Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Beep... Beep... Beep... Beep...

Definition of "hell on Earth" #173: having to sit for eight hours in a room with a malfunctioning fire-alarm panel, which beeps loudly approximately once a second, every second, all freaking night.

Fortunately, I found a very nice mp3 file of white noise somewhere on the internet. Which is itself mildly annoying, but at least it covers up the sound that's deliberately calculated to be annoying and impossible to ignore.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Yes, Hopefully This Does Mean I'll Stop Talking About It Now.

Three and a half weeks of effort, and I am finally finished cataloging my entire library on LibraryThing, including that roomful of books I understatedly refer to as "the To-Read Pile." (And, y'know, it's kind of weird not having that project to work on any more. Whenever I have a few spare minutes, I keep thinking, "Hey, I should put in some more books!" and then feeling strangely bereft when I realize there are no more.)

The final statistics: 2,763 books, of which 475 are labelled as "unread." I'm still trying to convince myself that I'll get to each and every one of those books before I die, but it would be a lot easier if new ones didn't constantly keep getting added. Damn me and my book-buying addiction!

Friday, March 23, 2007

If Only I Could Kill With the Power Of My Mind...

There are few things more guaranteed to ruin your day than picking your way carefully across flooded gutters after a rainstorm to ensure that you get no worse than one slightly damp sneaker, only to be walking along a nice dry sidewalk a few minutes later, minding your own business, and have some asshole in a truck with dimensions clearly designed to be inversely proportional to his dick size come racing along at illegal speeds straight through a huge-ass but nevertheless easily-avoidable puddle six inches from you.

What really pisses me off isn't the fact that I had to show up for work with my clothes wet from head to toe, nor is it the feeling of having been metaphorically spat upon. It's that I was holding a book in my hand at the time. *strokes the poor damp paperback sadly*

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hey, It's Got Mike Yates And Sarah Jane Smith In It...

Well, it was bound to happen... In the course of logging in all my unread books, I came across a duplicate of one I already had sitting on my shelves. Anybody out there interested in a good used copy of Doctor Who and the Planet of the Spiders?

But I'm Still Kind Of Annoyed That We Wasted All That Time On Jack.

Dude! Apparently Lost suddenly got all cool and interesting again! I'm not sure I was quite prepared for that, let alone for actually getting a good answer to a question I cared about. But, man, for the first time in a while, I'm actively looking forward to the next episode. Which is great, because I kind of need a show to be excited about now, while Heroes is on hiatus.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's Like Ritalin For A Hyperactive Immune System.

Wow. I have just had my first completely snot-free night in weeks. (The night before last came close, but lost the title at the point when a cat decided to come and cuddle my face.) Nothing itches right now, either, and I'm not having my traditional series of morning sneezing fits. My nasal passages do feel kind of swollen, which is uncomfortable, but easy enough to live with.

Corticosteroids for the win!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wow, That Averages Out to About 120 Books Per Day...

After 19 days of effort, I have finally succeeded in re-cataloging my entire damned library. Well, with the exception of the books I haven't actually read yet, that is. Which, admittedly, is a big exception; I'd say the To-Read Pile makes up roughly one fifth of all the books I own. And there are still a lot of book covers that weren't in the database, which I ought to scan in sometime... so even the main part's not quite completely done. Still, I'm willing to call it an Accomplishment. With the capital A and everything.

And, you know, it's kind of interesting to systematically revisit a library you've accumulated over the course of a lifetime. Man... Some people have tattoos or police records or, I dunno, extensive beer can collections to serve as souvenirs of their misguided and misspent youths. Me, I've got a couple shelves of bad Star Trek novels. Of course, what really gets me is how long I kept buying them for after I was old enough to know they were bad. Oy. (Note to Trekkies: No, I'm not saying there are no good Star Trek books. Some of 'em are actually very cool. But the bad ones... are bad.)

Anyway. 2,284 books down! Not too shabby, eh?

Armament Escalations In the War On Pollen

Just got back from the doctor's office, where I was given a jab in the arm and a prescription for steroid nasal spray. If all that stuff, on top of my regular allergy medicine, doesn't improve things, I think the only thing left is to move into a bubble.

(And, man, as much as I hate sitting in the waiting room and getting stabbed with needles and such, I do like my doctor. He actually talks to me like I'm intelligent.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Actually, Given the BBC's Budget, I Suspect They Could Have Made a Doctor Who Episode for Less.

Whoo-hoo! My reading of the Eighth Doctor books can soon recommence! I was at last able to find a copy of Time Zero on ebay.co.uk for... well, for more than any sane person would pay for a paperback, but considerably less than the astronomical figures I've seen it selling for in the US lately. Note to my next of kin: if one day you should, as seems increasingly likely, find me lying dead on the floor, having been cruelly slain by an overdose of juniper pollen, you may wish to sell this volume to help defray funeral expenses. If it keeps going up in price the way it has been, in a couple of years I believe it will be worth an amount approximately equal to the GNP of Luxembourg.

I'll tell ya, it's probably too much to ask for, but it would be really nice if this turned out to be the best damned Doctor Who novel ever written.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm Not Dead! Here's Some Random Links To Prove It.

For those who are concerned about the state of my health, sleep, etc., I seem to be over the worst of the insomnia, but the allergies are still kicking my ass. I am, however, as tired of talking about that stuff as you probably are of hearing about it, so have some random links instead:

Medieval Help Desk: A friend of mine who works in IT sent me the link to this one, with the comment that it "just about killed [him] at work." I think I can understand why.

Paleo-Future: "A look into the future that never was." Deeply cool blog featuring visions of the future as conceived of in the past.

B-Movie Generator: This thing comes out with some titles that are downright inspirational in their awfulness. Come on, tell me you wouldn't watch MegaZombie or The Infinite Vengeance of Santa Claus.

Spiders on Drugs: I thought I'd heard about this experiment, but this video includes the parts of the story that most nature shows don't tell you. Heh.

Doctor Who icons: A co-worker of mine found these. I think they're spiffy, but I'm not terribly fond of custom icons, as I prefer it to be obvious at a glance what programs they represent. Still, they'd go awfully well with my custom Doctor Who desktop sounds...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I Know You're All Hanging Breathlessly On Every Detail About How Well I'm (Not) Sleeping...

Well, I have discovered that sleeping pills:

a) Do, indeed, make me very, very sleepy.

b) Do not, however, magically allow me to sleep.

And, c) Make my legs twitch in a strange and annoying fashion, which, at least according to Wikipedia, is a recognized side-effect of diphenhydramine.

Point c) really kind of didn't help with point b), although I think the real problem was the usual thing about being so concerned with whether you're going to get any sleep that you can't actually get to sleep. So last night turned out to be pretty much a replay of the night before, with me being awake for hours, then finally falling asleep, but waking up a couple of times, and ultimately maybe getting six hours or so of sleep despite spending something like ten hours in bed.

I think that at least while I was asleep, I slept more solidly than last time. I think I feel slightly better-rested than yesterday, but I also have a bit of a headache. Sigh.

Also, the goddamn time change means it's now later in the day than it really ought to be, and makes it beyond unlikely that I'll be able to get to sleep early enough tonight to manage a reasonable amount of rest before work tomorrow, even if I sleep like a baby this time.

It's hard to know exactly what time it really is, though, because except for the one on my computer, all the clocks in my house are confused, including the one that automatically sets itself based on radio signals from an atomic clock in Colorado.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I Give Up. The Insomnia Wins.

Last night I took an over-the-counter allergy pill on top of my regular prescription one, which I'm sure is not a recommended practice, but I was getting desperate. And, I have to admit, I was as interested in the side effects as in the added antihistamine action, as those things usually zonk me out completely. "Well," I thought to myself, "at least I'm going to sleep tonight." And, yeah, I did fall asleep... eventually. I might have even managed six hours or so, but they were bad, broken hours, and I feel about as bad today as I did on yesterday's approximately zero hours.

A little while ago, I was lying on the sofa with my eyes closed, not feeling like I could fall sleep, but not exactly feeling awake, either, until I finally hauled myself up so I could go and buy some badly-needed groceries. While I was navigating the store parking lot on my way home, I suddenly found myself thinking, "Man, I probably should not be driving." Because it was suddenly a challenging task just to keep my attention on where I was going. This... is slightly scary.

While I was there, though, I bought some sleeping pills. This is a major admission for me. Twelve years of shift work, with all its attendant sleeping problems, and I've never taken a sleeping pill in my life. Partly this is out of a sort of macho stubbornness: I can handle my own sleeping patterns! I don't need to depend on drugs to perform a perfectly natural function! And partly it's because I'm kind of suspicious of the things, being deeply convinced that natural sleep is always better than drugged sleep. But, man, drugged sleep must be better than no sleep.

I think I've had an adequate night's sleep once in the last two weeks, and, wow, the feeling of euphoric well-being I had that day, just from no longer being in a zombified stupor, was amazing. I wouldn't object to feeling that again, but mainly I just want to regain enough mental and physical energy so that I can do all the damned things I'm supposed to be doing, rather than finding it a major feat just to buy groceries. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It's Going To Be A Loooong Day...

Oh, I see. This is the point where I go from "not getting enough sleep," to, apparently, "not getting any sleep."

I would like to trade in for my shiny new robot body now, thanks.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Keeping Current

Current clothes: I'm wearing a towel, because I just got out of the shower, and if I go and get dressed I'll no longer have an excuse not to go outside and bring in the laundry and stuff.

Current mood: Tired. I thought maybe it could be the decongestants that were making me have trouble falling asleep lately, even though they usually don't affect me that way, so I skipped taking one last night. I don't know that I got to sleep much faster, but, naturally, I woke up far too early with my nose stuffed. This has made me grumpy.

Current music: Most recently listened to: Dandys Rule OK? by the Dandy Warhols.

Current annoyance: Allergies and lack of sleep. Which are not entirely independent things.

Current thing: Re-cataloging my library, of course. I've now started on the paperbacks, and may never be heard from again.

Current desktop picture: This picture of Comet McNaught over New Zealand.

Current song in head: "She's Actual Size" by They Might Be Giants. I have no idea why.

Current book: A volume called Lord Peter and Harriet: Part I, featuring the novels Strong Poison and Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers. I'm a little unhappy with this, actually, because the "Part I" on the cover led me to believe these would be the first couple of books in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, but they're most definitely not; they're apparently just the first ones to feature this Harriet person. I don't much like starting series in the middle, even things like detective series, where the plots at least tend to be very self-contained. Starting this one was a bit like walking into a party where you don't know anybody and standing around waiting fruitlessly to be introduced, but about 100 pages into Strong Poison, I find it's growing on me. The mystery's fairly interesting, and the main character seems like a very appealing person, although I'm a little hampered by the fact that he talks mostly in literary and cultural allusions that I'm sure would make much more sense to me if I lived in 1930s Britain. I think I'm starting to understand how John Crichton's shipmates must feel...

Current DVD in player: The last disc of Stargate SG-1, season 2. I was hoping to have finished with that by now, but there keeps being stuff on television that I actually want to watch instead, a fact which constantly surprises me.

Current refreshment: A nice, hot shower, although the comfort of that is rapidly giving way to the discomfort of a damp, cold towel. I guess I'll have to get dressed soon.

Current worry: After months of working evenings, I'm finally back on the morning shift next week, for my first official stint at my new, combined duties. Given that even when I was sleeping well, I wasn't going to bed until about 3:00 AM, and that I'm now going to have to start getting up before 7:00, I'm more than a little worried about becoming even more of a walking zombie than I already am. And the time change is so not going to help.

Current thought: I'm gonna get up. Any minute now, I'm gonna get up.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Person Who Dies With The Most Books Wins, Right?

After a week of effort -- helped along by the fact that I haven't been sleeping at all well lately and haven't been up to much in the way of more challenging or intellectual endeavors -- I now have 1,154 books cataloged on LibraryThing. Which is, erm, considerably less than half, I think, given that at some point I decided I was going to be completist about this and put in, essentially, every damned book in my house.

And, man, I have a lot of books. You'd think I'd have remembered this fact from the last time I had to pack them up and move them all, but I'm discovering it all over again. I have a lot of books. Good books, bad books, obscure books, popular books... I have books on subjects I'm not even interested in, and books on subjects I find myself being interested in all over again just by pulling the books off the shelves. And I haven't even gotten to the ones I haven't read yet, and which I've never before cataloged anywhere. That should be an enlightening endeavor.

On the admittedly slim and unlikely chance that you're finding all this stuff about indexing my library as fascinating as I am, I've added a little widget from LibraryThing to the sidebar of the blog, showing the most recent things I've added. (Scroll down past the links. It's there.) As you can see, I'm currently in the process of adding the "humor" section... Mainly because I can't quite bring myself to start on the daunting roomful of paperbacks. Eep.

This Sounds Disturbingly Possible.

You'll die from an Unlikely Illness
(like the plague).
You will unfortunately succumb to a random and unlikely disease. Only to find out after death that eating more broccoli would have cured you.

'How will you die?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hey, It Shouldn't Take More Than A Month...

Some while ago, I remember talking to Fred Coppersmith about LibraryThing, which is an online book-cataloging tool that lets you organize your library, compare it with other people's, get recommendations based on it, and all sorts of other stuff. And I remember saying that I thought it was a nifty idea, but that there was no way I'd use it myself, simply because it'd be far too much of a chore to input everything in my book collection. But yesterday I got bored and started checking it out a little more, and man, it really was way nifty. And I thought, well, maybe I could just use it to keep track of, say, the books I read this year. So I signed up for an account and played with it a bit more, and, man, there were even more nifty things to be found after that.

So, um... Well, so far I've added everything on the bookcase nearest my computer desk (hardback fiction A-Da). It turns out that it holds 132 books, which I suppose is an interesting fact. Only ~2,050 more to go! Assuming that I don't also feed in the Infamous To-Read Pile as well, that is. Um... Eep.

Truth is, though, this book-cataloging thing turns out to be fun. It's actually very easy to add stuff, and taking books down of the shelves to interrogate them about their vital statistics gives me an excuse to handle them. Hey, some of those volumes have been neglected for a long time, and deserve at least a little attention. And pulling some of those books off the shelves is a little like visiting old friends. Very dusty old friends.

Anyway, the stuff I've entered so far can be found here. I apologize, by the way, for inflicting yet another copy of The Da Vinci Code onto a site already grossly overburdened with them. I have no excuse, really. And to the other 16 people out of the ~155,000 on LibraryThing who, like me, own a copy of Paul Darrow's Avon: A Terrible Aspect, my heart goes out to each and every one of you.