Friday, April 30, 2004

Customer Satisfaction

I have a great tendency to bitch and complain when I get poor service or unsatisfactory products from a company. Hey, doesn't everybody? But I also believe in the flip side of that, which is that if you're going to mutter and grumble when you're unhappy, it's only right to also give praise where it's due. So I'm going to take a moment here, in this (however limited) public forum, to offer up some love and props to a couple of companies I've done business with recently.

First up is Stash Tea, who I know I've mentioned here before. These guys make the best tea I've ever tasted (green, black, and herbal), but my local supermarket doesn't carry much of their product (most notably not the ever-so-tasty Darjeeling I've become utterly addicted to in the last year or so), so I've taken to ordering stuff from their website. I'll order as much as a hundred dollars worth of tea at a time and stock up for a few months. (A hundred dollars buys a lot of tea, by the way, especially if you shop their closeout pages. But I go through the stuff like crazy, so it doesn't last nearly as long as you'd think.) And when I place big orders like that, they've taken to slipping little gifts into the box, as well. They don't make a big thing about it. There's no "FREE GIFT!" banners blazoned across their website, there's no advertising flyer in there pointing out how cool and generous they are and offering up any empty rhetoric about how they "value my business." Just, usually, an extra box of tea and some cookies or something, and a line reading "*no charge*" on the packing slip. (This time it was a box of "Darjeeling spring tea" and some sugar sticks.) This fills my heart with gladness and the happy, welcome illusion that the Stash folks and myself are some kind of Friends in Tea. Needless to say, they've got my business for the foreseeable, tea-drinking future.

The second company that deserves a mention is the Quality Paperback Book Club. And they get it because of, rather than despite, the fact that they screwed up my last order. The book I ordered was listed on the invoice, but the wrong volume was in the envelope. Which, you know, happens, because nobody's perfect and occasionally an employee will grab the book next to the one he really wants and not notice. I wasn't sure what to do about this, though, whether to just send it back with a note or what, so I called customer service and explained the situation. They, of course, apologized and said they'd send the correct book out right away. Did they want me to mail the incorrect book back, I asked them? "Keep it with our compliments," they said. "And if you don't want it, give it to a friend, trade it in at a used bookstore, or donate it to a library." OK, maybe I'm just a sentimental sap when it comes to books, but what really warms my heart here isn't the free book (which is, after all, "just" good customer service), it's that little addendum. It's the fact that they actually seemed to care that the book had a good home. Bless 'em. They've got my business, too. And not just because I'm a pathetic book addict, either.
Don't Tell Me What Happens! Well, OK, Tell Me a Little Bit.

Look, Farscape miniseries spoilers! Well, actually, they're not all that spoilery. Some stuff about the premise and who's in it, nothing terribly detailed and no giving away of the ending or anything. Decide for yourself how willing you are to read it. Total spoiler-phobes who want to know nothing whatsoever should avoid, but I thought it was OK, and I always try to avoid major spoilers, myself.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Search Request Thursday

So, here we are again:

  • Woodpecker Mop Advantage Plus Kit vancouver: Because what Canadian doesn't occasionally need to mop a woodpecker?

  • restaurant questionnaire on a scale 1-10: Hmm. I think I'll rate this restaurant questionnaire a 6.

  • "propane guys": They sell propane and propane accessories!

  • wavey sun rays paintings: I think I did some of those in kindergarten.

  • are the superfriends satanic occult: Yep, it's true. Superman sacrifices virgins to Satan every new moon. Where do you think his power comes from? I mean, that "yellow sun" stuff clearly makes no sense at all.

  • high definition purchased in 2003 percentages: Well, I certainly didn't contribute to those percentages. Those things are still way too expensive.

  • archer hobbies porthos: Keeping Archer as a pet is Porthos' favorite hobby.

  • "an actual psychological test": What, you mean the "What Bob Dylan Song Are You?" quiz doesn't qualify?

  • star trek t'pol seven nude naked: Oh, just take a cold shower, fanboy.

  • margaritas nude pics: All nude margaritas! Yes, that's right, no salt on the glass! Shocking!

  • Dell frell downloads: Well, downloading a virus'll probably frell your Dell...

  • one flew over the cuckoo's nest religious symbology: I guess there probably was some in there somewhere. There usually is.

  • weasels cheat lie steal joke: Yeah, you really gotta watch those weasels. They'll do anything for a joke.

  • "You are a doctor" Game "Tech": Ooh, we had that game when I was a kid! It was called Operation. I don't think the tech was actually all the complicated.

  • Fanfiction crossover D&D Buffy: So, what's Buffy's alignment?

  • models with white slouch socks: Yeah, you'll be seeing those all over the catwalks this season.

  • "Red Dwarf" "chicken jokes": OK, so, tell me, why did the scutter cross the road?
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2004

    Oh, Look! A Quiz!

    Which Bob Dylan song are you?

    Tangled Up In Blue

    Personality Test Results

    Click Here to Take This Quiz
    Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

    Drooling Fangirl? Moi?

    I've seen this linked to several places now: It's a top-15 list of "sci-fi and fantasy hunks." Aw, come on, what red-blooded heterosexual girl-geek can resist a list like that?

    But I dunno... I agree whole-heartedly with some of these choices. I mean, Rupert Giles? Tyr Anasazi? Hell yeah! Other inclusions (and exclusions) strike me as downright bizarre. Picking the Lone Gunmen over Fox Mulder? Excuse me? Even I, who regard "geekiness" as a deeply sexy attribute, can find little more to say about those guys than, "well, at least one-third of them's habitually well-groomed." Whereas Mulder? Is a babe. A complete freakazoid, alas, but definitely a babe. And... Weyoun?! Yeah, OK, I guess he's cute enough, in a slimy sort of way... Correct me if I'm wrong, though, but aren't Vorta basically sexless?

    D'Argo seems like an odd choice of Farscape characters, but it's one I can respect. And it's great to see a Blake's 7 character on the list. Personally, I'd opt for Vila over Avon any day of the week, but I suppose one doesn't generally think of him as a "hunk." But, what, no Sam Beckett? (And, yes, I definitely mean Beckett, not any other characters who happen to be played by the same actor. That Archer guy has nothing on sweet, sensitive, supergenius Sam.) And, gimme a break, Picard is way hotter than Kirk. It's the voice, man! The voice!

    Ahem. I should stop before I embarrass myself.

    Um, whaddaya mean it's too late?

    "The Year Is 2259..."

    Yes, that's right, I've finally finished up with season 2 of Babylon 5! And, as promised, I'm now going to ramble on about it at great length. I'm also doubtless going to get into spoiler territory, so if you're even more unforgivably behind in your classic SF TV viewing that I am, be warned.

    Right. So. I finished up season 1 feeling really, really good about the show and very much eager for more of it... Which makes it odd that it took me so long to get around to watching the second season, but, hey, I'm a busy geek. I must admit, the first handful of episodes left me... a little bit dissatisfied. The season starts out with a high proportion of more-or-less stand-alone stories, often variations on fairly standard SF plots. Some of these are a lot better than others (e.g., I thought "The Long Dark" was a great little horror story in space, very effectively creepy, whereas "A Distant Star" had me looking at my watch). None of these episodes are remotely bad, but there's something about them that sort of, well, lets the seams show through. There were several times when I found myself reflecting that, you know, the acting in B5 has a tendency to be rather stilted (at least among the guest characters) and the dialog a bit overblown, and is it maybe possible that my memory of what I saw of this show when it was on the first time is faulty, and it's really just Yet Another Space Show, one with embarrassing pretentious to High Drama?

    Then I got about halfway through the season and hit a run of episodes that were so incredibly well-written and moving that they kept making me cry. And it wasn't just that I was in some weird, weepy hormonal state, either, because I watched them spread out over a period of weeks. They were just that good.

    You know, I think Straczynski did absolutely the right thing in deciding to go with a big, sweeping story arc, not just because I personally like story arcs, but because his talents are very much suited to it. Those grand, dramatic speeches that seem wooden and pretentious in simple little episodes about being kidnapped by aliens or looking for lost spaceships or whatever feel very right as part of something that is unquestionably an epic. And JMS is very good at counterpointing sweeping galactic-scale events with intimate small-scale character drama, something he's said repeatedly that he was doing very deliberately with the characters of Londo and G'Kar. Of course, it helps immensely, I think, that he had two wonderfully talented actors in those roles. It's very hard to pull off grand oratory or quiet emotion when you're covered in layers of latex or wearing the world's silliest hairpiece, but Jurasik and Katsulas make it look easy, and they do such a marvelous job that it's utterly impossible not to feel for these characters as if they were real people. I spent pretty much the entire season desperately wanting to give G'Kar a hug, and equally desperately wanting to smash Londo's head into a table and then give him a hug.

    Speaking of the characters, I guess I ought to mention the new Captain. Sheridan's introduction is interesting. For most of the season, he comes across as Mr. Affability. He's just so gosh-darned happy and likeable and downright cuddly that it's actually a little hard to take him seriously. There were a few times when he was trying to take a hard line with some intractable alien or other that I actually found myself wanting to giggle. "Aww, Captain Smiley's got his grumpy face on! Isn't that cute?" But then... Then you hit "In the Shadow of Z'Ha'Dum," Boxleitner proves conclusively that he can do dark intensity perfectly damned well, and Captain Smiley's Grumpy Face is suddenly no longer remotely funny, and never will be again. Good stuff.

    And, oh, yeah, there's a war, and a "coming darkness" and all kinds of grand-scale plotty stuff that's utterly fascinating, even when you know how it all comes out. There's just something about watching events slowly snowballing, building up, inevitably, to something that you know is gonna be historic and ugly. It's like watching a galaxy-wide train wreck about to happen...

    Anyway, now I'm very much eager for Season 3, but I think it's going to have to wait for a while until I've made it through some more of my DVD backlog. Sigh.

    Monday, April 26, 2004

    Go, Me!

    Had a remarkably productive day yesterday, all things considered. Among the things I accomplished:

  • Drove up to Wal-Mart and exchanged defective VCR for non-defective VCR.

  • Copied three more Farscape episodes. (Well, OK, recopied three episodes the defective VCR frelled up.)

  • Did laundry.

  • Made salad. Which is really amazing because, hey, it's very close to actually cooking.

  • Finished reading I, Claudius. (And then promptly went and ordered the sequel because, damn, that was a good book.)

  • Watched an episode of Babylon 5. I've finally made it through the end of the second season! Man, I cannot believe it took me that long to get through those DVDs. I just kept getting distracted by shiny objects. Well, OK, other shiny objects, 'cause B5 is pretty shiny, itself. Expect me to ramble on about it at length once I've made it through the extras.

  • Washed the car.

  • Packaged up a birthday present to send to my nephew.

  • Did the dishes and a few other minor household tasks too trivial and boring to mention, even in a trivial and boring post like this one.

  • I love these long weekends I get between night shift and evening shift. I think I appreciate them even more because I've worked schedules where coming off graveyards was the most horrible rotation possible. Let's hear it for livable work schedules!

    Sunday, April 25, 2004

    Update on a Couple of Things You Probably Don't Care All That Much About, Anyway

    Well, Wal-Mart, thankfully, did not give me a hard time about exchanging the defective VCR, even though I didn't have a receipt. The model I traded it in for was about ten bucks more, but I like it much, much better than the first one, even apart from, y'know, that whole not working properly thing. So the Farscape Tape Distribution Network is now back in business!

    The kittens are still under my trailer. There are six of them, unless I missed some. Apparently they are old enough for solid food, as I put some more out today and they were munching away on it. Which makes sense... As I recall, Nova was about that size when he showed up on my doorstep, and he was fine with kitten chow. If there's anybody in my general area who wants a kitten, or knows someone who wants a kitten, let me know. I don't think I'm going to make it my mission in life to find homes for these critters, and Momma Cat seems to be doing fine with them, but it would ease my guilty conscience to see 'em adopted. Me, I have more than enough cats already.

    You are somewhere in-between Good and Dark side
    geek. You have been known to game, spend too
    much time on your computer, or feel moody after
    watching Bladerunner. This is not bad, you are
    probably just really involved with your own
    world of thoughts or are shy. You might try to
    expand your horizions. It won't make you less
    of a geek, but it might give you new ideas and
    social grace.

    how seriously geeky are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    But who needs social grace? Especially when all your friends are also geeks.

    Saturday, April 24, 2004


    Apparently I have blepharitis. Well, that's what my big book o' medical knowledge diagnoses me with, anyway. What it means is that my left eye is secreting massive quantities of gunk, frequently leading to me having to forcibly unglue my stupid eyelid in the morning. The book pretty much recommends keeping the eye clean and hoping it gets better. Gee, thanks, book.

    In other news, there are tiny kitties under my trailer. Or at least, there were earlier. I'm not sure if they're living under there or were just stopping by or what. But I was hanging up laundry this afternoon when I heard a noise, and when I went over to investigate, I found a little kitten-head poking out from a gap in the skirting. A closer look revealed his two siblings crouching next to him in the weeds, and a glance under the trailer revealed the momma cat, who turns out to be a pretty little animal I've seen around here off and on for months. I hadn't even realized she was pregnant. I put down some food for them; the kittens didn't look like they were old enough to be weaned yet, probably, but I'm sure momma will appreciate it.

    I always feel a terrible ethical dilemma when faced with this sort of situation, though. Should I leave them be, or round them up and try to find them good homes? They looked happy and healthy enough, and for all I know, somebody's already taking care of them. Then again, maybe not. Ah, well. It may be entirely academic, anyway, as I may not even see them again...

    Friday, April 23, 2004

    More Farscape Stuff

    Here's another chat transcript, this one with Brian Henson, who talks quite a bit about the upcoming miniseries and the future of Farscape. In case you don't want to read the whole thing, the highlights are:

  • The miniseries is 2 2-hour episodes and should be airing in the US in Oct. or Nov. on Sci Fi. All of the cast have returned for it, and it encapsulates what would have been the story arc for season 5.

  • Henson credits the fans for making the mini possible, because their funding "came from a consortium of financers who would not have heard of us if it weren't for all of the attention the fans bought to the cancelling of the series."

  • Henson sees the future of Farscape as being wide open, and is optimistic about such possibilities as a spinoff series or a feature film.

  • They very nearly used up all the explosives in Australia filming the thing.

  • I find that I'm starting to feel really quite excited...
    The Quizzes Just Get Goofier and Goofier...

    You are alice kobe.  You are the wife of late Brigadier - Gen. Maxwell Kobe former ECOMOG ARMY COMMANDER in Sierra Leone.  You have suffered hardship and maltreatment in the hands of your husbands family.  You have $25.5 million to share.
    Which Nigerian spammer are You?

    Thursday, April 22, 2004

    Search Request Thursday

    Nice big batch for ya this time. Here:

  • ye cheese OR loin OR cloth "Text adventure" -stinky: I... really don't know what to say to that one.

  • head nurse can't handle a co-worker bully: I'm sorry to hear that. Do they maybe have some kind of ombuds program where she works so she could talk to somebody about the problem?

  • "dripping water" screensaver: Man, I think that'd drive me nuts. The leaky faucet in the bathroom is bad enough.

  • Faramir Boromir sneezing: Alas, an unfortunate orc allergy ran in the family of the Gondorian Stewards...

  • shopping teenager boobs: Well, I certainly don't think you can buy those at the mall.

  • hawthorne melville slash fanfic: "Ooh, Melville," said Hawthorne, "show me how your Great White Whale got its name, and I'll show you how I got my Scarlet Letter!"

  • mystery machine wallpapers: I'd have got away with some of those, if it weren't for those meddling kids.

  • Bounty Towel Commercial: Messy Moment: Because some people don't get enough commercials on TV and have to go looking for them online, I guess.

  • JK Rowling nude fakes: Well, you're not gonna see those on her dust jackets...

  • ned flanders naked pics: The disturbing thing is, ol' Ned really does have a very nice body. For, you know, an animated character.

  • nude nazgul comics: I don't know which is more disturbing. The idea of a nazgul nude, or the idea of a nazgul doing standup comedy.

  • spanish speaking person pics: How can you tell whether they're Spanish-speaking from a picture?

  • candyland, racism: Yeah, the levels of discrimination against that little green gingerbread dude by all the other-colored gingerbread dudes are just criminal.

  • strengths and shortcomings of hidden cameras: Well, the strength is that you can spy on your neighbors doing interesting things. And the shortcoming is that your neighbors can press charges on you for spying on them doing interesting things.

  • humorous lotr pictures of arwen and eowyn on top each other: Wait, how do they manage to be on top of each other? I mean, surely one has to be on top and one has to be on the bottom? Or is that what makes it humorous?

  • naked man frog wellies: There are just so many interesting ways to parse that...

  • verisimilitude "red dwarf": I don't think verisimilitude is exactly the effect that show was going for.

  • Jenna avon sperm: Is that from one of the cut scenes on the DVD?

  • "paul goddard" farscape gay: I don't think he's gay. But it isn't really any of my business, anyway.

  • entirely of palindromes: If I were really clever, my comment here would consist entirely of palindromes. But I'm not.

  • cultural criticism (the handmaid's tail) (the 80's): Who knew changing one word in a book's title to its homonym could make such an incredible difference?

  • "critical analysis" of "battlefield earth" by "l ron hubbard": Dude, I think it'd be difficult to do an honest analysis of that book that wasn't critical!

  • definition of a true stoner: The true stoner has almost certainly not bothered to read to the end of this post, having, midway through, either forgotten what it was about or wandered off in search of munchies.
  • Wednesday, April 21, 2004

    Best. Quiz. Ever.

    Which generic quiz response are you most like?

    Generic pigeonholed personality type B.

    Your personality type has been determined by our quiz as being absolutely, 100% like this girl. There is no margin for error. We don't know who she is exactly, but there's no arguing with science.

    Personality Test Results

    Click Here to Take This Quiz
    Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

    Farscape Stuff

    Ben Browder and Claudia Black participated in a chat session on Sci Fi's website earlier tonight. You can read the transcript of the session here. Not much in the way of news about the miniseries, I'm afraid, but lots of Ben and Claudia clowning around in their own inimitable style.

    (Warning: Discussion contains spoilers for a lot of stuff throughout the series, and a couple of the questions come across as vaguely spoilery for miniseries stuff (although not anything we kinda didn't already know, and the answers are all pretty noncommittal).)

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004

    Random Links

    Because, every so often, you just gotta throw out some random links:

    Virtual Cat. He's cute! You can make his eyes get all big!

    KHAAAAAAAN! (Hey, come on, do you need a reason?)

    Monday, April 19, 2004

    That's My Name, Don't Wear It Out.

    Random fact I learned on the web #983,492:

    Betty is the #14 most common female name.
    0.666% of females in the US are named Betty.
    Around 849150 US females are named Betty!

    Huh. How about that. I gotta wonder, though... Where are all these other Bettys? Because I've only ever met a handful of people with my name, and, for the majority of them, I believe it was short for something else, anyway.

    Saturday, April 17, 2004

    Mutated Book Meme

    Incoming Signals, a blog I happened to surf by today and liked enough that I've added it to the sidebar, presents an interesting variant on the "page 23" book meme. Instead of one book, grab several, take the fifth sentence on pg. 23 from each of them, and arrange them to make a story. I didn't actually use the books nearest to me, as, given the arrangement of my shelves, that would have yielded nothing but reference books and Star Trek novels. But I went to the bookshelves directly opposite where I'm sitting, grabbed the first book off the first five shelves, and ended up with something strangely sensicle. (Well, shouldn't "sensicle" be the opposite of "nonsensical?")

    The result:

    Normally, he was a laid-back guy. But even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he knew his work. Their faces were not entirely serene, but D'Artagnan admired their look of ease, mingled with both dignity and deference. "You notice that, Joe?" I said. John glanced at Jenny, who nodded slightly.

    The books (ordered as the sentences above):

    The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Book Two: Ghost Roads, Christopher Golden & Nancy Holder
    Quozl, Alan Dean Foster
    The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
    The First Omni Book of Science Fiction (from the first story, Isaac Asimov's "Found!")
    Dragonshadow, Barbara Hambly

    I make no claim as to whether those books are actually representative of my reading tastes or not.
    Content? What's That?

    find your inner PIE @

    You know, I'm not really all that big on key lime pie. How depressing.

    Quiz Me
    Betty was
    a Great Model
    in a past life.

    Discover your past lives @ Quiz Me

    Must've been long past.

    discover your jack-o-lantern face @ quiz me

    OK, that's an appropriate result. Although not necessarily for April.

    Friday, April 16, 2004

    I Have No Idea Why This Entertained Me, But It Did.

    Take the quiz: "The Wildest, Craziest, Most Massive Quiz Ever!"

    A Vain Vulpine Vampire Vulture
    Omigawd! I survived the biggest, wildest quiz on the internet!
    I thought it would never end! Now I am posting this Tongue-Twisting result to dare you to take it.
    Can you survive it?

    Thursday, April 15, 2004

    Once Again, It's Search Request Thursday!

    You know what these are by now:

  • boobs barring celebrities: Well, I think Janet Jackson's boob has effectively barred her from ever doing any more Superbowl shows.

  • morticia and gomez addams the perfect couple: Yeah, they are kinda made for each other, aren't they?

  • garak trembled freezing bashir: Yeah, OK, I can see where that fanfic is going...

  • "weird shaped feet" shoe shopping: Having weird-shaped feet makes shoe shopping hell. I know.

  • scorpius fanfic rape sex: Sorry, the plausible-characterization-o-meter goes into the red zone on that one. That's about the only crime I honestly can't imagine Scorpius committing, and, come on, you think anybody's gonna successfully perpetrate it against him?

  • hot dog between breasts pictures: Do they mean a literal hot dog, or...?

  • how to relight a vulcan gas heater pilot: They don't need gas heaters on Vulcan. It's really hot there.

  • "text adventure" wodehouse: Well, if there's a Hamlet text adventure, I guess I don't see why there shouldn't be a Wodehouse one.

  • wellies and a whip: The perfect accessories for any occasion!

  • Does Krispy Kremes cater: That's what I want at my next social event! Doughnut buffet!

  • Rygel "billions and billions": No, you're getting Rygel confused with Carl Sagan.

  • nazgul on frell beast: No, that's fell beast. "Frell beast" conjures up some really disturbing images...
  • One More Way to Waste Time on the Net

    Talk with a bunch of chatbots and vote for your favorite. (I'm still quite enamored of Jabberwacky, myself.)
    How Disappointing...

    Which Blake's 7 spaceship are you?

    You're Scorpio, a salvage scow and one of the most common ships,
    a Wanderer class. You stand out from the others only in having a
    very fast stardrive and the most subservient computer ever to annoy
    its crew. Your glycolene tanks could do with a good clean; didn't your
    mum ever warn you about that? You never know when you might crash.

    Take Vila's quiz (pictures by Avon)

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004

    The Sky Is Falling!

    I've been having lots of fun dropping asteroids on Albuquerque, thanks to this Earth Impacts Effects Program page. Fill in a few parameters, including your distance from the impact site and the size of the space rock, and let it tell you how badly you're fucked. There's something weirdly, if morbidly, compelling about it all.

    (Link via A Voyage to Arcturus.)

    Tuesday, April 13, 2004

    Frighteningly Appropriate

    A friend of mine forwarded me a link to this with the comment, "I couldn't help thinking of you when I read this article." And, man, oh, man, I can understand why. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of my life: "choice fatigue."

    Here's an excerpt:
    ...[A]s those unread supplements pile up, as the VHS tapes filled with recordings of old but as-yet unwatched episodes of The Nazis: A Warning From History and Spaced form a mountain on the floor, what we are left with is an ever-expanding sense of failure to catch up with all the sensory experiences that have been made available to us.

    Like the theoretical physicist, with his quest to arrive at a fundamental equation that would work out the state of the universe and everything in it, we, too, entertain aspirations of completeness. We all still believe that some day we will have seen and heard everything, that though we may have fallen behind, we’ll eventually become synchronised with our cultural output. It’s a sort of entertainment Nirvana we hope to enter; how many times have we considered taking a day off just to watch our backlog of videos?

    For the record, for those who've read the article through, I've never seen an episode of The Sopranos, either, because I don't get HBO. But I keep thinking that I really need to go out and rent the DVDs. Very, very soon. Just as soon as I finish watching the hundreds of hours of DVDs I already have...

    Forget "taking a day off." I need a year. And, knowing me, I'd probably come out at the end of that year more behind than ever...
    Playin' with the Queen of Hearts...

    Take the quiz: "Which Playing Card Are You?"

    The Queen of Hearts
    Loving, caring, but sometimes Vain, You are the Queen of Hearts.

    I kinda suspect you only get the option of being a face card. Pity, as I see myself as more of a "three of diamonds" person.

    Monday, April 12, 2004

    Happy Belated Anniversary to Me

    You know, I completely spaced on it, but apparently April 5th was Maximum Verbosity's second anniversary. Wow. Has that much of my life really gone by since I started keeping this ridiculous thing?

    Anyway, this sudden realization prompted me to go trolling back through the archives a bit. Apparently two years ago today I was in the same room with a space shuttle astronaut, and one year ago today I'd just been to a Friends of the Library book sale (and, of the 16 books I purchased, I have so far gotten around to reading six of them). Yep. This is my life!
    Another Book Meme

    This is actually kinda similar to part of one of those memes I did last week, or whenever. But who cares? It's a book meme! Book memes are fun! So:

    1. Grab the nearest book.
    2. Open the book to page 23.
    3. Find the fifth sentence.
    4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

    And the result is: "In such a moral regime anxieties regarding the purity of motive behind otherwise virtuous-looking deeds arise with aggressive insistence." (From Faking It by William Ian Miller, which, as I mentioned recently in response to an entirely different meme, I'm currently in the middle of reading.)

    There. See? Wasn't that fun?

    Sunday, April 11, 2004

    Maximum Verbosity!

    A friend of mine, apparently being deeply bored or something, decided to do a web search on the name of this here blog, and sent me links to some of the more interesting (non-me) results. Such as:

    Maximum Very cool design, absolutely nothing there. They clearly got the name from exactly the same place I did. Ah, old Infocom games, so many of us remember you fondly!

    Restrooms: A meditation on the difference in noise levels between men's and women's rest rooms. I can neither confirm nor deny this site's conclusions, as I've spent very little time in men's restrooms (and never when there were men in there), and unlike the site's author, I haven't made it a habit of listening at the door. I can confirm for the men in the audience that women's restrooms, especially large ones, usually are pretty damned noisy. Me, 99% of the time I go in, do my business, and get out without talking to anybody, but that's hardly the only area in which I seem to fail to display stereotypical female behavior.

    Maximum Verbosity: I've seen this one, myself, doing a google search of my own. (Or, more accurately, looking at a google search someone else did that showed up in my site logs.) This blog's only been around since June, though, so I definitely have the prior claim on the name!

    Maximum Verbosity: The Big Disconnect: Apparently, this is an installment of a regular column. A very odd regular column, if the bits I read of this piece are any indication.

    Class Logging: Computer stuff that's way over my head.
    Ah, It's the Perfect Day for a Celebration of Spring!

    It's thirty-eight degrees here. Thirty-eight freakin' degrees! Fahrenheit!

    And I still don't have heat, 'cause my furnace won't relight. That's it. I'm gonna go into the office and steal the little space heater I know we've got in there. Just as soon as I can get my bloodstream thawed out enough to bring oxygen to my brain.

    Saturday, April 10, 2004

    Random bitching

    My primary VCR (which, as VCRs go, was starting to get on in years) quit rewinding. Or rather, it would rewind, but in an anemic sort of way which might require several hours to get from the beginning to the end of a tape. So I went and bought a new one. I even splurged for a higher-end VCR, sixty or seventy bucks, as opposed to the $40 El Cheapo models, because the El Cheapo model I have for the secondary one looks cheap and is inconvenient to use, and is generally an all-around good example of "you get what you pay for." Well, I've been doing the Farscape-copying thing, and upon reviewing the tapes I've recorded on the new one, I've noticed that they keep glitching on playback. Tried a different tape, not recorded on that machine, same thing. Plays fine for a while, then... glitch. Plays fine, then, glitch. Deeply, deeply annoying. And I seem to have lost the receipt for it. Wonder if they'll take it back anyway? Damn it, even if they will, I really don't want to have to make another 90-minute trip to Wally-world just to exchange the damned thing. Grr.

    In other news, it's raining again. I suppose I shouldn't really complain, though. The roof isn't leaking (yet), and the trailer park, while muddy, hasn't flooded, so I'm doing much better than the last few rainy seasons. What's really sad, though, is that I used to love rain, and apparently those bad experiences have almost completely ruined it for me. Now I see/hear rain, and instead of being happy, I get anxious. Sigh.

    [And now Blogger won't publish. Figures!]

    Friday, April 09, 2004

    Random Thought #1,093

    You know what I don't get? People who call up radio stations and request current top-of-the-charts songs. I mean, what, hearing it six times a day isn't good enough for you? For crying out loud, if you're going to request something, make it something that needs requesting!
    The Monthly Meme

    Yep, it's this thing again. I actually made a couple of changes this time, though. I removed "current hair," 'cause the question is boring and my answers were always repetitive, and added "current DVD in player," because I usually mentioned it, anyway.

    Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. An olive-colored sweatshirt (currently with the sleeves rolled up). White slouch socks. White sneakers.

    Current mood: Kinda lethargic.

    Current music in CD player: In the stereo are The Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennit, Radiohead's The Bends, disc 3 of the 20 Years of Jethro Tull boxed set, and whichever Seal album it is that has "Kiss from a Rose" on it (it'd be easier to keep track of them if he'd, like, actually give them titles). In the walkman is The Beatles' Revolver. And in the CD player in the PC is a disc I just burned of "Farscape dance music" from The Gammak Bass.

    Current annoyance: How damned cold it's been. Though it isn't bad today.

    Current thing: Bitching about the weather, apparently.

    Current desktop picture: Another Farscape screencap, this one a lovely image of Moya flying by a nebula.

    Current song in head: Well, now it's "Kiss from a Rose," because I just mentioned it. There's been a lot of Seal floating through my head lately. Also Christmas songs, for some unfathomable reason.

    Current book: Faking It by William Ian Miller.

    Current video in player: Still copying Farscape tapes. Have now gotten up through "The Way We Weren't" (aka "Damn It, That Muppet Made Me Cry!")

    Current DVD in player: Disc 3 of Babylon 5 season 2. I am still working my way very slowly through this set of discs. I'm sure I'll have things to say about them when I'm done.

    Current refreshment: Moroccan Mint tea.

    Current worry: Don't feel terribly worried about much just at the moment. I am wondering whether, with all this rain we've gotten, my roof repairs are going to keep holding. So far so good, though.

    Current thought: I really need to clean the bathtub.
    The Friday Five is Back and Working!

    1. What do you do for a living? I operate a computer that processes astronomical data. That's the short answer. The long answer is boring and technical.

    2. What do you like most about your job? It's pretty cushy. A lot of the time, all I have to do is keep an eye on the data quality and make sure everything's going OK. Which means I can surf the net or whatever.

    3. What do you like least about your job? Morning shifts. Two weeks out of every six, I gotta be in to work at 7:45. My brain doesn't even begin to think about starting to function until at least 9:00. Often 10:00.

    4. When you have a bad day at work it's usually because _____... Things aren't working right. Jobs that should run smoothly have to be interrupted multiple times to troubleshoot problems. Magnetic tape snaps and has to be spliced. Hardware breaks. That sort of thing.

    5. What other career(s) are you interested in? I want to get paid for staying home and sitting on my butt. You know of any openings in that field?

    Thursday, April 08, 2004

    Search Request Thursday

    Is it really Thursday again already? Well, here we go:

  • addams family "mails in" sound: Did they mail it in to redeem for valuable prizes? (Heck, for all I know, maybe they did. I mean, that coulda been an Addams Family plot.)

  • nude magic schoolbus pics: Solid proof, ladies and gentlemen, that there is no television program that does not get google searches featuring the words "nude pics."

  • caffeinated mountain screw: I think it'd take a hell of a lot of caffeine to get me to the point where I felt like I could screw a mountain.

  • "croup" "vandemar" slash: Image I Did Not Want, #937.

  • impressive "car commercial": I tend not to be very impressed by car commercials.

  • what does it mean when a computer says dumping of physical memory: It means it's about to eject its memory cards. Be sure to stand by to catch them when it does, or they'll make a mess all over the floor.

  • socorro monster hamburgers: Oh, is that what the meat in the burgers at the Socorro Sonic is?

  • "had bunions" 2004: Alas, I did, in fact, have bunions in 2004.

  • Star Trek Corridan Galaxy: Actually, Corridan was a planet, not a galaxy. Some Trekker you are!

  • caught naked simming: Well, on the upside, I'm sure there are more embarrassing things one could be caught doing naked. Though I suppose it depends somewhat on the exact nature of the sim...

  • philip stark's faucet: Who is this Philip Stark guy, and why are we concerned about his faucet? Hmm. "Faucet." Is that some kind of euphemism?

  • "hard vocabulary words" college": You know, I like to think that by the time one has got to college, one is a bit beyond being quizzed on "vocabulary words."

  • quiz what kind of car fits my personality: Personally, I think "what kind of car fits my physical dimensions and budget" is a much better question.

  • compare ender with to julius ceasar: Well, Julius Caesar never had anything to do with insectiod aliens, but other than that, maybe they're pretty close.

  • deuterium woodpecker: I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, but I think it's one of the coolest-sounding phrases I've encountered in recent memory.

  • MRE Heater thermodynamics: Yes, MREs! They're science you can eat!

  • campbell's IQ meal pictures: Poor Campbell, having his IQ eaten like that... Hmm, I'm sure that was the plot of a science fiction story I read once. Or possibly several of them.

  • insane tooth gardner: Well, you'd have to be pretty insane to try and garden teeth, wouldn't you?

  • unexplained deaths in owen sound: Ooh, that sounds disturbing and ominous.

  • "butcher me" pic: This isn't one of those bizarre cannibal fetish things, is it? Because... eww.

  • why do i get a "song stuck in your head" biopsy: Man, if you're getting a song stuck in my head, you're clearly some kind of freaky telepath, and I hope the biopsy is revealing, because that'd be a major scientific breakthrough.

  • blogspot tickling ticklish: I had no idea blogspot was ticklish.

  • video the firm trekkin: Ooh, did they do a video? I wanna see!
  • Tuesday, April 06, 2004

    More Farscape

    The Farscape homepage now features an official announcement from Brian Henson about the miniseries. It doesn't really have much actual news -- even if you click on "more details" you don't get much in the way of details -- but it's wonderful to see, anyway! Someone from Henson also stopped by the Frell Me Dead bulletin board to post a message to the fans which actually includes a tiny bit about the premise/plot and reassures us that "all of the key creative talent, both in front and behind the camera, that made Farscape so unique and special, will return." Yaaaay! (Warning: post contains 4th season spoilers.)
    I'm Sure My Mother Agrees with the "Call Home" Bit.

    You are Beagle, a British Mars explorer. Your
    parents wish you'd call home... they miss you!

    Beagle's journal:

    Which Martian exploration vehicle are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Hmm. The picture doesn't seem to be showing up at the moment...

    Monday, April 05, 2004

    Farscape News

    Well, the Farscape mini-series now has a network! It's going to be... Guess where? Yes, that's right. Sci-Fi. Oh, the irony. Part of me is annoyed, and part of me just really wants to laugh. All of me is just glad the show's back somewhere, though.

    Stay tuned for an official announcement later today, which will presumably have more info.
    Random Pointless Pondering

    Sometimes, like today, I wake up, and there's a song in my head. And I'm starting to wonder: are they there when I wake up because they're running through my brain while I'm asleep? Is my subconscious in there playing CDs while I'm out? Somehow I find this idea mildly disturbing.

    Sunday, April 04, 2004

    More Talkin' About the Weather

    Damn it's cold in here! I thought it was supposed to be April! What the frell?
    A Correction

    You know what? It was actually 12:43 when I was writing that last post. I checked my watch, but I hadn't changed it over to daylight savings time. So I was actually right to within two minutes. Ha!

    Man, I hate daylight savings time. Have I ranted here yet about the fact that it's nothing more than an archaic holdover from an agrarian society and ought to be abolished? If I haven't... Well, uh, there. I guess now I just did.
    Yet Another Meme

    Because Fred is right. This is what the internet's for.

    1: Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says: "...because he had encountered and analyzed..." From Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore, which I'm currently reading. I somehow managed to wind up with a large print edition by accident, which I guess explains why line 4 is only six words long.

    2: Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first? I had to move it around quite a bit, but eventually it encountered one of the computer's speakers.

    3: What is the last thing you watched on TV? Actually on TV? I have no idea. Possibly an episode of The Simpsons. And that was probably months ago. If videotape counts, part of a Farscape episode. ("Vitas Mortis," to be precise.) I'm copying yet another set of tapes for yet another potential Scaper convert.

    4: WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what time it is: 12:45?

    5: Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?: 11:43. Damn. Wishful thinking. I'm at work, you know.

    6: With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?: The sound of eleven magnetic tapes spinning.

    7: When did you last step outside? what were you doing? About an hour and a half ago, when I came in to work.

    8: Before you came to this website, what did you look at? Which website? The Blogger site (where I am now as I type this)? Or the website where I stole the meme from? And does this mean what website did I last visit or is it a more general "what did you look at?" In any case, I suppose the answer is probably somebody's LiveJournal.

    9: What are you wearing? Gray sweatpants. A black t-shirt from Weird Al Yankovic's Poodle Hat tour. White men's tube socks. Somewhat muddy white sneakers.

    10: Did you dream last night? Yes, but I don't remember what.

    11: When did you last laugh? Probably very recently, at something I read in my web-surfing. Not out loud, though. 'Cause, yeah, I'm at work.

    12: What is on the walls of the room you are in?: Hmm that's kind of a long list. This is a big room. But, let's see, working around the room: a row of magnetic tape drives, some control panels for the fire and electrical systems, a map of North America with lights that light up to show where our antennas are located, a gallery of pictures of radiotelescopes under construction, some posters with pictures of various astronomical objects, a framed (and apparently autographed) picture of Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon (I don't know where that came from, but it's cool), several whiteboards showing the status of the antennas and tape recorders and playback drives. And a bunch of other stuff that I've either missed or that wasn't particularly interesting.

    13: Seen anything weird lately?: I've been living in the desert long enough that all the rain we've been having seems pretty weird. Oh, and the hail. Hail is just weird, period.

    14: What do you think of this quiz?: It's better than some. At least everything's spelled correctly. It gets major points for that.

    15: What is the last film you saw?: In the theater? Bubba Ho-Tep. On DVD... Well, last night I watched part of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, with various odd combinations of dubbing and subtitling (e.g., in French with Portuguese subtitles.) What can I say? I have strange friends.

    16: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?: I don't know. Breakfast?

    17: Tell me something about you that I don't know: Who the hell are you, and what do you know about me? Oh, OK, OK... Um... I can recite all of "Jabberwocky" from memory. There. You probably didn't know that.

    18: If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?: I'd renew Farscape. Sure, I could wish for world peace or something, and I would, except those kinds of wishes always have unintended consequences, don't they? Better to stick with something small and safe.

    19: Do you like to dance?: I can't dance. At all.

    20: George Bush: is he a power-crazy nutcase or some one who is finally doing something that has needed to be done for years?: Neither.

    21: Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?: I'm not going to have children. But since we're being hypothetical... Alexandria. Yeah, I know. Just like me to name my kid after a library...

    22: Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?: Kyle.

    23: Would you ever consider living abroad?: Maybe, if I had good reason to. And if it was somewhere English-speaking, because I hate the idea of not being able to communicate, and English is the only language I'm anything remotely approaching fluent in.

    Saturday, April 03, 2004

    More Talkin' About the Weather (or, Murphy Strikes Again)

    Why is it that when I've finally put away all my winter clothes and got out my shorts and switched the heavy comforter on the bed for the lighter bedspread (not to mention turned off my furnace), that's when we're guaranteed to have a sudden spring cold snap?
    Talkin' About the Weather

    We had the most amazing hailstorm here yesterday. I'm half-surprised it didn't put holes in the roof.

    Thursday, April 01, 2004

    Once Again, It's Search Request Thursday!

    The latest fun-filled batch of search requests that have landed unwary net-surfers on the shores of Maximum Verbosity:

  • quantum leap vomit: OK, admittedly, that show jumped the shark pretty badly in its final season, but it never made me want to vomit. Well, maybe the final episode did...

  • psychology frell affect: That's probably much less amusing if you're a psychologist and not a Farscape fan.

  • execution pics: Eww. Grisly.

  • Cherry Pepsi cans: Mmm. Cherry Pepsi.

  • Sock Fetish Seinfeld Episode: I seem to have missed that one. Not too surprising, really. I was never exactly a regular watcher of Seinfeld, although I did find it more palatable than most sitcoms.

  • frodo wounded dying fanfiction: Poor Frodo. Like he doesn't get beaten up enough in the books/movies...

  • tickling armpits OR underarms OR ar: You know, mine aren't very ticklish. Well, my armpits/underarms aren't. I don't know about the "ar."

  • hoopy easter goodies: For all those froods on your Easter list who really know where their towels are!

  • guitar build do it yourself: I remember seeing instructions once on how to make a ukelele out of a milk carton or something. That sort of thing looks interesting when you're eight.

  • Faramir recognize Aragorn virtue: Well, Aragorn just oozes virtue. That's why he's the king, baby!

  • move clip "lab mice" -human -nature: Yeah, like lab mice ever tell us anything about human nature, anyway.

  • ugly dogfish pics: Ugly is in the mind of the beholder. I bet some of the dogfish in those pics are really quite beautiful to other dogfish.

  • perverse easter bunny pics: I am not going to make any jokes involving the phrase "like rabbits." I'm not.

  • stormtrooper nude fakes: You mean that armor actually comes off?

  • And Time Keeps Flowin' Like a River...

    How the hell did it get to be April?! What happened to March while I wasn't looking?