Last December 31st we fired up the twin Yamaha 115HP engines aboard Great Ambition and complied with Washington State DNR's order to vacate the state, despite paying tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and fees over the last 10 years. You don't want me around? Fine, you don't have to tell me twice! And it wasn't the first time DNR kicked us out, so we should have known better, but sometimes you just don't learn the first time.
That said, it turns out the whole thing was a blessing in disguise. Our new moorage is great! We have an unfettered view of every sunrise right off our front deck, we are right next to the West Hills so we have mountains right out our back door. We are just 3 miles from Scappoose (instead of 8 miles from Vancouver) and 8 miles from Portland. We are patrons of two libraries that serve all our needs, and we have been grandfathered in to our very livable liveaboard marina for life, so we'll never be kicked out again. The owner recently told the marina manager, "If everyone who lived here was like Dan and April, this place would be great!" Sometimes when bad things happen to you, you just need to do what's required (it was a ton of work and money to get re-integrated back into Oregon) and hope for the best. Now, we couldn't be more pleased. It makes us wonder why we didn't make this move years ago.
Several years ago I befriended a female cat, who (as Charity Payne put it) was sorely in need of a friend. She had been dumped at the end of Lower River Road by the Humane Society and left to be eaten by the coyotes (how humane is that?!!!). She moved into the marina we were at, but the residents didn't like her living there, so they trapped her and moved her by boat to Caterpillar Island. Very much like the Indian woman who lived all alone on San Nicolas Island (where I served in the US Navy) and fictionalized in the book, Island Of The Blue Dolphins, Gracie had a hard time living all alone on Caterpillar Island. No humans, no other cats, and hungry coyotes everywhere. No structures to escape the cold, snow or rain, no warm saucers of milk, just moles (which she was really good at catching) to eat. I built her a warm, cozy and coyote-safe home and made daily trips out to the island to feed her hot chicken broth, scraps, even salmon, turkey and once a whole goose! She loved me, and I her, but I couldn't let her live aboard my houseboat, it was just too small for a cat that was used to living out doors. One day I took her for a boat ride over to Reeder Beach on Sauvie Island where I used to patrol the beach looking for coal from old steamship wrecks. Gracie dutifully followed me along the beach, but in an act of exploration, climbed to the top of a hill, looked out and saw in the distance an unlimited number of homes, farms and barns to live in. Without even a "meow" she took off and I never saw her again. When I tell people that story, I imply that she died by saying that "she went to a better place ... Oregon." And now I'm there too. A better place, and just like Gracie, I'll never look back.
My wife and I got some bad news just before Christmas: Washington State is kicking us out of our dream life at the marina just outside Vancouver. No laws were broken, no rules violated, DNR just doesn’t want us here anymore (and they didn’t care much for my river pool). So after 18 years of being good stewards of Fisherman’s Slough and Caterpillar Island, picking up tons of trash and broken glass, assisting local law enforcement, rescuing more boaters than I can count, contributing to the arts, poetry and literary community, we are being de-ported, literally. Apparently in Washington State, no good deed goes unpunished.
This means we’ll be firing up Great Ambition’s engines and leaving for a welcoming port, and luckily, in the dead of winter, we found one near Scappoose, Oregon. I’ll have to give up my Booknook shifts, and without the Booknook, I have no inspiration to write the Booknook Blog, so my cute little blog will probably fade away.
I want to use my last post to say what an honor and a privilege it was to serve you, the people of my adopted home, Vancouver. I really love this town and I will miss it, and the library more than you can know. I’ve lived all over the world, from Australia to China, Munich to LA, but there is no place nicer than Vancouver USA.
I want to thank Nancy, Milton, Charles, Maureena, Paula, and all the Friends for the opportunity to contribute to our community. I also want to thank Jackie Spurlock for allowing me teach my YouTube and Getting Published classes and for being a friendly face at the library. And of course thank you to all the librarians and the security staff at Vancouver Community Library who keep our library safe.
Thank you all, it has been a pleasure. I shall miss you.
Dan P. Bullard
I found this book in the library after a Google search for some concept or another. Written by a Liberal scholar, it points out the differences between Liberals and Conservatives and, if enough people read it, could help these two groups understand each other. I found it so riveting that I started quoting it on Facebook. When some of my friends took interest, I jumped online went to their local library web site and found it in their library (thank you Internet!). I snagged the link and sent it to them, allowing them to check it out easily, rather than forcing them to buy it just to see what I'm raving about. Anytime you find a good book, rather than buying your distant friends a copy, try to find the book at their local library. I found that the Sacramento library system has 6 copies of this 2012 book, so no excuses! If you really find it interesting, here's the link, put a hold on it then read and enjoy!
In a previous Booknook Blog post, I told you about a book, The Half Life Of Facts that explains that facts change so quickly, a doctor who graduates today has 10 year old facts in his brain that are all wrong by now. I've been reminded of this effect again and again. Facts don't last long in our world, since much of the previous world was based on ridiculous fabrications that, we now know are completely wrong. Two years ago I wrote a book called Distortion: The Cause of Harmonics and the Lie of THD. Recently I released a second edition, and shortly afterwards got my best review so far (5 stars). The book came about because I made a video chastising my client's competitor for an incorrect supposition in his book regarding harmonics and where they come from. I was challenged on my video and forced to defend myself, Distortion was my defense.
As it turns out, the mistake made in the book I was critical of is not alone in using fantasy to explain how harmonics are created from distortion. At the recent holiday book sale, I found another book on electronics, looked in the index for "harmonics," found the entry and read it. I burst out laughing, complete idiocy! Here is just a snippet.
"For example, theoretically speaking, a square wave contains all harmonics, but predominantly, odd harmonics"
Sounds reasonable, right? No, it's not. As my book points out, a square wave consists of harmonics based on a simple formula where the only variable is duty cycle. Duty cycle defines how much of the wave is high divided by the entire wavelength. A 50% duty square wave is high half the time, and low half the time, and has ONLY odd harmonics. Clearly the writer of the book never actually looked at a square wave or a spectrum of one, he was just making it up! Shouldn't we be allowed to point out mistakes in other people's books?
The Friends made over $3000 on the holiday book sale! Money to support your library! Thanks to all the volunteers and Foundation people who helped make it happen!
Guy Kawasaki, old time Macintosh evangelist, entrepreneur and author once told a funny story about proofreading, I like to codify that into the Kawasaki Rule. He and the coauthor of his new book read it until they were sick of it, then crowdsourced the proofreading out to seventy people, who found some errors and allowed Guy to submit the (hopefully error free) manuscript to the publishing house, where they found 1400 errors. The Kawasaki Rule says that you are going to make some mistakes that will evade all detection, sometimes in the most unlikely places, and you will feel like a fool. But I say, what the heck! It's going to happen, no matter who you are.
And then one day I was reading the description of the speaker for this year's FVRL Author's and Illustrator's Silent Auction and Dinner, and I came across this:
"Rebecca Skloot's award-winning science writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah Magazine; Discover, and many other publications. She is curretnly (sic) working on a new book about humans, animals, science, and ethics."
Well, I think we have a problem here, and in a teaser for a new book no less! Makes you wonder if the book will be spelled as well as the promo piece.
But don't worry friends, it happens to the best of us. I myself am working on version 22 of The Reluctant Road Warrior and I got my best reviews from the very first, and very error filled, copies. Guy Kawasaki says, don't sweat it, at least it wasn't 1400 errors!
I found this book on Otters up on the fourth floor and zoomed through it while waiting to take my shift at the Booknook. I just love otters, and we have a nice pod of them right here in Vancouver, just a few miles north of Frenchman's Bar at Fisherman's Slough. The American River Otter is friendly to the point of getting scary sometimes. They are very gentle and playful, but cautious at first, so give them space, but remember, if you bring some baitfish, you just might be able to tempt them in for a treat.
Here is a video of an otter that was just taking a break from the water to get in a good scratch.
Paula's Pick this week is The 5th Wave. She's read all three and watched the movie, highly recommended, especially for the YA crowd.
Vancouver library patron Michael G. Makemsom has published a book on coffee. Michael has been working on the manuscript for many years but finally was convinced to publish it himself on CreateSpace after taking my class on Getting Published. Take a look, it's available on Amazon. I'll be doing a review on it later.
We recently had a library patron who asked to be directed to the pornography section. Sadly, there is no such section, and even the Booknook is rather straight-laced, but there are exceptions. In the Self Help section we have a copy of The Erotic Impulse, a compendium of articles on the topic. We promise not to notice when you buy this book, we'll just give you a little wink!
Today at the Booknook we have a hardcover copy of Donald J. Trump's Think Big and Kick Ass In Business and Life. Tump has always believed in working hard to get what you want, what with him working from 5AM to after midnight every day. Mike Huckabee, supporter and friend said once he had a hard time keeping Trump's hours, and I bet he's not alone!
His point is, you can sit on your ass and whine about not being rich, or you can get off your butt and KICK ASS and get filthy rich. Some people would rather just sit around and complain, but for those who would like to fly in private jets (maybe their own jet), travel to exotic locations, eat like a king, and perhaps, one day, become president the United States, this book is for you!
We've covered The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia by Tim Tzouliadis in previous posts, and although this is a very grim book by a British born Greek writing about American baseball in Moscow, it does have a funny moment or two.
In one case, the US Ambassador to Russia was hosting a big dinner party and the ambassador suggested to his wife, after observing the pathetic quality of the gaunt and emaciated cow, the only one they could find in Moscow, that they display the horns to assure guests that they weren't dining on horse meat!
Here is a fun book at the Booknook! Justin Halpern wrote down everything his dad, a nuclear scientist in Southern California ever said, and boy, are there some doozies!
On Toilet Training: "You are four years old. You have to sh*t in the toilet. This is not one of those things where we'll go back and forth, and find some middle ground. This ends with you sh*tting in the toilet."
On the Death of Our First Dog: "He was a good dog. Your brother is pretty broken up about it, so go easy on him. He had a nice last moment with Brownie before the vet tossed him in the garbage."
On Picking the Right College: "Don't pick someplace just because you think it will be easy to get laid there.... No, no, that's a very good reason to pick a lot of things, but not this."
On Getting a Job as a Cook at Hooters: "You my good man, are not as f*cking stupid as I first thought."
This week Paula found a real gem! An autographed copy of a Wolfgang Puck cookbook! It's made out to Jennifer, so if you happen to share that name, you have quite an opportunity here!
Paula has been a good sport about picking good reads at the Booknook and had a book all picked out for this feature while she waited for me to stop by the Booknook. However, she was telling someone about that pick and that person bought it! Oh no! That happened to me a few years ago, I posted a Booknook Blog post on Robert Ramirez' book on the FFT and while showing it to my coworker, he decided to buy the book! Oh no!
So instead this week's Paula's Pick is a book she is currently reading, Snow Falling On Cedars. In 1999 this book was released as a movie starring Ethan Hawk as Ismael Chambers. From IMDB:"A U.S. Japanese fisherman may have killed his neighbor Carl at sea. In the 1950s, race figures into the trial. So does reporter Ishmael."
Today's Paula's Pick is The Secret Between Us, a story with a lesson. From Amazon: "Deborah Monroe and her daughter, Grace, are driving home from a party when their car hits a man running in the dark. Grace was at the wheel, but Deborah sends her home before the police arrive, determined to shoulder the blame for the accident. Her decision then turns into a deception that takes on a life of its own and threatens the special bond between mother and daughter."
I was reading another great book on genetics, Genetic Twists Of Fate when, horror of horrors, I found that someone had been making notes in this library book! So in addition to the rule about not stealing library books, please note that it is not OK to write in library books! Please!
The Eternity Brigade is another great read, similar to The Forever War, but with one big exception: The accuracy of its predictions. The Forever War predicted things that actually came true, like the legalization of marijuana, or the government encouraging homosexuality to control population growth. The Eternity Brigade doesn't use wormholes to take us into the future, instead, soldiers are frozen at the end of a war and then thawed out at the start of the next war, keeping the cadre battle hardened without having to maintain a standing army during peacetime. Later the process skips freezing and uses something similar to Star Trek's transporter to digitize the soldiers and keep them in memory until needed, and of course later the Army gets the bright idea to mass produce them to make entire regiments out of one guy, but don't let me spoil it for you!
In The Eternity Brigade, written in 1980, not long after The Forever War, the future is much less fun, much bleaker than The Forever War. Hawker is frozen for 12 years, fights a war in China, survives, then is repatriated back to the States, where he finds conditions pretty horrible. Gasoline is almost non-existent, energy is extremely expensive, and even though he and his buddies are filthy rich after their twelve years of monthly pay has been compounded with interest as they slept, they have to take a bus to New York, whereas before they were frozen they flew cheaply and easily to Las Vegas on just the signing bonus. In this future world, citizens have to have a photo ID card to travel, and permission to enter the cities to keep out illegal aliens, troublemakers and terrorists. As gripping as Stephen Goldin's tale is, it's hard to read something that turned out to be so wrong. But, remember, at the time everyone thought that we would run out of oil, and things would get worse and worse over time.Perhaps authors in search of character motivations in futuristic novels should read this book, The Bottomless Well.
This book tells us that there will never be a shortage of energy, ever again. How many of us wasted our lives worrying that the future was going to be bleaker than the past, when in fact, it's gotten better! Malthus predicted that the whole world would starve to death before the 1900s, instead, in the 21st century, the biggest problem the poor have is obesity! I guess Obamacare is going to have to cover Jenny Craig diets! Oh wait, that turned out to be another red herring too. And since we haven't run out of fuel (we never ran out of whale oil and ambergris either, we just found better alternatives) they have to come up with other lies, like Greenhouse Gas emissions to get us to stop burning "fossil fuels." The Bottomless Well, written in 2005 predicted a glut of energy even before Fracking became a household word. Now the price of oil is dropping again, proving that we will never run out of energy, and making those Prius owners look pretty stupid. It's really hard to read The Eternity Brigade now, given that it was so wrong about the future. It just seems so pointless, obviously we are not going to learn anything from this author because he was so wrong. So instead of reading science fiction, or watching the "fake news" predict the next global catastrophe that will never come about, maybe you should try reading a book like The Bottomless Well, which, sorry to say, you'll have to find elsewhere because the library doesn't have a copy.
Checking the library site I found some interesting trends. I know I have poked fun at this book more than once, but it deserves it. One copy, zero holds. Kind of like a book about a flat earth immediately after it's confirmed that the earth is round.
Trump's book, The Art Of The Deal, 5 copies, 13 holds.
Barack Obama, 3 copies, zero holds.
David Horowitz' 28th book, Big Agenda, 7 copies, 26 holds.
Clearly it's a new day in America, and time for some more books!
Volunteers crazy about books.