Thursday, December 31, 2009

Somebody Call Me Tomorrow After It's Charged Up.

My exciting activity for the last day of the year: I bought a new telephone. My old one was prone to bursts of static and annoying clicking noises which finally became a bit too much to bear. This one, although it was very cheap, is a proper 21st century phone, with a phonebook list you can choose numbers from instead of a speed-dial function, and everything.

Slowly, the tech level in my house is rising.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Swiftly Now...

Wow, so, there are just over 24 hours left in this year.[*] The end of 2009 really did sort of sneak up on me. First it was Christmas, and then I spent four days working and sleeping and complaining, and then, bam! suddenly 2009 is rushing out the door already, before I can properly take stock of it.

Not that there's much to take stock of, really. It's been a remarkably uneventful year for me, and I'm not sure there's much of anything worth remembering about it. Which is probably a good thing. I mean, any year that doesn't go down as The Year My House Was Demolished in an Earthquake or The Year I Was Diagnosed with Cancer of the Face is a good year, in my opinion.

Next year, of course, will be The Year We Make Contact, so I'll be looking forward to that.


[*] In my year, that is. Your timezone may vary. And, heck, for all I know, you're reading this three weeks from now, anyway. Hello, person from the future!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weather!

Wow, will you look at that? Snow!

I don't know whether the fact that I literally started a little in surprise when I opened the door and saw white everywhere says more about how little it snows here, or how easy it is to catch my poor brain off-guard at this hour of the morning.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Little End-Of-The-Year Whining

I need a vacation. I didn't really get one over Christmas; I got the equivalent of a weekend in a week where I ordinarily wouldn't have had one without shuffling my hours around or taking vacation time.

I want to lie on a beach somewhere sipping piña coladas, or go for long walks in the woods, or something. Why is this not on my itinerary?

Sigh. Back to work I go. Again.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Happy!

Hi, everybody! Season's Greetings and all that jazz!

I had a very pleasant Christmas Eve, eating fruitcake and watching DVDs and chatting on the internet and stuff. I was up rather later than I intended to be, though... and then I woke up way too early this morning, for some unfathomable reason. Doggone it, I distinctly remember not having kids so that I could sleep in on Christmas.

But never mind! Presents have been opened -- well, OK, I confess to doing that last night, too. But never mind when they were opened, they are open now, and they are all much appreciated! (The cats appreciated the wrapping paper, too.)

And sometime today, I will call all my relatives... and cook myself a nice holiday meal... and watch Doctor Who... and maybe hang out with friends. And then I'll get some goddamned sleep. Yeah. That sounds like a plan.

Anyway, hope everyone out there is having a wonderful holiday, or has had a wonderful holiday, depending on what you celebrate when. Whether you've gotten enough sleep or not.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Totally Doing A Little Touchdown Dance Of Baking Right Now.

Behold! Fruitcake!




If I do say so, that came out surprisingly awesome.  And decidedly non-evil.  Although next year -- and, oh, yes, there will be a next year -- I think I will leave out the papaya in favor of more apricots.  The tropical note is very slightly discordant.

Still!  Non-evil fruitcake!  And they called me mad!

Yes, Poor Friend. I Hear She's Fruity As A Nutcake.

I have no idea how well it will come out, considering that I made a decidedly half-assed attempt at following the recipe. But, man oh man, if this thing tastes one-tenth as good as it smells, or even as appealing as the batter looked, I believe I will have single-handedly redeemed the reputation of fruitcake.

On a tangentially related note, apparently Weird Al's "The Night Santa Went Crazy" is now tied for the number one most played slot in my iTunes. This is what the holidays do to me, people.

HOW IS IT STILL ONLY 1:30?!?!?!?!

My holiday can start any time now. Really. Aaaaaany time. *looks at clock, sighs*

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gimme Cookie!

And there are cookies! Man, that really is a nice, easy recipe. Thank you, grandmom! They came out a bit different this time than the last few times I made them, I think, a bit thinner and crispier around the edges. This is not a bad thing, though. In fact, I think they're about the tastiest I've ever gotten them. Mmm. I've eaten a few too many of them already, but they're best fresh out of the oven! Plus, y'know, some of them fell apart, and you have to have quality control.

Also, for future reference, I must keep in mind that while cranking up the wacky Christmas music is a truly essential part of holiday baking, and while generally the most efficient means of timing things in the oven is to use the countdown timer on my wristwatch, these two things do not necessarily work perfectly well together. At least, not if one is wearing headphones and singing along with said music at a significantly high volume. Fortunately, I managed not to burn anything.

Yay for accomplishment! I think I deserve cookies.

Bake We Now

So, this is the time of year where, traditionally, I'm simultaneously going, "It's how long 'til Christmas?! I still can't open these freaking presents yet?!" and "OMG, Christmas is how soon? Wasn't I going to do some baking?"

Well, this year, I am pleased to report, there will be baking. Oh, yes, there will be baking. Tonight, I'm going to crank out a double batch of my grandmother's famous chocolate drop cookies. (Which reminds me: I need to call my grandmother.) And then tomorrow or Wednesday, for reasons far too silly and complicated to get into here, I'm going to make fruitcake. Hopefully non-evil fruitcake. That should be interesting, because I'm not sure I've ever even eaten a fruitcake, never mind baked one. So, uh, wish me luck!

We Can Has Moar Sun Now?

Happy Solstice, everybody! For the shortest day of the year, it's remarkably warm here today.

[ETA: Except it got a lot chillier by the time I left work.]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Apocawhat When?


I'm not at all sure how I feel about that. In part because I still haven't ever gotten around to watching that movie.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pet Peeve #6,057

Pet Peeve #6,057: Charity-solicitation junk mail that comes with a coin in the envelope. Ostensibly, this is some kind of promotional gimmick, but I think the real intent is to punish anybody who tries to feed the envelope through a shredder without opening it. Thank you so fucking much, unnamed charity I was never going to donate to anyway because you're partly about promoting a religion I don't believe in.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Muppets

Some seasonal Muppet joy:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Murphy's Law Application #4,972

When you've just hit "post" on something only to realize that you've made an embarrassing mistake that you want to correct quickly before anyone sees it, that is the exact moment your internet will suddenly go down. The length of the outage, of course, will be directly proportional to the magnitude of the mistake. Apparently realizing that you've used the same adverb three times in three sentences gets you about 10-15 minutes.

We're Not Getting Any Further Into December Without Doing This Meme.

Current clothes: Olive-colored sweatshirt with the sleeves bunched up at the elbows. Blue jeans. White socks. Gray sneakers.

Current mood: A little rushed right now, but generally very good. I don't know what it is, but lately even when I'm not really doing much of anything, I feel like I'm having a lot of fun doing it. It's weird, but I'm not going to complain about it.

Current music: Of late I've mostly been trying to catch up on the zillion podcasts I've downloaded, with a rather surprising degree of success. But I was just listening to some random-shuffle stuff while I was hanging up laundry. Most recently played: "Learn to Fly" by Carbon Leaf.

Current annoyance: The discovery that I accidentally left a tampon in the back pocket of a pair of jeans when I put them in the laundry. The results are sort of like when you leave a kleenex in the pocket, only even more annoying.

Current thing: OK, yes, I have been continuing to play The Sims 2 -- see "current song in head" -- but I've been rationing my time on it. Honestly.

Current desktop picture: This image from the Doctor Who Christmas station break thingy I linked to in the last post.

Current book: Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. This was written in 1968 and set in 2010, which makes reading it for the first time in almost-2010 a slightly odd experience. As is almost inevitable -- and, in this case, was undoubtedly a deliberate choice -- it's really not about 2010 at all, but about the issues and concerns of 1968, projected and magnified onto the screen of an imagined future. Needless to say, the issues and concerns of 1968 are largely not the issues of today, so that the only way I can properly appreciate this book is to try to rewind my brain back to 1968 and then spin it forward again. Which is something of a challenge, considering that I was born in 1971. But that mental exercise really is necessary, because that projection is mostly all there is; the characters and plot seem to exist mainly as scaffolding for Brunner's social commentary. It's a very carefully constructed and highly provocative projection, mind you, and I imagine it must have made quite an impact on contemporary readers, but at this point it's mainly only of historical interest. It seems to me that that alone ought to be enough to make it worthwhile reading, but I have to confess that I'm kind of struggling with it.

Current song in head: Various bits of music from The Sims 2, notably that salsa tune they seem to really enjoy dancing to.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 5 of Numb3rs. I really like this show. Objectively, it's not a work of artistic brilliance or anything, being just another crime-of-the-week show, albeit one with an excellent cast. But the fact that a show about solving crime with math not only made it onto the air, but is actually very successful... I swear, it gives me renewed hope for humanity. And it's immense fun to watch. I don't even care how accurate it all is.

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I'm getting very hungry.

Current worry: That if I spend too much more time on the internet right now, I'm not going to have time to cook and eat lunch before I have to leave for work.

Current thought: Where are my mornings going lately? Or even my "mornings," which partially take place in the early afternoon this week. How is it 1:30 already?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Random Pop Cultural Links

Summarize your sex life with a Star Wars quote: Way funnier than it probably ought to be. And I say that as someone who's not even that much of a Star Wars fan.

5 Star Wars Status Updates: Star Wars characters' Facebook updates. Y'know, I think that, as with Lovecraft, I may like Star Wars humor more than I actually like Star Wars.

Are You a Lovcraftian Horror?: Speaking of Lovecraft humor...

The 10 Most Clichéd Character Types in Sci-Fi: Despite the fact that I believe I actually quite enjoyed every single example they give here, I have to agree. These are very cliché.

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody: It makes me happy that I live in a world in which this exists.

BBC one Doctor Who Christmas Ident 1: Adorable little Doctor Who Christmas-themed station identification thingy.

Truly, They Would Rule The World If Only They Had Opposable Thumbs.

The intelligence level of my cats is really starting to worry me. Twice now -- twice -- Vir has expressed with meows and the placement of paws on my legs that he wishes me to pay attention to him instead of to The Sims 2[*], and, when this wish failed to be fulfilled, he's gone over and stepped on the off button on my UPS, thus instantly shutting down the computer[**][***]. And, yes, OK, once could easily be coincidence, and even twice could be attributable to the fact that, well, he's flailing around at my feet and could possibly hit it by accident. But I can't deny a strong suspicion that he actually knows perfectly damned well what he's doing. Gaaah! Cats!

[*] Sadly, I have fallen off the Sims 2 wagon. I was doing so well with going cold turkey for many months, but, well, there was this one week where I really needed to try to keep myself awake late in order to switch onto the night shift, and it's so useful for that...

[**] And, of course, he had to do it when things were going well. No, we can't lose an unsaved game when somebody's just set their kitchen on fire. It has to be right after they've unexpectedly won $7,000 or successfully potty-trained their toddler or something. (For I am a benevolent god this go-round, and am striving for happiness and fulfillment for my simulated playthings. Mostly.)

[***] And my router, which then got confused and started handing out duplicate IP addresses, thus denying my PC access to the internet when I turned it back on. Fortunately, rebooting the TiVo took care of that problem. Go, me, fixing minor computer issues!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Snow!

There is snow!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hey! You Can Buy Books Offline, Too!

Just got back from running some errands in Albuquerque. And since, this being only the second day of the month, I hadn't quite hit my book-buying quota yet, I stopped at Page One while I was there and did some book shopping. I hardly ever set foot in brick-and-mortar bookstores anymore, since I now do most of my book buying, like most of my everything-else-buying, online. I swear, I was sort of walking around in a daze wondering where the search box was. And, oh what a strange thing it seems, now, to pick up a book I've never even heard of, flip through it, and decide to take a chance on it without even looking up reviews or how people rated it on Amazon, or anything. It's fun! I really must do this sort of thing more often. If nothing else, it's good to throw your local independent booksellers some business now and again.

And now my To-Read Pile sits at 426 books. Which is, um, better than it was at the beginning of the year, at least. Go, me?

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's What Time Of Year, Now?

Given that the stores have had Christmas crap on display since before Halloween, I'd pretty much taken to tuning out anything relating to the holiday as an annoying irrelevance, for the sake of my sanity. So now that Thanksgiving is behind us and it's very nearly December, it's coming as a bit of a shock to suddenly realize that, oh, yeah, I really do need to think about doing my Christmas shopping.

What's really funny is that years ago I used to start buying gifts in October. I think the whole Christmas Creep thing is seriously backfiring.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mmmm, Pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans! I am eating pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random Link Dump

10 Geeky Laws That Should Exist, But Don’t: Very geeky, very true laws.

Short Film: Built a Time Machine to Kill Hitler: "You know that roommate who gets an iPhone, and brags about this 'great peice of technology' but he only ever uses it for stupid crap like cats playing piano? It’s that with a time machine."

Cell Size and Scale: A nifty interactive look at the scale of very small things.

The Average Color of the Universe : If you've ever wondered what color the universe is, it's, well, this.

Hey There Cthulhu: The Photomontage Video: Because, y'know, I think I actually like Lovecraft parodies better than I like Lovecraft.

15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee: Mmmm, coffee.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe Special Report: H1N1 Pandemic Update: I know I've had conversations with a couple of people lately about the flu and flu vaccines, so I thought this might be of interest. It's about a 45 minute podcast in which several doctors discuss in some depth this year's flu issues and the scientific facts on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. (Note: mp3 file. Right-click to download.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, Wait, It's Past Time For This Thing.

Current clothes: A towel. I just got out of the shower. Any minute now, though, I'm going to get dressed and start doing something useful. Aaaaany minute...

Current mood: Still a bit meh and a bit out of it, but better than yesterday, anyway. Last night wasn't exactly a good night, but at least I got more sleep.

Current music: Random shuffle stuff again. I don't even remember what it served me up last, other than some novelty songs and still more Rush.

Current annoyance: Sleeping problems. Allergies. Aches and pains, especially in my feet. Being back up at a weight where I start to feel unhealthy. Yes, I'm still waiting on that robot body...

Current thing: I don't know. Trying to be a bit more social, maybe.

Current desktop picture: Stars over Easter Island. I might have to change it soon, though. That giant face is oddly creepy.

Current book: St Anthony's Fire by Mark Gatiss, another of the no-longer-very-new Doctor Who New Adventures. It's readable, but kind of boring.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment, but for some obscure reason, I've had "She Moves On" by Paul Simon in my head off and on for over a week.

Current DVD in player: Nothing at the moment. The last DVD I watched was Monsters vs. Aliens. Which was kind of cute, and I heartily approve of the way the romance part of the plot was handled, but mostly it was pretty forgettable.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I'm kind of hungry, though. Possibly I should have had something more than one banana and half a pot of coffee for breakfast.

Current worry: I really need to get the brakes checked on my car. They've been making worrying noises from time to time.

Current thought: If I can't have my robot body, I really, really want that robot servant. It's the 21st century, damn it, and there are far fewer robots than I was promised.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It Could Bring Me Some Fries, As Well. And Fluff Up My Pillow.

I ended up not going in to work today. (I suppose I could have forced myself to be semi-functional if I had to, but they didn't really need me for anything, anyway.) I did fall asleep on the couch for a couple of hours this morning -- not very deeply asleep, mind you, and for a while afterward I felt even groggier than I did before, but I think it did me some good in the long term, because now I only feel slightly crappy. I also managed to get caught up on most of the stuff that had accumulated on my TiVo, so, hey, sick day accomplishment!

And now apparently my body has decided that what it really needs is protein, because I have a massive craving for a hamburger. Which, needless to say, I cannot obtain without leaving the house. Damn it, where is my robot servant, and why is it not fetching hamburgers for me?

Sigh. Well, I suppose some fresh air might actually do me good...

Suck.

Gaah. I am completely unable to decide whether I woke up at 2 AM and couldn't get back to sleep because I feel unwell, or whether I feel unwell because I woke up at 2 AM and couldn't get back to sleep.

Either way, I am not happy, and if large quantities of coffee do not magically make everything better, I am calling today off.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Musical Interludes

Thoughts I had while listening to randomly shuffled songs on my iPod this morning:

  • I have more songs about Elvis than I have songs by Elvis. I am not entirely sure what this means.

  • There are apparently a lot of songs on my iPod that I have absolutely no recollection of putting on there, and more than a few I would have been prepared to swear I'd never even heard of. This is one of the many things that makes random shuffle an entertaining experience.

  • My personal religious/philosophical viewpoint can be expressed with considerable precison via the medium of Rush lyrics. I feel as if I should embarrassed about this, but I'm not.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

It's Random Linky Time!

The World of Tomorrow (If The Internet Disappeared Today): Amusing Photoshopped pictures of "what life would be like in an Internet-addicted society learning to cope without it." What a terrifying thought.

Comic Strip Mashups: Cartoon comic strips mashed up with movies or comic books. I didn't get all the references, but the ones I did know are very funny.

I Want to Have Twins Just to Get Them These Awesome T-Shirts: Speaking of funny...

My Life Is Average: Average people with short comments about quirky little things that have happened during their day. Many or most of the "average people" seem to be teenage Harry Potter fans, and for all I know half of them are making stuff up, but it's entertaining.

A 'Lost' Q&A: Damon Lindelof answers (most of) your questions!: OK, he doesn't actually answer that many questions. But it's an interesting interview for Lost fans, anyway. Even if I must strongly disagree with Lindelof on one point: it's totally fair to bag on that awful "how Jack got his tattoo" episode, man.

The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu: Pure evil has never been so cute.

The Sims Horror Movie: This made me laugh out loud. It'll probably only be funny, though, if you've actually played The Sims.

Space Cadets: An SF-themed British comedy quiz show from the 1990s, featuring Greg Proops hosting from a giant Davros chair. Why did I never know this existed before now?!?! If you're familiar with Never Mind the Buzzcocks, it's basically the same thing, only with science fiction TV and movies, rather than music. It's not, I admit, as hilarious as Buzzcocks, but I know a lot more of the answers. Or such is my impression so far, anyway. I've only watched two episodes. Not that it ran a whole lot longer than that...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Post Of Sleep-Deprived Bitching #443

Waking up with sunshine in your face, cuddled up comfortably to a purring cat = good.

Waking up with sunshine in your face, cuddled up comfortably to a purring cat and realizing that you've only been asleep for a little over four hours = less good.

Waking up with sunshine in your face, cuddled up comfortably to a purring cat and realizing that you've only been asleep for a little over four hours and that those loud power-tool noises coming from next door are not going to stop any time soon = really not good.

Waking up with sunshine in your face, cuddled up comfortably to a purring cat and realizing that you've only been asleep for a little over four hours and that those loud power-tool noises coming from next door are not going to stop any time soon, and that it is thus going to be a long, long night shift tonight = Aaaaargh!

Where's the coffee? Where the hell is the coffee?!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Not Me, It's You.

Dear Dollhouse,

I'm afraid the time has come. To be honest, I knew it was coming for quite a while. The fact that your last episode sat on my TiVo for a week, unwatched and barely remembered, was a pretty clear sign. But I figured I'd give you one last chance. Alas, fifteen minutes in, and I find myself having to face the truth: you are boring and unpleasant, and your very rare moments of coolness simply aren't enough to satisfy me. And the fact that the only thing that seems to please me about you any more is the occasional opportunity to watch the main characters suffer, not because their sufferings are interesting, but because I hate them and wish them ill... Well, it's just not healthy for either of us, really.

So, goodbye, Dollhouse. I wish you the best of luck, I really do. Who knows, maybe you'll change, and one day we can get together again and make it work. But I'm not holding my breath.

Don't try to come around any more. I've told the TiVo to stop letting you in. Trust me. It's better this way. If only because it improves the quality of my Friday nights.

Sincerely,
Me

Time Files When You're... Doing Whatever The Heck I've Been Doing.

I have no idea how it got to be Friday already. Not that I'm complaining. Especially since this week Friday actually is my Friday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Geeky Life

Since my sister's poking me to see if I'm alive again, I suppose it's time for an update. Although I think she's getting more and more impatient these days. Sheesh. ;)

Anyway, so what have I been doing lately? Not a whole heck of a lot, but let's see...

1. Saturday I went to a Halloween party. The costume theme was superheroes. The party's host, a major costuming geek, is a big fan of Captain America and was doubtless going to have a Captain America costume, so some friends of mine cooked up a secret plan: get a big group of people together and all go dressed as Captain America. Or different versions thereof, anyway, both original designs and ones from the comics. Me, I just got a costume t-shirt and went as "Slacker America" (which may or may not have been amusing to anybody but me), since a) I came into this plan kind of late, and b) I have absolutely no skills or ambition when it comes to costuming. Some of the other folks did an amazing job, though. I was particularly impressed with Revolutionary War Captain America, even if everybody did seem to think he was a pirate version. (Probably because of the hat.) Anyway, it got the expected giant laugh, and we won the "best group" prize. And now I have a Captain America t-shirt that I will never, ever wear again, mostly because I know pretty much diddly-squat about Captain America.

2. I hardly ever go out to the movies anymore, preferring to stay in and Netflix instead. It's cheaper, easier, and you don't have to deal with obnoxious jerks who won't turn off their cell phones. But I did get out to see District 9 when it was here in town. It's not very subtle, and it's full of story implausibilities, but despite that -- or maybe because of it, I don't even know -- it's a decidedly good movie.

3. I've finally had to turn on my heater and get out my warm comforter, because it's suddenly gotten really cold here. Well, cold for here, anyway. It's not like I live in Minnesota, but New Mexcio can get a lot chiller than most people who've never lived here assume. I may actually have to wear my coat to work today. Which is OK. I like my coat. It's an army surplus coat, so I can pretend I'm Captain Jack. Who is better than Captain America.

4. Speaking of Captain Jack, I now have reservations for the Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention in February, which I'm going to be attending with aforementioned sister and one of her friends. I'm a little bummed that Peter Davison ended up canceling, after they moved the date for him and everything, but I'm looking forward to it, anyway.

5. What else? Well, as I think I mentioned before, I've started playing in a Star Wars RPG. I'm playing Jedi Daniel Jackson. Pretty much literally. Hey, Star Wars, Stargate... Same thing, right? Actually, it's pretty funny that I'm playing someone who's supposed to have a good knowledge of history, because my own familiarity with the SW universe is almost nil. Sure, I watched the movies. They were fun. I even read Timothy Zahn's trilogy, which I think were the first Star Wars books published. I remember nothing about them, though, except that they were better than I expected. I certainly can't tell you the name of the third alien from the left in the Cantina scene, or whatever, which a surprisingly large number of the people I know can do with ease. Hey, what can I say? I was always a Star Trek gal. Oh, well. Some day, somebody's going to want to game in a universe I actually know well. *eyes copy of Farscape RPG book thoughtfully*

And, yeah, that's about it. Unless you really want to hear all about how I sit around watching DVDs and reading and stuff. My life, it is so thrilling!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Things That Make Me Go "Huh?"

I just got season 2 of Burn Notice from Netfix. At the beginning of the first disk, there's an advertisement informing me that season 2 of Burn Notice is coming on DVD. Uh... thanks?

And I just noticed that one of the warnings printed on my new coffee maker's carafe is "Do not hold over people." I don't even want to know what prompted that warning, but I now have this bizarre, hard-to-control desire to wave it around over the top of my head.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Linkages

30 Dumb Inventions: Some of these are very dumb.

5 Websites During The Zombie Apocalypse: Amusing glimpse at what the web will look like once the brain-eating starts.

5 Myths That People Don't Realize Are Admitted Hoaxes: Hey, just because the person pulling the hoax actually, you know, admits it, is that any reason to stop believing?

Deleted Flashback Scene House ep 6x06: Scene from the end of this week's episode of House with a few seconds of deleted footage. It kind of made me go "aww."

And by the way, apropos of my last post -- and not entirely off-topic, since, look, I'm including a link! -- Cartoon Network has made good on the west coast feed screwup with the Venture Bros. season premiere. They're re-airing it Mon-Fri nights this week at 12:30 Pacific, and they made the episode available online almost immediately. So, while it may be true that nobody retires from Phantom Limb's shit list, Cartoon Network has successfully retired from mine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Nothing Ventured

You know what's really fun? When you wait more than a year for the season premiere of a show you're really into, and then when it finally airs, the network screws up the fucking broadcast. Thank the gods of technology for YouTube, that's all I have to say.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

*happy sigh*

I got sleep last night! Hours and hours and hours of glorious sleep! Ah, life is beautiful!

It's lovely today, with a nice, cool breeze ruffling my curtains. I don't have to go to work. Indeed, I have nothing pressing to do at all. I thus feel very relaxed, and am fully intending to keep right on being relaxed. Thus, today will be for reading, watching DVDs and/or whatever's still pending on the TiVo, and doing a bit of light housework of the kind with a high satisfaction-at-getting-it-done/annoyance-at-doing-it ratio.

Now that I'm back on a normal-person sleep schedule, I've been vaguely thinking about going up to Albuquerque tomorrow to run some errands, but I'm almost certain I'll end up procrastinating on that. Man, this book-buying quota thing is impacting all areas of my life... A couple of years ago, I would have motivated myself to go by promising myself a trip to Barnes & Noble or Page One while I was up there, but, nope. There was a Friends of the Library sale this weekend, and of course I hit my book-acquisition limit hard. So, yeah, maybe I will just stay home and read, and tell myself that I'm accomplishing something important by chipping away at the To-Read Pile so I can buy more books later.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Please Send Caffeine

Was awake for 23 hours yesterday. Slept for 4 1/2. Will not be able to sleep again for another 20.

Days like this, I'm glad my job doesn't involve performing surgery.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

And Some More Random Links

Yay for lazy blogging!

Top 10 Funniest Google Suggest Results: Fun with google's autocomplete function. People certainly search for some odd things.

10 Science Fiction Concepts Ruined by Human Nature: This is from some kind of testosterone-soaked "stuff for guys" site, and it's frankly kind of vulgar. And some of it's a bit WTF-y. But they're absolutely right about the flying cars.

New Doctor Who Logo: The BBC has just announced a new logo for Doctor Who, and here it is! I'm a bit "meh" about it, myself, but maybe it'll grow on me. They've also provided a look back at past logos here. Ah, nostalgia!

Regretsy: A collection of appalling, and I do mean appalling, handicrafts offered for sale on the web. Seriously, some of this stuff will scar you for life. I'm only linking to it because I want companionship in my trauma. Warning: NSFW. May cause brain leakage, eyeball bleeding, and loss of faith in humanity.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

To Reassure My Sister That I'm Still Alive, A Meme

Yes, that's right, this one again.

Current clothes: Dark gray sweat pants. Blue t-shirt I got at Pikes Peak. ("Pikes Peak 14,110'. It's Better On Top.") White socks. Black slippers

Current mood: Pretty darned good. For the first time in days, I was not awake before 6:00 this morning, which does wonders for my state of mind all by itself.

Current music: They Might Be Giants' Flood.

Current annoyance: Allergies. Again. Actually, they mostly haven't been too awful this year, except for the fact that I seem to be getting sinus pain a lot more often than I used to, which is worrying. And just starting today, my lungs are getting irritated. Hooray.

Current thing: After working far too many hours for far too many days and having far too little energy, I've finally got some time off, and am getting stuff done. Laundry, grocery shopping, that sort of thing. Not exactly fun stuff, but I like the feeling of finally accomplishing something.

Current desktop picture: Still the same bookshelves from last month. How can I get tired of looking at bookshelves?

Current book: The Witches of Wenshar by Barbara Hambly. Decent fantasy from the 80s.

Current song in head: For days and days, it was "Downeaster Alexa" by Billy Joel. Now it appears to be "Awaiting on You All" by George Harrison. And while I'm sort of glad to finally have Billy out of my head, I'd really rather have Brain Radio exhorting me to pity fishermen than to embrace religion. I have got to get a tuner for this thing.

Current DVD in player: Disc 5 of season 4 of Supernatural. Honestly, this season is kind of a mess. I'm not entirely sure the overall story arc makes any sense at all, they're going a bit over the top on the Emo Angst, and it seems like every time the writers get stuck they take a big hit off a crack pipe and come up with something insanely goofy. And yet, I'm still enjoying it. I do kind of like some of the story elements, at least in principle; some of the goofy crack-pipe-induced stuff is very funny; and there's one surprisingly good recurring guest character. Plus, any time I start to get bored I can entertain myself quite nicely just looking at Dean, who is very, very, very, very pretty. (What? I can't be shallow?) Whatever the reason, this show seems to sit right on the sweet spot -- if that's the word for it -- where I'm interested enough in it to happily keep watching as it's released on DVD, but not invested enough to care all that much if it does something stupid.

Current refreshment: Water.

Current worry: Eh, minor random crap, mostly.

Current thought: Let's see how late I can manage to stay up tonight.... Maybe tomorrow I can sleep until 9:00! (Sigh. The only thing worse than finding yourself turning into a morning person is turning into a morning person and then having to switch over onto night shifts.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Since I'm Awake At This Disgustingly Early Hour, Have Some Random Links.

Neave Strobe: Stare at the center of the trippy moving image for 20 seconds, then look away. The first time I tried it, nothing happened. On a second attempt, the results were... interesting. Also, I felt slightly queasy for the next couple of hours, which may or may not be related. (Note: not for those with visually-triggered epilepsy, or, probably, motion sickness.)

Doctor Who Dalek created out of 480,000 matchsticks: The usual (and slightly dismissive) thing to say in situations like this is that someone has too much time on their hands. Personally, I think it's exactly the right amount of time. (Note: as far as I can tell, this guy is no relation to Brian Croucher from Blake's 7, but it's certainly an interesting coincidence of names.)

The Science Knowledge Quiz: Yes, I got them all right. The results, I think, are slightly more interesting than the questions.

Doctor Who Exit Interview: David Tennant + Russell T. Davies, with Richard Metzger: Tennant and Davies talk about the end of their time on Who. Fun interview. These guys are always entertaining to watch. And I find myself really looking forward to see how their grand finale goes. (Yes, admittedly, Davies doesn't have the best track record with finales. But when it comes to Who, I am eternally, happily optimistic. And they're definitely making it sound cool!)

Vampire Diaries: The Diaries of Other Vampires Revealed: I think I like Spike's best.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sooner Or Later

Time is such an odd, odd thing. Right now, I'm simultaneously thinking "How the hell is it the end of September already?!" and "How the hell is it only 9:30?!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Watch More TV.

So, I just saw the season premiere of Dollhouse. And, I dunno... The show did improve massively by the end of the first season, and the dialog is displaying a bit more of Whedon's trademark wit these days, but it's still seriously marred by the fact that I find pretty much every character on this show (or at least every character with an actual personality) deeply unpleasant. And not in a fun love-to-hate or intriguingly-messed-up kind of way, either. It's very, very difficult to concentrate on evolving storylines or philosophical implications when I'm constantly distracted by thoughts of how much I'd like to see these people die in a fire.

Aaargh, I just still honestly can't decide whether I want to keep going with this show or not. It seems like it could become something I'd like enough that one day I might look back on my current reactions and laugh, but that whole die-in-a-fire factor is just really hard to get past.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Watch TV.

As usual, there is very little on the new fall TV schedule that looks to be worth my time. (At least, not until some subset of the lineup has been on for a couple of seasons and people adventurous enough to have tuned in at the beginning start telling me that, no, really, shows X, Y and Z are great and I should watch them on DVD. Since that's what usually seems to happen.) But I did catch the premiere of Flashforward, because the premise seemed really, really interesting, although I couldn't quite see how you'd get an entire series out of what seemed to me to be very much a miniseries-sized idea. Having watched it now, though, I can certainly see how it could work, although probably not for more than a season or two, even if the TV time/real time ratio drops below even Lost's. I will say, I wasn't too sure about it at the beginning; for quite a while I felt I was being introduced to too many characters to keep straight and given too few reasons to really care about any of them. This, however, is kind of inevitable in any show with a large cast and a complicated storyline, and by the end of the episode I was beginning to be able to keep them all straight. Bottom line, it's definitely intriguing enough that I'll keep watching, at least for now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gaaaaaaaaaaaah! I Need Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Dear Body/Brain,

You know what would be really, really helpful in my attempt to switch myself over onto night shifts? Not waking up at the crack of fucking dawn.

Keep this up, and I swear, I am replacing you the instant the technology becomes available. I don't care if it's the first step towards a galaxy dominated by Cybermen.

No love,
Me

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pop Cultural Random Links

The 2009 Fall TV Preview Starring Jonathan Coulton: Geeky music dude Jonathan Coulton offers previews of new fall shows based on nothing but their titles. Personally, I think his versions are almost all way more interesting than the real things. I would totally watch the show about the bored ghosts. And the transhuman family drama. And maybe the Ren Fair one...

The Ten Rules of Time Travel: Handy things to keep in mind before embarking on your temporal travels.

25 Greatest Cult Shows Ever: There clearly weren't enough of these lists in existence, so here's Entertainment Weekly's take. It's actually a fairly interesting list, featuring some old standards, a surprising number of shows I've never even heard of, and a few bold choices of which I wholeheartedly approve (go, Team Venture!). And I cannot argue with their selection for the #1 slot.

Cranial Capacity: 10 of Fiction's Biggest Brains: Also a nicely imaginative list, but, following up on my thoughts on that last link, I do see one glaring omission. I would happily put money on the Doctor vs. any of these dudes. Well, OK. Maybe not Sherlock Holmes. Somehow, I just don't think he could bring himself to take down Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Do Truly Erudite People Even Do Stupid Internet Quizzes?

Your result for The Are You Truly Erudite? Test...

True English Nerd

You scored 82 erudition!


Not only do you know your subjects from your objects and your definite from your indefinite articles, but you've got quite a handle on the literature and the history of the language as well. Huzzah, and well done! The English snobs of Boston salute you.


Take The Are You Truly Erudite? Test
at HelloQuizzy


I wish to point out that the person I stole this from got a (presumably respectable) score of 71 and was told "You may have missed a few questions, but if you keep your studies up and stay away from genre fiction, we'll have you ready for Stanford in no time!" Well, screw you, English snobs! Genre fiction got me where I am today!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Performance Review

Mr. Coffee, while quiet and polite, is very slow about his business.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things In My Life

Thing one: I have a new sink! It is much better than my old sink. Which is a damned good thing, as it ended up costing me a lot more money than I was initially planning on. I seem to be spending way too much money on way too many things lately; I'm trying to think of it as my single-handed, superheroic effort to shore up the US economy.

Thing two: I seem to have agreed to participate in a Star Wars RPG in the near future, despite the fact that I haven't really done any gaming in many years and the fact that I'm not really a Star Wars fan. But it's with a good group of people, and it should at least get me out of the house... which I have to keep reminding myself is a good thing to do once in a while.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sinking

So, the plumbers came to replace my faucets. I also asked them to switch the hot and cold water lines on the kitchen sink, which have been connected backwards since I moved in. But to do that, they also wanted to replace the shut-off valves, which were all corroded up and, in one case, missing a handle. Which was fine, and not entirely unexpected. But then they got the old faucet off, revealing the fact that my 50-year-old ceramic sink is well advanced in the process of slowly crumbling to pieces from the faucet holes on out.

My faucet replacement has thus turned into a sink replacement. Sigh. Why do these things always tend to snowball like this? Oh, yeah. It's because I bought a cheap house, that's why. I keep forgetting that.

And One More Picture, Offered Without Comment

Cat House

OK, you guys have to see the new thing I got for my cats:



That's way bigger and more elaborate than the one I had before, and, surprisingly, it was also less expensive.

So, the cats will love me forever now and stop throwing up in the wrong places and stuff, right? Right?

Yeah, maybe not. Especially as, after I moved the thing into place but before I'd finished tweaking it, Happiness came up, looked it over... then went to the old one that I'd moved aside to dismantle, climbed up onto it, started purring like crazy, and made a point of swiping at me with her claws whenever I walked past.

Sigh. Cats.

And Then There's This.

Current clothes: Blue t-shirt with a vaguely tie-dye-ish sort of pattern. Blue jeans. White socks. Gray sneakers.

Current mood: A little "aargh, I've got stuff to do today and I'm not actually getting up and doing it!" Must rectify that as soon as I'm finished here.

Current music: Not much lately. I was listening to stuff from The Darwin Song Project on YouTube last night.

Current annoyance: Oh, there are so many small but annoying things... Like, I broke the carafe to my coffee machine yesterday, and apparently it's impossible to just buy one to replace it. I had to make do with a "universal" carafe that's got a huge attachment that screws onto the lid to make the automatic stop thingy work, but the damned thing cost half as much as the machine, and it's horrible. I spilled water all over the counter this morning. Clearly, I'm going to have to buy a new coffeepot. (And, yes, I'm definitely going to go with a brand that offers more replacement parts. And hopefully also has a more accurate clock. Seriously, how hard is it to put a decent clock on something in the 21st century?) This bothers me not just because it's costing me attention and money, but also because the obvious end result of this kind of thing is that America will eventually become one giant landfill full of perfectly functional coffeemakers.

Current thing: My current "thing" is supposed to be taking action on all kinds of stuff -- mostly home improvement and health-related -- that I've been putting off forever. But it's going pretty slowly. It is going, though. Today, I've got plumbers coming in to replace the bathroom and kitchen faucets, since the former is all corroded and the latter is a bit leaky. I'm also going to put together the new cat tree thingy I just got. It took the cats about four years to destroy the old one. I'm kind of hoping this one lasts longer.

Current desktop picture: An artist's rendering of wall-to-wall bookshelves that a co-worker stumbled across and immediately passed on to me. Again, I have no idea why he thought of me. Heh. It's really cool, but I don't know where he got it from, so I can't link to it.

Current book: Alien Hand Syndrome and Other Too-Weird-Not-to-Be-True Stories by Alan Bellows. I got this for free from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. It's basically a collection of strange and interesting stuff: medical oddities, freakish disasters (natural and man-made), historical curiosities, etc. I have to say, it's one of the best examples of this sort of thing that I've read, on or off the internet. I'm enjoying it.

Current song in head: "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" by The Killers.

Current DVD in player: Disc 3 of season one of Burn Notice. This is one of those shows that I always kind of meant to tune in for and never really got around to, but I've finally started watching it on DVD. I pretty much fell in love with it right from the very first line of narration in the very first episode, and am now devouring episodes as if they were M&Ms.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I should go make some tea to fortify myself for assembling cat furniture.

Current worry: Eh, all the usual crap.

Current thought: But there's a cat on my lap! I can't get up and do stuff if there's a cat on my lap!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Just A Few Random Links

See? Just a few.

The Venture Bros. Season 4 Trailer: I am so looking forward to seeing this! Although Hank's hair is kind of freaking me out. (Note: the video probably won't play outside the US. Annoyingly.)

Neil Gaiman's Bookshelves: This is one of those links that multiple people felt the need to call my attention to. Gosh, I can't imagine why. But, oh man, these photos make me drool. I want to go and live in Neil Gaiman's library forever.

Fake But Funny NASA Press Release: NASA has a little fun with a press release concerning the treadmill they named for Stephen Colbert.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Well, At Least They Keep Life Interesting

Dear cats,

If you absolutely must throw up, there are good places to do it, such as on the easily cleaned tile floor. There are bad places, such as on the carpet. And then there are OMGWTF?! places, such as in your water dish.

For the love of catnip, could you please, please try to avoid those last two?

Frustrated affection,
Me

(Man. I thought I was long since done being grossed out over cat vomit. Gaaah.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I Know I've Remarked On This Phenomenon Before, But I Think I Bears Repeating.

You know, I was all set earlier to make a blog post about what an incredibly annoying day I've been having. But then, over my long-delayed lunch, I sat down and watched an episode of Farscape. (I've been slowly re-watching it and have just hit the end of season 1.) Man, that show always makes me feel so much better about my own life. Sure, I had to do some yardwork today, and it was hot and tiring and left me with trembly muscles. But, hey, it didn't involve exposure to the vacuum of space! Yes, I had to run a bunch of errands, but none of them ended with people shooting at me. My house may need a gazillion repairs and my car may have had battery problems again, but neither of them is psychotic... or pregnant... or on fire. Lunch may have been delayed, but at least I had more than crackers to eat. I may still have the remnants of a cold, but it's nothing compared to that plague that makes your skin slough off. No one is trying to kill me, enslave me, or dissect my brain. And none of my mortal enemies have moved in with me. Heck, I don't even have any mortal enemies.

Contemplating all this has now made me feel downright cheerful. I honestly do think that this is one of the important functions of fiction.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wait, It's What Now?

How did it get to be September? I'm not sure I'm really ready for it to be September yet. Even if it does mean I get to buy more books.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Unproductive

Well, today has pretty much been a giant waste. I have a ton of things I really want to get done, now that I'm back from my brief travels and still have some time off. But, gah... I feel well enough that I want to be up and doing things, but unwell enough that I don't want to get up and do things. A subtle distinction, but a crucial one.

Sigh. Well, at least I'm getting some reading done. That counts as an accomplishment, right? Considering that the To-Read Pile is currently sitting at 430 volumes...

What I Did On My Vacation (Part 2: Pictures)

As promised, some pictures of My Colorado (and a Bit of New Mexico) Vacation.

Here's the Gila cliff dwellings. Or at least, the cliff. Though if you look closely -- try clicking on the picture for a bigger version -- you can see the structures inside the cave. My apologies for not getting any close-up pics.



Here are a couple of cool rock formations in the Garden of the Gods park:





And several pictures from Pike's Peak. Here's the train at the top of the mountain:



A couple of views from the summit (which is less impressive in photographs than it is in person):





And, oh, look, it's me:

Friday, August 28, 2009

In Other News...

I think someone in Colorado gave me a cold. The nose is a bit snotty, and the throat is distinctly sore.

Stupid Coloradans.

What I Did On My Vacation (Part 1: Text)

I am now back from my travels, although still very tired and a bit behind on things, and Mom has been dispatched on her way home. (She wasn't sure whether she was going to be leaving today or tomorrow, but decided she really wanted to start back so she'd have time to rest up and take care of some things before having to go back to work.)

We basically did two trips. The first was a day trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Mom picked this out as a spot she wanted to visit because it was a part of New Mexico she hadn't been to yet and she thought it looked interesting. Poor Mom; she got a bit of a shock when she realized just how mountainous and remote it was and just how many miles of very, very twisty mountain roads she was going to have to drive on. (Sorry, Mom! I thought you knew! Oops.) Harrowing as it may have been, though, it was still a gorgeous drive. We saw quite a few mule deer, both on the way out and the way back.

The cliff dwellings are well worth a visit, too. (I'd spent some time in the area back in college, camping and hiking, but never had gotten around to visiting the ruins, so was kind of glad to correct the oversight.) It's the remains of a fairly elaborate structure that was built into a high mountain cave about 700 years ago by a group of a few dozen Mogollon people. They were only there about thirty years, though, before a major drought forced them to relocate. Poor bastards. That must have been a lot of work for a home that turned out not to be permanent after all.

Anyway, that was Monday. Tuesday, we headed off on the second and main part of our trip. Originally this was going to be a much longer and more ambitious vacation. My sister was intending to join us, and we were going to take a full week or a bit longer and drive around Colorado and Utah, and I'm not sure where else. But my sister ended up having less vacation time than she'd expected and bowed out, Mom realized she needed to go somewhere else with someone else the week we'd originally planned on taking, and with one thing and another our road tour of the Southwest's national parks turned into a plan that, basically, consisted of "Well, let's just drive north!"

Now, a comfortable day's drive north from here takes you to Colorado Springs, which features a number of interesting attractions, so that's where we went. (For the fannish types in the audience: I kept my eyes open for off-duty Stargate personnel and/or aliens while we were there, but if there were any about, they were well disguised.) We got into Colorado Springs Tuesday evening, despite the best attempts of a truly apocalyptic rainstorm to kill us just before we got there. (Between that and the Winding Roads of Doom, I'm sure my mother is so glad she volunteered to drive. Heh.) We then found a restaurant featuring what I can quite confidently state must be the most transcendently delicious cornbread in the entire known universe. In fact, it was so good we had to go back the next day and have more of it. Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, we visited The Cave of the Winds. This is a smallish cave system, at least by Carlsbad Caverns standards, but it was interesting and the tour was fun. I never get tired of caves. I just find something wonderfully pleasant about the kind of cool, damp, dark atmosphere you get in caves. (So naturally, I live in the desert.) We then went to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, which were a bit disappointing in their tourist trappiness after the Gila, but kind of fun to crawl around in. Then we drove around the Garden of the Gods park, which features some amazing rock formations, and had a nice little picnic. After which, unfortunately, Mom was feeling pretty tired, so we called it an early day.

Thursday, we took a ride on a cog train up Pike's Peak, which is a trip well worth making. It's about a three hour round trip, counting an hour's stop at the top of the mountain. Very pleasant ride, with some interesting commentary on the way up about the scenery and the history of the area and of the railroad. We were lucky enough to be sitting in the front row, too, so we got a great view out the front window. And, needless to say, the views from the 14,000-foot summit were spectacular.

And then, since it was still early enough to make the drive and get back here at a semi-reasonable hour, we got on the road again and were back in Socorro by about 10 PM.

I'm not sure whether that quite qualifies as a road trip or not, but it was a nice little mini-vacation. And since I took this weekend off, I'm not actually scheduled to go back into work until next Thursday, which is awesome.

And, yes, there will be pictures, after I bother getting them off my camera.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Off

So, my mother is coming into town sometime tonight, and we're going to spend a few days, I dunno, driving places and doing stuff. Meaning I'll probably mostly be offline for a while. Given my posting frequency of late, I doubt anyone will notice a difference, but if you send me any e-mail, say, in the next week or so and don't get a reply, it doesn't mean I'm ignoring you. Of course, for all you know I may be, but you shouldn't assume anything.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rubbernecking

On the way home from Rifftrax in Albuquerque the other night, we passed what looked like every cop car in Belen clustered along I-25, but we couldn't see anything going on. One of the people in the car with me said it looked like a train was stopped, though. (Being as supremely unobservant as I am, I never saw it.)

Well, I just thought to check up on on it. Turns out it was the aftermath of this bizarre, but luckily non-fatal accident.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Even Though Albuquerque Is a 9 PM Town

Just got back from seeing Plan Nine from Outer Space with live snarktastic commentary from Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000, now of the eerily similar but more internetty RiffTrax. (They were broadcasting from somewhere in Tennessee to theaters across the US, including, amazingly, Albuquerque.)

And it was hi-larious. Actually, I'd forgotten just how hilarious Plan 9 is all by itself; when they start "explaining" the mysterious nature of light rays I cannot help cracking up. And when these guys are on top of their game, they really bring the funny, transforming the merely absurd into the comically sublime. Or something like that... Anyway, it was immense fun.

I also ate a bunch of ribs, and accompanied some friends on geeky shopping trips instead of staying home for a few extra hours and cleaning my house. So, pretty much a good day all around.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

See, I'm Still Not Dead. At Least, Not Until The Zombie Apocalypse. But While We Wait For That, Have Some More Random Links.

The "Doctor Who" Theme: Various versions of the Who theme, as found on YouTube. What's really scary is how many of these I have sitting on my iPod. Not to mention how many versions I have on my iPod that aren't here.

Futurama cast members ink new deal with Fox: First it was announced that Futurama would be back on television, and there was much rejoicing. Then it was put about that the voices would probably be recast, and there was much lamentation. Well, good news, everyone! Looks like the original cast is in after all! Whew. That's gonna save me a lot of time in the angry dome.

Inspired by Trek: Cool little blog post about NASA’s first African-American flight director honoring his Trekkish role model, Captain Ben Sisko.

When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modeling of an Outbreak of Zombie Infection (PDF): Mathematical predictions of the possible outcomes of a full-scale zombie apocalypse. Alas, the equations are not comforting...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Yes, It's This Again.

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. A t-shirt from White Sands National Monument, which I'm sure I've described here in the past. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: Not bad. Relaxed and lazy. Kind of hungry.

Current music: I think the last thing I listened to might have been part of The Who: The Ultimate Collection.

Current annoyance: Oh, all the usual things. Various minor physical complaints. The fact that my cats are capable of some very creative destructiveness. Not being able to spend 24 hours a day reading, meaning that I will never, ever catch up.

Current thing: Too lazy to have one right now.

Current desktop picture: This extremely cool picture of an erupting volcano.

Current book: Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark by Andrew Hunt. It's one of the Doctor Who New Adventures, although perhaps we ought to be calling them the Not-So-New Adventures now, as this particular book is from seventeen years and three Doctors ago. It's also very boring, which is a sad thing for a Doctor Who story.

Current song in head: It appears to be the theme song to The Banana Splits, which wormed its way into my brain while I was very young, and now pops up every so often at random just to confuse me.

Current DVD in player: One of the discs from The Avengers complete Emma Peel megaset. I'm currently on the last few episodes of the '66 season, which was the last to be filmed in black & white. And I am enjoying it immensely. Ah, Steed and Peel! Sexy, stylish, playful. Not to mention capable of taking the most brain-breaking weirdnesses in stride and of kicking large quantities of ass while armed only with Steed's umbrella and Emma's lethal bod. Coolest. Crime fighters. Ever.

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I'm really going to need some lunch soon.

Current worry: I refuse to worry about anything today. It's my weekend, and I'm going to spend it being blissfully worry-free.

Current thought: Foooooood. Must have fooooooood.

Monday, August 03, 2009

My Life According to Farscape

This is an entertaining meme, and I was encouraged to post my answers to it here, so...

Using only EPISODE names from ONE SCI FI TV SHOW, cleverly answer these questions.

Are you a male or a female?
PK Tech Girl

Describe yourself:
I, E.T.

How do you feel:
Mental as Anything

Describe where you currently live:
Terra Firma

If you could go anywhere where would you go?
...Different Destinations

Your favorite form of transportation:
Through the Looking Glass

Your best friend is:
Out of Their Minds

What’s the weather like:
Meltdown

Favorite time of day:
Bad Timing

If your life was a TV show, it would be called:
The Way We Weren't

What is life to you:
A Constellation of Doubt

Your fear:
Season of Death

What is the best advice you have to give:
Dream a Little Dream

Thought for the Day:
Crackers Don't Matter

How I would like to die:
What Was Lost: Resurrection

My soul’s present condition:
Losing Time

My motto:
Thank God It's Friday... Again


There. I don't know how clever it was, but it's quite fun to do with Farscape, which has some of the most entertaining titles ever. (I didn't even get to use some of the best ones.) As usual with these things, I refuse to tag anyone. Do it if it amuses you. And, heck, feel free to use non-SF shows if you like.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Stuff

It's been almost a week since I last posted, so before my sister pops in again and asks me if I'm still alive -- assuming she's still alive, and not melted into a puddle of goo in the unfamiliar heat -- I figured I ought to, y'know, post something.

So here are some completely random things about my life at the moment:

1. I was eating leftover pot roast for four days, but it is gone now, and I am sad, because I had not yet grown tired of it. One of those days, I took some of the leftover meat & veggies and baked it into a pre-made pie crust for a yummy meat pie. I can recommend this as an excellent way to vary your leftover pot roast diet.

2. I have been spending far too much time lately playing Plants vs. Zombies. Those of you whose fault this is, you know who you are.

3. I have also been obsessively watching Freaks and Geeks on DVD, which is pretty amazing, since something that puts me back in the mindset of high school seems like pretty much the last thing I'd ever want to watch. But, wow, is that a good show. (The person responsible for this also knows who he is.)

4. I have a ticket to see this next month. Should be fun!

5. Also next month I am doing some kind of road trip with my mother. I'm not even entirely sure where we're going. I think we're maybe going to drive north, then west, and see how many national parks we hit before we have to turn around. Wish me luck!

6. If there was going to be a 6, I've forgotten what it was. (Oh, wait, I just remembered. But it was even more boring than the rest of this stuff, so never mind.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Culinary Triumph

Ooh, baby. I have pot roast so tender I just dipped it out of the pot with a ladle. Man, I don't know why I don't use my slow cooker more often.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maybe It Is Possible To Have Too Many Books? Naaaah.

The Great Book Migration, it is finished! Well, there are one or two little things still to do. I've got a small bookcase that's now completely empty, which I think I'm going to fill up with magazines or something... later. But otherwise, everything is now where I want to it be. Yay! I guess that's what happens when, instead of three days of intermittent, leisurely activity, you for some reason opt for one sweaty, day-long marathon session of hammering and dragging and hauling and re-arranging.

I must say, I am quite pleased with the results. I very much like having the non-fiction in the computer room. It just feels like it belongs here. And, as predicted, adding an extra three bookcases allowed me to accommodate everything beautifully.

Here's what my dining room looks like now:



That's just one side of it, of course. There's two more bookcases on the opposite wall: one the same size as these, and another that's a bit wider, but has only three shelves. (I couldn't use a bigger one there, as it would have blocked a light switch and a thermostat control.)

This room now looks much more like a library than it does like a dining room, certainly, but I regard that as a good thing, because a) I think any room can be substantially improved by becoming more library-like, whatever its function. (Well, OK, maybe not the bathroom, but only because the books would get soggy.) And b) I almost never actually dine in there, anyway, so I might as well get some use out of it.

Note the nearly empty bookcase on the right, which was pretty much the entire point of the exercise.

So, I am happy, yes, but also very tired and very achy. My current plan is to spend the next couple of days lying on the sofa reading more books to put on my new shelf space.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle...

The great book migration has begun! I've only taken the first few preliminary steps so far, but hopefully I should be all done by Friday.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

That Light In The Sky Is A Place That We've Been.

Now here is an awesome way to mark the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11: taking pictures of the Apollo landing sites from orbit. Check out the Apollo 14 pic, in particular, where you can actually see the trail left by the astronauts' footprints. Wow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Butterfly Porn

I was greeted with an odd and interesting sight in my front yard this morning when I went out to bring in my garbage bin: a couple of mating butterflies. So of course, being the shameless voyeur that I am, I had to take pictures.




Actually, I took a lot more pictures than that, but I figured there were probably only so many photos of butterfly fucking you guys would want to see. I had lots of opportunity to snap away, though, because butterflies definitely have what you'd call stamina. I went back out again an hour later, and they were still at it. In fact, I was beginning to worry that there might have been some kind of problem and maybe they'd gotten stuck, but, no this paper I found online (warning: PDF) assured me that butterflies can spend up to three hours in the act, and that larger ones take longer than smaller ones. Well, these were certainly the biggest butterflies I've ever seen around here, so I guess they were just being normal.

Anybody know exactly what kind of butterflies these are, by the way? I have an insect identification guide, but I'm not sure I've ever been able to correctly identify a single bug from it. These look a lot like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail picture, but I think I might be a smidge far west for those.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy B-Day To Me!

So. As of today, I am 38. I'm getting to the point now where my age is starting to seem like a totally meaningless number, but I guess maybe in a couple of years I'll feel differently.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Zombies!

Aaargh! Zombies! They're everywhere! It's the freakin' zombie apocalypse, man! I'm going to try to hold them off with my giant metal wrench, but if you don't hear from me by tomorrow, assume I'm already out looking for tasty brains to munch on, and for gods' sakes, don't come looking for me!

(Well, OK, not really. But yesterday my sister told me that this blog was "too boring" lately, so I figured I'd try to spice it up for ya. Zombies are exciting, right?)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Your Regularly Scheduled Memey Thing

Current clothes: White t-shirt from the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo. It has a picture of a space shuttle in front of the Earth and the moon. They are very much not to scale. Short-sleeved blue deinim shirt over that, unbuttoned. Blue jeans. White socks. Black belt. No shoes.

Current mood: Not too bad, actually. I was feeling a little bit groggy and out of it, thanks to my current messed-up sleep schedule, but after a nice lunch I feel a bit perkier.

Current music: Nothing at the moment, really

Current annoyance: Primarily aforementioned messed-up sleep schedule, I suppose. I've been trying to keep 26-hour days in order to rotate myself forward from night shifts to day shifts. This can work very nicely, but when you keep waking up after six hours for some stupid reason, it becomes problematic.

Current thing: Keeping wacky hours.

Current desktop picture: The Jellyfish Nebula.

Current book: The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown. And, man, "harrowing" is right. Books like this can certainly give you a sense of perspective on your own problems. Even on the worst days of my life, at least there was never any cannibalism. Also, I believe I now understand why people in California are crazy. Anybody who would make that journey in a covered wagon is certifiably insane. Presumably this is genetic.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment, but Brain Radio's been weirdly hyperactive lately. I had "Particle Man" stuck in my head for two days earlier this week.

Current DVD in player: The season 2 finale of The Pretender. I was listening to the commentary track.

Current refreshment: Lemon-ginger tea.

Current worry: That my stupid feet are never going to stop giving me problems. Bah. I'm really going to have to see a podiatrist. Probably very soon.

Current thought: My foot hurts, and it makes me pouty.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Vrooom!

My car is working again! $25 for a new battery cable, and I'm back in business and can cross one major worry/annoyance off my list. Hooray!

While I Wait For Monday Morning, Have Some Random Links

Farscape DVD News: Complete Series Coming from A&E: Announcement about a new Farscape DVD megaset, to be released in November. May possibly be of interest to some of you.

50 Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book : A very amusing list. Although I would read a book about vegetarian zombies.

Vanishing Head Illusion: Freaky fun with your blind spot!

Giving up my iPod for a Walkman: A 13-year-old's reactions to having his iPod replaced with a vintage Sony Walkman. Made me feel kind of nostalgic, even though I only ever had a cheap Radio Shack knockoff, not an actual Walkman. Ah, kids, today, they don't know how good they have it.

Baby bat eating and care: Little orphaned baby bats! I honestly don't know how people can think bats are ugly. These little guys are the most adorable things ever!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Sadly, Independence Means "Having To Deal With Your Own Crap Yourself."

I have decided I do not much like holiday weekends. They're like some sort of engraved invitation for things to go wrong. Now my roof is leaking again, my car has died, and I seem to have lost my work key. None of this is necessarily disastrous, but it's all deeply annoying, and, of course, there's not a thing I can do about any of it until Monday.

Sigh.

While I'm At It, Happy Anniversary, Crab Nebula!

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

Also, here's an interesting trivia fact from my astronomy wall calendar: the Earth is at aphelion today, meaning it is now at its farthest point from the sun: 152.1 million kilometers.

Only now I'm wondering if it's somehow unpatriotic to use the metric system on Independence Day. Y'know, that's one area in which I wish we were a little less independent.

To Continue With This Theme...

Dear comics,

Naming your aliens by spelling your friends' names backward is not clever and cute. It is distracting as hell and snaps my suspension of disbelief into tiny little pieces. Please stop it.

Love,
Me

Friday, July 03, 2009

Hollywood Pet Peeve #97

Dear television,

Astronomers do not wear lab coats, as there is very little danger of accidentally spilling a galaxy on your clothing.

I hope this information is of some use to you.

Love,
Me

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Realize This Will Be Insanely Boring To Everyone But Me. But It's Vitally Important To Me.

Aaargh! I just filled up the last of my bookshelves in the computer room! This happened slightly sooner than I was anticipating, due to the annoying domino effect you get when a thin book bumps a thicker book off onto the next shelf, and it bumps a whole bunch of thin ones, which then bump off a thick one and some thin ones... Stupid long-winded Stephen King. Stupid long-winded J.K. Rowling.

Well, my initial thought for when this happened was that I'd add another small bookcase, sticking into the room at a right-angle, but the more I think about it, the more I think that's an annoying solution. It'd make the room more crowded than I'd like, and would only be a fairly temporary measure, anyway.

Much as I tried to get out of it, I suspect a major re-organization is called for. This is actually kind of traumatic to contemplate. I'm used to my books where they are! But where they are just isn't going to work indefinitely. Sigh.

So, OK, here's the plan: Hardback fiction gets moved into the dining room, where there's still plenty of wall space. (I'll have to move a picture off the wall, but I'm sure I can find somewhere else to put it.) Five full-sized bookcases should fit in there quite easily, and, having done some measuring, I'm 99% certain I can accommodate the medium-sized one as well. That gives me an entire five shelves worth of expansion room for the hardback fiction, which should last me quite a while, and there's even room to add another five-shelfer when needed, assuming I find somewhere else to put the telephone. I'll have to move the CD rack, but that is comparatively small and can go almost anywhere.

The Star Trek and Doctor Who books currently in the dining room will migrate to the bedroom. Unfortunately, the ancient folding shelves the Trek novels currently reside in are on their last legs and will probably not survive the relocation. So I'll replace those with another five-shelfer. Unfortunately, that'll be about half a shelf too small for what's currently on there, so the hardbacks will have to go somewhere else. I think what I'll do is replace the three-shelf case the non-fiction Trek books are currently on with another five-shelfer, which will not only accommodate the overflow, but will give me extra shelves which could be used for any number of things in the future.

The non-fiction currently in the bedroom will move into the big bookcases currently in the computer room. That's a straightforward migration: from four bookcases onto four bookcases, and there's already a lot of expansion room built in there. Two of the big cases in the bedroom will stay there, and two of them will swap with the smaller ones from the dining room. That will leave me three large bookcases to buy and put in the dining room for the hardback fiction.

The paperback fiction, mercifully, can stay right where it is. Otherwise, it's basically one big rotation of books from room to room. And the results seem like they should actually be something of an improvement: the embarrassingly large number of media tie-in books can live discreetly in the bedroom, the non-fiction will surround me where I do most of my typing and thinking and writing, and the hardback fiction will be in a public place where people can exclaim, "Have you actually read all of these?!" as they seem to inexplicably enjoy doing. And the To-Read Pile stays on the shelves in the utility room like the work-in-progress that it is.

Which is all well and good, but holy crap, I'm not looking forward to doing all that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Well, At Least I'm Not Jar-Jar.

Your results:
You are C-3PO


C-3PO
76%
Jabba the Hutt
70%
Jar Jar Binks
63%
Yoda
59%
Qui-Gon Jinn
58%
Obi-Wan Kenobi
57%
Darth Vader
52%
Emperor Palpatine
51%
Darth Maul
51%
R2-D2
50%
You don't have a lot going for you,
and you let everyone know it.
You may have one or two
close companions left,
but if you keep complaining
they may wander off.


(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)


Click here to take the "Which Star Wars character am I?" quiz...

Also, I Complain About The Weather.

Lately, it seems as if some mischievous weather god has replaced my nice, dry desert with a freaking Amazon rain forest, and I am discovering that I no longer have the faintest idea how to deal with persistent humidity. And, geez! I put down some bug spray twenty minutes ago and it's still not dry! Which is annoying, because I can't let the cats back out of confinement until it is. Also, I actually had to towel myself off after my shower this morning, and I can't do laundry because, despite having a shiny new washer, I never bothered buying a dryer.

How do people who live in damp climates cope?

No News Is... No News.

You know what I want? I want to know when CNN's Breaking News e-mail service turned into the Nothing But News About Dead Celebrities Service. Knowing how I could make it start sending me real news again would also be nice.

Yes, all right, the death of people like Michael Jackson does constitute actual news, I'll admit. But did I need to be kept updated on his condition three times in one hour? I note that said service apparently did not think the Iranian election was worth wasting any electrons on.

I mainly subscribed to the damned thing in the first place because every time there's a major natural disaster or a terrorist attack or something, it seems to happen while I'm asleep, and several times I've gotten up, poured myself a nice cup of coffee, sat down to check my e-mail, and discovered that every mailing list I belonged to had erupted into a heart-stopping explosion of posts saying, "OMG, is everyone all right!?" and "This is so awful! I'm so very, very sorry for everyone affected!", with any actual explanations of what the hell they're talking about buried somewhere deep in the e-mail avalanche or missing entirely. This is what happened on 9/11, for instance, and when the shuttle Columbia broke up. Believe me, it is not a good way to be introduced to bad news.

But I belong to far fewer mailing lists now, so that seems rather less likely to happen to me again. I dunno. Maybe it's time to just drop Dead Celebrity News and start getting my news from The Daily Show like normal people.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stay On Target

I'd save this for the next batch of random links, but it's only up for the next week, and I suspect at least one person reading this might find it interesting: On the Outside it Looked Like an Old Fashioned Police Box, a radio production in which Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss celebrates the old Target novelizations.

Ah, the Target books. They mostly ranged from mediocre to terrible, but I sort of love them, anyway.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Geeks, Represent!

This is very possibly the most entertaining thing I've seen in ages: John Hodgman at the Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner, talking about the Jock vs. Nerd culture wars, and grilling the president on his nerdly knowledge.



But, man, even I knew the Conan question, and my information on that subject, like almost all my comic book knowledge, comes entirely from osmosis. Clearly, however, it's been far too long since I last read Dune.

Happy Days

Happy Father's Day, and Happy Solstice!

Dad, if you're reading this, I will call you later.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

As Further Proof That I'm Still Alive, Have Some Random Links.

Science and Entertainment Exchange: A new program that aims to provide people in the entertainment industry with easy access to real scientists willing to help them get their science right. I think this is quite possibly the best idea ever.

Star Size Comparison: Nifty video showing the size of various bodies in the universe. I now have the Animaniacs singing in my head: "It's a great big universe, and we're all really puny. We're just tiny little specks, about the size of Mickey Rooney..."

30 Awesomely Bad Unicorn Tattoos: A Gallery: "Awesomely bad" is an understatement. Warning: NSFW.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party: Gorgeous time lapse video of the Texas sky.

Bad Transcript: Star Trek (2009): Amusing parody of the new Star Trek movie. Warning: full of spoilers!

Broken Picture Telephone: Online words-and-pictures version of the old party game Telephone. Fun to play, even if you can't draw, and the results are often hysterically funny. Browsing through the game archives is a great way to waste a lot of time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yes, It's Just A Thrill A Minute With Me.

Every time I go a week or so without updating this thing, somebody -- usually my sister -- checks in to make sure I'm not dead. Which is really rather reassuring, when I stop to think about it.

Anyway, no, I am not dead. I've just been very, very boring of late and haven't had much of anything to say. Well, I can tell you about my ever-so-exciting day, I guess. I blew off work and drove up to Albuquerque to run some errands, which involved doing the following deeply stimulating things:

1. Got the oil changed on my car (which was disturbingly overdue), and also the transmission fluid (which it was just about time for). By the way, does anybody know whether when the guys at Jiffy Lube tell you to come back in a couple of days so they can check your fluid levels, they're actually serious about that? Because I'm not making another 2-hour round trip just so they can shove a dipstick somewhere.

2. Ate lunch at Fuddrucker's, where I discovered that it is, indeed, possible to make a greasy buffalo burger.

3. Went shopping for bras. If it weren't for the fact that it happens much less often, this would provide serious competition for menstruation in the Worst Thing About Being a Female contest. Every time I do it, it makes me start thinking wistfully about breast reduction surgery, and I'm so much of a wuss about people doing medical things to my body that I still haven't worked up the guts to get my wisdom teeth out, despite repeated admonishments from my dentist. Sigh. It's expensive, too. I spent $200 on freaking bras! And half of them were on sale! Well, hopefully I shouldn't need to do it again for a few years.

4. Got ambushed by a guy who wanted to show me the OMG AMAZING! product he was selling. Which turned out to be a nail buffer. Which he insisted on demonstrating. I let him, because it was weirdly amusing, and because he looked so doggone bored, but I did keep telling him I wasn't going to buy the thing. I don't think he actually believed me until I started walking away, though. Anyway, as a result of this, the middle finger on my left hand now has a nail of freakishly unnatural smoothness and shininess. I can't stop touching it, and have occasionally been amusing myself by positioning it so as to reflect light. (Yes, I am easily amused. I've also never had a manicure in my life.)

5. Went to Barnes & Noble and bought the one book my self-imposed monthly quota system would still allow me to buy. I'm actually kind of impressed that I was able to limit myself. And I didn't buy the Star Trek DVD game that kept trying to convince me it was something I might actually want to play, either. See, sometimes I am capable of self-discipline!

6. Sat in the Barnes & Noble coffee shop for a while, sipping an iced cappuccino and reading, while I recovered from the stressily stressful stress of shopping and, y'know, being around other human beings. I wish I were more than half joking about that; I sometimes worry a little that I'm in danger of coming down with some weird phobia. Sometimes just having someone else in the same supermarket aisle with me makes me feel kind of ill-tempered and itchy. Then again, maybe it's just a fact of life that people are annoying.

7. Got lost in a construction detour, missed a poorly marked highway entrance, ended up on a road leading toward the middle of nowhere, turned around, found another highway entrance, got on the highway going the wrong way, turned around, and got caught in the construction again. All of which proves -- or, rather, reconfirms -- three facts: 1) I couldn't navigate my way out of a paper bag if you put a big arrow on each surface pointing towards the opening and handed me a GPS. 2) I have the memory of a goldfish, because if I hadn't somehow completely forgotten that I'd encountered construction around Gibson on the way in, I would have just taken I-40 like a normal person, instead of cruising the surface streets. And 3) there are perfectly legitimate reasons why I hate driving in the city, even when the city is Albuquerque, a place I am familiar with and which is not exactly known for its teeming traffic.

So, yup, that was my exciting day. What's really sad is that actually is a pretty active and event-filled day by my current standards. One of these days I should listen to Mr. Shatner and get a life.

On top of everything, of course, I now have much less money than when I left this morning. But at least the car seems happier, and I have somewhere to put my boobs. (What? Don't look at me that way! It's true!)