Monthly Archives: February 2010

Something Energetic to Start the Weekend

For about three years in the 90’s there was a rather good commercial classical radio station in Tulsa. It was one of the main things that helped me get into classical music – that is, really getting into it as opposed to liking it a lot but not knowing what to listen to beyond Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. They mostly played short works and single movements of longer works. One of the movements they played frequently (at least once a week) was the fun and exciting third movement of Dvorak’s Sixth Symphony.

Quotes From Here and There

“Off with their heads!” she decries so consistently that she makes the Queen of Hearts look benevolent.here

Well, consider this my chip at the monolith. I’m waaaaay down here, at the base of this massive statue made of some indestructible stone brought to earth by Cthulhu mined from the extradimensional temple beneath the waves, formed into some hideous, powerful, indescribably magnetic god of Unattainable Beauty that for some reason reminds me of Pamela Anderson, only with more tentacles and I’ve just taken a tiny hammer and chisel and chipped off–well, nothing. I scratched the paint though. Almost.there (via)

I think that anyone can be a doctor, athlete, or writer. But you have to work hard at it and not think that you’re entitled to all the rewards because your mother said you were awesome after you dabbled in it for about an hour.here

The hyperspace (or, in the case of Star Trek, “warp speed”) is an enduring concept in science fiction, seemingly because it provides a panacea for all conflict. Romulans hot on your tail? Human understanding reaching its limits? Unsurmountable distances to cross? Simply kick it into overdrive, find a wormhole, and absolve yourself from the constraints of physics as we know it.there

Despite the presence of noble-minded buffoons sitting around tables making futile plans, Washington is not an Arthurian town.here

Who knows what opera fans who are accustomed to their beloved operas by Verdi , Puccini , Mozart and Rossini will think of this crazy masterpiece ? That’s right . It’s an opera about some one’s nose . I’m not kidding !there

Whatever You Do Don’t Cut Him Off

This is a wee bit scary. Those photos look like stills from a low budget slasher movie.

I agree about “Hesitant Turners” and not just at lights. What I hate the most is when I’m driving through the nearby small town, where the speed limit is 35 MPH, and the person in front of me slows down to 10 MPH, then 5, long before they get to the parking lot they’re going to turn into, taking an agonizingly long time creeping up on it. Sometimes I wish I could look really scary when people do that.

Oddee Addiction

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Living in Space – Actually, I did know most of these. I didn’t know #3. I had never thought about #8. That’s funny but I guess it sort of makes sense.

10 of the Strangest McDonald’s Meals – None of these are all that strange and I would try most of them. I don’t like shrimp or lobster so those are out. The Kiwi Burger is out too because of the eggs. I like eggs but not on a bun. Ironically, the one that looks the best to me is from the country that I would be least likely to go to if given the chance – The McArabi Chicken.

Vintage Valentines – A little late but still fun. Most are cute; a few, like the first one, seem a little bit mean.

12 of the Worst Movie Posters Ever – Oh come on! Surely there are much worse than these. I think some people just don’t know what to do with themselves if they aren’t hating something. I always thought the Up the Sandbox poster was intriguing and I’m sorry I never got to see the movie. Christine… okay I’ll give them that one. And Grave of the Vampire but I suspect that it’s no worse than the movie. The poster for Outrageous shows a lack of effort and creativity. The others are all either okay or pretty good.

15 Funny and Creative 404 Pages – These are great! I love the religious “Possible causes”. If I knew how I would try to create a clever 404 page but I doubt it would be as clever as any of these.

12 Coolest Sheets and Blankets – A couple of these are NSFW. I like the book blanket.

Rambling

I feel much better today. Still not quite right. I’m trying to decide if I want to go to town or not. We’re running out of a few critical things. We’ve been out of coffee creamer for days, almost out of Tang, almost out of hot chocolate mix, and we’ve also been out of Hot Pockets, which Number Two Son lives on, for a couple of days. Now he’s an adult and can very well drive to the store to buy his own Hot Pockets but my “You can’t let your child starve,” instinct hasn’t entirely gone away just because he’s old enough to buy his own food. But I’m feeling especially guilty about letting the husband run out of coffee creamer. Poor guy. He’s so patient. He deserves better.

I haven’t done any quilting or other sewing for a while either and I’m feeling some urgency about that though there’s nothing at all urgent about it. It’s only that I decided before the beginning of the year how much I was going to get done this year and now it’s not looking good for my sewing goals. I enjoy hand quilting and don’t really mind the slowness of it but I don’t seem to be able to get realistic time frames into my head. With the other sewing I can only blame plain old procrastination. I breeze through the fun parts but when I get to the slightly less fun parts I often “take a break for a day” which sometimes turns into several days or a week.

I did finish reading Prador Moon. That was fun. Lacking anything else, I started another Andre Norton book, Judgement on Janus. I think I have read it before but I can’t remember much about it and I know I haven’t read the sequel, Victory on Janus so I’ll read those two. I’ve also decided I want to finally go ahead and read Dante’s Inferno. I’ve never read it and always wanted to but I am freshly inspired to not wait any longer because I want to read it before I read Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Inferno. It will probably take me a while to get around to that. Mainly, right now I’m craving more by my current two favorite authors, Neal Asher and China Mieville.

It bugs me that so many of Mieville’s books are only available in hardback or large format paperbacks. It’s not that I’m cheap. Well, I am cheap but I like Mieville well enough that I’m willing to spend a little more but mass market paperbacks are the perfect size. They feel right in my hands. Why don’t publishers come out with a paperback sized hardback? I would definitely buy those if they existed. More durable books in the right size. I’ll bet they would be popular.

Other than curling I haven’t been watching the Olympics very much, which is sort of strange for me. I especially like speed skating, bobsled, luge, downhill skiing, ski jumping and figure skating but for some reason, I’m not sure why, I haven’t been watching a lot. I like the way NBC does Olympics much, much better than CBS. CBS always makes such a soap opera out of it but NBC still talks too much. It seems like every time I tune in to watch the Olympics, instead of sports I see a couple of people sitting in comfortable chairs talking about sports and I get impatient but I don’t think that’s the whole reason. Just in the mood for something else, I guess.

Sick Days

Sunday evening I was suddenly hit with the flu bug. I felt fine all day then within no more than an hour I went from feeling fine to feeling really, really bad. So yesterday evening after my husband got home from work we went to the local Urgent Care center. Horrible, horrible experience. We must have spent at least an hour in the tiny, crowded waiting room with the uncomfortable chairs. Then they finally called me back and I had to spend more time just waiting. Why the hell did they call me back there if I they weren’t ready for me yet? The urgent care center we went to when we lived in Virginia was much more efficient.

After we finally got done there we went to Walgreen’s to get my prescriptions filled. They said it would be about 15 minutes so we went to a drive by ATM and then to get my hungry husband something to eat at a nearby fast food place, which took well over 15 minutes but when we got back to Walgreen’s the prescriptions still weren’t ready yet so we had to wait some more. It’s a good thing I don’t feel like going anywhere today because if I had to wait one more time I might just lose it.

I know I should have got a flu shot and I was planning on it last fall but when I called my doctor’s office about getting one they said they wouldn’t have any until “next week” and then next week it was “next week” again and this went on for several weeks so I gave up for a while, intending to try again in a few weeks or go somewhere else but I never got around to it.

Anyway, the overpriced drugs are working but I’m in sort of a fog and still don’t feel like doing much of anything.

Quotes From Here and There

What kind of sick world is it where you can cry but you can’t laugh?here (in the comments (Unfortunately, many of the other comments are NSFW) )

Today, in London, it was the first first day of spring. … The sky was cloudless, the temperature temperate. Tomorrow, it will almost certainly go back to being winter. Then in a fortnight’s time, there will be another first day of spring, followed by more winter.there

She’d explained so many times that passenger waiting times would be greatly improved if they got nekkid BEFORE arriving at security.here

It’s not so far from the paintings of Constant Montald to the jazz of Patricia Barber as you might think.there

…do love-crazed teens really need *advertising* to find WUTHERING HEIGHTS?here

Dramatic Music to Start the Weekend

For my regular Friday video I wanted to post something to honor the Olympics but right off I couldn’t think of any Canadian classical composers nor any classical music related to sports so I chose this. One of the figure skaters used a part of it for his short program. I’ve never been a big fan of Rodrigo but this particular movement is awesome.

Here’s hoping you won’t have too much of the wrong kind of drama in your weekend.

I’ll Never Wash This Blog

This is going to sound like a teenage fangirl swooning over some pop star but there is no mature way to express this so here goes: OMG! Neal Asher posted a comment on my blog!!!.

I answered the question via email. I am enjoying Prador Moon. I’m a little embarrassed to have to admit that I’m only barely halfway through it but it takes me a while to read a book these days. I typically only read one for about 15 to 30 minutes at bedtime. I spend considerably more time reading on the Internet, which is why it takes me so long to get through a book.

Since I’m not finished with it yet I won’t say very much about Prador Moon. Instead I have a few things to say about Asher’s writing in general. I started with Gridlinked. It was one of Amazon.com’s recommendations. It was great fun. I loaned it to Number One Son (a.k.a. “Hippie”) and he loved it too and he bought Brass Man, The Skinner and, most recently, Prador Moon. (I’ve been meaning to buy more myself but I haven’t been buying many books lately.) Of these four books, if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be The Skinner, though it is almost too close to call.

Asher’s stories are full of death and gore and mass destruction and there’s a prim, civilized part of me that wants to think that anyone who could possibly enjoy reading about such things must be really sick. But a lifetime of observation strongly suggests that the exact opposite is true. I’ll bet that biology professor who recently went postal never read anything by Neal Asher. I think maybe there’s something cathartic in reading about characters doing things to people that you’d like to do to your boss or that neighbor who plays his stereo too loud.

The technology in these books is interesting and one of the main things I admire about Asher as an author is that he doesn’t interrupt the flow of action to stop and explain how the technology works. His characters all understand the technology – at least well enough to use it, which is all most people need to know anyway – and so I as a reader never feel like I need any detailed explanation.

Two more things I like are the humor and the use of language. (Will I seem very juvenile if I admit that I laughed out loud at the screw joke in chapter 4 of Prador Moon?) And the language – Asher is British and as I’ve mentioned before I have a fondness for certain Briticisms but more than that it’s just his general talent for putting words together that appeals to me. Which, I suppose, is a roundabout way of saying, I like his style.

Neal Asher’s blog, The Skinner

UPDATE: Comment meant for this post somehow ended up on the earlier post:

Neal Asher: It was Jung Chang in her book Wild Swans (about the cultural revolution in China) who said the country was like a pressure cooker without the safety valve of violent films or sports… Something like that anyway. I think, having gone through what she went through, she’s more fit to judge these things than whose who would like to ban all violence from our entertainment. Really, if you’re reading a violent book or watching a violent film, you’re not out mugging a granny are you?

Geek Chicks

I have seen this in several places but I’m linking to this particular Geek Barbie post because Dr. B has paired the viral photo of Barbie the Compter Engineer with a photo of “the real ladygeek role model.” And I have to agree with that. I’ve always thought she’s too perky to be a real goth. Not that I know anything about what it takes to be a “real goth” beyond wearing lots of black. But as a geek role model for girls… awesome.

And what about the “geek Barbie”? It’s okay. I probably would have wanted one if it had existed when I was 8 or 9 years old. (I wanted Star Trek uniforms for my Barbies.) But I’m not sure why this is considered such a big deal. We’ve reached a point in our society where the truly radical departure would be a Mom Barbie.

Curling

I have been fascinated with curling ever since I first saw it in the 2002 Olympics. At first it was a “What the hell? kind of fascination but that soon morphed into a more ordinary kind of sports fascination. Number Two Son watched it with me back in 2002 (His schedule is different now and he’s at work when it’s on.) and the funny thing about it is how quickly we went from “What the hell?” to armchair coaching. It’s funny how sports will do that to you. You might have no idea what it takes to play the game and not a clue as to the rules but by golly you know you could do a better job of leading the team or coaching or most especially you would be a better referee than the guys out there currently doing the job.

I wish I didn’t have to wait four years to watch it but if I could watch it every year in a regular season like other sports I wonder if it would turn out to be like hockey. I “discovered” hockey the year of the “Miracle on Ice”. I genuinely enjoyed Olympic hockey (haven’t watched it much this year) but when I tried watching the pro version of the game I could never get into it at all. Maybe some things are only meant to be seen for two weeks every four years.

Tea Party

This Butterbeer Tea (thanks Fillyjonk) is very tempting, as are some of their other teas, including my zodiac tea although that’s slightly disappointing. I’m not into zodiacs but still, it would be fun if my zodiac tea was something “perfect” for me and I’m not sure what that would be but this one sounds just nice, not like “Oooo, I’ve gotta try that!”

However, I am going to wait till another time to try those because Porto Rico Importing is having their annual tea sale – the only time they ever put any of their teas on sale – just in time. What usually happens is that I run low on my favorite tea, order more and then they have the sale but this year my timing is perfect! I haven’t decided yet what all I’m going to order. My favorite of course and probably Twinnings Lapsang Souchong, another favorite, that I can never find locally, but I also want to try something new.

I love Porto Rico Importing. Besides having my favorite loose tea, their website, is attractive, simple, and easy to use and they are fast and friendly. Their emails look like emails from real people, not computers, so it’s almost like buying from a friendly neighborhood store. But, I do wish they had more. They have a very good selection but I haven’t found any store that has a truly all-inclusive inventory of all the most popular brands. Of course they all have great selections compared to what I can find in local stores but when I look at the Twinnings or Celestial Seaonings websites, for example, I find varieties that I haven’t seen anywhere else and that bugs me because I would like to be able to get what I want all from one place instead of an order here, an order there and an order somewhere else.

I would like to try Twinnings, Cranberry Green Tea, French Vanilla Chai, Orange Bliss, Pure Mint and maybe Winter Spice. I’m usually not all that excited by bland fruity teas like apple and chamomile but I’m thinking that one might be good. Celestial Seasonings also has a few I’d like to try but more often than not I am disappointed in Celestial Seasonings. They are often bland. I like their Bengal Spice and Peppermint teas though and Roastaroma looks sort of interesting and I’m curious about Sweet Coconut Thai Chai though I usually don’t like rooibos. But I will wait until another time for those even though they are really calling to me.

Transgender Space Cats and Pink Tassels

Darn. In order to make this brief and trivial observation I have to reveal the shameful fact that I was watching Star Trek reruns instead of the Olympics last night. I love the Winter Olympics and normally watch as much of it as I can but last night there were three episodes of ST:TNG on that I haven’t already seen fifty times. There are some episodes from the last season that I’ve only seen once. I watched the episode that aired at 6:00, before the Olympics came on and then switched over to the Olympics for just a few minutes but I was thinking about ST and not really paying attention to the Olympics so I switched back.

Anyway… I noticed something in the episode titled Force of Nature. Data’s cat, Spot, was referred to as “she” and “her” several times. I distinctly remember in other episodes Spot was male.

I did watch the Olympics from 9:00 to a little after 10:00. It was mostly men’s figure skating. So what did you think of Johnny Weir’s costume? Now I keep thinking of him as Johnny Tassel.

Digital Art

15 Digital Artists – These are fantastic. I had to laugh at Tiago Hoisel’s 3-D Mr. Burns. Mark Verhaagen’s work is charming and colorful. Paul Davey is very interesting. I like Mathieu Leyssenne’s illustrations and, of course, I go for the steampunky weirdness of Kazuhiko Nakamura.

By the way, I really wish the Web Urbanist person would fix whatever it is that makes the scrolling so wonky on that site.