Friday, June 29, 2007

I Don't Know Why I Don't Go To Extremes...

Pessimist, optimist or realist?


You don't let things get you too down, or too up. You're an Even Steven and you stay away from extremes.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Summer Is Icumen In

Apparently it turned into summer while I was away. And, gaah, does New Mexico do summer! I think it got up to 100 yesterday. Probably about the time I was walking in to work; I actually felt slightly sick by the time I got there. Not that this is going to stop me from walking. The evil weather will not defeat me! Not even if the sun attempts to mummify me where I stand!

But, geez. Walking home at 11:30, and it was still uncomfortably hot. I think spending a week in Delaware turned me into a weather wimp. Well, at least my skin has now remembered how to tan rather than burn. My arms were pasty-pale when I got back (and then, briefly, slightly pink), and now they're golden-brown. And this despite the fact that I've actually remembered to wear sunblock a few days this week.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I watched last weekend's episode of Doctor Who approximately five hours ago, and I am still too keyed up over it to sleep. Possibly there really is a point at which my obsessions become unhealthy. Not that I can bring myself to care.

(Damn it. I may just have to go and watch it again. So hard to resist...)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What I Did On My Vacation, By Betty, Age 35

So, the family reunion thingy actually turned out to be quite pleasant. The state park where it was held was a really nice place, there were insane amounts of food, and I got to catch up with people I hadn't seen, in some cases, for many, many years. And, man, there's something about encountering a whole group of people that you grew up with after that kind of a time lapse that leaves you with a profound sense of, I don't know, the passing of time, the progression of human generations, that sort of thing. Many of my grandmother's generation are gone and were only present in memories and photographs. My mother's generation is visibly growing old, however gracefully. My younger cousins have morphed into adults, some of them bearing an eerie resemblance to my childhood memories of their parents. And there's a whole new generation of small children who don't yet look like much of anybody. This is simply what happens, of course, and there's nothing surprising in it. When it happens around you, you barely even notice, but when you come back to see that it's happened while you weren't looking, it's kind of a shock. Not in a bad way, necessarily. It's just odd.

Anyway, what else? Well, I did visit the historic section of Philadelphia with my mother and grandmother, which is something I almost never did while I lived in the area. I can thus report from personal experience that the Liberty Bell does, indeed, still have a huge-ass crack.

So, that was all cool, although I do have to say that I really should have left a day or so earlier than I did... Anti-social introvert that I am, when I'm around a lot of people -- especially really talkative people -- for long enough, I start to get over-sensitive and irritable. Contemplating the plane flight back really didn't help, either. I hate air travel. I'm not a nervous flier or anything, I just find it incredibly tedious and draining, and the older I get the more cramped and claustrophobic those tiny little airplane seats make me feel. The only thing to be said for it is that at least it's better than driving... Which, given that I also have an hour's drive to and from the airport, doesn't actually make me feel any better. Anyway, all that adds up to, I think, me not being terribly good company on Tuesday.

But eventually I got home, much to the relief of my cats. Well, actually, at first they seemed pretty freaked out, like they weren't quite sure I was really me. And then once they decided I wasn't some sort of evil imposter, they all seemed determined to keep a constant eye on me for several hours, presumably fearing that I was about to up and leave again. When I failed to do that, Vir-kitty proceeded to make a pretty good attempt at cuddling me for twelve hours straight. Awww.

By the way, for anyone who's actually interested, I did get a little time to read while I was there, as well as a lot of time on the plane and in various airports, so the only books I didn't get to were Bad Astronomy and The World According to Garp. Although I haven't finished White Night yet.

One random observation: I am coming to the conclusion that, despite conventional wisdom, sometimes it is the heat and not the humidity. While I was back East, everybody was complaining about how hot and muggy it was, especially my mother, who currently lives in an even drier climate than I do. But, you know, it honestly didn't really seem particularly hot to me at all. (I think it maybe got up into the low nineties.) And the humidity was only mildly uncomfortable. In fact, it actually felt kind of pleasant to be breathing air with a bit of moisture to it, even if it was disconcerting to have to spend several minutes toweling off after a shower. In contrast, as soon as I walked out of the airport in Albuquerque, I felt like I'd stepped into a blast furnace, and in the few minutes it took me to get my luggage unloaded from the airport shuttle and to get into my car, my forearms, taken by surprise after a week spent under a muffling blanket of clouds, burned themselves pink. It's odd, though, because the humidity used to really bother me, back when I lived there. Maybe the effect is offset by the amount of extra oxygen I'm getting at sea level, I don't know.

Actually, here's another random observation: My family is incredibly unimaginative when it comes to names. I've never had the experience of having three Bettys in the same place before, and it was damned confusing. I kept whipping around to answer people, only to realize they weren't talking to me at all. I have no idea how people with really common names manage.

Right. That's enough rambling. Time to go finish washing that suitcase full of dirty clothes I came back with.

I Must Not Be Trying Hard Enough.

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

OK, OK... I really need to go and get a shower... and unpack... and do laundry... and stop posting memes...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

To Help Me Put Off Unpacking For A Few More Minutes... A Meme.


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

I'm afraid it's only that high thanks to the fact that I own a giant Zombie-Smiting Wrench of Doom.

"Well, I'm Back."

Am home and in one piece. Cats are all alive. Am tired. Actual content, responses to comments and e-mails, etc., will happen, um, sometime.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

*blears groggily at the world*

Bah. Woke up far too early and couldn't get back to sleep. Am going to be completely wiped by the time the plane lands. Glad I don't have to drive from the airport afterward.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Off For A Bit

Tomorrow morning I'm heading off to that incredibly exciting travel destination: Delaware. I've been persuaded into attending this big family reunion party on Saturday -- the flyer advertised "many fun family activities," which I find vaguely scary -- and I'm going to hang out with the relatives for a few days before and after. Which means there probably won't be any updates here for a week or so, though, given my current posting frequency, it's possible nobody would actually have noticed.

As is traditional, here's the list of books I'm taking on my trip:

Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams
The Ethics of Star Trek by Judith Barad and Ed Robertson
Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
White Night by Jim Butcher
Bad Astronomy by Phil Plait
The World According to Garp by John Irving

Which I admit is overkill, even for me, but I have a pathological fear of being stuck in an airport or on a plane with nothing to read. And I could well end up with chunks of time to myself while I'm out there. You never know.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Can Has Random Links?

Quantum Cats: Cat macros for physics geeks! It's funniest if you're familiar with a) cat macros and b) quantum physics, but, really, who isn't?

All (known) Bodies in the Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter: Exactly what the title says. Gives you a good, visual sense of what's to be found in our immediate celestial neighborhood.

Steam Trek: A Star Trek parody in silent movie format. Amazingly well done. I love the music.

Flikr Photoset: Creationist Museum, Kentucky, 2007: Photographic tour of the controversial new Creationist Museum, with many, many mocking comments.

Doctor Who vs. Jesus: Because if I'm going to post links mocking religious people, I might as well go all the way. Mind you, I do feel compelled to point out that "The Scarlioni" should really be either "Count Scarlioni" or "The Jaggeroth," depending on whether you're referring to him by his name or his species. (Why, yes, I am the world's biggest nerd. Thank you for asking.)

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's Currently Time To Do The "Current" Meme.

Current clothes: A t-shirt from Carlsbad Caverns. It's white with gray flecks, featuring cave formations outlined in purple inside some sort of turquoise design. Also some leaves or something, and a purple bat inside a circle. It's got one turquoise sleeve and one purple sleeve, too, which is mildly hideous, but fortunately you can't see those, because I'm wearing a blue denim shirt over it (unbuttoned). Also: jeans, black belt, white socks, black sneakers.

Current mood: Pretty good. I just had lunch or dinner or something, and am feeling pretty content.

Current music: Random playlists on the iPod again. I think the last song I listened to was something by the Beatles.

Current annoyance: My left knee's started hurting a little, off and on, while I'm walking. And I just told someone earlier today that my knees hadn't bothered me seriously in years, too. Mind you, that's not really all that coincidental, as I believe the reason I was thinking of that enough to say it is that both knees have felt very subtly odd lately, like they're sometimes collapsing sideways slightly as I walk. Stupid knees.

Current thing: Reading. Not that that isn't always my thing, but lately I seem to be reading in longer, more concentrated fashion than is usual in this era of constant distractions. Last week I read an entire novel in one sitting. Admittedly, it was a fairly short novel, but it's been a ridiculously long time since I last did that.

Current desktop picture: A photo of Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Wales, as seen in Doctor Who and Torchwood, which my sister took when she was there last month. Here, I don't think she'll mind me sharing it:

Current book: Finity by John Barnes. Very odd book. Definitely interesting, but odd. I'm taking it on faith that the plot will make sense eventually.

Current song in head: Jonathan Coulton's "First of May," which has been stuck in my head since approximately, um, the first of May.

Current DVD in player: Nothing at the moment, but most recently disc one of season one of Supernatural, which I've been watching because several people I know are hugely enthusiastic about it. Based on the first four episodes, I can say that I like the characters and that I think the premise has potential, but the stories aren't impressing me all that much.

Current refreshment: Moroccan Mint tea (green tea flavored with mint). Mmm, nice.

Current worry: Having to face airport security when I fly out next week to visit relatives. There are reasons I've been avoiding flying as much as humanly possible. I'm not afraid of terrorists or plane crashes, but I am kind of afraid of Homeland Security.

Current thought: The sun should be up soon. Once it is, I've got a couple of things I need to do in the daylight world before I go to sleep.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I Don't Have To Wear That Get-Up, Do I?

Your Score: Shao Kahn

55% Evil, 75% Intelligence, 85% Common Sense

Shao Kahn is the current Emperor of Outworld, after having overthrown the former Emperor. Employing clever strategies and effective uses of his vast armies, he laid siege to dimension after dimension, conquering and then fusing them into Outworld itself. In recent times, he has set his sights on Earth (known as Earthrealm in Outworld), and has sent forth several of his minions to sow the seeds of chaos among Earthrealm to prepare for his eventual attack.

Shao Kahn has a rating of moderate evilness. His ability to plan his attacks and effectively manage the resources of the many fused realms of Outworld also reveals a moderate level of intelligence and a high level of common sense.


You will die, mortal!
Source of Overlord: Mortal Kombat

Link: The Evil Overlord Test written by veqhturi on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, June 04, 2007

Nobody Wants Another Gilligan's Island.

So, apparently Battlestar Galactica is going to be ending after next season, by mutual agreement between the producers and the network. This doesn't really surprise me at all... I know the show's creator, Ronald Moore, has repeatedly said that his intention was to tell a complete story and then stop. He did fairly recently say that he was looking at probably another two years, but, then, he's also said that he sees the series as a whole as having a traditional four-act structure, and that it's now heading into Act Four, which did lead me to wonder about the wisdom of having the fourth act be twice as long as the other three.

I know there are fans and critics out there lamenting the idea of the show going off the air so soon, but, personally, I think it's an excellent idea. And I'm not just saying that because I found the last season of BSG rather uneven, or because I'm a bit skeptical about the writers' ability to take last season's WTF ending and make sense of it. For a while now, I've been thinking that the British tradition of short seasonal runs and, in many cases, built-in expiration dates for shows has a lot to recommend it. It makes for much tighter story arcs, for one thing. Indeed, it was recently announced that Lost was going to follow this pattern from here on out, with three more seasons of 13 episodes each, and my only thought was that I wish they'd started earlier. The first half of this season could have been vastly improved by being chopped down significantly. And that's a show that needs a pre-planned ending if anything ever did.

In fact, if you've got a strongly arc-driven show -- and more and more of them are, nowadays -- my personal feeling is that you're probably much better off having a definite endpoint in sight. And if your show is structured around the characters striving after some particular goal -- "getting home" is a hugely popular one -- you really want to create a sense that the audience can actually expect them to meet that goal at some point, preferably before we've gotten so tired of watching them fail repeatedly that we don't care any more. Or before you get canceled without warning and don't have time to wrap things up with a proper ending. Mind you, it is possible to have your characters change goals and keep going -- Farscape did this brilliantly, shortly before meeting the "canceled without warning" fate -- but I think that's difficult to do well, and if it's done poorly, it comes across as artificial and unsatisfying. And a satisfying ending is better than an unsatisfying non-ending any day, if you ask me.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I Like Plants You Don't Have To Water.

My cactus is blooming! I figured I'd take a photo, because I haven't posted any in a while, and because I suddenly recall that, way back when I first got my camera and offered to take pictures of things for people, someone requested something along the lines of "local flora and fauna," and I never really complied with that. (Well, not unless the cats count, which I kind of doubt.) Anyway, here's some flora:

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what species that is, other than that it's some kind of cholla. (For those of you not used to Spanish-derived vocabulary, that's pronounced something like "choya.") Whatever it is, it's got very pretty purple flowers.