Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mackerelease yourself. Embrace mackereality.

I'm going mention the sad news first and end my post on a lighter note. This weekend has seen the passing of Don Knotts, Darren McGavin and Octavia Butler. Octavia was 58. It is reported that she fell - perhaps suffering a stroke - and later died in hospital. There is a brief article about her in the Wikipedia. So far there are no other articles about her passing that I could find outside of a mention on Making Light in PNH's Particles (sidebar), comments in Open Thread 60, and She was an African-American woman who was the first science fiction writer ever to win the MacArthur Foundation 'genius grant'. (ref. Wikipedia)


I have the Google desktop toolbar on my computer - see, it's right over there

Oh, I forget, you can't see what my laptop screen looks like from there. hmmm.

It looks like this:

The toolbar shows me a number of little bits if information according to my preferences. I have my email headers, news, maps, weather and web clips amongst other things.

Today one of the web clips it brought up for me was based on the Technorati "Meme" tag. A blogger had tagged "Which Heinlein Book Character Should You Have Been" quiz from Quizilla and posted it on her blog So I wander over to the quiz and take it. I think I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood because I got this:

I will fear no evil
You belong in I Will Fear No Evil. Your body is your prison, and you would trade everything you have, even your sex, for a new lease on life.
Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In? brought to you by Quizilla

These quizzes are even less "memes" than the question/answer stuff I post on the Monday Meme thread (there will be a new one tomorrow!). Apparently, anything you can post on a blog, and perhaps convince other people to do, gets to be called a meme. *shrug* These quizzes can be fun and anyone can make one up, they're not so hard - I should know, I've done some for my LiveJournal buddies. (a lot of my LJ is locked 'friends only' so if you tried to look at other posts you'd need an LJ account and to be 'friended,' sorry.)


The PublishAmerica "debate" may be over. The PA author is saying she won't be around next week and called for a summary of James Macdonald's position. He is succinct.


I promised to end on a lighter note. If you haven't visited this link via MacAllister's blog yet, you need to go visit it soon. I will reiterate what Mac said - put down your beverage. Our buddy emeraldcite gives it this review:
"...made me laugh so hard I had to walk away from the computer to catch my breath."
Don't forget to visit the 'extras' links on the site as well. The title of this post comes from here. Because I come from a long line of Irish Mackerel Snappers, I just can't stop giggling.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Lazy Saturday Following Dawno Around The Internet

If you're in the Cincinatti, Ohio area April 21 -23, our fellow blogger and an all around wonderful person, Ray Wong, will be doing a reading, signing, and workshop at the Mad Anthony Writers Conference and Book Festival.


Two blog posts I've recently read that I hope you'll check out today (if you haven't already got them on your list of must read blogs, please think about adding them) are Mac's Stones in the Field and Jill's Writes Like She Talks.

The posts I've linked to are about a sensitive and contraversial topic (Jill gets to it at the end of her post) - but these bloggers, and the commenters on their blogs, are rational, thoughtful and compelling writers with opinions I think we all need to read and then think carefully about, especially if you are like me - believing nothing is black and white, and one must be well and broadly informed, before committing to a position.


On a lighter note, my "green bean casserole twin" Anne has a blog now. Please drop by and say "hi, welcome to blogging!" and encourage her to tell lots of stories about her parrots!


Do you have trouble remembering where you commented? Are you interested in seeing if anyone responded? I've been testing coComment out here on my blog (it's way down in the sidebar if you want to look). It's out of beta now and fully open to the public. Take a look. If you have your blogger comments set up as a pop up box coCommenters can't track comments they make on your blog - they're working on it, but for now, if you don't see my comment on your blog in my coComment box below, it's because your comments are composed in a popup box or I was posting from my computer at work which doesn't have the extension downloaded OR I just plain forgot. Thing about memory aides - you need to remember to use them...I still haven't found my sunglasses.


I've got a bunch of new AW blogs to add to my blogroll - I really promise to get to them soon.


James D. Macdonald, author, author advocate and purveyor of wonderful advice about writing, is having a debate about Publish America on a forum set up specifically for that purpose by a PublishAmerica author, who will get no further publicity from me on my blog, so you'll just have to go there to find out more. Anyway, the two issues being debated are:
Resolved: Publish America is a vanity press.

Resolved: PublishAmerica engages in unfair trade practices including false and misleading advertising.
While the PA author spends a lot of time wandering down dead end roads and blind alleys, Macdonald sticks to the facts and has presented a pretty damning case supporting the resolutions. I hope you'll keep an eye on it.

I'd also like to see the debate forum start showing up in the front search pages of any PublishAmerica searches. Oh, other key words you might want to link the debate forum URL to? book publisher, free publishing, Publish America (that's with a space and without).

The saddest thing (so far and IMO) on that forum is the way the PA author has tried to sully the wonderful Stories of Strength book and the printer, It doesn't advance her case and can only serve to show that this pro-PA author is spiteful and childish.


Speaking of Publish America, Ed Horrell, a lovely Southern gentleman who has a radio program focusing on customer service, has a podcast of two conversations he had with people at the Publish America office. It won't be up forever, so listen while you can!

By the way, did you click on the site I linked to his name above? Isn't it beautiful? I would hope to have such an attractive site if I were ever to need a public face on the web. Kudos to your web designer, Ed.


Hmm. Is this post to long to talk about a book I'm reading? Nah. So I read Making Light with much regularity. In the comments somewhere a couple of books were recommended. One of them was a collection of George Alec Effinger stories titled Live From Planet Earth. Each story has a fabulous introduction by a science fiction author who knew George. The stories themself are simply the best - he was quirky, funny and a damn good writer. Here's why I mention this book - it's published by Golden Gryphon Press in a limited edition of 2000 copies. It came out in 2005. I have copy # 39. I want to weep that this book hasn't sold many, many more copies.

Please, if you love short speculative fiction, or know someone who does, buy this book - it's worth every penny (and then some) of the Amazon discounted price you'll pay.


Another book is the Lulu reprint version of James Macdonald's The Confessions of Peter Crossman stories. He put them together for a class he is/was teaching and linked to the book in his AW sig for awhile. I was curious so I ordered it - $6.99 plus shipping, what a deal.

I loved those stories - if you got talked into reading DaVinci Code and were disappointed because you thought there was a germ of an interesting concept buried under all that bad writing and improbable plotting - read the Confessions and see how it should have been done.


Grandkitties are back with my son and his girlfriend. My SO suggested we mock up a copy of their apartment management letter head and post a note on their door saying there would be another inspection so they'd bring the kittens back. I can't tell you how tempting it is...

Here's one last picture of Jello - she has good taste in books.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brought to You By Popular Demand

Pictures of the Grandkitties!

That's Jello (well her mom named her "Kiki" but we re-named her in the venerable tradition of two syllable food names that all our cats have had.) Jello is a bit high-strung. She has mellowed out a bit here and now enjoys sitting on my computer cart looking out the back window, trying to post on AW by walking all over the keys when I'm online, hissing at Yoghurt (our remaining ol' furball) and playing with the sash on my robe. She's about 14 weeks old.

And that's Pudding (The Boy named him Byaku - I'm sure I'm not spelling it right). Pudding is very laid back and affectionate. He's a long-hair and looks like he'd weigh more but when you pick him up he's light as air. Pudding likes hiding in the back of the closet, perching on windowsills and sitting behind me in my desk chair, occasionally patting my back.

Oh, my blogiversary (see the AW Monday Meme Thread) is August 21, 2005. Happens to also be my mom's birthday. Don't neglect to post your blogiversary and tag it!

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Roots of Dawno's Sense of Humor

I've been thinking a lot lately about humor. A couple folk have encouraged me to try my hand at longer humorous bits than the occasional bons mots I'll drop on AW and posts I do here.

Doing that comes fairly easy because my sense of humor naturally switches on in response to things people say or stuff that's going on in my everyday life - it's how I react to nearly everything in life.

Even tragedy in my own life gets a dose of humor - sitting out on display in the office of the funeral home where my immediate family were arranging my mother's cremation, were several sculptures, memorial urns and chests one could select to hold the deceased's ashes. Some of them just struck us all (my siblings and father, alike) as absurd and we did make a number of remarks that, if you had been evesdropping and were even just a bit straightlaced, you might have found rather inappropriate.

But really, the golfer one did look like a guy surfing or wading with a golf club in hand. It was only the fact there was a golf club that gave any hint this was some kind of a final resting place for the ashes of a serious duffer. Imagine this sitting on an upper shelf, across the room from where you're sitting, and that you're looking at a side view - see what I mean? I think I initially wondered if he was standing on an orca or something, clubbing it with his 9 iron. And lest you think my father was disappointed in his offspring, as I recall, he was the one who started it. Later we sat around the dining room table, my sibs and Dad and I, with some bottles of wine and we talked about Mom and our lives with her. We cried, yes, but we also laughed.

Well. Moving on. There are other sources than my daily life or my past, that I can go to - politics and current events are staples of humor, although I think Jon Stewart really has that wrapped up - did any of you watch his show the Monday after Cheney's hunting accident? That was priceless.

Before I forget, let me say that this whole post was inspired by Liam on AW who posted: "Next issue- Hedge hog is neither a hedge, nor a hog. Discuss." Read on, you'll see why.

As I said earlier, I come from a funny family - my brother kept us in stitches with his impersonations and accents. Dad loved to tell shaggy dog stories. I fondly remember Dad bringing home a reel to reel tape deck, this was probably in 1969 or 1970, and checking out all the Cosby albums from the base library and taping them. We would sit in the living room and listen to them as a family and all laugh until our sides ached and our faces were soaked with tears. He also taped some radio comedy shows that he and Mom used to listen to when they were young, if I am recollecting correctly, which we also loved.

Then, when I was a teen, my friends and I listened to a radio show called Dr. Demento. He played parody songs and comedy bits. (Weird Al got a big break on his show. ) We'd sit around in the living room of which ever parents would put up with us that week, and drink Coke, eat chips, and howl with laughter.

My two best friends, John B. and John C. had a number of the skits and songs from the show memorized. They also had Tom Lehrer and Firesign Theatre albums - again with a number of the songs and skits known by heart.

I don't remember all the lyrics anymore but occasionally a stray line will pop into my head, like from Poisoning Pigeons in the Park and I can practically hear us all singing along to a parody song from the late 50's as we sprawled on the floor near the stereo, back in the mid 70's. I hope there are still kids in this new millenium who do the same. Some of the old stuff is hard to comprehend unless you understand the social and political context, but Poisoning Pigeons? Classic.

I also became acquainted with Monty Python around the same time. And one of our favorite skits (and not just among my friends, my parents thought it was hysterical as well) was The Piranha Brothers and Spiny Norman the hedgehog that Dinsdale Piranha feared (who could be anywhere between 12 feet and 800 yards long, depending on Dinsdale's state of mind). As an aside, I've never met a real hedgehog, but when the topic came up today, I went to Google to find out more about hedgehogs and came upon this site. Talk about cute critters. (told you Liam's post meant something - thinking about hedgehogs got this whole train of thought rolling)

Now some of my favorite reading comes from books by Terry Pratchett and Janet Evanovich. My news page on Yahoo has "Oddly Enough" news and that's one of the first places I read. The Onion and FARK are also favorites.

So, that's my story. There is a lot more that helped shape the way I think about things and respond to life, but I'll end here for tonight. Feel free to comment about things that influenced your sense of humor. I'd love to know.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

A Dawno and the Grand-Kittens Update

The grandkittens won't come out of the bathroom. I was looking forward to playing with them tonight, too. Oh well. We can hope by the end of the weekend they'll overcome their skittishness and come out to play. We've closed up the bathroom for the night so they can sleep undisturbed by our cat, Yoghurt, who is not at all happy with the visitors. He's been sulking upstairs all evening.

I have a whole lot of stuff I want to do on the blog - update my bookshelf and add more AbsoluteWrite (AW) blogger links - if you're one of the AW bloggers whose link I don't have yet, it's coming, I promise.

Speaking of AW bloggers, I'm gonna post a new AW Monday Meme over on AW on - you guessed it, Monday, and do my answer to it here - it will be a short and sweet one and I promise (Mac) that I'll put more content in the post and not just the meme.

And speaking of AW, I've been made a 'supermod' over on the AW forum. I'll be helping out with duties like moving posts and threads that are in the wrong places, stuff like that. I'm very happy to be able to contribute more to a place that has come to mean so much to me.

I found a bottle of nailpolish remover in my desk this morning so my nails are bare again. I'll give it another try with stronger glasses and in the sunlight (if there is any - we're having a bit of weather here) tomorrow. Thank you, ProsperitySue, for the book recommendation - I'll be looking for it.

Meanwhile I still await news on the article I submitted - you'll be amongst the first to hear the news, one way or the other. Next month the contest I entered will list its winner and the honorable mentions - I don't really expect to be on the list, but I'm looking forward to seeing what the winners wrote so I can compare and keep on polishing my work.

I'm also going to try and do more reviewing. I'll say more about that if I get stuff accepted. It was a lot of fun to do the review of Ray Wong's book The Pacific Between. He even quoted a bit and called me a "literary critic" Took days to wipe that smile off my face.

I will be posting a review of a book in the near future that will be harsh and negative. I've finished reading Prevent Cancer Today and searching each page for the sources from which each page was apparently plagiarized. I say apparently because I wasn't present when the 'author' actually composed his book - all I can do is give evidence that the words in his book can also be found word for word alike on free websites - some from places like the American Cancer Society.

Why pay for his book when you can read the same information for free? He could have actually done some good by compiling an annotated index of cancer sites instead of trying to pass the stuff off as his own work. I would love to know the real story behind it all. I have a number of theories about it fermenting in my vivid imagination. The truth is probably a sad story filled with low self-esteem and not nearly as interesting as what I can concoct. I have to keep reminding myself not to pity the 'author' - what he did is simply completely wrong and should be unconscionable to anyone who wants to be thought of as an author. And, as I'm constantly telling my son, decisions have consequences. The young author of this book will have to face the consequences of his decision to put this work out on the market as his own.

And with that I say goodnight. Well past time for me to be asleep. Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Lazy Thursday Night

My son and his girlfriend are over for a visit. They brought pot stickers and laundry. His girlfriend is cute and very sweet. I know that my Christmas gifts and the recent Valentine's roses were her idea. They're in the living room watching "Sniper" and having a belching contest right now. I think my son may be a bad influence.

Not much exciting going on in my life. The only thing I can think of that's new and different is that I decided to polish my nails tonight. I was never able to grow my nails when I was younger and although I have long thin fingers the nailbeds at the end are quite small so on my hands short nails are kind of unattractive. When I was an account rep I did a lot of hand shaking and pointing at things in meetings with potential clients so I was self conscious about my nails. For awhile I had the acrylic ones but eventually I just got tired of the upkeep and expense and gave it up.

Over time I've gotten to the point where I can get them pretty long from late winter thru early fall (they get brittle and break more easily in the colder months - probably due to the low humidity of forced air heating) and keep them that way for several weeks before I have a tragic break on a car door, or while doing some form of housework, and have to snip them all off. To forstall the day when that happens, I try to keep them polished when they get long.

Unfortunately, I messed up the right hand a bit tonight; so, I went looking for the nail polish remover to fix things. I guess I haven't done my nails in quite a while, because I wasn't sure where the remover was. I looked all over. I now believe that I either ran out and didn't replace it or my daughter took the bottle with her when she moved. *sigh* I have a nice polished left hand and a smudgy right one. Grr.

For some reason I got up and left the above ramblings last night and didn't post it. So you get to hear what happened this morning. I get up and wander downstairs. There is still some laundry un-done but the kids are not here. I come back to my office and see that the bathroom door is closed. I go it. There are the grand-kitties. My son had asked if he could bring them over while his apt. maintenance was there fixing their patio door drapes. They didn't bring them with them when they came by with the laundry, so I expected them this evening. What they forgot to bring along was their litter box. I took a large brownie pan, filled it with litter and voila. It will be a bit more expensive to replace than a plastic litter pan, but what the heck. I don't get to play with kittens that often.

One of the kittens was fascinated with the whole morning hair rolling routine. Sniffed the hair gel, the curlers (ooh! hot!) pawed the clips that hold the curlers in one's hair. The other lolled on the top of the kittie condo we have stashed in the bathroom from their last visit her when they were really small. They're more 'teen' kittens now - recently neutered and spayed as well - thank goodness.

I may have to post pictures later :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Some Pictures of Rudy the Roomba and One of Me and My Daughter

Don't ask questions, just enjoy.
This is Rudy, he's napping right now.

This is the label that either my SO or my son put on Rudy - a egregious falsehood indeed.

Here am I in my "happy place" because my daughter is with me and we're having fun. She took it for me on my camera phone so I could have a new picture when I opened it up. The previous one was of her making a weird and wacky face. I like the new one better.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Survival of the Stubbornest

Today is Darwin Day. I would not have known this if I hadn't seen in my Google sidebar web clips a "meme" tagged post listed on Technorati, from a blog called A China Tea Pot, which has a great Bertram Russel quote in the title box...but, as usual, I digress. My blog should really be called Dawno's Digressions...but I like NVNC ID VIDES since it's from Pratchett...dang, there I go again.

I was reminded, as I thought about the impact of Darwin's theory of evolution, of so many things we've all lately discussed - the ID hearing in Pennsylvania, misguided religious zeal, religious intolerance, politics and world events, fear and how fearfulness spreads, the true definition of meme and the vox bloguli usage of the term for quizzes and games we hope to spread like memes. The perceptive and thought provoking posts, the humor, the real life struggles, the writers who are hoping to be published, the writers who are reading tough reviews...all this and more from our little quadrant of the blogiverse.

I began to ponder the whole 'survival of the fittest' as it relates to us and our blogging. While there are hugely popular sites like Boing Boing, Daily Kos, Post Secret*, etc., we are out here on "the long tail" (a concept I was unfamiliar with until I read about it on Snarkoholic, thanks, Tish). But do numbers of readers = fitness to survive? I'm not entirely sure. In the universe of blogs I think there might be something to be said of survival of the stubborn. People who will keep blogging, and keep commenting on blogs, regardless of their stats, because it's a connection with like minds - dozens more connections than we might be able to make in the Real World.

*why am I not linking these sites? Heck, they get all the traffic they need without me and it's highly unlikely they'll return the favor...besides, I don't even want Daily Kos & co. to know I exist, dang radical pinkos *wink*

Well, 'nuff of that. Let's see...I have lots of work to do on my 'bookshelf' with all the recent reading I've done. If you don't mind buying hardbacks or going to the library and getting on the waiting list, Stephen King has a new book out Cell. I really enjoyed it. Did you love It because of the way the kids loved each other? This book's got that same flavor. It's post-apocalyptic-technology-gone-bad-will-the-human-race-survive and eerie supernatural horror, similar to The Stand as well. "The thing that stands out the most for me is how he moves this book along so briskly - it just goes. Amazon has a little video clip interview on the page, too. Nifty!

I finished reading a Publish America book about cancer that came to my attention over at Absolute Write - the "author" had posted several plagairized reviews on his page - meaning he'd copied parts of reviews from other cancer books and posted them as 'reader reviews' using a number of psuedonyms. Eventually the reviews deteriorated into increasingly puerile blathering about how people who were against his book were criminal, etc. I have no idea what his review page looks like right now - but shortly I will put up my own.

For, you see, I've matched up nearly every word in his book to material freely available on the internet. After some hours of Googling I have found word for word plagiarism of sites ranging from respected medical sites such as the American Cancer Association, and Cornell University's Weill Medical College site to a pet health site discussing cancer in dogs to less authoratative sites such as and Naturalsolutions Radio, to finally a Creation Science page lifted in it's entirety for Chapter 11 of the book.

It's astonishing that anyone would think they can get away with using someone's copyrighted material for profit, and even more astonishing that the 'publisher' didn't reject this illegal manuscript immediately. Of course, it's what many folks I know have come to expect from Publish America - after all, they don't appear to read the ms submitted to them before accepting them, illustrated most notably by Atlanta Nights.

The saddest thing to me, is that the broad tarred brush of PublishAmerica is wielded across all of their authors, many of whom toiled mightily to produce their books. Good or bad, those authors poured out their words and now Publish America has them for seven years - for seven years these works are under the cloud of a publisher who would put a book like Pavel Tsupruk's Prevent Cancer Today in print.

I'll be sending copies of the pages of the book along with the website links these pages plagiarize to whomever I can find listed as the owner of the material and my hope is that they go after PublishAmerica with a vengance.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Has Anyone Seen My Sunglasses?

Time to talk about memory. I'm 48 (49 in July). To my kids I'm sure that's ancient. Amongst my colleages at work I'm in the oldest 10th percentile. I work in high tech, a youthful field - our company is only 20 years old, for example. But I worry that I'm certainly old enough to be getting a bit what they call "senile" For example, I wasn't sure if our company was 20 or 25 years old, so I had to go check the embroidery on the back of the comemmorative vest they gave out. And I struggled to bring the word "comemmorative" to mind - going thru a bunch of words starting with 'com' until it popped up.

But 48 isn't really terribly old. So why is my memory really starting to suck big time? The SO is constantly telling me "you told me that" (an anecdote about work or something) or "why didn't you tell me that earlier" (you don't remember that I'm going to be at a team dinner tonight?). He's exasperated about the former and irritated about the latter. I struggle to communicate effectively at work. I can't keep all the stuff straight without consulting my notes and my writing is going to the dogs, too, so my notes aren't always great memory aides, either.

When do you start worrying that memory flaws are more than just 'one of those things you have to cope with as you get older' I'm already seeing an internist and a cardiologist, do I need a neurologist, too? Perhaps.

There is one really nice 'upside' - when I go back to my old favorite books to re-read them, they're familiar but I don't recall enough specifics to be bored with re-reading them! (Yes, I *am* a modern day Pollyanna)

Back to the title of this post - where the hell are my sunglasses? The dang rain has finally stopped and I'm getting blinded on the commute!

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Internet is a Weird Place

PSA: If you're unfamiliar with any of the links I provide in this post and you click them anyway, don't yell at me if you end up with a song stuck in your head that makes you homicidal or see a picture that either sends you into a saccharine induced fugue state repeating "awwwww how cute!" endlessly, or makes you want to scoop your eyes out with a spork. You've been warned!

Today I'm reading Making Light and I finish the comments on the recent post. After that I usually go and look over at the left hand sidebar where there are TNH's Particles and PNH's Sidelights - links to things they think are interesting. In Particles I see "Cows with Guns" and decide, what the heck and click.

This site has a song and animated cartoon. The song is about -- you guessed it, Cows with Guns. It's a rather catchy tune, unfortunately. You'll have it running through your head - at least the chorus - for some time. If you subjected yourself to this link, do any of you recognize the tune from a movie or something? It sounds vaguely familiar but I can't place it.

Anyway, the cows are drawn with udders - makes sense, cows have udders. The problem is that lyrics of the song refer to one of these uddered cows as "he" and "him" That strained my credibility a bit - which, if you read my last post, is kinda hard to strain. I'm kinda disappointed. This from a woman who accepts that nobody on any of the 7 (I think there were 7) Starships Enterprise ever seems to need to pee.

After viewing the cow video, and wishing there was a way to floss the song out of my brain as one would a nagging popcorn kernal from between one's teeth, I start to think about all the weird song sites I've been subjected to over the past couple of years.

There was Badger, Badger and the follow up song Banana Phone which is a speeded up version of a Raffi childrens' song set to the Badger animation (with a few new characters thrown in). My son subjected me to Badger Badger and alleged 'friends' on a forum introduced me to the insanity that is Banana Phone.

Then, thanks again to my son, I'm introduced to the very weird and somewhat disturbing "numa numa dance" I haven't quite forgiven him for that one. Listening to it is as bad as looking at Tron Guy, to whom I was cruelly subjected by my Significant Other.

(Hey, I warned you about these links - you click 'em, it's your curiosity getting the better of you!)

OK, I'm sorry. How about I make up for it by sharing some of my favorite "awwww" sites? Have you seen the pictures of the bunny with the food balanced on his head? Lest you wonder about the bunny, like, is it alive or is it stuffed, you can read the Wikipedia entry and decide for yourself.

Are you fond of cute cat and kitten pictures? If not, move along please.

Next (more about cats, I'm afraid - if you're a dog lover you'll just have to find your own cutesie links and post 'em on your blog) is Museum of Non Primate Art. This site is a beautifully crafted gag. There's a couple of tie in books as well. My favorite thing is that this gag site contains a page about 'spotting fakes' - with a quiz!

OK, enough of my silliness, I know what you all are *really* thinking about - today's Superbowl. I know that some of my dear friends are very disappointed and others will be tossing confetti at the Steelers victory parade tomorrow. Congrats or condolences as appropriate. I didn't see all the Superbowl ads (nor the halftime show nor most of the game). Thank goodness AOL has them all - and I never thought I'd be thanking goodness for AOL, ever. Some of these really are laugh out loud funny. The fourth quarter MacGyver Master Card ad is, as they say, priceless.

By the way, I finshed the last book in the series by Robert Sawyer that I mentioned in my previous post. Wow. Good stuff. Dense, deep, disturbing. I'm now reading Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Making Book. I'm just a couple stories in but loving it.

I won't be posting the AW Monday Meme here tomorrow - if you want to do the meme, please go to Absolute Write Water Cooler Blogging sub-forum and grab it!

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dawno's Brain is Full of SF Today

A fire breaks out and someone is burned. As the victim is loaded into the ambulance the paramedics are sending information about the patient to the burn center. The burn unit begins to prepare. A tech goes over to a keyboard and enters a sequence of commands. A printer starts up. By the time the patient arrives the printer has printed out enough skin for the doctors to use in the grafts this patient will need to replace burned skin.

Science Fiction? Today it is, but according to Brian Derby at the University of Manchester in England clinical trials are about 5 years away for this technology. Derby heads the Ink-Jet Printing of Human Cells Project at the University.

Another intriguing use of the technology could be a 'food printer' If the technology provides organic 'print outs' why not bacon or balogna or cheese? You just keep the cartridges cold in your fridge till you want that hoagie. I really like

So what are the things you thought you'd never see in your lifetime? I didn't think I'd see home robots (I have a Roomba and that qualifies). I didn't think I'd see food replicators - looks like those just might arrive before I croak. I think the flying cars and personal jet packs are probably not going to happen. I'd really like to see us give up our dependance on hydrocarbon fuels for transportation. That might happen. Oh, and I really want psychic doors, but I'm thinking that's probably not going to happen.

What's a psychic door, you ask? (Of course you wondered, admit it.) On Star Trek someone heads for the door. If they're really going out, it opens. But if there's going to be a dramatic "turn and make a pointed comment before you leave" moment, the freakin' door KNOWS it and doesn't open.

OK. I know that there are two sweaty guys crouched behind the set pulling a rope and they do it on cue. But since I've suspended my disbelief for an hour my mind is telling me that the dang door is psychic. It knows IN ADVANCE what the person is thinking and doesn't open till they're really ready to leave. (did you know that Coleridge came up with that suspension of disbelief thing? I probably learned that in my Romantic Lit class in college - my favorite professor taught it, too - but I'd long forgotten.)

So, imagine it - you go out the door to your car and when you get to the car you realize your keys are still on the coffee table. The psychic door has not locked, because it knows you're coming back for your keys! Or, it knows you're upset at your son and don't want him coming in to 'borrow' more laundry detergent. It won't let him in!! Burglers can't pick your locks, the door knows what they're up to. Maybe they have a way to call the cops, too. Or a psychic connection with the doors at the police station...hmmm. Possibilities abound.

If all the weirdness of this interests you, you're probably also like me in that you think about ways that the weird plot conflicts or discontinuities might be resolved. That kind of fanwanking is fun as well. I found myself fascinated and sent on quite a web journey as a result of reading that Wikipedia entry. I mean Krypto-revisionism?

Speaking of reading, I'm reading my way thru a Stephen Baxter series Coalescent, Exultant and Transcendent. Good stuff. The Coalescent book is especially thought provoking - humans as hive creatures and how it happened. As he did in Evolution, (a story that I re-read often and disturbs me every time) Baxter creates a compelling story around a scientific conjecture and uses long spans of time to develop the concept. It all seems so freakin' likely!

Baxter appears to be a proponant of the genesis of life thru 'complexifying' - that it is the nature of things in this universe to become more complex and with successful information feedback become intelligent as well. Not that I really *get* it, but I understand it enough to buy the concept as I'm reading. It's another willing suspension of disbelief to allow myself to agree that quantum foam is intelligent and determined the actual way our universe would unfold and evolve. I won't be trying to pass along that particular belief but while I'm reading his books it makes for a fascinating story.

This post is dedicated to Mac, by the way. Thank you for caring.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What? Another Knitting Post?

Yep. I recommend for your viewing, uh, pleasure (?) Beutiful (sic) art made with knitting. There's a whole thread devoted to it at Absolute Write Water Cooler if you want to comment there (but of course I'd rather you comment here!)

I would also like to talk about my Roomba. (it's related - you'll see) Yes, Rudy the Roomba was out and about again. We'd actually not used him in quite some time. When I came home last night the SO had him running around the living room. Our cat, Yogurt, is not afraid of Rudy but he's not too clever around Rudy, either. He kept laying down on the carpet and Rudy would bump into him. *sigh*

Later on the SO sent me a link to a website where you can see (and buy) COSTUMES for your Roomba. (He has forbidden me to even think about dressing Rudy up)

Between the knitter, with what seems to be homicidal tendancies towards toys, and the Roomba clothiers, I think we may be nearing the Last Days. Surely these are signs of the Apocalypse.

PS: you can also go to a site where someone has hooked up a web cam to their Roomba. And I thought the kitty litter cam was the weirdest thing ever. Where do I learn this stuff? From a blog-like website about Roombas, of course.

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