Higganum Reservoir

29 04 2013

Cherry and I have started hiking again! check out: Higganum Reservoir.

Higganum Reservoir

29 04 2013

Haddam Reservoir 04.29.13 001Cherry and I were ready to start hiking again! This time, we decided to focus on trails in Haddam, her hometown. We used www.haddamtrails.org as our guide.

It turns out there were thirteen trails in town, of which we’d already hiked one as part of the Mattabessett Trail. There also were three in Cockaponset and we’d tried some of that already. So, today, we started with Higganum Reservoir Trail. A round-trip of about a mile and a half, we knew it wouldn’t take long.

It was a cloudy day with temperatures in the fifties, which made for a perfect hike. At 8:30, we parked at the north end of the reservoir to look at the spillway, comprised of large brownstone slabs. We then meandered through a nearby cemetery to reach Hull Avenue and locate the trailhead. We talked about Cherry’s upcoming retirement and issues related to continuation of her programs once she was gone. She also shared about a potential trip she might take to Buenos Aires in January, which sounded quite exciting.

We were disappointed that the trail was so far from the reservoir, so we bushwhacked down to it and tried to follow along. We did get a few nice views of the waterway, while we talked about the current state of my writing. I talked about an in-progress short story and challenges in completing it by Thursday and Cherry was encouraging about its plot line.

Haddam Reservoir 04.29.13 002 Seeing no clear way to continue along the reservoir, we returned to the trail and encountered two women walking three barking dogs. We were glad to move past them and find the source of the reservoir, a lovely stream flowing over rock outcrops. Reaching the other trailhead, we backtracked, staying on the official trail. Cherry asked about my recent trip to Stockholm and Denmark and I told her about the various foods and sights we’d seen. By then, we had returned to our parked car.

 Since it was still early, we decided to hike along the railroad tracks along the river in the center of town. Not an official trail, it crossed Higganum Cove (a superfund site containing PCBs, municipal solid waste, and asbestos.) before reaching the river. Being very low tide, we were able to explore the small beach before hiking north along the tracks. After a half hour, we turned and retraced our steps and returned to our cars at 11:30AM.

 Cherry hadn’t been to either of these areas, so we had a nice introduction to Haddam’s trails. To top it off, we decided to lunch at Mamma Roux’s on chili and gumbo. Cherry suggested a plan for future adventures that included selecting a Connecticut town and spending the day exploring trails, shops, and museums, and sampling a restaurant. I didn’t hesitate to agree. We’ll pick our first town after retirement at the end of June. Meanwhile, we’ll head back to Haddam in May to sample another trail or two.

Ready Player One: Thumbs DOWN

3 04 2013

Ready_Player_One_coverLeaving the library, I picked up a copy of Ready Player One, our One Book selection for this year. On a gray Saturday afternoon, I decided to treat myself and sat down for some enjoyable reading time. Boy, was that not the case! Firstly, it’s futuristic science fiction, not something I generally read, with a retro focus on popular culture of the 1980s — music, movies, and video games. Although I lived through those years, those references were exactly what I try to ignore/forget!

 But, wanting to participate in upcoming One Book events, I plugged away. I got through Level One, almost half of the book, before I just had to stop. Personal preference aside, I appreciate the author’s concern about environmental and social future, based on where we are heading. However, I found it a frightening commentary on today’s society when a cult hero promoting virtual violence and escapism is idealized.

Certainly, the IOI were greedy bad guys. But the hero, James Halliday, founder of OASIS, promoted escapism into a virtual reality devoid of genuine contact with any living beings. His programs also eliminated motivation to fix what was wrong ‘out there’ (exception for Art3mis) and I would classify them as equally misguided and highly disturbing.

Eventually, I read the last few chapters to see if I missed anything important. Is it redeeming that Halliday suggests a little dose of reality or control of OASIS even to the point of shutting it down? To me, it came as a minor footnote at the end. Cline evaded a golden opportunity to make a powerful statement when explaining the Halliday/Og falling out. Instead of a philosophical difference (video games vs educational tools), he pinned it on the girl.

Using video games to avoid the real world has the potential to lead to devastating results – here in Connecticut, think Newtown. With the goal being to kill the enemy, these games addictively increase adrenaline levels, letting players become superheroes and lose track of time and reality. Escapism at its highest. Research isn’t clear that violent video games lead to violence but it’s intuitive that they don’t promote collaboration, cooperation, or brotherly love.

 Personally, I’d rather live in the real world and spend my reading time with something either more inspirational or meaningful.

2 04 2013

Check it out:

Beth Lapin's A to Z Blog 2023

bat at flower with cMessage:

»         Pollinate new ideas

When we were young, we learned new things every day: that letters turned into words, the world had many countries, numbers had meaning, people had feelings, and limbs could break.

As we got older, sometimes we thought we’d learned all these was to know, or at least all we needed to know. But this is never true, and one of the best ways to learn new concepts is through each other.

Recently, I’ve encountered these new ideas:

»         At Melville House, they are publishing select books with accompanying electronic “Illuminations,” supplemental material that complements and enhances the book content

»         Lucy and Jorge Orta are producing stunning photographic posters of Amazon life, each linked to a specific meter-square plot of the tropical forest. Poster holders obtain a certificate of moral ownership, committing them to protect that poster/plot in perpetuity and arrange for its inheritance…

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