Monday, January 30, 2012

Betty's Mini Movie Reviews (A Not Remotely Regular Feature)

Last night's DVD viewing: Source Code. This one turned out to disappoint me, mostly because I started out quite liking it. In fact, a little way through, I was thinking that this seemed to be one of those movies which is predicated on absolute nonsense, but is so well-constructed otherwise that it succeeds in making you not care too much about that fact. Which is something that always kinds of impresses me. When you get to the end, though -- and I'm going to try to put this in a non-spoilery way -- when you get to the end, you kind of have to care about the nonsense, and the whole thing falls apart in ways that just annoy me more the more I think about them. I think what really bugs me is the fact that clearly the people who made this movie either a) did not think through the logic and the implications for two whole seconds, or b) they didn't believe their viewing audience would bother to or be smart enough to think about it for two seconds. I'm not entirely sure which of those possibilities is worse. (If you'd like a spoilery analysis of what's wrong with it, I think Cracked does a great job of it, although I might have one or two things to add to their complaints. Also, I have no problem with their third point, although their discussion of it is hilarious.)

Man, I should have gone with my first instinct, which said that any movie with that title that wasn't about computer programming was clearly wearing its cluelessness on its sleeve and was probably best avoided.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Five Snippets Of My Life

1. Ever since my last haircut, the gray in my hair has seemed way more noticeable when I'm looking in the mirror. Clearly, the only solution to this is never to cut my hair again.

2. I have homemade chicken and rice soup in the crock pot! Go me with the cooking! Of course, I have absolutely no idea how it's going to come out. Could be disastrous enough to send me right back to ready-made microwave meals and peanut butter sandwiches.

3. Giving pills to a cat twice a day turns out to be less difficult and horrible than you might expect. Of course, that's just my thought on the matter. Very likely the cat has a different opinion.

4. Follow up on this post: even Stephen King appears to agree with me, as shortly after I wrote that, one of his characters made some comment about expecting to hear a Rod Serling voice-over any minute. And I still think he would have done it better.

5. It's rather disconcerting, not to mention disappointing, to wake up in the morning thinking, "Yay! I have almost nothing that needs doing today! Relaxing Sunday, ahoy!" and then by noon to somehow find yourself buried under an avalanche of housework that seemed to come out of nowhere. Bah! I demand another weekend after this one.

Friday, January 27, 2012


If you believe the reviews, apparently this is the most amazing, better-than-catnip, must-have cat toy ever. Well, I just got one in the mail, and I'm slightly astonished to say that I'm thinking that for once the hype might actually be right. Even Mr. Fat Cat, who can barely even bestir himself to chase the laser pointer, was running and jumping at it. Which is good news, because his desperate need for even a little bit of exercise is precisely why I bought the thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Book Is So Big, I Think It Has More Than Four Dimensions

I'm currently reading Under the Dome by Stephen King, which is nearly 1,100 pages, as well as browsing through The Twilight Zone Companion (which is a lot fewer pages). Possibly this is an unfortunate combination, because so far King's novel isn't bad, but all I keep thinking is, "I bet Rod Serling could have told this story effectively in half an hour."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Speaking Of Cats And Aliens

I had an interesting moment yesterday when I went into Newt's room and couldn't find her anywhere. Usually I see her come out from underneath the bed, so I looked under there. No cat to be seen anywhere. At this point, I was starting to feel seriously confused, as I couldn't see any possible way she could have gotten out of that room. And just then, she emerged from a tiny little hidey-hole inside the box spring.

I am now entirely convinced that I named her after the right person.

Quicky Random Links

Rives: Is 4 a.m. the new midnight?: A shocking conspiracy uncovered? Nah, it's just a really funny parody of conspiracy theory thinking. Or is that what they want you to think?

My Day By Jonesy: A Cat's Eye View of Alien: That's right, it's Alien from the cat's point of view. Utterly hilarious.

The Joy of Books: I'm sure my books do things like this when I'm not home.

Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea: A good talk about a bad idea.

Friday, January 20, 2012

This Week On Veterinarian's Hospital...

Just heard back from the vets. They can't find anything wrong with Vir, which is almost disappointing, because if he had some kind of obvious hormone imbalance, maybe we could actually fix him. But I'm glad to know he doesn't have diabetes, anyway.

Happiness, however, does indeed have thyroid problems. Which doesn't surprise me at all, as I realized after doing a little research that she has had some of the symptoms, including drinking more water than usual. Fortunately, her blood levels weren't too awfully high, meaning we seem to have caught it early. (Go me, being conscientious about the critters' check-ups!) The bad news is that she's going to have to take pills for at least six months. Twice a day. Yeah, as if giving pills to a cat wasn't hard enough... Do you have any idea how hard it is to do anything twice a day at consistent times when you work rotating shifts? And then after the six months, we get to figure out whether to keep giving her pills, or whether she should have surgery to remove the glands, or what. Apparently radioactive iodine treatments work well, but there are two problems with that: 1) It results in a radioactive cat who has to be quarantined for two weeks, and 2) because you need a special license to handle the radioactive materials, almost nobody does it. Apparently the last time they checked, the nearest licensed facility was in Colorado. I... do not have words for how much I do not want to drive to Colorado with a cat. But that was a while ago, I guess. They're going to check into whether there's anything closer now. We'll see...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Veterinary Blues

So, the kitten has finally -- I hope! -- gotten to the point where she seems to be better and no longer has to get to the vet something like once a week. (Although she'll still need to be spayed soonish. And she still needs a feline leukemia shot, because they didn't want to give her one while she was still possibly fighting off infection.)

But, of course, there is no rest for the weary at Betty's Home for Wayward Felines! Because today it was time for the adult cats' annual checkups. Vir, it turns out, is not only not losing weight, he seems to be gaining it again. I think he must be siphoning mass from a parallel universe, because it defies all the normal laws of physics. His breathing problems have been getting worse, too, which the vet still thinks is mostly due to his weight, or more specifically, to a buildup of fat around his heart. Meanwhile, poor skinny, elderly Happines has gotten even skinnier, and also has developed a heart murmur. Which is apparently unusual in cats, but is worrying because cats' blood tends to clot very easily, and heart irregularities can put them at risk for strokes. Joy. Well, at least Nova doesn't have any issues worse than a tendency to fur mats. He may be a little neurotic, but he's my easy cat, otherwise.

Anyway, they're doing more blood work on Happiness and Vir, to double-check for thyroid problems and, in Vir's case, diabetes. The vet is also going to call up a company that makes a weight loss drug that works very well on dogs and check whether they have data on its effectiveness in cats. Me, I'm starting to wonder whether there's such a thing as feline liposuction... And also why I took in all these cats in the first place, considering the size of my vet bills and how very, very ungrateful they are for their medical care. But I guess I love them anyway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Political Thought For The Day

I admit, I haven't been following the details of this thing as closely as I probably should be. But is it just me, or does SOPA seem roughly equivalent to authorizing the use of full-scale nuclear weapons on purse-snatchers?

Monday, January 16, 2012


I have my bathroom back! No, I haven't managed to unload the kitten yet. But I did move her into the spare bedroom, now that it's all back together properly. Now I get to shower without having to step around cat toys, and she gets more space to run around in and a bed to lounge on. It's win-win! At least until she and Happiness start fighting over whose territory it is the way Happiness and Mickey did.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

OK, That Was Random, Hilarious, And Sort Of Awesome.

All right, fess up. Who left the bottle of "Sweaty Betty" beer outside my door?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Talk To Me In An Organized Fashion!

Whoa. Huh. I unexpectedly appear to have threaded comments now. Cool.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hey, Look, I Have Accomplished Something!

My carpet is all padded up again! Yay! Only, what, a month and a half after the flooding incident? Although a large chunk of that delay was my own fault, really. Or maybe the fault of my work schedule. But once I finally figured out who to call to install the stuff and then actually called him, it only took a couple of days for him to schedule me and maybe an hour and a half total to do the replacement. Mind you, I've spent much longer than that since, cleaning the carpets and moving furniture around. But my bedroom is finally all back in order! Or at least as much order as it was ever in. The furniture in the spare bedroom is still scattered all over the place, though, along with all the books. So. Many. Books. And I still have to wait for it to finish drying to move stuff back in. Half of my brain is insisting that would be a good job to put off until tomorrow, while the other half is going, "OMG, this has gone on too long! Everything must be fixed now, I don't care how long it takes you!" Man, that half of my brain is annoying.

Still normalcy is at least somewhere in view now. It's kind of a good feeling.

[ETA: I listened to my worker-brain. And so, I am now done. Holy crap, I am done! My house is navigable again! I don't even know what to do with this kind of space!]

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Currently Of The New Year

A little belated, but here we go...

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. Black t-shirt featuring the seal of the Guild of Calamitous Intent from Venture Brothers. White socks. Black sneakers with the funky heels.

Current mood: Man, I don't even know. I've taken some time off this week, which has helped me relax some, as has my current mantra of, "It's a bright, shiny new year! Everything will be better!" But I'm still sort of randomly stressing out over stupid stuff, and I feel weirdly tense today for no very good reason.

Current music: The soundtrack from The Muppets. I love the Muppets so much. It is impossible to be unhappy in the presence of Muppets.

Current annoyance: There have been so many lately, really, but the most immediate one is that I had an eye doctor's appointment earlier today, and I'm only just now getting to the point where I can properly focus on written words again. Stupid eye drops.

Current thing: Well, as mentioned above, I took some time off this week, with the idea that I would alternate getting some stuff done with some nice relaxation. But I honestly have no idea where most of that time went. I wake up at, like, 8 AM, surf the internet a bit, play with the kitten, grab a bite to eat, maybe throw on a load of laundry, and two minutes later, I look up and realize it's late afternoon. I may have to resort to the idea of alien abduction to explain all this missing time.

Current desktop picture: Still the Hawaiian palm trees. I really need to change that. Hawaii was so last year.

Current book: Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel. I got an advance copy through LibraryThing, which made me very happy, because I'm a big Dave Barry fan. This one isn't exactly the funniest thing he's ever written, but it's plenty entertaining enough, in its own ridiculous-wacky-hijinks way. I'm also dipping in and out of The Book of General Ignorance, a collection of fascinating trivia by the folks behind QI, a British quiz show/comedy that I absolutely adore. Or did, until the guy who was making it available on YouTube got his account suspended for copyright violation. Stupid copyright.

Current song in head: It's been Weird Al's "Party in the CIA" off and on for days, ever since I started reading a memoir written by an ex-CIA agent. I feel kind of ashamed of that, actually, because it's a hideously inappropriate soundtrack for that particular book. But it's so darned catchy!

Current DVD in player: Disc 1 of season 4 of The Big Bang Theory.

Current refreshment: Lemon-mint tea. Mmm.

Current worry: I'm still concerned that my computer might be having some serious health problems. I never did get The Sims to reinstall properly, and I've since seen more indications that it might have either some corrupt spot(s) on the hard disc or some problem with the registry file. Or possibly both.

Current thought: I just cleared my mind and went all zen for a moment. That's kind of relaxing. I should do that more often.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Just Watched Super 8. It's An Okay Movie, But...

Dear J.J. Abrams,

No one likes your lens flares. Seriously. No one. Please stop it.


It Is Usually A Bad Idea.

Amusing sentence I never expected to be able to use #17: "Stop molesting Cthulhu!" (Said to a kitten who had launched a full-body attack on one of my slippers.)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Just My Naturally Sweet Personality

I had yet another doctor's appointment yesterday -- well, technically this morning, but it was yesterday for me -- mainly just because my old doctor left and the new one wanted to discuss all those zillion blood tests I had. He also became concerned that I might have diabetes, and started going over lists of symptoms with me. Meanwhile, he called someone in to stick my finger for a blood test. Which led to the following amusing exchanges. (At least, they amused me. You take whatever humor you can get when people are poking you with needles and asking you personal questions.)

DOCTOR: Fatigue?
ME: I just worked a night shift, after less than five hours' sleep, so... yes.

DOCTOR: Dizziness? Light-headedness?
ME: Well, since she started fussing around me with needles, yes.

That one got a laugh. I only wish I'd been entirely kidding.

DOCTOR [already checking it off]: Sleep disturbances?
ME [not particularly trying to keep the "well, duh" out of my voice]: Again, shiftworker.

DOCTOR: Palpitations?
ME: Oh, well, sometimes, I do get a little... [makes fluttering motion over chest]
DOCTOR: Do you drink a lot of coffee?
ME [hanging head]: Yes.

Anyway, I don't have diabetes. Go, me.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

First Cat Picture Of The New Year

Because you knew I was going to have to post one, so why wait? Here's Newt, caught in an embarrassingly goofy moment:

She was rolling around playing with that feather, and sort of fetched up against my foot. I'm not sure what her tongue is doing.

Poor Newt, though. I am worrying about her yet again, because, her right eye having been pronounced sufficiently healthy, her left eye suddenly started getting weepy. Well, she's already got another vet appointment for Tues, for some more shots. We'll see what they have to say then. Assuming I don't kill her over that chirping bird noise first.

Oh Dear God Make It Stop

Apparently I have now made my first major mistake of the New Year: I bought Newt a cat toy that makes chirping bird noises. Very loud chirping bird noises.

In With The New!

Happy New Year to all!

You know, I'm usually a little inclined to scoff at the idea that an arbitrary change of dates on the calendar means much of anything. But this year, I'm more than willing to take whatever psychological boost might come from imagining a firm dividing line between a somewhat disappointing old year and a bright, shiny new one. It is actually making me feel happier and more optimistic, and I'll take that for as long as it lasts.

I've actually kinda-sorta made some resolutions this year, even. It used to be, whenever I was asked about new year's resolutions, I'd say, "I made a resolution, years ago, never to make any more resolutions. So far it's the only one I've ever kept." If I'm honest, though, it was practically the only one I ever made. And I was young. From my current lofty middle-aged perspective, it seems to me that the young are much less in need of that kind of motivation. Anyway, two things about my behavior have been particularly bothering me lately. One is that my eating habits, which were never great in the first place, have gotten really, really bad. As in, "my fat jeans are now tight and I feel sort of unhealthy" bad. The other is that I fell off the book-buying wagon repeatedly in 2011, wiping out all the progress I'd made in 2010 and then some. So, in 2012, there will be fewer candy bars and fewer trips to the Barnes & Noble. In 2012, my watchword will be "continence"! (Yes, I know it's a stupid watchword. But it's the one I'm using, so shut up.) I know I am capable of a certain amount of self-control in these areas if I'm vigilant about it, because I've done it before. It never lasts forever, of course, but if it lasts six months it'll help, and I'll take it.

Speaking of my massive quantities of books, you can, as usual, find my list of 2011 reading here. I finished 159 books (counting a couple of re-reads of Harry Potter novels, which show up at the top of the list there). Not nearly as impressive as last year, but not too shabby, either.

For your edification, my best, or at least highest-rated books of 2011 are as follows:

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan
Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
Locke & Key, Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Hill

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin
The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynman
The Unfolding of Language: An Evolutionary Tour of Mankind's Greatest Invention by Guy Deutscher
Columbine by Dave Cullen
The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World by Carl Safina
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray
No Life for a Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland
A Passion for Mars: Intrepid Explorers of the Red Planet by Andrew Chaikin
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Every Thing on It by Shel Silverstein

And that's about it for my first post of the New Year. I'll leave you with this farewell to 2011: