Merry Autumn, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

assorted pumpkinsThe last gasp of autumn here in California, where it’s sort of autumn and sort of winter!
It’s all a farce,—these tales they tell
     About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o’er field and dell,
     Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
     I care not who first taught ’em;
There’s nothing known to beast or bird
     To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
     With countenance distressing,
You’ll note the more of black and gray
     Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
     The sky is blue and mellow;
And e’en the grasses turn the ground
     From modest green to yellow.
The seed burrs all with laughter crack
     On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
     Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
     A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
     Is bubbling o’er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
     Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
     And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
     It really can’t contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
     The heavens seem to rain it.
Don’t talk to me of solemn days
     In autumn’s time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
     And these grow slant and slender.

The Grateful Geek

Happy Thanksgiving

Time for the yearly tradition in which I give thanks for all the geek-specific moments hat have thrilled my heart this year. This year Thanksgiving falls on November 22, so here are 22 things I’m grateful for:

  1. Jason bringing a spider into the MRI machine in The Good Place.
  2. Eleanor as wingman. “It’s for science!”
  3. Amos and Prax on The Expanse discussing Frankenstein.
  4. Amos and Anna.
  5. Amos pouring the kids their cereal.
  6. The casting in Mary Shelley – a lackluster movie, but the casting was ON POINT.
  7. The National Theater Company production of Frankenstein. “Let us dialog!”
  8. Every single thing about Black Panther.
  9. Eve’s passcode on Killing Eve.
  10. Villanelle’s cute pink frothy dress on Killing Eve.
  11. Learning to play guitar as depicted in We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix.
  12. Boom Studios, killing it with comic after comic.
  13. Queer Eye. How I long for the Fab Five to cuddle me on the couch, pet my hair, and croon, “Yassss, Queeen.”
  14. The original format Great British Bake Off, without which I could not get through my darkest hours.
  15. Bob’s Halloween costume, Stranger Things. Justice for Bob and Barb!
  16. Detective Hopper’s Dad dance and Eleven’s reaction.
  17. The end of Get Out.
  18. Bucky’s puppy eyes in Infinity War.
  19. General Leia FTW.
  20. The lightsaber fight in the throne room in The Last Jedi.
  21. Chris Evan’s Twitter account.
  22. Captain America meets Groot.

and of course:

gif from Minions: "I love all my followers!"

Between the Lines Book Club: More About Agatha Christie

between the lines book club logoFirst of all, a reminder that this month book club meets on November 17, 2018, at Arden Dimick at 10:30AM. We will have biscuits, of course, as one does. Our book this month was The 4:50 to Paddington by Agatha Christie.

This month’s read was a quick one. If you’d like to supplement your reading, here are some suggestions:

Agatha Christie Novels

Murder on the Orient Express

Yep, the one on the train. One of many set on trains, actually.

Death on the Nile

A personal favorite because Poirot is both stern and compassionate.

Murder of Roger Ackroyd

A trope maker.

And Then There Were None

Most Christie mysteries are interesting, not scary, but this one is terrifying.

Agatha Christie Autobiography and Biography

The Grand Tour: Around the World With the Queen of Mystery, by Agatha Christie, ed. by Matthew Prichard

A fun collection of notes, journal entries, and letters home from a trip Agatha took around the world with her husband. She became one of the first English people to surf standing up and became quite good at it.

Agatha Christie: A Secret Life by Laura Thompson

I had so many problems with this biography, but it is engrossing despite its flaws.











How to Stay Civic all Year

static1-squarespace-1The midterms are over – but I’m writing this prior to the election so I don’t know who won. What I do know is that regardless of who wins, staying involved in civic affairs is important all through the year. Here are five ways you can stay involved:

Give money

  • Put your spare change in the jar. Opt to round up. A little goes a long way.
  • Make a small donation but set it to be paid monthly. Most non-profits have an option for that and will automatically deduct the amount you stipulate from your bank account or PayPal monthly. This means tha they can count on a steady flow of income, however large or small, and it means that over the course of a year you can give much more than you could in the space of a month.

Give Time

  • Volunteer: Whether you put in an hour, a day, or several hours a week, you are contributing to your community and, hopefully, making friends and feeling a sense of accomplishment while doing it.
  • Read the Paper: Subscribe to a newspaper. Don’t rely on Facebook for your news. Plus, you can do this in bed, in your pajamas.
  • Attend a City Council meeting: Your voice has most power at the local level. Attending a City Council meeting will help you understand the personalities and procedures that go into local governance.


  • spay and neuter your pets
  • Get your flu shot – you protect others as well as yourself
  • Wash your hands – see above
  • make art
  • Be an organ donor (you know…eventually). Put that little pick sticker on your driver’s licence and check yes on medical forms.

Between the Lines Book Club: 4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie

between the lines book club logoOur November book is a fun, easy read – 4:50 From Paddington by Dame Agatha Christie. It was originally published as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw and features beloved detective Jane Marple.

4:50 is a workmanlike book that shows the structure of a basic Christie novel. However, Christie was also capable of upending the genre, as she does in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and in Murder on the Orient Express. Her book And Then There Were None is chilling in contrast to her more “cosy” mysteries.

Christie lived from 1890-1976. She’s the third most read author in the English Language, having written 66 books in addition to short story collections and a play. She is known as “The Queen of Crime.”

For more about her influence on modern crime novels, check out this article: “Genius or Hack?”



imagesToday’s post is a short one – please vote tomorrow (if you haven’t already done so) for midterm elections. Thank you! In the words of Susan B. Anthony, “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”