobbies you started that you would never have thought you’d do when you were younger?

Failing Terribly at My Reading Challenge

It’s only the end of July and I have read less than a book a month. That’s awful. Take a look at my Goodreads reading challenge.

Seriously? That's awful!
Seriously? That’s awful!

What’s wrong with this picture? 11 books behind schedule? What is going on? Well, I have to blame all the big books I’m reading this year. Turns out I gave myself a rather difficult schedule. The book I’m reading now has more than 1200 pages. But I’ll be finished soon! Lets take a look at my schedule.

For physical printed books, I have this schedule:

  1. The Neutronium Alchemist – Peter F. Hamilton (currently reading)
  2. The Iliad – Homer
  3. The Dragon Reborn – Robert Jordan
  4. Mercury – Ben Bova
  5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
  6. Redemption Ark – Alastair Reynolds
  7. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett
  8. Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
  9. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  10. Dune Messiah – Frank Herbert
  11. Children of the Mind – Orson Scott Card
  12. Exile – R. A. Salvatore
  13. The Naked God – Peter F. Hamilton
  14. Armageddon’s Children – Terry Brooks
  15. Blue Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson
  16. Memories of Ice – Steven Erikson
  17. The Ringworld Engineers – Larry Niven
  18. Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
  19. Stone of Tears – Terry Goodkind
  20. The Shadow Rising – Robert Jordan
  21. Prince Caspian – C. S. Lewis
  22. Absolution Gap – Alastair Reynolds
  23. A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin
  24. Black Powder War – Naomi Novik
  25. Witches Abroad – Terry Pratchett
  26. Sojourn – R. A. Salvatore

Some of the upcoming books are shorter, so that’s good. And now for the eBooks, which I haven’t been getting through very quickly, either.

  1. The Book of Deacon – Joseph R. Lallo (currently reading)
  2. Keepers of Water – R. G. Porter
  3. Young Lord of Khadora – Richard S. Tuttle
  4. Blood and Steel – Martin Parece
  5. The Seekers of Fire – Lynna Merrill
  6. The Prophecy – Jeffrey M. Poole
  7. Legon Awakening – Nicholas Taylor
  8. The Shadowbearer – Terry C. Simpson
  9. Supernova – Crystal Ward
  10. Collapse – Richard Stephenson
  11. Book of Remembrance – Tania Johansson
  12. The Weight of Blood – David Dalglish
  13. The Burning Sky – Joseph Robert Lewis

And then there are a couple art books I should really get finished. They’re quick reads.

  1. The World of Robert Bateman (currently reading)
  2. Robert Bateman: An Artist in Nature

As you can see, I like to plan out my reading schedule. Before, I’d just pile the books up around my bed, back when I lived by myself. It was easy. Now, I keep my books in a closet, and I can’t stack them up like I used to. But with the schedule, it’s easy for me to check and see what’s next.

Of course, I can’t get through this entire list before we move to Canada. I’ll be sending my books back to Canada. No, I will not sell them, I spent over $1000 on my collection of books, considering prices here in Japan are double or triple what they are in Canada. But that’s because they’re imported.

How’s your reading going? Like my list? Anything stand out? Let me know in the comments.

Mixing Genres

I’ve read some of the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. That’s historical fiction mixed with fantasy. I’ve read a lot of the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. That’s science fiction with an element of fantasy. And currently, I’m reading the Night’s Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton. That’s science fiction with a heavy dose of paranormal. There are some genres that are a mix, such as steampunk (historical and science fiction). Sometimes it’s interesting seeing how genres can mix.

Of course, romance can be mixed with anything. So can comedy. How about western horror? How about children’s adventure dystopia? How about romantic thriller self-help?

What are some genre mixes you’d like to read? Any you recommend reading?

The Evil Protagonist

There’s something that has intrigued me for a while. When we read or write books, we usually have a protagonist who is sympathetic, someone who we can identify with and cheer for. The main character should be someone we like, right? But what if it’s the opposite?

Imagine a novel where the main character is not good. It could be an antihero, though they usually have good in them, and we can sympathise with them. But what if the protagonist is your typical antagonist from fantasy? The one we always perceive as evil and never get to see what goes on in their mind. What if the main character is that evil overlord? And this time, we know what they’re thinking, we know their motivation, and we know how they feel.  Could we actually start to sympathise with them?

In a way, when we read a book, we are travelers going along with the protagonist. Not exactly kidnapped, but we are passive observers. But if the protagonist is evil, can we develop a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, and actually start liking and supporting the evil overlord? I wonder how a book like that would do.

So, my questions are:

  • Would you read a book like this?
  • Would you write a book like this?
  • Is there a book like this?

I’m very interested in your answers.

The Hugo Awards as Chosen by Goodreads – 1950s

The Hugo Awards are a set of awards given to the best science fiction and fantasy works of fiction of the previous year. Since 1953, they’ve been given out more or less annually. They’re generally voted on by those supporting or attending the World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon. There are several categories.

But what would it be like if those who decided who the winners are were Goodreads members? I decided to find out how different the awards would be. I will only be covering novels for this. I will be posting the results by decade, starting with the 1950s.

The ’50s didn’t see many awards given, and the first few had no competition. They were just awarded, it seemed. No other nominees were listed for the first four. I will include them with their Goodreads ratings, though. So, let’s find out who the winners (new and old) are.

1953

The nominees were:

As it was the only listed nominee, the winner is still The Demolished Man.

thedemolishedman
Old winner
thedemolishedman
New winner

1955

The nominees were:

As it was the only nominee listed, the winner stays the same.

theforevermachine
Old winner.
theforevermachine
New winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1956

The nominees were:

Yet again, only one nominee listed, so the winner doesn’t change.

doublestar
Old winner.
doublestar
New winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1958

The nominees were:

This is the final year that only one nominee is listed. The winner is unchanged, of course.

thebigtime
Old winner.
thebigtime
New winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1959

The nominees were:

For the first time, we have a list of nominees. This was a close one, but there is a new winner.

Old winner.
Old winner.
New winner.
New winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that completes the 1950s. It’s not very exciting, since the award had just started, and we didn’t get to see many nominees for most of the years. However, after this, we will see many changes. It’s fascinating to see how different today’s reader’s opinion can change the winner of a prestigious award like the Hugo Award. Coming soon is the 1960s.

Do you agree with the change in 1959? Discuss the results in the comments below.

Hot! Really Hot!

At 9 am, it was already 30 degrees. At 11 am, it’s expected to be 35. And in the afternoon, it’s going up to 37. This is Celsius for those of you Americans, Burmese and Liberians who don’t use metric. And this is a humid heat.

37 degrees Celsius is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s body temperature. It’s not yet that temperature, but 30 degrees is making me sweat. With a temperature bearing our body temperature, it makes it more difficult for our bodies to lose heat and regulate our body temperature. It can be very uncomfortable.

What’s the hottest temperature you’ve experienced? How’s your weather today?

Astronomy Quick Facts – Aoede

Aoede is a very small moon of Jupiter’s, and is a member of the Pasiphae group. It’s also known as Jupiter XLI. It was discovered by a team of astronomers led by Scott S. Sheppard at the University of Hawaii in 2003. Very little is known about it.

Data

  • Mean radius: 2 km
  • Mass: Unknown
  • Density: Unknown
  • Surface gravity: Unknown
  • Albedo: Unknown
  • Temperature: Unknown
  • Mean orbital radius: 23,980,000 km (semi-major axis)
  • Orbital period: 761.5 d (retrograde)
  • Inclination: 162° to Saturn’s equator
  • Eccentricity: 0.4311

Name Origin

Aoede is one of the original three muses. Her father is Zeus and mother is Mnemosyne.  She was the muse of voice and song. Her sisters are Melete and Mneme.

5 Interesting Facts

1. Aoede is a member of the Pasiphae group, which orbits retrograde and at a highly inclined and eccentric orbit. Probably a captured asteroid.

2. Its original temporary designation was S/2003 J 7.

3. It’s pronounced ay-ee-dee.

4. Sheppard has been involved in the discovery of 75 moons. Okay, so this isn’t about Aoede.

5. Really, there’s very little known about Aoede. I can’t do five interesting facts.

With such a highly inclined and eccentric orbit, and such a small size, it’s unlikely we’ll see any kind of exploration of this moon any time soon.

The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.

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