Earth, Air, Fire, and Bikes

After some consultation with Dr. Internet, I laid healing hands on my bicycle last Saturday, replacing the severed brake cable and doing some general maintenance so that the thing might continue to run for a while. This is a new experience for me, as I usually buy throwaway bikes that are cheaper to replace than repair. But I’ve gotten attached to this one.

My son has decided that fireworks are not, in fact, All That, so it was just my daughter and me biking down to the local July 4th fireworks last night. We got a good place, pretty close behind the firing zone. But the fireworks weren’t flying as high this year as they sometimes do; in fact, I’m pretty sure some of them were still burning as they hit the ground. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to land back among the unfired-fireworks, so we narrowly escaped a major disaster–always a good way to celebrate a holiday, national or otherwise.

I spent a big chunk of the weekend excavating my home office, or computer room, or whatever one would call it. One can move around in here slightly more freely, and now I know where my 1992 tax returns are, in the unlikely event I ever need them. But the clutter wasn’t reduced as much as I’d hoped. I’m starting to think that it’s time to box up most of my old vinyl albums and store them away somewhere. I’ve got most of the music I listen to in e-form anyway, and it must be a year or so since I dropped the needle onto an LP.

Last week I read a great book that apparently everyone else read year: The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes. It’s sort of the flip side of a book I did read last year: Goodman’s The Sun and the Moon. Holmes paints the incandescent reality of scientific discovery in the late 18th/early 19th century, when science and the arts still intermingled. Goodman’s story is about the shadows cast by that same light.

At least one figure is prominent in both books: John Herschel (credited with the discovery of life on the moon in the Sun newspaper hoax). And it was interesting to see his father, musician and astronomer William Herschel, had speculated publicly about an inhabited moon: he thought the craters were circular sun-powered lunar cities. This is one of those things which ought to be true, even if it obviously isn’t.

[Edited to add: It looks like others weren’t as lucky last night: some scary video here.]

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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