Thursday, April 30, 2015

A New Thing!

I bought a new sofa! It is an awesomely comfy sofa of awesomeness. Look!

As you can see, it has already been claimed for the feline species.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm Surely Not The Only One Who Gets A Little Freaked Out By This Sort Of Thing. Am I?

The latest interesting trick from my new phone: it told me what my travel time would be between my home and work, and offered me a traffic report for my commute. Which is a bit silly, as I walk to work, and my travel time is always exactly the same. But that is not the important point. The important point is that it figured out by itself where I work. My phone is stalking me. I'm guessing the app tracked the phone's location and decided, correctly, that that place I've gone at the same time every day for the last six days must be my place of employment. Truly, this is an awesome and terrifying science fiction future I am now living in.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Haven't Had Time To Do Or Think About Anything Interesting Lately, So I'm Just Gonna Ramble About My Boring Life.

I am finally at the end of another very long work week, this time of day shifts. I'm going to be so glad when we finally get a new person hired, trained, and ready to take their place in the rotation, so we don't have to do these anymore. Or at least not as often. Although, I gotta say, I am not looking forward to training them. At all. Right now, my job feels like it involves such a disorganized mishmash of knowledge and procedures that some days I'm not sure I know how to do it.

Anyway. It'll be good to get off the day shifts for a while, at least. Lately I've been so exhausted I've been falling asleep at 9:00, which just seems all kinds of wrong to me. I don't know if my brain's going to try to pull that on me again tonight or not, but I think I'm going to go out to the weekly pub quiz tonight, anyway. As far as I can tell, my trivia-recalling abilities don't actually seem to depend much on how tired I am.

Monday, April 27, 2015

I Talk About The Weather

It's cool and damp here this morning. I kind of love weather like this. It's so unusual here, that it feels like I'm, well, anywhere but New Mexico. It makes me feel like I've traveled without ever leaving home.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Here's An Idea

I still have nothing interesting to talk about today, so instead I'll let someone else do it for me, by linking to my New Favorite Thing: the PBS Idea Channel, where there is no such thing as overthinking. I've been slowly making my way through all the videos in order. I think I'm now up to number 106. No comment on whether or not I might be developing an eensy little crush on the host.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More Cat (Much More Cat)

By request: a picture of Vir. Although he wasn't being anywhere near as photogenic as Nova, I'm afraid.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I'd like to wish a happy birthday to William Shakespeare. Also to my friend Jeannine. And since I missed acknowledging the fact that it was Earth Day yesterday, I'd like to reassure the Earth that it's still my favorite place in the solar system, no matter what Mars or Europa might say.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

It's What The Internet Is Made Of.

I got nothing today, so have a cat picture I took while trying out the camera on the new phone:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Shot In The Foot

Today's fun activity: another visit to my podiatrist, since the orthotics, while they've helped, haven't done away with the foot pain nearly as much as I was hoping. So this time, I got a shot of cortisone in the foot. My toes still feel kind of numb. Hopefully that's normal.

Then, of course, to reward myself for having braved the giant scary needle, I went to Page One and bought entirely too many books. As one does.

Interesting side note: my new phone took it upon itself to remind me not just of my appointment, but of exactly when I'd have to leave to make the appointment. Which is especially interesting, as I didn't tell it I had an appointment. It must have read my e-mail. Once again, I cannot decide whether this technology is awesome or creepy. But either way, I have clearly become a science fiction character.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Bad Kind Of Time Travel

Finally, I am nearing the end of this 7-day, 64-hour block of night shifts! Of course, then I have to spend tomorrow shifting myself back around to being a day person. Yay.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Not Such Bad Habits

Today's random link, because I'm a sucker for this kind of thing: 9 Of The Worst Habits Of Book-Lovers That Leave Us Broke, In Pain, And Lonely (But It's All Totally Worth It).

Some thoughts:

This is maybe the third time in the past few months that I've seen a reference to an awesome-sounding super-bookish character on Gilmore Girls. I am now wondering whether I need to watch this show.

And I can confirm that I have, in fact, brought a book to a party. In fact, I do bring a book everywhere, and it befuddles me that the author of this piece seems to think that there's something wrong or embarrassing about that.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Will Attempt To Resist The Urge To Hide In The Introvert Cave.

People seem to keep asking me to do social things lately. It's... strange.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

One For You, Nineteen For Me

So, that's another tax day over and done with. I hope everybody got theirs done with a minimum of bother. (Well, I hope that for the US folks, anyway. I have no idea when the rest of the world does such things.)

Even though mine are usually minimally complicated, I find doing my taxes ridiculously frustrating. Often at some point in the process I will find myself gritting my teeth and going, "Aaargh! I have an astrophysics degree! Why am I incapable of understanding a stupid tax form!?"

Ah, well, at least I'm getting a decent refund this year. It's not a lot, but it's more than I usually get. Even though it's really just my own money coming back to me, I'm choosing to look at it as a reward for putting up with the annoyance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I'm Not Sure My Brain Was Quite Ready For That.

I'll tell ya, there is some interesting stuff in my Netflix queue. Having given up on Mockingjay, I have now moved on to the next item on the list, a six-part anime series called FLCL[*]. Two episodes in, and so far my entire reaction can pretty much be summed up as, "Now Japan's just fucking with us." I am reserving judgment as of yet as to whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

[*] Apparently that's pronounced "fooly cooly." Which appears to be some sort of sexual euphemism. I... don't even know.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In Which I Cleverly Identify A Trend Everybody Already Knew About Anyway

Judging by my own completely anecdotal personal experience, I believe I can confidently state that, as of right now, we have reached the point where e-books have not only Arrived, they are tipping over into becoming the norm. I base this on the fact that, four or five times just in the past month or so, random people have seen me reading in a public place and come up to me and said, "Oh, it's so nice to still see someone reading a real book!" By which they clearly mean a print book. About half the time, this is followed up by some vaguely embarrassed admission of having broken down and bought a Kindle. Although why they should feel like that's somehow shameful, I honestly don't know. I have lots of reasons for not going that route, myself, but it's not like there's anything immoral about them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why Movies Are My Least Favorite Entertainment Delivery System: A Random Ramble Of Rambliness

I watched about half of Mockingjay, Part 1 last night before I got too sleepy to continue, and I'm now debating whether I should even bother finishing it. It's not that it's bad, exactly, but so far it consists mostly of people sitting or standing around in various places with offputting lighting, looking grim and intoning stilted Dialog of Earnest Seriousness at each other. And do I really need more of that in my life? Especially as I did read the books, so it's not like I don't know how it all comes out.

All of which is making me think of this blog post that I read a few days ago. (If you're too lazy to click, the title is, "Too Busy To Watch a Movie? Read A Book.") Reading that gave me one of those "OMG, I am not alone!" reactions, as I have been trying to explain to people for ages how it is that I can binge-watch entire seasons of TV shows or cheerfully dive into a 500-page novel that will take me days to finish, but sitting down to watch a 2-hour movie somehow feels like way too much effort. Generally, people look at me in blank incomprehension when I say that, but, wheee! Turns out it's not just me!

Mind you, I'm not sure the author has the full explanation here. Yes, I think probably a large part of it is that we all feel really busy these days, with a zillion other things we could be doing instead of watching that 2-hour movie, while TV episodes are more bite-sized and thus feel like less of a commitment, and books can be whipped out anywhere and read a few pages at a time. But for me, at least, it's more than that. It's not just that I am (or feel) busy and don't want to commit the time. It's more about committing my attention, and the issue of how much reward I get in return for what that attention costs me. Books, for me, require almost no effort. Reading is almost like breathing for me, and it's pretty much an unthinking default activity for filling any random downtime. Utterly effortless, and often done during times when I wouldn't be doing much of anything else, anyway, so it scarcely feels like an investment. Even if it turns out to be a bad book, I don't really feel frustrated or cheated out of the time it took me to read it. Much.

A TV episode requires maybe 40 minutes of sitting down and actively committing your attention to the screen (or at least, it does the way I watch it). A movie might require a couple of hours. But how does the reward compare? I think this is what makes the difference. I find I have very little patience with movies that don't completely and immediately deliver me a great viewing experience; whereas I can actually have a lot of patience with a subpar episode of TV show I'm following. Why? I think it's this: with a decent TV show, there's at least the prospect of a long-term reward for the time I'm investing. Maybe the pilot episode is rough, maybe this particular mid-season episode is mostly just annoying filler, whatever. But sitting through that episode, even if it's not great in itself, gets me somewhere. At least, it does with most modern TV shows. It's a step along the path in a much larger story, a story that I get to watch play out over time, with characters whose lives I can be a part of for a good long while and a world that my TV and I can explore together at our leisure. It's a part of a larger whole, one that can potentially provide me with days or years of entertainment, which makes it worth sitting through the boring parts and the missteps, as long as that whole seems at all worthwhile. And if the episode I'm currently watching isn't great, the next episode might be a lot better. But I have to get through the current one first, or the story won't work as well. And, hey, I can do that! It's totally worth it to me. And so I'm able to relax and enjoy myself, rather than feeling impatient and frustrated and distracted by thoughts of all the other things I could be doing with my time instead.

With a movie... Well, you watch the movie, and that's it. That's the full experience. The point of watching a movie is to enjoy the movie, and so, if my enjoyment is anything less than complete, it feels like kind of a waste of time. That's even true for movies like The Hunger Games series, where there actually is one story continued over several movies, because these things come out spaced a year or more apart, and generally by the time the next one is available, I've forgotten most of the last one and lost all sense of momentum and most of my interest. Sure, there are exceptions, exciting movies that provide extended enjoyment because afterward I spend a long time thinking about them and discussing them, and can watch them over and over and find new things in them each time. (Hello, Cabin in the Woods!) But those are very, very rare. Most of Hollywood's output is, at best... kind of OK. And two hours of my concentrated attention for the sole reward of having watched something kind of OK is mostly just not good enough.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

No One Understands Me But My Google

My new phone came with this app from the All-Knowing Google, which, when opened, automatically provides information it believes you will want. Last night, it reminded me that today is Yuri Gagarin day, and that there's a new episode of Once Upon a Time. That's a level of relevance-to-my-interests that's almost disturbing. Truly, 21st century technology is a wonderful and terrifying thing.

Also, happy Yuri Gagarin Day!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

But At Least I Have Shoes.

Today's excitement: I drove up to Albuquerque to buy myself a new pair of shoes. Afterward, I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch, but I ended up meeting him at the hospital instead, as he arrived home only to discover his elderly mother had been carted off in an ambulance. Eeeep! Fortunately, she seems to be just fine. But I would appreciate it if that's the last phone call I get telling me someone's in the hospital for a good long while.

Friday, April 10, 2015

In Which I Accomplish Things, And Other People Flake Out Completely

It's been a fairly satisfying few days, just in terms of how much I've managed to knock off my ridiculously long to-do list. Yay!

I really wish that one of those things had been getting the ball rolling on the concrete work I need done, though. I'm still utterly befuddled by my dealings with the company here in Socorro. I called them over a week ago and got someone who seemed very clueless about what they would or wouldn't do, but said that the boss would call me back and let me know. He did a few hours later and told me that, yep, they'd do the kind of work I need -- removing the old damaged concrete of my driveway and from around my house and replacing it with new stuff -- and that he'd come out and give me an estimate the next day, and would call before he showed up. Never saw him, never heard from him. I called back the next day, during normal business hours, got no answer, and left a message. Nothing. I called again a couple of days ago, after the Easter holidays, to ask what the hell happened, kinda hoping there'd be some legitimate excuse about a family emergency or something, and got someone who sounded a lot like the same person I originally talked to. She claimed to have no idea who I was or that I'd ever called or arranged anything, and suggested that maybe the reason I got blown off was because "we've been kinda busy." Then she assured me that the boss would call me back "the minute he steps in the door." Guess what? Yep. Never heard back. So, clearly these are not people I actually want to do business with. (That's A-1 Concrete, for the local Socorro folks. I recommend avoiding.) Anyway, I guess once again I'm going to have to find someone in Albuquerque who's willing to come down here.

Sigh. Sometimes I really hate this town.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Technological Progress!

So, I did, in fact, get quite a few major things done yesterday, even if my to-do list is still somehow growing instead of shrinking. The biggest thing is that I finally did something I'd been intending to do for at least the last year: I got myself into the Verizon store and bought myself a new phone.

I now have a shiny new LG G3, a good phone with a ridiculously bland and unmemorable name. So far, I am deliriously happy with it. Mind you, at this point anything would be a vast improvement over my old phone, which is nearly five years old and was low-end even when I bought it. Among other things rendering it very close to useless for most of what you'd actually want to use a smartphone for, it had so little memory that not only could I not add any more apps to it, I couldn't even let the ones that were already there update themselves.

I've also long since come to realize that I find very small screens entirely too annoying to deal with The new one has a 5.5" display, and, oh, man, that's approximately a 6,000-fold increase in usability for me. The keyboard display is actually large enough for me to type on it comfortably! It takes me more than three seconds to read all the text that fits on the screen! I can actually see what's going on in a video! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Or Maybe I'll Just Sit Around Dithering About What To Do Until It's Time To Go Back To Work.

One of my co-workers is transferring to another position, and we haven't hired someone to replace him yet, never mind getting them trained. So for the near future, my work schedule is even weirder than usual. Among other things, that means I'm working one of those 7-day, 64-hour weeks of night shifts next week. Yay. But it also means that, starting today, I have five days in a row off. Which is awesome, and more or less makes up for it.

Except for the fact that I've got this small but forceful voice in the back of my brain insisting that I need to use this time off to do ALL THE THINGS, as quickly as possible, especially the things that require doing stuff during normal day person hours, but also that I absolutely must use it to relax and de-stress, do a lot of reading and catch up on all the TV shows I've recorded but not yet watched.

Thanks, brain. Thanks a lot.

Well, so far I've hacked down weeds in the yard (ah, the joys of spring!) and called the city (again) about the fire hydrant in my front yard that's leaking (still), and put some laundry in the washer. Not bad, considering that it's not even 11 AM yet. Maybe now I can get to work on that relaxing part...

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

(70 Miles South Of) Albuquerque

I'm already doing very poorly with this posting-every-day thing. The only thing I can think of to blog about today is how I went into the Subway wearing my Weird Al Yankovic t-shirt, and when I said, "Can I get chips and a drink with that?" the guy responded, "Naaaah, we're out of bear claws," and I felt that bizarre warm glow that only comes from sharing a pop cultural affinity with a completely random person in a completely random situation.

And for anyone who might need an explanation and have eleven minutes to kill:

Monday, April 06, 2015

I Got Nothing Else Today, So Let's Do This Now.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A Doctor Who t-shirt. Brown leather boots that have definitely seen better days and are reminding me that I need to go and buy some new shoes soon.

Current mood: Mostly OK, I guess, although if I'm honest, I have been kinda grumpy and insecure lately, overall.

Current music: Nothing at the moment, really. But I'm thinking of buying a pair of portable speakers for my iPod, so I can have it wake me up in the morning with random music.

Current annoyance: Having to schedule things that involve other people. Because then not only do I have to work around my own (frequently insane) schedule, I also have to work around theirs. Even more annoying: when they then don't show up.

Current thing: I, um, may have been accidentally buying entirely too many books again. But... But books are my refuge when I am feeling grumpy and insecure! And buying them and surrounding myself with them may actually be even more soothing than reading them. (Is this working as an excuse, or just making me sound really, really pathetic?)

Current desktop picture: It's still Uncle Iroh, although, much as I love him, I think it really is time to replace him now.

Current book: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. It's a giant brick of a fantasy novel -- part two in a series of giant fantasy bricks -- but it's a surprisingly quick and pleasant read.

Current song in head: Something the dancing demon sang in the musical Buffy episode, because it randomly came up on my iPod a couple of days ago.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I must have refreshment! Actually, I must figure out what I want to do for dinner...

Current DVD in player: Disc 3 of season 3 of Dexter. Which is a weirdly additive show, and which makes me think all kinds of pretentious, half-formed thoughts about narrative and POV and the seductive but problematic concept of vigilante justice, and stuff. Although I'm also wondering whether it's a premise that's actually capable of supporting a full eight seasons, and whether it might actually have peaked in season two. But I intend to keep watching it to find out.

Current worry: Nothing specific, honestly. Which I guess is actually kind of nice, only having vague, general things to worry about.

Current thought:

Sunday, April 05, 2015

It Must Be Bunnies!

Happy Easter, to those for whom the occasion is significant. (And, for that matter, happy Passover, ditto.)

In honor of the day, may I direct you to possibly the most adorable piece of Doctor Who fan art ever?

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Although They Do Say If You Eat A Live Frog Before Breakfast, Nothing Worse Will Happen To You (Or The Frog) For The Rest Of The Day.

Hoo, boy, has today been One of Those Days. I think there should be a rule that says, if breakfast involves discovering your bagel is moldy after you've eaten almost half of it, you should just be allowed to go back to bed and blow off whatever you were supposed to do for the rest of the day. Because, somehow, it just never gets much better from there.

Friday, April 03, 2015

How Is It That I'm Old Enough To Be Doing Anything For 20 Years?

Just got an e-mail at work yesterday acknowledging the fact that, as of last year, I have been with the Observatory for 20 years. In recognition of this fact, I get a pin, a plaque, a free dinner, a substantial gift certificate, and the disconcerting feeling of wondering where the hell all that time has gone and what exactly I've been doing with my life.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April Fools, First World Problems, Whatever

It's been many years since someone played a deliberate prank on me on April Fool's Day (at least, if you don't count all those fake news articles and things), and this year was no different. But I swear, the entire world seems to have lined up to mess with me, anyway. I spent all day waiting for a guy to come and give me an estimate on re-doing my driveway, but he never called and never came. Finally, hungry and tired from all that waiting, I ordered myself a pizza, only to have the wrong one show up. Which I didn't realize until the delivery guy had left, of course, although the smell of green peppers wafting from the box ought to have been a clue. I hate green peppers.

Seriously, world, come on. That's a really lame sense of humor. I mean, if you're gonna play pranks on me, you could at least make them creative.

Um... wait. Pretend I never said that. I don't want to tempt fate quite that much.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Triumpant Return Of Blogs-A-Lot April (No April Foolin'!)

So, last year I did this thing where for (most of) the month of April, I made a point of posting something here every day, even if it was just a stray thought or a random link. And I think it was a worthwhile exercise -- for me, if for no one else. And appropriate for April, too, since this is the blog's anniversary month. (It's 13! Which is a fact that's kind of hard to process, on several levels.) Anyway, I'm going to try it again this month. I have no idea what I'm going to have to say for the next 29 days, but, hey, I'm sure it'll be fun finding out.