Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Reason Why I Love the Internet, #963

Reading along in a book, discovering that due to a printer's error there's a page worth of story missing, doing a quick google, finding a site with the text of the missing page on it, and being able to read on as if nothing much had happened.

The Information Age is a good time to live in.

I Haven't Really Done Any Gaming in Ages, But...

You scored as Horror Gamer. You like a game that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Your character might get killed, but that doesn't matter as long as the game is run well. You'll probably like: Call of Cthulu, , Kult World of Darkness, Chill or even Pie Shop

Horror Gamer


Cyberpunk Gamer


Comedy Gamer


Beer & Prezels Gamer


Fantasy Gamer


What sort of Gamer are you?
created with

Hmm. You know, I've never actually played Call of Cthulhu. And, come to that, the various Vampire games I've played in have always sort of fallen apart sooner or later. So I don't know that my experience of horror gaming has been all that positive, on the whole, even if there were some darned good individual moments.

I think I got this result mainly because I said I didn't have a problem with character death. I think, however, that this has less to do with a desire for gritty realism, or for operating under the real danger of having something eat my character's face, than it does with my odd weakness for a good death scene. I've been known to kill off a beloved character just so I could give him a kickass exit. I can't help myself.

I also said I didn't mind an evil GM. But, hey, I've had enough of those that I think I'd better have learned not to mind them. Much.

Honestly, the kinds of games I always liked best were either science fictional games -- everything is better if you set it IN SPACE! -- or multigenre games like Torg. Any game where you can have a party consisting of a plate-mail-clad paladin, a 1940's mad scientist, an alien, and a guy with a bandolier full of grenades is totally up my alley.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Nothing to See Here. Move Along.

This is a test post. This is only a test post. Had this been an actual post, I like to think it would have been at least slightly more interesting.

An Administrative Announcement

After much grief and frustration and bitching and moaning, I've finally done it. I've finally given my old commenting system the boot.

The thing is, Enetation seemed like a good choice way back when. I signed up for it when comment systems on blogs were a new thing and available only from independent providers like Enetation... most of whom were utterly swamped with demand for their services and had severely limited signups to the point where they were practically impossible to get into. Enetation had no such restrictions, and it offered some nice features, especially if you paid the $14 "pro user" fee. It looked like a great bet. Sadly, its service got crappier and crappier as time went on... The comment counter became unreliable to the point where I'd frequently needed to go to their website and run a program that would force it to update. Then it quit working without intervention altogether. As of today, even running the program wasn't working any more, and that, my friends, was the proverbial last straw. Because this is on top of a gazillion other problems, including: not updating the comment window after people hit "post," thus leaving them to wonder if their comment had gotten through; comments occasionally not getting through; fairly frequent error messages which might or might not indicate that the comment hadn't actually posted; not letting me see the comments at all while I was actually logged into my user account, thus rendering useless all the nifty features only logged-in users have access to (and meaning I had to keep logging in and logging out again when I did need to fix things); and a complete and total lack of technical support. The forums, which is where support requests were supposed to be made, were hacked into a while back, and instead of being fixed, they were simply removed. Not that it mattered, as there had been no official presence on them for the last year or so, anyway, and posts there requesting help were simply ignored.

So, yeah, Enetation is gone. History. Good frickin' riddance. The sad thing, however, is that this means that every comment that's been made on this blog since its inception is now gone. I'm not happy about this; it's the main reason I was resisting making a changeover for so long. And I do apologize to everyone who ever commented here for consigning your responses to oblivion. But, man, it had to be done.

In place of the old system, I've activated Blogger's own commenting system. For those of you who have Blogger accounts, it should use your information automatically. The rest of you can still leave comments by posting as "anonymous" (do please sign your names, though, so I know who you are!). Comments will still open in a popup window, so you'll need to make sure you have popups enabled for this site. Feel free to comment on this post to test it out, and do please let me know if you encounter any problems. I think I've got everything set up correctly, but I'm not 100% sure. Oh, and for the moment, I've got verification turned off, which means you won't have to type in random letters to prove you're a human being. I find those things incredibly annoying, but I'm afraid that if I start getting major amounts of spam I might very well have to turn it on. We'll see how it goes.

I'm also probably going to be playing around with my template just a little bit more today, so if you stop by and things look strange, wait a few minutes and refresh, and hopefully I'll have fixed whatever boneheaded thing I've just done.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

This Is My Social Life.

Honestly, it's not really my intention to do a Doctor Who marathon every weekend. But it does seem to be working out that way...

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm back!

My broadband is working again! And the guy thinks he knows why the antenna was having problems in the wind before and that it probably won't do it again. Yay!

Except I can't really enjoy it right now, because I'm late for work...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yet Another Catch-22

You know what's annoying? Annoying is when your broadband is down, and you can't dial in to the internet because you're waiting for your ISP to call you about fixing things so you don't have to dial in to the internet.

Obviously, seeing as I'm here, I've kind of given up on that. I don't think they are going to call me back today, the bastards. Especially as they were supposed to do it yesterday. I'll have to call and bug them again. Tomorrow.

And things were finally working so well there for a week or so...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I've Got the Fricken' Feline Houdini Here.

Today's entertainment: Vir (who for various health and safety reasons is an indoor cat and who has never shown any dissatisfaction with this state of affairs) discovered a means of egress by tearing the corner of a screen on the living room window out of its frame. I noticed it was loose, went over to look at it, glanced out the window, and saw him calmly sitting on the outside looking in at me. So I went out to get him, but by the time I got there, he'd completely vanished. I spent a couple of minutes looking around for him and trying not to panic, then I happened to glance at the window again, and there he was, sitting on the inside, looking calmly back at me. He must have jumped back in in the time it took me to get to the door.

I think he thinks he's funny.

(And, yes, the screen has now been fixed, thanks to the nice man at the hardware store. I'm hoping the stupid cat has gotten his entertainment value out of the situation and we won't see a repeat.)
Doctor, Doctor!

I've been neglecting to update this thing for a few days again, haven't I? Tsk. I know how you all hang on my every word and wait breathlessly for my next entry.

I haven't been doing anything terribly interesting, though. The most exciting thing I did this week, in fact, was getting together with some friends yesterday for a barbecue/Doctor Who marathon. It's kind of surprising to me just how much my social life currently revolves around Doctor Who...

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? It's actually not remotely surprising at all.

I am a bit surprised, though (as well as highly gratified) by how successful the show's revival has been, and not just in the UK but now in the US as well. I don't think the ratings have exactly been stellar here, but it does seem to have penetrated the US consciousness in interesting ways. A friend of mine bought a toy Dalek in Hastings the other day. For some reason, this just sort of blows me away. I'm used to having to mail-order my Doctor Who toys.

And I know lots of people who are watching it, including people who were never huge fans of the original series and whose interest I find mildly surprising. Heck, my dad called me up a couple of days ago lamenting that, because he'd been in the process of moving, he'd missed the end of the last 2-parter that aired on Sci-Fi and was desperate to know how it ended. (Hey, Dad, if you're reading this -- which you probably aren't if your DSL still isn't hooked up -- a disc will be making its way to you tomorrow. Let no one say I am not a good and dutiful daughter!)

By the way, you people watching on Sci-Fi in the US, hold on to your hats. You've got some very cool stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks!

The episodes I've been watching lately, though, are the current episodes obtained from the UK. I have no idea when and if Sci-Fi is planning on showing them, but I really hope they do.

In the meantime, I present my own brief opinions -- I hesitate to call them "reviews" -- of the season 2 (aka season 28) episodes thus far. (Note: non-spoilery for anything not given away in the scenes-from-next-week trailers.)

"The Christmas Invasion" (which is not technically part of the 2nd season, but I don't care): I love David Tennant more every second that he's on the screen. Rose annoys me a bit, but on repeated viewings I mostly forgive her. I'm not sure if the plot makes more or less sense the more you think about it, so mostly I don't. And I have something of a love-hate relationship with the ending. Bonus points to the whole thing for traumatizing small children on Christmas.

"New Earth": The plot is painfully nonsensical, but the humor and the entertaining quality of the acting goes quite a way towards making up for it.

"Tooth and Claw": The plot makes, well, slightly more sense than the previous week, but that isn't saying very much. The FX are cool, the werewolf is creepy, and Queen Victoria kind of rocks, but somehow the whole thing never adds up to much. Also, the interaction between Rose and the Doctor is definitely starting to annoy me by this point.

"School Reunion": Now that's more like it. It's wonderful to see old friends again, and they're very well-served by the story. Anthony Stewart Head makes a nicely malevolent bad guy. Some good emotional moments and some good humorous ones. Admittedly, Rose is being annoying again, but if I make an effort to see things from her perspective, I can sort of understand why.

"The Girl in the Fireplace": This episode has everything. I mean it. Every freaking thing. It's funny, it's sad, it's creepy, it's exciting. It's SF, it's horror, it's historical fiction, it's romance. It's caused huge amounts of fannish controversy, which is always entertaining. And it's pretty. I've seen it, like, five times now and I'm still not tired of it.

"Rise of the Cybermen"/"Age of Steel": A very, very Old School-style two-parter. Which is actually kind of fun to see after the serious New-School character drama stuff of the last couple of episodes, but, eh. Mickey is lovely and the new Cyberman look pretty cool when they're marching around, but for what was clearly intended as a fairly important episode it failed to make a great deal of an impression on me. I was entertained while I was watching it, but found myself forgetting most of it as soon as it was over.

And that's as far as we've gotten. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the season, though. And lest some of those comments seem a bit too critical, I should mention that despite any and all flaws, I am enjoying the hell out of this show, and am loving it with the deep fannish love. I'm seriously hoping we can go another 25 years before it goes off the air again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's Random Link Time Again!

Let's see what we have for you today...

Joss Whedon pretending to be some guy dressed up as Joss Whedon. That man is a nut. But the good kind of nut.

The 50 best Marvel Comics characters. Not being much of a comics geek, I only know about half of these people, but by the time we'd counted down to #46 on this incredibly funny list ("there's just one thing you need to know about Swarm: He's a Nazi made of radioactive bees"), it became clear to me that I've been seriously missing out.

Falling Sand. I was warned that this game (or web toy, or whatever it is) was addictive, but did I listen? Nooooo. Now it keeps nearly making me late for work.

Dead Ringers spoofs House. A brilliantly spot-on parody of the show. Bwah!

I went into work for some fire extinguisher safety training today, during which I got to practice putting out an actual fire. I think this would make me feel safer, if it weren't for the fact that now nearly every fire extinguisher in the building is empty. The Fire Department guys did let me shoot the big hose from the truck, though, and that was cool. Let me tell ya, those things pack a kick.

In other news, I've discovered something more disgusting than cat vomit: cat vomit with pieces of half-digested bug in it. Ewww. I've been keeping an eye on the cat in question in case he goes into convulsions from eating poisoned bug, but so far he just seems to be his normal spastic self.

Never a dull moment around here, I tell ya.

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's Raining!

Rain! Beautiful, beautiful rain! I'm wet and my shoes are full of water, and I'm happy.

I'm sure people on the East Coast are glaring or rolling their eyes at me right now, but I don't care.


Saturday, May 13, 2006


I hold in my hand two letters from my mortgage company. One is dated April 6 and says, "Our records indicate that the flood insurance coverage for your property has been updated and now provides the flood coverage required for your loan." Because after they complained to me that it needed to be raised, and after I went to the insurance agent and had her do it, and after she assured me that she would send proof of this to my mortgage company, I also wrote them a letter, just to be absolutely double-dog certain they'd gotten it and to be reassured of this fact by them personally.

The second letter is dated May 8 and says, in with a lot of other bureaucratese: "Our records indicate that we have not received evidence of adequate flood insurance for your property[...] Therefore, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has secured additional temporary flood insurance..." With a notice to tell me exactly how much they're charging me for this coverage they've told me I don't need. Aaargh! And, of course, I always get goddamn notices like this a) on a Saturday and b) when I'm on night shift, meaning that despite the fact that the impatient part of my brain (which is getting more and more dominant the older I get) is jumping up and down screaming "Aaargh, FIX THIS NOW!", I cannot fix it now and, moreover, will end up having to talk to them at some time when I'm half-asleep.

I hate bureaucracy. I hate paperwork. I hate financial shit, and I hate dealing with corporations. I want to be a hermit and live in a cave. A cave with no flood insurance.
I'm Sure You're All Absolutely Stunned.

I got a 100% on the Farscape Primer test!

Click here! to take it

I don't know about some of those questions, though. There are arguably two right answers to #5. I'm sure Chiana would think so, anyway...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sleep-Deprived Linkage

I don't know why I'm awake right now. I don't want to be. But since I am, have some links:

A fascinating (and disturbing) article about Scientology.

It's a Wonderful Internet. Life without the internet doesn't bear thinking about, as this little bedtime story demonstrates. Pull the tabs for interactive fun! Or at least some mild time-killing entertainment.

Reviews of House episodes by an actual doctor, with discussions of how realistic or otherwise the medical science is.

Star Wars in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies. Possibly the cutest 30-second bunny re-enactment yet.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

In Other Strange News

My wireless connection appears to have miraculously fixed itself. It's the damnedest thing. After a week or two of being intermittently flaky and another week or so of pretty much not staying up long enough to be of any use at all, it just suddenly got... better. When I got up yesterday, it was fine. It even stayed fine all through a huge-ass windstorm, which seems to knock over my theory that the problem was due to the antenna shaking about in the wind. The only time it actually went out was when the electricity went down for a little while, and I can hardly hold that against it.

I was half expecting it to be frelled again today, but, nope, it's still fine. I feel like I ought to download something now, just because I can.
While I Was Sleeping

There was a hell of a lot of noise outside this morning while I was trying to get to sleep, with sirens and horns blaring and loud equipment of some sort. (That last might have been the garbage truck, I suppose, but seemed to hang around far too long.) Being as I was trying to get to sleep, I just got up and closed the window and eventually it stopped, but now I'm really curious as to what that was all about.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

This Again

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. White socks. A black t-shirt that says "Irreversibly Contaminated," which I bought as part of a "Save Farscape" fundraising thing. (Hey, don't knock it. It worked! Sort of.)

Current mood: Pretty good. Relaxed and mellow. Hungry.

Current music: It's been Radio Betty again lately (i.e. the result of hitting random shuffle on my iPod). Radio Betty seems to have been in kind of a prog rock mood the last time I listened to it, but, really, the odds of that being the case are not exactly what I'd call low.

Current annoyance: I'm still living in the Land of Dialup. Sigh.

Current thing: Groovin' on the Doctor Who love again.

Current desktop picture: This picture of Saturn's moon Rhea, seen from just below the rings. I've been meaning to change it for a while though. It's a striking picture, but it's a bit too minimalist to make good wallpaper, really.

Current song in head: "Coming Back to Life" by Pink Floyd. I'm not sure why.

Current book: Mammoth by John Varley.

Current video in player: Most recently, a couple of episodes of Lexx.

Current DVD in player: My Neighbor Totoro. Cutest movie ever. It's also very possibly the only kids' movie I've ever seen in which the characters actually act like real kids.

Current refreshment: I had some tea a little while ago.

Current worry: I've been trying not to worry about the possibility of my house cracking in two. I think I'm kinda-sorta succeeding.

Current thought: The cornish game hen I have cooking in the oven smells really, really good. Damn, I'm hungry. Hurry up, hen!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Me, Encoded

I don't know if this tells you anything especially interesting about me, even after you go to the website and decode it, but here I am, apparently:

---------------------- OmniCode 0.1.6 -----------------------
sxx cm165 kg72 skd08c75 ha150c0d.with_random_flecks_of_gray ey324aca esO sp= Ag1971 anE hdd Lo34,3N-106,53W Rl! Kd! PeC.three_of_them MBINTx.evenly_split_on_J/P IN12 AdC
----------- Omnicode -----------

(Except, hmm, the skin color that shows up when you do the decoding thing looks considerably darker than what I thought I was picking. Well, maybe if it's the end of August and I've got a really intense tan...)
What a Nifty World We Live In.

Giant mechanical elephant wandering around London = Coolest thing ever.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Living in the Land of Dialup

Well, my wireless connection really does seem to be truly fubared. It's sort of working, slowly and intermittently, but basically if I want any real odds of staying up for more than a minute or so at a time, I need to resort to dialup. Which isn't actually all that bad. At least my 56k dialup here actually is 56k, as opposed to when I lived in the trailer, where it'd be any random number between about 20 and 45. So it's inconvenient and mildly annoying, but unless I want to download any huge files, it's workable. (Fortunately, I have an alternate source for my Doctor Who.)

I really need to get a hold of my ISP again. I sent them an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, but never got an answer, so I need to call 'em. Which I've been putting off for various stupid reasons. And now I'm about to switch over onto night shift, which means I'll pretty much be asleep during normal business hours for the next couple of weeks. So, yeah, it looks like I'm in the Land of Dialup for a while.

What this means is that the, what, two of you out there who might have reason to call me on the phone are likely to get a busy signal if you try. Send me an e-mail instead. And for those of you I normally hang out with online, well, don't expect me to be connected during every waking hour the way I normally am.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No Bitching Today. Have Some Random Links Instead.

If all stories were written like science fiction stories: a far-too-accurate send-up of SF's frequent tendency towards implausible exposition.

And, from the same site: Why the classic SF future was called off. Very funny list of reasons why life never got around to imitating The Jetsons.

Here's a cartoon that's very funny if you're a fan of the new Battlestar Galactica (but will probably go right over your head if you haven't seen it).

What If...: The BBC presents you with a list of highly contrived but fairly interesting moral dilemmas and lets you vote on the answers.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One of Those Days

I dropped a full cup of coffee onto the carpet in my hallway practically first thing this morning. I made toast, burned the first attempt, and dropped half of the second batch butter-down on the floor, at which point I was out of bread. I got into work to be told that everything was going extremely smoothly, and twenty minutes later, gosh, there were the errors that had been absent all night. Then I discovered that the podcasts I downloaded yesterday to listen to at work weren't actually complete, due to the fact that my internet connection continues getting worse and worse and worse despite having supposedly been fixed. Also, my eyeglasses seem to be slightly out of alignment again, just enough to drive me crazy but not so much that I don't feel like an over-complaining jerk if I go back and ask to have them adjusted again.

Can I just go home and crawl under the covers? Please?

(And now Blogger's crapping out on me. Of course. Sigh.)