Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Expected Journey (To The Movie Theater)

So, I finally got out to see The Hobbit. Objectively, I'm sure it's a flawed movie. I've heard criticisms about it being too slow, and I'm sure they're valid. I strongly suspect that if I were coming to this story for the first time, I'd find the movie badly paced for the adventure tale it is, and way too full of expository backstory. But, fortunately for me, I have neither the ability nor the desire to be objective. The Hobbit is a story I've loved since I was a kid -- I first read it long before I ever encountered The Lord of the Rings -- and seeing it up there on the big screen looking so awesome, with or without added bits, was an absolute treat for me. The riddle scene with Gollum was particularly thrilling; that was always my favorite part of the book, although I suppose that's probably true for most people.

And, wow, that really, really did not feel like three hours. Heck, I didn't even have to pee when it was over. I could happily have sat there for another hour or two.

When's the next one out, again?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

So This Is Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

I'm having a nice, low-key solo holiday this year. I did have an invite up to Albuquerque, which I appreciated, but after working long, annoying hours for the last few days, I'm feeling a lot less like long drives and social contact, and a lot more like lying around the house eating candy canes in my pajamas. So that's what I'm doing. (My pajama pants have pictures of the Grinch on them, so they are appropriately holiday-themed.) I do have a little Cornish game hen to cook up later, as well as pie, and my homemade fruitcake-that-challenges-all-the-stereotypes-about-fruitcake, although there's not much of that left. And, of course, I have opened all my presents, every one of which made me happy and was much appreciated. Many thanks to all the lovely people in my life for their thoughtfulness! And to all of you, whatever you're doing today, whether you celebrate this particular holiday or not, I hope you all have a warm, happy, wonderful day.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Christmas Cheer (Also Zombies)

A thing that should exist: The Walking Dead Christmas special. (Warning: kind of spoilery)

And, hey, why stop at one Walking Dead parody video? This one also amused me. (Warning: really spoilery!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Random Links For The Holidays

Your Holiday Gift Guide for Cats—By Cats: Last minute shopping suggestions for your feline! Although some of these are likely to be difficult to obtain. Cats can be so demanding.

The Best Astronomy Images of 2012: Because outer space continued being awesome this year.

And, finally, the reason we're all still here.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The True Meaning Of Christmas: New Doctor Who!

New Doctor Who Christmas special trailer!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

'Tis The Season! But Which Season, I'm Not Sure.

You know, it's very difficult to believe that we're coming up on Christmas when I haven't yet had to take my winter coat of of the closet once, and have, in fact, been happily walking around outside in short sleeves for the past week. I'm not complaining, mind you! Well, except for the fact that this is probably a symptom of global warming and some poor Pacific island is about to disappear forever so that I might enjoy nice weather in December. Other than that, though, it's awesome!

Friday, December 07, 2012

This Month's Currentlies Prove I'm Not Dead!

Yeah, I know it's been a while since I posted here. I think it's because nothing the slightest bit interesting has been happening, but let's see, shall we?

Current clothes: This is one of those days where I'm blogging in a bath towel, fresh out of the shower. I really need to go and get dressed soon, though.

Current mood: Man, I don't even know what the word is for my mood lately. But I'm at this point where it feels like there are a zillion different things wanting me to pay attention to them, and even though many of them are perfectly nice things, it's kind of getting to me. I'm also seriously tired of working, and I'm starting to entertain fantasies again of spending a week in a cabin in the forest or a hut on a deserted tropical beach somewhere, with a giant stack of books and the quiet sounds of nature, and absolutely nothing else. That sounds like bliss... except then I can't help thinking how bad my internet withdrawal would be by the end of the week. Modern life is ruining even my fantasies now, it seems.

Current music: Nothing much... Well, the last thing played on my iPod was The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," because, I dunno, listening to it might have gotten it out of my head, or something. Which it actually might have done, but it's back now. Thanks, meme!

Current annoyance: Yeah, see "current mood," I think.

Current thing: Don't even ask me how many books I've bought so far this year. Seriously, don't ask. I'm afraid to count them.

Current desktop picture: I just now switched it over to my traditional December wallpaper, which features a picture of the TARDIS with snow on the roof and a wreath on the door. Maybe this will help put me into a holiday spirit, because said holidays really seem to be sneaking up on me this year.

Current book: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Which is just lovely. It's warm and perceptive and dryly funny and romantic even for a deeply non-romantic soul like me, and very, very British. I may be reading it more slowly than I need to because I don't want it to end, which is unheard of for me.

Current song in head: "Sympathy for the Devil." See above.

Current DVD in player: I just finished disc 3 of season one of Once Upon a Time. Somebody I was discussing this show with said he couldn't decide whether it was "a very good bad show or a bad good show," and I have to agree. It's like it's trying to be both good and bad at once, and the result is more than a little weird. I've gotten surprisingly into it by this point though, based, I think, mainly on the fact that Robert Carlyle is amazing in it. I do not know why he isn't starring in every episode. Also, I'm still making my way through season 3 of The Twilight Zone. Most recent episode: "To Serve Man," which makes no logical sense whatsoever on any level, and yet still somehow manages to be a classic piece of television.

Current refreshment: Nothing since I finished my morning coffee. I ought to start thinking about lunch at some point, especially since I have a doctor's appointment to go to at 1:00.

Current worry: That entropy is trying to eat my house again.

Current thought: I have to confess it here: I love my giant new TV. I had no idea it would make me this happy when I got it; I just knew the old one was starting to annoy me. And it's embarrassing to admit, isn't it? It seems like the height of crass materialism to admit that having a large television brings joy to your life. But, oh, such pretty, pretty pictures it makes for me!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Who Day!

Today is the 49th anniversary of Doctor Who. To celebrate, I ordered that "My other car is a TARDIS" license plate holder people told me I should buy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Humble Appreciation With Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

You know, the idea of "giving thanks," when you phrase it that way, has always been a little problematic for me, non-theist that I am, since thanks imply some sort of thankee. But, as well as really lovin' the whole turkey thing, I've always felt that a regular reminder to take a moment and humbly appreciate the things that you have is an excellent practice. I have quite a lot of things to be humbly appreciative of, but first on the list at the moment is that fact that I'm finally starting to sound like myself again, at least to my own ears. Mostly. Better still, there's some pep in my step again. Yay! Now, if no more stupid germs attack me like that between now and next Thanksgiving, I'll be really grateful. Or appreciative. Or whatever.

Anyway, I hope everybody out there is doing at least as well as I am at this point, and that if you're celebrating Thanksgiving today, you thoroughly enjoy it. Me, I'm heading up to Albuquerque in a little while to spend it with some friends. (See you soon, Captain C!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Apparently, Cats Should Only Watch PG-Rated Films.

I think the cats are having a certain amount of trouble dealing with the new TV. It sometimes seems to seriously freak Nova out. Not that Nova isn't easily freaked out at the best of times, but, dude, a couple of weeks ago, he ran away from the swooping eagle in the Colbert Report credits. And today I was watching Cabin in the Woods -- which just gets awesomer with repeat viewings, by the way -- and at one point he was staring utterly raptly at the TV. Cool, I think. Cat appreciates a good movie! Then, suddenly, with a little sting of music, a monster attacks from out of nowhere... and Nova starts violently, runs halfway down the hall, and peers nervously back at the TV with his eyes wide and his ears partway back. I actually felt kind of guilty, like a parent failing to wait until the kids are in bed to put the scary movie on. And yet, it was hilarious.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Small, But Extra-Geeky Batch of Random Links

Morning Roundup: John Barrowman Gets His Butt Signed by Scott Bakula: Yeah... I'll be in my bunk.

Star Trek The Original Series: Every Classic Trek episode ever, in one glorious, giant picture. It's too bad they're not selling prints of this, because I think it would look terrific in my living room.

‘Doctor Who’ 2012 Christmas Special ‘The Snowmen’ Trailer & Prequel Minisode: Oh, gosh. The "prequel minisode" is equal parts hilarious and terribly sad, and the trailer just has me feeling incredibly excited. Yay for the return of awesome characters! Note: there are very definite spoilers for last season here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Local Color

After having been told repeatedly that I really, really ought to, I have finally started watching Breaking Bad. The pilot was fairly interesting, but, man, watching a TV series set in Albuquerque is just weird. Weird, and distracting. It's kind of hard to concentrate on what the characters are doing when I'm staring so hard at the locations, yelling things like, "Hang on, I've been to that car wash!"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hey, Three Of Them Were On My Wishlist.

OMG, giant library sale! I got 39 books for $10. I am honestly not sure whether I am more proud or ashamed of myself.

But, geez, you think Black Friday at Wal-Mart is bad... Believe me, it's got nothing on the frenzy of bibliophiles in a dank, book-filled basement when everything's going for five dollars a bag.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Currently, This.

Current clothes: Black jeans (which are probably a mistake, as they'll no doubt be covered with cat hair by the time I have to leave for work). Light gray Doctor Who t-shirt, with the new series logo, a lot of Gallifreyan scribblings, and a picture of the TARDIS on it. White socks. Scuffed brown leather hiking boots.

Current mood: Meh. Despite the cough and all, I don't exactly feel sick, but, to inadvertently paraphrase some song lyrics, I don't really feel well either. Mostly, I've been feeling pretty low-energy and blah lately, and it's kind of bringing me down. I could go on about that a lot, actually, but I'll spare you the pity party.

Current music: Not much lately. I remember listening to some random shuffle stuff on the iPod yesterday, but nothing particularly leaps out.

Current annoyance: Yeah, the cough, which is very intermittent, but still no fun. And my voice still sounds pretty hoarse and croaky, making me honestly somewhat embarrassed to talk to anybody. And I really want to have more mental and physical energy, dammit. And, yes, I'll stop the whining there.

Current thing: I've tried to make my current thing getting all excited about the various cool improvements I've been making in my life, but thanks to aforementioned, probably germ-induced lethargy, mostly it's just been lying around like a lump, instead. Yesterday I spent all evening on the couch watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory.

Current desktop picture: Still the kids from Fullmetal Alchemist.

Current book: Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis. The front cover bills it as "a detective novel in ancient Rome," which I think tells you pretty much everything you need to know. I've only just started it, but so far it's fun.

Current song in head: Well, right now, I think it's alternating between "Flagpole Sitta" and the Big Bang Theory theme song, because my brain is just that suggestible.

Current DVD in player: I did finish season 5 of The Big Bang Theory yesterday. Next up is season 6 of Red Dwarf, because apparently geeky half-hour comedies are just about my speed lately. And because Netflix keeps refusing to send me Supernatural. I'm also back to watching The Twilight Zone on the treadmill. I'm currently a little way into season 3. Unsurprisingly for an anthology show, it's a little uneven. One episode, you get a not-very-good retelling of a campfire story, and the next you're watching an unforgettably creepy little Bill Mumy wishing people into the cornfield. Overall, though, I continue to be highly impressed. So much of what that show did really should feel incredibly trite and corny fifty years later, and yet so little of it actually does. The truly classic episodes are classics for a reason, but there are a lot of hidden gems among the lesser-known ones, too. Less than halfway through the series, and I already feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of the boxed set I bought.

Current refreshment: A nice mug of chai.

Current worry: I hope everyone on the east coast who got first hurricaned on and then snowed on is doing OK.

Current thought: Eh, I'm not doing that badly, really. It could be a hell of a lot worse.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Yet Another Frivolous Purchase I Am Contemplating

Oh, and also: do you think I should get this for my new car? It apparently just got back in stock, and I am debating.

Random Items Of Randomness

A few random thoughts/observations:

1. Geez, you don't realize just how much yelling you do at your TV and/or computer until you sort of lose your voice.

2. The soap dish I ordered does not fit into the hole left by the old one. Looks like I'm going to have to clean the nasty old one off and stick it back in, after all. Yeah, my life is so full of hardships.

3. I'm not going to talk about the election much here, except to say that I'm very relieved that's all over with, at least for another few days until the 2016 campaign begins in earnest.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey

Oh, look. I get to set all the clocks back now! On a day when I really, really need to stay up as late as possible to switch over to night shifts and am already up far too early to make that easy. Thanks so much, Daylight Saving Time!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Sick And The Dead

Alas, the battle is not going well. The enemy forces have been far too opportunistic and cunning. First, the armies of Common Cold began massing against me, without my knowledge. Then I invited a traitor through my gates: Dead Flu Virus, who I thought would be my ally, but who instead served as a distraction at the critical moment while the troops of Common Cold made their assault. While I was still beating back the forces of Cold, reinforcements arrived for them in the form of Bronchitis. And while Bronchitis waged its war of attrition on me, a new threat arose: laryngitis. Although, in the heat of the battle, it's not at all clear whether that particular damage was done by foreign invaders, or by my own attempts to fight the Bronchitis forces. (Meaning I'm not sure if my vocal chords are actually infected, or if I've just coughed myself hoarse.)

The battle rages on, but the damage has been significant, and in the immortal words of Montgomery Scott, "She cannae take much more!" Because my job does sometimes involve talking on the phone, and if my voice gets any worse than this, I'm in trouble. Also, my poor immune system trooopers have a distinct lack of medical support. I was going to go to the doctor today, but apparently when the website lists the hours as "8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday" and then on the next line: "Saturday (Walk-in care. No appointment needed)", that actually means "We will be closed at 1 PM on a Saturday." Not that I expect a doctor to be all that much help, anyway. Whenever I go in with bronchitis, they usually just give me some antibiotics, in the forlorn hope that there might be some bacteria involved somewhere. Waste of antibiotics, if you ask me, but, hey, am I a doctor? I was holding out a vague hope, though, that maybe they'd at least give me some nice narcotic cough syrup or something. Ah, well. If it's not better Monday, I'll try again then. Even though I should be sleeping most of the day on Monday.

In completely different news, but in keeping with the violent battle theme we've got going here, I've been playing the Walking Dead video game, since Steam had it on sale for Halloween. Mostly, I have been attempting to demonstrate that one can survive a zombie apocalypse without turning into a giant ass, contrary to the attitude of certain characters I could name. So far, I've managed to let two people get eaten alive, and a jerk whose life I probably saved punched me in the face. Good times!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Everything Is Falling Apart.

The soap dish in my bathtub is no longer attached to the wall, due to the fact that I am an idiot and used it to help pull myself out of the tub last night. SIGH. Now not only do I have to devote a chunk of my weekend to replacing it, in my own, inimitable, fumbling-around-being-no-good-at-DIY way, but I'm also not going to be able to take a shower for days while various adhesives dry. I really, really want to whine about this a whole lot, but, well, I know people who are currently without power for at least a week after the hurricane, so I guess I probably shouldn't complain too much. Things could always be worse.

[ETA: I take it back. No DIY for me this weekend. Apparently a replacement ceramic soap dish is not to be found in Socorro, and I'm not driving all the way to Albuquerque tomorrow just to buy one. And if I'm going to have to do the work anyway, I'm not putting the nasty, chipped-up old one back in. So it looks like I'm going to be using the old "tape a garbage bag over the hole so it doesn't get wet" trick for a little while.]

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Happy November!

Am still coughing. My voice has now been reduced to a kind of ridiculous croak, which would be hilarious, except for how it's really not.

In other news, I just went and voted early, so I don't have to do it on Tuesday when I'm on night shift. So everybody can stop calling me and leaving goddamned political ads on my answering machine, OK? It is now legally impossible to influence my vote, as opposed to just practically impossible, which it was before.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hack, Hack, Ptui

Cold is still getting better. Cough is getting worse. Anybody know where I can trade in my lungs for a new pair? I think these ones are defective.

It's Couch Potato Time!

I am enjoying my new satellite TV. Mostly. The DVR is a lot more annoying to use than my old TiVo, in just about every possible way, but I was expecting that. TiVo really does have just about the best interface I've ever encountered on anything: intuitive, simple, and extremely user-friendly without sacrificing functionality or treating you like an idiot. Even the remote was very nicely designed, which the DIRECTV one... isn't. Ah, well. So far, I've managed to avoid wanting to throw the new one against a wall, so I think I'll be able to live with it.

On the upside, though, HD on that great big new TV of mine is... Is kind of weird, actually. It's going to take a little getting used to. But in a good way. I also think I'm likely to end up finding the On Demand feature more useful than I expected. Heck, I already have: it enabled me to get caught up on The Walking Dead, so that I can now watch it as it airs instead of waiting for the current season to come out on DVD. (Although that may not necessarily be a good thing, as I suspect this may be one of those shows that works better on DVD, where you don't have a full week between episodes to think about how stupid whatever the characters just did was.) I also discovered you can watch YouTube videos with the DVR, which is kind of cool, although it has the potential to be a dangerous time-waster.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wow, That Actually Does Look Pretty Scary.

All you folks on the East Coast, try not to die of hurricane, OK?

Well, If I Can't Have A Social Life, At Least I Have TV.

I am feeling a lot better today, which just bloody well figures. Damned germs apparently accomplished their mission of keeping me from having any fun and are now satisfied. Although the cough is being kind of sneaky... I keep thinking maybe's it's completely gone, and then suddenly it'll pay a return visit, give me a nice little hacking fit for just long enough to make my throat hurt, then disappear again for hours. Not that I'm complaining about the fact that it's not worse.

In other news, Project Upgrade My Life to the 21st Century is now very close to completion, as the DIRECTV guy was just here and installed my shiny new HD TV service. Finally, my new TV lives up to its full potential! Now if only there were anything good on... Anyway, now all I need is a gadget to let me stream Netflix to said TV, and my entertainment options will be utterly complete, so that if I'm ever placed under house arrest for some reason, I will not care.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Am Difficult To Deal With When I'm Sick. I Do Realize That.

Dammit, my cold is getting steadily worse. I've developed a cough now. An intermittent cough, but a bad enough one. The kind that makes your lungs feel all wet and itchy, and can occasionally emerge with enough force to make your head hurt. This particularly alarms me, because once a respiratory infection settles down into my lungs, often as not that means I have six fun-filled weeks of bronchitis to look forward to. Yay. Even more annoyingly, if I'm not feeling better than this tomorrow, I probably shouldn't go to the Halloween party I was planning to attend. Which really kind of pisses me off. I am not generally a big fan of parties, but, dammit, this one I was actually looking forward to, and not just in that "Well, it's good for me to get out and be social" way that usually motivates me to go to parties, on the infrequent occasions when I do. Why do germs keep screwing with everything I really want to do lately? Aaargh!

If you'll excuse me, I am going to go to my room now and pout like a teenage girl over how my life is so unfaaaaaaair.

Not That I Don't Trust Bruce Campbell's Word, But...

So, there's a trailer out for the new Evil Dead remake. Here it is, if you're interested and haven't seen it yet. (Warning: gore! Duh.)

I'm afraid I can't really find it in myself to get very interested in this. If you ask me, the only thing that made the first Evil Dead movie even remotely interesting, other than the presence of Bruce Campbell, is the fact that the gory special effects were so obviously a carefully crafted labor of low-budget love. Twisted, disturbed, ridiculously blood-splattered love. Remake that with actual money and production values (and, if this trailer is an accurate reflection, without the fun, campy humor of Evil Dead 2), and what have you got? What's the point? Other than to remind me that I really need to pick up Cabin in the Woods on DVD, that is.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More Whining About The State Of My Health

Clearly I do have a cold. For the second time in as many months. SIGH. This one's not nearly as bad as the last one, and industrial strength decongestants are mostly keeping the nose functional, but apparently whatever crud I have managed to clear from my respiratory system has gone straight into my brain.

Dammit, I better be over this quickly. I have things to do this weekend. Did I mention I have things to do this weekend?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Also, I'm Up Way Too Damned Early

Gaah, I have a sore throat. Also a stuffy nose, although that might be at least partially due to allergies. The sore throat is definitely not good, though. I'm hoping it's just some kind of side effect from the flu shot, as the CDC assures me that such things are usually brief and mild. If it's a cold, it's got crappy timing, to be incubating just when I decided to distract my immune system with other things. Plus, I've got housework to do today, actual work to do Thursday and Friday, a party to attend on Saturday, and the DIRECTV guy coming on Sunday. Now is not a good time to be sick, dammit.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Speaking of Shiny New Things...

I now have a shiny new internet connection! My god, I just watched a YouTube video all the way through and it didn't stop to buffer once. Can such things be possible?!

Many people just got an e-mail to this effect (complete with typos, sigh), but for anybody else to whom it might be relevant: my SDC e-mail account is going away. You can still e-mail me at my gmail account, or at bettyragan at centurylink dot net.

Next up: new TV service! And then I'm done. No more big changes for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2012


My exciting activity for the day: I got a flu shot. This is actually the first one I've had, despite the fact that my employer offers them for free every year. I usually come up with some excuse, but the fact is, I just really don't like needles. And I figure, hey, I'm not actually all that likely to get the flu in any given year -- I come down with it maybe twice a decade if I'm really unlucky -- plus even getting the shot is no guarantee you won't get the flu, anyway, as you could always catch some weird strain they didn't vaccinate for. Might as well play those odds, right? Well, maybe... although the odds of crashing on any given car trip are also fairly low, and I was still glad enough to hear about all those airbags and crumple zones and things my new car has. And the more I learn about vaccination and public health issues, the more I'm coming to realize that not getting vaccinations for infectious diseases is -- and please excuse the corny turn of phrase -- bad citizenship. After all, if I catch the flu, I might want to die, but if I don't catch it, I can't pass it on to someone vulnerable who might actually die. Which can happen to people with compromised immune systems. So, I went and got the damned shot. It literally took five seconds and barely hurt, other than making my bicep kind of sore, so the fact that I've been wussing out of it all this time is really rather embarrassing.

(On an only very slightly related note, while I was driving in to get my shot, my new car reached its first 100 miles on the odometer. Yay, milestone!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

See! It Is Shiny!

Look, it's my new car!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And In Much Awesomer News...

I am now the owner of a brand new car!!! I did, in fact, end up buying a Honda Fit. it is shiny and sliver! I think it will fit my needs very well. It's a nice, simple, basic, inexpensive car, with all of the (very few) features I want, and none of the extra crap I don't want. Technically, it's a subcompact, but it supposedly has as much cargo space as some SUVs.

I feel like such an organized adult right now. I did research online, figured out exactly what I wanted and how much I ought to pay for it, and went and bought it. So much different from my last car, where I basically walked into the dealership -- walked because I had totaled my previous vehicle and had no other transportation -- and said, "Um, I need a car. What do you have?" Which is precisely what you're not supposed to do. Not that I ever regretted it. To be honest, I'm going to miss that little Neon. It was a good and faithful car that did everything I asked of it and, up until very recently, never gave me a lick of trouble that wasn't my own or somebody else's fault. But it was time for it to go. I don't think I ever realized that quite so much as when I started driving the new car. Mainly because I keep finding myself going way faster than I think I'm going. Apparently, I'd learned to rely on cues like how much rattling and vibration there was, and how much air was coming in through that one window that never quite sealed properly in order to gauge my speed.

Anyway, yay, new car!!! I feel like I ought to be planning a road trip or something.

The Moral Of The Story: It Sucks To Be An Addict.

I've had another test to monitor the thyroid hormones in my bloodstream, and apparently they're a little off of where they should be again. I figured they'd just give me a higher dose of the levothyroxine, but, no, the doctor thinks that maybe I'm just not getting the full benefit of what I'm taking, thanks to the fact that I'm cheating.

See, here's the thing. You're supposed to take this stuff on an empty stomach, when you first get up in the morning. Which I do. ("Morning" for me varies from 6 AM to late afternoon, but the doctor doesn't think that's too much of a problem.) Then you're supposed to wait half an hour to an hour before eating anything. Which I do. Heck, I can't stand the thought of food until I've been awake at least an hour, anyway. Here's where the cheating comes in: I cannot wait that long for my morning coffee. I don't like coffee without milk. And calcium, specifically, is something that interferes with absorption of the hormone. Well, hey, I told myself, it's just a very small amount of milk! The stupid drugs won't even notice! It'll be fine.

Yeah, maybe not. Sigh. The doctor cheerfully recommended that I wait an hour after waking up before drinking any coffee. The man clearly has no idea what he's asking. Dude, my morning coffee is more medically necessary than anything my thyroid does for me!

So, here I am, learning how to drink black coffee. At least until the hour's up and I can switch.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Links Through Time And Space

Cookie Monster and Grover take on 'The Avengers,' 'The Hunger Games,' and song!: The "and more" part includes Doctor Who. But even without that, this would be hilarious.

Avid Reader (Antique) Wall Clock: I think I need this clock. That is all.

20 Spectacularly Nerdy Science Jokes: My kind of jokes! Also, I want that periodic table.

Welcome Back, Doctor Who: What do you do when you encounter someone who doesn't like Doctor Who? This!

Doctor Who: P.S. - Series 7 2012 - BBC One : And for those who do like Doctor Who... Here's the unfilmed epilog to "The Angels Take Manhattan." Which now exists on the internet, because apparently the BBC got tons of e-mails from people asking after Brian. It's only a storyboard and a voiceover, but, dammit, it made me tear up a little. I'm actually a bit pissed off that it didn't make it into the episode. WARNING: Massive, massive spoilers for said episode. Obviously.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Also, I finally went ahead and ordered new internet service (DSL) and TV service (DIRECTV). The good news is, bundling it all with my phone bill, I'll actually end up paying less per month, all told, than I am for my current unreliable internet and staticky basic cable. Yay!

But, man, between what the equipment and installation is gonna cost me, and what I still owe on the credit card from buying that new TV, and the anticipated down payment on the car... Well, let's just say that 2013 will be a very good year not to make any major purchases.

I May Have To Stop Now. All The To-Be-Read Shelves Are Full.

At some point in the last few months, I found myself thinking, "Screw it, I've fallen so far off the wagon that I just won't worry about the book-buying quota for the rest of the year." This... This was a bad idea.

Oh, well. They did give me a nice "Friends of the Socorro Public Library" pen free with all those books I bought last night.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Car Talk

No car shopping for me this week. Today's the only day it really would have been convenient to do it, and today is being devoted to other matters, starting with getting my swamp cooler serviced. Maybe next week? Or the week after? Bah. It's turning out to be remarkably hard to schedule stuff this month. Especially stuff I kind of want to put off.

I have, however, done some more research, and my new top choice, pending hands-on evaluation, is the Honda Fit, which has been described to me as "TARDIS-like" in its interior vs. exterior dimensions, and which has even better reviews than the Toyota Matrix. And it's a bit cheaper. The only advantage I can see to the Matrix, or at least the only advantage I care about, is that it's available with a bigger engine for a little more acceleration, which the Fit isn't. And when I'm merging, I like to be able to merge. Still, unless Consumer Reports and friends have misled me greatly, I think the Fit will be at least adequate on that score. No doubt a test drive will tell.

Mostly now I'm wondering about the logistics of this whole thing. I'm going to have to drive to Albuquerque to go car shopping, which means I'm going to have two vehicles on my hands if and when I actually buy one. Dragging somebody else along to visit car lots with me seems unlikely to be fun for either of us, if I could even find someone willing to volunteer, plus I'll probably be going on a weekday when normal people are working. And I'm dubious whether anybody is going to want my leaky, rough-starting, hail-damaged '99 Neon as a trade-in, even if it does have ridiculously low mileage. Ah, well. If the condition of me spending something like twenty thousand dollars on a new car is leaving my old one in their parking lot until I can find someone to give me a ride up to retrieve it, are they going to tell me no?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Maybe I'll Take The Red Pill.

So, I have been doing some research on cars, desperately trying to figure out what the heck I want to buy. My mother suggested a Dodge Dart as being very similar to the old Neon I have now, which is a car I've been very happy with. And those look perfectly fine, as well as within my price range. But after my experiences wrangling that giant TV back from Albuquerque, and reflecting on all the other times I've fit stuff into that Neon that really should not have fit in a Neon, I've started thinking that it might actually be really nice to go with a hatchback. I'm leaning rather strongly at the moment towards the Toyota Matrix. I read a couple of reviews of it, which were generally extremely positive, with the single complaint that it's "not very exciting to drive." Frankly I prefer my driving to be as unexciting as possible, so that's fine by me. Anybody have any experience with these, or any other useful advice? If I can get myself out of procrastination mode soon enough, maybe I'll go up to Albuquerque later this week and see about meeting some in person.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Seriously, How Are Any Of These People Still Alive For A Third Season?

It suddenly occurs to me that when I said in that last post that I didn't have any songs stuck in my head at the moment, that wasn't entirely accurate, because this one has been drifting in and out of my brain for a couple of days, for very good reasons. I hereby dedicate this song to season 2 of The Walking Dead, while I wait for Netflix to send me the finale.

I Guess I Have To Accept That It's October Already. So: The October "Currently" Meme.

Current clothes: A light tan t-shirt that says "Will Work For Books." Black sweatpants. White socks. Scuffed brown leather hiking boots.

Current mood: Not bad. Definitely awake, which is something, considering what my work schedule's been like lately. Hungry. Very slightly stressed.

Current music: Nothing at the moment. Clearly there should be more music in my life.

Current annoyance: Well, right now, it's that my internet is being all glitchy and slow, to the extent that I'm starting to wonder whether I'll be able to post this at all. Bah. I'm thinking that when I change my TV service, I should just go through Qwest or CenturyLink, or whatever they're calling themselves this week, change my internet service as well, and bundle it all with my phone bill.

Current thing: Procrastination. Not on everything -- I've been getting some housework done today -- but on all the important stuff I really need to do but which involves making appointments, doing advance research, spending large sums of money, and/or interacting with other human beings. Besides changing my TV service, I also have to make a doctor's appointment (and probably a dentist appointment, as well), go car shopping, get my swamp cooler serviced, and figure out when I'm going out to Florida to visit my dad and buy plane tickets. But I keep coming up with excuses to put all of it off.

Current desktop picture: This image of the main characters from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist, which you may remember me obsessing over slightly over the last few months.

Current book: A story collection called Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner, which I got a free advance copy of through LibraryThing.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment.

Current DVD in player: I'm almost finished season 2 of The Walking Dead, which I am enjoying despite the fact that I want to slap most of the characters most of the time. I've also been watching season 2 of The Muppet Show in front of the treadmill. Although less often than I should be.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I really am hungry. I might go grab some Subway after this.

Current worry: That my car will die horribly on me before I replace it, especially if I keep putting off the car shopping. Now it seems to be leaking something...

Current thought: La, la, la, everything is fine! I have nothing important to do! I'm just gonna get me a meatball sandwich and then do some vacuuming!

Thursday, October 04, 2012


I seem to have no energy at all this week. None. If anybody happens to find it lying around somewhere, please send it back to me. Otherwise, I may be doomed to spending the rest of my life doing nothing more productive than playing video games and lying on the sofa trying not to nod off over books.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

In Which Perfectly Predictable Variations In The Earth's Orientation Relative To The Sun Confuse Me Immensely

How is it nearly October already? Why is it getting dark so early? What the hell happened to the summer?!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

21st Century, Here I Am!

Boo-ya! Operation Giant-Ass TV has now reached stage six! Meaning my big-picture goodness is now operational. Of course, the signal coming in from my cable is still crap. And my house currently looks like DVDs, bits of shelving, and random packing materials have exploded all over it. But these things can be dealt with. After I eat some well-deserved lunch.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time Was, We'd Just Buy One, Plug It In, Slap On Some Bunny Ears, And Call It Done.

For ages now, I've been moaning that I need a new TV. I don't even care that much about having HD, or whatever, but the clunky old CRT model I currently have in my living room is starting to drive me crazy. It's just way too small by today's standards. I watch movies on DVD, and I feel like I'm having trouble making out half of what's going on when things get all special effect-y. Worse, it's not a widescreen TV, and it's starting to drive me crazy trying to watch The Daily Show when a good chunk of the picture is cut off on either side.

So, I have embarked on steps towards replacing my old, 20th century TV with a new 21st century one. There are, as it turns out, many, many, many steps. To wit:

1. Buy new TV stand, so I have something to put it on, since the old entertainment center does not have enough space for a larger TV. Also buy DVD shelves to replace the ones attached to the old entertainment center.

2. Buy TV!!! And somehow get large TV home in not-large car.

3. Dismantle old entertainment center, which is kind of in bad shape, anyway, and scrap it.

4. Shampoo living room carpet while we're clearing furniture out of there, because dear lord, does it need it.

5. Assemble new TV stand.

6. Set up TV.

7. Assemble DVD shelves and re-shelve all the DVDs.

8. Arrange for digital cable service, because the ancient basic cable I have already looks crappy on my current TV.

So far, I have completed step 2. I think the rest of it is going to have to wait until the weeked. Sigh. I think there should be a rule that things that cost you a crapload of money should not also have to cost you a crapload of hassle and time.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I am generally feeling somewhat better today, except that my post-nasal drip has become a giant post-nasal river of slime. I know you didn't want to know that, but, frankly, neither did I. You know what they say about misery and company.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Also, I accidentally just bought a whole bunch of books on the internet. It's not my fault! I'm sick! My resistance is low!


Waaaah, I am sick. Monday, I had a sore throat all day, which I tried hard to be in denial about. But by the evening, it was joined by stuffiness over and above what my allergies have been hitting me with lately, and yesterday I woke up with a truly impressive amount of sinus pain and that general feeling-like-crap sensation. You know the one. I ended up going home from work after a couple of hours, where I spent the rest of the day on the couch finishing a somewhat disappointing book, watching eight episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (because there's nothing like fictional characters with really big problems to take your mind off your own more trivial ones), and trying semi-successfully to nap. I think I'm feeling a little bit better today, but that may be due to a) not having woken up at three AM after a nightmare and not being able to get back to sleep, which just made yesterday all the more fun, and b) large doses of Sudafed (the good stuff, not that PE crap). Still, when I get up for ten minutes to do laundry or something, my starts body yelling at me to lie back down. I've already cancelled plans I had to do stuff in Albuquerque tomorrow, to give me another day to rest up and recover. Stupid goddamned germs. Why do they always hit me when I have things to do? I just really hope this is only a cold and not another major sinus infection, because the last time I had one of those, it lingered on for nearly a month, and by the time it was over I had mucus coming out of my eyes.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Ms. Productivity!

Boys and girls, today I cleaned the oven. This is something that, up until now, I regarded as a vague, theoretical possibility, something I'd occasionally heard rumors of other people doing, but never thought to attempt myself. That is, not until I accidentally left it on after removing food from it and realized that it was gently emitting charcoal-flavored smoke. Then I figured it was something I'd probably better attempt.

And now I am once again completely drenched in sweat. Why do I never get the impulse to do crap like this in the winter?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

And The September Currentlies

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. Blue t-shirt from Powell's books. White socks.

Current mood: Hot and tired, maybe with the faint beginnings of a headache coming on. I've been doing a lot of vigorous housecleaning today, and have finally reached the point where I've switched out of "clean ALL THE THINGS!" mode and am instead thinking that it would be nice to change out of my sweaty clothes and into my comfy jammies and spend the rest of the day lying on the sofa watching DVDs.

Current music: Not much at the moment. I've been working on getting caught up on podcasts again.

Current annoyance: Aargh, I don't know. Adult responsibilities, I guess. Although I did get to ditch work today (thus making up for my extreme lack of a holiday weekend), so maybe I shouldn't complain too much.

Current thing: I seem to be in this weird state that usually only happens when I move. I just... I don't know. I want everything to be new. I want to get rid of things I no longer want or need, to replace everything that's worn out or no longer suits my needs, to clean and organize all the things that never get cleaned or organized... Which is great, really, as it seems likely to help me get around to all kinds of things I've been putting off. But it's potentially very expensive, especially if it leads me to finally get off my butt and go car shopping, as well as replacing my old CRT TV.

Current desktop picture: Still the same picture as last month.

Current book: The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker. I'm also dipping in and out of the Lost Encyclopedia, not that I expect it to make any more sense of the show.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment. I think my brain's too tired.

Current DVD in player: Disc one of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Because apparently I need as many different versions of that crazy-awesome story as possible.

Current refreshment: Mint tea. Mmm, hydration! I think I need that.

Current worry: A line from a Warren Zevon song comes to mind: "I thought of my friends and the troubles they had, to keep me from thinking of mine." That pretty much sums it up for me at the moment.

Current thought: I could accomplish more today. Possibly I should accomplish more today. But comfy jammies and anime it is!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Random Links For September

What If?: xkcd answers your weird hypothetical science questions with physics and humor. This week's question: "What would the world be like if the land masses were spread out the same way as now - only rotated by an angle of 90 degrees?"

Also from xkcd, When Will We Forget?. This just makes me feel horribly, depressingly old. That last item is oddly comforting, though.

Gallery – Curiosity’s triumphant first week on Mars: I meant to link to this sooner. After all Curiosity's been there nearly a month now. But what the heck. It's still cool. In fact, some of these pictures are pretty damned amazing.

What Kind of Book Reader Are You? A Diagnostics Guide and Many More Types of Book Readers: A Diagnostics Addendum: I am the All-the-Timer/Compulsive/Voracious/Anything Goes Reader. Hoo boy, am I.

Science confirms ‘Doctor Who-type world, Gallifrey’: That's right! Scientists have found Gallifrey! Or possibly Magrathea. (Or maybe they just like catching people's attention by drawing science-fictional parallels to things. Have you heard about Naked Darth Vader?)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Let's Play Some Bowling!

In honor of the fact that the new season is about to start, here is some Doctor Who celebrity bowling! And they may be good at traveling through time and space, but, boy, are they terrible at this. Except for Karen Gillan, who clearly has some sort of bizarre telekinetic power, because she should not be doing that well with technique that bad.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Farewell, Neil. We Need More Of You.

I was very saddened to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong yesterday. It keeps making me think of this xkcd cartoon, which broke my heart when I first saw it, and is breaking it a little more right now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

In Which I Discover That Amazon Marketing Knows What It's Doing

I signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime about a week ago. I'd been wondering for ages whether it might just possibly be worth it financially, given the number of times I've talked myself into adding just one more thing to my order to get the free shipping, but $79 seemed pretty steep, especially considering that I'm usually not in a great hurry to get stuff. But I was placing a good-sized order that would have been nice to get quickly, and I found myself thinking, well, hey, free trial, why not? Yeah, well, I'll tell you why not. Being able to order anything you want instantly and have it delivered your doorstep two days later for free is insanely addictive. I'm wondering if I should cancel it at the end of the trial period just for my own safety.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Never Need To Play Scrabble Again.

Was I bragging about scoring a 92-point word in Scrabble a while back? Bah! That is nothing! Check this out: a 158-point word. Pics or it didn't happen? Gladly! I have even scrolled back to the relevant score and highlighted it in red, because that is just how gosh-darned proud I am. Especially since this was a timed game, and I had only 25 seconds per turn.

(I feel I should apologize for "gook," which sounds horribly racist, but the Scrabble dictionary insists it also means "goo." And it was worth 18 points.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Currently, In August

Current clothes: Farscape t-shirt. Khaki shorts. Black socks.

Current mood: A little brain-tired, maybe even a little headachy. I think I've been spending too much time lately sitting in front of the computer having e-mail conversations on emotionally and politically touchy subjects. It's a good thing to do, especially when it gets you out of the kind of echo chamber so many of us spend our time in these days, but it's kind of draining.

Current music: Just more random-shuffle stuff recently. I think I remember some novelty songs and some Billy Joel and something Celtic.

Current annoyance: My own imperfections, and those of the rest of the world. Stupid real life.

Current thing: Sucking down episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist as fast as Netflix can possibly get them to me, and then pouting when they run out. I don't know what it is lately. When it comes to TV and DVDs, I seem to be falling like crazy for the most improbable stuff.

Current desktop picture: Still the Grand Canyon in moonlight. I really ought to change that soon.

Current book: White Queen by Gwyneth Jones. Which I really need to get back to. I confess, I'm having trouble motivating myself to finish it.

Current song in head: Um, it's in Japanese. And, since I don't speak Japanese, it's not so much the actual song, but a tune with vague. Japanese-like sounds attached to it.

Current DVD in player: There is no Fullmetal Alchemist in my DVD player, because as soon as I finish one of those discs it goes right back in the mail so they can OMG send more right now please! Currently in the other player, though, is disc 3 of season 2 of The Twilight Zone. The episode quality at this point is a little uneven, but at its best, holy crap, it does not get more classic than classic TZ.

Current refreshment: A nice cup of tea.

Current worry: I am attempting to banish worry! Or at least to put it in its place. Honestly, I've just been having way too much free-floating stress and anxiety lately, to the point where it was beginning to -- ha! -- worry me. And the other day, I found a piece of advice online for dealing with this sort of thing: have a designated time to worry, say ten minutes a day, and maybe use it to write your worries down. I'd actually seen that advice before and it seemed rather stupid to me, but holy cow, as soon as I thought maybe I'd try it, the difference was immediate. See, some stupid, stupid part of my brain appears to be convinced that if I don't worry about my health, about the problems of people I care about, about world affairs, about my social relationships, and about whether I'm being as good a person as I want to be, well, that means that I'm not giving these important topics their due. And so I am forced to indulge them, over and over. But apparently if I reassure that part of my brain that its concerns will be given due consideration at the appointed time, hey, it figures can wait, and I can quit stewing and get on with my life. It's like magic! I really, really hope this keeps working.

Current thought: Of course, that means I have to actually follow through with Designated Worry Time. I think my brain is a little too clever to be taken in by false promises. Sigh. Well, maybe I'll go get it over with now. Off to fret!

Monday, August 06, 2012

More Awesomeness From Mars

Ten minutes after I finished answering the comments on the last post, I saw this. Yes, that's a picture of Curiosity parachuting down towards the Martian surface, as taken from orbit. Wow.

Forget The Olympics. This Is Exciting!

Congratulations to the Curiosity Mars rover, and to all who worked on her! I watched the landing live on NASA TV (along with about 200,000 other people), and it looks like it went absolutely flawlessly. The jubilation in the control room was utterly infectious.

Appropriately, Cracked just posted a pretty cool piece on 5 reasons you should be excited about Mars today, which I couldn't not link to.

And, in case you haven't seen it yet, here's JPL's "7 minutes of terror" video describing Curiosity's crazyawesome landing procedure. It's impossible not to marvel at the fact that we can actually make something like this work. Go, human technology! Go, humans!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Big Accomplishment For The Month

The other day, playing computer Scrabble, I made a word that was worth 92 points. Ninety-two. I just want that preserved for posterity.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Too Much Bad News

Last month, we lost Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw on Doctor Who. A few days ago, it was Mary Tamm, the first Romana. Today, I've heard that Jonathan Hardy, who was the voice of Rygel on Farscape has died. That last one is particularly shocking to me; I've become sadly used to losing fondly-remembered Doctor Who actors in recent years, but Farscape is another matter. Surely anyone who could play someone as stubbornly survival-oriented as Rygel must live forever? Surely?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Various Random Thoughts About Trivial Stuff In My Life

Numbered for no particular reason and presented in no particular order:

1. I have bought no books this month. None. This is a spectacular achievement for me, you know, an unprecedented triumph of self-control. And even so I've still acquired more than I've read, or will read before the month is out, mainly because I went so far off the rails with my book quota last month that I apparently decided, "Screw it, I might as well order a bunch more!" All of which, of course, showed up this month, along with a couple of others that got back-ordered a while ago. Still, it's not too bad, right? At least I'm doing something to counter the excesses of last month, rather than adding to the problem. At least the book pile isn't going to get any worse, right? Well, yes, I was thinking that. And then, while I was leaving work on Friday morning, current book in hand, I ran into a guy I know having a pre-work cigarette break outside. "Hey," he said, "you like books?" Um... yes? Turns out his sister is moving and left behind "a huge box of books" she told him to give away, and did I want it? Or want to pick through it? Come on, how could I say no?! I could not stop laughing all the way home. Where I then received a visit from an old friend who was passing through town. (Hello, Captain C!) And, as a belated birthday present... he brought books. I'm telling you, it's almost enough to make me believe in a cosmic power. A cosmic power that wants me to die with 500 volumes on the To-Read Pile.

2. I'm in the middle of two weeks of night shifts. I was actually quite happy about this prospect. Hey, two weeks without having to shift my schedule! Yay, brief period of regular sleeping patterns! Except that, as often happens when I'm on night shifts, I've had a couple of days when I woke up way, way too early, could not get back to sleep, and had a hell of a bad time trying to stay awake at work all night. You know what unexpectedly helped? I was reading astronaut Michael Collins' Carrying the Fire on one of those bad days, specifically the part in which he talks about his first night in a Gemini capsule, when he slept like crap. I cannot say how much this sort of thing cheers me up. I may have gotten way, way too little sleep, but at least I didn't then have to get up and navigate a spacecraft. (See? There are so many reasons why books are good!)

3. Aforementioned friend -- howdy again, Captain! -- mentioned the fact that I seldom seem to talk about what I'm watching on TV or DVD here anymore, so I figured I'd rectify that. Current DVD watching is Fullmetal Alchemist, which, like many other things, I added to the Netflix queue so long ago that by the time it reached the top, I honestly could not remember why I put it there or who recommended it to me. It's... interesting. Part silly, part really messed-up and dark, and part just plain WTFish. Or, in other words, it's anime. I am 12 episodes in now, and I'm a little alarmed by how much it's growing on me.

4. I bought a computer Scrabble game. Now I cannot stop playing computer Scrabble. Send help.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Always More Kitty Pics!

Here's a rather pretty picture of Newt lying on my sister's fireplace mantel:

(Aww, I kind of miss her.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Random Links Are Here Again

Apparently it's been a while since I've done this, because most of these have been sitting around since May.

Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers: Now, this is an afterlife I can believe in. Which is a terrifying thought.

Cat Fur, Cat Fur Everywhere: Yet another reason why I just couldn't handle four cats.

Dr. Who Meets Metal: A rockin' metal version of the Who theme, with bonus extras.

And, along similar lines, Vashta Nerada [Doctor Who Theme] by Traffic Experiment - Official Music Video : The Doctor Who theme if it were done by Pink Floyd. Talk about two great tastes!

Underground New York Public Library: Photographs of people reading on the New York subway system. For some reason, I find this utterly compelling. Once I start scrolling, I just can't stop.

Great Beyond: Observatory is 'revolutional leap': An 11-minute MSNBC feature on the ALMA radio telescope array. It's really wonderful to see news reporting that's so enthusiastic about science.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Properly Functioning Kitty

Just had Happiness back to the vet to have her thyroid levels checked again. Turns out they're dead in the normal range, so the low dose of medicine she's taking seems to be doing the job beautifully. Also, she's gained over half a pound since the last time I had her in, which may not sound like much, but, y'know, when you're that small...

Anyway, yay for good news! It's nice to know that something is working properly around here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

Gaah, it seems like the last week or so has been nothing but a cavalcade of technological problems, at home, at work, everywhere. The latest involves my refrigerator. Here's a tip for you: if you open your refrigerator and find yourself thinking, "Huh, usually the air that hits my face when I do this feels a lot colder," do not just shrug, dial the temperature button up, and tell yourself it's probably fine, or one day you'll wake up in the morning and find yourself pouring something chunky into your breakfast cereal. Sigh. Well, it's fixed now, anyway. Hopefully all the milk I drank before it got to the chunky stage isn't currently in the process of killing me.

Friday, July 13, 2012


A somewhat blurry but adorable picture of Newt attacking my sister's telephone headset:

That's Going To Be Stuck In My Head All Day.

Also, someone linked me to this video, and I felt the need to inflict it on the rest of you. Because it is not the sort of thing one should experience alone.

Another Turn Around The Sun

Happy birthday to me! I am 41 today. I must admit, I like not being 40 anymore, even though, of course, that is completely irrational. I mean, it's not like I'm getting younger. But such is the psychological power of big, round numbers, I guess.

It's also a Friday the 13th! And I am living proof that triskaidecaphobia is nonsense. I turned thirteen on a Friday the thirteenth. Also, my full name has exactly thirteen letters. If there were anything to the superstition, I would never have lived to adulthood.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Well, that was a day from hell. Can I have another vacation now? Please?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This Again

Current clothes: Black Farscape t-shirt with "...share the wonders I've seen" on the front and a "tenth anniversary tour" list of planets on the back. Tan shorts. Black socks.

Current mood: Not bad. Enjoying my day off. Actually, it's my third (and last) day off this week, but I spent most of Monday sleeping, trying to make the transition from nights to days, and yesterday I did some annoying yard work and was just too tired to do much else afterward. So today is my relaxation day.

Current music: Rush's Clockwork Angels. Because I finally got my hands on a copy.

Current annoyance: My back hurts a little after aforementioned annoying yard work.

Current thing: I'm not sure I have a current thing. Trying not to buy any books this month, maybe. So far, so good, except for the ones I ordered last month that have been coming in the mail.

Current desktop picture: Still the Grand Canyon in moonlight.

Current book: I've just started Doc by Mary Doria Russell, about which I've heard good things.

Current song in head: Hmm, doesn't seem to be anything at the moment. Give it an hour or so, though, and I'm sure something will pop up.

Current DVD in player: Disc 1 of season 5 of Burn Notice. Man, I missed Burn Notice. I ought to see if I can catch up and start watching it when it's actually on, maybe.

Current refreshment: Lemon-mint tea.

Current worry: Eh, all my current worries are really just stupid, vague insecurities. Screw 'em.

Current thought: I don't want to go to work tomorrow! But today is nice. I should enjoy what's left of it. I think I'm going to read some more, then eat pot roast and watch Burn Notice.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Newt News II

Since it's probably time for another update. (What, you didn't think that just because I got rid of the kitty, I'd stop talking about her, did you? Ha! No, I will continue to bore you all with cat talk forever. Bwahahaha! Ahem.)

Anyway, my sister did get moved into her new place last week. She says the cat was pretty freaked out at first -- understandably enough -- and went back to hiding in her carrier for a while, but was eventually induced to come out for skritches and petting. There was a bad moment, apparently, where my sister decided it would be a good idea to pick the kitty up and show her where her litter box had been moved to. I'm told there was some blood loss. Oops. But they eventually forgave each other, and now Newt is out and about, exploring the new house and having fun hiding behind boxes and stalking invisible prey.

Maybe at some point I will get some pictures.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Thunderbolts and Lightning

Well, hello there, monsoon season! Nice to see you again! But some of that lightning was just a little close for comfort. You want to dial it back a notch, please?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Ah, Independence!

Happy 4th of July to all, and happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! Have fun, and try not to set anything on fire.

I have no particular plans today, myself, other than doing a whole lot of not working after a rather long week, but maybe I'll pop my head out and watch some of the fireworks tonight.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Water + Gravity = Pretty!

For no particular reason other than that I finally remembered to download it off my phone, here's a photo of a waterfall I took in Oregon:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Back

There is a leap second being added to the year today. I hope everyone enjoys their extra time and uses it wisely. Me, I'll be spending it resetting a crapload of computer clocks, because in radio interferometry, if you're off by a second, you might as well be off by a week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Newt News

Just got an e-mail from my sister with some excellent news on the kitty front! She'd told me yesterday that lil' Newt had a good appetite and would occasionally deign to play with her a bit, but spent most of the time hiding in her carrier. Well, apparently she got home yesterday to find the cat lounging in the window, and instead of running off to hide, Newt decided to come over and get some skritches. Now she's letting my sis pet her and purring, and not hiding any more. Yay! I knew she'd get to that point, but was afraid it might take longer than this.

Now, we just need to see how she does when it's time to move her again...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Happens In June, Stays In June.

So, I think the only thing to do is to declare that, for purposes of my book-buying quota, June does not exist. You cannot prove to me that it does!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back Home

Like it says up above there, I am back home! Got in uneventfully yesterday afternoon, and discovered all cats alive and reasonably well. Vir and Nova are claiming to have been horribly traumatized, but they always do.

By the way, the last couple of days of my vacation we finally got some of that classic wet 'n' chilly Pacific Northwest weather, so there were mostly indoor activities. Like glow-in-the-dark pirate mini-golf. Because Portland is awesome that way.

And now I have a lot of e-mails to answer. Later.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hello From Oregon!

Well, I'm here in front of a computer, so I figured I might as well update. Hello! I am still on vacation!

Little Newt is doing very well! She meowed a little in the car on the way to the airport, but was perfectly quiet on the plane. Probably a little overwhelmed, poor thing. And for all the worry I had about going through security, it was fine. Hell, it was better than fine. I'm thinking I ought to bring a cat with me every time, because she made things way easier. I got to bypass the stupid pornoscanner all by myself, and all they did was wipe my hands and test the wipe for explosive residue with a nifty little explosive residue detector box. Meanwhile, the kitty just clung to my shoulder as hard as she could. Clearly airport escape hijinks where the last thing on her mind. Aww.

Right now, she's got a room to herself. My sister has been staying at her friend's house while she waits to close on her own new place at the end of the month, but said friend only has one bathroom, so sis, me, and the nephew are in a hotel for the week while the cat gets the spare room my sister was staying in. The friend has been wonderful about letting her stay, and makes sure she gets fed and everything, and we stop in regularly to see her. She's always so very glad to see me, too, purring like crazy, and wanting to play, also like crazy. Awww, I'm gonna miss her. *sniffle* She's still not at all sure about my sis or the nephew, but her reaction to them is much more wary than terrified, and I'm sure after a short adjustment period, they'll all get along fine.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying myself here. We've done a couple of little hikes, which were pretty awesome. One of them featured seven waterfalls, a couple of which you could actually walk behind, which I strongly recommend as a way of viewing a waterfall. We also made the obligatory trip to Powell's, where, unsurprisingly, I bought way too many books. (Quota? What quota? Sigh. But, oh, it was nice!) Yesterday, we drove up to Seattle, and played tourist there for a bit, so I can now say I've been up on the Space Needle. Everyone was all excited, because apparently the Pacific Northwest was having its one relatively clear day of the year, and you could actually see Mt. Ranier. And very impressive it was, too.

Now, I think we're going bowling. Wish me luck. I'm very, very rusty.

Friday, June 15, 2012


So, Newt and I are off to the airport tomorrow. (And, aww, now that the time is coming, I don't want the kitty to go! But, clearly the current situation is unworkable, and she'll be much better off, so I'll just need to suck it up and accept the significantly lessened cuteness in my life. *sniffle*)

Anyway, since I probably won't have time tomorrow morning while I'm packing up cats and stuff, I figured I'd wave goodbye to the internet now. I kind of wanted to bring my laptop with me, but the idea of trying to go through airport security with a laptop and a cat is just more than I can handle, so I'll be more or less incommunicado. Well, I'll still be checking e-mail on my phone, at the very least, but don't necessarily expect any answers until I get back.

Wish me luck! It's going to be something of an adventure...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

OK, Now The Currently Meme

Current clothes: Monty Python and the Holy Grail pajama pants (featuring a dismembered Black Knight) and a black pocket t-shirt. I'm winding down for bed.

Current mood: I was feeling pretty stressed today, in that "Aaargh, I'm leaving in less than three days! I must get everything done!" kind of way. Except that I suddenly realized that I actually have gotten everything done, nearly. All I need to do over the next couple of days is finish up some laundry and pack. Oh, and pick Newt's medical records up at the vet when they have the copies ready for me. (Her harness did make its way back from El Paso, by the way!) So I can relax now, right?

Current music: Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas.

Current annoyance: The motor on my swamp cooler died, or rather was clearly getting ready to die, so I had to have it replaced. The new one they put in seems to be more powerful than the old one, which ought to be a good thing, but it's also noisier, which is a little annoying. And, of course, it was yet another unexpected expense. I seem to be racking those up lately.

Current thing: Gettin' ready to go see my sis in Oregon!

Current desktop picture: The Grand Canyon in moonlight.

Current book: An SF/horror thing called The Void by Brett J. Talley, which I got as a review copy from Library Thing. It's got a potentially interesting and creepy premise, but the writing really isn't impressing me.

Current song in head: Right this moment, it seems to be "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles, because I just saw it performed by some rather cute ghosts on The Muppet Show. But nothing seems to be staying lodged in the brain for long at the moment, which is an incredible relief, as I had one damned song stuck in there for most of last week. (I will not name it, however, for fear of invoking it.)

Current DVD in player: As mentioned, my on-the-treadmill show is Season 1 of The Muppet Show, which I loved to pieces as a kid, and am still loving almost as much this time around. I've also been watching Odyssey 5, a short-lived series from 2002 about a crew of shuttle astronauts who see the Earth get destroyed, and are then sent back in time to stop it. It's got a really interesting, really smart premise, and a good cast. I'm almost never sure quite what to make of the individual episodes, though. Still, it's holding my interest reasonably well... Which I may regret when it comes to the inevitable "Oh, crap, we just got canceled!" cliffhanger, but oh, well.

Current refreshment: Stash's "Chamomile Nights" tea, which apparently features chamomile, spearmint, and lotus leaves. It's very nice. Soothing.

Current worry: Nothing specific, oddly enough. Just some generalized travel anxiety, with added cat factors.

Current thought: I really need to get back to reading this damned book. I want to get it finished before I go.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not The Currently Meme

I'll do that one later, but for right now, I figured I'd talk about various random things, including stuff I meant to post about ages ago and kept not having time for. In handy bullet point form!

  • I did get to observe the transit of Venus, which was pretty awesome. I was actually stuck at work through the whole thing, but fortunately I work at an astronomical facility, so there were people hanging around outside the front door with apparatus for viewing things safely at various magnifications, and I was able to slip out for a few minutes to observe me some astronomical happenings. And very glad I was, too, since I missed the last one for reasons I don't now recall[*], and the next isn't until 2117. My immediate responses to the sight, by the way, were: "Howdy, neighbor!" and "Gosh, Venus really is round!" It's nice to be reminded once in a while in such a visceral way that the solar system is a real place filled with real, physical objects.

  • I was very sorry to hear about the death of Ray Bradbury. Not surprised, really, since the guy was 91. But very sorry. I've said this before (although probably not here), but the thing about Bradbury that always particularly impressed me was his ability to make me feel a deep, powerful nostalgia for places I'd never been to. Indeed, sometimes for places that never actually existed. That, I think, is a pretty good legacy to leave behind.

  • I've ordered a harness and leash for Newt, having come to the conclusion that that's the only safe way of avoiding a daring airport escape. Assuming, that is, that the thing ever actually comes. I ordered it with two-day shipping to be sure it'd get here in time, but apparently they accidentally sent the damned thing to El Paso. Aaaargh! They've sent me an e-mail saying it'll be a "1 to 2 day delay," which means I should still have it by Friday, but if I don't, I'm screwed. Even if I do, there goes the few days I thought I'd have to help her get used to wearing it. Sigh. Amazon did say it was guaranteed to be here by Wednesday. I wonder if that means I can at least get my money back if it doesn't.

  • I did, at least, get Newt's airport-approved carrier. And, yes, while I was in Albuquerque, I did stop at the Barnes & Noble. I blame a Certain Someone for putting that idea in my head. He knows who he is. But I also realized that a book I'd been waiting for (Mira Grant's Blackout) had finally just come out, and might be ideal for reading on the plane, and that the new Rush album was being released today. So, really, I had no choice. Alas, the album apparently sold out by noon. Damn you, Rush fans! *shakes fist* Well, I guess that's what I get for accidentally sleeping in. No Clockwork Angels for me. I could download, it, but I really do want the physical CD, with the liner notes and all, so I guess I'll have to mail order it, or maybe pick it up when I'm in Oregon.

  • I also got out to see The Avengers. And not a moment too soon, either, because in the last few days my attitude towards it had started to go from, "Hey, everybody says this movie is good! I want to see it!" to "I wish everybody would shut the hell up about this movie I still haven't seen!" But now I have, and it was fun. Nothing that completely blew me away, but entertaining in that way that makes me go, "Oh, hey, yeah, I see what people see in this superhero stuff!" (I will admit, I often find it a little too cheesy, maybe a little too male-power-fantasy. So it's really nice when I don't.) Also, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner make a surprisingly adorable buddy duo. I want them to have a TV series spinoff and go on wacky adventures together.

  • [*] Oh, wait, it was the fact that it wasn't visible here. I guess that's a pretty good reason.

    Friday, June 08, 2012

    The Continuing Saga Of Newt

    You may remember a few weeks ago, when I said my friends who just got married offered to take Newt in. (And there was much rejoicing.) They're in the process of moving back to Socorro, and figured they'd have a bigger place and it would be fine. But while they were perfectly happy to take her, and fairly sure they'd be able to, they didn't want to give me a 100% solid yes answer until they got their move sorted out this week. Well, it turns out their housing situation is much less stable than they were anticipating, and they now don't think it's a good idea. Sigh.

    Well, never mind, on to Plan B! Plan B is my sister, who is also about to move, and who suddenly realized a little while ago that she's now going to be somewhere she can have a cat. She apparently related this fact happily to my mother, who replied, "You know, your sister has a cat..." Why yes. Yes, I do. Sis might not be in her new place for a few weeks yet, but the friends she's staying with say it'll be no problem for them to keep the cat there for a while. (To which I can only say: OMG, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!)

    So, I called the airport today, and Newt now has a reservation to fly to Oregon with me when I go out to my sister's place in a week. I just need to go by the airport sometime before then and pick up the special carrier that fits under the plane seat. This, I think, is going to be an adventure. I'm actually rather nervous about it, mainly because they make you take the animal out of the carrier when you go through security. The carrier gets X-rayed, and you're supposed to carry the animal through the metal detector. Well, Newt does not like to be held. Not that she's not a friendly kitty, just that she doesn't like to be carried. In fact, it's just about impossible to do. You pick her up, and she's instantly out of your arms and sitting on your shoulder. Where at least she'll usually stay until you bend over far enough, as she doesn't seem to like jumping down from that height, particularly not from the shoulder of a person who's moving around. But I have visions of me picking her up and her escaping my arms, jumping down from my shoulder, and making a mad dash through the airport. At which point I'm either the star of a wacky comedy (or, as the guy who's not taking her put it, a Disney movie) involving adorably wacky animal hijinks, or of some kind of horrible tragedy as airport security decides the cat is probably wired to explode and take her down. Maybe I'll try wrapping her up in a towel.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    And It Wasn't Even About Virology

    I just got some annoying comment spam from someone with the username "laviniasmith01." Why are Doctor Who characters spamming me?!

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Because, Hey, Why Not?

    Another stupid internet quiz. Hey, maybe these are making a comeback! (Although, man, they haven't changed much. I still want to correct the stupid grammar and spelling mistakes.)

    Which philosopher are you?
    Your Result: Aristotle

    Truth does not exist in some transcendent realm. We get to truth by applying reason to the physical world. The world follows logic and commonsense. Science if done properly is not to far from philosophy.

    --This quiz was made by S. A-Lerer.

    Early Wittgenstein / Positivists
    Plato (strict rationalists)
    Immanuel Kant
    Sartre/Camus (late existentialists)
    W.v.O. Quine / Late Wittgenstein
    Which philosopher are you?
    Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    If Only It Were This Easy.

    Dear New Mexico,

    Please stop being on fire. Breathing should not be an annoying activity.

    Thank you,

    Friday, May 18, 2012


    Just because I haven't done one of these stupid quizzes in ages. Um, I mean, done one of these stupid quizzes in ages, I have not.

    Which Star Wars Jedi/Sith are you?


    Dynamite in a small package, and long-lasting, like the Energizer bunny. While you are wise and calm, you are able to call on your killer instincts and be kick-ass. Some may call you a ‘sleeper’. With such great power comes some arrogance, but you are quick to return to humility and fix your mistakes. You have certainly left your mark on the world, in good and bad ways, and it was kinda sad to see you go. But no need to worry, you have gained immortality even though you can’t wield your toothpick of a lightsabre anymore.

    Personality Test Results

    Click Here to Take This Quiz
    Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

    Actually, that was kind of a lame one, but, hey, the result could be a lot worse.

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    My Social Whirlwind

    It's been a busy weekend for me! Last night, I went to see Penn & Teller in Albuquerque. Why they were playing in Albuquerque, I don't know, but I'm not complaining. I've been a big fan of these guys from their TV appearances and such for ages, but despite the number of times I've somehow ended up in Las Vegas, I've never, ever managed to catch their show (aka the one thing in Las Vegas I'm actually interested in, at least since the Star Trek Experience closed). Anyway, it was a fun evening of magic, comedy and skepticism, and I enjoyed it greatly.

    Then today I went to a wedding, which was also fun. (Congratulations, Jarrod & Chelsi!) How could I not approve of a ceremony that involved holding a copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos rather than a Bible and was eventually followed by a toast expressing a hope for the happy couple to "live long and prosper"? Geeky weddings, they are the best weddings. And the food was great. Also, I seem to have talked the bride and groom into taking my spare kitten. Score!

    Monday, May 07, 2012

    Is It Time For This Again Already?

    Current clothes: Tan jeans. A sort of olive-green-ish t-shirt with the words "Delaware: Small But Wonderful" and a picture of a ladybug on it. (It was a gift from one of my aunts who lives in Delaware.) White socks. Brown hiking boots.

    Current mood: Not very good. I did not sleep anywhere near late enough today, considering that I'm starting graveyard shifts tonight, and it's an unfortunate fact that my mood is largely dependent on my sleeping patterns. So I started today feeling anxious, moved on to a sort of generalized unhappiness, and am now just feeling kind of grumpy. Bah. But, hey, I've only got 13 hours or so until I can sleep again!

    Current music: More random-shuffle stuff on the iPod. I think the last thing it threw out was some U2.

    Current annoyance: I mentioned the grumpy sleep-deprivation thing, right?

    Current thing: I guess it's actually getting out and doing things. I've been to the movies twice in the last month, and of course there was the Weird Al concert (which was great, as usual). On Friday, I'm going to see Penn & Teller in Albuquerque, which I'm rather excited about, and then on Saturday I have a wedding to attend. For me, that's a whirlwind of activity. I'm sure it will surprise no one if I say I'm more usually the stay-at-home-with-a-good-book type.

    Current desktop picture: Still the same Hawaiian mountain. Which I've been tired of since this time last month, but have been too lazy to change.

    Current book: By Light Alone by Adam Roberts. Which is quite good so far.

    Current song in head: Scott Bakula by Sunspot. See "current DVD" below.

    Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 3 of Quantum Leap. I'm also finally just about finished with season 1 of The Twilight Zone.

    Current refreshment: Nothing. I should rectify that.

    Current worry: Bah, I am worried about everything. The existence of entropy seems to make worry inevitable.

    Current thought: I've watched six episodes of Quantum Leap so far, and Scott Bakula has managed to take his shirt off in half of them. Not that I'm remotely complaining. Anyway, I keep remembering that episode of Buffy where Xander decides he's had more than enough of accidentally dating demon chicks, announces that he's decided to go gay, and asks whether he's doing it right. "I'm picturing Scott Bakula naked." Yeah, Xander, that's doing it right. No one can love you like Scott Bakula can love you!

    Thursday, May 03, 2012

    May You Have Some Random Links

    Nichelle Nichols and the Nerd-in-chief: Now, this is definitely the awesomest picture I've seen in a while. Maybe there's hope for this country yet.

    "Don't Stop Believing" Sung By the Movies: This amuses me way more than it ought to.

    33 Animals With Stuffed Animals of Themsleves: Because sometimes you just need things that make you smile.

    Voyager: The strange voyages of Voyager. See if you can catch all the sci-fi references here. There were so many of them so fast, I'm sure there were a few I missed.

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012

    I Went To The Movies Again.

    I did finally get out to see The Hunger Games, thus doubling the number of movies I've seen in the theater so far this year. I must say, it's probably one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I've seen, very true to the book version in both detail and spirit. Which is good, because a movie that managed to miss the point of the book would have been disastrous.

    I'll definitely be interested in seeing the next one.

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Gettin' My Weird On

    Goin' to the Weird Al concert tonight! (In Albuquerque! Where anyone on the street will gladly shave your back for a nickel.) And, man, am I looking forward to it. I've been playing Responsible Adult for far too long, and I am seriously ready for some R&R. Bring forth the wacky!

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Project No More Damned Kittens: The Next Generation

    The last few days have been annoying in all kinds of ways which are mostly too boring and/or I am too tired out by to get into, but I have accomplished at least one major thing: little Newt is now spayed, as well as being healthy and adorable. I just picked her up at the vet's, and he says it went well, so, yay. (Although she's not very "yay," poor little thing. She's much more, "Let me out of this kennel!")

    Once she's had time to recover, Operation Find Newt a Home will begin in full force. Because much as I love the little critter, she really, really needs to go and live somewhere with fewer cats. Especially fewer intractably hostile cats. We'll see if I can find somewhere for her before I have to leave town to visit my sister in June. Can I do it? The betting pool is open!

    Meanwhile, I was warned not to let her do any high jumps onto furniture lest she run the risk of pulling out her stitches. Which... Dude, have you seen this kitten? She jumps all over the damned place. I can't even pick her up without her jumping up onto my back. Sigh. Well, I removed all the little bookcases that she gets up onto from her room, which is giving me major flashbacks to the great plumbing/carpet fiasco, and built her a little ramp out of blankets and pillows from the bed to the window. I figure the bed is low enough not to be a problem, and there is no way in hell I'm going to be able to keep her from attempting that window, so I can at least try to give her a non-suture-ripping option for getting to it. We'll see how well it works. Having to rush a bleeding kitten back to the vet is all I need.