Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night...

 Today I take a little departure from my usual content

Could there be a more cliched opening line? I don't know about you but I read those words in the title and think, ah, a mystery. I love mysteries, definitely one of my favorite genres. The past few years I have done all of my reading (save newspapers and magazines because I find I still enjoy some printed media) on an e-reader. I started with a re-furbed first generation Kindle and never looked back. Being on the road as much as we are, e-readers have been a life saver for me. I no longer have to tote a bunch of books around or store them somewhere. I know I've mentioned this all before. If someone had asked me, I would have sworn I was done with printed books. That is until I read about S. For those of you who don't know, S is a novel by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. Not just a novel, a kind of reading experience.
(Possible mild spoilers ahead due to some pages and inserts being shown)

I was intrigued enough by what I read about S to order a copy. S is a novel within a novel. The novel wrapped around S is a marginalia filled library book titled Ship of Theseus by V.M. Straka. The actual novel is in those margins and consists of a series of notes, written volley-style, by the two main characters.

Besides the margin notes the book is literally stuffed with clues in the form of letters, maps, postcards and photos.

This is a fun read. If mysteries are your thing you're going to enjoy this book on at least one of its many levels. Depending on how into it you want to get you can read just the novel in the margin notes or you can read the novel that contains them and then go back and read the margin notes or you can read it all at once. (There's even a decoder wheel!) However you do it I think you'll find something to enjoy. Even if it's just the uniqueness of the physical book itself. This one is worth some space on the bookshelf.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just around the Corner

Not a lot going on in these parts this week. Not that I'm complaining. The hectic pace of the past few months makes me appreciate the quiet for now. We spent some time at our local park. (One of them at least and a favorite) It's a great place to get outside and a fun place for the dog.

It's a lovely setting and we try to get there as often as we can. There's a small dog off leash area and plenty of paths for strolling and benches for sitting in the sun. I feel very fortunate to have this so nearby.

Speaking of nearby, we found a little neighborhood pub recently. I may be in the minority, but one of the things I like in my neighborhood is a local pub. A place I can walk to, enjoy a beer, soak up some of the local ambiance. Well this is that place. A nice find.

What'll ya have?
A quick beer, a trip to the park with the dog and a quiet weekend at home.

Gives me some time to plot out some future travel, a chance to catch up on some reading and to just enjoy the moment. And really, who could ask for more.

Note: One of the places that I've long wanted to visit is New Mexico. For some reason I've just never made it there. It's on my radar for 2014 and hopefully we get the chance. Otherwise I'm not sure what this year holds for travel. Visits to family and maybe a few weekend trips here and there. Time will tell. And you know, wherever I go, you'll read about it here. 
Happy travels!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

San Jacinto Monument & Museum - La Porte, Texas

The Dining Companion mentioned that he would like to visit the San Jacinto Monument. (There is an observation deck there that offers a wonderful view of the area.) Sounded good to me. Not knowing anything about the monument or why it stood where it did, I did a little research.

The battleground that surrounds the monument was the sight of a very important battle for what was to become a large part of the US. This was where, on April 21st 1836, General Sam Houston's troops dealt a deadly blow for the Republic of Texas.

...the United States would gain not only Texas but also New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
As a result of the Battle of San Jacinto, almost a third of what is now the United States of America changed ownership. It is one of the most decisive and consequential battles in the history of the United States and indeed the Western world.

San Jacinto Battleground

San Jacinto Battleground 
After walking around the lobby of the museum and checking out some of the exhibits, we took the elevator to the observation deck. 

I love dioramas.




The ride to the observation floor just about 500 feet above goes very quickly.

We tried to pick as clear a day as possible to take the best advantage of the views. As you can see from the pictures below there was haze at the horizon. The view of the city of Houston was obscured but we were still able to see for miles in all directions. 


The ship in this picture is the Battleship Texas another nearby attraction


Reflecting Pool

The city of Houston is barely visible through the haze on the horizon
The San Jacinto Monument and Museum not only makes history exciting, with the help of video presentations and maps, it helps it to come alive. It's interesting to see the current landscape compared side by side with the terrain of the past. If you find yourself in the Houston area with some time to kill this is a side trip will worth your time.

Happy travels!

Note to Flat Penny collectors: There are two Press-A-Penny (Flat Penny) machines on the observation deck at the San Jacinto Monument.