I finished Elantris. The characters that seemed so unrealistic and two-dimensional became much more realistic and grew to have more depth than my initial impression at the beginning of the story. I’m glad I finished it, because I did quite enjoy it, though I would still say it’s not Brandon Sanderson’s best work. I also read The Cloud Roads, another work by Martha Wells. It wasn’t as brilliantly awesome as the Murderbot Diaries, but it was still a good read, and I will go ahead and read the rest of the series. Ann Leckie just released her first fantasy novel, The Raven Tower, which was pretty good, and unique, and told from the point of view of a god. I labored through The Left Hand of Darkness for my book club, and now I think I’m finished reading Ursula K. Le Guin, because her characters are too boring and without apparent feeling.
A thing happened while I was reading The Left Hand of Darkness. I live in a rural county in a red state. I went out to eat dinner, at a chain restaurant that seems to employ nothing but high school age girls. I went alone, and brought my book. As the hostess was leading me to my table, she asked me what my book was about. The answer that popped into my head was that it was about a planet of humans who were neither and both male and female. However, I didn’t really want to say that. I judged the hostess to be not particularly open-minded, for the reasons I’ve just mentioned, and it seemed like too much complication to give her that answer and then to have to explain it, and be judged during my dinner, etc. So, instead I just told her I hadn’t actually figured it out yet. Later, I realized I would have been delighted to inject some controversy given the opportunity, but that my new anti-social tendencies made it much less appealing.
The ABC Murders was quite good, if disappointingly short. The Fall managed to make a full third season after they caught the bad guy. Russian Doll was somewhere between comedy and introspection, but failed to connect with me in any deep, meaningful way. I generally enjoyed Chance, although the ending of the second season was a completely anticlimactic cop-out. The second season of Star Trek: Discovery has been rather more grounded in the normal format for Trek: more episodic and less like a crack addict’s soap opera. Rumor has it that new seasons of Bosch, The OA, and Stranger Things are coming soon.
Ever since the .300 AAC Blackout was announced, I have wanted a bolt-action rifle chambered in the caliber, set up for subsonic loads with a suppressor. Savage had an interesting rifle for a while, but they quickly discontinued it, citing stabilization problems. Then Remington introduced the Model 700 SPS Tactical in this caliber, with a 16½” barrel, threaded for a suppressor. It has been on my wish list for years. I had never made it a priority. However, I noticed that Cabela’s had it on sale for a very good price. I braved the snowy roads, and I bought it. It has a surprisingly heavy barrel, a pretty good trigger, and a well made synthetic stock, and I want to believe it will be quite accurate. However, I won’t know for a while, because I still need to buy optics for it, and I might as well wait until I have a suppressor for it before I do much accuracy testing.
I had to have it shipped all the way from England, but I finally own a Benbo Classic No. 1 Tripod. I have paired it with a Manfrotto 405 geared 3D head for the ultimate macro photography tripod. The setup is strange and burly, but it works great. It makes me want to go out into the woods to take macro photos. So far, I’ve just used it to take time-lapse images of my pepper seedlings and some macro photos of .300 AAC Blackout cartridges.
Speaking of pepper seedlings, they’re going great. I started them a little earlier than I had intended, but it won’t hurt. They should be in good shape by the time I am ready to transplant them outside. I have sixteen varieties of hot pepper in seedling form, plus two other plants that have been wintering over in pots. I have crazy, ambitious plans for a garden this year. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all the peppers, but I can’t wait to try them.
March really is a good time of year for hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor activities. I was not bothered this weekend by mosquitoes, ticks, spider webs stretched across the trail, or pollen. Low humidity, and just generally not feeling hot.