Saturday, January 20, 2018

Our Government Is Bad, And We Should Feel Bad.

Oh, look, our idiot leadership has decided to go from dysfunctional to entirely non-functional yet again. Go, USA.

Well, fortunately, the observatory I work for, while highly dependent on NSF funding, foresaw this possibility and made a point of making sure we'd have enough money to keep going for, hopefully, longer than this will last. (Meaning about a month. If it runs longer than that, we've all got real problems.) So this time, at least, we won't have millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded astronomical equipment sitting idle instead of doing what it was built for and advancing science and our understanding of the universe. All the groceries on the shelves of the military base grocery stores my mother works at are presumably going to be left to rot and have to be thrown out again, though, so fear not, I'm sure the appropriate amount of economic damage will still happen as our country once again cuts its nose off to spite its face.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I Am Now Partly Titanium

So, I now have a screw implanted in my jaw, which, hopefully, will eventually serve to anchor a new fake tooth.

For the moment, though, it just hurts. A lot more than the extraction did, but that might just be because I got lucky and the extraction barely hurt at all.

But, man. Replacing body parts with technological substitutes is a lot less fun than science fiction usually makes it look.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

First Currentlies of 2018!

Keeping up with a ridiculously long-standing tradition.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy t-shirt, with matching socks. Because I may be a dork, but, today at least, I am a well-coordinated dork.

Current mood: Pretty good. There are any number of things I could feel unreasonably stressed about, but mostly I'm maintaining my equanimity pretty well. I do feel a little bit rushed at the moment, though. I could use an extra hour or two before I have to leave for work. Ah, well.

Current music: Nothing in particular.

Current annoyance: Amazingly enough, nothing big comes to mind! Not that there aren't a thousand small or long-term things I could complain about. Like having to work for a living. Or the fact that one of my dorky socks seems noticeably smaller than the other.

Current thing: Binge-listening to the Imaginary Worlds podcast. (I'm up to September of 2016.) Trying to stay on top of various responsible-adult things that, sadly, need to get done. Still playing Fallen London. (Although my character's a lot more powerful now, I still don't know what's going on. But it's fun. Except for how I keep getting driven insane by nightmares. Or attacked by bees...)

Current desktop picture: I went back to the Twelfth Doctor. Although I feel like I should go for something new.

Current book: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

Current song in head: A minute ago it was "Total Eclipse of the Heart," I think because I was reading about last year's solar eclipse recently.

Current refreshment: I have french fries in the oven. Soon I will have chicken tenders and fries. Because I am a grown-ass woman, and that means I can eat like a toddler when I want to.

Current DVD in player: Well, it was supposed to be the last disk of season 1 of Alias, a show I finally started watching after vaguely intending to for a ridiculously long time. But the disk stopped playing, and the series isn't available streaming (well, OK, it's on Amazon, but not through Prime, so I would have had to pay extra for it), so now I have to wait for Netflix to replace the DVD for me.

Current happy thing: I finally saw the new Star Wars this weekend, so now people can finally stop asking me whether I've seen it yet. I liked it reasonably well, too, which is always good.

Current thought: "I liked it reasonably well" is, I'm afraid, pretty much the only thing I have to say about the new Star Wars, other than observing that Mark Hamill is a much better actor now than he was forty years ago.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Take A Telescopic Tour

Here's a nice little video featuring one of the radio telescopes it's my job to watch over:

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017: The Year In Books

Happy New Year! It's become traditional for me, on the first of the year, to take a look back on the previous year's reading. And it is now the first of the year, even if we're only a couple of hours in. So.

I read a total of 138 books in 2017, a bit less than the previous year, but a respectable total nonetheless, I'm sure. You can see a complete list here, if you're interested.

As is also traditional, I offer a list of the best books of the year, based on which ones I rated 4.5 or 5 stars on LibraryThing at the time I read them:

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
On the Beach by Neville Shute
Tinkers by Paul Harding
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 edited by Joe Hill
Ethan Frome & Other Stories by Edith Wharton
Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, and Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 2 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Non-fiction and humor:
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
What Language Is (And What It Isn't and What It Could Be) by John McWhorter
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks
Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years by Geoffrey Nunberg
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast
Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Religion: Ruining Everything Since 4004 B.C. by Zach Weinersmith
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Some really good stuff there, although I'm a little surprised by how many of them were re-reads. The Prachett, of course, as re-reading the Discworld City Watch books was a year-long project for me, but also Slaughterhouse-Five, On the Beach, and Ethan Frome. Which, now that I think about it, is a really depressing trio of books. Depressing, but excellent.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go and get started on 2018's reading...