I'm in the midst of a few new science blogging posts, though all of them involve me doing a lot of research and learning about things I don't know as well as I thought I did! In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few miscellaneous bits of personal news.
First, thanks to Personal Demon for the gifts! In the mail yesterday, I received from him the first xkcd compilation, volume 0:
and the following xkcd t-shirt, which I will probably wear to class on Monday:
I'm not sure what I've done to earn such gifts, but they are appreciated!
In other news, my "official" book cover was sent to me by Cambridge University Press yesterday:
The only change I might request is the use of my full name, with middle initial, as suggested by my wife. (I do find it amusing that the cover is essentially the image I sent them, with some text thrown on. Apparently I'm an awesome book cover designer.) Let me know what you think!
Speaking of books, a friend of mine, Brad Craddock, has made it to the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards (ABNA), with his book Alice's Misadventures Underground! He now needs some help in the form of some nice reviews to help move the book into the next round. Quoting from his email,
In the next few days (or weeks) until April 25, Amazon is asking for reviews of the first 5,000 words or so of each entry novel. Feel free to tell the truth, but be generous and nice overall since lots of glowing reviews may help me move to the next round.
If you have a kindle you can read the first few thousand words and rate the book. I think you can also download it, even if you don't have a kindle. In any case, any reviews you make can help. If you've read the entire book, you can comment on that as well.
Here's the link (copy and paste in the address window):
and here's the instruction page:
and here's the contest info:
And if you haven't bought the book yet and want to, here's the link:
For those familiar with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I can recommend Brad's entertaining take on the tale.
A book publisher could also use your help: Valancourt Books, which specializes in lovely reprints of rare and long out-of-print texts, has had some major computer problems that has put their efforts on hold until they can scrounge up enough money for a replacement. They would really appreciate it, and you would too, if you could throw some support their way by purchasing one or more of their excellent titles. I've reviewed many of them on my blog, including the excellent works of Richard Marsh, Bertram Mitford, and Marie Corelli, and have yet to find a book I didn't like.
Did I mention that I'm now a tenured Professor? I got the official letter on Wednesday of this week, and posted on Twitter, but I wanted to mention it on the blog as well for those non-Twitter followers. The amusing thing is that the letter is dated April 1st; I have disturbing visions of being told six months from now that it was all a joke...
Finally, let me note that we've got a new houseguest! A few weeks ago we put up a bluebird house outside of our front window, though we were worried that it was already too late in the season to get a resident. Our fears were unfounded, however:
Fortunately, the bluebirds don't seem to shy about having their picture taken, unlike the woodpecker who pops by now and again at our feeders...