Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: The Last Wish

I started playing The Witcher, and found myself really like the world and the cynical main character, Geralt of Riva. So on my recent tour I found myself grabbing The Last Wish off the Kindle store and reading it one rainy day.

There's a coherent plot, which revolves around the opening sequence from the game, and Geralt's subsequent recovery. We don't find out how he loses his memory at the beginning of the game, but plenty of characters in the game make references to the events described in this book, which makes reading the book while playing the game very satisfying.

The story is told in little vignettes, short stories that provide some insight into the world Geralt lives in, or into Geralt himself. Though the game would have you believe there's a lot of sex, the book is much more restrained, and everything happens off the camera. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later, I find myself without much recollection of the details of the book. Nevertheless, the writing is good enough that I'd be happy to read it again, either as an airplane novel or otherwise.

Mildly recommended.

Review: The Story of the Giro D'Italia

Bill McGann is at it again, this time documenting the history of the Tour of Italy. As with the story of the Tour De France, this history is mostly a year by year accounting of the various Giri, each with its dominating rider, scandals, and rampant cheating, both by riders and fans.

There are a few interesting titbits, like how Northern Italy speaks German (it used to be part of Austria and was given to Italy for picking the right side during World War 1), but by and large the history isn't as interesting, though McGann makes the very good point that the Giro is a far more contested race and therefore more interesting to watch than the Tour de France.

It's fun reading, especially if you're touring or planning to tour in the area. It does give you a good idea of why doping is so hard to stamp out in cycling though! It's been in there since the beginning!

Recommended.

More Photos, and a plug for Photosynth

I lied: I wasn't completely done with photos. I have a bunch of panoramic stitches, and they're still uploading to PicasaWeb (very slowly). But the reality is, PicasaWeb (and Facebook) are designed to be social network tools: low resolution pictures posted by drunk teenagers taken by lousy camera phones. Neither of them are designed to show off high resolution photos stitched together by people who care using powerful desktop computers.

The alternative, however, is Microsft's Photosynth.

Here's an embed of my Moos stitch:


And another from the Engadin:


For the entire collection, please view my Photosynth stream.

Tour of the Alps 2011 Photos


Tour of the Alps 2011

Between XiaoQin, Phil, and I, we exposed about 4200 frames over a month of touring and cycling in this year's tour of the alps, which included 5 days of hiking, and a week of almost daily rain. Those of you who remember past tour patterns will probably expect a tour report to come soon. This year, however, I've got a series of talks at REI coming up, so I'd be preparing a presentation for that, featuring some of the photos here in this album, so things will be delayed a little bit.

Nevertheless, I do intend to write a trip report eventually. In the mean time, enjoy the photos!