Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stuff Involving Me And Doctor Who

Before it slips my mind again, I really ought to mention that the fourth issue of Kaleidotrope is now available, and that it features an interview editor Fred Coppersmith talked me into conducting with the authors of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan's Guide to Doctor Who, an interesting book that takes an analytical look at the series, old and new.

In very tangentially related news, I have finally broken down and ordered one of these. Hey, I needed one! At the moment, I can't plug both my printer and my scanner into my new computer at once because the cables are too short.

Your Rant For The Day

I somehow doubt that I'm going to get all the stuff I intended to get done today finished, but I did at least manage to get to the store to buy a card for my Dad's upcoming birthday, and Mother's Day cards for the various motherly types in my life.

And, man... You know, I love all these people and don't in the slightest begrudge them a lousy greeting card (or even a present if I'm feeling inspired, although this year I simply haven't had the time). But I nevertheless always find perusing the greeting card aisle or shopping for Mother's/Father's Day a distasteful process, just because the whole thing is basically one big exercise in gender stereotyping.

No, really, think about it. What kinds of themes do you see on cards aimed at men and boys? Sports, cars, hunting and fishing, tools... Father's Day cards that don't use one of those themes inevitably portray Dad as the protector, teacher, and gentle disciplinarian, or poke fun at his lack of domestic skills, or offer to let him have the TV remote for the day. Girls and women, of course, get flowers and cuddly animals, or jokes about shopping, dating, or losing one's looks, and Mother's Day cards inevitably portray Mom as a self-sacrificing nurturer and domestic goddess. What I want to know is, where are the cards for women who play golf or men who like gardening? My Mom's a NASCAR fan, but I'm sure as hell never going to find a card with the word "Mom" and a picture of a race car on it. Where are the cards praising Dad for kissing boo-boos and being a good cook, or Mom for putting her foot down in ways that come to be appreciated later in life and teaching her kids home repair skills? Why are these people -- and they do exist -- invisible on Mother's Day and Father's Day? Why do all little kids, from the time they're old enough to watch ads on TV, "know" perfectly well that a kitchen appliance is a good gift for Mom and a power tool is a great gift for Dad, whether that's true of their own particular Mom and Dad or not?

Aargh. And people wonder why I usually just opt for cards with stupid puns.

Here Come The Drums

There's probably a fair amount of competition of the title of "most amazing thing I've seen in my life," but for the moment (at least until I get to see a space shuttle launch), I think I'm going to declare it a tie between the interior of Carlsbad Caverns and a Neil Peart percussion solo.

The Rush concert I just got back from rocked.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Oh, And Speaking Of TV Shows I'm Never Going To Catch Up On...

Here's your Doctor Who discussion post for the season 4 opener, "Partners in Crime," since it aired on Sci Fi last night. Once again, say anything you like, only no spoilers for subsequent episodes, please!

Information Overload Has Now Been Achieved.

Hang on, there was a new episode of Lost while I was gone, too? Aargh! I'm never going to catch up.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Acts Of Feline Expression

I've just discovered that sometime during my two-week absence, one of my kitties apparently somehow got at my copy of Cats for Dummies where it sits on the shelf and took his or her claws to the back cover. I am laughing so very, very hard at this that I find I can't even be properly pissed off about it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Come From The Land Down Under

I am back safe and sound from Australia! And apparently the kitties did miss me. Awww.

The trip was an absolute blast. More about it later, possibly in too much detail. Certainly, there will be pictures, once I've sorted through them. Which may take a while, as I have tons and tons and tons of stuff that's piled up while I was gone, and I have been travelling since yesterday, or tomorrow, or something. I'm not actually sure, what with crossing enough timezones to technically arrive before I left, but it was a long, long, long time, and I am beyond fried.

Man, if only I could go places without all the tedious travelling. Because after the first six or seven hours on an airplane, I'm pretty much ready to confess to serial murder and high treason if it would just get them to make it stop. I have an entirely new perspective on Lost now, too... I am never going to be able to watch the first episode again without imagining that at least some of those people are standing in the burning wreckage thinking, "Hey, at least I'm not on that freaking plane any more!" I don't know why old Twilight Zone episodes and things always portray the transport to Hell as a train. If there is a transport to Hell, it's an airplane on which all the seats are coach, and every one is a middle seat. (Yeah, OK, it's a round airplane.)

But enough bitching about flying. Again: trip was awesome, more details when brain is rested. Eventually.

I've got about 166 unread e-mails in my box, by the way, so if you're expecting a reply to something, keep expecting...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Brief Check-In

Hiked six miles around Uluru today, after waking up 5 minutes before the bus was supposed to leave at thirty minutes to sunrise. Am tired, blistered, and in desperate need of a shower. Am sitting at internet kiosk in hotel lobby instead, because they were making up our room when we got back.

Thus, another very, very brief hello!

Also, kangaroo is delicious.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Very, Very Brief Post From Australia

OK, look, I found a brief few minutes to access the internet! Another 1 minute and 47 seconds, in fact, according to this machine, so I'd better type very, very fast. So, greetings from Alice Springs! I'm off to eat some kangaroo in a minute. I'll let you know how it tastes.

Eep, 0:43. Better hit save. See ya!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The "Talk Amongst Yourselves" Doctor Who Discussion Post

OK, as threatened promised in the post below, here's a discussion thread for the Doctor Who Christmas special. It airs on April 18th, so if you want to share your thoughts on it while I'm gone, go for it! Give me some lively discussion to come back to! Just remember, no spoilers for any later episodes, please. (And definitely no spoilers for anything past the fourth-season opener, as I won't have the chance to watch any more episodes until I get back.)

Fetch My Ruby Slippers, Guys; I'm Off To The Land Of Oz!

Well, this is it! In about an hour, I'm off on the first leg of my journey to the far side of the Earth! It's within the realm of conceivability that you might hear from me before then, but as I'm going to be computerless and probably insanely busy trying to pack an entire continent's worth of experience into two weeks, I really wouldn't count on it. I'm sure there will be pictures when I get back, though, assuming the plane flight doesn't kill me.

Oh, and a reminder for the American Doctor Who fans: The Sarah Jane Adventures starts tonight, and new episodes of Doctor Who will be airing on Sci Fi starting with the most recent Christmas special on the 18th. I think I'll put up a discussion post in case anybody wants to talk about that while I'm gone. I mean, you guys don't need me to have interesting TV-related conversations, right?

Anyway, that's about it... I've got to go and put the trash out and stuff before I go. Catch you all on the flip side! Whatever that actually means...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Believe I Shall Dump My Current Accumulation Of Random Links On You All Before I Go.

PodCastle: A new fantasy fiction podcast, from the creators of the excellent science fiction 'cast, Escape Pod, and its horror sibling Pseudopod. They've only released a couple of episodes so far, but I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Is Science Fiction Antithetical to Religion?: A number of science fiction writers are asked the question "Is science fiction antithetical to religion?" They all give more or less the same (and, in my opinion, obviously correct answer): "no," or at least "not intrinsically." But there are some interesting discussions and insights along the way, from various people with a wide variety of religious views.

Babelcolour Classic Tribute: Every Story: A glimpse at every single classic Doctor Who story, in just under five and a half minutes. Gives you a great sense of what the show is, how it's changed over the years... and how it hasn't.

"What the Frak?" Battlesatar Galactica recap: Interesting and amusing video that does a surprisingly good job at catching you up to date on the story thus far (well, the story up to just before last week's season premiere, anyway). Full of spoilers for past episodes, needless to say.

Farscape 1812 DRD Plush: For the Farscape fans: 1812 is now a plushie!! On a completely unrelated note, I would like to point out that my birthday is in July. Heh.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Drifting With The Currents

Current clothes: Black t-shirt with a picture of a Dalek on it, gray shorts, black sport socks.

Current mood: Swinging wildly back and forth between "happy" and "frazzled." So... "hazzled!" Or possibly "frappy."

Current music: Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever.

Current annoyance: I spent a week playing phone tag with a painter, and then when I finally got hold of him, he said he could come out and look at what I needed done sometime on Monday... then never called or showed. And I'm getting his answering machine again. Sigh. This is how things go in this town.

Current thing: Trying to do every expensive thing I need done in my life all at once. Travel to Australia! Household repairs! Computer stuff! Sigh. My sense of timing sucks.

Current desktop picture: M78 and reflecting dust clouds in Orion.

Current book: Americans' Survival Guide to Australia and Australian-American Dictionary by Rusty Geller. I am attempting to be well-informed and prepared before I travel! This is a pretty good book for it, too. Much of it is aimed at people who are planning on living in Australia, but there's also a lot of information that's useful for tourists. It is, however, mostly succeeding in making me suspect that I'm not going to be able to understand a damned word anybody is saying, and that I will probably starve to death because I am too incapable of internalizing the local customs to ever be able to figure out how to procure food. (They want you to have reservations at a lunch counter and the supermarkets all close at 6 PM? Really?)

Current song in head: It's mostly random cacophony in here right now, but a minute ago my brain appeared to be playing the theme song to Bonanza. It does that occasionally. I have no idea why. I've never even seen a full episode of Bonanza.

Current DVD in player: Nothing at the moment. Most recently, I think, last week's Torchwood. Have I mentioned how much better this season was than last season? Because that level of improvement is really very impressive.

Current refreshment: Oh, hang on! I heated some water for tea and then forgot about it! Back in a sec... OK, cool. Now I have tea brewing.

Current worry: Oh, there are so many of them, but the most immediate one is... Well, let me put it this way. I sat down and accounted for all the time zone changes and eventually discovered that, counting the drive to the airport, time spent at the airport, the flight to Los Angeles, the layover in LAX, and the flight to Melbourne, I am going to be travelling for approximately 27 hours. I'm honestly not sure about my ability to survive that. I start hyperventilating a little just thinking about it. I mean, four hours spent in a car, an airplane seat, or even in an airport is about the point where I start to get a little bit crazy.

Current thought: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! *deep breath* OK, there, that's better. I just needed to release some of this tension. Honestly, once I'm there, I'm sure I'll have lots of fun. All I need to do is to survive the trip... Do you guys think thirteen books ought to be enough?

(Hey, speak of the devil! I was just about to post this when the painter called. He said yesterday was "a very, very, very, very bad day." I decided I probably didn't want to know the details. Anyway, he's supposed to show up on Wednesday now. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

House, Books, Television, Travel Plans, You Name It, I'm Babbling About It In This Post.

I'm now well into my pre-vacation vacation. Which isn't as relaxing as it sounds -- quite the opposite, really, as I'm spending much of the time trying to take care of all the million and one things I ought to get done before heading off for Australia. Mostly, this involves dealing with the various and sundry ways in which my stupid house is trying to fall apart on me. Or, rather, finding competent (I hope) professional people to come and deal with them for me. Which isn't as simple as you might think in a small town like this. But I'm working on it.

Fortunately, there are many bright spots of stress relief. Like the fact that, after a a bit of a drought, there is finally some decent television on again, even if I am, er, importing some of it from the UK. And even if Battlestar Galactica has upset me mildly with a big old "to be continued" when I'm not going to be able to watch again for three weeks, and Torchwood's finale was, um, upsetting in entirely different ways which I won't spoil here. Still, there is new Doctor Who, which I am planning on getting together with friends to watch. No day with a new episode of Doctor Who can possibly be a bad day.

Also contributing to today's extreme not-badness: library sale! The haul this time out, if anybody besides me is interested, was:

...which completely wipes out all the progress I'd made on the To-Read stacks this year. Sigh. Oh, well. I'm figuring on doing a lot of reading on planes in the near future.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wait, Am I Bogart Here?

What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life?

"You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss". Your romance is Casablanca. A classic story of love in trying times, chock full of both cynicism and hope. You obviously believe in true love, but you're also constantly aware of practicality and societal expectations. That's not always fun, but at least it's realistic. Try not to let the Nazis get you down too much.
Take this quiz!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Honestly, I Have Enough Real Things To Stress About.

Here is something I should keep in mind for future reference: when you drive a car home from getting the oil changed and notice after you get out that ohmigod, there's liquid dripping from somewhere!, it's good to think back and remember that giant puddle you just drove through before you start panicking.

(This is important for future reference because, sadly, driving to my house often involves going through a giant puddle. Good old Bullock Road floods every time it rains, and surprisingly often when it doesn't.)