Monthly Archives: May 2009

List of the Week

15 Scents I Love

1. Vanilla
2. Roses
3. Lilacs
4. “Cotton Blossom” soap and lotion from Bed and Bath and Beyond stores
5. Cinnamon
6. Cloves
7. Sesame oil
8. A pine forest
9. Molasses
10. Candle shops
11. Lapsang Souchong tea
12. Earl Grey tea
13. Oranges
14. Mint
15. Chocolate

Stranger Than Fiction

Andrea:

That’s why when people ask me why I like science fiction I tell them “because it’s not as bizarre as real life.”

Strange things don’t happen to me, personally, very often, if ever, but I must remember that answer for the next time someone asks why I like science fiction. It’s true after all – the world is more bizarre than anything anyone could possibly make up. (Anyone, that is, except maybe China Mieville or Neal Asher)

UPDATE: Speaking of name coincidences, I should have mentioned that I live a couple of miles down the road from Bob Hope and for several years I lived one street over from Carole King.

Change

Every time I think about making changes to this blog I’m afraid something will go horribly wrong, even if it’s a relatively simple change. So I procrastinate. I’m going to finally change the theme. I really like the pretty light blue theme and the beautiful picture of the mountains of southeast Oklahoma at the top (that’s another reason I’ve been procrastinating.) but I’ve been feeling like it’s not really me. I’m not sure the new one is going to be me either but I’m ready for a change. So here goes.

UPDATE: Okay it’s done. I used the WP Theme Generator to create this. I’m not entirely happy with it but I’ll keep it for a while and maybe try tinkering with it. I will add a picture to the sidebar sometime in the next few days and of course the link to my links page. I also need to edit that and my entry page to match.

UPDATE 2: Darn it. I guess I need to read up on HTML and CSS. I thought I knew how to do this but I can’t make the picture centered in the sidebar, I can’t make the tag line light grey and the link isn’t the color I thought it would be. Right now I’m going to forget about it for a while and go watch HGTV. Excuse the mess.

UPDATE 3: Well, the sidebar still isn’t exactly like I want it. The link to my links page is all the way down at the bottom for one thing and having the RSS link and the search thingie right in the middle doesn’t look right to me but every time I try to rearrange things the whole sidebar disappears.

On the positive side, I’m liking the look better. I played with the colors for a long time and couldn’t ever come up with anything that wasn’t either muddy or likely to be considered “too bright” by most people so I settled on muddy but now, after looking at it for a while I’m starting to feel like this is the right look for me. I hope everyone likes it because I think I’m going to stick with this for a long time.

A Few More Blogs

Kiarian Lunch – A nice culture and sometimes political blog. I think this is an old blog with a new name and it might already be on my list but I can’t remember what the old name was. I hate when that happens. If it’s there I’ll probably run across it eventually.

Artificial Owl – Abandoned places, ruins, shipwrecks, etc. Very interesting; great photos.

The Detritus Review – Devoted to fisking classical music reviews and articles.

The Problem With Young People Today Is… – Old guy tells us what annoys him about teenagers. Quote: “When I was a lad, we didn’t pierce our ears, tongues, nipples or anything else. If we wanted to mutilate ourselves we took a job in the sawmill and let nature take its course.

Attic Window Quilt Shop – Yay! Another quilt blog! Some really beautiful work there.

Pictures & Words – photos, poems and poetic prose

Quotes From Here and There

Seated on a stone wall in the courtyard of my school, I declared the following words to a coterie of my friends, who hadn’t really asked my opinion: “Those Beatles think they’re the Kings of Pop (yes, I really did use the term), but everybody knows it’s the Monkees!”here

This is all I ever wanted from video games, honestly. […]

(Well, until they have to start refining the AI on all the NPCs you meet in the virtual world, and then address the various user complaints about how their own personal alt-history worlds are developing, and Earth courts become powerless to dictate law on the alternate realities where everyone spends all their time orchestrating economies and slaughtering armies and having sex with supermodels and dealing endlessly with Moriarty…)there

It’s fun, intriguing and ultimately endearing to puzzle out the scripted elements of a cute new life learning about the world, the past, the future and all that stuff…here

…Warner Bros. wasn’t above recycling a gag:there

Photography

Brit Gal writes about her cameras and shares some great photos. I like the one of the cemetery with the odd looking trees. It looks sort of like a surrealist painting.

I won’t be overly modest; I do think some of my photos are really good. On the other hand, I often see some photos that are spectacular and make me feel a little embarrassed about showing off my poor attempts. I don’t know much about photography beyond, see it, frame it, push the button, and if you have time take a few more shots of the same thing because no matter how good you are there’s always a possibility that something could go wrong.

I did use a Pentax K1000 SLR for years so I know a little about lenses, F-stops, shutter speeds and so forth – just the basics – but I don’t think I ever developed much of a knack for it. For one thing, when you’re worrying about wasting film you don’t practice as much as you need to. I also hated carrying around a fairly heavy camera and an even heavier bag full of lenses and accessories so I missed a lot of photo opportunities because I didn’t have the camera with me.

I love my little Sony Cybershot because it fits in my purse or a pocket so I take it everywhere. I’m a little self-conscious about taking photos in non-touristy public places though. I would feel like everyone’s staring at the crazy lady taking photos of clouds, weeds, crumbling old buildings and such. Even in some places where you would expect people to be taking a lot of pictures, like the museums in Guthrie, I’m often the only one.

For the Little Boy Who Loves Trains

Number One Son loved trains when he was little. Actually he loved anything with wheels. Maybe the train love seemed more significant to me because I’ve always liked trains too. Anyway, when I saw this fabric I immediately knew I had to use it in a quilt for #1Son. Now he will have someone to share it with, something I didn’t know yet when I started, and I hope she likes it too. I think she does.

I was originally going to make an attic windows quilt but he wanted a tumbling blocks quilt so I thought about it for a long time before starting. Should I make the attic windows anyway or should I forget about the train fabric and make a tumbling blocks quilt? Finally, I decided that I could use the train fabric in a tumbling blocks quilt if I make the pieces really BIG.

And, months later, here it is. Thanks to my anonymous helpers holding up the quilt for the picture.

Tumbling blocks quilt with Union Pacific Railroad fabric

I have some of the train fabric left. I goofed and cut some of the pieces the wrong way so they’re for the left side of the blocks instead of the right. Of course the only thing to do when you mess up like that is make another quilt but I have a couple of other quilts planned for the rest of this year so I won’t be starting that one anytime soon.

I Love/Hate Cats

Does anyone out there want two stuffed cats? Or how about a nice cat stew? They are adorable but I am so damned frustrated right now I could happily skin the two of them. They have decided that one of my flowerbeds is their bed and another is their bathroom. Those products that are supposed to keep cats away from flowerbeds or wherever else you want to use it to keep cats away do not work. The cats sniff the stuff like it was catnip and then go on and do whatever they had in mind before they came across the fascinating smell.

And yes I have heard that “responsible cat owners keep their cats indoors.” Don’t even start. They like being outside. It’s natural for cats to be outside. I had one cat that lived 15 years as an indoor-outdoor cat and now have one that is over 10 years old that has always spent most of the time outside because she’s paranoid-neurotic-psychotic or something like that and tends to freak out easily when she’s inside the house. Except in the winter. It’s amazing how well-behaved cats can be when it’s freezing outside.

Anyway… I wish this came in giant rolls and was reasonably priced. I sort of have my doubts that it would work. Cats pretty much do whatever they want to do. They always find a way around whatever we humans do. And around here if it wasn’t my cats it would be strays, which we have to run off once in a while.

When I win the Powerball jackpot I’m going to install motion activated sprinklers in all my flower beds even though I am sure they would soon find a way around that too.

Public Science

I saw this cartoon somewhere a few days ago but I didn’t (and still don’t) have anything to say other than, “So true.” Now there’s another “so true” cartoon on the same topic. Personally, the unrealistic sci-fi gadgets get me every time as well as the “amazing medical breakthroughs.” I know the media blows everything out of proportion but darn it I want all that stuff that they keep telling us is “right around the corner”. I want it now and I want it exactly as “promised” by the media.

I think we should have a Million Person March on all the major media headquarters to demand that they (the media not the scientists) come through on these promises. Yeah, I know they can’t do it but they deserve to be harassed.

Useful Term

I almost forgot to mention this. Number One Son has coined a new medical term: Whine Flu. If you’re not deathly ill but you don’t feel like doing anything but laying around and whining you’ve got the Whine Flu.

Is Thin on the Way Out

This beauty contest finalist weighs 10 stone, which Bob at The Drawn Cutlass tells us is about 160 pounds. Sadly, I don’t think this could happen in the United States and my cynical side believes that even in Britain the recent fondness for dowdy singers and chunky beauty queens is merely a fad, a moment of self-congratulation for not being shallow followers of fashion.

Honestly, I have to admit that I prefer to look at thin people and I’d like to be one myself. Is that because Hollywood and the fashion industry present thin people in a way that is pleasing to the eye, making thinness the ideal that we all wish for? If we always saw thin people in frumpy, ill-fitting, unfashionable clothes would we laugh at them and worry about eating enough so we wouldn’t be “too thin”? Or, are we just naturally pre-wired to like thinness? It seems that we are pre-wired to like what is most difficult to achieve. When only wealthy people could afford enough food to be fat generous curves were considered beautiful.

(Updated)

Conversation

Byzantium’s Shores has this cool feature (which I’ve been tempted to copy) called the Random Wednesday Conversation Starter in which readers are asked to choose between two things. This week it’s spaceships. I’ll bet you can guess which one I picked before reading the comments.

Reading

I finished reading The Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campbell. If you like spaceships and space battles you might like this book. It is not a great book. The characters are cliche. There’s the standard issue Reluctant Hero who must deal with the standard issue loyal followers, insubordinate subordinates, uncertain allies and of course the standard issue Evil Foe. But it is a fun, easy read, reminiscent of old-fashioned space opera. The story flows smoothly with no “Wait. What?” moments and no multi-page time-outs to catch you up on science or history.

John Geary is presumed dead in the first battle of a war between the Alliance and the Syndics but 100 years later he is found still alive in a survival pod and awakened. To his dismay he discovers that he is now a well-known war hero and that the same war is still going on. He is soon put in command of the Alliance fleet. He finds that knowledge of military discipline and effective tactics has been forgotten and though he has many worshippers in the fleet they expect him to magically lead them to victory without any changes in the way they have been doing things.

This is the first book in a series and there is no resolution at the end. On the contrary, another problem is introduced to lead you into the next book. In this case I don’t mind at all and plan to keep going. I am a little wary though. There are four* Lost Fleet books and I’m hoping that this won’t turn out to be one of those series that goes on and on and on.

* UPDATE: Oops. I meant to say “four more“. There are a total of five Lost Fleet books that I know of.

A Few Quick Links

I don’t have much to report about the long weekend. I could have posted something yesterday but I didn’t have anything to say. I don’t have anything to say this morning either but here I am. I need to go to the store this morning and want to get there early but I’ll take time for a few links to entertain you wonderful people. All two of you.

Tuscan Whole Milk – What?! What?!! The reviews only add to the confusion. And if you think $77.76 a gallon is expensive click on the “4 new” link. (via Bifurcated Rivets)

Beautiful and interesting

Very scary train photo – Wow! I would not have wanted to be that photographer.

Vintage “B” Movie Posters – Awesome.

List of the Week

10 Things We Have Planted in Our Yard That Are Still Alive

1. 3 Gold Coast Juniper
2. 2 Tomato plants
3. 2 Dogwood trees
4. Loblolly pine
5. Rose bushes (Well, some of them are still alive.)
6. 6 Chameleon plants (Wow, are they ever alive! Unfortunately they are not the colors they’re supposed to be.)
7. Snowball bush
8. Scarlet maple
9. Daylily, Black-eyed Stella (It’s not evil like the orange ones.)
10. Numerous irises