Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm Over Half Way Owned by My Blog...

From a quiz I saw posted on LiveJournal:

56.25 %

My weblog owns 56.25 % of me.
Does your weblog own you?

Yeah, normally I wouldn't put this here - but it's a cute quiz. And somedays I do feel more than half owned by my blog(s). Especially when I get into a real 'tweak the template' mode.

I'll post something longer soon - I've been having thoughts!


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Inspired by Tinned Pork Shoulder and Ham, and Spices. Secret Spices.

If you are Googling around looking for a picture of a Spam recipe you might come across this interesting photo journal Kimberly Blessing | Photos � Strange stuff at the SPAM Museum It's almost as good as actually going there.

Why was I Googling around looking for a picture of a Spam recipe? (SPAM is the proper way to write it, I'm lazy. Oh, and it's made of "Pork shoulder and ham, mostly. And spices. Secret spices.") Uh, suffice it to say I wanted to ambush someone with a funny link when they least expected it. I had such fun doing that with the Weight Watcher cards - but I don't want to get too predictable.

Sometimes I'll stumble across a site and hit the 'Blog This!' button then leave the bit stuck in drafts for days. Then I forget how I got there. Like this one, the Dull Men's Club. How did I get there? I think it was the same Spam Googling. Yeah, must be that dull men post about their Spam recipes on that site.

I was working on my bookshelf list in the sidebar (way way down near the bottom of the page) and was traveling around looking for different sites to link to the authors of the books I'm listing. I wanted a really good site for Spin by Robert Charles Wilson because I enjoyed it so much and I wanted to give it good linkage. It's up for a Hugo as well this summer. At the 64th World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim (they're calling it LAConIV but it's right around the corner from Disneyland, in Anaheim, in Orange County. Where I'll be. Whoo HOO!

Anyway, I found this collaboration between and Tor that I thought was cool on that trip around the web. Check out Sci-Fi Fantasy - Pick of the Month when you're looking for good reading.

Speaking of and good reading, do you like really, really short stories? Michael Swanwick has crafted a short short for each element of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Fun and educational. I'd link to my favorite, but I like them all!

Now here's another link I'm not sure how I got to. The Yorkshire Ranter.(edit to add, yep, it was "Particles" on Making Light. I find all the best stuff there. Then I swipe it for here - you could save yourself time by just reading there!) It was this sentence that grabbed me, "a recognisable geek culture evolved as soon as the pooter was installed" and then the final sentence, "what would a British-dominated geek culture have looked like?" Somebody write that book, ok? (no, I won't - don't have the time to do the research and manage a project full of my own geeks - if someone hasn't written it by the time I retire, then maybe I'll try to write it.)

I *love* alternate history. One of my favorite novels about an alternate timeline hugely divergent from our own is The Difference Engine. I could go on for paragraphs about the book. It's a fascinating look at "what if". And a plausable what if as well. (If you have the slightest interest, check the Wikipedia article and then take a look at one made from Lego Technic!)I wonder if the Ranter has read it. So I left him a message in comments about it. :-)

I went to bed last night at 2 am. I got up at 6 and I've been cleaning and washing and doing stuff on the 'puter all day. I'm starting to finally feel a bit tired, but I'm going to push 'til I drop. I hope that gets me a good night's sleep. It's not the bed - dang is it comfy. My brain just won't quit running. And I find that very funny. I can't get my brain to shut down at night and during the day I can't get it out of first gear. *sigh*

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Testing a polling site

Warning - this takes you to another website. I'm not too keen on it. Will keep looking...

Does it seem like Spring to you yet?

I live in the Southern hemisphere - it's Fall here

View Results

Make your own poll

I'm Interested

I'm pretty much convinced you can find people on the internet with interests in anything and everything possible. When I find this stuff, I just have to share it. Will you forgive me?

Take, for example, a blog I found the other day (I think I was sent there from a comment in Making Light, but I'm not sure how I found it now - Edited to add: the board administrator over at Absolute Write posted the link. Sorry CC!!) Dr. Toast’s Amazing World of Toast. Wherein we learn about the number of things the blogger has put through toast, National Bread Month, toast recipes, etc. Yep, it's almost all about toast. I'm sure if I went back in the archives I'd find stuff about the Miraculous Image of the Madonna Toasted Cheese Sandwich. He (she?) even has his own Technorati tag. This is a person after my own heart. (after writing this I went and made some toast - really. It had no divine images at all upon it.)

My friends, together we've explored the world of folk who dress up and film their Roombas, cats in sinks and people who knit things you wouldn't expect to see knitted. I promise to continue looking for links where obsessing about the wonderfully weird, often trivial and mostly obscure are the whole point, here at NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES. Which I hope you all agree, is also wonderfully weird, trivial and out here on the long tail, definitely obscure.

NVNC ID VIDES, NVNC NE VIDES means (loosely) "Now you see it, now you don't." Isn't that the very essence of the internet? It's such a hyper-dynamic medium - stuff moves off the front pages of sites in the blink of an eye. Of course, you can look for yesterday's news and you can research through billions of web pages for information about past events, but really, for the most part the web is about what's going on right this second - and if things on one link haven't changed since the last time, folk move on looking for something new.

I didn't consciously use that phrase as the title of my blog because I'm subtle or clever. I've had this blog for quite some time and just now figured it out! Truth is, I'm a Terry Pratchett fan and it's the motto of the Unseen University of the Wizards of Discworld. If I had been looking to say something about blogging and the blogiverse, I couldn't have done better anyway. Maybe I have a really clever subconscious? *shrug*

Moving on to the category of "stuff writers need to know" there's a post at At Last! Writer Beware Blogs! A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss Reveal All! where Victoria Strauss says to Cris Robins " Go Ahead. Make My Day." The 'agent' in question has one sale listed on her site - her own book. She charges a fee of approximately 3k to 'represent' you. Read also the thread about her in the Absolute Write "Bewares" forum.

Well, I'm in a real "nesting" mood - the office needs a good re-organization and I need to update the 'bookshelf' here as well as my real one. Have a wonderful weekend.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

A Womens' First in Basketball

Two dunks double Parker's pleasure

Heard this on NPR earlier in the day. It was quite a big story - ABC even broke into their sports coverage of the NBA to show the dunks. Her team (#6 seeded Tennesee Lady Vol's) beat Army 102 to 54 in their first round game of the Women's NCAA tournament.

Army has a woman's basketball team. I have to pause and marvel at that for a bit. When I was in High School women couldn't go to West Point. And now there's not only women at West Point, (getting ready to celebrate 30 years since the first woman enrolled) but a woman playing basketball against them not only broke away and dunked the ball, but did it twice. Wow.

I've said this before, so forgive me as I say it again. Thank you Mary Wollstonecraft and Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul and Lucy Burns and Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and countless other women, who, although I may not agree entirely with their goals, broke the trail, widened it to a path, and countless other footsteps have continued to create a roadway that my daughter can more easily follow. There are a number of worthy articles to read collected at if you care to read further. Wikipedia's article on "feminist" is a good read, too. While I'm not a big sports fan, this is a milestone on that road that is worthy of notice.

Then I think about the law in South Dakota, and I picture that road as still not safely paved in something solid and resistant like a true road -- it's vulnerable to people like Governor Mike Rounds who would scatter mines along it and see it become impassable and overgrown.

I'm not sure what to do, but I'm going to figure it out and do something. One thing we can do is stop by BitchPHD's blog and those of other bloggers on her blogroll. We should support each other. I'm not a liberal but I'm a feminist. Those two words are not mutually exclusive, whatever some idiots of the far right would have you believe. Feminism is the belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. I'm not a true 'conservative' either, in the current climate around the meaning of that word, politically. Closest I come is Libertarian, I guess.

Anyway - I don't care what your political leanings are as long as you agree that we cannot allow the United States to become a place there is no women's Army Basketball team. We need to become a place where hearing about a woman making two dunks in a game is *not* news. We need to make this happen for my daughter and my granddaughter(s). I want them to look back and be proud of us as I am of the feminists of the 60s and 70s.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Yes, I'm the Lady With the Grandkittles...Why Do You Ask?

I've recently come across two interesting posts. First, the posts, then we'll see where my train of thought is going.

Courtesy of my LJ Friend Alby we have for you today a link to Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure.

And from C|net (yes, again - they just have cool news, IMO) we have the "granny who likes her controller" article - by the way, that's a game console controller. She's known as "Old Grandma Hardcore" to the gamer world. Read the blog her son keeps about her. He is *so* proud. It's fun to read.

Perhaps because I've been spending hours working on learning about CSS and playing around with the template on my old blog, trying to create new banners in PaintShopProX and doing animation in my little animation program, all sandwiched inbetween the two grandkitties - one who likes to walk on my keyboard and the other who likes to sleep behind me on my chair - that I related to the above articles, if just a teensy bit.

If you want to check my progress, my original blog is called Dawno's Complete Catalogue of Ephemeral Thoughts and Personal Trivia (my daughter wanted me to call it "Drive By Booking" after a practice she and her friends invented having to do with driving by someone and throwing a book at them, and she thinks I'm weird). So far I've changed the colors on a bunch of stuff and added a banner graphic that I put together as well.

I've been animation crazy today. First I made this really nifty little animated AV today, but it's too big (over 300kb) to use it anywhere and the optimization program to make it smaller just makes it very ugly and still doesn't get it down to where it needs to be. Back to the drawing board. *sigh* Then I decided to do the new banner. The little 'favicon' up there by my URL? Made that too. (and yes, it's a Star Trek icon. )

OK, time to get the laundry finshed off.

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Where Is the Society for the Protection of Roombas When You Need It?

Some folks have gone and played a reality version of the video game Frogger with a Roomba. OK, I know, it's just a vacuum cleaner and it has no mind or personality, regardless of the anthropomorphizing bent of those who name *ahem* their Roombas, or dress them up, or have videocams set up to record them scooting around sweeping up cat hair, so why am I so sad for the doomed, frog-costumed, Roomba in this article? I'm such a softie.

The Frogger Incident (as I have now come to think of it) occurred at the SXSW event - one of the bloggers on my blogroll (and many of yours) is Tish of Snarkaholic. She was there - hey, Tish, did you watch that? Tish will (I hope) be writing more about SXSW on her blog. Oooh, I want to brag on Tish here, too - she is in Time Magazine's Blogwatch -- Mar. 20, 2006 -- Page 1 listing! Way to go, Tish!

Edited to add - Tish posted on her love and hope and sex and dreams blog about the conference. Do go read!

I wasn't there and I'm still trying to figure out 'what's it all about' so I won't be writing more on the conference here. If you read the article about The Frogger Incident you will learn that this idea was cooked up by " Make Magazine associate editor Phillip Torrone and Eyebeam R&D fellow Limor Fried." Also participating were a number of inebriated über geeks - for example "Kyle Machulis, an expert in 'teledildonics'--sex toys that are controlled remotely via the Internet." (the quoted references are taken from the C|net article linked to above) Anyone else here think that the combination of Roomba hackers and a teledildonics expert could result in very interesting robotic 'domestic help' ?

I gotta figure out how to get to one of these conferences - it sounds like too much fun!

The recent news about the furry lobster kiwa hirsuta was referenced in a friend's Live Journal post. Apparently someone's already created a plush version of the lobster. Another friend (hi, Cookie) is, I believe, waiting for the knitting pattern. I suggested that it would be a cool purse. The claws would each hold an end of a shoulder strap...I want one now.

More meanderings around the 'net brought me to an article about time travel. I'm a fervent believer in scientific exploration and technological advancement. What I'm afraid of is that there is no science or technology that can't be perverted to disasterous use and humankind are not ready for something as potentially dangerous as time travel. Right now I hope this scientist is wrong and there's no way anyone will be crawling into a time machine. However, if I could just go back to last week with the winning lotto number...

The grandkitties are visiting again. TheBoy and his g/f are having some work done at the apartment. I won't gush about them or post new pictures - as much as I'd like to.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

My Bed Is Here!

Now I have to find fitted sheets that have pockets deep enough to go over the very tall mattress. I bought "deep pocket" sheets - nope, not deep enough. I fear I'm going to need very deep pockets to afford the sheets I need. But, oh my, it is so comfy and pretty!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Don't forget to wear your green. Say "Sláinte!" and "Erin Go Bragh!" often.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

DNA - Put on a Happy Face

Today on NPR I heard an amazing story. Paul Rothemund, from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena can create a DNA smiley.

DNA is a biochemical memoir. The genetic combinations which make you who and what you are were contributed by your parents, who got theirs from their parents and so on, all the way back to the beginnings of time. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could 'read' that memoir and learn all about our ancestors - back to the very beginning - whether that was a sludge in a pool of primordial water or Father Adam and Mother Eve? Right now that's not possible - so you have to figure out things about your ancestry from other sources.

Some families are fortunate - they've got a lot of clues lying around or hanging on the walls - diaries, letters, portraits of ancestors (assuming they weren't picked up at a estate sale). Perhaps someone in the family has spent years tracing their genealogy (that could be me, someday - I'm quite fascinated).

What do I know about my ancestry? My father left his family at 17, joined the Air Force. Due to geography, as well as issues he had with his father, we weren't close to them at all. I have a lot of cousins - I don't know how many and I couldn't tell you a name or location of any of them. I've seen one aunt recently - she came to my daughter's graduation last June. Last time I saw anyone else was at my grandmother's funeral in the early 90s. My mother was an only child and her family is a bit more known to me because I inherited my maternal great grandmother's family Bible. Gramma wrote some birthdates and death dates and kept some clippings in it. I also have a very brief journal she wrote in 1969 when she was 78.

So when I saw this quiz on a friend's LiveJournal and did it, it set me off on this particular pondering about how Irish am I really? I may never know.

By the way, when I did this quiz to post on LiveJournal it gave me a 75% - then I went back to do it again to post here - answered exactly the same way and got the results below. Yep, very scientific test. *grin*

You're 80% Irish

Congratulations, you're a shining example of an Irish lass (or lad).
There's hardly anyone more Irish than you!

My apologies to anyone on LJ who has subbed to my RSS feed - I know this part is a duplicate post - even if the results are different. (Isn't he a cutie? - could be a cousin of mine!)

Again, I wonder, how Irish am I, really?

My father is Irish on both sides going all the way back, as far as I can tell, from what he's told me of his family. I think they arrived in the US in the mid-1800s. I was never really clear on my mom's geneology, either - both her mother and father had families that supposedly had been early settlers in the US originating in Wales.

Her father was a Shelby and I recall a claim that he was related to the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Isaac was decended from Evan Shelby, Sr. of Tregaron, Cardiganshire, Wales and emigrated to the US in about 1734 where his son, Isaac, was born (data from Martha's MyTree geneology site).

My maternal great grandfather was named Corwin and was born in the late 1800's. His mother was a Hardenduft. My maternal great grandmother was a Hamilton born in 1891 and her father's entire family was wiped out by a cholera epidemic. My maternal great grandmother's mother was a Van Winkle born approx. 1870 who died shortly after Gramma was born.

Further than that I'm not certain of the history. There was a letter I read long ago, which was sent to my mother from a distant cousin, saying the first Corwin to emigrate to the US was a doctor from Wales who came over in the late 1600's. There was a Corwin in President Fillmore's cabinet (Secty of the Treasury) and Minister to Mexico appointed by Abraham Lincoln, that the family also claims. Oh, Jill, he was a well known Whig politician from Ohio - know anything about him? (just kidding)

While all this is (maybe) interesting to the genealogy buffs in my family, I'm sure it's not riveting for you. Anyway, based on this it appears that I'm a lot Gaelic but only half Irish.

Meanwhile, back to the present day, my new bed won't be delivered until Friday because that's the only day I could work from home for the delivery. I did go buy some really nice new Ralph Lauren sheets at Marshall's tonight - I hope the 'deep pockets' on the fitted bottom sheet are deep enough.

I also have all but one of my St. Patrick's day cards mailed - mostly on Monday, two more today. The one 'straggler' was an address I finally found after diligent searching in all the piles of stuff in my office - I shall be writing my sincere regrets that I didn't the card sent in time for it to be delivered on St. Patrick's day - barring a miracle with postal delivery that gets it across the country in one day.

I'm looking forward to using my special St. Paddy's day AV on AW - it should amuse the folk there. My LJ friends have gotten a sneak peek.

I know that two people have done the Monday Meme, has anyone else? I thought it might be funny so I did it. It won't be hard to figure out what song I chose, (or why I chose it) either:

I close my eyes, only during one moment and the moment which went to.
All my dreams, race in front of my eyes, of curiosity.

A dust in the wind, all which are it, dust in the wind am.

The same old woman song, precisely a drop of the water of a sea without end.
All us, zerbroeckeln (decay of stones into compact fragments) on the ground, although we to reject to see

Wiping him in the wind, all which we are not a dust in the wind.

Are additional now you, nothing lasts for always but the mass and the sky.
Which slip far him and your whole money do not become other minuzioeser (cannot find translation) a purchase.

Wipe in the wind, all which we are a dust in the wind.
Dust in the wind are, all are a dust in the wind.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Remembering My Trip to Ireland

After my long meme post where I showed you several shots of Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, I got out all my St. Patrick's Day cards and got them ready to mail. Of course I started thinking about the trip - so now you get a peek at my thoughts.

Those are my travelling companions. Daughter, SO and son. We're at the home airport waiting for the first leg of the trip which took us to Chicago where we spent the night and the next day. My brother lived there at the time. The reason they're all laughing is that just as I got in position to take this picture my daughter burped. That's a cola she's holding and the carbonation decided to escape. My daughter doesn't produce a quiet lady-like burp. Nope, it's a belch that registers on the Richter. The Homeland Security team went on alert when they heard it. In Washington, D.C.

We flew from Chicago to Dublin and landed in the morning on July 3rd. For some reason I don't have pictures of the hotel (the Westin at College Green, right next to Trinity College) or the Guinness Brewery tour which were the two things we saw first after getting out of the airport. I do have some pictures I took during the coach tour of Dublin on July 4th. Our fabulous guide, Niven, had decorated the coach with little American flags and red, white and blue streamers. For our coach tour Niven had a guide named Christie aboard - Christie was a whitehaired Irish gentleman much to the dismay of the young men on the trip (and maybe some of the older ones but they knew better than to let on with their wives/SO's sitting right next to them).

We drove up and down O'Connell street and saw a number of statues - including the infamous spire known by a number of rowdy names (scroll about halfway down the page to read some of the nicknames).

This statue is not of someone shaking his fist. It's Father Theobald Mathew a 19th century temperence movement leader. Apparently temperance and Irish aren't mutally exclusive terms, although I bet you could win some bar bets with the facts and figures. (Google is your friend) Folks routinely try to perch a can of Guinness in his hand which is missing its fingers from all the attempts (perhaps this is a Dublin Urban Myth, makes a good story anyway, so I'll perpetuate it).

We also drove past a number of Georgian townhomes with the brightly painted doors that you may have seen in picture books or posters about Ireland. Christie told us a story about how the colored doors came to be - to help drunken gentlemen tell their front door from the neighbor's late at night.

Our coach tour eventually took us to St. Patrick's Cathedral. Both the SO and I have a great number of pictures of the inside - I'll only post a few. First thing we saw was a carved stone found in the early 1900's covering an ancient well that was said to have been in constant use from before the time of St. Patrick through the 16th century. Folk believe that it may be a well that St. Patrick used to baptise his converts. There are two crosses carved on the stone - one is quite primative looking, the other a more detailed Celtic cross.

The Cathedral has a number of antiquities - including many items belonging to Jonathan Swift who was Dean of the Cathedral in the first half of the 1700's. That's a bust of Swift. They have his death mask as well.

The last picture of the Cathedral I'll share here is one the SO took. He captioned it "best collection dish EVAH" and put in about 4 Euros contribution. It's a Guinness keg.

When we finished there the next stop was Kilmainham Gaol, which I've already written much about. After that we went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. We were not allowed to photograph there. The display of the book is under glass and that's the only thing separating you from the book - you can lean over the waist high table and get your nose just above the glass and you're only inches from the incredible illuminated text of the Gospels. Breathtaking.

The tour guide, our guide and the coach dropped us off at Trinity and took the rest of the day off for themselves. The SO and my daughter and I wandered around the area - saw St. Stephen's Green and did some shopping. My SO and I have matching modernized Claddagh rings from the trip.

Then we went to the hotel for a nap. That night we were going out to the Abbey Tavern for dinner and we needed to rest up. I'll post about that another time.

Thanks for coming along on this little journey.

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Tah Dah!

The new bed.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Jill Tagged Me!

Jill posted this meme and her answers over on Writes Like She Talks. First, go read hers - it's good!

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4

The History of Kilmainham Gaol
. Bought it in Ireland last summer after taking a tour with the family. When we went to Ireland, I was very ignorant of much of the history of my ancestral home. Our guide at the gaol made sure we got a thorough education there about the treatment of the leaders of the Irish rebellion against England. He was really cute too. Before I go to page 18, let’s take a look at some of the pictures I took. And here's a good little blog post I found about the Gaol if you want to read more.

This is my son and daughter in one of the cells. (Yes, I was worried the whole time we were in Ireland, that his pants would fall off.) These cells, meant for one prisoner, we learned, were often home to five prisoners (maybe more?) during the peak years of overcrowding caused by the Famine.

Next is the cell where they did hangings. It was one of the first places we saw on the tour. My sister was so distressed by the Gaol she turned around and waited for us outside.

This is taken from inside a large open area in the center of the prison - I believe it's the east wing.

Same room – opposite side. The stunning thing is that the architecture is somewhat attractive. The prison was built to the specifications of prison reformers in the late 1700's. The east wing is a newer construction from the 1860's and it seems that there was at least a cosmetic effort made in this area. Can't say as much for the actual cells where most prisoners were kept.

This next cell has been preserved by donations – Grace Plunkett, nee Gifford, stayed here, she was a young artist who in 1916 had married, Joseph Plunkett an "insurgent" and one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, in the prison chapel just hours before he was executed, was jailed in this cell during the 1923 Irish Civil War. She left this Madonna and Child painting.

Sorry that the size of these pictures are all over the place. I may take the time to clean that up and edit but it's too challenging for right now.

OK, to finally answer the prompt from the meme, on page 18, line 4 it says: “The prisons board began to look at ways of saving money by closing some prisons. Kilmainham was one of them.”

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, what do you find?

A LED book light clipped to the top of a penholder cup/gizmo with little drawers in it to hold small office stuff like paperclips. The light doesn't work very well. It's a great idea, all flexible and with an LED the battery lasts a long time and the light doesn't get hot. It would be niceer if it actually illuminated the page in the dark, however.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Stargate SG1 season finale. Things look grim. The Ori ships are pounding the crap out of the good guy’s (and not so good guy’s) fleet.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.

12:30 pm

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?

12:44 pm – guess I need to wind my internal clock…

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

Cat meowing, dryer drying, SO prepping a load of wash – detergent, spin the dial, close the lid – now I hear the washer filling up. Now he’s gone into the bathroom – uh, I won’t tell you what I hear. Here's the cat at his place of honor at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Well, to be honest he grabbed the SO's chair the minute it was vacant. Ignore the timestamp on the photo - it was taken last November.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
This morning. I took John Grisham's The Broker and a cigarette out to the back porch and sat and read while I smoked it - the cigarette, not the book. Speaking of the book, I'm enjoying it a lot. It's very much all about Italy with a bit of a thriller plot thrown in for variety. Lots of language lessons and descriptions and history. The story about the protagonist is quite secondary so far. Even so, it is very engaging and I keep turning the pages because I know something interesting is going to happen. Outside today is very cold but sunny. The clouds haven’t come back yet so maybe we’ll get a break in the rain today.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
Jill’s post tagging me to do this. She called me the patron saint of memes. :-)

9. What are you wearing?

I have a heather brown turtleneck under a light brown Express sweatshirt that’s easily 25 years old and in great condition. They made this thing to last. My sister gave it to me and she’d had it for years herself before I got it. The outside is heavily embroidered in a kind of coat of arms with flowers and a shield in the middle. Above it in purple embroidery is "Provence" and under the shield is the year "1981" which might be the year Express went into business. Who knows? I like the sweatshirt and wear it a lot. Oh, and comfy old Levi's and some slippers that were my moms but she had never gotten to wear them - they were still in the original unopened package when we were packing up some of her things to give away to charity last year.

10. Did you dream last night?

I don’t remember any specifics of the dreams but I always dream.

11. When did you last laugh?

About two minutes ago. The cat and the SO were being cute - they're napping on the sofa now.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Not much - actually only one thing. A KQED (local public radio with NPR, etc) “Stars of KQED Radio” calendar where each month is a different baby picture of one of the announcers from KQED. This month is Kathryn Baron and she was a cutie. That’s it. Well, except for a few cobwebs up at the ceiling that I really should dust.

13. Seen anything weird lately?

I see weird everyday, all the time. I work at a high tech company. Folks love to put weird stuff in and around their cubes. Mostly it’s techie in-jokes and strange figurines of creatures invented for online gaming. Often it’s the actual techies. This is one of the top hit links when you Google "cube farm" - it's quite like what we have around my place of work.

14. What do you think of this quiz?

I’m having fun with it. I think I may use it for an AW Monday Meme – but not this week, I already have a good one recommended by someone from AW.

15. What is the last film you saw?
In a theatre: Narnia; on cable:(forgive me,) Dodgeball. It was the SO’s fault.

16. If you turned into a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
Nice homes for all my children and one for me & the SO that had a big library and a big room for him to have a pool table. He'd have a nice office for his computer and I'd have mine in the library with floor to ceiling wall to wall bookcases. Maybe with a pool and a jacuzzi. Oh, and new cars for all of us, then I'd buy a bookstore and lots of science fiction and fantasy inventory - more variety than I can find in the local Borders, B&N, etc. Then I’d invest the rest and live off the interest comfortably instead of squandering it on all the cool stuff I’d be tempted to squander it on.

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.

Depending on who the “me” in tell me is, that could be anything or very little. Hmm. My eyes are hazel – almost green. Depending on what I wear they look browner or greener. Also, I played piccolo in the High School Marching Band. And I submitted a poem to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction when I was 17 and got a nice hand written note on the form rejection slip from somebody – I doubt it was Ed Ferman, but that would have been cool - that said it was a fine poem but not suited to their current needs. I had read poetry there in the past so I thought maybe they'd like mine - the optimism of youth. It was my first attempt at professional publication. Then I got all busy with college and life and family and didn't try again. Till now - over 30 years later.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt and politics, what would you do?
Nothing. I am a firm believer in the Prime Directive. If we meddle thinking we know better we end up with more problems. So I wouldn't change anything about the world, but I wish people would help more when they're asked to help. And just help with what they're asked to, not try and attach some moral or political strings to it.

19. Do you like to Dance?
Yes. Last time I danced, however, I did something to my hip that pained me for months and months and still have some aches there two years later. I won’t be “Twisting Like I Did Last Summer”, again.

20. George Bush.

It is a terrible shame that the Democrats couldn’t have found someone I could have voted for.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?


22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what would you call him?

He is a boy, and I named him Matthew – I’d do it again.

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Yep. In order: Australia, Ireland, the UK. I’m a rabid Anglophile. I’d love to visit all sorts of other places but I’d want to live in those.

24. What would you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

"The loved ones who went before you, they’re are all here waiting for you so they can get the party going."

25. 4 people who must also do this theme in their journal.
Strictly voluntary. I’ll be posting it in a couple weeks as the AW Monday Meme – so you might want to wait.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

After 16 Years, Is It Really Time for a New Bed?

Yep. I have been sleeping on the same mattress set for 16 years. I think that's probably 6 or 8 years too long - even for a good mattress, which this was. In an effort to take whatever measures might help with a number of bodily aches and chronic daily mental fatigue that means I'm seriously unproductive for several hours in the morning (one reason I don't usually blog in the morning), I've decided to buy a new mattress set and maybe some bedroom furniture.

Of course, that also means that I'll need to buy spiffy new sheets and stuff. Probably some new pillows, too. Now, neither sheets nor pillows currently on the bed are as old as the mattress, mind you. Those things I do buy replacements for every couple years. I'm thinking I'd like to buy the sheet sets to go with some kind of decor...but right now the bedroom has no decor. It has few random occasional tables in lieu of real bedside tables and piles of stuff that don't fit anywhere else in the house. I have living room and dining room decor, so the stuff that doesn't go with, goes in the bedroom.

I prefer a simple modern - kind of "urban" look. I saw a picture online of a platform bed with extensions on the side that served as bedside tables and the headboard had nooks that you could put stuff in. Problem was it was too inexpensive, so I doubt if it looks good close up, it's probably made of cheap veneers over compostion wood, and comes in a flat box labeled "easy assembly" with lots of pieces and parts and instructions that were badly translated from Serbo-Croatian into Italian and then English with a buggy bootleg copy of BabelFish.

I want solid real wood furniture. I've had pieces of inexpensive furniture where the faux wood grain laminate started peeling when the humidity got over 20%. Assembled it myself, too. Have the scars to prove it. When you don't have a hammer a shoe can work - and it can smash your thumb as well as a hammer would. I'm always proud when there are some bits left over - it's much better than being short one crucial bolt or "fastener part, use hex key provided."

Anyway, back to reality. I've asked the SO along to test out the bed as well - I'm not going to make this decision on my own - he has to sleep on half of it, well 3/4ths of it, too. I'm fairly certain that we'll both find the same firmness level comfortable. We're compatable sleepers - that is, if I'm not breaking the local sound pollution ordinances with my snoring and he's not pushing me off the bed with his unconscious migrations, or trying to steal my pillows. Get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, lay back down and "wham" the head goes right thru where those pillows used to be and slams into the bed. The whiplash effects make it a bit tough to get back to sleep, even after I've pried the pillows out from the death grip in which they are clutched. In the morning he feigns complete lack of knowledge that this has occured and infers that I'm having "weird dreams, again." My weird dreams are not about stolen pillows. Ask me about the pastel bunnies some day. They were in graduated colors and sizes (like the Cat in the Hat little cats A-Z). But I digress again.

The other thing compatible about us, is that we're both "cocoon" sleepers. I have two pillows and 4 blankets because I'm always cold. He has 2 blankets and 6 pillows - and I have no idea why he needs 6. He surrounds himself with pillows and I roll up in blankets. I often wonder if we're unusual in that or if there are lots of folk who share a bed and do the same thing. Feel free to mention it in the comments if you're like that. :-)

Sleeping in a hotel bed is always stressful because we're stuck with one set of bedding. I'm going to be cold and he's going to want all my pillows. And they're always teensy flat pillows, too. If we drive, we bring our own pillows with - but most times when the two of us travel together lately, we've flown. We have a queen sized bed at home, so, when we're in a hotel, it's nice to sleep in a king sized one. But, if you get a room with two doubles, then you have extra blankets and pillows that you don't have to bug the front desk for.

Unless you're at Embassy Suites - they already have that stuff in the room because the sofa in the living room is a pull out. I like Embassy Suites for the free breakfast, too. I don't like Embassy Suites when it's full of kids running around all hours of the night. Since the plan of the hotel is inward facing rooms around an open central atrium area, the noise outside, regardless of whether it's on your floor or five above it, echoes terribly. What the heck are these kids' parents doing letting them run wild? I'm thinking they've locked themselves behind the door into the bedroom half of the suite, put in their earplugs and are hopeful the kids will just sit quietly on the sofabed and watch tv until the little darlings fall asleep. Right. I *do* live in fluffy bunny universe and I'm not that naive.

The other thing the SO and I can't sleep without is the fan. The SO needs something to mask distant outdoor noises that only he can hear - I claim it's small, stealthy creatures making noises their predators can't hear but the SO insists he can, he tells me to stop being so snarky. Perhaps there's some truth to the idea that I'm jealous because I'm going deaf. Anyway, I like the fan noise just fine and now I'm addicted to it. I even have a little desk fan I pack with me when I go on business trips.

I've probably bored you to tears. If not let me know and I'll send you an email all about the time we went out shopping for the living room couch. Talk about excitement.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Picture Share!

I warned you if I figured out how to use mobile blogging you'd regret it. This is a huge tub of sunflower seeds I saw that reminded me of Mac.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Whatcha Think About the New Banner?

My dear friend Cookie has created that faboo new banner above. Hooray for Cookie! Now I just have to get her interested in AW *wink*

Cookie and I used to be active on a forum that Wil Wheaton had attached to his blog, the WWdN (WilWheatondotNet) Soapbox. The WWdN Soapbox is defunct now but some of us munkehs still keep in touch.

Speaking of WWdN, I took a peek at what he's got posted and saw that he'd made some comments about the Oscars show. Yay! someone who disliked the montages as much as I did! It's nice to have one's opinion supported, isn't it :-)

I fucking hated it that they kept cutting winners short when they tried to give speeches, so they could do yet another stupid montage about how great movies are. Yeah, we know movies are great. If we didn't think movies were great, we wouldn't be watching. Most of these people get this chance once in their lives; give them the respect they've earned and more than 40 seconds to enjoy and share it, jerks. (That's a different group of jerks than the jerks I was referring to in my first paragraph. You know who you are . . . jerks.)

Thanks to a prowl over at Technorati, I saw that my little Oscars meme has been picked up on a Live Journal blog as well as Jen.nifer's. Thanks nemo_gravis and Jennifer!

Oh, I wrote to the folks to whom I submitted a little 'how to' article a month back - they said I'd know if they were going to accept my article by the end of this month. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Remember me kvetching about my memory? - Key to Strong Memory in Old Age: Just Believe Now if I could only remember to believe in my memory...

Just got this in an email today:

International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions. In adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and an increase of support for women's full and equal participation.
The unfortunate thing is that the news I read is about how the U.N. doesn't seem to be doing much beyond lipservice to the cause - and the whole thing wasn't all that newsworthy - just a few articles came up in my search. Regardless, for all the women who stop by, and all the men who stand beside us, and all the heroic feminists past, thank you.

Oh, I just added a new thingamabob to the sidebar. Check out the International Earth-Destruction Advisory Board site, it's a hoot.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Yeah, It's a Meme - Forgive Me Mac!

Sorry, I know I shouldn't post this - but I kinda like it. It's my own creation, too.

The Oscars Meme! (this week's AW Monday Meme)

1. Which award was the biggest surprise to you?
2. Which award was exactly what you expected?
3. Which nominee do you feel got the award for some reason other than being the best in their category? Explain.
4. What scared you the most about Dolly Parton?
5. On a scale of one to ten, rate Jon Stewart's hosting.
6. Who would you like to see host next year's awards? Why?
7. Did the film montages seem like a ridiculous self-congratulatory waste of time to you? Why or why not? (gee, my feelings aren't obvious here, are they?)
8. Favorite gown?
9. Express your opinion of whether or not writers of western novels who write award winning screenplays should get to wear jeans to the ceremony.
10. Tom Hanks - what's with the long hair?
11. Who's hotter, George Clooney or Heath Ledger?
12. How come we love Aussie/Kiwi/Brit/Welsh/Irish/Scots actors so much?
13. Reese - blonde or brunette?,

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Wherein Dawno Wants to Climb the Evolutionary Ladder

Thank you to those of you who commented in the last post - I did drop in a short reply in comments if you want to check.

I'm really tired of being a wriggly worm or a crunchy crustacean on the TTLB index. At one point I think I'd climbed up to slimy molluscs but I've sunk low again. Some of you folk that are linking to me just need to sign up so I can move up the evolutionary ladder and that's that.

What I'm even more annoyed about isn't my lack of an internal skeleton or sophisticated central nervous system, it's that all the A list blogs on TTLB and elsewhere are so damn serious and political. You'd think what the goverment was up to is the most important thing in life, if all you read were those blogs.

I like a nice rant about politics now and again, but frankly shouldn't there be some variety? Yes, TTLB's #5 is BoingBoing and that has variety - but it throws in a bit of political stuff as well, so it's not PURE, ah say, PURE entertainment. The whole top ten is punditry, Insta and otherwise. *sigh* I don't watch the Today Show, so I was entertained to learn that Katie Couric has a pair of 'smart glasses', but that was buried at the end of a post about that teacher who got recorded 'ranting' about Bush. I DON'T CARE! MAKE ME LAUGH, DAMNIT!

(By the way, I'm not linking to, or mentioning, the blog in which the 'smart glasses' statement is found. You can check out TTLB's #1 blog and you'll find the reference there. I ain't linking to blogs I can't recommend one reads and don't read myself.)

All this political talk is serious and seriousness is stressful - and stress causes heart disease, stroke and premature signs of aging like frownie wrinkles. I want to prevent frownie wrinkles and promote healthy laughing.

I say, let's promote more websites with cats and Roombas and cats dressed up like Roombas and vice versa! Hell, I want to dress up like a Roomba now.

I wonder if there is a social group for people who like to dress up like Roombas, like there is for people who like to dress up in animal costumes. Alternatively, maybe there's a support group for people who want to dress up like Roombas - one with a 12 step program. "Hi, I'm Dawno and I dress up like a Roomba Sage on weekends." "Hi Dawno!!"

I mean, didn't we all have a blast over the Weight Watchers Cards? Wasn't that better than reading blogs about who's going to control the ports of entry? I say let 'em all in and feed them from those cards - they'll head back from whence they came pretty dang quick if they're fed Marcy's "Enchilada" made with real Diet Velveeta on Rye Toast. Now, there's something - it was made with toast, so why didn't they call it a "Toastada" - that would have been clever as well as inedible.

What's the funniest book you've read? I think I need to go out and buy me some laughs.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Reviewing and Compassion

It seems to me that the major newspaper and magazine book reviewers check their compassion at the door - they might be excited about a book, and that comes out in the review, but what they're not is concerned about the author's feelings.

I'm a very compassionate person. I hate the idea of hurting anyone. But in the case of a recent review I wrote, I had to force myself not think of the author at all, or I wouldn't have been able to write the review. I know that if my review had been written by someone else about a book I had written, I'd be upset. I don't know if I'd be able to see beyond criticism and understand that what I was reading was advice I needed. If it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself of something here, well, yeah, kinda. I really want to give this reviewing thing a try. I've been reading reviews and thinking about what a good one says. I love to read and I love to write, so it seems like a good match. I have a lot to learn - and I'm going to do some additional studying - but meanwhile I want to keep writing reviews.

Let me explain a bit further. This is a POD published book I reviewed for the POD People blog that a fellow AW member has started. I think this is a good concept - I know there are little gems of books out there in POD land and I'd like to think I'll get the opportunity to read some of them.

The book I read was a modern political thriller. The book's idea was good and the writer seemed to have a strong background in the subject. But as a thriller it wasn't thrilling - many of the characters were just too 'evil' and opportunities to make the protagonist much more engaging and sympathetic were missed. The conspiracy part of the plot stretched my credulity too far. Lastly, I haven't read a thriller that I can recall that didn't end with some kind of vindication for the protagonist - which I think this one could have done, but didn't. So I was disappointed to have invested in the lead character when the book ended as it did. Now, that's personal so I didn't put it in the review. Should I have?

I read the entire book out of obligation to the committment I'd made to read and review it. If I'd bought it at a bookstore, I wouldn't have been able to finish it - and it would be one of the rare few books that I could ever say that about.

Now I'm not sure I'm that good of a reviewer or that what I wrote was any good either. I would like to know and improve. Please feel free to read the review I wrote and drop me an email - be as critical as needed - like I said above, please check your compassion at the door - it will make me a better writer and help me help others. Rest assured, I'll feel better in the long run about my work if I think it has some redeeming value to the writer - so you can too if your criticism helps me.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

McCain in 2008?

McCain in 2008? | YES!!

This is a Salon Premium article - so I'm not sure if you can get a free day pass to read it - if not, read what other bloggers are saying about the article and get the gist there.

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It's the Blogossary

Yes, I'm going "blog this" crazy today. I'll probably get over it...eventually. I'm reading a great William Safire article and it mentions this site: Blogossary. Another cool link for a Saturday stroll in the blogosphere, a term coined according to Safire - and I'm betting he did his research:
at 12:54 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2002, as the blogosphere, when William Quick posted the coinage on his blog, Daily Pundit

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A YouTube Video Clip - Skating Cowboys

Fan yourselves ladies! YouTube - Skating Cowboys

Found via Making Light Particles.

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You Won't See This in a Crochet Pattern Magazine

OK. It's another one. Some folks like to knit sweaters. Some folk like to knit science fiction B movies...Giant Squid vs. GI tract. Knit one, perl one - cue Irving Allen!


Tomato Nation Shares a Roomba Story

Quickie post for now - just had to share this link from Tomato Nation. It has it all - cats, drama, humor - and a Roomba!

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Listening to the Mackerel in My Mind

I titled yesterday's post something about people not *getting* Dawno and then the mackerel in my mind had me meander around talking about everything but. So tonite I talk about that a bit. I'd talk more but frankly I can't remember for the life of me what I was thinking about last night. (See this post for more about my creeping senility)

Yes, I'm odd. I don't deny it or try to be something I'm not. Truly, what you see here and on AW is me. There are some things about my work and my family that I don't post...that's just because of the whole needing a paycheck thing and respect for other's privacy. The rest is pure Dawno.

At work I keep trying to get people to recognize the wonderful collaboration potentials of things like a project blog or wiki. They look at me as if I had grown a third eye. Excuse me, but do we work for a tech company? Sheesh. Then there's my sense of humor. Apparently very few of the people I work with read much fiction or genre literature. Do they just read stuff from O'Reilly? (and no, I don't mean that windbag Bill O'Reilly) It's frustrating. I suppose if I learned to tell jokes in C++ I'd be a big hit. And sarcasm? Apparently many IT folks are extremely literal minded. I have to waggle my eyebrows or make sure my tone is sufficiently sardonic.

Thank goodness two of my good buddies here understand me. One is British and was weaned on dry, dark humor. The other seems to doubt that there's much intelligent life on planet Earth... He's great for venting with when I'm fed up with people.

In other news, Making Light has posted about Roombas! Specifically about costumes for same. Hee hee. They apparently don't read my blog over there - that's ok. I know (and you do, too) that I got there first. :-) Oh, here's a nifty little movie about a day in the life of a Roomba. There's this one too. I promise my Rudy will never do that.

Yanno what's really scary (that's if you didn't find the monkey Roomba bad enough)? Clicking on the "next blog" button up there on the right. Gee, is there a lot of weirdness around here! I hit 3 blogs that are nonsense and apparently are set up to garner hits for keywords relating to gambling online. There were a number of, um, mature content sites. And some that just made no sense. Mostly because they were in foriegn languages...Strange stuff out there.

My daughter sent me a text earlier - she's got a job working mornings at her college in the cafeteria. I can't picture her in a hairnet. And she hated doing dishes. I'm proud of her for working though. Her father and I are happy to support her while she's in school, but she wants to do some of it herself. What a great kid.

Have a good weekend!

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gallimaufry Mackerelly

I really wanted to update more often this week. I'm exhausted, though. I'm at the launch of a new project and I'm the project manager, so I'm putting in a lot of extra hours. I've gotten a chance to start working with a great team - including a couple new folks I've not worked with before. I'm energized by that during the day. It's just when I get home that my brain turns to fluffy mackerel pudding.

So, just some brief updates: the cat has a cold. At least we hope it's only a cold. Pumpkin slipped off this mortal coil back in the fall after exhibiting many of the same symptoms and then just getting worse and worse. *sigh*

Anyone planning to go to the 64th World Science Fiction Convention in LA? I'll be there! I had a chance to go to the one held up here in San Jose a few years back and blew it. I'm not going to let another opportunity get away from me. I've paid my registration to the convention folk and reserved my room at the hotel. Whoopee!!

The SO is going down to Central Calif. this weekend to play in a billiards tournament. I won't mention the town but he's less than thrilled about the locale. If he gets to go on to the finals, however, those are in Las Vegas. I hope I can get time off to go. If it's before June, probably out of the question - after that it's more likely.

Now that Comedy Central is playing regular clips of highlights from Jon Stewart's Daily Show their site hits are through the roof. Used to be folks might wander by once a month or so - now they come by three or four times a week because there's a new clip every day from the previous night's show. Clever stuff.

I've spoken about the Friday night Geekathon before - well finally Monk is back, as well as Numbers. I read that this summer The 4400, The Dead Zone and Rescue Me are coming back as well. Yay! Maybe I watch too much tv? Well, all my dear Canadian friends ought to be happy - aren't a lot of these shows filmed up there?

Hope all is well with you and yours! Only two weeks 'til St. Patrick's day!

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