“Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin, which is a classic science fiction novel in the sense that the plot takes a scientific idea and expands upon it to its logical conclusion. I have always been fascinated by technology, and spent my traditional work career at Honeywell’s engineering research and development center. Working at the center presented me with new ideas that both worked and failed. I found that process fascinating and follow that same research thread through reading fiction.
I use the RSS feed reader Feedly to follow many websites and blogs. Whenever something new is published, I am automatically sent notification, a synopsis of the content, and a link to the full story. I am monitoring 76 feeds, ranging from birding to custom-built Google search queries to librarians. Subscribing to and following blogs penned by librarians is one of the most interesting and useful groups of people I follow. The internet and the exponential rise of computing power has created unrealistic amounts of data that no single person can assimilate. I view librarians as the gatekeepers to the information age.
Two answers: The traditional is “The Crown” on Netflix. The show helps pass the cold winter nights up in northern Minnesota. However, most days will see me outside before sunrise in search of owls. Most winters as the snow gets deeper in the Northwoods, owls start hunting mice and voles next to remote logging roads where hunting is easier due to less snow. Watching a great gray owl hunt and triangulate a vole running underneath the snow using only its hearing is magic. Experiencing this spectacle by yourself in the northern boreal forest is wunderbar.
I am enjoying listening to lots of ABBA. Along with my wife and several friends we are anticipating seeing “Mamma Mia,” which will be the first production of The Duluth Playhouse to be presented at the newly renovated NorShor Theatre in Duluth. This classic art deco theater was the place to see movies in the 1950s and ’60s.
I am planning a self-supported bicycle tour which will start this spring in Texas. My wife, Molly, and I will cycle 1,500-plus miles through the hill country and Big Bend National Park. Since I retired five years ago, we have toured on our bikes throughout North America and Scotland. Last summer, we bicycled through the British Columbia coastal mountain range from Prince George to Prince Rupert, and then took a ferry to continue our ride on the Canadian archipelago named Haida Gwaii. The tours also allow me to do some birding by bicycle. Last summer when we arrived on Haida Gwaii after 100 miles by ferry, I counted 30 bald eagles in the first five miles of cycling. I gave up counting the raptors, but got some cool photographs!