Saturday, September 10, 2016

Still Trekkin'

After my post on Star Trek the other day, someone linked me to this piece of music, which combines the theme songs from the original series, TNG, DS9, and Voyager into one amazing whole, and I thought it was just too great not to share:

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Keep On Trekkin'

I could not possibly let today pass without wishing a happy 50th Anniversary to Star Trek. Who would ever have predicted, back in the day, that a show that had trouble even staying on the air for three years would still be something we'd be talking about half a century later? Let alone that it would have such a tremendous influence on science fiction, on pop culture, on millions of people, and even on real-world technology?

I sometimes like to describe myself, only half-jokingly, as a lapsed Trekkie. There was a point -- OK, it was pretty much the entirety of my teens -- when Star Trek, with its humanist philosophy and its much-discussed optimistic view of the future, served me pretty effectively in place of a religion. These days, Trek and I have drifted apart a little bit. I've found myself disappointed with some of the later entries in the franchise, eventually giving up entirely on both Voyager and Enterprise. And I can see problems with the original series that weren't remotely obvious to me as a youngster, from the disturbing implications of Kirk's interpretation of the Prime Directive as something that only applies to societies he approves of, to its unexamined 1960s sexism.

And yet. And yet, I still maintain a deep, abiding, nostalgic affection for Kirk and company, and (in a somewhat different way) for their Next Generation descendants. Not to mention a strong appreciation for the tragically under-rated Deep Space 9, which, despite a rough first season and the occasional plot or character misstep, was and remains a damned good show.

I may not think about Star Trek obsessively the way I did when I was, oh, thirteen. And I'm pretty sure I've forgotten more Trek trivia than even Gene Roddenberry ever knew. But the swelling notes of that classic theme song can still stir my heart, and the role Trek had in shaping my life really cannot be underestimated. I feel like I should feel embarrassed by that, somehow. But I'm not. If nothing else, I'll always love Star Trek for giving me Mr. Spock as someone a lonely little nerdy kid to look up to and adopt as a role model, as he was for so many nerdy little kids like me.

Live long and prosper, Trek. Not that you need the encouragement from me. Whatever I might think about all the twists and turns you've taken over the years, you seem to be managing that just fine.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

I'm Still Here! And It's September Now, So Have Another Iteration Of The Usual Meme

Apparently I haven't posted anything since I did this meme in August. Well... That's August for you, really. It's just one long month of nothing. Anyway, here's the state of things in September:

Current clothes: My wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey Doctor Who t-shirt. Blue shorts. White ankle socks. Black leather work boots that really need to be polished. Or even just cleaned, really.

Current mood: Not too bad. Kind of sleepy. I think the shift work has been kicking my ass more than usual of late.

Current music: Nothing much at the moment. Boring, I know.

Current annoyance: The pump on my swamp cooler seems to be having problems, and there are just enough too-warm days left in the season for me to want to do without it.

Current thing: I've been playing a lot of Don't Starve. Which is a fun game, and rather addictive, but also a bit frustrating. I think I may give it a rest for now. My little guy managed to survive for 66 days on my last attempt, and I'm not sure I can face the thought of doing all that all over again just yet.

Current desktop picture: Still Discworld's Death and one of his kitties.

Current book: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith. It's number six in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which I came to late, but am enjoying. I'm making my way through it slowly and intermittently, though, as I fear the books could lose their charm if not spaced out enough.

Current song in head: Snippets of some obscure song about Charles Darwin that I'm feeling far too lazy to look up the title and artist of.

Current refreshment: Mango passion fruit tea.

Current DVD in player: I'm just about to start the last disc of season 1 of Broadchurch. I'd been meaning to get to this one for a while, but bumped it up the queue when Chris Chibnall was tapped to take over Doctor Who after Seven Moffat leaves, since I've found his writing work on Who kind of forgettable but wanted to see what he could do as a showrunner. I must say, I've been surprisingly impressed by it.

Current happy thing: I'm still happy to finally have my driveway work completely done. All the more so since they finally showed up to seal the cracks in my little concrete porch area, which was the last thing waiting to be done. (Well, the last thing on that job, anyway.)

Current thought: I probably shouldn't have eaten quite so many tacos before sitting down to write this.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

August Currentlies

Because it is August.

Current clothes: Black ankle socks. Khaki shorts. A black t-shirt that says, "I spend my life crushed beneath my TBR pile." For you non-biblioholics, "TBR" stands for "To Be Read," and what the shirt says is true. I spend my life crushed beneath my TBR pile metaphorically, and I will not be entirely surprised if I end my life crushed beneath it literally.

Current mood: OK. Lately I've kind of been in that state where I find it hard not to stress out about all kinds of stupid stuff -- I'm mostly blaming the disruption of the driveway work this time -- but I think I'm feeling slightly more relaxed today. We'll see if it lasts.

Current music: Nothing notable. I don't remember what the iPod last served me when I random-shuffled it.

Current annoyance: So many. So. Many. But if I have to pick one, let's go with having actual humidity in the air. I am not used to this, and I don't like it. Sweat should evaporate immediately, not hang around soaking through your clothes! Plus, the A/C in my house is evaporative cooling, which means that when we get days that are both hot and humid, I'm pretty much screwed.

Current thing: Trying to get big home improvement projects done. Buying too many books. Also, fictional skeletons. I don't understand that last one, either.

Current desktop picture: In honor of my current thing, and my ongoing re-reading of Terry Pratchett, I have finally replaced my favorite Time Lord with this awesome artwork featuring Death and a kitty cat.

Current book: I just finished The World in Flames, a memoir about growing up in a doomsday cult. Next up is Pratchett's Thief of Time.

Current song in head: Songs have been flitting in and out of my head like crazy lately. This morning I woke up with "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett in my brain. I have no idea what that means; it didn't have anything at all to do with anything I was dreaming about.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I'm kind of thirsty.

Current DVD in player: Just finished disc 1 of season one of The Expanse (meaning I've seen up through episode three). In principle, I like the idea of this show a lot. This kind of solar-system-based hard(ish) SF thing has never really been done on TV, and I feel like the medium is probably ripe for it. In practice, though, I'm having trouble getting interested in it. The characters and the plot are kind of generic-feeling, and some of the worldbuilding stuff seems over-exposited to me while other stuff is a little hard to follow. But I've been warned that it starts out this way, and assured by at least a couple of people that it eventually gets more engaging. And so far I'm liking it at least a little better with each episode, which is encouraging. I am curious to see what they do with it.

Current happy thing: Even if there has been a lot of stressful stuff around it, I do have a new driveway! Yay! That so, so needed to be done.

Current thought: Ummmm.... Hang on... I'm sure I can come up with one...

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Parking On The Driveway (Not Driving On The Parkway)

Since I was asked to post a picture of the new driveway, here is a picture of the new driveway!

Unfortunately, it has been rainy and muddy here, and it thus did not stay pretty and pristine for long. But, look! No cracks! No grass growing in the middle! Now if they'd just repave the road in front of it...

(Hopefully this time the picture will work.)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Pretty Big Pile Of Concrete

Well, the work on my driveway has finally started. Of course, in true Murphy's Law fashion, it got delayed long enough to happen just as I'm about to go back onto night shifts. Sigh. But I'm very, very glad it's finally getting done. And I'll be even gladder when it's finished and I can mark it down as one less thing to worry about.

Here's what has become of my old driveway:

[ETA: Apparently the photo wasn't showing up for anyone but me, because Google Photos does really annoying, non-obvious things with permissions. Sigh. I miss Picasa. Anyway, it should be visible to the world now. Right? Right?]

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I still don't have a new driveway -- apparently there were some delays, and the most recent word I heard was that maybe they'll be here Monday or Tuesday -- but I do have a new mattress.

And, man, mattress shopping got weird since the last time I had to think about it. (Not that I thought about it very much, then. It was basically: I need a bed, this affordable bed frame/mattress/box spring/headboard combination at the local furniture store seems fine, end of shopping.) It used to be a mattress was a big rectangle full of springs, and all you had to do was pick one that seemed to have the right firmness, but while I wasn't paying much attention there was, like, this bewildering explosion in mattress technology.

Anyway. I got a traditional spring one with a cushiony pillow top on it. Which, after sleeping on it for a couple of nights, I am thinking may not have been the ideal choice. The top is foam, and while I'd heard foam beds retain a lot of heat, I figured one layer of it, which supposedly also features some kind of gel to help keep it cool, would be okay. I can definitely feel the difference in how warm it is, though. It'll be great for winter, but is less than ideal in July, when we haven't had a day that hasn't hit triple digits in over a week. Still, if I replace my comforter with a lighter blanket, I think I'll be fine. (I can't sleep without some kind of a blanket. I feel too exposed, or something.) It's also waaaaaay thicker than my old mattress, which is going to take some getting used to, if only because it means I have to adjust my aim when groping for my glasses on the headboard shelf in the morning.

Unfortunately, I'm also not sure it's helping with the fact that my back often tends to feel a bit stiff or achy when I wake up, which was kind of the point of the exercise. (Although, honestly, the old one did need to be replaced, regardless. It was 15 years old, and becoming noticeably concave.) Likely said stiffness has more to do with my poor posture during the day than it does with my sleeping position. (The ergonomics at work aren't bad, but I have noticed I tend to slump a lot when sitting in front of the computer at home. And I do a lot of sitting in front of the computer at home.) I'm also a little worried, though, that in my paranoia about ending up with a mattress that's too firm -- hard mattresses being the source of some unbelievably miserable nights I've spend on hotel beds -- I might have ended up with one that's just a little too soft. Sigh. How on Earth can the human body possibly be so sensitive to such things? Didn't we evolve to sleep on beds of leaves or something?