I have written web pages for various purposes; but, I have never written one that simply shares the things I like. I hope you find something that pleases you. I will be including information about travel, book reviews, art, music, math, naval & games research.
Oregon Coast: Building a House (2016)
Ervin Visits the Holy Land (2015)
A Visit to the Oregon Coast: a week of photos.
Visiting Sicily's Vulcano Island.
A Country of Contrasts: India December 2012
Quick Travel Gifts at Tokyo's Airport
Most of my neighbors wouldn't know what to look for when passing through Tokyo's Narieta airport. Japan is full of beautifully packaged and special delights. If you have a sweet tooth, green tea flavored chocolate may be "just the ticket." The photo above features some of the choices that just arrived at my house!
The World's Best Places
I believe we have found some of the world's best. While these places offer great services, they linger pleasantly in the mind ... See Entries Below:
Tropical Beach: Cape Panwa Hotel: Phukete Thailand,
Of many I have visited, this is the best. A half moon of white sand bordered by a coconut grove. At the far end is a Portugese Colonial mansion now serving as a Thai restaraunt. The site is stunningly beautiful as is the associated resort.
Rocky Beach: Cannon Beach: Oregon, USA,
While a tropical beach in the moonlight is unsurpassed, the cold, stony beaches of Oregon and Maine have their own special attraction for me. Only 30 minutes from Astoria Oregon, Cannon Beach is one of the most beautiful. It is easily visited and good accomodations are nearby.
Beach Hotel: Grotta Hotel, Naxos Greece,
We found Grotta Hotel quite by lucky accident. It was a cheerful place & perfectly situated 10 meters from the water. Continental breakfast was lovely in the ocean view dinning room. We usually followed it by a 1/2 km walk to the ancient ruin or the village waterfront. (Above is a view from the hotel)
Ancient Ruins: Parthanon, Athens Greece,
It comes as no surprise that Athen's ancient temple complex, The Parthanon, is perhaps the world's most impressive ancient site. It is impressive walking up from the cafe's below, but equally so up top. For some, the experience of visiting this ancient site brings tears to the eyes. (other similarly impressive sites include Sukhothai Thailand.)
Breakfast: La Fiaba B&B: Molin Nuovo, Italy,
At the small LaFiaba B&B in the Tuscan wine country, Erica offers the best breakfast experience. She schedules her guests through her lovely kitchen serving them home made jams & local fruits with excellent European breads & patries. The kitchen, like everything at the B&B is artistically executed.
Small villages, outdoor cafes & wineries are nearby. All are easily accessible. At check-in, the staff can provide this information. From La Fiaba, a short drive will take you to midevil towns of San Gimignano or Siena. NOTE: The La Fiaba web address is up for sale. I fear the B&B may be closed. Most Sad!
Coffee: Mureno's Bakery: Florence Italy,
We sampled coffee all over Tuscany and it was good. But the small Mareno Bakery just off Ponte Alla Carraia bridge (on Via del Serrogaii street) provided the consistently outstanding capacino we were hoping for. The Coffee man was delightful as was all the staff. Sitting down for morning coffee & watching the interaction with patrons was lovely. (Stay at the very good San Frediano Mansion just around the corner to enjoy Mareno's coffee every morning.)
Beach Town: Castiglione della Pescaia, Tuscany Italy
The small coastal village of Castiglione della Pescaia is a fabulous place. The market area is perfect for walking, eating & drinking. A variety of shops offer pastry, clothing, beach accessories etc.. This area includes a wonderful little playground for children. Above the town stands the old 12 century midieval castle with a little village in its ring wall. Not far away, the beach ....
Midieval Town: San Gimignano, Tuscany Italy
In the heart of the Tuscan wine country, San Gimignano is a wonderful example of Midieval Towns, with its narrow streets, towers & classic ring wall defense. This walled city is now very commercial, but clean and lovely. Above, Jeab &Athena have lunch in a street cafe.
Japanese Castle: Matsuyama Japan,
A medium sized town on Shikoku Island in south Japan offers visitors the chance to visit an authentic Japanese castle situated high on Pine Mountain. A "not too difficult" climb will bring you to the summit & castle. Persons interested in the interior of castles, may wish to visit Kochi Japan, also on Shikoku Island.
Unlike most American cities, Matsuyama Town is pulsing with energy. Just walking around is interesting; but, the 100 year old street car system is fun and inexpensive too.
Historic Street Car Routes: Nagasaki Japan,
Several Japanese cities have restored street cars collected from around the world. These are organized into routes that are interesting and provide an inexpensive way to tour the city. One of the more extensive systems is in Nagasaki - a city bustling with innovation and pulsing with energy. My apprehensions about going there as an American were unfounded as the Japanese were wonderfully hospitable and kind.
Alleyways: Nagasaki Japan,
Alleys around the world are fascinating and say much about a culture. This one is a classic that I found in Nagasaki, South Japan. I am sure I have seen dozens, but none more iconic than this. Japanese Manga comic books often capture the feel of Japan, and this alleyway photo is the kind of scene commonly shown in Manga.
i-berry Icecream: Chiang Mai Thailand,
We arrived at Chiang Mai in the monsoon season. A fine mist was falling outside; but inside we were surrounded by two score happy customers & employees alike. The ice cream, coffee & decor were fabulous including the grounds & banyon tree outside.
Elephant Ride: Thai Elephant Ctr., Lampang Thailand,
Elephant rides are available many places in Thailand, but the half hour ride through the jungle just north of Lampang is fabulous.
We have chosen these locations to highlight, because they are special to us. If you go there, we think they will be special to you also.
END OF SECTION
BOOK REVIEW QUICK LINKS:
My Book Release:
The Prophesy of Hermes
A Modern Greek Cat Becomes the Prophet
by Paul Watson
Hermes, the tiger stripped cat visits seaports around the Mediterranean on a tramp trading ship. During his voyages, he discovers the massing of Rat Armies on every coast. The threat to cats everywhere is clear.
When first Engineer and cat master Stephen adds two young cats to the ship, Hermes seizes the opportunity and trains "Ajax the Strong" and "Artemis the Spy" as his weapons against the enemy.
Join Hermes, Ajax and Artemis as they face storms at sea, rat armies and tunnels connecting past to present. Join them in their battle to ensure the survival of their kind.
Where can I buy The Prophesy of HermesThe Prophesy of Hermes will be available from listed e-book stores below on 31 Oct 2014 (or as shown). Estimated delivery for Kindle through Amazon is 14 Nov 2014. The Propheys of Hermes is currently available in ePub format (for most electronic readers) and MOBI (for Kindle). This book is also available in paper format from the following:
Where can I read 2 chapters free?Chapters 1 & 2- Publicly Accessible for Free
Spotlight Book for YA
The Haunting of Tram 015
by P. Djeli Clark
Steam Punk Cairo circa 1900 comes alive in a brilliant novella featuring djinns, minor magic and culture in a Cairo that "never was" as agents Hamed and Onsi struggle to exercise a demon. Innuendo and setting paint a portrait of life far beyond the mere chain of events. Read this rich expose of characters, culture and circumstance and you will not be disappointed.
Other Books of Note:
Read Any Good Ghost Stories Lately?I recently read electronic editions of three different Ghost Story Collections. Two of the books were written in Ireland and one in India. After reading these three books, I can identify no strong patterns in the actions and capabilities of recounted ghosts; but, I did find them interesting. If you are looking for some light, night time reading you can try one of these:
WOW fiction spotlights highly original books. These offer unusual settings, themes or strange metaphysical viewpoints integral to their story.
Dance, Dance, Dance by Japanese Writer Murakami 5 Star Fiction
A friend of mine once said "A story is about character development, but a yarn is merely a sequence of events." Most of the great books I have read in my life fit the "story" definition above and so it is with Murakami.
A down-trodden writer has withdrawn from society yet has recurring memories of a hotel in far north Japan and his "then sweetheart". He feels strangely attracted to the scene of his memories and books a plane to Soporo and the "Dolphin Hotel".
On arrival, he finds a sleek modern building with little personality in place of the seedy hotel of his memory. When asked about the original Dolphin Hotel, he gets evasive answers from hotel staff.
Before long, he is engaged with a desk clerk, a psychic 12 year old and her famous photographer mother. A Junior High Classmate re-enters his life as a drinking buddy. An unlikely setting for a story; but in the hands of master writer Murakami it becomes a magical test tube for restoring the writer to society amid a landscape of spiritual dreams and extra-dimensional reality.
I found this book intrigueing and never boring despite the slow "spin-up" typical of Japanese books. I recommend this or almost any Murakami book for those with the grit to tough out the first 3 chapters.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 5 Star (Fiction)
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang - 5 Star Fiction Novella
A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami 5 Star Fiction
The Great Sheep Chase is a wonderful book, originally written in Japanese. As with many Japanese books, the pace in chapters 1 & 2 can be a bit slow for the American reader; however, the book explodes into mind expanding possibilities that rock the reader to his metaphysical core. In this, and other books, Murakami proves himself a genius.
Other WOW Books
End of Book Review Section
Integrity Engineering: GatewayInformation & Training Paul F. Watson
Saint Paul's: Introduction to Statistics (2019)Learning statistics is usually a painful experience, but it doesn't have to be. Saint Paul provides clear explanations with a top down approach so you know what you are trying to achieve. Saint Paul provides clear explanations in casual, everyday English.
Favorite Art on the Internet:
Aren't Accordions Just for Grandpa?Paul F. Watson
Video of Diatonic Button Box being Played
25 years ago, I thought so; but then I started visiting an Irish Pub. The customers ranged from barely legal to old, but we all had fun listening to small bands that played penny whistles, violins, banjos, concertinas, accordions & drums. The effect was a lively, toe tapping music. What could be better as you drink a brown brew or a glass of red?
Over time, I studied each instrument & here is what I found: The violin & penny whistle provided the melody while banjo contributed its unique pinkity-plunk rythm. Only the accordion was powerful enough to play melody, chords & rythm. The versatility of these small portable instuments is only surpassed by the piano, while the 'reedy' sound of a 'wet tuned' accordion has charisma beyond compare.
There is a family of these instruments ranging from the small concertina, to a full blown 120 base accordion; but, we can characterize the lot by concluding that they are uniquely powerful among portable instruments. If you are looking for a small, personal instrument to 'wile away the hours', it's worth considering.
The Rota Miracle by Paul F. Watson
Mr. Watson spent four years teaching math on Rota Island in the western Pacific. With the help of a progressive Campus Administrator, he concentrated on creating an effective learning environment quite unlike the typical American Community College of 1996. Student accomplishment and confidence soared as failure rates were almost eliminated. This brief article summarizes some of the changes he made.
by Paul Watson
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Paul F. Watson
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