This is one of those days when I have nothing in particular to say so I’m just going to start typing and see what comes out. I feel that I’m really not any good at this “stream of consciousness” kind of writing. (Is it still stream of consciousness if you go back and edit?)

Can you believe it’s the last week of October already? October has been nice. I would say almost summer-like most of the time but, actually, it has been just right for turning off the air-conditioning and opening the windows and we never do that here in the summer. There’s something about living with the windows open that feels so perfect – like this is the way life should be. Of course I live out in the boonies. It’s probably not like that in town and certainly not in a big city. I especially like sleeping with the window open and hearing all the night sounds.

I have a truckload of stuff (figuratively speaking of course) that I want to sew and get done right now but I am stuck on one thing. It’s not that it’s difficult. I’m not sure why but I keep doing just one little step at a time then stopping and waiting for a day or two before going on to the next step. Maybe I should put it aside for a while and move on to something more motivating but I have always had this fear of unfinished projects. I feel like I have to finish each thing before I move on to the next thing or it will never get done at all. Like that one quilt that I have been working on for years, and the little quilt that I started last spring that’s almost finished but I just can’t seem to get around to that last little bit.

Speaking of truckloads of stuff, I have a truckload, no a trainload, or maybe a starship load – yeah that’s it, a starship load, not like the starship Enterprise but more like a Borg cube – load of just general stuff taking up space in my house. And I love it all and don’t want to get rid of it. There are some books I could stand to part with, I suppose. I think about selling them on eBay or maybe Amazon but I worry that no one would buy them for months or even ever and I should just donate them and get it over with but I think of the money I could possibly make which wouldn’t be a lot but hey – money! for more books! – so I don’t do anything and they’re still taking up space so I don’t know where to put the new books I’m getting.

That’s the good thing about Kindle – Kindle books don’t take up space but if it’s a book that other members of my family would like I’d rather get a real book because they’re easier to share. I did once share a Kindle book – you can do that – and it still shows it as being “on loan” after months. It was supposed to be only 14 days, I think. I really need to contact Amazon about that but it hasn’t been a priority so I keep forgetting about it but it makes me hesitant to loan any more Kindle books.

It’s crazy that Christmas is only two months away. I hate to start even thinking about it until after Thanksgiving because it just seems wrong but the reality is that I really do need that much time so I’ve started doing a little online shopping. Christmas is a motivation for wanting to get rid of some stuff to make room for the inevitable new stuff but, as I said, I still love the old stuff. No, I am not a hoarder, not like those people on TV with stuff piled up to the ceiling in every room. I have gotten rid of stuff in the past and I still miss some of that stuff. When I was a kid I dreamed of someday living in a huge Victorian mansion – like this one maybe? No, even bigger! It never occurred to me when I was kid how practical it would be. I would have rooms for all my stuff. Yes, I know there would be more to dust. Shush.


Random Linkage

Fashion Controversy – A 1959 “propaganda goof” that now seems bizarre and hilarious. Be sure to click the link to the old Life magazine article.

Masks – a collection of Halloween masks

Teepee House – Interesting architecture. I don’t think I would want to live in it myself; I’m more traditional when it comes to housing, but it is nice.

Vintage Travel Posters – Very nice. I think my favorite is the German one with the train, because of the train, of course, but there are a lot of nice ones. For some reason the Cheverny one is appealing and another French one – the one with the boats.

It’s all in your pocket now. – If you think smartphones are expensive…

Alien Structures – Haven’t read the whole article yet. Looks interesting.

Storybook Buildings – Wonderful folk-art collection. (article and slideshow)

Glass Creatures – Beautiful. Call me weird but I like the spiders. And all the others too.

Knitted Food – Impressive.

Kinetic Steampunk Cafe – Awesome! Someone pleeeeease build one of these in the U.S. Somewhere near me.

Quotes From Here and There

“People say that I am old, but I think of the trees and how they are hundred of years old. They recycle themselves each winter. I recycle myself like the trees every winter to get ready for the spring so that I can dance my way through life.”here

One autumn years ago I saw the first snow at Algoma.there

Did you know that there’s a native elephant in Iceland?here

I read them so I have someone to argue with.there

Living in the Future

It seems a lot of people are excited about today being Back to the Future Day. It is cool that a specific date, not just a year, in science fiction has arrived in real life, but, to be honest, I have never been a huge fan of the Back to the Future movies and don’t remember them in much detail. I’m not even sure I saw BTTF II. Now I do definitely want to see it.

I wish I did remember the movies well, and that I was a fan, so I could feel like I’m in on the fun. It is a very cool day and cool to be here, in “the future.” Aside from these silly movies, I actually do feel like I’m living in the future every day. Computers, smartphones, e-book readers, the Internet, GPS, and yes, even flat screen TVs – these are all things from science fiction and here they are right now, a part of our everyday lives.

There are things that are not so great about this future, mainly that so few people appreciate what we have and so many people make it their life’s mission to try to make everyone feel either guilty or afraid all the time. Sometimes, I swear, I just want to slap some people! (I don’t ever slap people for real. If I did they would just laugh. Not much power in these noodle arms.) I want to send some people to their rooms and tell them not to come out until they learn to stop bothering people about nonsense. There’s a lot more, of course. I could go on and on but I’m not going to, at least not today.

It’s the future, people, and it’s fantastic. Stop rushing around and worrying and just enjoy it.

Modern Men, Men’s Men, and Real Men

I found this NYT list of 27 Ways To Be a Modern Man on Mike Rowe’s Facebook page. Mike responds with ways to be a man’s man. Man’s man? Well, I suppose that’s what men like to see in other men? So obviously I disagree with many of his points.

You might think that, being a woman, I wouldn’t know anything about being a man. Well, maybe not everything but I think viewing manhood from the outside gives me a better perspective. I have no male ego to get in the way. And besides, I need blogfodder. So I am going to respond to each of the NYT’s 27 ways to be a “Modern Man” with my opinion on the matter. And yes, I realize that it’s all tongue-in-cheek. Do you?

1. When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small.
I would rather pick out my own shoes. Unless it’s a pair that I’ve gushing over so he knows I want them, I don’t want him to buy shoes for me but, yeah, he should know my size. (but it’s not a big deal if he doesn’t) I wouldn’t expect him to know which brands run big or small. I don’t even know that for most brands.

2. The modern man never lets other people know when his confidence has sunk. He acts as if everything is going swimmingly until it is.
Hmmm… this sounds a lot like old-fashioned man or “real man” so apparently not much has changed. This actually seems like good advice for everyone.

3. The modern man is considerate. At the movie theater, he won’t munch down a mouthful of popcorn during a quiet moment. He waits for some ruckus.
Oh, if only everyone would be considerate! I don’t think the popcorn munching matters all that much since the sound in most movie theaters is ridiculously loud so we can hear over all the rude people talking.

4. The modern man doesn’t cut the fatty or charred bits off his fillet. Every bite of steak is a privilege, and it all goes down the hatch.
Oh good grief! You have to eat the gross bits to be a “modern man”? Is throwing up because it made you gag manly? No. Just no. Eat what you like. Leave what you don’t. It’s not in any way connected with either manliness or modernity.

5. The modern man won’t blow 10 minutes of his life looking for the best parking spot. He finds a reasonable one and puts his car between the lines.
Another rule that I wish everyone would follow. Quit driving around getting in everyone’s way and just park already!

6. Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night.
No! Everyone is responsible for their own devices. Especially the kids.

7. The modern man buys only regular colas, like Coke or Dr Pepper. If you walk into his house looking for a Mountain Dew, he’ll show you the door.
This is just silly. Again, what you drink is in no way connected to either manliness or modernity. Well, possibly to modernity but who the hell cares?

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.
I wish everyone would do this but it’s certainly not a modern thing. Modern men, women, and kids avoid extra syllables as if each one is a 20 pound weight they would have to carry around.

9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.
Eh, maybe. I know you certainly learn a lot from having kids.

10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.
What? The modern man doesn’t have a dishwasher?

11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.
This sounds more like an “old fart” than a “modern man”.

12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.
Nah. Use it down to the last sliver. Most men I know would agree. Always do whatever you can to save every 10th of a cent. (Unless you’re buying power tools, then money is no object.)

13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.
Wu who?

14. The modern man still jots down his grocery list on a piece of scratch paper. The market is no place for his face to be buried in the phone.
This is another one that seems more “old fart” than “modern man”.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.
I’m not sure what to say about this one. I don’t know what flooring or a brand of shoe has to do with manhood. I would assume that his wife picked out the flooring.

16. The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.
Perhaps he’s been watching a lot of action movies?

17. Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?
Oh, are melon ballers a manly thing? Perhaps that’s why I don’t have one.

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.
Seems like kind of an old-fashioned thing but if you need one, sure, why not?

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.
This is good. Personally, although I do like getting flowers, I would prefer living flowers, growing in a pot, or something else that will last more than a few days.

20. On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield.
Sure, why not?

21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.
But a good father reminds her to cover her nose and mouth when she sneezes.

22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.
If you still get an old-fashioned dead tree newspaper delivered, when you go out to pick it up, please, for Heaven’s sake, at least put on a robe!

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).
Sure, if that’s what he likes. If not, he has someone else’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever)

24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.
Nope. Keep that thing charged up.

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.
Oooo, this is a touchy one. I’m thinking this depend on what part of the country you’re in. Out here in Oklahoma the general opinion is that a “real man” owns several guns. But, in fact, if your manhood is dependent on a manufactured object, whether a gun, a power tool, or anything else, you’re really not much of a man.

26. The modern man cries. He cries often.
I’s okay for a man to cry, but often? No, not too often.

27. People aren’t sure if the modern man is a good dancer or not. That is, until the D.J. plays his jam and he goes out there and puts on a clinic.
It’s nice if a man can dance but it’s not a requirement.

UPDATE: Almost forgot to mention this. It seems odd to me that this list did not mention tool use. One of the most basic “man rules” is that a man must, at the very least, know how to operate the five essential tools: hammer, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, WD-40, and duct tape.

Random Linkage

Bookplates – Some rather interesting little works of art

Surreal Collages – Interesting. My favorites: the first one and the one with the boats.

13 Things – A great collection of links and images. Favorites: the Poison Garden, the cabin, the very cool but horrifically expensive watch, and the castle.

Full Service Tailor – a rather disturbing business sign

John Murray Spear’s New Motor (1854) – Fascinating history and some great (not really related) images

Caffeinated what?! – Oh come on! Not everything needs to be caffeinated.

Comic Book “Treasures” – a collection of junk sold in the back pages of 70’s comic books

Leonard Nimoy reading War of the Worlds – Haven’t listened yet; putting this here to remind myself

Seahorse – a fascinating and beautiful work of art

Antique Watch Animals – Want!

Busted! – “37% of vegetarians admitted to eating meat when drunk.” So I wonder how many have and didn’t admit it and how many have and just don’t remember.

Vintage Russian Potato Toys

And a minute of cute:

Quotes From Here and There

No one wants to be the caboose on the Moron Train.here (via)

I can now expect to hear about some type of conspiracy, cover-up, or otherwise nefarious activity at least several times a week, ranging from the ridiculous (The Reptilians, a race of humanoid reptiles who are the secret rulers of the Earth, spring immediately to mind) to the extremely unlikely (The “Government” is secretly watching you…an idea most often expressed to me by meth addicts) to the outright racist (The Islamic Center is actually a training camp for ISIS run by the Zionist Occupational Government who control the media to keep people stupid. Yes, I really had that conversation.)there

I feel obliged to tell you that few things are less persuasive than these virtual spasms of self-righteous indignation brought about by a flurry of facts not in evidence.here


Partial Spoiler, Vessel by Andrew J. Morgan

First of all, I want to say that Vessel is a very good story – interesting, original, fast paced, good character development. A mysterious object appears near the International Space Station. The astronauts on board are unable to transmit any pictures or video of the object and eventually communications are cut off completely, then the astronauts begin to suffer mental breakdowns. Meanwhile on the ground, a journalist tries to find out what the government is covering up.

My only complaint about the book – and it’s a big one – is the ending. To be honest, I suppose it’s not a bad ending; it’s just not the kind of ending I like. The big question is never answered.

How Low Can You Go?

Did you know that there is a such thing as a bass flute? I did but I had never seen one before. I like this a lot. Very serene.

There’s also a contrabass flute. This is lovely too.

And, if you want to get ridiculous, there’s even a subcontrabass flute.

Random Linkage

Sad Topographies – Real places with depressing names. There really is a Lonely Street. It’s just off Lonesome Road. Seriously.

Miniature Film Sets – Wow. I’d love to actually see these in person.

Alien Civilization – I will remain skeptical until we are able to get a close-up, which doesn’t seem likely in my lifetime.

Origins of Black Rice – Black rice is very tasty. I’m not sure whether it or red is my favorite.

We all hallucinate

The True Meaning of Chivalry – Warning: Extremely NSFW language.

A Soft Murmur – Ambient noise website. I haven’t tried it yet – still waiting for it to load – but it seems like a nice idea. Sounds include, rain, waves, wind, birds, and several others.

Dinosaur Earrings – Interesting. I can’t decide if I want a pair of those or not. If I do want them I want the ones with the bright blue eyes.

Dogs and Cats – Just some cute pics

Of All the Things I’ve Lost It’s Bacon I Miss the Most

We have a bunch of wonderful home-grown tomatoes so of course one of the first things I think of is BLTs. We don’t have a properly working range hood so even with all the windows open the house fills up with smoke whenever we cook bacon either on top of the stove or in the oven so I have taken to buying the so called “fully cooked” bacon. I suppose there must be some legal definition of fully cooked and that this product does meet the legal requirements to be called fully cooked but it’s not anywhere near it in my definition. No matter; it takes about 45 seconds in the microwave to turn nearly raw bacon into edible bacon.

So anyway, I bought a package of this microwave bacon. The package said it had 11 to 13 slices. There was a tempting “mega pack” that had 28 to 32 slices but I had bought the smaller size before and it has been enough for the three of us. But this time when I was done cooking it and we were assembling our sandwiches we discovered that there was only enough bacon for us to have 3 slices each. Terribly disappointing, as you can surely imagine, – I was really regretting not buying the mega pack – but we made the best of the situation and moved on with life.

The next morning I got up and was walking down the hallway and before I could even make it to the kitchen I heard my husband cheerily call out, “Guess what I found in the microwave.” At another time I possibly could have remembered the last thing that was cooked in the microwave and correctly guessed what he had found but I had been awake for maybe five minutes so, not really wanting to know and thinking it was way too early for guessing games, I said, “What?” probably somewhat grumpily. So what do you think was in the microwave? Have you figured it out? Huh? Huh?

It was a plate full of bacon!

How the heck did that happen?! It didn’t seem possible. If we forget something in the microwave it chirps every two minutes until you either turn it off or open the door. I suppose I must have hit the off button to stop it from chirping while I was getting out the condiments, just sort of running on autopilot like I do sometimes. Anyway, maybe next time I should get the mega pack anyway, just to be safe.


I just finished reading Neal Asher’s Owner trilogy: Zero Point, The Departure, and Jupiter War. I have mentioned before that Asher’s novels are weird, extremely violent, and have an extraordinarily high body count but they’re fun, which might make you wonder what kind of person I am to enjoy them but don’t worry, I wonder that myself sometimes so I’m probably okay.

The Owner trilogy is set in a different universe from Asher’s popular Polity series of novels. In this trilogy a future Earth is ruled by a ruthless, corrupt, and inhumane “Committee”. Brilliant scientist Alan Saul is in a crate on his way to the incinerators after having been tortured to the point where he barely remembers who he is. He is rescued by an AI that merges with his mind, thanks to some experimental hardware installed in his brain, and manages to escape, leave Earth, take over a large space station, and kill most of the Committee. He then begins converting the space station into a starship. Meanwhile one of the few surviving Committee members, a psychotic woman who makes Hitler look like a boy scout, takes over as dictator of Earth.

At first I thought I wasn’t going to like this story but I quickly got into it. It’s really a very interesting and complex story with well developed characters. If you lean “Green” politically you will likely be offended, as Earth’s psychotic dictator is clearly a parody of Green politics. She loves the Earth and wants to restore it to its natural state and people are just in the way. On the other hand if you have Libertarian sympathies you will love it. Me? I tend not to care much about the author’s politics as long as it’s a good story and this one definitely is.

I recently bought my own copy of Brass Man. I had read a borrowed copy of it before but I wanted my own. I am thrilled, by the way, that it is what Amazon calls a “mass market paperback,” what I call a standard paperback, which, tragically, seems to be a rapidly disappearing breed. I hate those heavy, oversize paperbacks. I have actually had to start wearing a wrist brace because of them.

Anyway, I was going to start reading Brass Man but the husband is almost finished with the book he’s reading so I thought I’d let him read it first if he wants, since I’ve read it before. Instead I started Vessel by Andrew Morgan, a book I found in the Kindle specials a month or two back. So far, two chapters in, I’m not really excited about it yet but it’s looking like it could be interesting. Sometimes it takes a while to orient oneself when going from one universe to another.

“The Bacteria-Filled Water Droplet of Youth”

A Russian scientist has injected himself with an ancient bacteria that he believes will help people to live longer. I want to make fun of this but at the same time I want to believe there’s something to it. I think making fun of it would be the better bet. He tested it on plants and animals before injecting himself but one “heroic” scientist injecting himself does not carry the same weight of credibility as a double blind study. Still, let’s do that double blind study and see what happens. And hurry up! I’m not getting any younger.

Random Linkage

Steve McCurry – a photographers blog

Peeling Paint – more proof that everything is interesting if you stop and really look at it

Miss Meadow’s Pearls – vintage fashion, lingerie and jewelry; some images NSFW

Brooklyn Bridge 1915 – large vintage photo

Caveman (and cavewoman) Movie Posters – Possibly NSFW? Scroll all the way down and you’ll find links to several other categories of movie posters, in case dinosaurs and women in fur bikinis are not your cup o’ tea.

Brain Decoder – fascinating articles about the human brain

Purple’s Garden – a beautiful and sad story

Cobwebs of Light – Beautiful

Butterflies – Ever wonder why they are called butterflies?

Van Gogh Garden – Wonderful

Quotes From Here and There

Any child anywhere knows that Lego’s little plastic bricks are an integral part of life, and any parent anywhere knows that stepping on Lego’s little plastic bricks are an integral part of vicariously teaching your kids to swear.here

Vegetarianism is obviously not in the stars for me because I would die before giving up sausage, bacon, and carnitas.there

How much do you think it would cost to send a paperclip to the surface of the Moon?here

Look! In the Sky!

I did watch the lunar eclipse Sunday night. Not quite the whole event though. Eclipses are both exciting and boring at the same time. They’re very slow. Our modern entertainments have conditioned us to expect things to happen quickly. But eclipses are exciting because… well, it’s hard to explain. It’s like I’m more aware of the reality of the solar system. We’ve all seen the diagrams and the models and it’s not that I ever doubted the reality; I didn’t, but when one object in space casts a shadow on another it really feels real. You know what I mean?

Anyway… I was watching it alone and you really need to watch eclipses with someone else. They should be shared. While I was standing in my driveway looking at the moon I could hear the neighbors in their back yard talking and I was a little envious. I thought about how my mother would have enjoyed watching the eclipse and wished she was there. I also thought that people should have eclipse parties. Not us. We don’t really have any close friends, and family are all too far away to come to an event that late at night. But eclipse parties should definitely be a thing.

* * *

It seems that there is water on Mars. Actual flowing water. This is a really big deal. There was even a Google Doodle. I am not as excited about it as I feel I should be. I want to be but I guess I’ve seen too many announcements of scientific discoveries only to later hear that, “No, wait. Not as exciting as we first thought,” or just, “Oops. We were wrong.” I’ve come to expect that so it’s hard to get excited about stuff like this. Maybe I could get a little more excited if there were some close-up pictures of water on Mars but that can’t happen, at least not anytime soon.