Monthly Archives: March 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill?

I notice that President Obama proposes more oil drilling. As you might expect almost nobody is happy about this. Environmentalists are against it, of course – no surprise there – but the Republicans, who wanted to drill are against the President’s plan. Because it’s the president’s plan they must oppose it, of course! It’s their way or no way.

I do agree that there’s too much delay built into the plan but overall it’s a reasonable attempt to meet in the middle. I am so extremely tired of the school playground nature of politics. Come on… let’s behave like grown-ups for a change and work this one out.

Later! Really Later!

I have this box that keeps popping up to tell me that certain updates will not take effect until I restart my computer and it has a pair of buttons that say “Restart Now” and “Restart Later”. I’m busy now. I want to restart later and by “later” I don’t mean five minutes from now; I mean… you know… LATER. Why isn’t there a button to tell it to “Leave Me the Hell Alone! I’ll Restart It When I’m Damned Good and Ready!”?

Light Sleep

Last night it was warm enough to sleep without a quilt. That’s not a good thing for me. I love warm weather. I am ecstatic that it is finally getting warmer so I can wear warm weather clothes and I don’t have to wear a coat when I go outside and, well, warm is just better all around. But, the one thing I don’t like about warm weather is having to use lighter covers.

I don’t sleep well without the weight of a quilt or heavy blanket. I don’t ever really get used to it. It does get a little better after a few weeks but I miss the weight all summer. There’s no solution to this. Without heavy covers there’s not enough weight for a good sleep but with heavy covers it’s too hot to sleep. Maybe I should give up sleeping for a while. It wastes an awful lot of time anyway.

Randomness

I do not know the purpose of these balls. I assume it’s intended as an art installation. They are strangely interesting. That was posted by Nathan Fillion. Yes, I follow Nathan Fillion on Twitter – one of only three celebrities I follow. He also mentioned that there was a Firefly reference in last night’s Castle and it occurred to me that I probably shouldn’t be reading his tweets this morning because I haven’t seen last night’s episode yet. We always watch it on Tuesday but this week we might not get around to it until Wednesday. I could watch it anytime of course but I’m waiting to watch it with the Husband.

I am almost 80 pages into Anathem. I do have some complaints but I think, overall, I’m going to like it. Right now I’m feeling like, “There’s a story in there somewhere and it looks like it might be interesting; can we please just hurry up and get on with it.” I had sort of the same complaint about Cryptonomicon but it turned out okay and all the stuff that seemed like unnecessary side trips ended up all fitting together and making sense. It’s not that these are long novels. I like thick books. You might even say that I am irrationally attracted to thick books. I see a book that’s over a thousand pages long and think, “Oooo! Big book!” like finding a box of donuts with zero calories. But these two books by Neal Stephenson, at least in the beginning, feel very padded. However, in Cryptonomicon there was just enough to keep me going and at the end I felt like it was a pretty good book after all and I hadn’t really wasted my time.

A lot of people have complained that there are too many made up words in Anathem and at first I was prepared to dismiss this because I’m used to science fiction and fantasy novels having made up words but now, I have to admit, I understand. There are two reasons that Stephenson’s made up language is so annoying. One is that he’s so ostentatious about it. You get the feeling of him standing there saying, “Look how clever and brilliant I am. Look at all these lovely words I invented.” And the other annoying thing is that some of the words are totally unnecessary and silly. He has characters using something called a “jeejah” and after about the third occurrence of this word you realize that it’s nothing more than a damned cell phone.

But anyway, as I said, I’m only on page 70-something. I’ll probably finish it in something like three to six months and I’ll let you know what I think then. I’m also still slowly slogging my way through Dante’s Inferno at the rate of about one or two “Canti” a day. In spite of the fact that I have half a year’s worth of reading (more actually; there are still all those Andre Norton books) I’m craving more books. I received an email the other day from Amazon, pushing a new novel by Robert J. Sawyer. I’ve read one book by Sawyer, Calculating God, and it was interesting and had unique ideas but it felt too mundane, somehow so I wasn’t exactly excited about reading more books by this author. But this new one, WWW:Watch is part of a series about a sentient World Wide Web. Hey! Wait just a darn minute! That was my idea! I’ll never be a great science fiction author if people keep stealing my ideas before I write them myself. (Hah!)

It’s going to be a beautiful week – temps up to 80° F! Yay! I have to resist the temptation to go out and plant a lot of stuff. We still have Oklahoma’s infamous late freezes to think about. I do have lots of stuff to do outside though, which will be a nice change. Not that I am bored or burned out with the inside stuff. I’m still very much in a sewing mood. I started the summer top that I mentioned before. I’m using a new pattern, which always makes me a little nervous. I love this fabric and I want to like the finished garment. I’m already afraid this top is going to make me look like a pregnant wine barrel in a table cloth. But then what doesn’t?

One final thing before I force myself away from the computer: Via Dustbury, I found Kia. I think I’m going to add her blog to my list. Someday, when I get around to it.

Old Fashioned Shopping

London Shop Fronts features photos of… London shop fronts, of course. Many are what we would call “seedy looking” but they make me a little bit nostalgic for old fashioned, privately owned small shops.

This fabric store looks extremely tempting. I wish we had something like that around here. For some reason I am attracted to this small grocery store. Maybe it’s the open door. I’d like to go in and see what they have. And Joe’s Hardware – there’s something about old fashioned hardware stores.

Via The Nag

A Little Dance to Start the Weekend

Mozart’s German Dances are far from being my favorite Mozart but earlier this week I decided that I was in the mood for them. In particular, I find the sixth dance of K571 (beginning at 7:36 in this video) fun and interesting. By classical standards it has an insane amount of percussion. This is not a graceful, stately ballroom dance. This is boisterous, rowdy German beer hall music.

The recording (unidentified) in this video is a little bit disappointing. The one I have is by Tafelmusik, conducted by Bruno Weil. Listen and try to imagine this ramped up a few notches.

Quotes From Here and There

I think it looks kind of like what the love-child of a Mini and a Suburban would look like.here

Wait, didn’t we just finish a year of them not cooperating?there

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers.here

This dork has so much sense of entitlement and so little sense of propriety that he’s almost guaranteed a highly-paid government job somewhere down the line.there

You can run, but you can’t hide. The wiki witch of the west will find you.here

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And finally, TWO from there because I couldn’t I couldn’t decide which one to quote. It was hard enough to narrow it down to only two.

Too cowardly to address problems of substance where such problems actually are, we claw at those close to us. We point to our neighbor, in the khakis and sweater, and cry foul. It’s ridiculous. We find enemies among our peers because we know them better, and their proximity and familiarity means we don’t have to get off the couch to dismantle them.

* * *

No is for wimps. No is for pussies. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.

More Cake… and More Pie

Jaquandor Responds to my Cake vs. Pie post. Ahhhh, yes… cream cheese frosting! If all cakes had cream cheese frosting, then the frosting might be my favorite part.

Which reminds me… In a catalog – I can’t remember which one; I get a small forest’s worth every week – I saw a sweet potato pie with cream cheese topping, sprinkled with pecan pieces. I must make one of those myself! I usually have sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas so I think of it as a winter pie, but maybe that’s just me. And I did say “There’s nothing wrong with being irrelevant,” so why not have it any time I want.

On the other hand, I think limiting cake and pie to certain occasions when it is “appropriate” is probably a good thing. We need to have some limits for the sake of our waistlines and arteries. But for the sake of our happiness (which is also good for our overall health) we need more occasions when it is appropriate to eat cake and pie.

A Note About Comment Spam

I’ve been getting quite a bit of shoe spam lately. Not enough that it’s a huge burden to delete it all every day but it is very annoying. How dare they! So from now on (at least for a while) comments containing any of several popular athletic shoe brand names will be held for moderation.

The Language of Shoes

I think I have discovered another interesting difference between American English and British English. Emma Cossey of Shoewawa refers to simple canvas sneakers as “pumps”. I have to admit, I’m not entirely sure of the exact definition of “pumps” and I think it’s a rather goofy name for a shoe. What, exactly, are we pumping? But I have always thought of it as a dressy daytime shoe with a moderately high heel.

When I select pumps at Endless.com I get high heels, including stilettos and wedges, which I do not think of as “pumps”. I haven’t looked at all 254 pages yet but so far I’ve seen only a few flats or low-heeled shoes but they are somewhat dressy. Most have heels over two inches. Two things they all have in common is that they are dressy, more or less, and they do not have laces so perhaps that’s the definition of “pumps,” at least in the U.S. What do you think?

Death on the Small Screen

I hate it when regular characters on TV shows are “killed off”. I understand that sometimes actors want to quit and do something else but they don’t have to kill the character. They could have them leaving the big city and their stressful jobs to go to some remote place to live a quiet, peaceful life, or something like that – like when Grissom left CSI to go hunt bugs in South America. I mean… I know they’re just fictional characters and they’re (usually) just as gone either way but I’d still prefer to be able to think of them as living somewhere else and never coming back.

And you know something that’s getting tiresome even though it’s a relief when you find out that’s what they’ve done? It’s when they apparently kill an important regular character – there’s definitely no way they could have survived that – but in the next episode we find out that, in fact, the character did miraculously survive and after five minutes of show time in the hospital they’re back on their feet with orders to take it easy and don’t even think about going back to work for a while but of course they do and suffer no ill effects except for maybe a twinge now and then and horrible flashbacks of the incident. And even though this is tiresome, it’s always what we hope has happened every time we see a character get “killed”.

And yes, I’m talking about a particular show (Seen the death, still hoping for the resurrection) but I don’t want to post any spoilers.

Random Linkage

Top 10 Everything of 2009 – for those of you who really love lists

Tin Signs – Vintage ads and other nostalgic images

New York Street Art – Not the usual meaning of “street art”; these are awesome paintings of New York

The Bygone Bureau – articles on a wide variety of topics

Most Expensive Interiors – It’s funny… I expected at least one “Oooo! I want that!” but there’s nothing in the list that appeals to me at all except maybe the picture on the wall in the first photo.

The Book Whisperer – a nice blog about books and, occasionally, other interesting bits, like purple carrots (Only one complaint: I hate Snap previews.)

“Suppers” getting bigger – Silliest study ever?

Fair Trade Cola – Not available in the U.S. or online, unfortunately.

Bacon Caramel Popcorn – I can’t remember if I’ve already linked to this or not and I’m too lazy to check but here it is. (again?) Wow. That’s a Must Try. Also, I like the name of that blog: The Cooking of Joy. A very nice blog with lots more Must Try recipes.

Retro Future Design – Fascinating.

20 Great Infodumps from Science Fiction Novels – I have read several of these books and there are several more that I would like to read. The best infodumps are the ones that don’t feel like infodumps.

OMG Cat – Cute

Garage Door Covers – I like the train.

12 Coolest Man Caves – Real man caves are not that clean and rarely that well designed. Some of these are sort of cool. I like the Coca-Cola room.

Old Brick Building – That’s a very interesting photo even without the humorous caption.

Slavonic Erotica – a surprising collection of birch bark sculptures

Quilt Otaku – quilting and other crafts

Summer Feet

I think I like these. Strictly speaking, I don’t really need a pair of sandals. But I do, sort of. I have a pair that are very comfortable but they have sort of a clunky, uni-sex look so they don’t look right with dresses. Also, they’re just a little bit heavier than I like and not quite open enough so after a little while they feel sticky.

There are a couple of things about the linked sandals that make me hesitate. (in addition to feeling guilty about buying something that I don’t strictly need) They’re thongs and I’d rather not have anything between my toes but I have worn thongs in the past and did not have any problems with them. Another thing is that I don’t want to get heavy sandals and there’s no way to tell how much these weigh. They have a thick sole, which could mean that they’re heavy but not necessarily. Finally, I’ve been sort of interested in the Sketchers shoes. They claim that they will “tone your legs and strengthen your core” which on the one hand sounds like a good thing, if it’s true, but on the other hand, sounds like after wearing them for several hours you might feel like you had been exercising for several hours. I don’t want shoes that make me feel tired.

Anyway, they’re kinda cute and I’m thinking about it but I will likely keep on just thinking about it until either they have a really good sale on them or I just forget about them.

Another EOAAWKI*

Finally, the health care bill has been passed. I have mixed feelings about it myself. Mostly I think it’s a good thing but we all know Congress can take the simplest thing and make something ridiculously complicated of it so when they start out with something as complicated as insurance it’s more than a little scary to think about what we might get stuck with. Like most acts of Congress, the health care bill will have both good effects and bad effects and people who were against it will see only the bad and people who were for it will insist that the bad isn’t all that bad.

It’s a huge bill and I don’t know any more about it than any of the people out there who are absolutely certain that they know either that it’s a terrible, terrible thing or that it’s A Great Day For America. Two things I know that I don’t like about it – one, there’s no public option and two, that everyone will be required by law to buy insurance. This will turn a lot of ordinary citizens into criminals and give the government one more thing to have to spend money and effort on enforcing. Allegedly there will be assistance for people who cannot afford to buy insurance but what the government thinks people can afford and what they can actually afford are usually far, far apart.

The main good thing about it is that insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions or cancel policies after people make claims. And it’s about darn time! I can’t believe they’ve been allowed to get away with such behavior for so long. Other than that, I have to admit that I can’t think of any more good points right now. Some “experts” say that this bill will help reduce the deficit but I’m having trouble understanding how. I am also skeptical about the claim that it will make insurance more affordable. It seems to me that it’s more likely to do the opposite.

One other thing that has always bothered me about insurance companies is that they don’t always cover the treatments patients need and care is often dependent on what treatments insurance covers. Treatment should be decided by doctors and their patients, not insurance companies. I don’t know if the bill has done anything about this or not.

But, in spite of my misgivings, I’m still glad it passed. At least they finally did something about health care. This is only a start. There will be fixes, which will be much easier to pass than the original bill. Life will go on and soon we will hardly ever think about this. Someday public health care will be as sacred as Social Security and most of our children and grandchildren will not even be aware that getting it passed in the first place involved such a huge controversy.

EOAAWKI = End Of America As We Know It

How the World Ends – Or Not

Scenes From Our Pre-Apocalyptic Future – This is worth printing out and stashing somewhere safe so we can bring it out again occasionally and see if any of these predictions come true. 2012 looks pretty good and entirely plausible. Some of the others are a little out there but who can tell about the distant future. I would like to still be around in 2073. That sounds like the greatest year ever.

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