Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Comedienne Chelsea Handler is profane, outrageous, offensive … and very funny.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea is her 2008 best-selling book.

…  a collection of humorous and mostly autobiographical essays about her life. …


It inspired a TV show called Are You There, Chelsea?

Laura Prepon plays Chelsea in the show.  It only lasted 12 episodes.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


The Soul of the Octopus by Sy Montgomery

This book was recommended to me because I enjoyed The Book of Eels by Patrik Svensson.

Eels are amazing.

Turns out, Octopus are even more amazing.

Sy Montgomery is a good writer, very expert in animals and nature.

… “fascinating…touching…informative…entertaining” … explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus—a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature—and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.

In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma.

Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food….


Cycling Whistler B.C.

Whistler is one of the top mountain biking destinations in the world.

There are a LOT OF TRAILS.

I like singletrack, twisty forested green trails best. Last week I cycled mostly around Lost Lake.

The easy trails are free.  You do probably need to pay for parking.

This video gives you an idea of the terrain.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Quite good.  

I recommend the book, especially if you have an interest in the lives of women in India

Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur.

There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had.

Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

Henna art can get quite complex.

Alka Joshi was born in the desert state of Rajasthan in India. In 1967, her family immigrated to America. She earned a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts in San Francisco.

Prior to writing The Henna Artist, Alka ran an advertising and marketing agency for 30 years. She has spent time in France and Italy and currently lives with her husband on the Northern California Coast.

CanaDream 4 days Calgary → Vancouver CAD $618

For the first time I rented a CanaDream camper van to get me and my bike back to the left coast.

My cost for up to 4 days,  3000 km is CAD $618 (US $466) including insurance. Plus about $340 for fuel.  About $960 total.

That would be a great price for two people as flying cost over CAD $550 right now with bike. COVID prices.  I should have flown or taken the bus for about $140.

That price is cheaper than usual from CANADREAM because more people rent Vancouver to Calgary than the other way around. It’s called a relocation sale.

I departed Calgary Friday August 21. Dropped the vehicle in Vancouver Tuesday August 25th.

Did some adventuring en route.  But not as much as I had hoped.  I was behind the wheel for 2000 km.

Wild camped one night.  Stayed in inexpensive campgrounds the other three.  If you don’t plug in to electricity and water, cost is only $15 – $25 at B.C. Recreation sites.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

One film that stuck with me over all these decades is The Shining. (1980)

Whatever happened to Jack’s wife and son?

The Shining (1977) was King’s 3rd book and first best seller.

Doctor Sleep is a 2013 horror novel by Stephen King and the sequel

Following the events of The Shining, after receiving a settlement from the owners of the Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance remains psychologically traumatized as his mother Wendy slowly recovers from her injuries. …

In this book, Doctor Sleep is the son, age-30, of Jack Nicholson in the original movie.

We finally learn how Shining works. 

Like most King books, this one is long and detailed.  Though I don’t like horror, I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

I’ll probably watch the movie (2019), as well.




K2 – World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

My original plan for 2020 would have had me hiking to K2 base camp right about now.

Oh well.

“K2 is a savage mountain that tries to kill you.”

That is how climber George Bell described the infamous peak after the first American expedition in 1953–forever giving the mountain its nickname–The Savage Mountain.

Sixty-six years later, Eddie Bauer mountain guides Adrian Ballinger and Carla Perez aim to summit the 8611-meter peak and join a community of explorers fewer in number than those who have been to outer space.

Even more incredible, they both will attempt the feat without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

Last Night in Montreal (2009) was Mandel’s first book.

Great writer.  I’m now reading all her books after having quite enjoyed two others:

Montreal, like those other two, employ a time-jumping narrative.  Mandel does that well.

Montreal is weirdly compelling.

The life story of young woman who was kidnapped by her father at a young age.  All she knows is leaving.  Staying on the move.

When Lilia was a child, her father appeared on the doorstep of her mother’s house and took her away.

Now, haunted by an inability to remember much about her early childhood, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and eluding the private detective who has dedicated a career to following close behind.

Then comes Eli. When Lilia goes out for a paper and fails to return to their Brooklyn apartment, he follows her to Montreal, not knowing whether he wants to disappear, too, or help her find her way home. But what he discovers is a deeper mystery …

Actually, I was even more interested in the story of the second major character, Michaela. A student and circus acrobat often abandoned by her parents.