Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bah, I Say.

I woke up today in the middle of a really bad dream, everything on the internet is irritating me, and there's stuff I have to do before work that I really don't feel like doing.

Bah. Send chocolate.

[A bit later: OK, the internet has led me to pictures of John Barrowman with a puppy, so I can't stay too annoyed with it. Also, reminding myself that I don't want to be this person helps.]

I Done Doed It!

Well, I've just ordered me a new computer. Hello again, credit card debt.

It's Random Linky Time, It's Random Linky Time...

The Cynical Bastard Takes on Doctor Who: A lightning-fast, entertainingly acerbic look at Doctor Who. Normally, I'd complain about the stereotypical depiction of fans, but frankly I think Who fandom, generally speaking, deserves it.

Garfield Minus Garfield: Ten times trippier, funnier, and sadder than Garfield with Garfield.

Virtual Barber Shop: Put on a pair of headphones, close your eyes, and enjoy the uncanny auditory illusion of being in a three-dimensional space with invisible barbers. This is really, really cool, and a fascinating example of the neat tricks your brain can play on you. It also, interestingly, freaked me out more than anything else in recent memory.

NSS Space Settlement Art Contest: Gallery of entries for the National Space Society's recent calendar art contest on the theme of space settlement. Features some pretty nice pictures.

Sawyer's Nickname Generator: Find out what nickname Lost's resident smartass would give you on the island. Apparently I'm "Frosty." I'm... not sure how I feel about that.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yes, Sometimes I Am Slow To Realize Incredibly Obvious Things.

Oh, hey! There's more February this year than I was thinking there was!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Today Is Ranty Letter-Writing Day!

Dear writers of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions,

I'm happy to indulge you in your stylistic quirks when they actually, y'know, make sense and work, rather than coming across as amateurish unfamiliarity with the English language. But for the love of grammar, pick a fucking tense and stay there. Any tense. Honestly, I don't care. Write the whole thing in future progressive, if you think that's somehow appropriate. But don't randomly change tenses for no reason for two or three sentences every page and a half. No, not even when your character is being introspective, unless you're actually reporting the exact thoughts she's thinking in the words she's thinking them.

I mean it. Failing to obey this simple, easy to follow rule will result in my enjoyment of your novel falling by at least 25%, and, if it goes on long enough, will instill in me a desire to hunt you down and pelt you with copies of your own books until you cry uncle.


(This particular version of this rant is brought to you by a certain fantasy tetralogy which, while not without its good points, is making me absolutely crazy by forcing me to endure 1,600+ pages of randomly shifting tenses.)

Man, I Hope Work Tonight Doesn't Require Actual, You Know, Alertness.

Dear sinuses,

I hate you.

That is all,


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dead PC Booting

Thing that sucks: Waking up to discover that your computer has apparently died quietly while you were asleep.

Thing that rocks: Knowing people who happen to have spare computer power supplies lying around and who will happily accept a pizza and a couple of episodes of Torchwood as payback for the use of their geeky skills.

Thing that is becoming increasingly impossible to deny: I need a new computer. Like, now.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

You Know You're A Bookoholic When...

...on giving people tours of your house, you find yourself saying, "This is the hardback fiction, here, and the non-fiction is in this room..."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mooning About

Whoops, I completely forgot to put up a post mentioning the total lunar eclipse which is happening right now, at least for folks in North America. Hey, I was busy caulking! It's pretty cloudy here, alas, but my sister just called and said that, miraculously enough, it's clear where she is in Oregon, so she actually gets to see it for once.

Down and Grout

Ye fucking gods, re-caulking the bathtub is a serious contender for Most Annoying Household Task Ever. Why do the stupid home repair books always make everything look so simple and easy? Sigh.

Anyway, 'tis done now. Hopefully 'tis done to some semblance of waterproofness, but, really, who knows?

I took the opportunity, while I was at it, to remove from the rim of the bathtub a metal track that once, at some time in the distant past, presumably held a sliding door. That thing has annoyed me since the day I moved in, because it means I can't sit on the edge of the tub while I'm shaving my legs. Of course, it left behind a gooey, dirty mess that I've so far only been partially successful at cleaning up, but I'm sure I can deal with that eventually.

Am very tired now, though. Man, you know what I could really use, after covering myself in drippy caulk and having my back tighten up on me again from all that scraping? A nice, hot shower. Which I can't have for... *checks instructions on caulk* 36 hours. Sigh.

Oh, and, by the way, a tip for anyone else who might be thinking of tackling this job for the first time: the masking tape is not optional. Trust me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Battle May Be Over, But The War Goes On.

I am declaring victory over the ants. I haven't seen one in the bathroom for a couple of days, and before that the ones I did see mostly appeared to be in their death throes. *observes a moment of silence for the ants*

Next order of business on the homeowner's agenda is to re-caulk the bathtub. It's needed to be done for a while now, and I think that's part of the reason why the ants decided to set up shop in the first place; apparently they like the damp, and water getting into the walls from a poorly-caulked bathtub creates something along the lines of a Carpenter Ant Paradise Resort.

I went out today and bought -- I hope -- everything I should need to tackle the job. Wish me luck. I suspect I'm going to need it, given the fact that I've never even used a caulking gun before.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Random Moments Of Geekly Happiness

It's mostly been kind of an annoying day, what with the the power being out at work when I got there, but at least now I can say that I've actually used a sonic screwdriver to open a door.

Well, OK, I used the flashlight on it so I could see the buttons on the phone to call a person on the inside to come and open the door. But it totally counts!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Scientist Humor Makes Me Feel Less Humbuggy.

OK, honestly, I don't like Valentine's Day. Those of you who do enjoy it, good for you, and I hope you have a great day, but personally I prefer to sit out the sappy hearts'n'flowers fest and just enjoy being happily single in quiet.

However, I must confess, this has actually made me appreciate the holiday for once. I almost wish I did want to give someone a card, because how could anyone possibly resist romantic sentiments presented by Charles Darwin or Carl Sagan? Well, OK, I'm sure lots of people could, but I don't think they'd be people I'd want to give a Valentine's Day card to in the first place.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gratuitous Cat Pic

I believe I've been falling behind on posting the requisite number of cat pictures as called for by standard internet protocol, so here's one I just took of Nova and a tiny corner of my To-Be-Read Pile:

What can I say? I own a digital camera, and there's just something about the combination of books and cats that I find irresistible, so things like this are inevitable once in a while.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Flickering Television Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Now that it looks like the writers' strike may be over, the TV Guide website is compiling a tentative list of when viewers might be able to expect their favorite shows to return. (Or not, if you happen to be a fan of, say, The Bionic Woman.) It says it's being updated hourly, so I'll be sure to check back for news about House and Heroes. *keeps fingers crossed*

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'd Say "Whoo-Hoo!", But I've Seen The Last Few Episodes.

Random Links: The All-TV Edition

Lost - The Synchronizing: Nicely put together video showing the plane crash from Lost from multiple POVs. Contains spoilers through season three.

Wil Wheaton vs. the Bad Astronomer: Ubergeek and TNG alumnus Wil Wheaton utterly pwns Phil Plait, aka the Bad Astronomer, in a battle of Treknobabble. It amused me.

Torchwool and Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre vs Darleks: Scottish sock puppets spoof Torchwood and Doctor Who. The former, in particular, is hysterical.

Which Torchwood Character Are You?: Speaking of funny takes on Torchwood, this also amused the heck out of me. Question 4 really just says it all. Oh, and apparently I'm Tosh.

Did I Say I Should Avoid Discussing Politics? Oh, Well. Stupid Internet Quizzes Are Pretty Harmless...

What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with
You scored as Old School Democrat

Old school Democrats emphasize economic justice and opportunity. The Democratic ideal is best summarized by the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Old School Democrat




New Democrat




Foreign Policy Hawk


Pro Business Republican


Socially Conservative Republican


The fact that I score equally on those first three choices probably says something about how idiosyncratic (or, if you prefer, how muddled) my political views actually are... But, y'know, that does sound like a nice summarized ideal to me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Me: 2, Ants: 0? Or Am I Counting My Chickens, Er, Ants?

Hmm. Yesterday, there were ants crawling about quite actively on the bathroom floor, and there seemed to be a fair number of them going into the little plastic Ant Take-Out Restaurants of Death I put out the other day, although I couldn't really tell if they were taking any of the poisoned bait out with them or not. Since sometime last night, though, I have seen a grand total of one ant, and there has been no more dirt-piling activity around their little hole in the baseboard. I think... maybe I got them? Huh. It seems almost anti-climactic.

(Yes, yes, I know. ANTi-climactic. I'm sorry. It wasn't even really intentional. Mostly.)

[Update: No, I've seen a couple more tonight. Still no more building activity, though. Either they're dying off, or they're done renovating.]

Currently: The Neurosis and Rock'n'Roll Edition

Current clothes: Black sweat pants. A white t-shirt from a Rush concert (the 2002 Vapor Trails tour), which admittedly has seen better days. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: It wasn't too bad, except then I started thinking about all my current annoyances and worries in preparation for doing this meme, and I started feeling stressed again. Thanks, meme.

Current music: Most recently, Warren Zevon's Transverse City, which I've had in fairly heavy rotation lately. I bought this album a little while ago after seeing it mentioned in I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, the Warren Zevon biography I got for Christmas, which I know I've mentioned here before. It was one of the Zevon albums I didn't have, and the description in the book made it sound really cool. Which it is. In fact, it's more than cool; I'd go so far as to call it wonderful. Apparently it sold like crap when it came out, though. The general consensus seems to be that it was "ahead of its time." And I can see that. The title track is possibly the only product of late 80's cyberpunk influence that feels more relevant in 2008, rather than being dated. (Note to my sis: If you're still interested in checking out some of this guy's stuff, this seems to me like a really good album to start with. I suspect it's more to your taste, musically, than some of his other work.)

Current annoyance: Higher-than-expected veterinary bills. Ants. The fact that my sleep schedule is still messed up. The fact that my back still hurts, and every time I think maybe it's getting a bit better, I have to bend down and pick something up and it starts complaining at me again. It's getting to the point where it's starting to curtail my activities, especially walking, which starts to hurt after about ten minutes. Gaah. Oh, and US politics. US politics annoys the crap out of me. I should try to keep to my general policy of not discussing politics. It usually just gets me all wound up to no good purpose.

Current thing: Randomly stressing about stupid stuff. See "current annoyance" above and "current worry" below.

Current desktop picture: This picture of Mars and the constellation Orion, as seen from Monument Valley.

Current book: Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain by Carolyn Abraham. So far, it's not remotely as interesting as it sounds like it ought to be.

Current song in head: It's something from one of the Sopranos soundtracks, but I'm not sure exactly what it is, because it's in Italian, and I'm far too lazy to look it up.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, this week's episode of Torchwood, which was OK. Before that, I was watching Jekyll, which I figured I'd mention, because, well, it's worth mentioning. Steven Moffat's writing talents plus some really excellent acting equals six episodes of damned good television.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But there must be food soon. I'm hungry.

Current worry: Lately? Everything and anything. I started out this week in a really annoying state of just being randomly stressy about all kinds of stupid things. I'm talking things that I know aren't worth worrying about: random work crap, social interactions, when I was going to have time to do the grocery shopping, you name it. I was hoping to take my days off to relax and get over that, and it has sort of helped, but now I've got more stuff that I don't know whether I actually need to worry about or not. Are ants eating my house? Might my cat have a thyroid problem after all? I don't know! I hate not even knowing whether something is worth stressing over. I start stressing over whether I should stress. Man, I need a vacation. A non-stressful vacation, where I lie on the beach for a week and don't talk to anybody.

Current thought: OK. Deep, cleansing breath. Ah, that's better. Really, my problems are not dire. My problems are so far from dire that it's an insult to people with actual dire problems to take them too seriously. And, y'know, it's a nice day, I don't have to go in to work, I've got lots of interesting stuff to watch on DVD, the cats are all dozing adorably in the sun, and I think there might be some rocky road ice cream in the freezer. There. Life is pretty good. I'm smiling now. Huzzah!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Since There's A Bit Of A Veterinary Diagnostic Issue Going On, I'm Tempted To Call This Post "Animal House."

Why is everything always so complicated with these cats? I took Happiness in today for a dental cleaning, and when they checked out her heart to make sure she was healthy enough for the anesthetic, there was apparently an anomaly on her ECG indicating that the left side of her heart was enlarged. Which can be a sign of hyperthyroidism, which would fit in with her weight loss. So they did x-rays, which showed a very slight enlargement, and a thyroid test, which came back fine. The vet thinks it's probably nothing serious, but apparently the thyroid test doesn't necessarily always show problems, because levels of thyroid hormone can vary with the time of day and god knows what else. So he figures it's worth keeping an eye on. Meanwhile, it turned out she had an abscess, which could also explain why she's lost weight, if it's been hurting her to eat. Poor kitty. They ended up having to take out two teeth. I feel bad, because I really should have made her the dental appointment at least six months ago, but who knew? She wasn't acting like she was in pain.

And now the poor thing is supposed to stay in her carrier with no food or water overnight while the anesthetic works its way out of her system. She's really just not a happy kitty today.

Me, I'm wondering what constitutes "overnight," since I'm starting night shifts the day after tomorrow and desperately need to try to stay up as late as possible and sleep as late as possible. Although that may be difficult, since I woke up at 7 AM today.

Aargh. Why is it a struggle trying to keep the cats healthy, but the ants continue to thrive despite the fact that I'm actively trying to kill them? Stupid animal kingdom.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Having finally finished my latest marathon of Stargate SG-1 viewing -- six seasons down, four to go! -- I've turned my DVD player's attention briefly back to movies, with last night's main feature being Ratatouille. And, y'know, I usually really enjoy stuff from Pixar, but this one just didn't do much for me. Possibly this was partly due to bad timing; I'm not feeling remotely well-disposed towards wall-infesting vermin of any sort right now.

But, I don't know... Bits of it were cute, but most of what were obviously intended to be the cutest or funniest parts just failed to raise much of a smile. And, bizarrely, given the fact that I was willing to accept the intelligent rats from the outset, I kept running into plausibility issues that bugged the crap out of me. (That didn't happen to me with Cars! And Cars made no logical sense whatsoever. Hmm. Maybe that's why. This one was set more or less in the "real world" not some crazy Land of Talking Automobiles where you're invited to really not think too hard about, say, where the gasoline comes from, given that it's kind of hard to imagine a bunch of cars toiling away on an off-shore oil rig.) Oh, and also I couldn't stop myself from constantly thinking that the whole thing would be infinitely more entertaining with the addition of Gordon Ramsey. I blame my foodie friends for that one. If they hadn't made me watch the cooking channel, I wouldn't even know who Gordon Ramsey is.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's The Kingdom Of The Spiders, It's The Empire Of The Ants

So, maybe a week ago, I happened to notice an ant or two crawling around in my bathtub. I didn't think too much of it at the time, as goddamned bugs of one sort or another are always finding their way into the house from somewhere. A few days later, I saw at least a dozen of 'em at once, crawling around on the bathroom floor. That was a little odd; I've seen them come in in good-sized numbers under the kitchen door, but the bathroom is in the middle of the house, about as far away from an outside door as it's possible to get. I still didn't concern myself with it too much, figuring that they must've gotten in through a crack in the floor, and that there'd probably been something spilled on the floor that had attracted them. I didn't find anything like that, but I assumed they'd probably already carted whatever it was off, and when I went back in later they were gone.

Yesterday, I happened to notice that this tiny gap where the baseboard (or whatever that wall-trim stuff is called) on one wall of my bathroom doesn't quite meet up with the trim around my tub seemed to be oozing some sort of crumbly dirt. I cleaned it off. A few hours later, it came back. I cleaned it off again. It came back again. And I noticed more recurring crumbly stuff on the little tile-covered ledge halfway up the wall from my bathtub, where apparently some of the grout had worn away a little and left another gap.

I suspect I know what is happening here. These ants didn't just randomly wander into the house. These ants have moved in. Aargh! Stupid ants! I do not want housemates, and most especially not ones with six legs!

A day spent googling in random moments of downtime at work leads me to conclude that these are probably either annoying but relatively harmless pavement ants, or potentially destructive and difficult-to-eradicate carpenter ants. I know which one I'm voting for.

The challenge now, I believe, is to figure out how to poison ants inside the house without also poisoning my cats. But if that fails... Does anybody happen to know a decent exterminator in the Socorro area?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yet Another Reason Why I Hate Sports And Everything Associated With Them.

I do not have an episode of House on my TiVo. I have half an episode of House preceded by thirty minutes of idiots yakking on about the Super Bowl.

Damn it. I want my TV to show me smart guys who can't run!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Tag! I'm It!

I know I've done this meme before, possibly more than once, but I've been tagged to do it again. So:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

And the results are:
Somebody who has to remember all the time what feelings are isn't going to be any good at hiding them. Tamsin looked at me for a long time without saying anything, while I was apologizing and apologizing for mentioning the Other One at all. Finally she smiled, and it was all right, like that, the same way it had been absolutely, horribly wrong a minute before.
That's from Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle. I don't know what it's actually talking about, though, as I'm only on page 24.

And I tag no one. Exercise your free will (or your convenient illusion thereof, depending on your philosophical viewpoint).

Yeah, That's An OK Hour To Be Waking Up.

You are late-sleepy relaxation, the half-awake moment when you realize it's morning, but you don't have to get up, because there's no place you have to be. You are that cozy spot under the covers where everything feels temporarily perfect, even if you know you'll eventually have to wiggle out and start the day. Maybe you're the artistic type, who doesn't function well on a normal schedule. Sleep's important to you, and you like the freedom of sleeping as late as you want (especially since that is closely related to the freedom to stay up as late as you want). You like to roll out of bed, put on some comfy clothes, and get a laid back start to the day. If not everything on your list gets accomplished, no worries. Your only priority is having no priorities – you just want to take things at a slow, mellow pace.

OK, I don't know how accurate all of that is, but "you like to roll out of bed, put on some comfy clothes, and get a laid back start to the day" is very possibly the single truest thing any one of these stupid internet quizzes has ever said to me. If I don't get to sit around in my comfy jammies for at least an hour and a half, sipping coffee and surfing the net and waking up slowly, my whole day suffers. (Yes, it's Reason Why I Hate Morning Shifts #3!)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Very Funny, Universe.

Yes, yes, I'm sure the fact that my back is currently killing me is some sort of cosmic justice for my having badmouthed chiropractors earlier.

*sighs heavily*

*winces in pain*

(Don't worry, it's not actually that bad. It's just a pulled muscle. But it is annoying the hell out of me.)