Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With The Old

So, as I write this, I am about three and a half hours from the new year. And, I have to say, I will not be entirely sorry to be done with 2010. Nothing horrible happened this year, thank goodness, but it did just seem to be full of annoying. First, there was the infamous Treadmill Saga, which was just disproportionately stressful (and ironically so, since it was all in an attempt to do something good for my health). Then there was the sinus infection from hell, which cleared up just in time for me to get my wisdom teeth out. Which procedure, admittedly, was nothing like my neurotic imaginings, but having holes in my gums for two months afterward was a whole different kind of no fun. Then, come the summer, I learned that I couldn't have the vacation I'd been hoping for because we were short-handed at work, something that also meant my hours got even more annoying. Then there were car problems. And finally, of course, the advent of Mickey the kitten, who is undeniably cute, but who has also been the source of quite a bit of worry and expense.

Not that it was all bad, of course. The Doctor Who convention was loads of fun, and I did at least get to see my sister over Thanksgiving, even if I couldn't make it in August. And so on. Still, my hope for the new year, overall, is less of that, please.

And such, also, is my wish for all of you: less of whatever was bad in the last year, and more of whatever was good. Happy New Year, all!

A Lesson In Feline Body Language

For those not sufficiently familiar with cats, there is a definite, observable difference between different kinds of cat hisses. There's one, which is perfectly normal when introducing cats, that indicates the animal is feeling somewhat defensive/territorial/threatened/generally unhappy and is offering up a bit of a warning and engaging in some social posturing. And then there's the one that means, "AAAAAAARGH!! GO AWAY OR I SWEAR TO BAST I WILL RIP YOUR FACE OFF!!!!"

So far, I have two of the former -- well, two-and-a-half, but the kitten doesn't really seem all that bothered -- and one of the latter. Which, charmingly, is aimed both at Mickey and at me. Ah, Vir. Always my problem child.

Yeah, this could take a while...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Kitten Update

Finally heard back from the vet, and Mickey's last test results were also negative, which means we can at least be pretty confident that he does not have FIP. This does not surprise me at all, given how well he's been doing, and it doesn't necessarily mean he might not have other issues that will give him problems later on. But it's still good news, so, yay! It also means that I now have the go-ahead to introduce him to the other cats. For this purpose, I have purchased a baby gate, which I am intending to use in the door to the spare bedroom, where Mickey has been living. Obviously, a baby gate is no real obstacle to a cat who badly wants to get across it, but considering that the four cats in question are, individually, tiny, morbidly obese, not very inclined towards jumping, and happier avoiding other cats, I think it will work very nicely, with supervision, as a way to let them make each other's acquaintance without throwing them immediately into close physical contact. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Quote A Sweatshirt I Happen To Own: Books & Cats. Life Is Sweet.

I realized that I hadn't posted any "cat with books" pictures of Mickey here, and I consider those kind of obligatory, so...

I ask you, what makes a better combination than cats and books? Nothing! Awww!

I'd like to be able to post an update on Mickey as well, but I don't really have one to give, alas. I still haven't gotten the results from his follow-up FIP test from a week and a half ago. My vets went and had a baby, a little bit ahead of schedule, so their office was shut for a few days. Well, a few extra days, in addition to the Christmas holiday. They're open again now, but I called yesterday and their receptionist said they'd gotten in huge piles of test results while they were gone and hadn't even had the chance to go through them yet. So they're supposed to call me back, but they haven't so far. Which is annoying, because I'd like to update the person who was interested in taking Mickey. I strongly suspect the answer is going to be that I should hold onto the kitten, anyway, due to lingering uncertainties about his long-term health, but I'd like to be able to give the guy all the information and let him make up his own mind. I'd also really like to get the official go-ahead to introduce Mickey to the other cats. But, well, under the circumstances, it's pretty much impossible not to be forgiving of the delay. They do have a pretty darned good excuse!

So, anyway, all I can say is that, for the moment, he sure still seems healthy. And cute! See how cute?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Season's Greetings!

A very merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and general merriness to those who don't!

I have not had enough sleep, which is my own fault, but I do have presents, which is awesome! I'm thinking that today might be for relaxing and eating turkey and watching Doctor Who and possibly never even changing out of my pajamas, because, man, that's my idea of a holiday.

Family-type people: thank you so much, because all your gifts are great! Feel free to call me whenever. Well, okay, maybe not until I've had a little more coffee...

Friday, December 24, 2010

People Talk To Me!

Here I thought nobody loved me anymore, but, no, it turns out that Blogger hasn't been e-mailing me my blog comment notifications for the last ten days or so. Or, rather, a quick check shows they've been going into the spam trap. Funny enough, I get the notifications on my gmail account, and Blogger is owned by Google, so that means Google has been basically marking its own mail as spam. WTF, guys? Well, now that I've realized this, I've gone back and replied to some older comments. You guys were all very entertaining while I was inadvertently ignoring you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Am trying to decide whether I have the ambition or the energy to bake fruitcake again this year. I'm still astonished by how well it came out last time. But I also seem to remember it taking a lot longer to make than I expected it to, and I appear to be running out of time before Christmas.

Damn my conflicting impulses towards laziness and accomplishing things!

[ETA: OK, my love of cake won out over inertia. I'm in the process of cooking it now. And, man, this recipe is easier than I remember it being. Yay!]

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kitten Update

So, Mickey had another vet appointment today! At this point, the vet thinks it's unlikely that he has FIP, but they're doing another blood test as a confirmation. If this one also comes up negative, that'll be pretty conclusive. However, it's still within the realm of possibility that he might have some other kind of problem that's caused the weirdness on his x-rays. Since there really isn't much to be done about any of the more serious possibilities, they recommend continuing with a wait-and-see approach and will look at him again in a month's time. So, I'll talk to Mickey's possible adopter after I get the test results back, but it's looking like he'll definitely be here at least another month. Or possibly indefinitely, if the uncertainty continues, or the guy backs out, or I just get too attached to the little critter to let him go. All three of those strike me as entirely possible.

The good news is, if the test results are negative, the vet thinks it should probably be OK to finally let him interact with the other cats. Which is something of a relief, both because it's difficult to set aside time to spend with him in his isolation room, and because he's showing definite signs of wanting to get out and explore the house. The other cats are becoming more interested in his presence, too. It's definitely time for them to get to know each other, if he's going to be here any longer.

Oh, and while he was there, the vets' daughter, also-Mickey, came in and said hello to him and gave him some cuddles. Aww. He has friends!

It's Been A While Since I Did A Stupid Internet Quiz.

I am a d10

Take the quiz at

But isn't "nerdy" kind of a given if you're doing a "which multi-sided die are you?" quiz?

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Am A Hamster.

I think that from now on, I am going to link to this article as my excuse for every brain fart or moment of stupidity I have.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mickey Kitten Will Get You!

It has been pointed out to me that I am not keeping up with internet standards for minimum number of kitten pictures per unit time. I am attempting to rectify that, but it's actually really hard to get Mickey to stand still long enough to have his picture taken. Here, however, is an excellent action shot:

It's almost crying out for a LOLcat caption, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Links, Featuring Lots Of Webcomics And, As Usual, Doctor Who

I seem to have accumulated a lot of these in the last month or so, but I've mostly been too busy or lazy or distracted or whatever to get around to actually posting them. Well, I shall delay no more!

Yo Mama Jokes: Astrophysics Edition: These are actually really funny if you've, y'know, studied astrophysics. The physics ones are kind of great, too. I LOLed.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol preview: Preview of the Doctor Who Christmas special. Which is clearly going to be interesting. Hopefully in a good way.

Better Book Titles: All kinds of literature, retitled for greater accuracy.

This is why people should learn statistics: A webcomic succinctly sums up something I've been saying for years.

Craig Ferguson does Doctor Who: Late night comedian/talk show host Craig Ferguson had Matt Smith on last month and devoted his entire show to Doctor Who. Including a hilarious opening dance number that CBS refused to air for copyright reasons. But fortunately, um, I mean shockingly!, said dance number leaked onto YouTube. Somehow. And it is both a thing of cheesy awesomeness and a surprisingly good summation of what Doctor Who is about.

Dinosaur Comics - December 6th, 2010: Another web comic that has captured my own thoughts with eerie precision.

Doctor Who's trusty invention is anything but sci-fi: Sonic screwdrivers could be real! This, of course, means that everything that has appeared on Doctor Who ever is now scientifically vindicated.

Five Sci-Fi Children's Books: Classic kids' books revamped with 100% more science fictional goodness.

The Top 14 Astronomy Pictures of 2010: There were so many amazinig astronomical pictures this year that the Bad Astronomer couldn't bring himself to limit his annual roundup to ten. It's not difficult to see why.

Victorian Star Trek: Star Trek characters in Victorian dress. It's oddly wonderful.

Simon's Cat in 'Santa Claws': Simon's cat is as hilariously cat-like as ever. This sort of thing is a large part of the reason why I don't put up a Christmas tree these days.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Betty's Kitten Adoption Agency Newsletter

Well, I might have someone who's willing to take Mickey the kitten in, if he gets a clean bill of health. Of course, at this point I almost don't want to give the little guy up, but there's no question that it would be best for all concerned. I already feel bad about trying to split my limited attention between him and the three older cats, because there's no way there's enough to go around. Keeping my fingers crossed that the vet will have good things to say at his next appointment...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A Cheerful Currently

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. Blue t-shirt from Powell's Books, which I got when I was there last month. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: I feel really good and happy and optimistic and stuff! I'm on vacation coverage this week, which means I don't have a set shift of my own to work, and for the first time in ages I'm not actually scheduled to cover for anybody. So I'm taking advantage of that and the fact that I still have a lot of vacation time saved up to work short hours and get some things done at home this week, at a nice, relaxed pace. Also, I'm beginning to feel a little excited about the holidays. Um, mostly because of this Secret Santa book exchange thing I signed up for, but hey. And Mickey the kitten definitely seems to be doing well! So overall, things are pretty good.

Current music: Mr. Bad Example by Warren Zevon.

Current annoyance: I have a cut on my thumb. I don't even know how it got there, but it's in a really annoying spot.

Current thing: Buying too many books! Kitten rescues! Playing Scrabble on my shiny new phone!

Current desktop picture: Still the same meteor and thunderstorm picture from last month.

Current book: The Rough Guide to the Future by John Turney

Current song in head: Well, now it's "Mr. Bad Example." Which beats the random annoying Christmas music that keeps playing in there.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 6 of Numb3rs. Apparently this is "the final season." Which I think I can understand. It does feel kind of like it's running out of steam.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I might need some tea soon, though.

Current worry: Eh, I'll worry tomorrow.

Current thought: OK, I've got a couple more things to do here this afternoon, and then I really should at least go in and put in a couple of hours at work. No need to burn through all my vacation time.

Kittens Are Entertaining.

Cutest thing I have seen so far today: a kitten hissing at a dust buster. Ah, the traditional enmity between cat and vacuum, it starts young for both species.

Monday, December 06, 2010


So, I um. Yeah. I, uh... I went to the Barnes & Noble. It wasn't my fault! It was right there where I pulled in! I was parked right outside it! And it occurred to me that I might find a couple of extra little Christmas gifts there. Plus, there's a Starbucks inside and, you know, I need my caffeine when I'm driving around running errands. And then they unfairly ambushed me with a buy-two-get-one-free table, which just happened to contain exactly three books from my wishlist. I mean, that's just fighting dirty. Also -- and I swear I am not making this up -- there were people there raising money for "cat rescue and adoption" by offering gift-wrapping with paper featuring Christmas trees made from piles of books. It's like they knew I was coming!

Sigh. There goes pretty much any remote chance I might have had of not creeping up over 400 books again.

Other than that, though, it was a very productive day. Between the mall run and a lot of clicking around Amazon over my coffee this morning, I do believe I'm now pretty much done with my Christmas shopping. I also, among other things, replaced my busted El Cheapo suitcase with a new $180 one... which was on sale for $71. Yay! I even got the oil changed in the car, which it was way, way overdue for.

Um... That means I deserve books, right? Right?

Why Do They Put These Things Where Vulnerable People Will Be Exposed To Them?

I'm off soon to run some errands in Albuquerque, including a trip to the mall -- an exceedingly rare thing nowadays, given the attractions of online shopping. And I must keep repeating to myself: I will not visit the Barnes & Noble. I will not visit the Barnes & Noble. I will not visit the Barnes & Noble...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Stupid Need To Earn A Living.

Waah, I don't want to go back to work!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Haz A Kitten!

Mickey the kitty is back! The vet said he seemed to be doing really well, and that, while he was kind of shy and scared the first couple of days, after that he quickly got over it and became very friendly and playful with them, which is good to hear. Yay, socialization! She also said that their daughter, who is also called Mickey (or possibly Micki) fell in love with the little guy and was in every day to play with him. Awww!

And I am pleased to report that they did have the results of the FIP tests: both negative! Which may not be definitive, but the vet did seem to think it was meaningful. She also said that they had seen some signs of worms, which might possibly account for the weirdness on the x-rays, and he's now had a dose of de-wormer. They're going to want to see him again in three weeks, and in the meantime I still have to keep him isolated from the other cats -- I'm thinking of moving Kitten World into the spare bedroom -- but the signs, they are very hopeful. Yay, Mickey!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am back! Much, much turkey was eaten. Also pie. And various and sundry other foodstuffs. It is possible that I may not need to eat again for months. Like a snake.

Also, much shopping was done, including a trip to Powell's, where I bought enough books to break my suitcase. (Well, the handle part of the suitcase. Which was an exceedingly cheap and crappy piece of luggage, anyway. Still, it sounds impressive, doesn't it?) More surprisingly, I am also now the proud owner of a new smartphone. Which I almost immediately sort of regretted, as I'm not sure I'm going to get enough use out of it to justify the monthly data fees. But, man, it is shiny! And very handy for when I'm travelling. And, unlike, my old one -- and I do mean old one -- it's actually usable. Which means I'm more likely to actually, you know, use it. So, anybody know any cool apps I should get?

And then I went bowling for the first time in something like ten years. We bowled two games, and on the eighth frame of game two, apparently I suddenly remembered how to play. I imagine now I will go another ten years before I try it again, at which point the entire experience will repeat. (Really, it may be just as well given my deep, deep disapproval of the shiny modern bowling alley we went to, and its assumption that watching TV is infinitely more important than actually being able to properly play the game you came to goddamned play. But perhaps that's a rant for another time.)

And I got to see various family members again, of course, which was the main point of the exercise. Thanks again to my sister and her husband (who will read this), and to my mother (who won't, but that's OK)!

Anyway, now I am home. The cats are a bit freaked out, as cats tend to be at any disruption in their lives, but they are all alive and well. At least, the ones here at home are. I have to go pick Mickey up tomorrow morning after the vet's office opens. They still haven't called with his test results, but the vet did say it would be "a few days," so likely they didn't get them back before the holiday intervened. I'll ask when I go pick him up.

So, how has everybody else been?

Monday, November 22, 2010

See Ya!

All right, the kitten has been deposited at the vet's office, and very soon I will be off to spend a week at my sister's house in Oregon. Since I very probably won't be online much until I get back, I will now wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving! Even if that is way, way belated for the Candians. And inappropriate for the Brits.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Worry. I'm Leaving On Vacation In A Few Days, And You'll Have A Break From The Kitten Talk.

Still waiting on the test results. In the meantime, Mickey the Kitten certainly still seems to be doing well. It's amazing how quickly he's adjusted to his new life as a housecat. It used to be that when I went in to see him, he'd immediately start purring. Now, I go into the bathroom after waking up or coming home from work, and he complains at me. "MrrRRRRMroowwWrrowrRRRAO!" Which means he wants food. But not just any food, no. He does not want the dry kitten chow I have left for him overnight or while I was gone. He wants the good food, the canned kind, which I only started feeding him in the first place because the vet said it would make him less constipated. Oh, how very, very far we have come from the pitiful little stray kitten who seemed entirely willing to eat anything vaguely edible. It's really kind of cute.

Also cute, while simultaneously being deeply annoying, is the fact that ever since I gave the critter a name, I've had inane singing in my head:

Oh, Mickey, you're a kitty,
So I understand.
You're so very furry,
So I pet you with my hand.

Yeah. I'm really dating myself with that one, aren't I? Ah, 1982. You and your legacy of bad, yet disturbingly catchy pop music will truly never die.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kitten News

So, the kitten is back from his vet appointment, and the results are...

Drumroll please!


Sigh. Yeah, they palpated his abdomen and did more x-rays, and it looks like there's a little more fluid in there, but they're still not sure if it's FIP or not. They're going to run some blood tests, too, which will likely also be inconclusive, because you basically have to be Veterinary House, apparently, to pin down this particular disease accurately. Although, one of the tests, which the vet offered almost as an afterthought, may give some information. It's new and it's expensive, and it's got a huge false negative rate but a very low false positive rate, which means that, for your money, you get either bad news or no news at all. But lack of information raises my stress levels, and anything that might remove uncertainty can lower them a lot if it works, and right now I've got this massive knot of spasming muscles right at the back of my neck telling me that anything that holds a possibility of lowering my stress levels is worth another $70. So I told him to go ahead and do that one, as well. I should have the results (or the lack thereof) in a day or two.

In the meantime, the little guy seems to be doing really well otherwise. And I will be able to board him at the vet while I'm gone next week, which means that it's OK that I don't have all the answers right now, because I don't have to do anything drastic before I get back. If he does have FIP, he could be okay for some time before he gets really sick, especially with treatment for the symptoms. There might even be a (very, very small) chance he could survive it. And as long as he's kept separate from the other cats, the odds of him infecting them are extremely low. So, wait-and-see is doable. And for the moment, he's a pretty happy little cat, which is something I'm content to let him go on being for as long as it lasts.

Oh, and he does have a name now, by the way. It's Mickey. He was doing so very, very much better that I unilaterally awarded him Most Improved Kitten status. MIK, Mickey... It seems to suit him, somehow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Kitten

The kitten has his next vet appointment on Wednesday. I honestly can't tell whether his abdomen is any more distended, but it is a bit rounded, and it feels... I don't know. Sort of squishy. Very probably this is a bad sign, and I am prepared to hear bad news. But, whether or not he is badly sick, he is clearly feeling a whole lot better.

Just look at these bright eyes!

The first few days, all he wanted to do was snuggle. Now he wants to play. He has become quite the fierce hunter of Feathers on a Stick. Whatever happens, it makes me feel good to see him so much happier. And still so cute.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Internet Is Made Of Cats. And I Must Do My Share To Contribute.

Because I believe it is required in these circumstances, here is a picture of the kitten:

And, for good measure, a list of various cute things the kitten does:

1) Starts purring as soon as I come into the room and sets world kitten records for the Longest Continuous Purr, as he usually doesn't stop as long as I'm there.

2) Growls at the Evil Mirror Universe Kitten in the bathroom mirror.

3) Runs up when he sees the syringe of antibiotic liquid and puts his mouth right on it, like he thinks it's a yummy treat and he can't wait for me to squirt it into his mouth. I have never, ever seen a cat do that. Usually giving them medicine involves first winning a wrestling match.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, Yeah, This.

It's a bit later in the month than I usually do this, but I've been distracted.

Current clothes: T-shirt from a Rush concert (the 2008 Snakes & Arrows tour, to be precise). Black sweatpants. White socks. Black sneakers.

Current mood: I've been incredibly stressed lately, with the whole "OMG, what do I do with this kitten?!" thing, but my mood has been much, much calmer and better since I took him to the vet, even though the news was not necessarily all good. It's uncertainty I don't deal well with. Insufficient information, too many variables, too many possibilities, too many potential plans that are all too fuzzy -- these things send my stress levels through the roof. But now, OK, I know what to do for the next week, and then I take him back to the vet, and at that point there are really only two major possibilities, and in either case I know what to do to meet my moral responsibilities, so that's OK.

Current music: Nothing at the moment. I'm working on getting caught up on a big backlog of podcasts again.

Current annoyance: There are now Christmas items and Christmas music in the stores. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. I know it's cliche to complain about this, but, honestly, it's just gotten to the point where it makes me feel sad. Any sense of Christmas as a special time of year is pretty much gone for me.

Current thing: Kitten! He's in isolation in the bathroom, still, but I make a point of going in there and cuddling with him often. He seems to be doing pretty well, really. He's a bit friskier than he was when I first brought him in, and the constipation did, indeed, clear up. Also, he is a total, cuddly sweetheart.

Current desktop picture: This image of a meteor and a thunderstorm.

Current book: 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman. Which is sort of a self-help book written for people who think self-help books are B.S., featuring lots of quirky little psychology experiments.

Current song in head: Not much of anything at the moment.

Current DVD in player: I don't think there is one in the main DVD player. I need to get back to American Gothic. The one in front of the treadmill has disc 1 of season 4 of The Venture Bros. I am still so not tired of that show.

Current refreshment: Ooh! I put the kettle on a few minutes ago, and now I can make tea!

Current worry: Well, of course I'm still worried about the kitten. I would much, much prefer it if it turns out he's going to live.

Current thought: I like cats. In many ways, they're so much easier to deal with than people. Cats make more sense to me, because their needs and desires and social interactions are so much simpler, and it's much clearer what my obligations towards them are.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kitten Update

So, OK, Kitten is now back from the vet. I said yesterday that he didn't look to be in terribly bad shape to me, but by this morning I was a lot less convinced about that... His eyes have gotten quite goopy, and I heard him sneeze a few times, which did not seem like a good sign. And, sure enough, the poor little guy is sick. Just how sick is another question. Apparently he has distemper, which fortunately is not as bad as the disease of the same name in dogs. I now have antibiotics and eye ointment to give him, and, also fortunately, the antibiotic course he needs to take will finish up a couple of days before I leave town, so at least he should be healthy by then. Or... maybe he'll be healthy by then. There is also a possibility that he has FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). The vet took an x-ray, but the results were very ambiguous. I have another appointment to take him back in in a week, by which point she thinks it should be obvious whether he has it or not just by feeling his abdomen. FIP is nasty and incurable and, as the vet put it, "not a good way to die," so if he turns out to have that, the course of action is sadly clear. But I am reasonably optimistic.

On a less serious note, he also seems to be very constipated -- I had noticed that he hadn't used the litterbox or done any business anywhere else since I brought him in last night -- but the vet seems to think just giving him some wet food should help with that.

Anyway, assuming he does not have FIP, the bad news is that there's no way I'm going to talk someone into adopting a kitten with distemper, and it might be iffy whether a shelter would take him even after he's done with the antibiotics. The good news is, the vet said that they would be able to board him while I'm gone, if necessary. How much that's gonna cost, I don't know, but what the heck. It's not like I have anything better to spend my money on.

So. That's where we sit. I will keep you guys updated, whether you like it or not. And whether I like it or not, I may end up coming out of this with another cat. Which puts me 2/3 of the way to Crazy Cat Lady territory, by my reckoning.

Oh, and, yes, he does appear to be a he. And the vet figures he's probably closer to two months than three. Maybe two and a half. Also, he's very cute, but I knew that already.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ragan's Home For Wayward Felines

So, um, yes, there is now a kitten living in my bathroom. Again.

The little stray guy that's been coming around has just gotten far too friendly and far too pitiful. Once he (or possibly she; I'm still not sure) got to the point where he'd let me pet him, I realized I could feel all the poor little thing's ribs, and its not like he's going to start eating any better out in the wild, with winter coming on. And if he's going to get used to being around humans, he's at an age where it really needs to happen now. So... in he came.

And then there was purring. There was so much purring. There was so much incredibly loud purring. I think he was even happier with the cuddling than the food, to be honest. I don't think there are going to be any socialization problems here at all.

Other kinds of problems, though... Um. I really do mean it. Anybody want a kitten? Anybody know anybody who wants a kitten? Anybody willing to take in a kitten for a week over Thanksgiving while I'm on vacation, even? I really don't want to take the poor little thing to a shelter, but, man, he's got rotten timing.

The vet's got good timing at least, though. They were able to fit me in tomorrow morning, when hopefully I will find out for sure the sex of this animal, how old he is, and whether he has any horrible diseases. Aside from being too skinny and having eyes that are running a little -- which is probably nothing but could always be something -- he looks to be in decent shape. And he's a sweetie.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

In Which I Talk To Myself

So, in 2005, on something of a whim, I did this thing where you could e-mail messages to your future self. I sent several, to various points in the future. And, well, I just got one back. Past Me had this advice for Present Me: "Don't let yourself become a crazy old cat lady, OK? Go out once in a while and stuff. I mean it." The two things I have been stressing out about rather a lot in the past week or so? The fact that I feel compelled to take in another stray kitten and the fact that I've been even more socially avoidant than usual, which I don't think is good for me.

Oh, me. You know me frighteningly well.

Early Morning Random Linkage

Should I Have a Cookie?: This is why I never lose any weight.

Rover Under Construction!: Watch a live video feed of engineers and technicians building the new Mars rover!

Organ Trail: Zombie apocalypse version of the old Oregon Trail game. You do not want to know how much time I wasted playing this the other day. Why does no one want to trade me any fuel? Why?!

Into Space: Fly a rocket. Upgrade it. Fly it again. I spent way too much time on this one, too. But I made it to the moon!

Unreleased Doctor Who scenes, from "The Eleventh Hour"/"The Beast Below" and "Flesh and Stone"/"Vampires of Venice": Featuring a bit of Doctor Who continuity, a fan debate recapitulated in canon, and the Doctor and Amy being utterly adorable.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Insert Anti-Time Change Rant Here. I'm Not Awake Enough Yet.

You know what's fun? When you have to switch from working a lot of nights to working a 12-hour day shift, which you know you aren't really physiologically prepared for, so you set your alarm clock to wake you up only about an hour before you have to leave for work, to maximize sleeping time. And then, after finally falling asleep after a really, really bad night, you wake up to discover -- eventually -- that your alarm clock helpfully set itself back off of daylight savings time. A week ago, on the date that was scheduled to happen when you bought the thing. Only you didn't notice, because, of course, you were on nights and didn't need it for a week, and you usually keep the damned thing covered with a pillow because otherwise even with the dimmer switch on the clock face is too damned bright and shines in your face all night. Plus, you are pathetically unobservant.

I believe the appropriate phrase is: FML. Also, "time to get a new alarm clock."

Miraculously, though, I still managed to make it to work more or less on time. I think I deserve some kind of award for that.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I Need To Put A Sign On My House That Says, "Dear Cats: No Vacancy."

So, um, just hypothetically... Is there anybody out there, within reasonable driving distance of me, who might want a kitten? Or knows someone who might want a kitten?

Public Service Announcement

Americans: Don't forget to put your clocks back this weekend! Because, obviously, when the days naturally start getting dark far too early, the sensible thing to do is to help them along. Mutter, grumble, stupid world run by morning people...

Well, at least I'm on day shifts this weekend, so it's actually working in my favor for once.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ghost Of A Tradition?

Happy Halloween! I have had exactly zero trick-or-treaters. Which is not at all unusual. Is the custom really that dead, or do I just always miss them somehow?

At least I do finally have an American Gothic disc that works. That's... kind of spooky.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

American Frustration

So, I know American Gothic is meant to be a pretty spooky show, but is there a reason why cosmic forces, or possibly a conspiracy of Netflix employees, might want to prevent me from watching it? The first copy of the first disc they sent me was cracked and wouldn't play at all. The second one started out fine, but froze up completely and consistently 20 minutes into the pilot. (And my attempts at cleaning it, if anything, only seemed to make it worse.) At this rate, they're going to run out of copies to send me, and I'm never gonna find out what's up with that creepy sheriff.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Speaking Of Cats...

A short while ago, I was sitting on the couch with my laptop on my lap, chatting with a friend. Vir, apparently unhappy that I was paying more attention to the computer than to him, managed to climb onto my lap between me and the keyboard... not the first time he's done that. Him actually disconnecting my computer from the internet was new and different, though. Especially as it took me a little while to figure out just what the heck it was he had done and why my chat window wasn't responding anymore.

I swear, these beasts become smarter and more tech-savvy every day. I'm starting to feel a little frightened.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random Links: Nothin' But Cats Edition

Medium Large: This cartoon made me laugh a lot more than it probably should have.

How to Pet a Kitty: Detailed, accurate instructions for kitty-petting.

20 sci-fi LOLCats that may actually make you LOL: LOLing not guaranteed, but I found some of these quite amusing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welcome To Boresville, The Capital of Boresylvania.

Um, yes. I'm still not dead, and I do still remember that I have a blog. Honest. It's just that I have absolutely nothing of interest to share lately. Seriously. Nada.

For instance, here is a list of pretty much everything I've done today:
  • surfed the internet and answered e-mail
  • walked on treadmill while watching an episode of Venture Bros
  • showered and dressed
  • ate meatball sandwich at Subway
  • read 40 pages of Your Brain on Food
  • went to ATM
  • went to post office to return a book I received my mistake
  • went to vet's office to pick up more of Vir's super-special diet cat food
  • updated blog
And in a few minutes, I get to go and get ready for work. When I come home, I might watch some TV! Exciting!

Monday, October 11, 2010

21st Century Afflictions

There really ought to be a word for that annoying feeling you get when you sit down at your computer and suddenly realize that you've completely forgotten what it was you wanted to google.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Way Off The Wagon

So, I, um... I bought nine books at the library sale. I even bought a Friends of the Library membership so I could go last night, instead of this morning. Mostly because I have to work tonight and wanted to sleep until the afternoon, but also because, well, there'd be more books.

And I'm still drooling over a couple of things in the Daedalus catalog, too. And having a hard, hard time talking myself into not ordering all those "hey, there's a new book in the series!" books I want so much.

I really need to be locked up somewhere with a room full of books and no access to the internet for a few months, just to start getting caught up.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wait, We're How Far Into October Already?

Time for this again, I guess...

Current clothes: Black sweatpants. Maroon shirt that says, "I know just enough to be dangerous." (Too, too true!) White socks.

Current mood: Sort of tired, because I've been doing a bunch of cleaning and stuff, but generally very good. I finally have a few days off that don't involve having to adjust my sleep schedule in some strange and unnatural way, and it's just such a relief.

Current music: I was just listening to some random-shuffle stuff on the iPod. It was playing some Stevie Nicks when I turned it off.

Current annoyance: My work hours really have gotten horrible now that we're understaffed. I've worked 64- and 56-hour weeks recently. And I don't get overtime for it, either, since those workweeks span two pay periods. And coming up, I'll be working my third weekend in a row. Sigh.

Current thing: I, um, appear to have fallen off the book-buying wagon. I let myself relax my quota system for one month, and now I'm having immense trouble mustering up the self-control to force it back into place. I've already hit the maximum for this month, and the library sale hasn't even happened yet, and, damn it, I'm going to go! And it seems like every single series I am following has a long-awaited new volume out this month. And my mother just instructed me to take an empty suitcase when I go out to visit my sister next month, because we're making a pilgrimage to Powell's. Meep.

Current desktop picture: Still Doctor Who meets The Simpsons.

Current book: Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht. Which is wonderful.

Current song in head: "Meet James Ensor" by They Might Be Giants. But only because it was playing right before Stevie Nicks.

Current DVD in player: Disc 12 of The Avengers Complete Emma Peel Megaset, which I keep dipping into between runs of other things. ($30 that set cost me, and it's providing years of entertainment!) Also disc 2 of season 13 of South Park, which I've been watching on the treadmill.

Current refreshment: Some sparkling lemonade drink, which would be really good if it didn't have that just-licked-a-test-tube artificial sweetener aftertaste.

Current worry: That I will never be able to regain any sense of self-control when it comes to gratifying my desire for more books. Also for more ice cream.

Current thought: I am dusty and kind of sweaty. Time to change into jammies and relax with a book. Since, you know, I have so many of them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farewell, My Biblio-Acquaintances

Just took all the discarded books from the Great Book Purge down to the public library to donate for their book sale. They seemed happy enough to have them. But even though they're books I actively decided I did not want (rare as that is), the idea of books leaving my house still feels very, very wrong. I sort of miss them now. But I do feel good about releasing them back into the ecosystem, hopefully to find someone else who will love them. Be free, books! Be free!

And now, of course, I can go to the sale and replace them with new ones.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Here, Have Some Random Links

Chuck & Beans: Cartoon demonstrating the fact that some childhood games will not last a full afternoon.

Night of the Living Trekkies: Book Trailer: I've never quite understood the idea of book trailers. Dude, it's a book. A book is not a movie. Why try to pretend it is? But never mind. This trailer is so awesome that, yes, I went right out and ordered the book. So I guess sometimes they do work.

Library-Scented Perfume: I don't think I need it. I'm normally surrounded by this smell most of the time, anyway.

Zilch: Meet the flash game that's addicted me most recently. Roll the dice! Get lots of points! Or not!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Musical Geekery

Well, here's something I can talk about, although I suspect it might be of interest to maybe one person. Maybe. But I did actually follow through on my plan to listen to Rush's entire discography in order. (Well, almost. I left out the live albums. Those don't really count, right?) I ended up having a lot of time to spend on it during my get-crap-done week, since physical labor goes much more pleasantly with music, but even so, it did take me a little while. But I can now make the following observations:
  • Those very early albums, where they're still kind of trying to sound like a Canadian Led Zeppelin, are always better than I remember them being.
  • I can see why people complain about the synth-heavy period during the 80s. I've got nothing against synth, myself, but, well... While the individual songs from that period are mostly just fine, in aggregate they eventually become pretty boring.
  • Roll the Bones, on the other hand, still tops my Desert Island Discs list, and I genuinely never get tired of listening to it. I could easily have just played the whole thing all over again when it finished.
  • It seems I have finally reached the point where I can once again listen to Counterparts without a vague feeling of uneasiness, an unfortunate conditioned response traceable back to the time when I rolled my truck while listening to it.
  • Vapor Trails would probably be a good album if you could hear the damned thing. Guys, if you release a remaster of that puppy, I will pay for it. I swear.
  • Snakes & Arrows has been on pretty heavy rotation for me since it came out, and I don't seem to have quite gotten tired of it yet. I think it's arguably as good as anything else they've done (my deep and personal attachment to Roll the Bones aside), which is a great thing to be able to say about a band 40 years on.

And there you have it. Definitely time to go and listen to something else now, though. Well, maybe I could do Roll the Bones again...


Yes, I am alive. As predicted, I slipped back into a nice, boring routine after my week of dealing with car problems and household improvement projects and whatnot, and it has in fact been quite restful. Also, not very interesting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hell, I'm Half Looking Forward To Going Back To Work On Monday, Just For The Rest.

I. Am. Done..

That's right. As of now, I am finally finished with all the goddamned crap I swore I was going to get done on my time off this week. I won't bore you -- or, frankly, myself -- with a list. Suffice it to say that none of it involved eating ice cream and watching cartoons, more's the pity.

Well, all right, there was that vague plan about maybe going up to Albuquerque today to run some errands and perhaps do some shopping, but you know what? Screw it. Much as I'd like to try out my new tires, I have come up with some excellent reasons for putting that off for a while, starting with the fact that I'm tired and I've already spent far too much money this week.

Now! Let the vegetating commence!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Now, Enough About My Damned Car.

Many thanks to all who offered automotive advice. I am pleased to report that my car is now thoroughly studded and nutted.

Wait. That didn't come out right.

Well, anyway, it's fixed. They ended up just replacing all five studs and nuts on that wheel. Total cost: under $100. Yeah, yeah, sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and go get things done, because actually taking care of it is better than fretting about it. I did know this. Really.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


OK, I have a question for any of you who might actually know something about cars.

Here's the thing. I got new tires on my car today. (See? I was being an adult!) The tire guy told me that two lug nuts on one of my wheels were stripped. He was able to get one of them off and apparently to get it back on somehow, but the other one he had to break off so he could change the tire.

Being the adult I am (or at least am pretending to be), I went out and got a new lug nut and attempted to replace it, during the course of which I managed to strip the post thingy that the nut goes on. (Apparently it's called a lug nut stud. I looked it up.) Or possibly I can blame that on the tire guy, as well.

Now, I did some googling around, and the collective wisdom of the internet seems to tell me the following things:

1) Missing one out of five lug nuts is not super-unsafe, and is certainly no big emergency -- something that jives with Tire Guy's answer when I asked him whether the wheel was going to fall off -- but it's still a good idea to get it taken care of at the soonest convenience.

2) Replacing a lug nut stud is a fun, easy, DIY project! Really! There's a list of only 137 steps or so, and you don't need any tools more sophisticated than a blowtorch and you only have to mess around with your brakes a little bit and probably won't screw them up at all! Um, yeah. I was nervous about the idea of screwing on the nut, and it turned out I had good reason for that.

3) Having a mechanic replace it is likely to cost several hundred dollars.

Now, I can definitely afford to have it fixed if I really need to, but I'm wondering exactly how awful it is to go riding around, up and down the highway and everything, with only 4 out of 5 lug nuts. Because, you know, if it's a case of it slowly causing problems that might turn into something 50,000 miles down the road... Well, I've had this car for ten years, and I've put less than 40,000 miles on it, because I only ever use it very occasionally in town and can often go months between trips to Albuquerque. So it might not even be worth it to me to deal with it.

On the other hand, if it's a real safety issue, even if a fairly minor one, that's another matter. Especially as I've been vaguely considering driving it up to Albuquerque on Saturday to run some errands, and am wondering whether I need to worry about getting it looked at first. And I do have that annoying paranoia about my wheels falling off...

So, yeah, anybody out there actually know anything about this subject and have an opinion?

What's The Point Of Being Grown Up If You Can't Be Childish Some Of The Time?

I am really, really tired of being an adult now.

I am therefore eating a banana split for dinner.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I had more coffee. Things are much, much better now.

Currently Disgruntled

Current clothes: Tan jeans. A t-shirt with a picture of an evil sun and the words "The sun is trying to kill me." Because when I woke up this morning, it was, and I want it to know I'm onto it.

Current mood: I slept badly and far too briefly, and I'm sniffly and grumpy and I'm working stupid, stupid hours and I hate everybody. SEND MORE COFFEE.

Current music: I'm up to A Farewell to Kings on the Great Rush Re-Listen. Yes, 1977! Progress!

Current annoyance: See "current mood." Also random bouts of low-level but annoying social anxiety.

Current thing: I, uh, went on a massive book-buying spree after I did that purge of the To-Read Pile. I think I'm done now, though. I'm trying to be done.

Current desktop picture: Doctor Who meets The Simpsons.

Current book: I'm about halfway through Oliver Twist.

Current song in head: So, as I progress through Rushapalooza, something or other from whatever album I last finished always seems to get stuck in my head. I thus now occasionally find myself making a microphone out of my fist and wailing out whatever I can remember from "2112." So, mostly the "Temples of Syrinx" bit. Don't judge. It helps me cope.

Current DVD in player: I just finished disc 3 of Deep Space 9 season 2, which I am re-watching very, very slowly. Also disc 1 of The Simpsons season 7 for my watching-on-the-treadmill viewing. I think The Simpsons makes a pretty good treadmill show. At least I'm not in any danger of running out of it.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I am hungry. I want to go where someone will bring me a sandwich and unlimited quantities of caffeinated beverage and otherwise leave me alone to read. Right. That's my lunch plans sorted out, then. Or dinner, or breakfast, or whatever the hell this meal is.

Current worry: Staying awake through my shift tonight is likely to be quite a challenge.

Current thought: I don't really hate everybody. At least, not individually. Well, maybe a little. But I'll get over it.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

*sniffle* *sniffle* ACHOO!

I hate germs, and they all need to die.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Send Dr. McCoy.

Bah, I definitely have a cold or something. Lots of stuffiness, runny nose, intermittent but deeply annoying cough... I don't actually feel sick, exactly, but kind of tired and low-energy and blah. So much for getting anything else done on my days off. I think my to-do list is longer now than it was on Tuesday. I'm not even managing fun, simple stuff, like "watch movies so I can return them to Netflix." I mean, seriously, you want me to get up, swap out DVDs, and then devote my attention to something for an hour and a half? Who has that kind of ambition? Not me.

And I still have to work really stupid hours this weekend. Sigh. I'd just damned well better be feeling healthier next week, because I've got some stuff planned that I am not putting off any longer.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Rambling Random Links

I seem to have a cold or something. It's not too bad -- just enough to wake me up earlier than I would have liked, but not enough to keep me miserable once vertical -- but I already seem to have crud in my lungs, much earlier in the process than usual.

I believe this is a good excuse to scrap the gung-ho, let's-get-high-energy-stuff-done plan I had for today in favor of spending it with DVDs, computers, and books. Hopefully, if I'm very quiet, the germs will think there's nothing to see here and move along. Right?

So, anyway, instead of bracing myself to go out in the cool of the morning and hack down weeds (again), I sit here in my comfy house and bring you random links:

Obey! The Game: This is stupidly addictive. Also harder than it looks. But I made 101 levels!

Simon's Cat in 'The Box': New Simon's Cat video! This guy knows cats frighteningly well.

MESSENGER: A snapshot of home: A picture of the Earth and the moon as a pair of bright dots, taken by the Messenger spacecraft. This sort of thing really does give you a sense of cosmic perspective. Wave to everybody at home!

5 Mind Blowing Ways Your Memory Plays Tricks On You: I love Cracked. Not only are they often very funny, but they're better at presenting scientific knowledge and encouraging critical thinking skills than a lot of much more serious sites. This time, they tackle the somewhat frightening but true ways in which your brain screws with you. They sort of ruin the perception test video, though, by giving you the answer ahead of time. Here, let me show it to you, in case you haven't seen it before. It's a video of people passing a ball back and forth in a hallway. Your task is to count the number of times the ball is passed. It's harder than you'd think. When you're done, you can go to the article linked above to find the answer. It's the second item on the first page.

And speaking of Cracked and critical thinking... Their feature on 7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly) is interesting, and possibly mildly reassuring. But what I really love is the guys at The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe's critique of it in their most recent podcast. Partway through, it turns into a brief but hilarious debate on Zombie Kirk vs. Zombie Picard. The zombie discussion starts at about 34:25, but the whole podcast is worth listening to. Especially if you're interested in astronomy, since it features special guest Phil Plait.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Save Vs. Distracting Nerd Rock Humor

Having watched the documentary Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage last week, I have been overcome with an obsessive desire to listen to their entire discography. In order. I'm currently up to Caress of Steel (1975), so clearly this is going to take a while.

But here's what gets me. Somewhere on the internet, some time ago, I read a mildly disparaging, yet admittedly funny comment about "lyrics based on Neil Peart's D&D sessions," and I cannot now listen to these early albums without thinking about that. Constantly. It's really very distracting.

Back In Balance

Well, I took the car to a mechanic. The mechanic told me the first thing I should do is to take it to the tire guys and have the relevant tires balanced. This I have done, and now the vibration is almost entirely gone. (Heck, I think it's better than it was before I hit the stupid curb.) Total cost: $14.98. I love it when car problems turn out to be simple and cheap!

Unfortunately, they did also point out to me that I badly need new tires. I would like to disbelieve them on this point, but, alas, the evidence is on their side. Well, one thing at a time...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Galactic Hitchhiking Adventures

Just got back from spending most of the weekend at Bubonicon in Albuquerque. They have this convention every year, and in the 20 years I've lived here, I've periodically thought to myself, "you know, I should go to that sometime," but never actually did it. This year, though, a friend of mine said she thought she'd like to go, and asked if I'd come with her. And while I'm terrible about ever actually initiating any damned thing myself, I'm a whiz at saying, "Yeah, sure," when other people ask me to do things. So we went.

Bubonicon is just a tiny little convention, but it was pleasant enough. There's something about just being in a big room filled with people who share my own science fictional sensibilities and obsessions that's terribly comforting, somehow. So it was a nice, relaxing weekend. Certainly much better than working, which is what I would have been doing otherwise. (And since I didn't get to take the vacation I wanted earlier in the month, to go hiking with my sister, I was bound and determined I was going somewhere and doing something. Even if it was just a couple of days in ABQ.)

And, um, I must admit, I did buy a few books in the dealers' room. Which means I actually went over my book quota for the fictional month of Augtember. I'm trying not to find this hilarious, but it's difficult.

On the downside, while I was in the city, I managed to sideswipe a curb taking a turn a little faster than I ought to have, and the steering wheel was vibrating rather badly at highway speeds on the way back. Sigh. Looks like there's a trip to the mechanic in my future. Well, at least I made it home in one piece -- something I was a little nervous about, since the last time something similar happened to me, it culminated in a tire falling right off the wheel, which was freaking terrifying, even though I was stopped at the time.

This was Bubonicon 42, so naturally the theme was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I have to say, having spent a couple of days repeatedly staring at the words "DON'T PANIC" in large, friendly letters actually does help rather a lot when you're driving for 80 miles hoping that no tires are going to suddenly fall off your car.

Friday, August 27, 2010

This Was A Strange And Pointless Quiz, But I Do Approve Of Reclusiveness.

Academic Recluse

Science is best practiced in long cold hallways, insulated from teeming undergraduates by a barricade of beakers and test tubes. Your discoveries won't just stay within those hallowed halls, however- they will circulate to dozens of other people in dusty libraries, as well as your lecture students when they accidentally look up from their crossword puzzles.

Take the quiz on

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Name Is Betty, And I Am A Book Addict. But Look How Good I Am!

I have an exciting announcement to make:

I DID IT!!!!

My one big goal for the year -- heck, for a lot longer than that -- has been to get my To-Read Pile down to 400 books. For a while, I seriously doubted that I was going to manage it this year at all, never mind pulling it off by late August, but thanks to truly painful amounts of self-control, a veritable orgy of reading, and a convenient shipping delay on the part of Amazon, I DID IT!

*releases confetti and balloons*

And I'm going to keep it below 400, too. For a while now, I've been thinking of doing a little culling on the To-Read shelves. The truth is, as much as I hate to let a book go once I've got it in my hot little hands, I have realized that there are books on there that I honestly don't want to read. Science books that are so out of date now as to be useless, misguided gifts, books on hobbies I've lost interest in, sequels to books I turned out not to like... All in all, I figure I might end up purging a couple dozen, which I plan to box up up and donate to the local library for their next book sale. I didn't want to do it before hitting the big four-double-oh, because, well, that would have been cheating. But I feel pretty good about doing it now.

And then, as a celebration and a reward, I believe I will pretend that there is an extra month in this year -- Augtember! -- and allow myself to buy another month's quota of books. Hey, as long as I stay below the magic number...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cat Anecdote Of The Day

I just ate a grilled chicken sandwich. Apparently my fingers now smell/taste like chicken, because Nova keeps trying to eat them.


Ding-dong, the Chinese spam is dead! Thank you Google!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More Random Links, Heavy On The Videos This Time

Venture Bros. Season 4.2 Comic-Con Trailer: Trailer for the new season half-season episodes of Venture Bros. It looks promisingly violent and crazy.

Spicks and Spicks | Manta | Doctor Who theme - Ep 27, 2010: I must have something like 20 different versions of that tune on my iPod,and I'm pretty sure none of them features a didgeridoo. I'm kind of sad about that now.

Do tigers like catnip?: Judging by this video, the answer is an overwhelming "yes." Soon, I fear all these big cats will be out on the street desperately trying to score another bag.

Urge. To. Torrent. Rising...: This is why I almost never go to the movies anymore.

Some Random Things About My Life At The Moment

I am currently wearing an old t-shirt that says, "All stressed out and no one to choke." I should not ever wear this shirt. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Only slightly related to this: Gmail changed their interface slightly, and I had a horrible, panicky moment when I couldn't find anything. Aargh, change! I fear change! Especially when I've programmed movements for accessing things the old way into my cerebellum and am no longer consciously aware of what I'm doing.

On a much more awesome note, I saw a huge-ass meteor streaking overhead on my way in to work. And the Perseid peak isn't even for a couple of nights yet!

Also of the awesome: we successfully saved the universe in the Star Wars RPG I've been playing. (Well, I say "we." I don't know how much credit I can personally take.) It's a weird experience. I'm not sure I've ever played in a campaign before where we had a huge, over-arching goal and actually achieved it.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Currently, I Am Writing This.

Current clothes: It's blogging in a bath towel time again! Well, you know, after I've spent ten minutes in the shower, where you can't really take a computer, I start jonesing for the internet.

Current mood: Eh, OK. Just sleep-deprived enough to feel the effects, but not quite enough so to be too bothered by them.

Current music: Weird Al's Straight Outta Lynwood.

Current annoyance: Aforementioned neighbors. I want to live in that Isaac Asimov story where everybody gets their own empty planet to inhabit.

Current thing: I'm still playing The Sims 3, but it's actually kind of depressing me. In The Sims 2, I usually kept my sims from growing old with frequent doses of the elixir of life -- which I figure wasn't cheating, because they earned it -- but there isn't any way of doing that in the current game short of preventing everybody from aging entirely. So the sims I've been playing since they were young adults are growing old and dying, as their old friends also drop off one by one, and even though they've had happy and accomplished lives, there's still so much I never got around to doing with them... Possibly this is just not a happy fun game for someone currently looking down the barrel of forty and feeling angsty about it.

Current desktop picture: Still the same partial lunar eclipse picture as last month. I've been too lazy, or distracted, or something to bother changing it.

Current book: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, the biography of the mathematician John Nash on which the movie of the same name was based. I understand the movie took a few liberties with the truth, though I haven't seen it recently enough or made it far enough through the book to comment on that myself.

Current song in head: Thanks to above-mentioned album, it's mostly been a medley of Weird Al tunes for the last day or two.

Current DVD in player: I just finished re-watching season 2 of Quantum Leap. You know, I can't really pretend that, overall, this is exactly a good show. It's usually corny and frequently cheesy. It's formulaic. It employs a lot of bad guest actors. And the premise makes absolutely no sense if you spend two seconds thinking about it. And yet I do kind of enjoy it, especially as, I am forced to admit, my adolescent crush on Dr. Sam Beckett has not faded much with time. Also, it turns out that the final episode of season two really is just as sad as I remember it, thanks largely to the fact that Dean Stockwell is actually quite a good actor.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I'm getting hungry. Must go and scrounge up some food soon. Probably after I've put some clothes on.

Current worry: I'm sure I had some, but I don't remember what they were right now, and I'm happy enough to leave it that way.

Current thought: You know, I really like Straight Outta Lynwood, but there's one line in one song that drives me absolutely crazy. It's the square of the distance, Al! The square of the distance! Aaargh! (Yes, that's right. Weird Al is not nerdy enough for me.)

Friday, August 06, 2010

More Grrrrr

And while I'm ranting, here's a list of things I wish the neighbors would keep the hell out of my yard: fireworks, garbage, abandoned grocery carts, and yappy dogs.

At least that dog hasn't been loose for a few days, which is a very good thing. I normally don't find it difficult to deal with free-range dogs. They're just being territorial, and all you really need to do is to project the correct air of "I'm not here to fight you, but if you start something, I will finish it" until you're off of what he thinks of as his patch of ground. The thing is, this new, over-ambitious little beast has apparently decided that his territory extends to halfway up my driveway, and that will not stand. I'm capable of being pretty damned territorial, myself, and if they let that bastard animal out again, I may have to fight him.


God damn, but I'm sick and tired of every single post here getting Chinese spam. Often multiple times per post, if I don't update for a while. Why the fuck doesn't Blogger allow you to ban specific commenters?


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Random Links, Now With Extra Silly Webcomics

Maslow's Hierarchy of Internet Needs: Yeah, I think this sums the internet up pretty definitively.

Dinosaur Comics - July 23rd, 2010: Best geeky debate ever.

Bad Universe coming to a Discovery Channel near you: Trailer for the "Bad Astronomer"'s newly announced TV series, which looks way awesomer than most of the stuff passing for science programming these days.

Rare Zebra/Donkey Hybrid Born at Wildlife Preserve: OMG! Look at its little stripey legs!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

RIP, Mousie

So, when your mouse breaks, that should be taken as a sign from your computer that you've been playing the damned Sims game too long, right?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Off The Simulated Wagon

I finally broke down and bought a copy of The Sims 3, thinking it would be a fun way to keep myself awake late this week while I work on switching over to night shifts (which I am then on approximately forever).

Well, this plan worked very, very well, but it may still have been a bad idea. How could I forget for a moment what unbelievably addicting time-sinks these games can be, especially when they're still new to you? I'm just going to keep telling myself, no more till tonight. No more till tonight. No more till tonight. I have things to do, dammit.

Not that anybody's probably interested in a game review, since I'm no doubt the last person who enjoys Sim games to actually play it, but I'm pretty impressed with it so far. The differences take some getting used to, but they do make for a greater feeling of realism. Interestingly, it feels to me less game-like in many ways than The Sims 2 -- there's less of a sense that you're doing things for points, for instance -- but it's a also a lot more challenging, requiring keeping your attention in multiple places and juggling multiple goals, and thus also more game-like.

And, yeah. Addictive. I really should learn.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Update on Things You Probably Don't Care About

I now have a new permanent crown on my chipped tooth. It feels weird, and I'm not entirely sure it fits my mouth properly, but I'm going to give myself a while to try to get used to it before I go crying back to my dentist.

Also, my swamp cooler is now working again, yay! Turns out the problem was just a clogged-up water line. It took the guy five minutes to fix it, once I finally called them up and got somebody out here, and he didn't even charge me. I feel dumb not getting it looked at sooner, but I was afraid it might be a lot more involved than that to fix, and it's difficult to arrange repair visits and stuff with my ridiculous schedule.

Speaking of which, my sleeping patterns have been even more messed up than usual this week, and it has been making me very unhappy, but I think I might have finally Morning Person-ified myself now. Time to do all the stuff I didn't do on Monday and Tuesday because I was too exhausted.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Come On In, The Water's Fine!

Just got back from the grocery store. Somewhat surprisingly, they still had bottled water, although there wasn't much of a selection. If "selection" even means anything when you're talking about water. Which I don't really believe it does, except for the fact that I had to buy little bottles instead of gallon jugs.

...and, huh. Even as I was typing that, it suddenly came to my attention that while I was out shopping, I got an e-mail informing me that the city water had been declared OK and they were lifting the boil order. Well, that's $3.25 I'm out, then. Guess I'll put the bottled stuff away for the next apocalypse.

On an entirely different note, while I was at the store I noticed a display of Butterfinger candy bars, whose big promotional thing right now seems to be that you can win a trip to Comic-Con. Which leaves me wondering... Exactly when did nerdiness become completely mainstream?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

PSA: Don't Drink The Water

Folks in Socorro should probably read this. Which I did after drinking some water, a cup of tea, and most of a pot of coffee this morning. Joy.

Well, hey, if we're lucky, maybe the arsenic will kill the bacteria.

Sigh. Good old Socorro.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

B. F. Skinner, Eat Your Heart Out.

Several times in the past couple of weeks, Vir has woken me up in the middle of my sleep period, I've gotten up and tossed him out of the bedroom, and he has then failed to scratch at the door. I've tried hard for ages to achieve that result by never, ever getting up and opening the door while he's scratching at it, even if I actually want to get out of bed at that point, a strategy that has far too often resulted in me dozing off again and oversleeping. Cats being the stubborn things they are, though, I didn't really expect this to work. Despite the diligent appliance of principles I learned in Psych 101, I've never successfully extinguished a behavior in a cat before! I feel all science-y and proud. Even if tossing him out this morning didn't actually lead to me getting any more sleep.

Of course, it could just be that it's simply too damned hot right now for him to want to bother...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time Keeps On Slippin'...

Oh, look. I appear to have turned 39.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Slightly Whiny Currentlies

Current clothes: A towel. I got out some clothes -- denim shorts and a t-shirt with instructions for things you can invent if you happen to travel back in time while wearing it -- but I have not yet bothered putting them on.

Current mood: Eh. Kind of tired and unambitious. A Certain Cat is getting far too good at waking me up in the morning, and this does not contribute to my happiness and well-being.

Current music: More random shuffle stuff. The iPod seems to have been offering up a fairly high percentage of goofy comedy songs lately, which is fine by me. I can use the laughs.

Current annoyance: Graah, where do I start? Well, my swamp cooler definitely seems to be having problems. I suspect that running it is actually making the air in the house hotter now. For reasons I am unclear on, I put off doing anything about it for ages, and when I finally got around to calling someone to come and take a look at it, I discovered that they were closed until sometime next week. Also, my allergies are acting up again. And my internal clock is even more fubared than usual; I spent much of Monday irrationally convinced that it was the middle of the night when it was actually late afternoon. And I'm bummed about not getting the vacation time I wanted next month. Also, I am currently in one of those periods where humanity in general irritates me.

Current thing: Sneezing.

Current desktop picture: A partial lunar eclipse.

Current book: The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby.

Current song in head: As predicted, it's the theme song to The Greatest American Hero.

Current DVD in player: Disc 10 of The Avengers Complete Emma Peel Megaset. I got this on sale for something like $35, and for sheer entertainment-per-dollar value, I think it may be one of the best bargains I've even gotten. There's enough Avengers here for me to happily dip in and out for years.

Current refreshment: Nothing. My mouth still tastes like toothpaste.

Current worry: Eh. Too apathetic to worry.

Current thought: Right. Out from in front of the computer and on with the day. Annnnny minute now. Really.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I Can't Believe It Myself

Apparently "SyFy" is having a Greatest American Hero marathon today. Oh, Siffy. Why do you keep trying to get back on my good side? It always ends in heartbreak eventually.

July The Fourth Be With You

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! I am going out later to get together with friends for gaming, barbecuing, and fireworks. And probably also some Doctor Who, because there's no better way to get back at the British than to steal their cultural products.

If you're celebrating, drive safe, try not to blow yourself up, and take a moment to actually listen to the lyrics of "Born in the USA" before you assume it's an appropriately patriotic tune for a 4th of July soundtrack. (Yes, Local Radio Station, I am looking at you!)

Have a good one!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Even Geekier Than Usual Random Links

Doctor Who: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Daleks (The Peter Jones-y Edit): It is frighteningly easy to imagine that this is a cut scene from the Hitchhiker's TV show.

Four labels from the Bruce Campbell's Soup Company: Mmmm-mmmm, cream of darkness!

How LOST Should Have Ended: LAPIDUS! (Note: contains spoilers for how Lost actually did end. Sort of.)

Futurama's New York City Takes Lego Form: New New York, recreated in loving detail with Lego.

'I Have Never Watched an Episode Of Doctor Who In My Life': The Rap Song: I was going to say that I'm sure there are people around me who feel like this, except that I can't actually think of any. I believe we may have converted them all.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Can Even Coffee Save Me Now?

Aaargh, why am I not still asleep?! This is three days in a row now of ever-growing sleep deficit. At this rate, the person relieving me tomorrow morning is going to find me slumped face-down on my keyboard snoring, no doubt while something horrible is happening that I was supposed to be paying attention to.

I may have to resort to the radical strategy of attempting a nap.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Ears Are Still Ringing, But It's Totally Worth The Hearing Loss.

Just got back from the Rush concert. Which was great. As advertised, they did the entirety of Moving Pictures. Also lots of other old stuff, some newer stuff, and even some brand new stuff, in keeping with their "Time Machine Tour" theme.

And, man, possibly the only thing more awesome than Neil Peart on drums is Neil Peart on shiny steampunk drums.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Fan

And, winning the Grand Prize in the current "TV-related things that make me happy" contest: this entire season of Doctor Who.

Best. Show. Ever. That is all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

We Meet At Last Again

In other TV-related "things that make me happy" news: new Futurama!

I thought the direct-to-DVD movies, Bender's Big Score excepted, were a bit disappointing, but I did enjoy last night's new episodes. I admit, I'll take my Futurama in any form I can get it, but I do think it works best in a half-hour format. Hooray for the return of Fry and friends!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Various Things

Thing that is good, but also makes me feel kind of stupid: The tax refund check turns out to be legit. Apparently I neglected to claim a big old tax credit on my form. I guess I'm so used to not qualifying for anything that I just skipped right over it. But that totally explains why I appeared to suddenly owe so damned much in taxes. I was convinced there was something wrong with my W4 and I just hadn't yet figured out what.

"Thing that befuddles me" question of the day: Why do they put "about the author" blurbs in the back of autobiographies?

Things I want: All eleven Doctors! Also, a TARDIS.

Thing that is making me happy: Netflix sent me season three of Burn Notice. I can still eat up episodes of Burn Notice like M&Ms. (Although hopefully not like Jordan almonds.)

Hopeful thing: I smell rain! Sweet, cooling rain! *gazes hopefully up at the skies*

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Noblest Romana Of Them All

Take Which Doctor Who companion are you? (girls) today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You're Romana!

Silly Doctor. It's adorable, really, how hard he tries. And he is pretty brilliant, you'll give him that. But he always seems to overlook the obvious--including the fact that he's not the only Gallifreyan onboard, thank you very much. You are always calm and collected, and more often than not wonderfully witty, in the face of adversity. The Doctor knows he can count on you, even when you infuriate him!

OK, I honestly have no idea how I got that result. But it's cheering me up some.

I Still Want To Do This Week Over.

The dentist visit was moderately horrible in a variety of ways that I have neither the energy nor the desire to reiterate in detail. But the tooth now has a sort of temporary crown. All hail King Tooth!

Open Up And Say "Aaaargh!"

So, last night I was eating some Jordan almonds. You know, the kind with the candy coating. They were exceedingly nummy, and I was crunching happily away on them, when something vaguely funny-feeling happened in my mouth, and suddenly the crunchy texture changed slightly. Upon further investigation, and much to my dismay, this turned out to be because I was now eating part of a tooth. Seriously, the corner of one of my molars is just gone. I appear to have swallowed it. Stupid goddamned almonds.

The good news is, the tooth doesn't actually hurt. So yay for a lack of exposed nerves. But, man, is it making me nervous. There's a filling in there, which I believe I can now see from the side. (It's the same color as the tooth, though, so it's hard to be sure.) It's a little disconcerting.

So, being the rational, responsible adult I am, I called my dentist first thing this morning to make a semi-emergency appointment. Unfortunately, the soonest they could get me in was 9:45 tomorrow morning. I told them to go ahead and book me, because although I am scheduled to work tomorrow morning, there are a couple of people who ought to be able to cover for me. (In fact, it's one guy's specific job this week to cover other people's shifts if necessary.)

Then, of course, I found that that both of said people have their own important commitments tomorrow morning. And, naturally, the third person who also ought to be able to take over in a pinch just left on vacation. So now everybody's trying to juggle things so I can go and get my damned tooth crowned, or whatever it's going to need to turn it into a whole tooth again. And I'm wondering whether I should try to reschedule the appointment, but, man, I just have these visions of leaving it too long and suddenly biting down on it wrong, losing another bit of tooth or even the filling, and having a genuine rush-to-the-dentist-right-now emergency. Which would do nobody any good. (And, geez, this is what it's like now when we're supposed to have enough people to cover any such emergencies. What's going to happen come July when we're going to be down a person after one of my co-workers transfers to a different position, I shudder to think.)

Man, the whole thing is a massive pain in the neck. And on top of it all, I also have a literal pain in the neck, probably from the giant-ass cat trying to sleep on top of my head this morning.

Can I just start this week over? Pretty please?

[ETA: Whoo-hoo! Dentist just called! They can get me in this afternoon, after all! I like it when my life turns out to be slightly less annoying than anticipated.]

Monday, June 21, 2010

Open Wide, Gift Horse!

Today I got a tax refund check in the mail. Which would be a pleasant and wholly unremarkable thing, except that I owed taxes this year. And paid them already. *scratches head*

A bit of googling seems to indicate that such mystery checks are usually followed up with a letter of explanation. I hope mine arrives soon. And, y'know, makes sense. For the moment, I'm sort of afraid to cash the darned thing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Things That Befuddle Me, #1,475,926

How is it that no matter how carefully I check all the pockets, there always seem to be bits of shredded kleenex in my laundry at the end of the wash cycle? Are the tissues coming from the same place that socks disappear to?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And If You're Waiting On An E-Mail From Me, This Is Also Your Explanation.

I wish it to be known that despite yesterday's statement of low enthusiasm, I got a crapload of stuff done today. I now have clean sheets, clean underwear, lots of groceries, and a giant bag of Vir's extra-special prescription-only super diet cat food. The weeds in my yard have been hacked down. The busted ventilation motor in my bathroom has been replaced. The carpets have been vacuumed. I even cooked. (Well, all right, it was just spaghetti. With canned sauce. But I made salad!)

Go, me.

Of course, somehow it seems as if I still have exactly as much to do tomorrow. But I refuse to worry about that until tomorrow. And I hereby declare the rest of today to be Lie on the Sofa and Read Time. Finally.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Curse My Perverse Nature!

So, you may remember that earlier in the month I was complaining because I had lots of things that I wanted to do, but the extreme heat was sapping my energy to the point where I mostly ended up just lying on the couch and reading.

Well, the weather has now gone from apocalyptically hot back down to toasty-but-tolerable. And thanks in large part to my previous heat-induced lethargy, I have lots of stuff to do: errands to run, housework, yardwork, personal projects...

Only now? Now, all I want to do is to lie on the couch and read.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Don't Tell The Skeptics Society

Dear Scary-ass freaking movie,

It is very, very unkind of you to attempt to make me afraid of noises in the house at night. I have three cats. And I need to sleep tonight, dammit.

Not usually this easily creeped out,

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Current Whateverness

Current clothes: Denim shorts. T-shirt from White Sands, which I somehow seem to be wearing surprisingly often when I do this meme. Black ankle-length socks.

Current mood: Man, I don't even know. I was feeling pretty relaxed and good earlier today, then I got kind of mood-swingy... I may be coming out of it again now, though.

Current music: Rush's Moving Pictures. Concert warm-up, baby! We're actually the first stop on their tour this year, for some unfathomable reason.

Current annoyance: Did I mention it was too hot? It is too frelling hot. I have many other annoyances, as well, but I think most of them stem from that same source. It's too hot to bloody do anything.

Current thing: Nothing. Nothing is getting done. See above.

Current desktop picture: It's a fairly nice picture of some woods. I don't remember where I got it, except that it was some random blog that originally got it from deviantART, so I can't link to it.

Current book: Serendipities: Language and Lunacy by Umberto Eco. Which I got for Christmas and am only just now getting to. Stupid book backlog...

Current song in head: Well, since I've already started thinking about the next question, it appears to be the theme song to Bullshit! Brain Radio is unbelievably suggestible of late.

Current DVD in player: I just finished season 1 of The Invisible Man, and, as alluded to above, I am also watching season 7 of Penn & Teller's Bullshit!.

Current refreshment: Water. I also just had some pizza, because it is too hot to cook, and it's too hot to go out. Much better to make some other poor schmoe bring me food. Hey, I tipped him well.

Current worry: I got an e-mail a little while ago from an old friend of mine who's having some personal problems. I hope things turn out OK for her.

Current thought: Hmm, so, what can I do this evening that doesn't involve moving or thinking?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Enough About Me. Have Some Random Links.

evolutionaryLadybug: Drag the ladybug around the screen to eat as many aphids as you can, and watch the survivors as they breed and mutate. It's not much of a game, really, but it is a nice little simplified demonstration of natural selection, and I find it strangely compelling.

A Newcomer's Experience With The 'Lost' Finale: A guy who's never seen an episode of Lost watches the finale and reports on his reactions. The article itself is just okay, but I am always unreasonably entertained by this sort of thing. I'm not sure whether I'm more amused by the innocent understatements made out of ignorance -- "Ben apologizes for something," indeed! -- or by the fact that, in the end, most of his confused questions are exactly the same confused questions that people who've been watching the show for six years are likely to have. Oh, Lost. I miss you and your mind-messing already! (Oh, and spoiler warning! Just in case that wasn't obvious.)

LOST re-enacted by cats in 1 minute: Speaking of Lost-related stuff that amuses me more than it probably should... This is inexplicably hilarious. And also fairly spoilery.

Doctor Who: The Series at a Glance: The BBC's official guide to the current season of Doctor Who, featuring an index of all their online extras. The video clips generally won't play outside the UK, which is annoying, but there's plenty of other stuff there, too.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Yeah, But It's Dry Heat. The Kind Of Dry Heat That Mummifies You.

You know what today is? Today is too fucking hot, that's what today is.

My swamp cooler, which seems to be growing less efficient with each passing year, is able to bring the temperature inside my house down about 12 degrees. It is currently 104 outside.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to be 105. I have to go in to work for a few hours in the afternoon. I'm thinking I might just freaking stay there. At least the office is air conditioned.

Fucking New Mexico. Gaaah.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Remember when I said I'd try to be more interesting here? I appear to have failed completely.

So, uh, anything you guys want me to talk about?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goodbye Garbage

Hey, they did finally pick up my garbage! Yay! Exactly one week later, even, so it looks like they did just skip us -- me and my neighbors across the street, at the very least -- last week. Nice to know that my life can go back to its reassuring weekly rhythm now.

(Yeah, yeah, I know. This is what you get these days. Posts about my gray hairs and my garbage. I'll, uh, try to be more interesting later. Really.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Damned Entropy

So, I just got my hair cut, which is a very good and much-needed thing. But it has caused me to take a look in the mirror and realize that, wow, I have a lot of gray hair.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Dear local ABC affiliate,

I am trying to watch the beginning of the final episode of Lost. You know, the big, important, landmark-event show that you have been hyping like crazy? It appears to start out with a rather lovely series of images. I say "appears to," because it is difficult to make them out. You see, I do not have an extremely large television, and you have seen fit to shrink the show into a tiny little box so that you can show me pictures of a fire. Now, a fire is certainly important news, and I do not begrudge the text you have scrolling at the bottom of the screen, distracting as it is, because it contains an important public service announcement. BUT I DO NOT NEED TO SEE THE PICTURES! I KNOW WHAT SMOKE LOOKS LIKE, AND THE ONLY SMOKE I WANT TO SEE RIGHT NOW IS THE SMOKE MONSTER!



Much lack of love,

[ETA: OK, they eventually stopped doing it. Mostly. And the finale was... interesting. I'm not at all sure how I feel about some of it, but I did enjoy watching it, despite the station's best efforts.]

Funny Lost Videos

So tonight, at last, is the final episode of Lost. Who will live? Who will die? What questions will be answered, and which threads will be left to dangle forever? Will anything in the last six years turn out to make any actual sense? Damned if I know! I'm very excited to find out, though. And if you are, too, well, here's some videos to pass the time while you wait.

Needless to say: SPOILERS!

First, this hilarious (and, I guess, NSFW, in a strange, strange way) thing from Jimmy Kimmel:

Then, an example of what not to do when you're in TV withdrawal:

And finally this (also from Jimmy Kimmel), which amused the heck out of me, although you might have to be a member of a certain demographic to fully appreciate it: