Saturday: Ashuwillticook Rail Trails, Lanesborough Country Inn, Dinner, and a Movie

Day’s Verse:
You who are simple, gain prudence;
you who are foolish, gain understanding.

Listen, for I [wisdom] have worthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.

Proverbs 8:5-6

As promised, read on for the first installment of the Western Massachusetts Bike Path Adventures.

On Saturday we took our time getting ready because the motel we reserved a room at didn’t allow checking in until 3:00 pm. As a result, I managed to get the house reasonably picked up and tidy before we left, which made coming home much nicer. I hate leaving a messy house. At about 9:30 am we finished packing up and hit the road. It was about 57°F and steadily raining — not dazzling conditions to ride in, but we hoped the storm, which was coming off the coast, wouldn’t make it all the way to the Berkshire Mountains. Continue Reading >>

Coming Soon: Western Mass Blog Post

Day’s Verse:
Does not wisdom call,
And understanding lift up her voice?

Proverbs 8:1

I don’t have the oomph tonight to write a full-length blog about our trip to Western Massachusetts, but I’ll leave you with the following images as a preview.

On the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Ian Biking

Horrible Chair

Kenworth Swan

Manhan Rail Trail

Mass Audubon Society - Arcadia

KF quality

The Plan

Day’s Verse:
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call understanding your kinsman…

Proverbs 7:4

Stage 1:
Get up and clean the apartment.
Gather up necessities for staying overnight away from home.
Gather up bike riding necessities.
Make a plan for food.
Obtain food.
Pack up car.

Stage 2:
Drive to Adams, MA.
Park at the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail trailhead.
Ride to the far end of the trail.
Get soaked with rain (courtesy of Tropical Storm Danny).
Ride back to the car.
Dry off with towels. Continue Reading >>

Books I Have Recently Read and Enjoyed

Day’s Verse:
There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,

a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Proverbs 6:16-19

This is Not a Game, by Walter Jon Williams.
Synopsis: Set in present-day LA, Dagmar works as a puppetmaster creating immersive alternate reality games as a marketing ploy. The book opens with Dagmar trapped in Jakarta as the Javanese currency plummets into worthlessness. She eventually escapes with the help of the network of contacts formed by the online cohort of people who play her games. These people aren’t convinced her predicament is not a game, but they pull together to help her connect with a group of Muslim martial artists who escort her to a fishing boat chartered by one of the online players. She is relieved to get back to LA and normal life, but her normal life is shattered when one of her close friends is murdered right in front of her. Soon the game she’s running and her attempts to find the murderer — and, eventually, to save the world — all begin to entwine.
My Response: Importantly, the author gets the technical part right. He doesn’t try to pretend to write like people on a forum, but convincingly portrays Internet interactions. The writing quality is on the moderate-high end, so you won’t encounter any new vocabulary words but you don’t stumble over awkward phrasing. The author’s writing style lets you get sucked into the book and forget you’re reading, without having harsh writing-related roadblocks wrenching you back into reality. The author does an excellent job bringing scenes vividly to life with lively imagery and just the right amount of detail. There aren’t many characters, and some of them feel rather weak, but the narrator herself has plenty of interesting quirks that make her seem real. This book is not about their past or feelings, so a certain amount of blurriness in the characters’ histories isn’t a problem. The plot is well thought out and executed, and not completely obvious from page 1. The first part of the story particularly, with Dagmar trying to escape from Jakarta, is very compelling. The rest of the book, although cleverly plotted and containing a number of good twists, ends unexpectedly and on an odd note. Even so, Ian and I both read and enjoyed it.
Rating: We would buy this at a used bookstore to add to our book collection. Continue Reading >>

Just Wondering

Day’s Verse:
May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 5:18

If those flushable paper seat covers available for protecting you from toilet seat germs in public bathrooms really worked, why don’t we use them at home? Wouldn’t they keep our toilet seats cleaner and thus reduce the cleaning required?

KF quality

Honk! Moo!

Day’s Verse:
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.

Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.

Proverbs 4:25-26

Flying Cow

Another in my Flying Cow Doodles series. Here is the first one.

KF quality

My Sunday: In Which a Bike Class Class is Canceled and I Get Lost in Boston

Day’s Verse:
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

Proverbs 4:18

Today I scheduled to take the REI Intermediate Cycling class at the REI in Boston. Originally I had intended to take this class on May 31, but it was canceled because everybody else in the class canceled except for me. I rescheduled for August 8, but then decided that with my unpredictable gastrointestinal system, it wouldn’t be fun to do an all-day, outdoor, no-bathrooms-guaranteed bike class. Both of those classes were at the Framingham REI a mere 10 or so miles from our house, and I planned to ride my bike there and back. When I rescheduled, the next one that worked for me date-wise was in Boston; others at more distant REI stores in Rhode Island and elsewhere were also an option. I compromised and did the class today because it was the only other one within riding distance of our house. Not such easy riding distance — my route ended up 25 miles one way. One way 25 miles is more than doable, but I worried a bit about 50 miles round trip plus an unknown number of miles ridden for the class itself, which was planned to run from 10:00 to 4:00. Continue Reading >>