I don't know why, but I love Stephen King's books. So, I might be a bit biased when I say that I loved his crime novel, Joyland. It's got carnys, a ghost and a murder mystery all wrapped up into one. I recommend it.
Brian and I saw The Conjuring today. It was a decent, classic horror film. Good scares and no giant plot holes. We liked it. I recommend it if you are into classic ghost stories like the Amityville Horror and Poltergeist. It's directed by James Wan, the guy who directed Saw and Insidious, though I would argue that this movie isn't as "out there" as his previous films. So, don't be put off if you didn't like his earlier work.
It is time to clean out the library. My shelves are overloaded with books and knick-knacks so I am getting rid of some books. Of course, to get rid of some books, you have to read them first.
This book is one I picked up at a book sale a long time ago.
It has sat on my shelf for many years, unread. Now, I am finally reading it before I let it go, and it is actually pretty good. It has snippets of longer literary works, essays and poems. The selections they make are interesting. It's a good mix of stuff I know and things I didn't know.
So far, one of my favorites quotes is from a poem by Alexander Pope called An Essay on Criticism:
Trust not yourself: but your defects to know,
Make use of every friend—and every foe.
As part of my cabinet of curiosities in my office, I have a small collection of bugs in plastic. I really love these things because, frankly, I would not (voluntarily) get this close to one of these insects/spiders in real life. It's cool to be able to look at a black scorpion up close, without fear.
In addition to the scorpion in the center, the bug in the right is a cicada and on the left is a spiny spider.
Nicole and I went to see the author Neil Gaiman. He's on tour to promote his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which is excellent by the way. Oddly enough, he spoke at my high school in Bloomington. The auditorium has not changed a bit.
Here's a shot of Neil speaking:
Here's his signature in my book:
I could have had it personalized, but Nicole and I looked at the line and thought better of it. Someone else she knew who was there was still in line at 11pm and had at least an hour to go. Neil Gaiman draws quite the crowd.
On the heals of a cabin trip, I was inspired to grill. We made kebobs for dinner tonight with chicken, pineapple, onion and red pepper. Delicious. I modified the recipe from a Food Network Magazine recipe this month. Here's a shot of the kebobs pulled off the skewers:
Brian had a good time today playing with the slack line we bought my sister's family last year. It's a nylon strap that you can string between trees and walk on. Brian made a pseudo-jungle gym out of it.
We also spent some quality time fishing. I did not catch anything beyond lake weeds. Brian caught a small northern:
Don't worry. We let the little guy go. The fishing excitement was capped off with a beautiful sunset on the lake:
Brian and I went up to my sister Stacey's cabin for the weekend. We had an excellent time.
Her neighbors spend what I can only imagine is an obscene amount of money on fireworks. They rivaled the municipal displays we have seen in recent years. It was great witting on a pontoon in the middle of the lake watching the show.
We even shot off some of our own fireworks. It was entertaining to set them off in the lake. The fish must have been very confused.
There are few things better than a warm campfire with a view of a calm lake:
Brian introduced me to a new pastry that is popular downtown: the cronut. It's like a cross between a croissant and a donut. This is the version from Angel Food Bakery in Minneapolis. I don't think they are called cronuts at that bakery though. Apparently, so New York bakery has trademarked the name. Regardless, they are delicious. I highly recommend them.
Tonight, our friend Mike came over and we played a very long, complex board game. Arkham Horror can take 5 hours to play. We did it in about 3 hours, and we won. It was hard though. I recommend it if you are really into board games and used to learning complex game mechanics.