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...