Friday, March 31, 2006

Well, The Coffee Part's Accurate.

Your Monster Profile

Evil Troll

You Feast On: Coffee

You Lurk Around In: Roller Rinks

You Especially Like to Torment: Dentists

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I Have Discovered the Secret of How to Increase the Size of Your Monitor Without Buying a New One.

I am never, never, never waiting four years plus to get new glasses again. Adjusting to a new pair is always difficult, but these ones are really doing a number on my brain. I finally reached a point at the very end of yesterday where I seemed, at least to a limited extent, to be able to shift the focal length of my eyes without feeling vaguely sick to my stomach, but turning my head too quickly still does it, and my eyes still feel like they're fighting hard just to sit there and do nothing.

Even if I can't really enjoy the view yet, though, it is much clearer than it was. Wow. I can look hundreds of feet down the street and see amazing levels of detail. I have to keep moving my chair back from the computer screen, instead of doing that thing I used to do where my nose would creep slowly closer and closer to the monitor until I suddenly realized where I was. And everything looks huge. I went to the grocery store shortly after I got the glasses yesterday and was momentarily puzzled as to why I could only find Campell's tomato soup in an extra-large can. Why had they changed it? Why didn't they advertise it? Where were the normal cans? It actually took me a couple of minutes and a side-by-side comparison test to convince myself that, no, all the cans were the same size they'd always been and it was just me. And I didn't realize until I was eating one, much later, that the massive! jumbo! oranges! I'd put in my basket when I first walked into the store were in fact normal sized. It was very disappointing.

Anyway. If they ever stop messing with my poor eyes and brain, I think I'm going to be very happy with these glasses. Man, technology has come a long way since I got my first pair at the age of six. These things are wafer-thin compared to the coke bottles I had as a kid, they weigh next to nothing, and they're made of cool bendy metal. I remember when the cool bendy metal frames first came out. A proud optician demonstrated them for me with breathless enthusiasm. Man!, I thought. Those are cool. Then I asked how much they cost, and rapidly concluded that I'd never be wearing those in my lifetime. (I was also told that my lenses were probably too thick to fit easily into wire frames, anyway. Which at that time, I guess they were. It's amazing that, as my eyes have gotten worse, my lenses have still gotten thinner.) But the Flexon frames have come down in price amazingly since then. So now I can walk into walls as often as I want, and my glasses can handle it. Yay! Although hopefully they'll help keep me from walking into walls, that being part of their job.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Random Complaint #6,008

New eyeglasses always make me feel slightly sick to my stomach, damn it.

(But, whoa, the computer screen looks... bigger.)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Um, OK, Have Some More Links

Intellectual Property Run Amok: A list of some of the more egregious (and in several cases, awfully amusing) examples of copyright and trademark zealotry in action.

Pandora: Asks you for the name of a band you like and plays other stuff it thinks you'll like based on your choice. I haven't had the chance to play around with it much yet, but it seems to have pretty good judgment and to be a nice way to find music you've never heard of but that there's a good chance you'll enjoy.

Chocolate Dalek: Make your own chocolate Dalek cake! It's a vegetarian recipe, even, for those of you opposed to extermination.

How Fast Do You Read?: Test your reading speed. (For the record, I scored in the 450-500 range while reading normally, 700-750 while making an effort at speed-reading.)

Darth Vader on Wheel of Fortune: Well, it made me laugh.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Wow, I Didn't Mean to Neglect the Blog for Most of the Week. Uh, Have Some More Random Links.

Big Dead Place: A largely tongue-in-cheek website maintained by people in Antarctica. Contains articles, blogs, an "Ask an Antarctican" feature, and a section that's nothing but reviews of John Carpenter's The Thing. This captured my interest mostly because I'd recently read Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica. I must say, judging by this site, it looks like he did get a lot of the details right, including the fact that it really does help to be crazy to work there.

A short US newspaper article on the new Doctor Who: Don't forget, by the way, that there's another episode on tonight!

The Simpsons opening sequence performed by live people: OK, everybody and their dog has linked to this already, but what the heck. It's cool.

The Word Nerds: I downloaded a bunch of episodes of these guys' podcast to while away some of the more boring hours at work recently. Linguaphile high school teachers talk about words and play some pretty good indie music. Definitely worth a listen if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Life Is Just a Song

Here's yet another version of that iPod fortunetelling meme, just because I find these things so very entertaining. (Note: for entertainment purposes only.)

Put on your playlist to random, concentrate on a question, and then hit play/next.

1. How does the world see you? "Hey You" - The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd.

Huh. I'm not sure if I'm more or less disturbed that it picked a version without the lyrics.

2. Will I have a happy life? "Predictable" - Pete Townshend.

Er... Is that a yes or a no?

3. What do my friends really think of me? "Yoda" - Weird Al Yankovic.

The think I'm extremely wise, or that I'm a great big geek? Wait, don't answer that.

4. Do people secretly lust after me? "A Pirate Looks at Forty" - Jimmy Buffett.

A forty-year-old, washed-up, wannabe-pirate is secretly lusting after me?

5. How can I make myself happy? "Canon in D" - Pachelbel.

Well, yes, that piece of music does make me happy. Though I was hoping for something a little more far-reaching than that, in terms of advice.

6. What should I do with my life? "Goodbye (PK Tech Girl)" - Sub Vision.

I should spend it watching Farscape. Cool. Got it covered.

7. What is some good advice for me? "Merry Christmas, Alabama" - Jimmy Buffett .

But I don't want to go to Alabama for Christmas!

8. How will I be remembered? "The Martians Aren't Coming" - Lungbutter.

I'll be remembered, apparently, as dreamer who spent her life waiting for science fictiony things that never happened. That's just... sad. And possibly far too accurate.

9. What is my signature dancing song? "For What It's Worth" - Buffalo Springfield.

I'm not sure you can really dance to that, but given that I can't dance at all, it's kind of moot.

10. What do I think my current theme song is? "Magical Mystery Tour" - The Beatles.

Heh. Well, I do go lots of exciting places inside my own head.

11. What does everyone else think my current theme song is? "Who Is the Doctor" - Jon Pertwee.

Ha! Given how much I've been talking about that show lately, it's probably true.

12. What song will play at my funeral? "Christmas" - The Who.

You know, even if I happen to die on Christmas, that's just bizarre.

13. What type of men/women do you like? "Dance Me to the End of Love" - Leonard Cohen.

So, the kind of person whose idea of romance is something long-term, loyal, steady and yet still deeply romantic, as opposed to all that "I'm so crazy for you, I'm burning with passion!" stuff. Yep. I'll go with that.

14. What is my day going to be like? "In a Little While" - U2.

I am going to be starting my day in a little while, yes.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Freaky Event for the Day

So, I'm having this dream where I'm talking to a guy. I think he's showing me around somewhere. I ask him a question about something-or-other, and he tells me that he'd love to explain it to me, but he'll have to do it sometime when I have a longer period of unbroken sleep. And just then, my alarm goes off.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Stupid Brain!

I've come up with a mildly distressing and all-too-plausible theory as to why I seem to keep waking up in the middle of the night. When I first moved in here, as those of you who've been paying slavish devotion to this blog and memorizing its every word -- I'm sure there are thousands of you -- may remember, I spent a couple of weeks obsessively cleaning, unpacking and setting up, and developed this pattern of waking up at something like 4:30 in the morning and being so eager to get back at it that I'd just get up, make a pot of coffee, and start hammering together bookshelves or something. It occurs to me now, nearly a year later, that some deep part of my brain may have been conditioned by that to believe that, in this particular environment, waking up at 4:30 (or after about four or five hours, whichever is applicable) and being active is the Appropriate Thing to Do.

The sad thing is, even if this insight is correct, I'm not at all sure what to do about it, short of moving again. And that's sure as hell not going to happen.


Friday, March 17, 2006

But It Comes With a Free Frogurt!

I have such a love-hate relationship with the Sci-Fi Channel. They'll do something that really pisses me off, then they'll do something else that wins back a lot of points from me, and then they'll piss me off again. I still haven't forgiven them for cancelling Farscape, even if the miniseries mollified me quite a bit. But they've really done right by Battlestar Galactica: promoting it well, using the web to excellent effect, giving it a 90-minute slot for this year's season finale (which I really don't think would have worked if reduced down to an hour). But then there's their highly problematic scheduling, with the awkward mid-season hiatuses and the incredibly long waits between the end of one season and the start of the next, which both annoys regular viewers and gives casual ones far too much opportunity to simply forget about the show and stop watching. Grrr.

I was, for a while, deeply annoyed that they'd declined to pick up the new Doctor Who. Then I was greatly pleased to hear they were finally going to be showing it after all. Then I was mildly unhappy with the promos they were doing for it, which I don't think actually represent the show's sensibilities very well. And then I was pleased again to hear that when it airs tonight, they're going to be showing the first two episodes back to back, as I think that's likely to be a much better hook for new viewers than the first episode alone would be.

I'm now feeling very, very nervous about what they're going to mess up next.

(What can I say? I love Doctor Who with a scary sort of love, and when you love something, you want to see it do well, especially in your own home country.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

He's At That Certain Age...

It's hard to believe he's grown up this fast, but today my little baby became a man. Or, uh, was prevented from becoming one. Yes, that's right. I had little Vir-kitty neutered.

I just got him back from the vet, and he seems to be doing fine. He's got an unfortunate tendency to want to lick the area, but I think he's mostly concerned with putting his poor mussed-up fur back in order. Actually, he seems more unhappy with his current lack of food and water than with his lack of, well, anything else. (He's not supposed to have anything until tomorrow morning, except maybe for an ice cube in a couple of hours.) I caught him a minute ago drinking water out of a dirty coffee mug that was sitting in the sink. I suppose the fact that he was able to jump up onto the sink is a sign that he's doing OK, too, though it might just be that he's too hyped up on pain medication to realize that it ought to hurt.

I think the hard part now is going to be keeping Nova from trying to roughhouse with him for a few days.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why I Hate Day Shift, #908

Not being awake enough when I get in the shower to remember (or even be able to figure out) which tap is the hot water and which is the cold.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sweet, Sweet Internet! How I've Missed You!

Due to problems at my ISP, I was without internet access at home for the past couple of days. It was, of course, horrible.

In that amount of time, I am quite sure I came up with any number of thoughtful, insightful, witty things I could have posted here, but, alas, I have now entirely forgotten all of them. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ia! Ia!

Just got back from the Cthulhu-themed baby shower. I didn't know a lot of the people there, but they were all geeks, so it was cool. Party entertainments included: making a mobile of yarn Cthulhus, watching Dagon[*], making a tentacled monster out of balloons and practicing diapering on it, and playing Pin the Shoggoth on the Roof. Also a really great spread of food and a lot of talking. (I don't remember what most of it was about... I do remember having a conversation about John Barrowman's butt at one point.[**] Dunno why that stuck in my head.)

And, man, I really do need to make a point of getting out of the house and actually having face-to-face interactions with people more often. It's a good and healthy thing. I've been far too inclined of late to sit in front of a computer for eight hours at work and then get off work and come home and sit in front of a computer for another eight hours, like the lazy-ass nerd that I am.

[*] It was observed that, "Wait until after they pull off his face" (in response a question of whether the presents should be opened now) is very likely a phrase that has never before been uttered at a baby shower in the entire history of baby showers.

[**] I should mention that this was a mixed-gender shower. Which is as it should be, dammit. Why is it that women perpetuate this idea that babies are a "girl thing" by excluding men from this kind of thing, and then get all mystified when the guys don't feel like it's their job to help take care of the sprog when it comes?

Friday, March 10, 2006

Apparently I Am Neither Nutritious Nor Delicious.

Your Nutritional Information:
Servings Per Container: 1

% Daily Value
Sweetness:50 g100%
Bitterness:463 mg42%
Power:6 g17%
Healthful:127 mg51%
Excitement:188 mg17%

'What is your nutritional value?' at

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This May Be Disturbingly Accurate.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Well wonders never cease. You're not even an actual
character... you're The Guide itself! You're
what others would call a
"know-it-all", the type of person
who likes to talk to hear their voice. You
like to inform people of any and all
information, though you make many omissions
and much of it is apocryphal. To be perfectly
blunt, you might want to try shutting up
every now and then; other people like to talk

The Legitimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Quiz
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Currently, on Maximum Verbosity...

Has it been a month already? I suppose it has, more or less. So it's time for this monthly meme, which, while some might find it tediously repetitious, inexplicably holds considerable fascination for me. Thus:

Current clothes: Jeans. Off-white t-shirt that says "sentenced to life on planet Earth." Blue short-sleeved denim shirt unbuttoned over it. Black belt. White tube socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: Good. Much better than I've felt in days, in fact. I've been unpleasantly mood-swingy lately, mainly due to the fact that I'm once again doing that thing where I'll wake up after four or five hours of sleep and I'll either get up and spend all day feeling brain-fried and cranky, or I'll get back to sleep, massively over-sleep, and spend all day feeling groggy and lethargic. Today I actually got a nice, appropriate amount of sleep and the world seems like a much more pleasant place.

Current music: They Might Be Giants' Dial-a-Song.

Current annoyance: Marie Callendar's makes this frozen sweet-and-sour chicken entree that I absolutely love. It's got this wonderful fresh-tasting sauce, with exactly the right amount of sweetness and tang, better than what the local Chinese restaurants have. The supermarket doesn't carry it often, so when they do I sometimes buy three or four boxes as a treat. It's the sort of thing I'm happy to break my I'm-going-to-eat-better resolutions over. Or at least, it was. Because they've gone and changed it on me. It used to have a separate packet of sauce you sat on top of the main meal tray to cook, and then you poured the sauce over the chicken before you ate it. Now it comes with the sauce already mixed in, doubtless in the name of increased ease and decreased messiness. (The sauce packet did tend to spill when you poured it.) Unfortunately, it now also tastes a lot less fresh and yummy and good. *sniff* Anytime I find a product I really like, they go and "improve" it on me until I don't like it any more.

Current thing: Due to aforementioned mood-swingy blahs, I haven't had a great deal of enthusiasm for much of anything lately. Hopefully this will change.

Current desktop picture: This picture of the Pleiades star cluster.

Current song in head: There doesn't seem to be one at the moment. Wow, that's surprising. It was all noisy in here earlier.

Current book: I've finished Finding Serenity (which I do recommend to Firefly fans) and am about to start The Little Country by Charles deLint.

Current video in player: Most recently, Cracker: To Be a Somebody, which someone lent me mainly because Christopher Eccleston is in it.

Current DVD in player: Disc 1 of season three of The West Wing. I just watched their post-9/11 episode, which I thought was handled very well.

Current refreshment: Water.

Current worry: Aaargh, I still have to do my taxes! I've always filed the EZ form, because I can and because I've kind of figured that whatever little I'd save by actually deducting stuff isn't worth the hassle to me of dealing with the longer form. But I own a house now, and I gather that can make a fairly large difference. So I have to fill out the 1040 form, and I'm afraid of it.

Current thought: Oh, wait, now I have "Dead" by They Might Be Giants in my head. But only faintly.
You Can't Take the Sexist Idiocy from Me

Now I'm reading Finding Serenity, a collection of essays about the Firefly TV series. (It was a Christmas present from my sister, by the way. I don't know why it's taken me this long to get around to it, but thanks, sis!) I'm enjoying it considerably; there are some very perceptive and interesting essays. In fact, I hate to say it, but I think it's on the whole considerably better than the similar Farscape-related book I read a couple of months ago.

There are, however, a couple of pieces that would annoy the hell out of me if the way they're presented back-to-back didn't somehow make them incredibly amusing, instead.

The first one suggests that Joss Whedon made a mistake in marrying his science fiction show to a western if he wanted to be true to his feminist sensibilities. Because, apparently, the nature of westerns is such that women simply aren't allowed to be strong, independent characters in them. So, no matter how competent and powerful the women on Firefly may seem, in actuality they must be weak and submissive Tools of the Patriarchy. Because, you know, they're women in a western. (Actually, I must admit, when you reduce it to those terms, this thesis is rather amusing even on its own. Because I'm imagining Zoe kicking the author's ass for calling her "submissive," and it's vastly entertaining.)

The second one suggests that Joss had a problem when he married his western to a science fiction show, because the nature of westerns is such that they're supposed to be about Heroic Manly Men who follow a code of chivalry and protect weak and helpless women and children. And apparently the women of Firefly, because they think they're living in a science fiction show instead of a western, are making the men look all unheroic and unmanly by being strong, intelligent, powerful, smart, and generally not in any need of male protection. Which ruins everything, of course. But the author "charitably" suggests that, well, maybe Joss wanted to have his female characters barefoot and pregnant, but couldn't because modern audiences have trouble accepting that kind of thing. Which is also funny in its own right. Giggling-out-loud funny, in fact. Has this guy ever seen one of Joss Whedon's shows? Heard the man talk? Heard anything about him, even? I mean, yeesh. (Similarly, I wonder if the author of the first article and I are even watching the same show, or if she got some bizarre Mirror Universe version. The bits of dialog she quotes are recognizable, but, hey, maybe there's something in the acting or the directing or the context of the Bizarro World footage that suggests that what they're saying actually means something entirely different.)

Personally, I think both of these people are sexist idiots, but, hey, at least they get points for being entertaining, and for riling me up and making me think.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Look Out! The Geeks Are Breeding!

I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine saying she's having a baby shower soon. The theme is "Cthulhu."

I love my friends.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Collecting for Charity

My friend Jeannine is doing the MS Walk in Albuquerque next month, and asked me to pass on the link to her pledge page for anyone who might be interested in making a donation. It's a worthy cause. I know two people with Multiple Sclerosis personally, and anything that helps people deal with the disease or contributes towards finding a cure is most definitely a good thing.
This Post Is Rubbish

I'm reading this book called Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte, in which the author goes about investigating what exactly happens to our garbage after the magical garbage fairies conveniently remove it from our curbsides. It's a pretty interesting book, especially considering that it's about, you know, garbage.

Anyway, as part of her examination of the topic, Royte went through her own kitchen garbage every day, sorted through and cataloged its contents, and weighed it. She found the results a little depressing and it's made me wonder a bit about what my own refuse output looks like. So I decided to find out. Now, there's no way I'm going to go picking through trash, even my own, given that I'm not getting a book deal out of it. But as a sort of experiment, for 24 hours I wrote down everything that I threw into the kitchen trash can. (And, yeah, it's not exactly good scientific methodology, given that the fact that I was thinking about what I was throwing into the trash was bound to bias my results. But I at least tried to keep to my normal patterns.) Like Royte, I stuck to the kitchen garbage, rather than paying attention to the little stuff I threw in various wastebaskets around the house, meaning I missed some papers, a bunch of kleenex, and, I dunno, dental floss and stuff. Also the scoopings from the cat box, which went into a separate bag and right into the outside bin, because, yuck, cat poop. Also not included is anything I threw away at work, where I regularly eat at least one meal.

And -- drumroll please! -- here are the ever-so-fascinating results.


- a tiny piece of unidentified plastic wrapper I found on the floor
- a few pieces of Kitten Chow that either the cats or I spilled on the floor
- four used kleenex
- seven foil tea bag wrappers
- three tea bags (the other four went elsewhere)
- two paper flaps off of Netflix envelopes
- some fluff that detached from a scratching post
- two paper towels
- several of pages of newsprint (the cut-down, two-page free version of a local paper plus several more pages of ads)
- pull-tab from an orange juice carton
- banana peel
- three pieces of junk mail
- three old issues of TV Guide
- an empty box of chocolate Malt-o-Meal, plus about a tablespoon and a half of the Malt-o-Meal powder itself (which wasn't enough to make an actual meal out of)
- instant oatmeal packet
- plastic band that held the lid on a plastic bowl of fruit
- paper napkin
- empty ice cream carton

They say what you throw away potentially says a lot about you. I don't know that this reveals anything particularly interesting about me, other than the fact that I drink absurd amounts of tea (especially when I've had four hours of sleep and desperately need to keep the caffeine flowing) and that I didn't get my first choice of breakfast this morning.

There's also a disturbing amount of paper in there, I admit, which I really ought to be recycling. Sadly, there is no curbside recycling where I live, and it has occurred to me to wonder if the gas I'd burn to take the stuff to somewhere I could recycle it wouldn't damage the environment more than the recycling would help.

What I found really interesting is how often I found myself opening that trash can, and how automatic it was. Indeed, I got home from work last night and was walking around the house doing various little things and thinking about how, yes, I really was going to try writing down everything I tossed out for the next 24 hours, and suddenly stopped dead in the middle of the kitchen when I realized that, while I was thinking this, I had picked up the piece of plastic wrapper, opened the trash can, and dropped it in, apparently without even noticing I was doing it. I'm sure that's got to be a profound metaphor for something.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Go Away, Daleks, or I Shall Taunt You a Second Time!

I finished the Doctor Who commentaries today, while I was sitting around being mostly brain-dead from lack of sleep. (Waking up after four hours with a head full of mucus sucks, for the record.) And John Barrowman still cracks me up. Apparently he talks to characters on the TV in much the same way as I do. He was taunting the Daleks. I mean, on the commentary track, not as his character. Somehow, I just don't expect people who are actually in the show to do that...