Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Quit… No, Wait! Maybe…?

Isn’t it strange how sometimes we procrastinate about doing something we really do want to do?

I started my first blog way back in the early spring of 2002. It was on Blogger, which, back in those days, was kind of terrible – very limited. And also, I wanted to be taken seriously and all the “serious” bloggers had real websites. So I moved on to better things. Except, a couple of times the better things had a meltdown and I had to move on again, and again. And every time I changed blog platforms and Web addresses I lost about half my readers. At one time I was up to over 200 visits a day. When it got down to about 30 a day I stopped wanting to know. For all I know there might be only three people reading this.

More and more I find myself “not in the mood” to write something for this blog or even to read other blogs and look for inspiration. I actually have the inspiration; I still have ideas and opinions I want to share but for some reason I just can’t seem to make myself write out what I’m thinking.

I have actually been thinking about quitting for about two years but two things keep stopping me: 1. I might disappoint someone, and 2. What if I change my mind? Oh, and one other thing. I kinda love my simple, silly little links page. But I haven’t paid proper attention to it in a long time. It’s full of broken links and I actually only visit maybe half a dozen of those sites regularly.

So, quitting? I still might or might not but I feel there’s no point anymore in paying for hosting (even though it is very inexpensive) when I’m really not into maintaining this site. So I’m going back to where I started. Blogger is much better now than it was 14 years ago. They could still make a few improvements but you really can’t complain much about free. Here’s the new Violins & Starships. There’s not much there now but I will add some links on the sidebar (sooner or later) and I’ll try to at least post a video or a picture or something once or twice a week and maybe I will continue or maybe just fade away. This blog should still be here until the end of this month but this will be the last post.

I’ve Been Tagged!

You don’t see these things much anymore – things like this Sunshine Blogger Award where you get tagged to answer a bunch of questions and then you tag a bunch of other bloggers. I used to see them all the time and always think, “Somebody pick me! Oh please pick me!” but most of the time no one ever did. But anyway… this time I got tagged so here goes with the questions.

1. What do you value more in a story: dialog or plot?
Both but if I have to pick just one, dialog. Bad, boring or unrealistic dialog can spoil an otherwise good book but if the plot is lame or non-existent but characters and dialog are interesting I can still enjoy the book.

2. Describe the home planet of Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Come on, that dude ain’t human.)
I have no idea who you are talking about. I did Google the name so now I know who he is but still not enough about him to describe his home planet.

3. If you enjoy watching any sports at all, which ones would you at least like to try just once?
I don’t know… volley ball maybe? Sad story about this: I never played volley ball when I was a kid because when someone would ask me if I wanted to play I would ask them to teach me the rules first and they would say something like, “Just stand here and hit the ball back over the net when it comes to you,” but I was sure there were rules that they weren’t telling me and that everyone would get mad at me when I broke one so I wouldn’t play.

4. Describe the most recent book to which you gave (or would have given) five stars.
I guess it would have to be Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey. That whole series is awesome.

5. Do you finish bad books? Why or why not?
Usually, yes. Why? I don’t want to be a quitter, maybe? Sometimes a book that starts out kind of blah gets really good halfway through. Or if it really is bad, sometimes a bad book will be just interesting enough that I want to see what happens. Depends on what’s bad about it. Maybe the plot is good but the characters are two dimensional or the writing itself is like an eight year old wrote it or something like that. On the other hand, there have been a few books that I started and just couldn’t get interested in at all so I quit and moved on to something better. It’s only in recent years that I’ve started doing that. I used to almost always finish books no matter what.

6. How vexed are you when movies don’t match the books?
Not at all. I don’t expect movies to match the books. Books and movies are two different things, both good in their own way.

7. Describe your perfect hot beverage. In detail. I’m talking roast of bean or variety of leaves, additives like spices or squirts of citrus, vessel from which the drink is sipped, where you are sitting as you sip it, who is next to you, what music is playing.
Any number of beverages can be “perfect” but more often than not it’s tea. My favorite, or the one I brew most often, is Russian Caravan from Porto Rico Importing. The cup or mug is important. It has to feel right in my hands. I prefer one that is taller than it is wide, so a mug. I have a little collection of them (and would have a BIG collection if I had the space) and I like to get around to using them all. Hardly any of them just sit there looking pretty. Sometimes when the weather is nice I go outside and sit on my front porch and enjoy the trees and the birds. If I’m indoors I’m listening to music, almost always classical, in the broader sense, and it could be anything from medieval to contemporary art music.

8. Do you watch cooking shows? If so, describe your favorite.
Hardly ever except for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I guess that’s sort of a cooking show.

9. Name a place you’ve visited that you thought you’d hate but you didn’t.
I can’t really think of any place I thought I’d hate. I once went to a tractor pull and enjoyed it more than I expected to. Does that count?

10. You know that hobby you had as a younger person that you miss dearly but you know you’ll never do it again? Describe it!
There’s no childhood hobby that I “miss dearly”. Maybe coloring books but now that there are adult coloring books I can’t say I’ll never do it again.

11. On January 20, 2017, the newly inaugurated President of the United States signs a law requiring all Americans to display a coffee-table book prominently in their home. Which one do you put out?
A surrealist art book. Not Dali, someone else – Tanguy maybe, or maybe a book of various surrealist artists.

Now I’m supposed to tag eleven other bloggers and write eleven questions for them to answer but I don’t know eleven bloggers who would be interested in this so, I’m sorry but I have to break the chain. It’s okay though. I don’t believe in bad luck.

A Very Quick Review

The Expanse series of novels by James S.A. Corey keeps getting better and better which, in my experience is fairly unusual for series of more than three books. Cibola Burn, the fourth in the series is the first one to be set on an extra-solar planet, making it more like the kind of science fiction I am typically attracted to. It features some of the same characters as the earlier books plus a bunch of new and equally interesting characters. I like the the characters, the action, and, believe it or not, the politics in The Expanse and this book adds an environmental disaster to the mix. I’m looking forward to the next book and when I get all of them I might binge on the whole series. I don’t re-read books as much as I used to because I feel that there are too many books I haven’t read to waste time re-reading but these stories are well worth the time.

Hole

The description on YouTube: “…hole from CovĂŁo dos Conchos, in Serra da Estrela, [Portugal] is made of concrete and granite, has 4.6m high, 48 meters crowning was built in 1955 and serves to forward the Naves river waters to Lagoa Comprida. It has 1519 meters in length and is able to reach 120 thousand cubic meters.”

Random Linkage

Color Thesaurus – Of course one could argue about the accuracy of many of these (and of course different monitors render colors differently) but it was a nice attempt.

Secret Society Art – Some of these are interesting. I like Where Hideous Things Slither and Climb and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows poster, among others. The other magic lantern slides especially.

Amazing Embroidery – Mushrooms, forest creatures, insects. Beautiful!

Old-Style Map of Mars – Love it!

Chicken Legs – Too funny!

Gina Kalabishis – Strange and beautiful art

The man in the Alien costume

* * *

Quoting Myself, 2015

Today is the day we’re supposed to look back on the year past and… something. And all of us bloggers must post a Year End Review post. Or is that Year In Review? Pardon me folks; I think I need more caffeine. Or maybe more sugar. Or perhaps, less. Nah.

Anyway, for my end of the year post I thought I’d just quote myself and that’s not as easy-way-out as it seems. I have to go through a whole year of my nonsense and pick out something quotable.

January: I like holidays and vacations; I think most of us do; but sometimes I think one of the best things about major holidays and vacations is that they make us appreciate our routine, everyday lives.

February: The world was coming to an end and I had to get up and fix it.

March: Star Trek premiered when I was 8 years old so I am old enough, just barely, to remember a world without Star Trek and old enough to remember when it was just another popular TV show but it’s not easy to remember. It seems like Star Trek and its characters have always existed and they have a kind of reality beyond mere fiction.

April: I stopped paying attention to popular music about 30 years ago so I am so out of the loop pop-culturally.

May: …there’s a distinct possibility that in another ten or twenty years I might turn into the kind of old lady who doesn’t hold back from giving other old ladies a good tongue lashing when I think they need it.

June: You know what I mean? Chill out; get over it; get a grip; take a chill pill; get a hobby; go kiss some puppies.

July: By the way, why is it that, it seems like, the purpose of “improvements” is to make websites run slower?

August: It just goes to show it’s true what they say: “Calories are what they put in food to make it taste good.”

September: Seriously, what is with all the gray everywhere lately? It seems like every time I turn on HGTV someone is doing a gray kitchen. Is the whole world suffering from depression?

October: I want to send some people to their rooms and tell them not to come out until they learn to stop bothering people about nonsense.

November: … if I wanted a $200 Egyptian cotton ladies shirt I would make myself one for $30.

December: Funny how we always think of people in the past being more “straight-laced” than in the present.

Well… looking over these I’m not sure they’re really representative of my year. Maybe a little bit but there was so much more to it. Overall, not a bad year.

Limits

This morning my computer went to sleep and refused to wake up. I’m waiting for my personal computer hero to come home and fix it. I’m typing this on my phone and it’s really slow and tedious. I don’t know how the kids thumb type so fast, which suggests to me a topic for discussion.

I love computers and smartphones, which are, of course, small computers and I tend to get impatient with people who can’t or won’t learn to use them but we all have our limits. What new or proposed technology goes beyond your willingness to adapt? What would make you say, “That’s it. I’m done. From now on I’m gonna be a stubborn old geezer, forever living in the past. Screw you, modern world.”?

So far I haven’t seen anything that makes me feel that way but I am really not liking the idea of self driving cars. That might be it for me.

Ten for Tuesday Wednesday

I had not seen the Ten for Tuesday meme before but I think it’s a great idea, especially this one: 10 Seemingly Ordinary Things That Bring You Joy. So, here we go.

1. Dandelions (in both their bloom and seed phases)
2. Fabric (especially cotton prints)
3. Pretty glassware (especially carnival glass and milk glass)
3. Colorful or unusual coffee (or tea) mugs
4. Morning sunlight shining through tall trees
5. The blooms on mimosa trees
6. Birds around my bird feeder
7. Being the first to use something new (new book, new bar of soap, new jar of peanut butter, etc.)
8. Cats
9. Night sounds (crickets, frogs, etc.)
10. Fireflies

What? I’m done already? I could do another 10. The world is so full of wonderful little things.

Redecorating

I was getting a little tired of the brown background. It’s spring fercryinoutloud! This might be too close to the color of the links. I’m not sure I want them to be the same color as the background but I don’t know how to change the color of the links.

Thought about changing the picture at the top of the right-hand column too but I don’t know… I like that one. And the quote. I like that quote too, though other appropriate Firefly or other science fiction quotes might be considered.

Post Holiday

I usually enjoy the week after Christmas. It’s quiet, relaxed, everything is getting back to normal. But I always feel like I should be doing something but, at the same time, not at all motivated to do anything. Including blogging and blog reading. To be honest, after about 12 years of blogging I think I might actually be ready to give it up – at least the nearly-every-day blogging. I think I will always want to have some site where I can connect with people and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter just don’t suit my style. I might switch back to a free platform like Blogger later in 2015 though and just do intermittent blogging and I might also start a couple of single topic blogs – one for sewing and one for collecting recipes. This week might be very intermittent because, as I said, I’m not feeling motivated.

We got our first snow of this winter Saturday. It wasn’t much, only just enough to cover the ground and more than half of it melted yesterday. That’s the kind of snow I like – here and gone in a couple of days. Unfortunately it is going to stay cold and possibly rain later in the week, which means ice. [sigh] I was hoping for an unseasonably warm winter. We are due for one.

My weirdest cat has suddenly become even weirder. She won’t eat her cat food – same brand she has been eating and it is a high quality, grain free brand – and prowls around the house eating any crumbs she can find on the floor and she tries to eat out of the dog’s dish. (Usually the dog doesn’t leave anything) She has also started jumping on countertops, something she has never done before. She is driving me absolutely around the bend. Fortunately, she still sleeps most of the day. It’s only in the evening when we are all here trying to relax and watch TV that she goes nuts.

I have some sewing related stuff to share and books and maybe TV and current events but I might not get around to it until next year so don’t go away. I promise I will quit being lame soon.

Space Mission Coverage, European Style

I tuned in to watch the Rosetta comet landing on NASA-TV but I did not see it. Apparently NASA-TV picked up a British broadcast. I was immediately struck by how different it was from typical American coverage of big events. There was a female anchor interviewing people then they switched to a view of the mission control center and all commentary stopped. At first I thought how refreshing it was compared with American TV with anchors and commentators constantly talking regardless of whether or not they have anything to say. It would have been even better if they had actually shown the comet landing.

I expected that they would alternate between views from the probe and views of mission control but they continued to show nothing but mission control with nothing very interesting (to the average viewer) going on – just people doing their jobs and waiting while the suits stood on one side of the room watching. I thought that when it got close to the time for the actual landing they would switch to that. But no. Suddenly everyone in the control room cheered and then they switched over to an auditorium where VIPs were making speeches. After about 15 minutes of that I gave up and turned off the TV. I suppose I’ll get to see some pictures eventually but I was looking forward to seeing it live.

There was probably a live stream of it online but we have limited Internet service out here in the sticks and “streaming” often includes as much buffering as actual streaming. Besides, why have a 50 inch HDTV if you can’t watch live space landings on it?

Technology Is Annoying

We are having an annoying little computer issue that is just bad enough to make me think, “Why bother? I have other, less annoying, things I can be doing,” so if you don’t see anything new here for a few days that’s why.

Lament

Oh warm, beautiful Spring why hast thou forsaken me? ‘Tis the first day in May but ’twas freezing this morning. (Literally 32°F) The dogwoods are in bloom and the irises just beginning but they merely tease. ‘Tis winter still and I am indoors clothed in flannel. Tomorrow? Tomorrow you say? Oh cruel tomorrow, always a day away. The oak trees know. Those great noble plants, which in saner years would be fully leafed out by this date, are are only now showing the first cautious buds of new growth. Get thee behind me Winter, and Spring, oh Spring, I beg thee to stop teasing us and finally come to stay.

Color Change

I did a little redecorating for spring. If you’re still seeing pink try refreshing the page. I already sort of miss the pink background. Chances are it will be back someday but for now I wanted something to go with the dandelions.

Oops

Yesterday I finally, after procrastinating for months, uploaded an updated version of my infamous links page. This morning I discovered a mistake. A mistake of the “How the hell did that happen?” variety. Oops. I don’t have time to deal with it right now but hopefully it won’t be months this time before I get around to fixing it.

A Hill With a Name

Whenever a section of roadway has a name – an unofficial name given by the locals – you know it has to be interesting to drive on. I posted this on Facebook this morning and then decided to post it here also. As I said on FB, this video doesn’t do it justice. The camera is too close to the ground. It needs to be near driver and passenger eye level so you can see what we see when we drive up or down the curséd thing. But it’s the only one I found so here it is.