Lisa Randall signing my copy of “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs”

Lisa Randall was at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington DC tonight, giving a very interesting talk about Dark matter and the Universe. In her new book, Dark Matter and the Dinosars, she ties in the dinosaurs by speculating how Dark matter may have been responsible for popping a comet out of the Oort Cloud, thus sending it on its way to crash into the Earth 65 million years ago- wiping out the dinosaurs and most life on the planet.  

Her talk was great; first book tour talk I’ve been to that was like a classroom lecture:  she had slides with diagrams, pictures and explanatory text.  So easy to follow and really engaging. 

Her book, “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs” was just released yesterday.  Here she is signing my copy.


At morn–at noon–at twilight dim–
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe–in good and ill–
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee
Now, when storms of Fate o’ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine.

-Edgar Allan Poe

IMG_3038.JPGJust finished reading Anthony Doerr’s historical novel, All The Light We Cannot See. This was a wonderful reading experience; Doerr’s writing is so expressive and beautiful. The book is the story of two parallel lives just before and during WWII. One is the story of a German boy, Werner, “recruited” into Hitler’s Nazi Youth. An orphan, he is accepted into an elite school because of his genius with radios. It is there he is trained as a soldier (he is 14 when he starts ) and hones his electronics skills.

Meanwhile, the other parallel story is about a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and her life with her father and uncle during the same period. WWII starts, and thus the lives of both Werner and Marie-Laure intersect and change drastically. Such wonderful, evocative prose; I could not put this book down. Highly recommended.

William Gibson.  Reading his new book, The Peripheral
William Gibson at Politics and Prose, Washington, DC (November 8, 2014)

Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force. Then one night Burton has to go out, but there’s a job he’s supposed to do—a job Flynne didn’t know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He’s supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That’s all there is to it. He’s offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn’t what Burton told her to expect. It might be a game, but it might also be murder.
–blurb from The Peripheral.

Love the silver ink that Mr. Gibson used on the black background!

I must be getting old. I had my older son Dylan go next door during the talk to reserve a table for us (knowing it would be a long wait). The restaurant beeper naturally went off (Dylan came to get me) while I was waiting in line to get my copy of The Peripheral signed. So, I had Dylan wait in line to get the book signed for me while Preston and I went next door to order dinner. And yes, he was thrilled to do that for me – I could tell by his glare. Right.
I didn’t get to say ‘Hi” to Mr. Gibson this time. Last time I saw him was in 2007; right here at Politics and Prose! – See my previous blog post from 2007 (and compare the pictures).

I would have just stayed in line but we needed to have dinner and get Preston home for bedtime. Dylan got back to the table about 5 minutes before his pizza: “That line moved about 2 inches every 5 minutes, Dad!”.

Love the silver ink that Mr. Gibson used on the black background!

Dinner at Comet Pizza next door was very good. The wait for the table was 45 minutes, but we were in the bookstore, so no worries. The waiter was very apologetic for the wait and we had excellent service. I love their wood-fired pizza. So does Preston.

We have been coming on Saturdays the past few times we have been here, and thus it has been way too crowded to get a ping-pong table. But this time we got the best table yet – table at rear, just before the ping-pong area. This is MUCH preferred over the main dining area, which is crowded, and poorly lit (we like to play games like Roll For It while waiting).

Preston ate a whole cheese pizza himself!White pie:  olive oil, garlic, mozzarella.  Plus basil, olives and fennel sausage.  Delicious!

Preston ate a whole cheese pizza himself!

Yes, I did something nice for Dylan for being my proxy – he got the book he wanted. :)

Whoa. J.K. Rowling is obviously a very popular author due to her Harry Potter series. But I just today learned of her ingenious way to thwart “signature pirates”. It seems that she has been inundated with requests for her signature since the early days of the Harry Potter series. So much so, that she no longer signs books except for charities and the like. Well, that means that unscrupulous people have sold copies of her books with forged signatures (to greatly increase their worth on the market).

To counteract this piracy, since 2007 she affixes a little hologram to the opposite page of any book she signs. I’ve never heard of this before. Neat, sorta. But it’s also sad – I rely on the word of a dealer when I buy a book that was signed. I’m still optimistic that all the signed books I have are authentic (though more than half were signed in my presence)…

The book below is an example and you can get it for a mere ~$350.00 on ABEBooks.com. That’s a steal, as a 1st edition copy of her first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (published 1997) runs for more than $15,000.00 (with the hologram if signed after 2007).


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