Monthly Archives: January 2010

Quotes From Here and There

Ice, generally, is something I want in my beverage glass, not on my driveway or in my trees.here

If corporations are people, should they be able to vote? And if they can, if I register a thousand corporations, does that mean I get a thousand votes? What fun we’re going to have.there

I wonder if these work. Does anyone out there use protection?here (I can’t see how they would make any difference. They must be just for decoration. But of course I wouldn’t really know.)

And the wind whispered hosannahs. The clouds paused processing in their gorgeous vestments. Geckos ceased their skitterings and genuflected. I let out my breath in a long slow prayer: Introibo ad altare Dei.there

Winter, Winter, Go Away

Here it comes…

You know it’s not going to be good, when your Governor declares a State of Emergency more than 12 hours before the bad weather even starts!

Really? I hadn’t heard that. Out there in the northwest corner of Oklahoma they’re already getting the frozen stuff and it’s apparently headed our way. I’ve been trying very hard to hold it off with my mind and so far it’s working. Right now it’s cold and mostly cloudy with not a trace of rain, sleet or snow. And the governor having declared a state of emergency gives us reason to be hopeful. Would Nature pass up such a perfect opportunity to make a governor look foolish?

Everyone in Oklahoma who isn’t already getting precipitation, think warm, sunny thoughts. Think hard. Come on. Together we can do this.

UPDATE: CGHill: “I’m starting to hear the pitter-patter of little sleet.” Hah! Me too. Just started a few minutes before 4:00pm.

Weird Science

10 Surreal Science Discoveries (Warning: multiple pop ups and scrolling is a bit wonky) Some of these are more awesome than weird – like the Solar Panel Shingles. I want! I want! I want! I would want those even if they did nothing but sit there and look good.

The Telepathy Helmet is interesting too. It’s not only completely voluntary but requires some effort to use so there’s nothing especially creepy about it, unless you have a rather low creep out threshold. I’d like to try it once.

The Simple Solution

Facebook wants your information to live forever. But there is a way out and Facebook doesn’t like it.

Many sign up to the likes of Facebook and Twitter and quickly realise they want out. Have you ever thought about ending it all?

Thousands of people are trying to do just that. They are signing up to services such as suicidemachine.org, a website that offers to delete social networking accounts for free and at the click of a button.

[…]

Since it was set up last year, suicide machine has been overwhelmed by demand. Thousands have used it, while 15,000 are on a waiting list that is getting longer because the machine can only deal with one suicide at a time.Now a legal battle has broken out over people’s ability to “kill” themselves off. Earlier this month Facebook blocked suicide machine’s service, sending the owners a cease-and-desist notice threatening to take further action against the site.

First of all, “Suicide Machine”? Ick. I don’t think I could use a service with that name. But, to the point… Suicide Machine has found a way around Facebook’s block and has chosen to ignore the “cease and desist”. For Facebook, it seems to me that there is a simpler solution than legal action: Just simply guarantee that you will really delete all of a user’s information when they request that their account be deleted. I think people have that right.

I don’t know anything about Facebook but I’m slightly creeped out by it. I am tempted by the notion that I might use it to reconnect with old friends but I have to keep reminding myself that if anyone wants to reconnect with me, I’m here. I’m not hard to find. I’m not sure really what bothers me about Facebook – just unfamiliarity I guess. I hear things about Facebook – mostly just vague little hints and the occasional article like this one that makes Facebook sound like Big Brother. On the other hand, it seems like everyone’s talking about Facebook and I feel left out.

Mozart

On today’s date in 1756 a child was born and only five years later he began composing music. In 1781 he composed what is currently my favorite work. Here is the second movement:

And here’s the earliest known composition by young Mozart:

Random Linkage

Classic Cat – free classical MP3 downloads; a long list of composers, both popular and obscure

The Skinner – Far out! Neal Asher has a blog!

Bloggertropolis – a very nice blog about life in the UK

A Journey Round My Skull – illustrations and rare books; excellent

Library Land – literary quotes, art, photos

The Happy Seamstress – sewing, knitting and other crafts. Look at the Nerdy Craft Roundup.

Cthulhu In Love – Darn it, I think I might want that.

Scenes From the Bible: double dip, and kids and dog, and FTD – irreverently captioned church windows, from Nathan Fillion’s Twitter feed

Strange Vintage Photos – Awesome collection! I like the one of the train engine. And the one of the car in the hole in the street – I think that one was actually taken in Tulsa recently. (Just kidding)

Why most software sucks

Probably Bad News – funny headlines and news fails

Clever and unusual business cards

A quiet place to sleep – a cute little story

Two architecture links from DRBSecret Cities of Yemen and Russian Churches

10 Science Fiction Heroes Who Don’t Need Origin Stories – I agree with this. They should just leave it to my imagination.

Don’t Trust Anyone… – Hah!

Famous Unfinished Works of Art

Furry Friend

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a picture of my little buddy, Three. It’s hard to get a picture of him when he’s fully awake so he’s asleep in almost all the pictures I have of him. I like the way this one turned out. Sort of like I interrupted his nap and he’s asking, “What do you think you’re doing?”

Can't you let a guy sleep?

A Good Bad Movie

I don’t watch a lot of stuff on The Sci-Fi Channel. (Oh, okay! SyFy, if you insist) They manage to come up with one or two watchable series a season, maybe three in a really good year. I liked all the Stargate series, especially Atlantis. The most recent one, Stargate: Universe… I’m trying. I loved Warehouse 13; I sort of miss Painkiller Jane; Eureka is a little bit of fun sometimes but I don’t miss it at all when it’s on hiatus. Sanctuary – I can take it or leave it. And of course there was Battlestar Galactica; don’t get me started on that. SyFy, overall, is hugely disappointing. A whole channel devoted to science fiction and what do we get? Hours upon hours of Ghost Hunters and bad horror and disaster movies.

I almost never watch the “SyFy Original Movie” on Saturday night but when I saw the ad for Sea Snakes I remembered seeing something about the “mockbuster” movie Snakes on a Train and had to laugh, “Hah, another one.” (They actually used the line “Snakes on a Sub” in the commercial for Sea Snakes) Unfortunately for whatever intellectual reputation I might have had, I also had to watch it and, darn it, I enjoyed the silly thing. Sometimes a real good bad movie is exactly what you want.

I have not seen Snakes on a Plane. I tried watching it once when it aired on one of the cable channels but only made it through maybe as much as the first 15 minutes before I decided it was not worth the two hours of my life I was about to give up so I can’t compare the two movies but, based on the fact that I did watch all of Sea Snakes I can’t help but suspect that it was the better of the two movies.

There is a certain movie formula which I’m sure has a name already but since I don’t know what it is I’m going to give it the somewhat clumsy acronym WAGD, for We’re All Gonna Die. (To be more accurate it should be We’re Trapped and We’re All Gonna Die but that would make a really terrible acronym.) In a WAGD movie a group of people is trapped somewhere – in a boat, a submarine, a plane, a space ship, a snowed-in ski resort – and something or someone is killing people one by one. These deaths generally follow a certain pattern, with some variation. The first two people to die are clearly expendable. They’re red-shirts – characters we never have a chance to get emotionally attached to. The third person to die is the black guy. Yes, sorry, that’s always the way it is. He might not always be literally the third but soon after the clearly-expendables have been killed, the black guy is going to get it. (Exception: If the black guy is played by a big name star he might have a chance.) He isn’t counted as just another one of the clearly-expendables because he is usually allowed a little character development. He is a nice guy and may have a useful skill which the other characters will miss. Next, any number of “Oh No He Can’t Die” characters will die, including a woman if there is more than one woman in the group. Finally, the last person to be killed is the one guy we really want to see get it – the dangerously stupid guy.

Sea Snakes was not the best example of a WAGD movie but it generally followed this pattern. A disgraced Navy officer, played by Luke Perry is given one last mission – to take an old, decommissioned submarine to its final resting place. In route, they get orders to pick up a research scientist and her assistant on a remote island near Chinese waters. The subject of their research? Snakes, of course. An extremely lame and unlikely premise all the way around but what made it not a good WAGD was that most of the characters fit in the clearly-expendable category. There wasn’t enough character development for the viewer to get attached to any of them. Even the Dangerously Stupid Guy was merely pathetic – not someone you could really enjoy hating.

Still, Sea Snakes was a fun bit of escapism and I don’t regret wasting my time on it. Now I’m thinking maybe I should take a chance on more SyFy movies. Maybe what the world needs is more good bad sci-fi movies. Maybe that’s the way to world peace. Instead of shooting people and blowing up stuff, everyone stay home and watch people dying on TV.

The Saints and The Colts!

I am ridiculously happy about the outcome of yesterday’s football games. I have been hoping for a Colts-Saints Superbowl all season and my wish actually came true! I can’t believe it. I’m still waiting to wake up.

The Saints-Vikings game was a real edge-of-your-seat affair. For a while I was worried that the Vikings were going to win but good ol’ Brett came through and threw an interception in the last minutes of the game.

I’m rooting for the Saints, of course, but I like the Colts too and I won’t be terribly upset if they win. I am happy and looking forward to this Superbowl but for once I’m also looking forward to no football for seven months. I’m ready for a different routine.

That Was Weird

I had a weird dream last night or this morning. Not all that weird just that, well, dreams are weird. I dreamed that we have a huge basement with lots of junk in it. That’s not so weird but the strange thing was that I knew it was only a dream but thought I was dreaming about something that was real. While I was dreaming I was thinking that we had a basement and that we had somehow lost it and forgot about it and that when I woke up I was going to look for this forgotten basement. I was excited about it too – thinking about what I could do with all that extra space, including moving the washer and dryer from their little alcove in the hallway to the basement where they belong. I was so terribly disappointed when I woke up and realized that we do not have a forgotten basement. Darn! I was so sure!

We’ve never lived in a house with a basement. When we lived in Virginia we looked at several. Houses with basements seem to be more common there. But we ended up with a house without one even though there were two houses that I really, really, really liked that had basements. They both had some expensive problems though, being older houses. Still, I sometimes think of those two houses and what might have been.

Coolest! Meme. Ever!

Fandom as Relationships – The idea is, you “speak” to your favorite shows, movies, books or other objects of fandom as if they were persons with whom you have a relationship. I’m going to take that to mean any kind of relationship including just friendship. Hradzka had his readers guess “who” he was “talking” to but I don’t expect I would get much response so I’m going to post these and you can guess if you want to then in a couple of days (Monday, maybe) I will update this with the answers whether anyone has guessed them or not. There are only five. Some are books and some are shows. They are all science fiction or fantasy.

There is no tagging involved with this one but I’m hoping Jaquandor will do this too because I’m interested in what he might come up with.

1. I have known you almost all my life and you’re still here. You’re not the same these days. It’s sad, really. Sometimes I wish you had ended with dignity long ago but I keep coming back, and not just to your older incarnations. After all these years, even with all the changes, I can’t stay away from you.

2. Hey there. It’s been a long time. For years I visited you over and over again. I spent many enjoyable hours with you, with your fascinating places and characters. You made me think of dragons in a whole different way. It’s been years since the last time. Too many other places to visit and so little time. But I think of you once in a while and I remember you fondly. And I keep thinking one day, for old times sake, I will come back to you again.

3. I only met you two or three years ago. I can’t remember exactly when it was. Wow! Are you ever different! You take me to the most bizarre and fascinating places and introduce me to the oddest people. And a world that is ugly and disturbing… somehow you make it strangely beautiful. Or maybe it’s just your words that are beautiful. You have the most wonderful way with words.

4. I met you at around the same time as number 3, I think. You are a strange one. Shocking, often icky but also very funny; wow, what a ride! And there you are, waiting for me over there on the shelf. I’m coming back for another wild ride real soon.

5. You ended way too soon. There is so little of you but I cherish that little bit and keep coming back over and over again. You’re funny and exciting and sometimes maybe even a little bit profound. I almost have you memorized but I never get tired of you.

* * *

UPDATE:
I guess this might be little bit confusing or I didn’t explain it very well. None of these is a person or character. Each one is a TV show, book or series of books. Since few people visit this site on weekends I’ll extend the game a little longer and post the answers this afternoon.

UPDATE II: THE ANSWERS: This was fun and I actually came up with these very quickly, which is unusual for me. If I had taken more time to think about it I might have thought of more than five.

1. Star Trek – I was afraid this one might be too obvious but then JulieVW guessed Dr Who and I realized that for some people this might perfectly point to Dr. Who but I’ve only been watching that show since Christopher Eccleston was The Doctor. I’ve been watching ST more or less regularly since the original series premiered, except for some gaps of a few years when no TV station near me was showing ST re-runs. I find the later series – DS9, Voyager & Enterprise – disappointing but of those only Voyager was bad enough that I don’t bother with it. I haven’t seen the new movie yet but I probably will.

2. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels – Charles guessed it. I have read the first six books, which make up the Dragonriders of Pern and Harper Hall trilogies, at least 10 times, maybe more. I don’t care much for the later books in the series and in the last decade or so I’ve lost interest in Anne McCaffrey in general but I have a feeling that I would still enjoy these old favorites.

3. China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council – three fantasy novels that take place on the same world. Each is a standalone novel. The weirdest books I’ve ever read, but beautifully written, with lots of very cool big words.

4. Neal Asher’s “Polity” series – I’ve read several of these – Gridlinked, The Skinner, and Brass Man – and I’m waiting to read Prador Moon as soon as Number Two Son gets done with it.

5. Firefly, of course. Not much to say about this series other than what I’ve been saying for the past four or five years and will continue to keep saying again and again, probably forever. I’ll give JulieVW credit for guessing this one.

Quilting Update

Work on “The Compromise Quilt” is progressing slowly. Whenever I start a quilt I always have a lot of enthusiasm and working on it for several hours a day seems both possible and exactly the way I want to spend my time but then a few days after starting the actual quilting, reality sets in and I come to the somewhat disheartening realization that I will not be able to finish this as soon as I originally expected. Still, I am making progress. I work on it about an hour most days, a little more some days and I have skipped a couple of days. As always, I’m enjoying it; I just can’t keep working on one thing for very long at a time.

This square is straighter than it looks. It’s just the way the quilt is laying. I have a little bit of “stage fright” about showing off close-ups of my quilting. I’m always looking at hand made quilts, comparing them to mine and honestly, a lot of times I think that my quilting is as good as some quilts I see offered for sale but then I chide myself for thinking that. I worry that I’m mentally making excuses for myself and I also wonder how much longer I can legitimately use being a beginner as an excuse. At some point I will have to admit that I’m just not that good.

I think the worst shortcoming in my work though, is not the quilting but the piecing. I have such a hard time getting all the corners to come together perfectly and often I just can’t. When I do get one right I am unreasonably proud of myself for this insignificant accomplishment that any other quilter would take for granted.

Anyway, here it is:

Quilt Close-up

Something Lovely to Start the Weekend

This is what I originally intended to post last week. I could only find two versions of it on YouTube. I thought this one sounds best so I picked it even though there is no actual video or pictures. The music is what’s important anyway.

Strangely, I don’t own a recording of this. I used to hear it on the radio frequently. The musical representation of nature is something that Dvorak did very well, I think; not so much using musical sounds to directly represent nature sounds, but rather, capturing the feeling of enjoying nature. At least that’s what I get out of it.

Here it is, in two parts:

Quotes From Here and There

…for all the plaudits heaped on so many great SF novels for their forward-looking and insightful delvings into the nature of humanity and our place in the universe and how we deal with our technology and the threats we face from without and within, sometimes I want a story that can be illustrated thusly:here

They should make Republicans do it the old-fashioned way and, when the filibuster starts, bust out the cots and make them talk all night. If that’s political theater, so be it — it’s a play everyone should see, every time a Republican filibuster comes up.there

“Was Moses of Middle Eastern or European descent? Was Jesus a Protestant or a Catholic? Was Mohammed Shi’ite or Sunni?”here

Because I’m good enough, I’m cute enough, and catgone it, people like me.there (I may start using the expression, “catgone it”.)

Mind you, this topic is so delicate, I can only address it by calling upon the deepest reserves of diplomatic tact I possess and say …

“Grow the f*ck up already.”here

Finally I got it wound off. But I admit, I’m a bit afraid to cast on with it. I think it may be possessed.there (I believe! I’ve had “possessed” objects too.)

This ‘n’ That

I was in sort of an odd mood yesterday. I guess you could say I was “lonely” though only in the online sense. In my real life I’m always either with someone I like or alone and enjoying the solitude so I’m never lonely. But online… I admit it; I envy people who have a lot of online friends. I envy Brit Gal Sarah because she gets about 20 comments on almost every blog post. She has this wonderful little circle of friends. I comment there sometimes but I’m not really part of the circle. (I also envy her talent as a photographer.) The other person I most envy is the Dustbury guy, Charles Hill. He can link to something I posted that received not a single comment and there will be an involved conversation about it on his site.

So you’ve heard this before, right? Me whining about being unpopular. Don’t go away yet, I promise to talk about something else before I’m finished. Anyway, yesterday I was checking for new comments more obsessively than usual and then yesterday afternoon I started posting a lot of stuff on Twitter. I sometimes don’t go there for days, or even a week or more and when I do I don’t have all that much to say, maybe just post a link or two or three but yesterday for a little while just one inane comment after another came spontaneously pouring out of my fingers. I even, for the first time ever, replied to a celebrity. (Adam Savage) I don’t know what came over me but it was fun.

Though no one left comments on my The First Year post I have discovered that I offended at least one person. That’s great. I feel validated. I expected to offend a lot of people on both sides but for a while there I was afraid no one was paying attention. Now I just need a Democrat to cuss at me and my week will be complete. One thing I think I need to clarify though. The part where I said Republicans don’t like Obama because, “His face is the wrong the color, his name doesn’t sound American enough…“. Obviously this doesn’t apply to all people who don’t like him but it certainly does apply to some. But I don’t think that’s reason as much as it’s the team sport aspect of politics; everyone automatically hating members of the “other team”.

But I have a confession. At first I was a little bothered by Obama’s background myself – that his father wasn’t American, that he spent some of his “formative years” in a foreign country. I did worry that he might not be American enough to be an American president but after a few months of listening to both candidates it seemed like less of a problem.

My fantasy First Black President would be Colin Powell. Or maybe James Earl Jones. Okay, just kidding about that one. I know nothing about his political orientation but wouldn’t he be great to listen to for eight years? My purely theoretical fantasy First Black President would probably be a Democrat, but moderate whichever party he belonged to, an ex-NFL player, from one of the uninteresting or “redneck” states, who possibly spent a few years in the military, then after retiring from football got into local politics and eventually got himself elected to Congress. Well, actually, that could still happen. Someone like that still could be our First Black President because you know, Obama is not black, he is bi-racial. (UPDATE: While I’m fantasizing I might as well mention Morgan Freeman too.)

But anyway, enough of that. Politics is so childish. There’s no reason why adults shouldn’t be able to say what they think, and to disagree, without suddenly finding themselves firmly entrenched in enemy camps and that is the main thing I was complaining about.

Now, on to something much more important. There’s something highly important that I have to say: Bronco Bob, you rock my dinner! I noticed a bottle of Bronco Bob’s Smoked Bacon Chipotle sauce at our local Reasor’s grocery store and immediately knew this was something I had to try. Now I am hooked in a big way. I don’t think I could eat a hamburger without it now. It’s also great on chicken breasts. I’m sure there are a great many other uses I have yet to discover. I mean… Bacon! And Chipotle! And it’s in a sauce so you can pour it over anything. This is one of the greatest inventions of all time.

It is a lovely, foggy morning. I think it has gotten even more foggy now than it was a couple of hours ago. I like fog. I’m tempted to go out walk around and enjoy it for little bit. It’s colder than I like but maybe for a just a few minutes.

Right now I’m listening to Bach’s St. John Passion. It’s been a while. I don’t listen to it very often. I do sort of like it but I’m more used to hearing Latin choral music so German sounds a little bit wrong to me. Not as bad as opera in English though. It’s crazy because English is the only language I understand but I simply can’t handle operatic singing in English.

Capt. Tightpants and Books for Kids

The more I learn about Nathan Fillion the more I like him, not just as an actor but as a person. I’m almost afraid to learn any more about him for fear of eventually finding the skeleton in his closet. I already knew that his parents are English teachers and I had heard about his involvement with the Kids Need to Read program so there’s nothing new to me in this article but I found the link to it on Twitter this morning and my usual hero worship spiked a bit so I thought I’d mention it. I haven’t listened to the interview yet so this is also a reminder to myself to do so.