Friday, December 31, 2010

urs bookmark

According to their website, "URS Corporation is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world." What does this mean? Well, they list a number of things they do, including: nuclear, hydroelectric, and other power systems, air, rail and mass transit systems, mining, chemicals and pharma, ports and pipelines, NASA and space operations (whatever that means), international aid, homeland security and disaster response, environmental management and military training.

From their FAQ section under the Careers heading, they note: "
We maintain offices in countries around the world and we employ approximately 46,500 people. Our headquarters is in San Francisco, CA." I looked around a little, and they have offices all over the place, from Angola to New Zealand to Vietnam.

Its looks like they're everywhere and do everything!

This bookmarker is one of those concentric ring magnifiers, called a Fresnel lens, that you can lay flat on text or an image and pump up the size a little. I've stuck a couple of stamps from my collection behind there so you can see some of the funky effects this type of lens has. This bookmarker was a gift, so thanks to Alyson!

I wonder if URS made this bookmark, or if the had it manufactured for them?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

golden city

Well... I was hoping for a crushing, blow-out, take no prisoners, kind of ending to this trilogy, but I didn't get it. What I got was pretty good; not like the ending of the The Firm, for instance [cough-stinks-cough] but a little tepid for my taste. I mean, this is the powers of virtue and light against the powers of evil and darkness--and Vast Machinery-ness--right?

I guess it kind-of ended, but not really. So I guess we're looking at a fourth book in the trilogy. Twelve Hawks kept up the action and the plot twists throughout, I have to say, and I enjoyed the story. Its clear that Twelve Hawks's ideas about the Vast Machine aren't the only things he's been thinking about. Organized religion gets a taste too, a little more directly in this one, than in the first two. I don't think he's opposed, per se, but obviously sees a different route.

So will we see a battle of the Realms Royale, or will Twelve Hawks just let this storyline die with a whimper? I know where my money is; with the money.

A note on the binding: I read the first edition hardcover, and the front cover is embossed with the Harlequin's lute symbol. Which I am all for, by the way. I read with the book jacket off, and having something on the cover lets me know which side is the front. But it looks to me that the lute was embossed upside-down. oops.

wait... maybe its a signal...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

dark river

I just finished the second installment in John Twelve Hawks's Fourth Realm trilogy: The Dark River. Twelve Hawks's Description: "Its Dark". And it is, but not too much. It is, however, not a stand alone novel. I think anyone would be lost without reading the first book, regardless of the summary included at the beginning of the story.

The tension ratchets up in the war between good and evil. Friendships are tested, and love both grows and struggles. Twelve Hawks keeps the story on track and introduces some new characters, to broaden his already rich cast of characters. I burned through this book in no time, and as I write this, I'm already deep into the third book: The Golden City.

Nice job so far. If Twelve Hawks can stick the landing he's got a good score coming. Thanks to rbobbydray for the book. I told my son he's missing it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

the traveler

The Traveler, is the first in this recent trilogy called: The Fourth Realm, by John Twelve Hawks. The Traveler introduces us to the players in the underground struggle going on in our world, between good and evil, unbeknownst to the rest of us 'citizens'. Its a mixture of old and new; mysticism and science fiction. The story is populated with ancient Japanese swords and sawed off shotguns, righteous honor and pacifism, calculated murder and the shape of one's soul.

Sounds like a lot, but Twelve Hawks has woven a story with both depth, and breadth, which is both complex and easy to read. The 'evil' in The Traveler is something called the Vast Machine: an Orwellian vision of the constant surveillance people are under, ever increasingly, right now in our world. Reading this book, just as the brouhaha over full body scans, and erogenous zone pat downs at the airport have come on line, has been a hoot, and a little frightening.

According to one interview I read with John Twelve Hawks, just after The Traveler was published, he has been concerned about this ever increasing intrusion into our personal privacy for a long time, and his personal concerns help to fuel the tension in the story. Random House has set up a website to support the books, and it is a series of news stories, blogs and links from around the world, dedicated to security, increasingly ubiquitous monitoring and privacy intrusion.

My sincere thanks to rbobbydray for the books. Its too bad the boy didn't want to listen. I think he may be growing out of the whole listening thing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

bookmarker postcard

I received this postcard from a friend who rode across America on her bicycle, helping folks along the way, with the Bike and Build folks. This was mailed out from Maybell Co., Colorado (pop.372 ) in July; about 2000 miles into her 3800 mile ride with her team. They raised over $130,000.

So in case it isn't obvious [click on the image to blow it up] the bit at the top of the card rips off via a perforation, and you've got yerself a fine Rocky Mountain National Park bookmark. For the collectors of ephemera, postcards like this push all the buttons baby! Now I only have to decide whether it goes in my postcard collection, or in my bookmark collection. I know what you're thinking: rip off the bookmark and you'll one piece for each collection, right?


I haven't seen a lot of these postcard bookmarks. I have one more, but I can't put my hands on it now. Its from London and shows a double-decker bus, or something.