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!