Monday, July 31, 2006

Whimpering and Random Links

Aargh, my eye is getting worse rather than better. Now it's all... itchy. *whimper* I shall attempt to distract myself by offering up yet another batch of random links:

Scifipedia: An SF-themed wiki hosted by the Sci Fi Channel.

Cosmographica: A gallery of space art by Don Dixon, who's illustrated lots of magazines and book covers and such. Some very cool stuff.

Opening paragraphs of recent PODs that yielded an abbreviated read: This is from a blog whose author reads through self-published print-on-demand books at Amazon, sorts through the drek, and recommends the ones that are actually worth reading. Which is interesting in itself. This particular post, though, discusses what kind of openings cause said books to be abandoned instantly and with prejudice. Some of the examples are screamingly bad.

Numb3rs Blog: A mathematician explains and expands on the math featured in the show Numb3rs. Particularly interesting are things like the link to this article in which a different mathematician describes how the case in the pilot episode was based very, very closely on a real-life case that was solved essentially the same way.

Book Sale Finder: An online guide to "used book events." I'm still cursing the person who sent me this one. It's like giving an alcoholic a map to bars.

The Neddiad: Daniel Pinkwater -- who is in my opinion the best writer of kids' books that are equally fun for adults since Roald Dahl -- is putting his newest book up on the web chapter by chapter as he writes it. Chapter One is now online, and I'm debating whether the pleasure of getting to read it in advance for free is worth the pain of having to keep stopping and waiting for find out what happens next.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

If I Can Read This, I'm Too Close.

Not at all to my surprise, I find I'm having considerable difficulty properly applying my eye goop. I have not always succeeded on the first try at getting the stuff into my eye instead of onto my face, it always seems to come out in big old globs instead of in a nice uniform ribbon the way it's supposed to. And I've already managed to poke myself in the eye with the tube twice, which cannot possibly be conducive to healing.

I've figured out what a large portion of the problem is, though. If I get close enough to the mirror that I can clearly see what I'm doing, I'm too close to have hardly any room to maneuver between the mirror and my eye. You know, I don't usually think about it much, because I've had it since I was six, but extreme myopia really kind of sucks.

What Betty's Watching, Installment #57

Currently active in the DVD rotation: Numb3rs, in which a heartbreakingly cute geek fights crime using the Power of Math. Dude! I have no idea how this show ever got made, but when I am Ruler of the Universe there will be much more of this sort of thing on TV.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Double Vision Always Seems To Get The Best Of Me.

Well, it appears the saga of my cat-and-book-induced eye injury is not quite over, after all. As reported here earlier, the injury itself seemed to heal up nicely in a few days, but recently I've started noticing that when I look at a bright light against a dark background, I'm getting some mildly disturbing blurring effects, and, in certain circumstances, a sort of faint second image of the bright object, just with that one eye. So, like the conscientious patient I occasionally am, I went in to see the optometrist. He didn't confirm any of my paranoid hypochondriac worries, thank goodness. (Yes, I will admit that part of my brain kept going, "Aaargh, I'm developing a cataract! Maybe it's glaucoma! Help, my retina is detaching!") He said the cornea looks nice and healed up, but there is some "degradation in the epithelium" and that I am at risk for something called recurrent corneal erosion. Which means, basically, that your eyeball sticks to your eyelid, especially when you're asleep, and then when you open your eyes or blink, it tears a bit of the outer layer off. Ewww. It does seem to fit, though; I've actually noticed a bit of a "sticking eyelid" feeling lately. So he told me to use some over-the-counter eye lube stuff and call back in a week to let him know if it's any better. I'm really not looking forward to squirting gunk into my eye, but all in all it could have been a heck of a lot worse

One annoying thing, though, is that, because the guy is an optometrist and not an opthamologist (and therefore does not have an MD), I'm pretty sure my insurance won't cover the visits, even though they're injury-related. But it's totally not worth it to me to drive 80 miles into Albuquerque to find an opthamologist, when this guy is perfectly competent. And I'm quite sure he is competent for this kind of thing. The doctor at the emergency room even told me he frequently does followups on eye injuries and that he was someone I could see if I needed to.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


You ever have one of those weeks where you've got so many things you really ought to be doing that you just can't seem to work up enough motivation to pick any one of them and mainly end up sitting around playing mindless computer games instead?

I really need to stop having weeks like that.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Nothing Interesting Is Happening In My Life. Thus, Another Pointless Meme.

Stolen from someplace on the internet...

1. When you look at yourself in the mirror, what's the first thing you look at?

I don't know. Possibly the hair, to see that if it's long enough that I need to think about getting it cut. Which I do. Or, lately, my left eye, as I paranoidly search for signs that the blow I took to it, although it feels quite healed, is concealing some deep, lurking damage that will lead to it rotting out of the socket or something.

2. How much cash do you have on you right now?

On my actual person, none. In my wallet, let's see... $0.99.

3. What's a word that rhymes with "TEST"?


4. Favourite plant?

Willow trees.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?

Like I know. I never turn the damned thing on if I can help it, and I almost never look at it. Hmm. A friend of mine did say she tried to call me on it, weeks ago, and I never played her message back. Maybe I should see if she had anything interesting to say... ... Nope. She said exactly the same thing that she said when I called her about an hour later. And the only person on my "missed calls" list was my mother. Though there were about six thousand calls in my voicemail looking for someone named "Jessica."

6. What is your main ring tone on your phone?

It makes a ringing phone noise. I'd get a cute ringtone for it, but since I never turn it on, it hardly seems worth the effort.

7. What shirt are you wearing?

A light green t-shirt with the words "I hiked the Grand Canyon" on the front, and a rather murky picture of the Canyon itself. The back says "I'm lying!," though that itself is not really true, as I did hike at least part of the Canyon (though certainly not all of it), several years after I acquired the shirt. It's a very old shirt. Probably it's only lasted this long because I hardly ever wear it.

8. Do you "label" yourself?

I'll happily accept the label of "geek," but otherwise, no.

9. Name brand of your shoes currently wearing?

I'm not wearing shoes. I took them off as soon as I got home. My feet were hot.

10. Do you prefer a bright or dark room?

Um... Neither? Bright enough to read, dark enough not to go blind.

11. What did you have for breakfast?

Banana-flavored oatmeal and toast.

12. Since question 12 is weirdly missing, make some shit up.

Urga urble burble bloo.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?

Sleeping. Sigh. I hate day shifts.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell phone say?

I've never had one in my life. Even if I used the damned thing, a telephone is a crappy tool for sending text.

15. Do you ever click on "Pop Ups" or Banners?

Not if I can help it, though sometimes it's too easy to click on the thrice-damned things by accident. For some reason, my pop-up blocker never quite gets them all. (I'm talking ad pop-ups of course. Things like blog comments are a different matter...)

16. What's an expression that you say a lot?


17. Who told you they loved you last?

Probably my mother.

18. Last furry thing you touched?

Vir the cat.

19. How many hours a week do you work?


20. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?

None. Not because I've gone digital like the rest of the world, but because I haven't taken any pictures of anything lately. (And how odd is this set of questions, with its obsession with cell phones and its bizarre assumption that people use film cameras?)

21. Favourite age you have been so far?

25 is good. I wanted to just stop at 25, but it didn't work.

22. Your worst enemy?


23. What is your current desk top picture?

This picture of unusually glowy post-sunset clouds over Sweden.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?

Depends on how you define "someone." If animals count, it was, "Viiiirr!," because he was lying on top of my mouse while I was trying to write this and causing strange things to happen to my scrolling. If they don't but fictional people do, it was "Wouldn't you have his DNA?" to the FBI agents on Numb3rs. If only actual human beings count, it was something like, "Do we expect to have them?" spoken to my boss about some new equipment we'll need to have if we're going to do a certain project later in the year. (I basically got a "maybe.")

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to go back in time and fix all your mistakes which would you choose?

I'll take the money. My mistakes haven't been that bad, and I've read more than enough science fiction to know better than to go mucking about with timelines.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Revenge Of The Return Of The Son Of Random Links

Eventually I will post something resembling actual content. But, for the moment:

Vader Sessions: Scenes from Star Wars with Darth Vader's voice overdubbed with dialog from James Earl Jones' other movies. Goofy, but amusing.

The Fortnight Shop: A Cafepress store run by an artist friend of mine, featuring her nifty designs on t-shirts and coffee mugs and such. The gimmick here is that every two weeks the featured design changes, so if you keep going back, you'll keep finding new stuff. Or you can sign up for the shop's newsletter and get notifications when there's new material.

Knights of the Star Trek Table: If the Cybermen version was amusing, this one is a work of brilliance.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

And A Music Meme...

OK, the idea behind this one is that you open up iTunes, or whatever you've got that'll list your music alphabetically for you, and write down the first track that shows up for each letter of the alphabet. Here's my resulting list (having skipped the tracks that start with numbers or symbols, of which there were more than a few):

A Bizaar Ending - The Great Luke Ski
Baa! - The Great Luke Ski
C'etait Toi (You Were the One) - Billy Joel
D.J. - David Bowie
E-V-I-L, Tardis - Big Finish Productions (from the audio play Doctor Who: Zagreus)
Face Up - Rush
Gabriel's Mother's Hiway Ballad #16 Blues - Arlo Guthrie
Hail to Thee, Kamp Krusty - The Simpsons
I'd Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me (Than a Frontal Lobotomy) - Randy Hanzlick, M.D.
Jack-a-Lynn - Jethro Tull
Kai Collapse - Marty Simon
L'Arena - Ennio Morricone
M.I.B. Closing Theme - Danny Elfman
Na Laetha Geal Moige - Enya
O Bebe Waltz - BeauSoleil
Pace Verde - Andreas Vollenweider
Qu'est Ce Que J'ai Fait - Anthony Stewart Head
Race Against Time - U2
S-E-X-X-Y - They Might Be Giants
Tacoma Trailer - Leonard Cohen
Uakuza Oren 1 - RZA
V the Series Theme
Wait - The Beatles
Xanadu - Rush
Y.O.D.A. - The Great Luke Ski
Zagreus, Take The Blade And Cut These Three Strays Out Of Time. - from the same Doctor Who audio

I'm not sure what that says about my listening habits, but it probably says something. The only two things I really get from it are 1) that Luke Ski guy really hogs the alphabet, and 2) I have a surprising number of songs in languages that I don't actually speak. (I think French is significantly over-represented here, though, due to its fondness for apostrophes.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Follow-Up To The Last Post

I have just exploded. Possibly forming a black hole.

The Cat-Vomit Omen Has Proven Correct.

I generally try to avoid bitching about work on here, but I have to say this Project From Hell that I am currently working on -- again -- is seriously pissing me off. I'll tell ya, this had better be the most interesting fucking supernova remnant in the history of the universe. Considering the amount of grief and headache it has caused, this data ought to earn someone a fucking Nobel Prize. And if it comes across my desk again, I am going to go nova, myself. Aaargh.

You Know It's Going To Be One Of Those Days When...

...practically the first thing you discover on waking is that one or more of your cats has made it a personal project to vomit a little in every room in the house.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Random Links: The Video Edition

I've suddenly accumulated a lot of links to random interesting videos, so here ya go:

The Amazing Screw-On Head: The Sci Fi Channel has this pilot episode for a new animated series, and apparently they're not sure whether they want to pick the show up or not, so they've made the episode available for free on their website and are inviting people to watch it and fill out a survey to give them feedback. I think this is the best idea ever. As for the show itself, I didn't know quite what to make of it at first, but by the end... well, I still didn't know quite what to make of it, but I wanted more. It's surreal sort of humor that might not be for everybody, but if it's the sort of thing you like, I think you'll be as intrigued as I was. Go and check it out for yourself! (And let me know if you were able to complete the survey. I got an error message at the end when I tried it, but it might have been a temporary glitch or something. I sent them an e-mail about it.)

Where the Hell Is Matt?: Matt goes to different places all around the world and films himself dancing. Badly. It's more entertaining than it sounds, really. And he made a stop at the VLA!

Stop-Motion Human Space Invaders: A game of Space Invaders re-created using stop motion animation of people sitting in theater seats. This works a lot better than you'd expect.

Doctor Who Rides the Train, Part 1 and Part 2: "I travel in time and space... and trains." The Fourth Doctor takes a train trip, much to the bemusement of his fellow passengers. Warning: contains some mildly naughty humor.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Because You Know I Can Never Resist A Book Meme...

Currently Reading: Wizard by Trade by Jim Butcher (aka The Book That Hit Me in the Eye). Actually, it's an omnibus volume consisting of two of Butcher's "Dresden Files" novels: Summer Knight and Death Masks. I'm about halfway through the latter. The Dresden books are a fun fantasy/detective/action series; I'm enjoying them, when they're not doing me physical injury. I understand there's a TV series based on them coming out soon. This seems like a good idea to me. I've frequently thought while reading them that they'd translate very nicely to film, and on reflection I think there is enough substance in the premise to support a weekly series fairly easily.

Next Reading: I'm figuring on some non-fiction next. Possibly Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer by Doron Swade or Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens by Susan A. Clancy.

Last Read: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons by Terrance Dicks. I've got a ton of these old Doctor Who novelizations. They're about as far from substantial reading as you can get, short of The Cat in the Hat, but you can read 'em in an hour or two, and they're perfect for when you want something quick and undemanding, or as a sort of palate cleanser between heavier books. "Terror of the Autons" is kind of a fun episode, too. There's just way too much goofy entertainment value to be had out of the concept of evil alien-possessed plastic.

Last Book Bought: A few days ago I took some money I got for my birthday -- thanks, Dad! -- and bought books on Amazon: Mathematics and Humor: A Study of the Logic of Humor by John Allen Paulos, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig and Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester.

Longest Book Owned: I think that'd have to be Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, at 3,067 pages. Although the edition I own is incredibly dated; I've had it since I was a teenager.

Shortest Book Owned: Apparently it's When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs, at 40 whole pages.

Favorite Book: Don't have one. Can't pick.

Book Read Most Times: I honestly don't know... Despite my obsessive tendency to hoard books and never, ever let them go, I don't actually re-read much. There are too many books out there that I haven't read once yet! Probably a favorite book from my childhood qualifies, as there were a few books I read over and over and over as a kid. Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time might be a good guess.

Least Favorite Book: There are far too many bad books in the world to single any one of them out, but, well, there was that horrible Buffy novel about which I found myself thinking that if the world ended tomorrow, the only thing I'd regret is having wasted the last week of my life reading the wretched thing.

Favorite "Serious" Fiction: I don't know what "serious" even means in this context. I like Jorge Luis Borges, does he count? Although the only book of his that I own is Labyrinths. And he might not count, anyway. And there are doubtless lots of other perfectly "serious" books I like every bit as much.

Favorite Comedy: Again, I can't really pick a favorite anything. I suppose I should mention The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in here somewhere, though. Actually, that might possibly qualify as "Book Read Most Times," based on high school alone.

Favorite Classic: Well, I'll mention Hamlet in the next category, so maybe Huckleberry Finn? Man, I'm getting a sudden urge to re-read that right now. Twain rocks.

Favorite Shakespeare: Yup, definitely Hamlet.

Favorite Poetry Collection/Poet: Robert Frost. I have a volume of his collected works that gets picked up off the shelf surprisingly often.

Favorite Fantasy: Oh, I suppose I'll have to be dreadfully conventional and say The Lord of the Rings. Justifiable criticism can be leveled at Tolkien's prose, but I really do view the story itself as one of humanity's great tales, and I think there's an essential quality to it that not even a thousand second-rate imitators can detract from.

Favorite Sci-Fi: No, really, I just can't do it. Can't pick.

Favorite Non-Fiction: I can't pick any one thing for this category, either, but I'll mention that Carl Sagan's Cosmos holds a special place in my heart, due to having influenced me profoundly at an early age.

Favorite Historical Fiction: I dunno. I, Claudius is quite wonderful. I'm in the middle of watching the TV series right now, in fact, and it's also quite wonderful.

Favorite Chick Lit/Lad Lit: Well, I'm sure I've read something in my life that's qualified, but I'm drawing a blank.

Favorite Horror: Again, I can't pick a favorite, but I can name a horror novel that left a great impression on me recently: Stephen King's Thinner. I think it's easily one of his best, not least because it's one of the sadly rare examples where he doesn't sort of fall apart at the ending. And there's something about the basic premise that is just deeply, perfectly disturbing.

Favorite YA: Um... Again, there are lots, but I have deeply fond childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz and sequels. Having recently re-read the original book as an adult, I can say that it holds up pretty well, too.

Favorite Manga/Graphic Novel/Comic: Alan Moore's Watchmen, which is quite simply a work of literary genius. Also Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, ditto.

Favorite "Other" Genre: I'm afraid I just really don't have any "other" genres that leap to mind.

Favorite Series: Terry Pratchett's Discworld. The level of quality Pratchett has managed to maintain over the course of dozens of books is astonishing.

Favorite Short Story: Roger Zelazny's "For a Breath I Tarry."

Favorite Play: Hamlet, but since I've already mentioned that twice, I'll supplement it here with Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Best Book Read This Year: It's a tough call, but I think I'm going to give the nod to The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier.

Worst Book Read This Year: The Other Extreme by T.J. MacGregor, which I have mocked here before.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Enough About My Eyeballs. Have Some Random Links.

Lostpedia: A wiki for the show Lost, with tons of cool and interesting stuff, some of it compiled by fans with decidedly too much time on their hands (not that I'm one to talk). My personal favorite thing: a hideously complicated chart of all the characters' inter-connections. (Warning: the site is rife with spoilers for all the episodes that have aired to date.)

Speaking of fans with too much time on their hands, check out this article a friend in New Zealand sent me about a Star Trek corn maze made by a fan in the UK. (OK, after three edits, I've finally got the location of this thing right. I think!)

Cyberspamalot!: Monty Python and Cybermen! What more could you possibly ask for? (Warning: contains images that are spoilery through the end of the second season of the new Doctor Who.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Eye, Eye, Eye!

For all those who have asked or may be wondering, yes, my eye is much better today. Thanks!

Actually, it was still kind of scratchy this morning, enough so that I called the doctor, since they'd asked me to come back for a followup visit if it wasn't healed within a day or so, but apparently the only doctor on duty today was the pediatrician. And while I suppose kids' eyes can't be that different from adult eyes, I think the pediatrician's probably got better things to do with his time. Given that it was improving, I decided not to worry about it too much. Based on the info I've looked up, it's not unusual for these things to take three days to heal if they're bad. (Which actually seemed remarkably fast to me, but as one of the medical websites I looked at pointed out, if corneas didn't heal quickly and without scarring, we'd probably all end up blind. It's nice to know that evolution does get things right!) Anyway, yeah, it didn't seem worth bothering a pediatrician about, and certainly not worth another visit to the emergency room, so I let it go. And I'm glad I did, because it feels a lot better tonight than it did this morning. Yay, healing powers of the human body! Mostly, I'm not even really feeling much in the way of pain or irritation even when I blink now. The main thing I'm still noticing is that if a gust of air or something catches me in the eye, it's a lot more sensitive than usual, but I expect even that will be gone soon.

So, again, yeah, it could have been a heck of a lot worse. Rather embarrassingly, the worst part of the whole thing has been the psychological aspect. Because I'm absolutely fine as long as I don't actually think about the fact that AAARGH, I SCRAPED MY EYEBALL! But when I do... Who knew the symptoms of corneal abrasion included nausea, faintness and difficulty breathing? I'm a little disturbed by quite how close I seem to be to an actual full-blown phobia. Fortunately, I'm also very easy distracted, and apparently surprisingly capable of listening when I tell myself to stop being such a big baby and just calm down.

I'm still a little disappointed that there was no piratical patch at any point, though. Not that that would have made the experience worthwhile, but it might at least have made it a little more fun.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Complete Story of the Worst Birthday Ever

I should have known that my dangerous cats-and-books lifestyle would catch up with me eventually. Here's what happened: Yesterday morning, I was awakened by the sound of a cat up on the headboard of my bed doing... something. I don't know what, exactly; it sounded like he was chewing on some papers up there. After a minute or two, I muzzily raised my face to see what the hell he was up to and yell at him to cut it out... And at the exact instant I did so, the large, heavy book I'd left there after last night's bedtime reading came plummeting down at me, and one corner hit me, hard, in the left eye. May I just say: Ow.

Once the initial surge of agonizing pain had passed and I was able to note with relief that at least I could still see, I stumbled into the bathroom to assess the damage. This was not as easy as you might think. To begin with, my eyes are bad enough, even without having suffered major trauma, that in order to examine my own eye without the distorting effect of my glasses in the way, I have to be within about two inches of the mirror. This can make it slightly difficult to answer big-picture questions like, "Is there any swelling?" (I won't keep you in suspense: there wasn't.) Things were further complicated by the fact that the light in there seemed uncomfortably bright, long after I would have expected my eyes to adapt after emerging from the dimness of the bedroom... which in itself should have been a clue that something was wrong. Adding to all of this was the fact that I happen to have the world's biggest eye squick. Even thinking the words "eye" and "injury" in the same sentence makes me feel kind of woozy, and I had an interesting moment where I realized that, no, those little black dots moving in my visual field were not symptoms of injury, they were signs that I was in immediate danger of fainting and should really go and lie down for a moment.

Then, just to add injury to injury, when I got up again without taking the time to dress and staggered into the computer room to google on "eye injury" (as one does), I walked directly into a bookcase -- doubtless due to the fact that I had a hand over my injured eye -- and bruised a sensitive part of my anatomy. Sigh.

Anyway, the visual inspection (pun semi-intended) was actually pretty reassuring: I could still see as well as usual, not that that's saying much, and there wasn't any blood gushing out of my eye or anything. But both google and the sundry medical books I happen to own were pretty insistent about the fact that eye injuries ought not to be shrugged off, which certainly tallied with the urgings of common sense. Plus, even though I was not blind, gushing blood, or still in terrible pain, the light sensitivity, the bloodshot spots in my eyeball, and the fact that I did have this annoying feeling of the kind you get when there's something stuck under your eyelid all convinced me that I hadn't exactly escaped without injury. So I went to the emergency room.

The folks in the emergency room, of course, told me that, yep, I'd scratched the shit out of my eye. Well, that's the translation into layman's terms. What the guy actually said was, "Holy cow, that's a lot of corneal abrasion!" Which made me feel all kinds of reassured. Anwyay, between long periods of apparently forgetting I existed, they gave me all kinds of eye drops, and flashed lights in my face, and gave me an eye-chart test (which I don't think I exactly passed, given that my vision doesn't quite correct to 20-20, but I guess I did well enough). Then they told me they were going to give me an eyepatch, which I thought might be cool and piratical, but which turned out to be a dorky-looking white pad, with an optional (but useful) Ace bandage over it which covered half my head and made me look as if I'd just gone nine rounds with a rhinoceros. Then they told me to go home and go to bed.

"But I just got up!" I said. "And I'm supposed to go to work at--"

"No. We'll write you a note." And, I'll tell ya, that was a serious "no." I haven't heard a "no" like that since I moved out of my mother's house. "Go home and go to bed," she said. And then, almost offhandedly, "Don't read or watch TV. It'll make the eye move." What? NOOOOOOOO! Talk about my own personal hell! But she was right... For once, pain was behaving itself and performing exactly the function it's supposed to perform: if I didn't move the eye, it didn't hurt. If I did, boy did I feel it. And as it generally did start fluttering if I tried to read for more than a minute or two at most, I actually found it reasonably easy to obey medical advice.

So, that's what I did on my 35th birthday. I got poked in the eye, I went to the emergency room, then I lay in a darkened room all day with my eyes shut. And may I just say: thank all that is good in the universe that I had a shedload of podcasts on my iPod that I hadn't gotten around to listening to yet. Remind me to go and make a donation to Escape Pod. I'm fairly certain it was responsible for saving my sanity.

Anyway, they told me these things usually heal up in 24 hours, that I could take the eye patch off then, and to see a doctor if it wasn't better. Fortunately, it was, indeed, noticeably better when I woke up this morning. The pain-on-movement had been replaced with a mildly annoying itching, and I was actually having trouble keeping the eye closed under the patch when the night before it had wanted nothing more than to stay happily shut.

So, I now have my depth perception back. Yay! As well as the pain, the light-sensitivity thing is also gone. There is still a slight something-in-my-eye feeling, but it's definitely better than it was, so unless it gets worse for some reason, I think I'm going to go in to work today, rather than to the doctor.

Thanks to all who sent "Happy Birthday"s and other good wishes, and here's hoping all of you had a better day than I did!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Brief Cryptic Note

OK, this is officially the Worst Birthday Ever. Details will have to wait until tomorrow, when hopefully it will no longer be painful to use the computer. Stay tuned. It may actually be kind of an amusing story, if you're not me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I Was Fine Until We Got To The Celebrities And Sports.

I won...

You won $16,000!

Do you want to be a millionaire?

Take Other Caffeine Nebula Quizzes

I think the astronomy question is suspect, by the way, as there are two Magellanic Clouds.

Not Quite What I Would Have Expected That To Mean...

I'm Dikephobia!

You're Dikephobia, the fear of justice!

What's your obscure phobia?

Take Other Caffeine Nebula Quizzes

Monday, July 10, 2006

Here, Have Some More Random Links

Neil Gaiman's "I, Cthulhu": Read the ancient lurking horror's true autobiography, directly from its own lips! Or tentacles, or something. Neil Gaiman is a brilliant, twisted man, but you probably already knew that.

At last, the Japanese have answered the burning eternal question: How many kilograms of fish can a housecat carry? This is the funniest, most bizarrely fascinating thing I've seen in ages. And it's perfectly comprehensible whether you speak Japanese or not. Well, OK, maybe "comprehensible" really isn't the word...

Journey to a Black Hole: A nifty little interactive thingy that lets you take a virtual visit to a black hole. Well-presented and fun to play around with, with lots of interesting facts on black holes offered both on the "journey" and on other parts of the website.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Keel-Haul That Scoundrel!

So, I went out to see Pirates of the Caribbean. Fun movie. Maybe not quite as good as the first one, but a lot of fun, anyway. Unfortunately, the movie-going experience itself was not fun.

See, here's the thing. I watched the first movie on DVD, and the entire way through I kept thinking, "Oh, man, I wish I'd caught this in the theater. This would have looked so cool on a big screen." So I made a point of seeing the second one in a theater. But it was damned hard to enjoy those scenes of nifty big-screen action, given how distracted I was by my feelings of seething hatred for the guy down the row from me who seemed to think that a movie theater was a perfectly acceptable place to hold a cell phone conversation.

Honestly, every time I go to the movies these days, there always seems to be a jerk with a cell phone, or a noisy kid, or, more often, both. This time there were both, plus I swear I could hear what sounded like someone popping bubble gum. And you know what? Screw it. Just... screw it. Size isn't everything. From now on, it's DVD all the way for me, I think. Because I just can't enjoy a movie, no matter how good it is or how impressive it looks, if I have to sit in a room with assholes to watch it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It's Memey Time!

Current clothes: Blue denim shorts. Black belt. Gray VLBA t-shirt with a short-sleeved light-blue denim shirt unbuttoned over it. White ankle socks.

Current mood: Tired. I woke up too early today, largely thanks to a certain pesky cat.

Current music: The Muppets' 25th Anniversary Collection.

Current annoyance: The disc o' Lost episodes mentioned below seems to have a bit of a glitch, because the last one I was watching cut off ten minutes before the end. *sniff* Thank the Internet Gods for Television Without Pity's recaps.

Current thing: My social life still consists almost entirely of getting together with various people to watch Doctor Who. We're doing another marathon this afternoon.

Current desktop picture: Speaking of Doctor Who -- like, when am I not? -- it's this picture of a Cyberman attempting to break through my monitor.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment, actually. My internal radio is too tired to play.

Current book: I'm still reading Allen Steele's Coyote. Which I said in the comments for the last post isn't actually all that bad, tense problems aside. I dunno, though. I'm about 200 pages or so into it now, and while Steele finally seems to have (mostly) settled down into a nice simple past tense, he's currently using it to go into really boring discussions about farming and calendars. Although the calendar thing wouldn't be as annoying if the character putting together the calendar system hadn't chosen the stupidest names ever for the months and the days of the week. The fact that the other characters seem to have accepted them rather than laughing the guy out of their colony doesn't earn them a lot of respect from me, either.

Current video in player: A tape with last week's 4400 -- thanks again to those who pointed out that there was a repeat showing! -- and Venture Bros.

Current DVD in player: As alluded to above, a disk full of season 2 episodes of Lost, which was sent to me by a friend. (Thanks again, Nico! Have I mentioned lately how much you rock?) Also, disc 1 of the first season of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, which, at least in places, is absolutely freakin' hysterical.

Current refreshment: Nothing at the moment. I'm getting hungry, though.

Current worry: I'm a little worried about my computer. It's been kind of slow of late, off and on, and every so often it just hangs up completely for a few seconds for no obvious reason. And it seems to be happening increasingly often. Virus scans don't show anything, and spyware scans haven't revealed anything unusual. I've even removed some of the stuff that might have been taking up memory and bogging things down (e.g. Google Desktop, which I wasn't really using, anyway), but it doesn't seem to have helped. Eep.

Current thought: I need to buy milk.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

An Open Letter From A Reader

Dear Allen Steele,

I don't really have a problem with your choice to write your novel in present tense. Even though my personal opinion is that present tense really works best for very short pieces with a tight focus on character and a strong emotional tone, and feels slightly out of place for your bog-standard saga-of-intrepid-interstellar-settlers SF story. However, when you manage to lose track of which tense you're actually in in the middle of a scene, for absolutely no reason, I lose a great deal of respect for you. And when, on the next page, you appear to lose track of what POV you're in in the middle of a paragraph, I more or less lose the ability to take you seriously.

Please, do not ever do this again, or I shall track you down and beat you about the head and shoulders with a hardback copy of your stupid book.

Not a whole lot of love,

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Today There Are Fireworks.

Here's wishing a happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans, a happy 4th of July to everybody, and a good flight to the crew of the shuttle Discovery!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

4400 to Zero in Half an Hour

Oh, god damn it. See, this is why I don't watch TV shows as they air any more.

I recently caught the first two seasons of The 4400 on DVD. It's a decent show -- not brilliant, but decent, with an interesting premise and a good unfolding plot, and I was enjoying it. As it happens, just as I was finishing up with the newly-released season 2 discs, season 3 started up on the USA network, and I said, hey, great! I won't have to wait for the next DVD set! So I watched, I dunno, three or four episodes, and some interesting stuff happened, and eventually we got to a fairly intriguing cliffhanger.

And today, of course, I was puttering around, living my life, and I suddenly realized that it was 7:30, and part 2 had already been on for half an hour. It doesn't look like they're re-running it, either, at least not tonight.

Well, screw it. I guess I can wait a year or so to see how it comes out. I've long since passed the point, apparently, where I'm willing to make myself a slave to TV schedules, even to the extent that it means remembering to set the VCR. (And I'm definitely not getting a Tivo for the two or three shows at most that I actually care that much about. I can barely justify the fact that I'm still paying for cable.)

It kind of amazes me how much this concept of a show only being available at a particular time rather than being obtainable whenever you might decide you want it already strikes me as clunky and antiquated. I think this means that my brain is now very firmly in the 21st century.

Well, maybe I'll at least remember to watch Venture Bros. tonight. Maybe.