December 26, 2013: Another Day Alone in Peekskill

Slept in a little this morning. Was pretty tired from yesterday (mostly the late evening drive.) Hit the deli on the way into the office. This morning I started reading Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wind in the Door”, the sequel to “A Wrinkle in Time.” I read this one probably immediately after the first back in my childhood, somewhere around third grade. I really enjoyed these books when I was young. Reading them now, though, they leave a lot more to be desired. L’Engle was a science fiction writer but one who, I now realize, was not really into science that much. So her books are atrociously horrific at the science that she tries to lace throughout the story. One point being that mitochondria, a common and well understood component of cellular biology, she referred to being “so small that a scanning electron microscope can’t see it” and being “sub-atomic.” At some point, failing at middle school level science as a science fiction writer just doesn’t work. Complex science that normal people don’t know, that’s different. But this was pretty bad. At least, in the preface to the Audible recording, the author talks about how she had to learn about microbiology in order to write the book. (The recording that I have is the 1994 one by the author, not the 2012 one by Jennifer Ehle.)

I did find it interesting in this novel that L’Engle addresses, in 1973, problems with the American education system that are still issues today. We tend to always feel that issues are current and new, but really, things rarely change.

Reading “A Wind in the Door” is the second book of my childhood that I am returning to read again now. I hadn’t thought about it when I started reading them, but the “Time Quintet” was written from and is based on Goshen, Connecticut, very close to where I work and live now. I suspect that Liesl will begin reading these in a few years and we will have to take her out there to see where they take place.

Work was incredibly slow today. Absolutely nothing going on at all. Most of the office was empty. I love holiday weeks at work.

I would have gone home early today but as I have no kids at home tonight I stayed so that others could go. No reason for me to be at home today. It’s just me and, since we don’t even have a television, there is very little to do.  So I stayed in the office until six thirty then drove home.

It was over forty degrees when I left the office.  Quite a bit warmer than the last two days have been.

Got home at eight this evening and just spent the evening in the basement. It is a very lonely house when the family is gone. Lacking a television means that there really isn’t even a place to sit and do anything except for at the computer in the basement. I can’t wait until we get a desk set up for me upstairs in our bedroom. If we had that now that is where I would be working when the family is out of town as it is much warmer and more comfortable up there if no one else is around. No need to use the rest of the house at all in that case.

I watched the Vicar of Dibley two part Christmas Specials tonight. It has been quite some time since I have seen those and I did not remember who were the guest stars in them – the Earl of Grantham from Downton Abbey plays the guest vicar and the guy who plays Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit! Pretty major “stars to be” from a few years before they both became huge.

I finished reading “A Wind in the Door” tonight. I remember now that even when I was young I did not like this one very much at all. It is a really boring story with, I believe, a full half of the book being all of the characters trapped in complete darkness, immobilized inside of a mitochondria. And the story is not very good overall. It was just extremely weak. But I finished it. I remember other titles being better. Hopefully they are.

Next up on my reading list to start tomorrow is “Many Waters” from 1986. When I first read the Time Trilogy as a child, Many Waters wasn’t out yet so I read it after the first three when they had become the Time Quartet. So I read them in chronological order by their writing. But in the events in the books, “Many Waters” was written to go back and take place between “A Wind in the Door” and “A Swiftly Tilting Planet.” So this time I am changing it up and reading them in the order that the events occur. It is like a less dramatic version of the Chronicles of Narnia. When I originally read them, “Many Waters” was my favourite of the series by a wide margin so I am hoping that I still like it.

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