Monthly Archives: July 2011

Quotes From Here and There

One common complaint – too much CG! — has really become, in my view, a crutch complaint that everybody levels against everything nowadays in the movies.here

Sure, the library is an old fashioned concept. So is democracy. So is equal opportunity. So is getting your facts right.there

I had no idea we’d rented that space out to a bioweapons lab.here

…I’m ambivalent on organic and natural, if it works, it works, I don’t care if it’s made in a factory or pickled by naked elves on a dew-encrusted lawn in Rivendell. there

Rediscovered Treasure

A cup of green tea

I’ve had this cup for at least 20 years and haven’t used it for almost that long. It was sitting in a back corner of the kitchen cabinet behind a lot of other cups. Not forgotten, just too inconvenient to get to it. But now everything has been rearranged and I have a better place for my cups.

It’s really nothing special – very cheap, which you could tell if you saw it in person but it’s very pretty anyway and one of my favorites. This was my cup of green tea this morning.

Orange

These orange fashions are especially for Charles because he’s all about orange these days.

I wouldn’t wear any of those fashions, (first link) not because they’re orange but because most would be ugly in any color. Actually the third dress from the left in the first picture isn’t so bad; I just don’t like wearing slim skirts. And I’m not sure about the brown belt. I’d like to see it with white. The von Furstenberg ‘Terrazzo’ dress is nice. I might wear that one if it was a little longer and there was a little less of me, but I’m not a big fan of wrap dresses either.

Looking at all this orange stuff has me craving something orange. The only thing I have that’s orange is a skirt that’s bright orange with white flowers. The only top I have that really goes with it is white, although I have a green top that I’ve been tempted to try with it. And I have a couple of tops that have some orange in the print and one sloppy rust-orange tank top that’s not fit to be seen in public. So I’ve been really really wanting something orange but there’s no orange in the stash and I feel that I cannot buy more fabric until I work down the stash a bit and also get rid of some more stuff. Maybe I’ll just go paint my nails orange and be satisfied with that for a while.

UPDATE: To clarify, I like the look of wrap dresses just fine but, being the modest type, I prefer the security of buttons.

The God of NASCAR

My husband sent the link to this video. Thanks also to Number Two Son for introducing me to the very useful term, “horizontal prayer”. That’s prayer that’s actually intended for the other people listening.

Happy Place?

Normally, a trip to the dentist is the most dreaded of our regular experiences but my dentist’s office is one of the most pleasant places I go. The walls and ceilings in the back are painted the same yellow as our kitchen. Of course I don’t know if it’s exactly the same but it’s close enough that you couldn’t tell without putting them side by side. I can’t think of a more perfect color for any room to be. It’s bright and cheerful but light enough to be relaxing. The waiting room is different. It has sort of a Tuscan theme (I think that’s what it is) and the walls have a yellow-brown textured treatment.

The outside is beautifully landscaped and I was very impressed yesterday when I pulled into the parking lot and saw that all the flowers and other plants were still alive and thriving. With the weather we’ve been having this summer that’s quite impressive. There is more landscaping with a little waterfall and bird feeders in back that you can see through tall windows in the exam rooms.

Oh, and the appointment was fine – just a routine cleaning.

New Addiction

I came across Pati’s Mexican Table on one of our local public television stations recently. At first I found Pati irritating but also, somehow, vaguely fascinating. As I get used to her voice and mannerisms she is a bit less irritating than at first. More importantly, some of her recipes are interesting. Fortunately she has a website where you can find some of the recipes so I don’t have to rush to try to scribble them down while I’m watching TV.

This appears to be a commercial for Mexican avocados. I did not find any videos from the show.

UPDATE: I should have taken more time to look at the website. PMT episodes here. (short clips only)

A Summer Memory

I mentioned in the comments over there that when I was a kid we kept a gallon jug of water in the refrigerator in the summer. No fancy water-and-ice-in-the-door refrigerators then. We had one problem with the water jug though. The rule was that whoever took the last of the water had to refill it. So we would get down to about an inch of water in the jug and everyone would start drinking water from the tap. After a while of waiting each other out someone would finally give in and refill it and would feel a bit like a hero and a martyr for being “more responsible” than everyone else.

I just got to thinking about how silly that was. How hard is it to fill a jug with water and put it back in the refrigerator? Sure a gallon of water is heavy to a little kid but we did more strenuous things just playing. It seems there’s something about “work” that always makes us want to get out of doing it, even if it’s not difficult or unpleasant. Just label it work or responsibility and we’ll go out of our way to avoid it.

And Now the Weather

The last two posts were rather grouchy but that’s not my mood today at all. It has been a very lovely day. The high temp so far is 95°F, which might seem quite hot if you haven’t been living with daily highs of around 104°. Even better, we got almost a quarter of an inch of rain last night. This was unexpected. The last weather report I saw predicted nothing but hot and dry for at least the next week. It’s still mostly cloudy so I have a small hope for more and there is still a 20% chance.

2011 has been such an odd year. Back in January we got over two feet of snow and it got colder than Antarctica. (literally) And now, for weeks we’ve had 100+ highs, which we normally don’t get until August and even then not for weeks without end. I feel like I’m living in a bad sci-fi movie and I don’t mean that as grouching, just amusing myself in a strange way.

No Tears for Borders

The real reason Borders is closing:

They’ve been screwing themselves for years. This whole “Borders shutting down” thing and the store closures earlier this year that were supposedly a stop-gap? Yeah, it didn’t just pop up over night. Every article you read out there has someone at Borders talking about how ebook sales doomed them. How convenient. No, the real genesis of Borders’ complete implosion is due to an idiotic state of mind in upper-management.

[...]

True story: When working at Waldens/Borders my two favorite authors were Steven Erikson and Brandon Sanderson (before he was big). At my store, Erikson’s novels out sold every other author. He was a moneymaker for my store. Soon my store was restricted from mass ordering his novels because we weren’t conforming to other stores in different states who would only sell a dozen of Erikson’s novels in a year (we sold hundreds of just his first book. Repeat customers baby!). With Brandon Sanderson? My store was essentially in his home-town of Provo, Utah. To all you authors out there, the average signing may net you 10 or so hardback sales if you’re lucky. My store? We sold 80 copies of Brandon’s first novel that had zero marketing push behind it. His second novel? Oh just 200. Borders’ response? “How dare you have all these extra copies of his books on hand. You’ll never sell that many books at a signing. in fact, maybe you should stop doing signings altogether.”

You see, Borders’ had the mentality of telling you what you were NOT allowed to do rather than giving bookstores the freedom to, oh I don’t know, make money. By breaking the rules we were raking in the cash. Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough. After all, the corporate goons OBVIOUSLY knew more about out local client base than the staff at my store did.

I have never been to a Borders but this makes perfect sense to me. Making all the stores in a chain exactly alike is typical modern management strategy. For some things (fast food) it works; for bookstores, not so much. People in different regions of the U.S. do have somewhat different tastes in reading and entertainment.

I first heard about Borders closing on the CBS evening news last week. They were, of course, singing the “e-books are killing bookstores” lamentations and, to be honest, I sort of bought it at the time but my first thought was, “This might be good for the independent book stores,” because a lot of people still do like real books.

Upon reading the linked article my already deep contempt for the mainstream media has deepened by several degrees. I feel that the bigger the idiot the more they need to be publicly shamed and held up as a bad example. But the media, instead of telling the truth tells us what so many want to hear: Borders good, e-books bad; world as we know it ending; trust your betters, and tune in tomorrow for the latest tragedy.

Via

A Little Gadget Love Please

Why can’t things just work? Why do gadgets hate me? No, really… they do. They like my husband; they hate me. I can be having trouble getting something to work and he will come along and do the exact same thing I already tried several times and it will work for him. Gadgets hate me.

I like my Android phone. Love it; it’s very cool. I almost never use it to make phone calls but I love all the other stuff I can do with it, like looking stuff up on the Internet and playing Mahjong. Mostly I get along with it really well but yesterday I found the Coolest Message Notification Tone Ever. It’s so geeky-cool that there’s almost no possibility of ever finding anything cooler. It’s Yoda saying, “Ahhhhh, message from the dark side you have.” So I set that to be my “notification” tone. This morning I got my first text message since I changed it and I’m still getting the same old tone. No Yoda.

Of course I was unspeakably disappointed. So I looked at my settings and it showed that I had selected Yoda. I should be hearing Yoda whenever I get a text message but I’m not! I have little doubt that later my husband will look at my phone and in 60 seconds or less make it do what I want it to do. I don’t know… maybe the “notification” tone is for something other than text messages but if that’s the case I can’t find where to set the text message tone.

I think I have figured out why gadgets hate me and like my husband, though. All gadgets are female (The bitches!) so naturally they like men better. Anyone know where I can get a lesbian phone?

UPDATE: I hear Yoda when I get a new email. Not what I wanted and I still can’t figure out how to set the message notification tone.

UPDATE II: [Profanity. A lot of really really bad bad bad cuss words.] I figured it out. You have to be at the right screen when you select “Settings”. It occurred to me that that might be the problem. You have to select Settings from the main text messaging screen but every time you touch the messaging icon it goes to your last conversation. If there’s a way to go back to the main messaging screen I don’t know what it is so I powered the phone off, then back on, went to Messaging, then Settings and there it was – the option I had been looking for. Right now I kinda want to slap a programmer.

So now I’ve got Yoda alerting me to messages from “the dark side”. I think I might get tired of him after a while. I generally prefer simple things like just a pleasant little tone but for the next week or three I’ll smile every time I get a message. BTW, I downloaded it from Zedge.

Old Sci-Fi

A while back I downloaded several science fiction stories and books from Project Gutenberg. Here are some thoughts on a couple of them that I read recently.

City of Endless Night by Milo M. Hastings was actually pretty interesting in spite of being outdated. It was written shortly after the end of World War I and it has WWII not happening until the 1980’s. The story takes place many years after that. It is easy enough to read it as an alternate time-line story and you can almost forget how old it is.

The world is united under a single government, except for Berlin, which is enclosed in a single armored structure with no windows. An American manages to sneak into this city and takes the identity of a dead scientist. He is accepted without suspicion because no one even imagines that it is possible for an outsider to get in. The government of this alternate Berlin is totalitarian and the society is very structured and rigid. The people have been bred to be perfect for their jobs. A laborer is born to be a laborer and can’t imagine doing anything else. A scientist is born to be a scientist and so on. Our American hero makes friends with a group of people who are not happy with the way things are but, aside from sharing a few banned books, have not tried to rebel because they felt that it would be impossible.

A Trip to Venus by John Munro was first published in 1897. It is not only scientifically outdated, it seems extremely naive by today’s standards but it is a charming and delightful tale if you are able to put yourself in the right frame of mind. Three men and a young woman, the daughter of one the men, build a spaceship and travel in it to Venus where they find a tropical paradise populated by humans who are as too good to be true as the planet. In a modern story you would expect the dark side of these saintly people to come out but this is the 1890’s so they are genuinely as good as they seem – the perfect example of what humanity should be.

For chapter after chapter the book mostly goes on and on about the wonders and beauty of Venus and its people. I can’t resist an excerpt:

Most of the highest peaks and ridges, as well as the deepest valleys and
ravines, were covered with the embowering forest; but here and there a
huge boss of granite or porphyry reared its bare scalp out of the
verdure like the head and shoulders of some antediluvian monster. The
gigantic palms and foliage trees, all tufted with air-plants or
strangled with climbers, were literally buried in flowers of every hue,
and the crown of the forest rolled under us like a sea of blossoms.
Every moment one enchanting prospect after another opened to our
wondering eyes. Now it was a waterfall, gleaming like a vein of silver
on the brow of a lofty precipice, and descending into a lakelet bordered
with red, blue, and yellow lilies. Again it was a natural bridge,
spanning a deep chasm or tunnel in the rock, through which a river
boiled and roared in a series of cascades and rapids. Ever and anon we
passed over glades and prairies, carpeted with orchids, and dotted with
clumps of shrubbery, a mass of golden bloom, or tremendous blocks of
basalt hung with crimson creepers. Butterflies with azure wings of a
surprising spread and lustre, alighted on the flowers, and great birds
of resplendent plumage flashed from grove to grove. A sun, twice the
diameter of ours, blazed in the northern sky, but the intensity of his
rays was tempered by a thin veil of cloud. The atmosphere although warm
and moist, was not oppressive like that of a forcing-house, and the
breeze was balmy with delicious perfume.

There’s little in the way of adventure until near the end when a mechanical failure threatens to strand the travellers. And there is a bit of romance of course – sweet, old-fashioned romance. It’s the Victorian era you know.

I fear that most readers would quickly become impatient with all this beauty and sweetness but I enjoyed it. It’s a “happy place” kind of book – the perfect escape from the stressful real world and I think it’s a bit sad that so few people are able to let themselves enjoy this sort of thing. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I like violent adventures and weirdness but there’s room for sweetness and light too.

This ‘n’ That

7 Obscure Children’s Books by Authors of Grown-up Literature – I had seen the one by Mark Twain somewhere else but before I got around to mentioning it I found this. Of course I feel deprived for not having any of these as a child and I want them even though I’m “too old” for them.

I found The Adventures of Roberta X linked somewhere but I forget where it was. I haven’t taken much time to read it yet but it looks like a very nice, literate, all-around blog. And she reads science fiction! She also has another blog, Retrotechnologist, which I’ve just barely looked at because I just now found it but the title alone is enough to almost give me goosebumps. Two keepers I think.

Img to CSS – Hmmmm… I might try that sometime.

I found this June 21 post at Dustbury in my bookmarks which means I meant to link to it and say something about it but I can’t remember ever mentioning it. And how could I have forgotten?! Christina Hendricks as Wonder Woman? Yes! Please please please please make it so!

Sketchy-G’s Photostream – great architectural drawings, including many of buildings and structures in Oklahoma.

Awesome Firefly poster. By the way, I bought these. I mainly wanted the Miranda and Persephone posters but you have to buy the entire set of five. I need to get frames for them and two frames might end up costing more than all five posters since they didn’t have any the right size at Wal-mart. Today or tomorrow I think I’ll go to Hobby Lobby and see what they have. I’m procrastinating because, as you might have noticed, it’s fracking* HOT out there. The highways are buckling it’s so hot! I’m not usually one to complain about the heat – I like summer – but this summer it’s making me lazy and frying my brain.

* Yes, I know, I’m mixing universes.

Give me liberty or… No, forget it

When you think about it, this is really rather bizarre.

OLD AMERICANS: Give me liberty or give me death!

NEW AMERICANS: I’ll put up with anything, if my kid can shake hands with Mickey Mouse.

What ever happened to the “power of the people”? What ever happened to “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”? It seems like almost everyone is mad as hell about something, all the time, but no matter how mad we get we’re not willing to do anything about it. We can’t let what we believe is right get in the way of what we want.

Earrings

I would almost wear these (if they weren’t so large) but I’m not into Tetris, never played it in fact. (Yes, I know. Shut up.)

cool accessories - tetris - soviet earrings
see more Crazy Shoes and Cool Accessories

If I was going to wear my favorite game dangling from my ears I would get these. Actually, I was just joking but these are pretty tempting.