Monday, March 31, 2008

Sometimes Even I Have To Stop Walking And Use The Ol' Feet To Work Some Pedals Instead.

Given that I'm going to have to use it to drive myself to the airport in about a week and a half, I figured it was time I actually paid some attention to that thing that sits out in my driveway. I'm not sure which says more about how little driving I do these days: the fact that I was astonished by how freakin' expensive it was to fill up the tank or the fact that there were actually cobwebs on the car. Yeah, OK, probably the latter. I should have taken a picture; maybe if I sent it to my insurance company they'd give me a lower rate.

I also suddenly realized that the oil hadn't been changed since... er, well, let's just say I think I'm going to have it done tomorrow.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008


The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

The amusing thing is, I did this on five hours of sleep, at a disgustingly early hour of the morning, while desperately craving my still-brewing coffee. So I'm just like that naturally, I guess.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Does That Mean I'm Going To Get Abandoned In Aberdeen?

Which member of UNIT are you? (classic Doctor Who)

You are Sarah Jane Smith. You are a feminist journalist who originally came to UNIT looking for a story. Instead, you found the adventure of a lifetime travelling with the Doctor.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla | Join | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Some Days, I Think It Might Just Be Easier To Go Naked.

I just got back from doing a bit of clothes shopping. Always a fun experience, that, if by "fun" you mean "really, really annoying." What I want to know is, why is it nearly impossible any more to find a pair of jeans with a waistline that falls at your actual waist? Aargh, I hate 2000s fashions. They're all designed for women who are built like preying mantises and wear thong underwear. Listen up, guys: the world neither needs nor wants to see my midriff, and anything that's going to go between my butt cheeks had damned well better at least buy me dinner first.

It's gotten to the point where when I see skinny chicks wearing this stuff, I can't help wanting to slap them. Hey, follow your stupid fashion sense if it makes you happy, but when it starts bleeding over into my own classic jeans-and-t-shirt style, I get resentful.

I'm thinking about maybe shopping for men's pants next time, if the having-of-actual-hips thing doesn't prove too problematic. Anybody know what a women's 16 translates to?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

An Unusually Verbose Random Links Post

The "Blog" of "Unneccessary" Quotation Marks: There was a billboard I used to drive past all the time that advertised "'Free' Breakfast" at a local motel. And every single time I did pass it, I could not stop myself from wondering what the catch was. I can't help but imagine it as the premise of some kind of horror movie: The breakfast may look free, but, oh, the terrible, terrible hidden price. Bwhahahahaha! Ahem. Anyway, here's a whole blog devoted to that kind of thing. It makes the grammar centers in my brain go all twitchy.

What Real-Life Dungeon Exploration Might Look Like, Graduate Students in Tow: There's been a lot of Dungeons & Dragons-themed stuff on the web lately, in a fitting tribute to mark the passing of Gary Gygax. This one probably made me laugh the most.

Astronomy and Space Exploration in America's National Parks: An astronomer and physicist visits 12 national parks, takes some gorgeous photos, and talks about their views of the night sky and how their geology relates to that of other places in the solar system.

Futurama Timeline: From the birth of Nibblonian civilization 17 years before the big bang on into... THE FUTURE!

Ten Things You Don't Know About the Milky Way Galaxy: I knew some of these things, but not, I admit, all of them. It's amazing how long you can live somewhere and still not see all there is to see.

J. Wood on Lost, at Powells Books Blog: I happened to have a copy of Philip K. Dick's Valis sitting around on the old book pile, waiting for me to get around to reading it Real Soon Now, so when the novel made an appearance being read by a character on Lost, I thought it might be fun to join in with him. (Never mind getting kicked out of the book club, Ben! We'll start our own!) The experience was... interesting. Valis is a freaky-ass book, even by Dick's standards. It left me thinking, "Wow, somebody somewhere has got to have posted a more thoughtful analysis than I can come up with of how the themes in the book and in the show reflect each other." Sure enough, someone had. In fact, Wood posts a thoughtful analysis of every episode, with particular reference to literary themes and references. Definitely recommended for literate Lost fans! Warning: all discussions are heavy with spoilers for the episodes in question.

Match It for Pratchett: Author Terry Pratchett, who was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, has donated half a million pounds to Alzheimer's research. Fans of Pratchett's have taken up a collection hoping to match his amount. Donations as small as $2 are happily accepted, so if you've got a couple of bucks, why not pitch in?

Robot Battle: Who's the Coolest?: Cast your vote to determine the coolest robot of all time! Although at least one of those is technically a cyborg.

UNIT Recruitment Video: A video that will be amusing for old school Doctor Who fans who know the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce well, and informative for new viewers who've only been very briefly introduced. And who knows? Maybe after seeing this, you'll want to go and sign up! The world can always use more people willing to fight against the rubber-suit-and-tentacle brigade.

Worst of the Time Lords: The new version of Doctor Who has occasionally been criticized for giving us a Doctor who is "too emo." Whether you agree or not, this comic, which takes that idea to parodic extreme, is highly chuckle-worthy, and it gets funnier the longer it goes on. Note: posts with spoilers for the 2007 Christmas special or season 2 of Torchwood are marked with a banner at the top (look for the cartoon of the Doctor with a Titanic life preserver to indicate the former), but there's anything before that that you haven't seen, it's read at your own risk.

Who News Update

Looks like the UK start date for the new season (excuse me, series) of Doctor Who will be April 5.

Woo-hoo! (Or, perhaps, Woo-Who!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

RIP, Arthur C.

It seems like all the great talents I grew up reading are about gone now. I guess this is how you tell you're starting to get older, but I sure don't have to like it.

Farewell, Arthur C. Clarke. No matter what I might think of those Rama sequels, you were a great author and a hell of a visionary, and I'm sorry the planet's lost you.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who News

Several people have asked me if I know when Doctor Who is going to be back on in the US, and I now finally have an answer for them. Looks like the show will be returning to Sci Fi on April 18th, starting with 2007's Christmas special. Exactly when it'll be starting up again in the UK, I'm not sure, except that it's supposed to be Real Soon Now. (The BBC really just doesn't believe in advance planning when it comes to TV scheduling, as far as I can tell.)

Even better, Sci Fi is also picking up the spinoff show The Sarah Jane Adventures, which is supposed to be starting April 11th at 7:30 Eastern Time. SJA is a kids' show, but it's a smart, well-written, well-acted one that captures the sensibility of classic Who at its best. Plus Elisabeth Sladen has only gotten better with age. I definitely recommend checking it out, with or without kids. (I'd say that it was much better than Torchwood, except for the fact that Torchwood, the most recent UK episode aside, has taken a massive leap in quality this year. I will say that if I were being menaced by aliens, I'd rather have Sarah Jane's kids coming to rescue me than the Torchwood gang.)

I'm going to be travelling over those premiere dates, and probably mostly or wholly off-line, but maybe I'll put up a discussion post for the Americans before I go, since they were so successful last season.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Links That Are Random

7 Seven Minute Sopranos - a 'whacked out' refresher: A recap of The Sopranos up through the midpoint of season 6. Not actually very useful as an aid to catching up on the show, but kind of entertaining if you're already familiar with it. (Needless to say, spoilers abound.)

Martian avalanche caught in the act: It's an avalanche. In the process of happening. On Mars. I think this may just be the single coolest picture of anything ever.

Sluggy Freelance presents a Doctor Who crossover: Some anonymous person left a printout of this on my desk at work. Ah, they know me too well.

Simon's Cat presents "Cat Man Do" and "Let Me In": You might have seen the first one before, as it's been linked to all over the net. (And, if you have cats, you've probably lived through it, as well.) The second one is new, though.

& Teller: Magician Teller (as in "Penn &") fights zombies in Las Vegas. See, The Office depresses me, but this made me laugh. Loudly. Go figure.

Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan in 5 seconds and 2001 in 5 seconds: Exactly what they sound like. Hey, who has time to watch a whole movie these days?

Death Before Drone-dom!

My current DVD-watching is series 2 of the UK version of The Office. And, man, it really bemuses me... Lots of my all-time favorite TV shows (or, for that matter, books, movies, and other forms of storytelling) are chock-full of death, destruction, abject failure, moral compromise, and grand-scale tragedy. If a television show can actually make me cry, it's hooked me in for life. The angstier, the better! I'll happily tune in to watch main characters get killed every week while the survivors wallow in misery. I really, really will.

But the UK's Office I find so incredibly depressing, even while it makes me laugh, that I almost can't bear to keep watching. There are reasons why it's been well over two years since I rented season 1.

What I can't quite figure out is whether this says something profound about the differing emotional resonances of various kinds of fiction, or just something strange about me.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

*sighs heavily and goes off to reset all the clocks yet again*

Dear Daylight Savings Time,

Damn it, I was using that hour! Give it back!

No love,

Friday, March 07, 2008

Exciting Adventures Exploring The New Computer

Oh my god, Microsoft Word has apparently mutated in the last five years into some completely alien program that looks absolutely nothing like anything I have ever seen before. Who are you and what have you done with my word processor? Aargh! I mean, Word has always sucked, but at least it sucked in ways I understood. Mostly. I started using it when I was ten. I knew its tricks, its little ways... Well, I knew the ones I cared about, anyway, and I knew what I could ignore. Now... I don't even know what I'm looking at. And why does every computer application these days have to look like it was designed to appeal to toddlers? I do not need bright colors and cheerful little pictures! I am a serious adult! Why would I even be using a word processor if I didn't know how to read?

Oh, ye gods. It's finally happened, hasn't it? I've finally reached that age where I can't learn new computer stuff and don't like or understand How Things Are Done These Days. Book me in at the old folks home and throw away the key.

Then again, maybe it's just Microsoft.

Right Here, Right Now

Current clothes: Gray sweatshirt that says, "books. cats. life is sweet.", with a cartoon picture of a cat lying on a stack of books. Blue jeans. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: OK. I've been ridiculously stressed lately, but I'm in a rather better mood tonight. Having a shiny, shiny new computer probably helps.

Current music: Random-shuffle stuff again. Most recently: "A Floydian Slip" from The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd.

Current annoyance: Entropy. Also, the fact that I am not independently wealthy.

Current thing: Worrying. See below.

Current desktop picture: Still Mars and Orion over Monument Valley.

Current book: A Touch of Strange by Theodore Sturgeon.

Current song in head: It's actually quiet in here right now, surprisingly enough.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Current refreshment: Cold water.

Current worry: Everything. I'm serious. Name some aspect of my life, and I've been worrying about it. Worrying is, like, my new hobby. My insanely annoying new hobby. Hell, I'm starting to worry about my mental state from worrying so much.

Current thought: Mellow, mellow... Tonight I am being mellow. It's a nice, mellow night...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shiny New Machine!

My new computer came! I haven't had much of a chance to play around with it yet[*], but I have at least managed to determine that:

1) It boots!


2) Its video card does, indeed, work just fine with my spiffy new widescreen monitor, which had heretofore been sitting in the closet forlornly collecting dust.

As a test, I also installed Boggle on it and tried that out. And, wow, the game starts up instantly and runs smoothly with no glitches. What a concept! Such luxury!

I don't have it hooked up to the net yet, though. The idea right now is to set myself up a wireless home network, which should let the PC and my TiVo do nifty fun things together, and make it easy for me to use a laptop, if I ever actually have money again at some point in my life so I can buy one. I haven't got the hardware for that yet, though -- it should be showing up sometime early next week -- and I think I'm gonna need to get the guys from my ISP to come out and help me set it up once I do. Wish me luck! I'm kind of excited.

[*] Mainly because the delivery person came while I was asleep, and I had trouble dropping off again, then, as frequently happens in such situations, massively overslept. Which might actually be for the best, in terms of how I need to start shifting my sleep schedule around, but it did leave me with a headache on waking and not much time to spare tonight.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

Again I Say: Bah.

It has come to my attention that I desperately need a vacation. Unfortunately, the vacation I seem to need is the kind where I go somewhere completely serene all by myself and do nothing but take long walks, eat good food, contemplate the scenery, and read. Whereas what I have coming up is the kind where I travel around a lot, engage in various bustling activities, and live in close quarters with other people while pretending to be social.

Not that I'm not expecting it to be fun... I just wish I could have another vacation first.