Cider Press Hill

Book Tag

Wednesday, 8:57 pm

By Kate




partly cloudy

Well, Steve tagged me for book tag. It’ll probably validate me as a pinko. ;) Here goes.

# of books I own:

Hundreds. Bookshelves crammed full of books. Baskets full of books. Books packed in boxes. Books stacked under the bed.  There really is no such thing as too many books, just not enough bookcases.

Last book I bought:
The unfortunate fact is that I don’t just buy one book at a time, even if that was my resolve when I walked in the book store.

The last book purchase included 3 books:

1. Leo Strauss and the American Right by Shadia Drury
2. The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori (I fell in love with the cover. What’s between them pleasantly surprised me. This I’ll read more than once.)
3. Promises Betrayed: Waking Up from the American Dream by Bob Herbert

Last book I read:

The Complete Stories of Truman Capote intro by Reynolds Price
Truman Capote is often remembered for In Cold Blood, but this collection of stories is a side of Capote that I didn’t know existed. This is a book of beautifully, masterfully written short stories.

Five Books that Mean A Lot to Me:
Oh man. I thunk until smoke came out my ears on this one. These are books I’ve loved and which may also have sentimental value depending on where I was in life when I read them.

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. My copy is an 1890 edition (with beautiful etchings and tissue guards) that I bought for 25 cents at a church rummage sale when I was a kid. I treasure it and read it every September.
2) The Federalist Papers
3) Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Now this is a romance novel!
4) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
5) Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mother read every one of the books to me before bed when I was little, a chapter at a time. Such lovely cherished memories.

alternate pick #6: Chop Wood, Carry Water by Rick Fields and etc. (I know I was only supposed to list 5....)

Ok, I’ll tag:

Linkmeister and Eleanor. Don’t hate me. I know you two love books.


Toys and tools

Wednesday, 1:09 pm

By Kate




partly cloudy

Good afternoon. Notice that there is a little sun in the above weather icon. I should point out that this is what we call a rare weather event. We’re all quite awed by the wondrous sight!

I learned a couple of days ago that lack of sunshine may cause brain cells to shrink. Apparently this news helps to explain why many people get the winter blues. Once the days grow longer, the shrinkage is supposed to reverse itself. But, it helps to have some sunlight—which we haven’t had in several weeks. So when the sun pokes its head out from behind the clouds, it’s probably a good idea to go out and do some basking. Or yard work. I can already feel my head getting bigger!


Today is, officially, the first day of the 2005 Hurricane season. Isn’t that swell news? So far, there’s nothing to report, but the clouds pouring off the west coast of the African continent are still impressive. I’ve been watching the route they travel and now would like to make a request of Mother Nature—could you please drop the jet stream a little lower so all those clouds don’t end up over my house?

Over the last couple of days, I’ve updated/reconstituted my weather page. I found a few neat new toys to display for the advancement of weather monitoring. It’s not enough for some of us to simply peer out the window to see what it’s doing out there. And, of course, there is more than just weather to keep an eye on, like local tides and the moon. If you look at the tides schedules, you might notice that the days when the tides change are also the days when the moon either is full, new, first, or last quarter. It’s an interesting visual confirmation that the moon does, indeed, have a direct effect on the tides.

The section that I am rather pleased with is the Atlantic Tropical Storms/Hurricane section. The National Weather Service/Hurricane Center offers a news feed of the daily tropical outlook and storm activity (you can find details on the weather page). The news feed is updated four times a day. Along with that are a couple of nice maps of the Atlantic basin—one is animated and the other static. Both are updated hourly.

One of my new toys might be useful to others who would like to display rss news feeds on their web pages, but either don’t know how or dislike the format offered by the newsfeed providers. allows you to customize the way a newsfeed is presented on your page. They make it very easy. You plug in the news feed url and then you can format the width and colors and fonts of the presentation to your own liking. I chose a fairly tame presentation, though it matches my web page colors, but if you’d like to see how another weather geek set his up, check out Earth Log II. He was much more creative with his feeds. Nice. (Headlinedepot is not just for weather feeds, of course.)

And that, as they say, is that. For the moment.