Monday, February 11, 2019

Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield in Seward, Alaska

We had one day in Seward, and this was what we did.  Best choice ever.

You can take a shuttle from downtown Seward to Exit Glacier for $15 (roundtrip) if you don't have a car.  

Approaching the toe of the glacier:

Me on the Glacier Overlook Trail:

Harding Icefield Trail:

Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield, from the Harding Icefield Trail:

Just for a bit of perspective, try to find the people on the glacier below:

What an amazing place!

For more details on the trail, Exit Glacier, and Seward, read my book:

Available on Amazon for a budget price:  Cruising Alaska on a Budget: A Cruise and Port Guide

Monday, February 4, 2019

Spinglish; The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language

How to Succeed in Business and (and Politics and Everything Else) Without Really Lying;  Spinglish;  The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language

by Henry N. Beard and Christopher Cerf

Okay, this is maybe the longest title ever.

Spinglish is a darkly humorous and disturbing dictionary of overly PC terms and purposefully deceitful phrases, some so ridiculous they'd be indecipherable without the Spinglish dictionary.  The book's supertitle (if that's a word for a subtitle that comes BEFORE the real title) is  "How to Succeed in Business (and Politics and Everything Else) Without Really Lying."  And that pretty much sums it up. 

Some gems: 
"After-death care provider" –undertaker. 
"Core rearrangement"—a nuclear power industry term for the explosive destruction of the core of a nuclear reactor
"Engaging the enemy on all sides"—A US Dept of Defense phrase for getting ambushed
"Permanent pre-hostility"—another great term from our DOD friends.  This one rather depressingly means "peace."   
"Failure to maintain clearance from the ground"—a plane crash
"Percussive maintenance"—hitting a piece of machinery until it starts working again

And perhaps my favorite:  "Entrance solutions."  Any guesses?  Yes, those would be doors.

I do think the authors put too much of their own spin on some terms.  For example, they define "thrifty" as "miserly," "stingy," and "scrooge-like."  And "wetlands" as "swamps."  While "thrifty" and "wetlands" can be used as euphemisms, in general usage "thrifty" and "miserly" have different meanings, and "wetlands" is a broader term than "swamp."  Also, a rainforest isn't just some fancy environmentalist's way of making a jungle sound better, as the book implies.  It's a scientific term for areas that sometime are jungles and sometimes not.  Some of the political definitions have a fair amount of slant too.  Which perhaps only reinforces the whole theme of the book. 

It's a very interesting—but somewhat disheartening—book. How many ways can business execs come up with to make firing a bunch of people sound good? 

Friday, February 1, 2019

My story in Leading Edge

My short story, "Salvage Operations," appears in the latest issue of Leading Edge. 

While stranded on a strange planet, Peter has to decide whether letting one man live is worth risking the safety of the whole colony.

They created some lovely art for my story, which involves colonists salvaging the wreckage of a probe ship crash.  Now take a look at the cover.  Yes, the cover image is from my story. 

If you want to read more, buy Leading Edge Issue 73 on Amazon.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Haines, Alaska

I can't believe I never posted any of my pictures of Haines, a quiet port which doesn't have as much cruise traffic and therefore feels much less commercial. 

We took the cheap bus loop around town.  When we went, it was only a dollar per person for an all-day pass, and the "pass" was simply the bus driver remembering you and letting you back on later in the day.  We walked around, shopped in a few local shops, checked out the library (yes, I do library tourism), wandered around Fort Seward, and watched a man working on a Totem pole in the Alaska Indian Arts Center.  Then I took an easy hike out to Battery Point, through the outskirts of town, then woods, then beach, where I found what looked very much like live giant trilobites in the tide pools.  A very nice day. 

Fort Seward in Haines

Just a short distance from the cruise ship dock in Haines

From the hike to Battery Point, just out of Haines

Fun boardwalks on the trail to Battery Point
If you want to know more about how to see Alaska for yourself, 
check out my new book on Amazon:   Cruising Alaska on a Budget,

Friday, January 18, 2019

Yearly Anthologies

If you like short stories, check out my post on Writers on the Move about yearly anthologies.
For writers, it's a good way to study the market and the craft.
For readers, it's just a good reading.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Overpass Art in Quebec City

Quebec City really knows how to paint their overpass support pillars!

These really livened up the walk between the bus/train station and our hostel.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Poutine in Quebec City

Delicious poutine at Chez Ashton in Quebec City.  I admit, I thought the combination of French fries, cheese curd, and brown gravy sounded funny, but it was really good.  Good job, people of Quebec. 

Chez Ashton's French fries were so good, however, that I might rather just have them alone...since the gravy undid some of fantastic crispiness of the fries.