Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Swiftly Now The Old Year Passes.

Happy New Year, everybody! As I write this, we have a little over six hours of 2008 left here, and my neighbors have already started with the fireworks.

2008's been a fairly interesting year for me, I guess, mostly notably as The Year I Went to Australia, but also as The Year the Guy I Voted for Actually Won, and possibly also The Year of Too Many Computer Issues. Or, indulging my fangirl side, The Year of Donna Noble or The Year The Pretender Ate My Brain. Well, that's all much, much better than thinking of it as The Year the Entire Economy Collapsed in on Itself, anyway.

Whatever kind of year it's been for the rest of you, here's wishing you a bigger, better, brighter 2009! Don't party too hard, now.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Merriness!

Here's wishing a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and a general merriness to all! I'm having a pleasantly lazy and low-key holiday, myself... I did have an invitation to Christmas dinner in Albuquerque, but chose to stay here in town this year, instead. Which, nice as it would have been to see the folks in question, I think was a good call, as a bit of relaxing downtime seems to be exactly what I needed this week.

Festiveness has happened, in any case. Yesterday, I made myself a nice Christmas Eve dinner, then opened my presents at midnight. Today, I might or might not visit friends in town, and later there will be Doctor Who. What more could one ask for?

Speaking of presents, this year I got:

My sister, by the way, wins the Coolest Santa award for the animated Trek DVDs, which I have been wanting forever. Yay! And a giant "thank you!" to all the lovely, lovely people who think of me at Christmas, whether gifts are involved in the process or not. *hugs you all*

I only hope the stuff I got for other people makes them half as happy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Can Haz Internet!

It seemed like a simple, five-minute exercise, involving installing one piece of software and getting one piece of information over the phone. And then, it seemed like it had broken my computer. And then, after I carefully unbroke the computer, it seemed like it wasn't working correctly, and then after that, I started randomly poking things, and then it wasn't working at all.

But I kicked it one last time, and, lo, I have wireless! And there was much rejoicing!

Except now in a couple of weeks, they're going to come and replace my old PCI card with a radio that should allow me to actually get some networking going on in here, finally. Which will doubtless break stuff all over again, because that's how this sort of thing goes.

Never mind! I has internet! Not that I really ought to be typing right now, since I was up working all night, spent all morning mucking about with the computer, and am starting to get punchy. Of course, at this point, I might as well just stay up...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Behold! Random Links!

Time to do this, I guess, since I have decent internet access at the moment.

TIGERS LEOPARDS vs Pumpkins!: Video of big cats playing with pumpkins. It's remarkable how much they remind me of my own cats.

6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (With Really Obvious Solutions): Not all that mysterious, perhaps, but very funny. Remember folks, some things really do have simple explanations!

Exclusive Farscape Interview: A nice interview with Keith R. A. DeCandido and Matt Gagnon, writer and editor, respectively, of the upcoming Farscape comics. Warning: contains spoilers for the TV miniseries!

Majel B. Roddenberry, wife of 'Star Trek' creator, dies: A lot of people sent me this news while I was having my computer issues, so I thought I'd at least link to an obituary. I suppose it's inevitable that we'd start losing the original Trek actors in a steady stream eventually, but it still makes me sad.

Caprica Promo Now Live: Promo for the new Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica. I have no idea whether this is going to be worth watching or not -- I'm always leery about prequels -- but the promo at least looks kind of interesting.

ST:XI-The animated episode: The sound from the ST:XI movie trailer, set to images from the 70s animated Trek series. Personally, I think that makes it about ten times more appealing. But then, I liked the cartoon series.

Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2008: The Bad Astronomer picks his top space images of the year. Man, what a cool, cool universe we live in.

Mmmm, Delicious Gingerbread Geekery: Yes, it's geeky gingerbread! I think I like the K-9 best.

Season's Greetings!

A happy winter solstice to all of you! Except for those of you in the southern hemisphere. Happy summer solstice to you. Now, give us our sun back.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Note, Upon Looking Back At This Month's Posts

Wow, I've done almost nothing this month except whine about computer problems, haven't I?

Update On The Computer Saga

So, the PC is back up and running, and apparently behaving itself as I slowly work on reinstalling everything that needs to be reinstalled. The earlier problem, as I'd suspected/hoped, was simply that a bunch of drivers needed to be installed, but it's remarkably difficult to get that done when you don't have a decent internet connection, and the driver disc that came with the computer was much less useful than you might imagine. Fortunately, my buddy and his broadband came through for me!

Unfortunately, I still don't have broadband, as there's more stuff that needs to be installed and set up properly to get my wireless working again. I'm really hoping I can get that dealt with soon. In the meantime, hey, at least working twelve-hour night shifts on the weekend means twelve hours a day of net access at work.

So, that's where things stand at the moment. What the heck. I'll take it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Even More Woe

Have new hard drive. Have re-installed Windows. Many, many things now appear not to work.

Sigh. This may be a while.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Woe, Cont.

Well, apparently the hard drive is dead. Gaaah. I am really, really, really relieved that I had the sense to back stuff like the music files and my documents up a few days ago. Considering how lax I usually am about that sort of thing, the timing, frankly, could not have been better. If, you know, there were ever a good time for your hard drive to die. Which there isn't. Regardless, I am so not looking forward to having to reinstall every damn thing. Sigh.

My friend might not have been able to revive the drive from the dead -- some things are, alas, beyond even the geekiest among us -- but he and his wife are going to be in Albuquerque on Thursday and offered to pick me up a new one while they're there. He even found one on sale! So that's something, anyway.

In the meantime, I'm still on laptop dialup here at home. I'm going to try to take that as a sign to spend less time on the internet for a couple of days, but that thought really does make me all twitchy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Woe.

My computer crashed. Sigh.

Fortunately, I have the laptop. Unfortunately, for stupid reasons that are, frankly, far too boring to get into here, I can only access the internet from the laptop here at home via dialup. And, man, that's even slower and more annoying than I remember it being.

I have no idea what the PC's problem is, unless maybe it's some kind of disc issue. Will go and beg one of my geekiest friends for help tomorrow. Remarkably, though, I am not really panicking, as I just backed up pretty much all my important files a couple of days ago.

Anyway. It seems likely that my presence on the internet may be more sporadic than usual for the next few days... Not that anybody who's main contact with me is following this blog is likely to notice, admittedly.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

If You're Relying On My Navigation Skills, Lost In The Woods Is Definitely Where You Will Be.




You Are a Gingerbread House



A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.



In other news, I think I have all my Christmas shopping done now. Or I hope I do. It happened rather haphazardly this year, I admit.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No, Really, I'm Still Alive! I Have A Meme And Everything!

Current clothes: A blue-green sweater. Well, blue-green with a tiny bit of black. It's got... Oh, what do you call a neck that's about the height of a turtleneck, but doesn't roll up? I swear, I don't know words for clothes. Also, blue jeans, white socks, black slippers.

Current mood: OK. A little tired and distracted. I had a boring day at work, trying and failing to concentrate on stuff I should have been working on.

Current music: Random tunes on the iPod again. I think most recently some Leonard Cohen and some Jimmy Buffett.

Current annoyance: I still have a wet, hacking cough. It comes and it goes, but when it really gets going, it's annoying as hell. Plus, it's cold and damp today -- an unusual combination here -- and that's not really helping.

Current thing: So, a little while back a friend of mine started watching The Pretender -- a show from the mid-90s that I somehow never got around to checking out when it was on -- fell in love with it, and insisted I had to start watching it too so she could talk to me about it. Being the accommodating sort that I am, I did so with only a token amount of protest, and it then proceeded to completely eat my brain. When I said in the last post that I'd been marathoning this show, that's not really accurate. What I've mostly been doing is spending 45 minutes every day watching an episode, and then many hours having thoughts and conversations along the lines of, "Oooh! The way character A said thing B in scene C, it made me wonder if he meant thing D about E's relationship with F, which got me to thinking about how that reflects thematic element G and makes me feel emotion H about possibility I..." Which, okay, is a thing I do, and, to be honest, is one of my great joys in life. But this is just about the unlikeliest show to provoke that kind of obsession ever. It's basically a gimmicky, formulaic 80s-style action/crime/drama thing -- my friend described that part of it, aptly enough, as "Quantum Leap meets The A-Team" -- with a sort of X-Files type shadowy conspiracy arc thing grafted rather oddly onto it. And it works infinitely better than it has any earthly right to, even when it's doing stuff that, on almost any other show, would seem far too cheesy to bear. I'm still not sure what the hell it is about it that's plunged me firmly into obsessive-fan mode, but I'll give a lot of credit to an astonishingly talented cast, some really good directing, a tendency to push their pet thematic issues as far as they'll possibly go, and a remarkable shades-of-gray sensibility that kind of sneaks up on you.

Current desktop picture: Still Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula. Maybe I should change it back to the wreath-on-the-TARDIS one now.

Current book: A Confederation of Valor by Tanya Huff. This is actually a compilation of the first two novels in a series: Valor's Choice and The Better Part of Valor. I got this book as part of LibraryThing's Secret Santa exchange last year, and am only just now getting around to reading it. Which I feel a bit ashamed about, but a 450-book backlog will do that to ya. Anyway, I'm most of the way through the first one now, and am really enjoying it. I'd call it Military SF, but it definitely has a stronger focus on character and dialog than on action and technology. Not that it's lacking in action; I actually think it'd adapt really well as a movie.

Current song in head: "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" by Sting has been popping up in my brain off and on for the last couple of weeks.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, disc 6 of Season 2 of The Pretender. Which is as far as I've gotten as of yet. I've got four more episodes to go in this season, and then I'm going to take a break and watch something else while my brain recovers.

Current refreshment: Just finished some lemon-ginger green tea. Which totally tasted like more, except there's a cat on my lap preventing me from getting up and making any. Woe.

Current worry: I'm mildly worried about getting enough sleep on Friday night, because I keep falling asleep at 2AM, and I've got to work at 7:45 AM on Saturday. But, eh, that's days away.

Current thought: No, sorry. My mind just went completely blank.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Well, This Is My Life. Really, You Ought To Have Known It Was Like This When You Started Reading.

Apparently it's been a full week since I last updated my blog. I'd like to say that this is because I've been incredibly busy cleaning the entire house, or exploring the Amazon or something, but mostly I've just been marathoning episodes of The Pretender.

So, uh, how about you guys? Found a cure for the common cold in the last week or so? Watched any good television? Found any more interesting blogs?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

T-Day

I am back! Turkey was eaten, and it was good. And the internet was working when I returned. Yay!

(Now I am way tireder than I have any right to be at 6:30 PM, though. I have no idea why driving takes it out of me so much.)

Hope all the rest of you have had a great day, whatever you've spent it doing!

I No Has Internet, But I Can Has Turkey.

My internet connection at home suddenly stopped working, for some reason, so I had to pop into work briefly before leaving for Albuquerque and turkey to check my e-mail. If anybody out there is expecting to hear from me this weekend and (mostly) doesn't, you can probably take that as a sign that whatever the heck the problem is hasn't been fixed. Because, of course, crap always has to happen on holidays.

Never mind. Happy Thanksgiving to all out there who celebrate! And, what the heck, a temporary lack of internet just makes me realize how very grateful I am to have it at all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday To Who!

Happy 45th birthday, Doctor Who!

In celebration, I offer up yet another random Who-related link: Can you name the companions from Doctor Who? More importantly, can you name all of them in eight minutes? One could have some serious debate as to whether all the people on the list count -- I personally maintain that at least one of them is utterly wrong and three others at most have "honorary" status -- but if you're an obsessive enough fan, it's quite possible to figure out everybody they're looking for. For the record, it took me four minutes. It wouldn't have been that long, but I had a massive brain fart for a while and somehow forgot a character who was not at all unmemorable.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back In Time

So, the BBC has just released a bunch of documents from the very beginning of Doctor Who, including notes on the series' original conception. Here's a pretty good article on the subject, and the documents themselves can be found here. It's interesting stuff. The Doctor apparently was originally imagined as a much more sinister sort of character than he turned out to be, and the characters who evolved into Barbara and Ian read like painfully bad stereotypes, so perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky that not everything went according to plan. Particularly amusing to me are the quickly-discarded insistence that the show have no "bug-eyed monsters"; the speculation that perhaps the Doctor might have been Merlin, a concept that finally made it to the screen 26 years later; and the fact that the Doctor was intended to be amnesiac, which inevitably makes me think of fans' tendency to mock the Eighth Doctor for losing his memory in every medium he appeared in.

I'm Much More Burgess Meredith Than Will Smith.

Tonight's DVD viewing was I Am Legend, which I quite liked, although I remember just enough about the book version to be pretty sure that I preferred the original's ending.

What kind of got me about the movie, though, is that I spent much of the first half hour or so thinking, "Dude, the only good thing about the 'last person on Earth' scenario is that there aren't any damned people! I used to have guilty fantasies about that sort of thing! But... Oh. Oh, you poor, poor extrovert." I have to say, it's rather nice to know that in one significant respect I'm more psychologically equipped to deal with the apocalypse than a guy played by Will Smith. Of course, my complete lack of survival skills or physical fortitude would doubtless ensure that I didn't last more than a day and a half, anyway. But, still.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stupid Lungs. If I Didn't Need Them To Live, They'd Be So Fired.

Last week's cold has now thoroughly settled into my lungs and turned itself into a nice little bout of bronchitis. Sigh. And here I was doing so well lately, too. I don't think I've come down with a case for a couple of years now, which is probably some kind of record for me.

I feel like I ought to set up a betting pool as to how long it'll last this time. I'm gonna be semi-optimistic and say a month and a half.

Boldly Going Where Shatner And Nimoy Have Gone Before

So, the latest trailer for the new Star Trek movie is now available online. General consensus seems to be that it looks really cool, but... Aargh, it makes me wince. I can't help it.

To begin with, the gratuitous, testosterone-soaked car chase scene and the Heroes-esque talk of Destiny really aren't doing much for me, although maybe those say more about the editing of the trailer than they do about the movie itself. But mostly, it's the Star Trek purist in me that's flailing about and shouting things like, "No, Enterprise proved that prequels are a bad idea!" and "There is no way this fits into established continuity!" and, most of all, "These are NOT the Star Trek characters, goddamn it!" And, yeah, yeah, I know that characters are played by different actors all the time. More than that, it's the characters who are the most iconic, the most embedded in the popular consciousness who are most likely to be re-visited and re-interpreted and to outlive those who first brought them to life, and it was probably inevitable that it would happen with Star Trek eventually. But, as I put it to someone recently: I imprinted on these characters when I was ten. Seeing them played by new people is a bit like having members of your family show up with new faces, voices, and mannerisms. And since my parents don't happen to be Time Lords, it's just... weird. Uncomfortable and wrong and weird.

Although, OK, I will say... Zachary Quinto as Spock? Actually seems to work for me. I think I might be able to look at him and just see Spock for an entire movie. Kirk on the other hand? Just... no. And I love Simon Pegg, I really do, but he is not Scotty.

I'm gonna have to go and see this thing, anyway, though. I'm just going to have to. I think I'm going to pretend to myself that its actual role in the Star Trek universe is as a piece of historical fiction filmed sometime in the 25th century. That sort of thing has worked reasonably well for me before...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Random Links: Puppies, Pictures, Presidents, Planets... And Cats. Cats Always Gotta Be Different.

Shiba Inu Puppy Cam: Live puppy webcam! With live puppies! Too, too cute.

Nikon Small World - Gallery: Beautiful photos of really, really tiny things.

What Can Our Next President Learn From His Sci Fi Counterparts?: If our leaders do not learn from the movies, we will be doomed to horrible death by asteroid. Or something.

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You: Amusing companion page to Friday's stupid internet quiz.

Huge Exoplanet New Items: Pictures!!!: I imagine most people have heard this very cool news about direct sightings of extraterrestrial planets already, but I just love the Bad Astronomer's enthusiasm...

Friday, November 14, 2008

And I'm Sure The Other Two Are Accomplices

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Between the bite that got infected and the permanent maiming of my left cornea, I think he's making progress.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Have Come Back To Haunt Myself.

So, thanks to this e-mail time capsule thing that I'd nearly forgotten about, I just got a message from myself of three years ago. Apparently Past Me chose to nag Future (now Present) Me about various household projects she thought I was likely to put off indefinitely. Well, ha! I did re-tile the bathroom sink, after all! Take that, Past Me! I, uh, never did get around to fixing that thing with the kitchen sink, though.

Well, I Guess That Description Is Accurate Enough.




Betty's Dewey Decimal Section:

255 Religious congregations & orders

Betty = 25005 = 250+05 = 255


Class:
200 Religion


Contains:
The Bible and other religious texts, books about the general philosophy and theory of religion.



What it says about you:
You don't mind thinking about the unknown or other very big ideas. You will never feel like your work is finished. The 200-series is dominated by Christian topics, so you may feel like you're constantly surrounded by Christians.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Couch Potato With Mucus Sauce

So, while I've spent the last three days lying around on the sofa trying to fight off this stupid cold (and failing miserably), I've at least gotten a lot of DVDs and stuff watched. Which, admittedly, is sort of what I'd intended to do with my time off this week, anyway, but somehow it's less fun when you're doing it mostly because you don't have the energy to do anything else.

The final tally:

Watched off the TiVo: Heroes, House, The Mentalist, and last night's episodes of The Daily Show and Colbert.

Procured by undisclosed means: An episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Watched on DVD: Some classic Who, four episodes of Stargate SG-1, and Bender's Game (the latest Futurama movie).

I actually found that last kind of disappointing, by the way. Some very funny moments, yes, but overall it left me kind of "meh." Definitely not Futurama at its best -- and I say that as someone who loves geeky gamer humor and has seen Lord of the Rings something like five times. Eh, maybe if I'd been in a more receptive mood for comedy...

What's kind of sad is that, even after all that, I'm still backed up on DVDs, and that's without counting my completely full Netflix queue. How is a person supposed to keep up with pop culture these days?! There's too damned much of it!

Anyway. That's enough sofa-lying for me. I'm still not feeling great, but I'm definitely going in to work in the morning. I'm starting to get desperate to feel like I've accomplished something this week that doesn't involve a box of kleenex or a remote control.

Brief Note From A Sick Person Who Just Had To Wait In Line 30 Minutes To Buy 10 Goddamned OTC Decongestants

Dear War-on-Drugs-obsessed US legislators,

Fuck you.

Fuck you up the nostrils with a snot-covered, germ-infected chainsaw.

Absolutely zero love,

Me

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bah.

Yep. Very definitely sick. Stupid immune system. You attack the most innocuous stuff, but you let crap like this get through?! What the heck am I paying you for?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Maybe I Should Have Gotten That Flu Shot.

Oh, man. Sore throat. Not a good sign.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Current Stuff

Current clothes: Black sweatpants. A white t-shirt with a picture of a distraught Homer Simpson screaming, "Every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain!" (Sadly, this sentiment seems to be as true for me as it is for the unfortunate and mentally challenged Mr. Simpson.) A gray zip-up hoodie. White socks. Eeyore slippers.

Current mood: Quite good, actually. Relaxed and fairly happy. I think part of that is lingering relief that the election is finally over and that the outcome was one I regard as favorable, and part of it is that I've been off work for a couple of days, without anything particularly pressing to do.

Current music: Most recently, Jonathan Coulton's Smoking Monkey.

Current annoyance: A few months' worth of repeatedly succumbing to the lure of chocolate and cheeseburgers have put me right back into my fat jeans again. Sigh. I have thus re-launched my "eat less and eat lighter" campaign, but the world is full of food, and it keeps somehow accidentally ending up in my mouth.

Current thing: Oh, gawd. So, recently, certain people browbeat talked me into checking out The Pretender, a mid-to-late-90s TV show that for some reason I never got around to watching when it was on the air. And at this point, I don't know whether to thank them or curse their names, because, gosh, another full-blown TV obsession! It's just what I needed! I got so sucked into this damned thing that I've had to take a break after season one and go back to watching Stargate just to keep my brain from overheating.

Current desktop picture: Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula. So pretty!

Current book: Heroes and Horrors, a collection of short stories by Fritz Leiber.

Current song in head: It appears to be "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles. I have no idea why.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 9 of Stargate SG-1. I have mixed feelings about this season so far. The new story arc just isn't interesting me, and the sudden cast changes are disconcerting, even if I do really like the new actors. Claudia Black's character alone would be enough to keep me watching, though. She completely cracks me up.

Current refreshment: Pomegranate raspberry green tea. Yum!

Current worry: After several months of being absolutely fine, Vir's started doing his Darth Vader impression again. I'm really hoping I'm not going to have to haul him back into the vet and get tubes stuck up his nose.

Current thought: Aww, here comes Happiness, wanting to be petted! *skritches kitty*

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Post About The Election

Is it over yet?

I want it to be over.

Not A Post About The Election

According to LibraryThing's statistics, I have just welcomed the 3,000th book into my home! Lucky number 3,000 is Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher, which came in the mail today while I was at work. I feel like I should throw it a party or something.

I am highly amused, by the way, to be calling attention to this particular book, as I remember a discussion recently (not on this blog) in which I affectionately referred to a couple of fictional characters as "dorks" for couching a discussion on romance in terms of body chemicals. All I can say is, when it comes to dorkiness, I know whereof I speak.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Ain't What It Used To Be.

I got one batch of trick-or-treaters last night. One. I also picked entirely the wrong time to suddenly go on something resembling a diet.

Anybody want some candy?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cryptic Who Post

So, there's been some Doctor Who news. I'll just link to it without comment, since I guess it's the sort of thing that might actually count as a spoiler if the only place you ever hear Doctor Who news is on my blog and are capable of considering things that get official press releases from the BBC as spoilers. And also because I don't actually have much of a comment, except to say that I'm deeply amused by the fact that apparently said news came in while I'd stepped away from my computer for a brief period to have a conversation in which, among other things, I confidently asserted that precisely this was not going to happen. Heh.

Feel free to discuss in the comments, by the way. We'll call 'em read-at-your-own-risk for people who live in caves.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Most Unsurprising Stupid Quiz Result Ever

Your result for Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test...

Linguistic

24% Logical, 12% Spatial, 65% Linguistic, 24% Intrapersonal, 25% Interpersonal, 14% Musical, 10% Bodily-Kinesthetic and 51% Naturalistic!

"Verbal-linguistic intelligence has to do with words, spoken or written. People with verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words and dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and via discussion and debate. They are also frequently skilled at explaining, teaching and oration or persuasive speaking. Those with verbal-linguistic intelligence learn foreign languages very easily as they have high verbal memory and recall, and an ability to understand and manipulate syntax and structure.

Careers which suit those with this intelligence include writers, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, politicians and teachers." (Wikipedia)

Take Howard Gardner's Eight Types of Intelligence Test at HelloQuizzy

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Civic Duty Discharged

I just went down to the county clerk's office and cast an early vote. I'm told that New Mexico is encouraging people to do that, probably in hopes of avoiding what happened last time, when it took freaking weeks just to count the ballots. (Yeah, they don't call this the land of maƱana for nothing.)

Anyway, I have voted. This means that everybody can stop campaigning at me now. At this point, I'm not legally allowed to change my mind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Linkage of Randomosity

The Star Trek A-Team: I find this way more entertaining than it has any right to be. Possibly because it makes me all nostalgic for the 80s. And the 60s, for that matter, even if I wasn't actually born yet.

Star Trek mistakes: Just in case that wasn't enough Trek for ya, here's extensive video proof that when it comes to maintaining careful internal consistency the Star Trek universe, um, doesn't.

The N+7 Machine: Enter some text to see what it looks like when you replace all the nouns with other nouns seven dictionary entries away. Because, admit, it, you're just that bored.

The Eyeball Game: See how accurately you can form parallelograms and bisect angles and stuff just by eyeballing. I scored 7.18. But then, I can't hang picture frames straight.

PalinAsPresident: Funniest political satire I've seen outside of Comedy Central.

Baby tigers monkey around: An article about a cimpanzee that is helping to raise orphaned baby white tigers. I include it here because it contains the cutest pictures ever, and also because I feel a great sense of solidarity with my fellow feline-raising primates.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Resurrected Google Meme

I remember doing some variant of this meme ages and ages ago, but I think this version is somewhat more entertaining.

Go to Google and type in your first name and the given phrase. Copy and paste the first sentence/phrase you get that makes sense (and isn't someone else's response to this meme).

Q: Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search.
A: Betty needs a real sanctuary. (I dunno, under the covers with a book and a mug of tea works pretty well for me, really.)

Q: Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search.
A: Seriously, though, Betty looks like one of the Olsen twins. The ugly one. (Hey! And aren't they both equally ugly?)

Q: Type in "[your name] says" in Google search.
A. BettySays.com Directory of Deals and Opportunities for the 50+ crowd! (You hear me, old people? Better do what I say if you want deals and opportunities and stuff!)

Q: Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search.
A: Betty wants a dick. (*ahem* No comment.)

Q: Type in "[your name] does" in Google search.
A: MySpace music profile for Betty Does with tour dates, songs, videos, pictures, blogs, band information, downloads and more. (The stuff I do is so awesome, it has a band named after it!)

Q: Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search.
A: BETTY HATES MYSPACE. (It's true, there are reasons I've avoided signing up for that thing.)

Q: Type in "[your name] asks" in Google search.
A: Betty Makes A Video Tape To Give To Madonna To Ask Her For A New Signed Copy Of Her New Album Hard Candy To Give To Justin ! (I hope Justin appreciates it.)

Q: Type in "[your name] goes" in Google search.
A: Betty goes a go-go. (Go!)

Q: Type in "[your name] likes" in Google search.
A: Betty likes to play "guy" games, too. (Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.)

Q: Type in "[your name] eats" in Google search.
A: Betty Eats a Pasty Lunch. (I know it's an actual foodstuff in some parts of the world, but, man, "pasty lunch" just sounds really unappetizing.)

Q: Type in "[your name] wears" in Google search.
A: Betty wears a hot summer makeup trend. (That is a scurrilous lie!)

Q: Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in Google Search.
A: Betty was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. (I have no idea how that got there, I swear!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Please Send Coffee

My body and brain appear to have gotten together and staged a revolt. They are now categorically refusing to shift wake/sleep hours any more, no matter how hard I try to persuade them. "Midnight to 8 AM is good enough for normal people," they tell me, "and we're just going to stop right here." Which would be well and good, except for the fact that I have to work a night shift tomorrow. A 12-hour night shift, even.

*whimper*

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Isn't It November Yet?

Things that irritate me unreasonably, #573: politicians whose campaign rhetoric is all about how concerned they are about protecting the interests not of "citizens" or "constituents" or "people," but of "families." Hey, guys, some of us single people are out here making a better world for your precious rugrats to live in, you know. Is there some reason why we don't count?

(Bah. I get really cranky when I'm sleep-deprived. Also, I'm going to be really happy when this whole damned thing is over. I swear, if they'd just saved the trees from all the frigging campaign propaganda I've gotten in my mailbox in the last month, global warming would be less of a threat.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'm Not Awake Enough To Do Much Else, So Have Another Stupid Quiz.

Your result for How Will You Survive a Horror Film Test...

The Intellectual!

76 Survivor


In a horror movie you would be the one that sits back reading the books or checking the computer for sources to get information on the situation at hand. You don't believe that you need to necessarily stick your neck out to survive, and your main goal is just that...to survive, hopefully with someone to share the victory with. As for watching horror films? Well, you might want to go alone and sit away from the crowd. You are the one that sits there making judgements through the film pointing out how stupid the characters are. You may end up wearing more popcorn than you eat.

Take How Will You Survive a Horror Film Test at HelloQuizzy


Yeah, that sounds like me.

This Again

Current clothes: White t-shirt with a picture of Brak from Space Ghost on it. Blue short-sleeved denim shirt unbuttoned over that. Blue jeans. Black belt. White socks. Fuzzy Eeyore slippers, one of which is missing an ear.

Current mood: Not bad. Kind of relaxed.

Current music: The Best of Bowie.

Current annoyance: One of the cats just did something very smelly in the cat box in the next room. Pheww!

Current thing: Being obsessed with random TV shows, maybe, but there's nothing new about that.

Current desktop picture: This photo of a meteor shower seen from a mountaintop in Romania.

Current book: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. I'm only about 50 pages in, but I'm already finding it entertainingly written and very interesting.

Current song in head: "Moonage Daydream." (See "current music.")

Current DVD in player: Disc 3 of season 3 of Supernatural. This isn't a show that's going to win any awards for sophisticated and nuanced writing (although, bless its little heart, it tries), but the more I watch, the more thoroughly I'm enjoying it. (Well, except for that one I just saw, which started out by re-enacting my freakiest recurring nightmare and then showed me maggot-covered food while I was eating spaghetti. So not cool, show.)

Current refreshment: Hot tea.

Current worry: I really hope I'm going to manage to stay awake long enough today to switch myself over from night shift onto day shift. Too often when I try to make the transition by just staying up like this, I'm pretty much down for the count by noon. But I've had to cover a bunch of extra hours this week, which means doing it gradually was out.

Current thought: I am not sleepy. I cannot possibly be sleepy yet!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Coded Messages

Just a reminder for those few people who might actually want to call me on the telephone: as of today, you have to remember to use the new area code (575), or you're either going to get a "not in service" message or some annoyed stranger in a different part of the state.

Not that I'm necessarily going to pick up if you call, what with my insane work schedule and all, but people have been known to have entirely pleasant and satisfying conversations with my answering machine.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Set A Course For the Uncharted Territories!

I just pre-ordered the first two Farscape comics! Hooray!

Whee! I Get To Ride Around On Obama's Head!

I seem to remember taking a different version of this test before, but what the heck. It's an election year.

You are a

Social Liberal
(83% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(35% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test


(Except, hmm, it's not showing the results with the faces on it, so now the title of this post makes no sense. Oh, well. It's hardly the first time I've failed to make sense here.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Suddenly, Agreeing To Work Those Extra Night Shifts This Weekend Begins To Look Like A Worse Plan.

Dear Day People,

Do I come to your house and ring your doorbell at 4 AM? Do I?

Groggily and grumpily,
Me


Dear Religious Day People,

Do I come to your house and ring your doorbell at 4 AM and hand you atheistic propaganda? Do I? I do not. But sometimes I am tempted to start.

Groggy, grumpy, and unconverted,
Me

Friday, October 03, 2008

My Only Comment On Current Events

Man, I can tell the economy is bad. For the first time ever, I'm getting more spam offering debt reduction than penis enlargement.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Spidey Sense Is Tingling!

Your results:
You are Spider-Man



Spider-Man
60%
Robin
45%
Hulk
45%
Superman
40%
Green Lantern
40%
Supergirl
36%
Batman
35%
Wonder Woman
31%
Catwoman
30%
The Flash
20%
Iron Man
15%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Random Links

Hey, it's slightly less lazy than posting stupid quiz results...

O'Bannon on Returning to "Farscape": Some more news -- including some preliminary cover art! -- about the forthcoming Farscape comics, the first issue of which should be out in November. It also mentions that "novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido will be scripting O'Bannon's plots," which pleases me. DeCandido wrote the one professional Farscape novel that was actually good.

YourMorals.org: Features a number of questionnaires you can take to explore your personal idea of morality while contributing to actual psychological research.

TV Tropes Wiki: An extensive, entertaining wiki devoted to exploring all manner of plot devices, character archetypes, narrative conventions, and just plain cliches from TV and other media. I don't recall if I've mentioned this site here before, but even if I have, all the time it's been sucking away from me lately surely earns it another link.

Scientific Attempt To Create Most Annoying Song Ever: Some guys took a survey asking about what people hate most in music, then created a 20 minute song that features all of it. I recommend downloading it; it's hilarious. They also created the "most wanted music" along the same lines. Now that had me about ready to gnaw my own ears off in order to escape. There's a lesson to be taken from that, probably.

Aaron Sorkin Conjures a Meeting of Obama and Bartlet: Sorkin writes an imaginary conversation between Barack Obama and former President Jed Bartlet from The West Wing. Mostly, this makes me really miss The West Wing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Dishy

Got to do a fairly cool road trip at work today. (Tiring, though. Working until midnight and then hitting the road at 9:00 AM is not exactly an ideal schedule, especially when you've been having a sleep deprived week already.) We drove out to Pie Town, NM (which is about as close to Middle of Nowhere, American West as one might ever wish to get) to visit the VLBA's nearest radio telescope site. I'd actually been out there a couple of times before, many years ago, but my job didn't involve interacting with the antennas at all then, so it was a worthwhile exercise to do it again now that I can put names and functions to the various components. It really doesn't hurt to have an idea of the physical locations of the stuff you have to get people to go out and fix. Plus, crawling around on the antenna is always fun. And, look, I took some pictures!

Here's me sitting on the dish, in closeup:



And in a longer shot:



This one is looking up at the dish:



And because you really ought to have a full-length view of the thing and I didn't get one today, here's one taken the last time I was there, on a much grayer day:



Yay, astronomy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Consumer Complaint

Dear Universe,

I wish to report that the Monday I received from you today is defective. Could I please return it for a replacement (preferably a functional Tuesday)?

Thank you,
Me

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just Call Me Daniel Jackson.

Your result for The Absolute Language Test...

The Rain In Spain Stays Mainly In The Plane

The statement above is a play on words, I know it's supposed to be "plain." So please no more e-mails about how I spelled it wrong.


You are a master of the art of language! You probably speak more than one language and are very well cultured because of it. You also get annoyed with people who don't use proper grammar and constantly correct them. Give yourself a pat on the back! You're ready for the Embassy Ball!

Answer Key: http://www.okcupid.com/profile/Silver_Rain1011/journal

Take The Absolute Language Test at HelloQuizzy


Alas, I only speak English, but I can sort of read Spanish, albeit with considerable difficulty and a lot of guesswork. But I do think languages are nifty! And I believe we've already established my Grammar Nazi tendencies.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

More TV Talk

So, the new TV season is starting up... slowly. There isn't actually all that much I'm interested in, to be honest, but I've welcomed back one favorite show and tried out one new one. So...

House: Oh, House, I don't know quite how it is that you manage to make jackass characters and disturbingly dysfunctional relationships so amusing and entertaining and even "awww"-worthy, but don't ever change. Well, not on that front, anyway. The changes you've already made, I've been fine with. In fact, I prefer the new underlings to the old ones. You can bring back Old Guy again any time you want to, though.

Fringe: I watched the pilot, and wasn't all that impressed. To begin with, the whole investigating fringe science/paranormal crap while dealing with massive conspiracies thing is becoming a pretty tired premise by now. I have no doubt it's still entirely possible to do fresh and engaging things with it, but the pilot sure didn't feel especially fresh or engaging to me. On the plus side, the cast seems really good, and it's very visually stylish. And there was a hint or two of humor that suddenly made the show sparkle for me briefly, although I'm not actually sure they were at all intentional. Otherwise... well. All the decisions the characters made and actions they took seemed to happen entirely because the plot (or the setup for the series) required them, rather than because they made any sense at all. And the science was far beyond "fringe" and well into the realm of "painfully, laughably bad." And this is coming from a Doctor Who fan. At least Who never took it all so seriously. So, yeah, on balance it really just wasn't quite interesting enough to induce me to stay around for the second episode. I figure, if it morphs into something worthwhile -- and I admit that the potential is there -- I'm sure people will let me know, and I can go and watch it on DVD.

So... When is Heroes starting up again? Next week? I think that's the only other currently returning show that I care about (except for a couple that I'm not going to watch as they air because I'm still catching up on the DVDs).

Oh, Look, Another Stupid Quiz.

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd
 

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Science/Math Nerd
 
Gamer/Computer Nerd
 
Social Nerd
 
Drama Nerd
 
Anime Nerd
 
Musician
 
Artistic Nerd
 
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Well, I'm enough of a literature nerd to be bugged by the fact that "it's" should be "its" in that first paragraph, damn it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome To Another Edition Of "What Betty's Watching."

I've just watched the first disc (being one story told in six half-hour episodes) of Sapphire and Steel, a somewhat obscure British SF series from about 1980. It features two... Aliens? Deities? Anthropomorphic personifications of chemical substances? It's not remotely clear. But whatever they are, apparently their job is to troubleshoot, uh... cosmic... glitchy... weirdnesses... Hell, I don't know.

I don't even know whether I think it's really good or really bad; it seems like the sort of thing that can't possibly fall anywhere in the middle. On the one hand, it's very slow-moving and rather stilted, and absolutely nothing about it makes a lick of sense. On the other hand, the first story, at least, is quite effectively creepy. And the eponymous cosmic whatevers are interestingly and convincingly... other. Honestly, part of me thinks that the idea of a TV show that gives us an outsider's view of truly alien (albeit outwardly human) beings doing things that are essentially incomprehensible is fascinating, gutsy, and deeply refreshing. The rest of me, though, is wondering why the heck anybody ever thought that would be watchable.

I've got the rest of the series lined up on my Netflix queue, and I truly can't decide whether my attitude at this point is, "Cool, I'm looking forward to this!" or "Geez, I have to watch how much of this?" But, hey, not many shows can flummox me that way. I feel like I ought to give it points for that.

In other DVD news, I bought seasons 1 and 2 of The Venture Bros. a little while ago, and am discovering -- or, to be more accurate, confirming -- the fact that I can watch the same episodes of this show over and over and over and somehow never find them any less entertaining. I finished season 2 and then immediately started over again with season 1, which may seem worryingly obsessive, even for me. But I've got to watch something while I'm walking on the treadmill. Goofy comedies go far better with exercise than creepy dramas, after all, and I've finished with those Whose Line Is It Anyway? discs.

Funniest Thing I Have Seen All Day

Via Cute Overload. This vid is titled "Kitty plays red light green light," but I can't help thinking of it as "Don't Blink! (Kitty Edition)."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

And More Random Links

Michael Palin for President: Pick the right Palin!

Hurricanes, as seen from orbit: They're deceptively pretty.

Sarah Jane Adventures Series 2 Cinema Trailer: I'm definitely looking forward to this, although I'm a little bummed out by the fact that apparently Maria is going to be leaving the show.

Ten things you don't know about the Earth: I did know several of these things, actually, but they're interesting.

World Names Profiler: Type in your surname, and it'll give you some interesting facts about it, including filling in a world map to show the places where that name is common. It correctly identified my own name as Irish in origin, but apparently said name occurs in the highest concentrations in the US and, for some reason, Poland. I then tried giving it my mother's (highly unusual) maiden name, and while it didn't have any information on the ethnicity -- it's unambiguously German, for the record -- and showed an almost blank map, it did spit out the first names of several of my relatives and some places associated with others. So I'm impressed by the quality of its database, but also a little bit creeped out.

OK, I'll Take It.

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Tralfamadorian Messenger

41% Intrigue, 78% Civilization, 36% Humanity, 38% Urbanization.


We had trouble placing you, but finally found just the thing... for someone who adores technology and knowledge, but doesn't care for much else. Intrigue and adventure? Not important to you, evidently. The company of your fellows? Not to your tastes. The bustle and crowd of the city? Not for you. Were it not for your positive attitude toward modern technology, we would have made you a medieval monk and let you live out your days in a quaint little cell, with access to all the books you could possibly want to read. But instead...

You will be a mechanical being, born on a planet where machines have long ago taken completely over and organic life has become extinct. You will be sent as a messenger to the other end of the galaxy with a message of good will -- a journey of approximately 205,125 years.The message reads: "Greetings."

Hello. Goodbye. We hope you have an satisfactory journey.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Make It ME!

Your results:
You are Jean-Luc Picard
Jean-Luc Picard
50%
Beverly Crusher
45%
Deanna Troi
45%
Spock
42%
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
35%
Geordi LaForge
35%
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
35%
Chekov
25%
Uhura
25%
Data
25%
Will Riker
25%
James T. Kirk (Captain)
20%
Mr. Sulu
15%
Worf
10%
Mr. Scott
5%
A lover of Shakespeare and other
fine literature. You have a decisive mind
and a firm hand in dealing with others.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

Friday, September 05, 2008

September's Currentlies

Current clothes: Black sweatpants. White socks. White t-shirt that says, "The angels have the phone box." And I imagine half of you are smiling at that and half are looking puzzled, because, really, you either get that reference or you don't.

Current mood: Not bad. I've been up for, oh, about an hour and a half and am starting to feel about ready to think about the idea of the possibility of maybe starting my day.

Current music: Can't remember what I listened to last, except for a bunch of podcasts. Probably more random-shuffle stuff.

Current annoyance: My feet hurt. Not just the bunion, although that's worse than it's ever been. Most days, I have this constant, dull ache in both my feet, all over. And the tendons contract so much while I'm sleeping that for the first minute or so after I get up, I feel like I can barely hobble. Sigh. At some point in my life, I really am going to have to break down and see a podiatrist.

Current thing: Not working! I took some time off last week to de-stress and to get some stuff done around the house. And then this week, thanks to having worked long hours over the holiday weekend, I've been off since Wednesday. Man, there is no better feeling than knowing my time is entirely my own, regardless of whether I'm doing anything interesting with it or not.

Current desktop picture: This picture of a meteor trail over the California desert.

Current book: Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You by Sam Gosling. Although I'm not entirely sure I want to know what my stuff says about me. I suspect that once you get past the obvious -- I'm a huge sci-fi nerd who obsessively collects books -- anything an independent observer would conclude about me from my stuff is probably either completely misleading or mildly embarrassing. Or both.

Current song in head: Leonard Cohen's "Democracy," since I just encountered a quote from it in the course of some idle blog surfing.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 1 of Jonathan Creek, a late-90s British series about an investigative reporter and a designer of stage illusions who solve locked-room murders and other baffling mysteries. A friend suggested quite a while ago that she thought it was something I'd enjoy, and she turned out to be very, very right. Admittedly, my delight in the show doubtless has a lot to do with the fact that it stars Alan Davies, on whom I developed an utterly embarrassing crush during the course of watching umpteen episodes of QI on YouTube, and with the fact that he's playing exactly the sort of brilliant misfit I usually find adorable. But the mystery plots are good, too, as are the character dynamics and the cleverly written dialog. Also of interest to genre TV fans: the first episode features Anthony Stewart Head as a creepy magician with leather pants and a disconcerting American accent, and Colin Baker as a soon-to-be-corpse.

Current refreshment: Nothing at the moment, but I'm contemplating the concept of orange juice.

Current worry: Aargh, there's more stuff that needs to be done with the house that has me worrying about expense, hassle, and whether I even have a clue what I'm doing. Once again, it becomes abundantly clear to me that I really am not cut out to be a homeowner.

Current thought: I want my new eyeglasses. This pair is so scratched up and so permanently smeary that looking at the computer screen through them is mildly annoying.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

September Is Also A Good Time For More Random Links.

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2008 Results: This year's winners in the "bad opening sentences to imaginary novels" contest. They're pretty bad.

Selections from H.P. Lovecraft's brief tenure as a Whitman's sampler copywriter: Chocolate has never been this terrifyingly insanity-inducing!

WHO-1: The Bessie Homepage: Doctor Who fan page devoted to the Doctor's beloved car, Bessie.

ScienceDebate2008.com presents presidential answers to the top 14 science questions facing America: Barack Obama answers fourteen questions about science and national policy. According to the website, McCain has agreed to answer them as well, but there's nothing from him up there yet.

Torchwood: Lost Souls: Description of a Torchwood audio play which will run on the BBC's Radio 4 on September 10th. (It looks like it should be available on the web afterward, as well.) The page contains a brief preview trailer. It also contains some major spoilers for the end of Torchwood season 2, so be warned. Apparently the plot involves dangerous side effects from the activation of CERN's Large Hadron Collider. This is a real project, and real people have expressed worries about it, but the danger is entirely science fictional. Some bonus Actual Science links: The BBC reports on this subject and the Bad Astronomer discusses it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ramblings For September: Doctor Who

So, taking me up on my invitation to tell me what to blog about, Fred asked:

Which old-school Doctor Who characters/villains would you most like to see in the new series and why? (This doesn't necessarily preclude ones we've already seen revived).

Okey-dokey! Well, first of all that parenthetical bit is pretty important, because I think we've seen the two best and most important recurring villains already. I know there are people who are getting heartily sick of Daleks, and I agree that it's entirely possible to over-use them. Once a season might even be too often. But Doctor Who without the Daleks is, is... Well, it's inconceivable! And yes, that word does mean what I think it means. Who wouldn't even be here without the Daleks; it would have been dead in the water in 1963. They are the iconic Doctor Who villain, and of course they'll be back. Repeatedly. And, in my opinion, that's exactly as it should be.

And then there's the Master, who may not go back quite as far, but who has almost as much staying power as the Daleks. I still say that it's an iron-clad rule of the show that you cannot kill the Master, no matter how definitively you appear to, and I have no doubt that he will be back eventually. And I believe that's as it should be, too, because he's a marvelous foil for the Doctor, and because there's still a great deal left to be done with him.

(I'll be just as happy if we don't see the Cybermen again for a while, though. I have nothing against the Cybermen, and I liked the relevant episodes of New Who better than many people did. But they're less scary than the Daleks and less engaging than the Master, and I don't know that there's all that much still to be done with them that can't be done as well or better with more original adversaries.)

As for characters we haven't seen yet on the new series... There was a rumor going around a while back that we were going to see the Ice Warriors returning, and I was actually rather disappointed when that came to nothing. The Ice Warriors were among my favorite villains, I think because, while they were undisguisedly a warrior culture, we did see at least one instance in which they weren't painted as bad guys at all. I like that a lot; it indicates a kind of realism and complexity that was never present with, say, the Sontarans. On the minus, side, though, it might be a bit much to expect viewers in the 21st century to accept the idea of a civilization on Mars, given that we've had robots there fruitlessly hunting for microbes for a while.

Another rumor that was going around prior to season 3 was that the Rani would be showing up again. Now, I love the Rani. She has a sharp mind and an acid wit, and her complete amorality makes a perfect little philosophical triangle out of the Doctor and the Master's familiar good-evil dichotomy. Also, unlike the Master, she is in fact completely sane, which makes her potentially much scarier. But I had seriously mixed feelings about the idea of bringing her back, and I still do, as I think she would require very careful handling and that writing her badly would be infinitely worse than never writing her at all. There's also a danger of making a total joke out of the whole "last of the Time Lords" concept by having tangibly not-dead Time Lords popping up over and over. (By the way, I used to go around saying, only half-jokingly, that if any other Time Lord had survived the war, I was voting for it to be Drax the Cockney Time Lord, who provided the comic relief in "The Armageddon Factor." But because that really would make a joke out of the whole thing, and because it would perhaps be a less funny joke at this point than it might have been earlier in the show, I reluctantly withdraw the suggestion.)

Moving away from Time Lords and bad guys (and Time Lord bad guys), I wouldn't mind seeing the occasional companion re-appearance, a la Sarah Jane. (Not to get too spoilery for season 4, but I can't help thinking about the fact that if, say, anybody wanted to round up the various friends that the Doctor has on Earth, there would be a hell of a lot more of them than we've seen on the new show.) I do have to admit that my desire to see old companions again is purely a self-indulgent fangirlish one, and one that runs up against a whole host of issues, starting with the fact that actors die, age, and move on to other things, and ending with the very real danger of the show getting so self-referential and nostalgic that it alienates new viewers in the process of disappearing up its own ass. I thoroughly agree with Steven Moffatt that it's much more important to invent new characters and new monsters and new adventures than to compulsively revisit the old ones.

However, even admitting that maybe Sarah Jane and K-9 are enough and that it's a bad idea to round up whichever of the Doctor's old companions they can still find the actors for and throw them all into the new show willy-nilly, there is still one solid, unassailable answer to Fred's question. They need to bring back Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, late of UNIT, the man who is indisputably the Doctor's best and oldest human friend. The Brigadier has been in and out of the Doctor's life since his second regeneration, and there is absolutely no reason for that to stop now. I've heard that he's supposed to make an appearance on The Sarah Jane Adventures at some point, which delights me, but not nearly as much as it would delight me to see another reunion between him and the Doctor. Even aside from how fascinating that bit of character interaction would be, well, he's the Brig, and the Brig is impossible not to love. (Oh, and while we're at it, I wouldn't mind seeing his replacement, Brigadier Winfred Bambera from "Battlefield" again, either. Possibly I just have a thing for UNIT brigadiers...)

Um, yeah, there. That enough of an answer for ya? Really, you people should know better than to ask me questions like this...

(Oh, and by the way, I feel compelled to say: I do try to avoid spoiling myself for this show, so if anybody has information, or even rumors, about who actually will be returning in the future, please refrain from mentioning them here. I admit, I'll probably find it impossible to avoid some of them eventually, plus there are so many unfounded rumors that even when I hear the true ones I generally don't believe them. But I do like to at least make the effort. So, if anybody's actually read this far and wants to discuss the subject in the comments, well, consider wild-ass speculation welcome and informed speculation discouraged.)

Insert Your Own Stupid Pun On The Word "Eye" Here.

Just got back from an appointment with the eye doctor. Apparently my left eye got slightly less nearsighted, but the right one got slightly more astigmatic, so, in precise medical language, "it's a wash." It did seem awfully cool, after 37 years of getting steadily more myopic, to finally be going in the other direction, but when I mentioned that to the optometrist, his reply was, "Yeah, but at this rate you'd need to live another three hundred years before you'd stop needing glasses." Well, it's something to keep in mind for when I've perfected my immortality serum. But he also told me to enjoy it now, because once you hit the early 40s, it's all downhill, eye-wise. Thanks, doc.

Improved or not, my eyes didn't change enough to need new glasses, but I'm getting some anyway, because I've managed to scratch the heck out of my current pair. Plus, the only backup pair I have is from a really old prescription, and it's not like I'm capable of being a functional human being without them.

By the way, you know what's a fun trick to play on your patients if you're an eye doctor? Give them eye drops that make it really difficult for them to read, and then tell them they can have a discount on their eyewear if they write a check. Ha!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Honestly, I Still Got Nothing.

Oh, right, it's September. I was going to write intelligent and substantial blog posts in September.

So, uh... What should I talk about, then?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All Wet

*looks out window*

Huh. Rain. Well, there go all those great plans I had to get some actual yard work done today. Sigh.

(Also, I realize that this blog is rapidly deteriorating into a random series of trivial comments that I'm sure nobody but me actually cares about. But, y'know, it's August. Nothing ever happens in August, and it's too hot to think. I'll be interesting and intelligent in September.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Things That Make Me Feel Depressingly Old, #73:

Discovering that my co-worker has never heard of Bloom County, having apparently been far too young during the 80s to be aware of its existence.

As Bill the Cat would say: Ack!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Denied!

In a commercial break during tonight's moderately awesome Venture Brothers episode, I was commanded to go over to Adult Swim's website to watch additional bonus footage. I dutifully did so, but, despite multiple and increasingly frustrating attempts, the video refuses to load. THIS IS NOT COOL, ADULT SWIM.

Sigh. Clearly the road to our glorious multimedia entertainment future is paved with bugs.

[UPDATE: It's working now! And at least it was worth the effort.]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Still Here

Um, why, yes, I have been extremely lazy about blogging lately. Also, nothing remotely interesting has been happening. Really.

But just to reassure you all that I still exist and have not changed in any important fashion since last week, I figured I'd pop in with a link to the news that various classic Doctor Who episodes are now available on iTunes in the US.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Not Another Batch Of Random Links?

Using your browser URL history to estimate gender: Does what it says! Although possibly not all that well. Apparently I'm 60% likely to be male.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Animated Series promo: A three-minute video that offers a sense of what the Buffy animated series would have been like if it had actually gone ahead. I'm sorry that it didn't, now, because I enjoyed that.

Dr. Who Episodes quiz: How many classic-series Doctor Who stories can you name in five minutes? Me, I choked badly, and proved to myself that I really have forgotten more about Doctor Who than most people ever know. But I did get all the Sylvester McCoy episodes, at least!

Doctor Who Roundtable with Stephen Moffat @ Comic-Con: The audio and video aren't great, but the interview is fascinating. Man, the more I hear this guy talk about his attitude towards and his vision for Doctor Who, the happier I am about the fact that he'll be taking over. (And congratulations to him, by the way, on his Hugo Award win for "Blink"!)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Today's Accomplishment

I made pot roast!

(Well, hey, for me, that's an accomplishment.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Zapping You With The Current

Current clothes: Tan jeans. Black "White & Nerdy" t-shirt I got at a Weird Al Yankovic concert. Black belt. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: Oh, man. You know how sometimes you have days where you're sleeping fitfully and having too many dreams, and then you wake up with a sore throat, and there's cat vomit on the floor, and it goes along like that until you're dashing off to work five minutes late with your fly open? And then the day just kind of continues in that vein? Yeah. It's been exactly that. Which means my mood is... kind of frazzled, yes, but not even so much frustrated or unhappy as just sort of resigned to the fact that everything today is a little off, a little wrong, a little extra-difficult. Because I knew it would be the minute I opened my eyes.

Current music: Graceland by Paul Simon.

Current annoyance: Having a stupid human body. My weight is creeping up again, my bowels are irregular, my bunion is killing me, and this hot weather leaves me unpleasantly clad in sticky, prickly sweat. I have a heck of a lot of other annoyances in my life right now, but the body wins, because it's not like I can ever exactly get away from it.

Current thing: Books! I've read 109 books so far this year (an impressive number even for me), but my To-Read Pile has diminished by a grand total of nine. Nine! I had to amend my self-imposed book buying quota. It used to be "I am not allowed to buy more books than I read the previous month," but I have now added "or a total of ten, whichever is lower." It remains to be seen whether or not it will help. But, but... I have Book Lust! Over and over, I find myself calling up my Amazon wish list and staring at it longingly. It doesn't matter that it'll take me years just to read the ones I already have, or that most of them I'll never even open a second time. They're books, and I want them.

Current desktop picture: Hoodoo sky.

Current book: Rolling Thunder by John Varley.

Current song in head: It was U2's "In a Little While" earlier, but the oddness of today finally seems to have driven all music from my head.

Current DVD in player: Disc one of season 1 and 2 of the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? I must confess that I actually find the American version funnier, but I found these DVDs on sale for a whole $10, and they're just about perfect for watching while I'm walking on the treadmill. Which I'm trying to do more of, thanks to that creeping weight thing mentioned above.

Current refreshment: Sparkling blackberry beverage.

Current worry: Aargh, don't ask me to worry about things! I don't think I could handle it today.

Current thought: The cat that just flopped down between my keyboard and my monitor had better not move much, or he's going to be pressing all kinds of random keys with his big fat stomach.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

At Least He Didn't Use A Baseball Bat.

Dear cat,

You want to know what the definition of counterproductive is? Counterproductive is when in your desperate attempt to get me out of bed to feed you, you start knocking books off the headboard shelf and onto the bed, causing me to a) throw you out of the room as part of my zero-tolerance book-attack policy, and b) decide that even though I'm perfectly ready to get up at that point, I'd better lie there for at least a few minutes so you don't get it into your little kitty head that your behavior was successful, and then c) proceed to fall back to sleep for another couple of hours.

I hope this was a useful lesson for you, because, frankly, I could have used those two hours and now I feel all groggy.

Affectionately exasperated,
Me

Friday, August 01, 2008

Season's End, "Journey's End"

OK, here's your discussion post for the Doctor Who season finale, airing tonight in the United States. I guess I probably don't need the usual warning about not posting spoilers for later episodes. (Though in the event that you happen to have them for next year's episodes, please keep 'em to yourself!)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Links: Mostly SF Edition

Illusion Sciences: A blog that presents and explains all kinds of optical illusions, often in nifty interactive ways. Fascinating, if occasionally eye-hurting.

Recent Volcanic Activity: Stunning pictures of active volcanoes.

Watchmen Trailer Breakdown: A frame by frame comparison between the Watchmen trailer and the equivalent panels in the comic book. Man, I'm just getting more and more excited about this. I really ought to find a way to lower my expectations to avoid potential disappointment, but stuff like this really isn't helping me do that.

Moffat Interviews from SDCC: Links to a bunch of interviews that Doctor Who's Steven Moffat gave at the San Diego Comicon this weekend.

First Glimpse of Doctor Who's Christmas Villain: A report on the Comicon Doctor Who panel, featuring grainy cell phone footage of a new trailer for the Christmas special.

O'Bannon to Write Farscape Comic: Also from Comicon, a video of Rockne O'Bannon talking about the upcoming Farscape comic book series, which it was just announced that he's going to write. I'm getting pretty darned excited about this, too. You can also find an article on the subject at CBR News.

Doctor Who Proms 2008 - Music of the Spheres: A short Doctor Who video with David Tennant that was screened at the "BBC proms," a big classical music festival at Albert Hall. Apparently the Doctor writes music, as well as saving planets. Who knew? It doubtless loses something -- or even most things -- when watched on YouTube without what was clearly intended to be a lot of audience interaction, but oh, well.

Cat Update

Fortunately, Happiness appears to have decided that she actually likes what I cannot seem to stop myself from referring to as her "urine food." She seems to be doing OK, too, but then she never did really seem sick. I'm not sure if she's using the litterbox or not, though. Working twelve-hour shifts and having two other cats who are perfectly capable of peeing makes it hard to monitor her urinary activities.

(Yes, I'm sure you were all waiting eagerly to hear more on the subject of cat pee...)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Much As I Love 'Em, Having Cats Can Be A Royal Pain In The Ass.

Bad news: Happiness has a bit of a urinary infection. Last night, for a period of about an hour and a half, she kept going back to the litterbox over and over every couple of minutes, producing at most a tiny little spot of pee. All the cat care books that I own agree that this is a Very Bad Sign.

Good news: I was able to get her into the vet this morning, and they gave her an antibiotic shot. Apparently this particular drug is very new, but they say they've had good success with it, and it means that I don't have to force any medicine into her, which I was frankly dreading.

Bad news: The vet also said that I should switch her over to special cat food for animals who are prone to urinary infections. Which means that now all three cats need their own individual food. I've been having a hard enough time with Vir and his diet food. The last thing I needed was more complications with feeding these critters. And I have no idea whether Happiness is even going to take to the new stuff. I put some in front of her when I got home, and she seemed deeply uninterested. Sigh.

Really annoying news: I had to get up at 9 AM to get the damned animal into the vet's. I have to work tonight from 8 PM to 8 AM. Meaning that, barring a successful nap, which seems unlikely, it's going to be about 24 hours before I can sleep again. Man, I really, really hope work tonight is not going to require a functioning brain.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dear Telemarketers: May You Go Blind, And May Your Seeing Eye Dog Get Rabies And Bite You.

Wow, there is nothing -- nothing -- like telemarketers to instantly raise my blood pressure, piss me off so much I actually get shaky, and bring the raging inner bitch out from behind my naturally placid exterior.

For the record, should you get any phone calls from a company called Protel (phone number 708-418-7486), for gods' sakes do not buy anything from them. They've been accused of various kinds of phone scam, including attempting to sell Wells Fargo customers identity theft protection that they already have, without Wells Fargo's knowledge. They also do not respect the National Do Not Call Registry, which in my opinion puts them about on the moral level of people who rape kittens.

I think they must have some problem with their computers, because every time I'd try to answer so I could call them colorful four-letter names, I'd hear some clicks and get hung up on. And then they'd call again a few hours later. URGE TO KILL RISING!

Fortunately, though, I have googling skills, so I can inform you that should this happen to you, you can call the company up at 708-418-7412 to call them colorful names in person and demand that they stop harassing you. Also, if you happen to be on the Do Not Call Registry -- and if you live in the US, there is no reason not to be -- and this or any other telemarketer calls you up anyway, you can file complaint with the FTC here.

Is It Friday Already?

Because my sister just called me on the phone a little while ago and reminded me, here's your Doctor Who discussion post for the episode airing today on Sci Fi: "The Stolen Earth."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Is Water Doing In My Air?!

I've clearly lived in the desert too long. The humidity rises above 50% and I get uncomfortable and want to whine about it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Note To American Who Fans

In case you haven't figured out by now that watching the Sci Fi channel's "scenes from next week" previews is a really bad idea... Well, it's still a really bad idea, apparently. I haven't seen the one the aired after Friday's episode, myself, but from what I hear it's every bit as bad as the one they did for "Utopia." So if you haven't watched the episode yet and you don't want to be hideously spoiled, be sure and hit "stop" as soon as the episode finishes. Seriously, I mean it.

Random Links: Mostly Video Edition

It came from the 1971 Sears Catalog!: Scans of a 1971 Sears catalog, with amusing commentary. Wow, but the 70s were an, um, interesting time, fashion-wise. I was born in 1971, as it happens, so for all I know it's entirely possible that I might have worn some of the ugly baby clothes featured here.

Dalek Workout: Even evil mutants in armored killing machines need healthy exercise!

HOLY FRAK! Moon transits Earth!: The Bad Astronomer presents some really cool footage of the Earth and the Moon, taken by the Deep Impact spacecraft. He is perhaps a little overexcited, but I can certainly understand why.

Watchmen trailer: Watchmen is, quite simply, one of the single best works of fiction I have ever encountered in my life. Given that fact, the odds of the movie not living up to its source material would seem to be exceedingly high, but I find myself getting all excited by this trailer, anyway.

Simon's Cat in "TV Dinner": I swear the guy who does these cartoons must have a hidden camera pointed at my cats.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: I suspect that pretty much everybody who is interested in this already knows about it, but just in case you don't... This is an independent video project that Joss Whedon produced during the Hollywood writer's strike, featuring Neil Patrick Harris as a dorky supervillain and Nathan Fillion as the superhero who interferes with his evil plans and moves in on the girl he likes. Oh, and it's a musical. I enjoyed it a lot. Note that it's only available to watch on the web through July 20. After that, you can buy it for a couple of bucks on iTunes, and it should be out on DVD eventually.