Sunday, January 29, 2006

AW Monday Meme #7

The days just fly by! Here we are at another Monday. And a Happy Chinese New Year,to you as well.

Today's little quiz is about computers and you.

1. Do you remember the first computer you ever used? If so, tell us what you remember and why you were using it.

2. Do you remember the first computer you ever bought for yourself? What was it - if you know details like how much memory it had or anything funny about it, share!

3. What kind of computer are you using right now? Any particular story about you and your computer experience you can share?

4. Is there one thing about having a computer that is particularly important in your personal history? Something you wouldn't have done or known unless you had a computer? Some big change having one made in your life? - for example, I met my SO 15 years ago because I bought a Commodore128 that had a floppy disk in it for an online service called Q-Link. We would never have met if I'd bought a different computer.

Dawno's answers:

1. The first computer I ever used was in 1976 at college - it was a terminal in a computer lab hooked up to a big mainframe - I think it was called a VAX. You picked up a phone, hit a couple numbers and set the handset into this cradle beside the terminal. I was learning Basic and doing simple programs in a special computer class for humanities students. I loved it.

2. The first computer I ever bought for myself was a Sinclair ZX81 that I ordered from an ad in Science News magazine. It only had 1K of internal memory, no color or sound and a flat (i.e., keyless) touch-sensitive keyboard. My monitor was a little black and white tv and the re-writeable 'memory' was a cassette tape in a tape recorder.

You could also get a 'printer' which was a thermal tape printer that printed on a tape about the width of a cash register receipt. I think I had this idea that I could use my computer for all kinds of nifty stuff - but I soon found out that I'd have to learn a lot about programming to get it to do anything - although I did play around with it for a few years. I still have it in a box in my storage unit. That and the Commodore Vic20 I got next and the Commodore128 I got after that. The 128 was finally a computer that I could actually use for a number of fun things - word processing with clip art graphics, games, chat, etc.

3. My current computer is a Sony VAIO laptop. It's a few years old now but my sweetie got it for me because I needed a new laptop and I picked this model because it was small. The keyboard is much more compact than my work laptop (an IBM) and I have small hands. It just fits. I actually wanted an even smaller one but by the time we got to ordering they didn't have them anymore. I'll probably end up with a new laptop eventually, but I'm pretty fond of this one.

4. See the example up above for my answer to #4 - of course I wouldn't have this blog if it wasn't for computers! Nor would I have discovered the two wonderful online forums I've participated in for the last few years: tehSoapbox and AbsoluteWrite's Water Cooler

Hope you'll do the meme!


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Friday Night Geek Fest and Other Nerdy Stuff

Friday Night = Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, NUMB3RS, House, Monk (although we TiVo Monk and watch it another night). A regular geekathon of TV.

I'm also a Smallville fan, so this week's episode was a sad one for me. John Schneider gave SciFi Wire an interview about his feelings.

On "My Yahoo" one of my sections is news from various tech and science sites. The other day I saw an article about the world's smallest fish being discovered in a peat bog in Sumatra. I sent the article to Frank Baron (What Fish Don't Want You to Know). The very next day NPR's All Things Considered did a piece on it. I don't know why, but I felt quite happy that the little fish was getting all this attention.

Sci Fi Wire also printed in its "Rumors" section that Paramount might want Patrick Stewart to play Jean-Luc Picard again but by the time they get around to shooting he feels he might be too old (Stewart is 65 now).

Google won the copyright case. "Google's storage of the material was "fair use" under copyright law." the article says. A meta tag on his (the plaintiff) page could have prevented it from being searched and cached. I think there may be a lesson there for anyone who is putting their work on the web or in a blog. Not sure how those meta tags work, and it's not really a big worry for me - but some of you might want to consider learning about it if you're putting original works on the web.

Another cool article I found was "Freezing Assets: Human Corpsicles Could Wake Up Rich" not so much on it's information about Dynasty Trusts but for all the references in the article to Science Fiction stories featured in it. For example, "The word 'corpsicle' was probably coined by Frederik Pohl in the mid-1960's" and this excerpt:
One of my other favorite early cryonics stories occurs in Doorways in the Sand, a wonderful 1976 novel by Roger Zelazny. The story's protagonist is an "eternal" student, whose education is being paid year after year from the trust fund established by his frozen uncle. And what would happen if his uncle were revived? "I deal with problems as they arise. So far, my uncle hasn't."
I'm adding to my Stuff and Such links. They're looking for contributors, too - it's not a paying market but it might be fun to contribute.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Very Linkie Post

Don't try to find Richard at the new blog that's really not Richard's....

Do go to Blogcritics and check out what Ray and Joanne are up to there. There's some fun news about Joanne's review of The Pacific Between on her site so do pop over there and read it and her review of Jenna's book The Street Smart Writer, too.

I've occasionally wondered what it would be like to be 'discovered' by the greater blogiverse (yeah, I know it's called the blogosphere but I like my word better and it's my blog. nyah.) and get a lot of traffic here. The other day a fellow blogger had that happen and it wasn't pretty. I was amazed. Go read this post on Tish's blog Snarkaholic, you'll be amazed too. What the heck is wrong with people?

OK, I think I've given the SO enough of a head start to be well enough asleep that I can go to bed now without waking him. Have a great Friday - Happy Bridget Fonda's birthday and Mozart's, too.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

AW Monday Meme #6

Recipe Meme

Open your refrigerator. What is the first item on the left at the front of the 'fridge on the top shelf.

Open the food cupboard closest to the stove. What is the first food item on the right on the bottom shelf (you may go up a shelf if your bottom shelf holds pet food or non-food stuff)

Find online or create for us from your imagination, a recipe using those two things as primary ingredients.

For example: fridge: Snapple diet lemon iced tea
cupboard: rice

I tried Google - there was a listing for hot green tea over sticky rice as a food a Japanese mom would give a child with a stomach ailment. I don't think cold Snapple diet lemon tea on rice sounds too good - but, maybe one could use the tea to cook the rice - it might add an interesting color and flavor. Serve with Teryaki Chicken cut in strips and a fresh salad.

There's my recipe.

What's yours?!

If you Google (or use any search engine) for the recipe, please share the URL.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Science Fiction Knitting and Crochet

If you are a Dr. Who fan who knits you need to go to this site. When I saw that site it got me wandering around looking at other knitting sites - I've mentioned before the wonderful blog "You Knit What??" A recent post highlights a piece of headwear that they feel would "go over well at a Star Trek Convention" Speaking as someone who's been to a few, uh, nope. Perhaps if you did it in a metallic mohair-like yarn and wore it as an alien hairpiece...maybe. But not as shown in that picture. Not even the Borg would assimilate you in that.

However, this pattern might actually get you some kudos at the next con.

If you Google "knitting" you will get 12,800,000 hits. Crochet only returns 5,400,000. I'm disappointed in crocheters. And tatting, sheesh, only 630,000. Actually I'm amazed that there were any links on tatting.

When I was in college there was a program where students could teach a course for credit and anyone who signed up for the course could get credit for taking it, too. I taught a Crafts course one quarter. I had 12 students. I did classes on knitting, crocheting, tatting, card weaving (a fun way to make interesting patterns but only suitable for very narrow things like belts or headbands), loom weaving and needlepoint. I loved it and I think the students had fun. One lesson was about laces and we talked about the different kinds of lacemaking and I did a little tatted piece to illustrate one kind of handmade lace. I thought it was a lost art then but with 630k links I guess it's still got a little following out there.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

AW Monday Meme #5 (better late than never!)

Yikes! Yesterday was Monday! I was off work for a 3-day weekend and I think it just seemed like I forgot to do the AWMonday Meme! What got my attention was that I wandered over to Halspacejock's site and he had a meme, so I 'nicked' it with a little editing.

Last Live Music Show Seen:

Last CD Purchased:

Last Thing Cooked:

Last New Thing Eaten:

Last Thing Bought:

Last Gift Received:

Last Piece of Clothing Bought or Received as a Gift:

Last Embarrassing Experience:

Last Totally New Experience:

Last Foreign Country Visited, if any:

Last Big Achievement:

If you want to link back to this site or Hal's blog, that's always a nice thing to do.

here's the tag ,

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Archives Meme

Tagged by Kira, who was tagged by Mac who was tagged by Tish and that's as far as I'm going with the 'begats' on this meme...

The meme goes like this:
1. go to your archive - check

2. find the 23rd post - August 18, 2004 (in my first blog at

3. find the 5th sentence - here ya go: "A couple of glasses of OJ and head upstairs." Wow. And this from a post about going to the Star Trek Convention in Vegas! LOL! There were some bits of that post that were actually funny...not that one!

4. post the text of the sentence in a blog entry along with these instruction - check

5. tag other people - hmmm. As the "mistress" of the AW Monday Meme I struggle with tagging folks since I post a meme for all and sundry every Monday. hmmm.

PeeDee and Emeraldcite - wanna keep this one going? If you do, Miriam Abacha from Nigeria has millions for you!! But if you break the chain Craig Shergold won't break the Guinness World Book of Records record for receiving the most get well postcards. Surely you wouldn't want that to happen?


Friday, January 13, 2006

Raimi to Direct Wee Free Men

Yep, the Spiderman director is going to direct a movie from the work of one of my very most favorite authors, Terry Pratchett. I'm very happy for Terry (at least I think I should be because I would hope this is lucrative in a number of ways for him) and hope the movie doesn't end up a complete disappointment.

Wee Free Men is the book that's going to be made into a movie. It's a YA book but I couldn't put it down and I also waited with great anticipation for the sequel, A Hat Full of Sky. One doesn't have to be fully acquainted with the Discworld series to appreciate these books, which makes perfect sense since at the target age the readers may not have read those. They are charming stories about a girl, Tiffany Aching, and her journey of self-discovery. She is accompanied on her journey by the Pictsies, aka the Nac Mac Feegle. You can get a wee flavor of the kind of folk the Nac Mac Feegle are by knowing that one of them is named No'-as-big-as-Medium-Sized-Jock-but -bigger-than-Wee-Jock Jock and the following list of sayings (courtesy of Wikipedia)
  • There can only be one t'housand!!
  • They can tak' oour lives but they cannae tak' oour troousers!
  • Ye'll tak' the high road an' I'll tak' yer wallet!
  • Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willnae be fooled again!
  • While phonetically rendered dialect is usually a real turn off for me in the case of the Nac Mac Feegle it's essential to the story. You can't really get them unless you can imagine hearing them speak. If you're looking for fun, light reading and perhaps have a niece or know a young girl around 10 or 11 who maybe isn't quite fitting in grab a copy, read it and then pass it along.

    TGIF, friends. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

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    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Joining the Frey Fray

    Yeah, that pun is overworked - it's cliche. But, I read on Ray's blog about what his friend (and I think mine too, but it might be another Lori) wrote which I have swiped from Ray's blog:

    Whether or not you like Oprah is not really the issue. Her bookclub is a powerful marketing tool and, as an individual, she is a powerful, public persona. The fact that she continues to support a writer who has engaged in unethical behavior is disappointing and tarnishes her by association. If you agree, send a polite e-mail saying so and explaining why.

    OK, if you don't know the background to this:

    Here's what I think urks writers about this: A writers job is to be honest. If it's fiction, sell it as fiction. If it's highly fictionalized but based in reality, say so. I still consider myself a wannabe writer so I don't want anyone to think I'm arrogant enough to think I'm speaking for all of them, but I've been hanging out with writers for about a year now (albeit virtually) and I think I have a good idea about what they're thinking. If you want to read some posts that writers have made about the whole deal there's a thread on the Absolute Write Water Cooler forum all about this.

    Another thing that makes me think I'm right about what writers might feel about this issue is I'm listening to Stephen King's On Writing (I got the audio book for my iPod (thank you Sweetie!!), unabridged, read by Mr. King - it is soooooooooo !w00t!!1! kewl to hear him read his own work.)

    He says over and over that a writer is to tell the truth, even if they are writing fiction - be truthful about the thoughts, feelings, dialog. I'm sure if he were writing about non-fiction he'd say be truthful about how you tell the truth - don't embellish to make it more interesting. And - just a little "IMO", talk about honest writing, the stuff King lays out for the world to know about him is pretty intense.

    Well, nuff said about the whole Frey thing.

    You only have a few more days to celebrate De Lurking Week - are you commenting? I hope so.

    And a big W00T too Sthrnwriter, Joanne, and Kira whose MondayMeme responses I found via the technorati tag.

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    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Special Notice! It's De-Lurking Week! Spread the News and Boldly Go and Comment Where You've Not Commented Before!

    This post is going to be rather a gallimaufry of thoughts. Starting with: It's De-Lurking Week!

    There are more cute buttons on her site. Steal one (she says it's ok). Comment on her site too! Tell her Dawno sent you, just for fun. I'll be checking!!

    Next up: This just has to be a prank. Someone out there on the internets has had a lot of fun somehow getting the following quote, attributed to Shakespeare, put up all over the place:

    A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.

    Shakespeare? I'm no expert but I can't imagine it was even written any earlier than the 60s or 70s. By the way, I discovered all this reading in the comments on Making Light.

    It sounds vaguely familiar. The three books that came to mind were My Sister, My Friend which my sister got for me for my birthday many, many moons ago, Jonathan Livingston Seagull - which I've never read, but it seems to fit, somehow, in my imagination of what that book would read like, and Charlotte's Web, which is my favorite for the quote (and one of my favorite children's books. BTW, anyone else see the animated version with Paul Lynde as Templeton the Rat?). If anyone has the book handy and can find the quote in there, let me know! Oh, and you can post your discovery of the source on Making Light, too - I bet there are some there who'd like to know. Googling didn't help.

    On the other hand: I'm working on a story (Working Title "Dawno's Fieldguide to Whistlepigs") loosely based on the adventures of the plucky folks who posted in the New Host Coming thread on AW. If you posted there and haven't given me permission to use you (albiet in a very fictionalized fashion, as the basis for a character and solely from the 'persona' you used in that thread) and shamelessly steal ideas from your posts there, I won't.

    Lastly, thanks to those of you who've already done the AW MondayMeme. Again, whilst perusing Making Light, I came upon Nicole LeBoeuf-Little's post that one of her pet peeves is the misuse of the term "meme" for these quizzes - I understand her point at one level - that's not going to stop me from calling our lists, etc. "memes" because at another level, things like urban legends, jokes, chain letters, anecdotes, etc. are considered memes. A short definition is 'Generally, memes can comprise any piece of information that can possibly transfer between two minds — idea, thought, joke, song, dance, habit, even state of mood.' So, what do you think?


    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    AW Monday Meme #4

    Hiya and welcome to the first Monday Meme of 2006.

    One of the things memes can do is give us some insight into who each other are. There are a number of folks who have posted a "100 Things" meme that went around a while back. You can learn a lot about folks reading those. I won't ask you for that one (today). But I have ten questions for you to answer so we can get a glimpse

    1. What is your most hated and dreaded household chore. Why?
    2. Do you ever drink out of the beverage container or always pour a glass?
    3. Over the counter pain relief: Asprin, acetominiphen or ibuprophen? (if those aren't your options, what are?)
    4. What was the first car (or motorcycle if that's the case) you bought for yourself?
    5. It's a lovely, sunny weekend day. What would you go do if you could do whatever you wanted to do (within your usual means).
    6. Name your favorite board game.
    7. How many blankets do you sleep under and how many pillows do you use?
    8. How many pets and of what type do you currently live with? You may name them if you wish.
    9. Biggest grammar peeve.
    10. Favorite flower or other plant, should you not be into flowers.

    Simple, huh? As always, the AWMonday Meme tag is appreciated. You can find the html for the tag by going to the Monday Meme thread.


    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    It's Back to Real Life Tomorrow

    Yep. Vacation is over. 2006 looms ahead.

    On the bright side I have a new calendar to celebrate with. You know "Successories"? Those inspirational poster folks "There is no I in Team" and all that? is more realistic.

    Every year for the past 4 or 5 years I've gotten a calendar for my office, for the SO and for my best work friend. I've seen people do double takes more than once. It looks like a typical inspirational calendar - until you read it closely.

    This year's calendar is The Wishes collection. Suits me to a 't'.

    Although, in all probability, if you read my blog you're probably a member of AW Water Cooler and have seen this, I would still like to refer you to a recent post on Making Light.

    Ralph Nader's group has seen to it that the one drug that provides the best relief to Teresa Nielson Hayden in her battle against narcolepsy has been removed from the market. Please read the thread and the comments (yes, there are over 200 now, but there are some good suggestions there for letters to your Congresscritters and Senators, most comments are brief) and if you are so moved, write somebody who might be able to help.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    Did You Know...

    We had a whole extra second in 2005? I hope you used the time wisely.

    I also hope everyone had a lovely New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. I was scheduled to leave this morning at an obscenely early hour so I called the airline and rescheduled my flight to a later time and luxuriated in the extra couple hours of sleep. I got back early this afternoon and have spent the majority of the day watching the Monk marathon with the SO. It's so nice to be home with my sweetie and my silly fluffball of a cat.

    I get to start 2006 with many new pairs of socks. When my daughter asked me what I'd like for Christmas that's what I told her. And I meant it; I wasn't just giving her a cheap option so she would save her money for presents for SailorBeau. I really wanted socks! She bought me quite a few pair and I can't decide which are my favorites - there are several argyle pairs, a pink and black tiger striped pair, some polka dot pairs and one pair that is covered in Battle Birds (parrots for the uninitiated amongst you). She also gave me a lovely sweater and a tee-shirt that is completely unsuitable for work due to the, uh, humorous sentiment emblazoned upon it, confessing my vice (smoking) and advising people to mind their own business about it - in much less polite terms.

    I should also mention that my son and his girlfriend gave us lovely and thoughtful gifts lest you think poorly of the boy - I will always treasure the personalized ornament and the lovely shamrock keychain with it's engraved message and I know the SO is thrilled with his new Suduko game.

    I haven't made a New Year's Resolution in decades and I'm not going to start now, but I did notice that one of the most commented upon post here was the one about cooking. I might just have to non-resolve to post more about my culinary efforts, if that's what brings you people out!

    This year I do plan to write much more, learn more about grammar and punctuation (actually, re-learn all the stuff I've ignored for over 20 years) and submit stuff "till hell won't have it" to quote James Macdonald. I would like to get to the point in a year, or maybe two, where I feel ready to try applying to a writers' workshop because they look like a heck of a fun time. (Did that sentence have too many or not enough commas? *sigh*)

    Best wishes to everyone - may your 2006 be wonderful.