peteg's blog

Steven Johnson: Farsighted.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. Adam Grant led me to believe this book would have an interesting take on decision making. I read it closely and got bored by its repetition and failure to map well-known techniques for groups to individual circumstances. Recounting the final days of bin Laden and praising story-telling and novel-reading as empathy-building was tendentious at best. I didn't see what Collect Pond and NYC's High Line (cloned by Chicago's The 606 and Sydney's Goods Line, and doubtlessly others) had to do with much of anything. At best a pointer to other works in the area.

Better value are the comments at goodreads.

A Hennessy Hammock.

/travels | Link

Hanging in Centennial Park.

One thing that puts me off camping is that I never get a decent sleep on the Thermarest, so I figured I might try a hammock. (Sure, it's not going to help with the paranoia.) Some casual googling suggested there's been a lot of rethinking of these things over the past decade (see Derek Hansen's site and book for instance). I settled on a Hennessy Expedition Zip from Wild Earth in Burleigh Heads via eBay (who were running a site-wide 5% discount). This thing is not cheap, being essentially a tent without the support structure. Dries has the shorter Explorer Zip; the "classic" bottom entry doesn't look so practical for lounging around during the day, though apparently it can be done.

It showed up last Friday. Today being the first dry day in an age, I thought I'd give it a go in Centennial Park, largely because I wasn't sure there'd be suitable trees elsewhere. It is easy to pitch, even using just the suggested lashing with the provided ropes, though adjustment is a bit tedious. The ridgeline is key to this, I think: get that flat, and the ropes at roughly 30 degrees, and you're home. Pegging out the sides makes it far easier to lie flat-ish across the centreline. The provided tree-hugging straps where a bit too short, but that doesn't seem to matter. I didn't try pitching the fly. There's no chance of falling out. At 5.45pm, after about three hours of experimental hanging and book reading, a ranger told me I couldn’t attach things to trees in the park.

Disappointingly one thread near the end of the the lower nylon was broken. While it was some distance from the main load-bearing part of the fabric, I was concerned it was no longer insect proof, and that the damage might spread. Wild Earth told me that this was the pretty much the first Hennessy they'd sold and more-or-less insisted I return it to them for replacement, which I did on Wednesday. I'm wondering it's worth getting some snakeskins.