Friday, November 23, 2007

A Thanksgiving Card from My Son and his Squad

My son is center front, standing. His sergeant is the one crouching. Hope you and yours had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Soldier

If you say a grace at Thanksgiving, and you're inclined to remember the ones over in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places far from home when you do, I'm one of the moms who thanks you for keeping them in mind.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I've Become a Bead Fanatic

You may remember a post I did awhile back, where I talked about my "beading frenzy". And you may not, but I'll talk about the subject anyway. I've continued beading and I've been putting my stuff up on a Flickr page. There are pieces I haven't photographed and put up, but a major portion of it is online. I don't have a piece of styrofoam large enough anymore to hang all my stuff upon. I bought 6 necklace racks with 8 arms each and those have at least one necklace per arm and many have two or three (I've sorted the necklaces on them by colors, so the ones with the colors I have the most of are nearly full).

If you're curious about the names of the pieces, they're all cities. If you're not curious, I hope you skipped this entire paragraph. In some cases the name of the city has some relation to the stone used - even if it's really a stretch. In other cases, it's just a city that popped into my head as I looked at the finished work.

I have a specific way of finishing all my new stuff so I can use most pieces as badge lanyards or eyeglass chains or necklaces, depending on what I need for the day. If you don't know what a badge lanyard is, you'll have to go to the Flickr site and see what I mean.

If you do happen to visit the site and have any comments or maybe suggestions about designs I could do, let me know - you can leave comments here or there. This is a heck of a lot of fun *and* it's the kind of mindless busy-work (at least after I figure out the design I want to make) that helps distract me from any anxious thoughts I have about, oh, say my daughter driving 400+ miles in the middle of the night to come home for Thanksgiving, or my son being over in Iraq. When the noise in my head gets too loud, I just start stringing beads.

I also created a very simple webpage about my stuff that links to the Flickr site. I'm seriously considering putting together a storefront site. I've written the county for my DBA, I have the paperwork for a business license and I'm trying to figure out how to get a tax ID so I can buy my supplies wholesale. Buying beads at the quantity I've been is pretty pricy at retail. I've found several web sites (some were referrals from other beaders I happened to get replies from on Making Light) and some I just stumbled across via Google. I get better prices online, but I don't know if I could get even better ones if I could buy wholesale. Will have to wait and see. Or, if you know, tell me!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's Highly Embellished Christmas Sweater Time Again!

Yep, soon it will be December, and I'll be bringing my Christmas sweaters out. I just got a new one from eBay (new to me, in good shape though). I've looked around online and there's a real dearth of Christmas sweaters out there that live up to my standards. To wit:

  1. Lots of detail, eye-watering detail, medieval tapestry detail
  2. Gold or silver thread - the thing needs to glow with metallic thread-y goodness
  3. Beads and sequins are good things
  4. Colors should be rich and bright, not necessarily complementary, either
  5. Textures are important, I'm not crazy about anything printed, it should be appliquéd or embroidered on to the sweater
  6. Buttons, I want a cardigan style, not pullover, and the buttons should be part of the composition of the overall design
  7. Sleeves. I'm seeing some nice vests, but I don't want a vest, I want a sweater.
One of our local stations started broadcasting all Christmas music Friday afternoon at 3 Pacific. Pretty soon they'll be starting in August. 'Tis the season, indeed. Now if the temperature would just fall a bit so I don't end up feeling like I'm in a sauna when I wear my sweaters...

Monday, November 12, 2007

LOL Cubicle?

These didn’t really happen. They’re a complete work of fiction inspired by the LOLCat phenomenon…mostly…maybe…

  • I’m in your cube reprogramming your speed-dial/removing your call-forward/stealing your headset/breaking the “kick-stand” in back so you have to either wall-mount or replace your phone
  • I’m in your cube “borrowing”/changing the height settings/spilling some unidentifiable and smelly liquid on your chair
  • I’m in your cube taking your trash-can and putting my broken one in its place
  • I’m in your cube “borrowing” your cute pens and multi colored (the company only provides yellow ones) post-it’s
  • I’m in your cube after hours calling my boyfriend in [some foreign country] and talking with him for several hours
  • I’m in your cube sneezing on your monitor and smearing the saliva around with my hand
  • I’m in your cube using your printer and forgetting the last page of the printout of my second mortgage application paperwork with a lot of personal information on it
  • I’m in your cube doodling on the work surface with your black Sharpie pen
  • I’m in your cube “borrowing” the markers and eraser from your dry-erase board, since you have colors I can't find in the supply cabinet
Anyone else have a contribution?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wandering Around the Web

Favorite Stumble!s of the Day:

Book sculptures

Looking for a new toaster?

The power of a good story - $142.50 paid for a pack of 44 Pokemon cards on eBay

I'm thinking this should be printed, laminated and stuck on the fridge next to another chart that says when you should throw out that pound of frozen hamburger and that last Eggo in the freezer.

Especially for Rob

Star Wars Auditions

And here's Matt the morning he left for Iraq. Thanks again for the kind words of support.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thank You

I just got home from my trip to North Carolina. In the pile of bills and junk mail was a card. It advised me that a Mass will be offered on Oct 3rd @ 7:30 am for the safe return of my son. I'm overwhelmed, and so thankful for this - words cannot express how I'm so deeply touched.

I don't know if the person who arranged this would want me sharing their name - but you know who you are and I love you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hurry Up and Wait

I spent a lovely few days with my son down in Fayetteville, North Carolina, this past weekend because his unit was going to be deployed to the Middle East on Monday. We shopped, watched movies and ate a lot of food. I put him up at my hotel so he wouldn't have to stay at his stripped down barracks room. I met some of his buddies here and there as we drove around, and one night we had dinner with his sergeant and family. By the way, sergeant is apparently pronounced something like "sar'nt" with a hint of the south in the accent. At least that's what my son's picked up.

His sergeant is smart and has seen two tours in the Middle East already. He seems to really care about his men, which is a relief to me. His parents are very nice as well. It has to be tough on them to do this for a third time; I know it's been quite a challenge for me getting through this one, focusing on making sure my son is center stage and he gets whatever he needs to make his send-off as good as possible.

Yesterday we ran a couple of errands in the morning - he needed to get his rank insignia sewn to a new cap we'd bought the previous day and he wanted to get his hair trimmed up. Then it was off to the base to get checked out of his room. This was around 11. The following are details of the day to the best of my recollection - I might have gotten some of the timing a bit mixed up - but it's pretty close.

They'd told my son to report to formation at 1:00 so we grabbed him some lunch and got back plenty early and hung around with his buddies and their families and wives or girlfriends. One of his buddies is the oldest of 11 kids. The youngest, a 3 week old baby, was there with Mom, Dad and a sister (#3 sibling). Many pictures were taken, I got a few, too. One guys' dad probably filled his 8 meg memory stick. When I get home I'll post some of the ones I took.

At 1:00 they lined up on the field in front of a little wooden platform on the large field that sits in front of his company's HQ buildings. After a while they ran into one of the buildings and soon they were all coming out, staggering under huge packs and hauling overstuffed duffles. I'm guessing my son's gear weighed more than he does, but he ran briskly to his spot with it on his back. Then after some business with their gear, I wandered out to where he was and we stood around some more. A while later they formed up again. Then a large group ran off in another direction to a different building. My son was a good 20 yards ahead of the rest of them - he runs like a gazelle with a cheetah on his tail.

They came straggling back one or two at time to the field with their weapons. We stood around some more. I got to know some of his buddies a bit better - they're a good group of young men. Funny stories were told, lots of teasing happened. By now it's around 3:00. Next formation is at 7.

Now, not knowing whether they'll be leaving or not, each time he had to go form up, we said goodbye. I'd go off to my car to get some A/C and water and eventually he'd call me and say, come on back out. At the 3:00 formation, there's a huge truck for their gear. They load all the gear. I've said goodbye again and am in my car. He calls me again, come back, we aren't leaving yet. I stagger back out. He and I head over to an Arby's just outside one of the nearby gates and had a second lunch. He tried to fill up, since he had no idea when he'd get a chance to eat again.

The sun sets and blessed cool finally arrives. It's been sunny and in the upper 80s all day. I'm surprised I don't have a sunburn. They get in formation again, and they all get some stuff on a lanyard they have to wear for the flight out. We stand around some more. While waiting for this formation to end I sat on a wad of gum. The chaplains assistant had been wandering around earlier with a tub of candy and gum and handing out 120 minute phone cards, about which my son said "this is like gold!". I suspect one of the kids spit out the gum, the soldiers are very good about cleaning up after themselves.

There have been buses coming and going all day - each time a different formation of troops has arrived and gotten on those buses with about an hour or two at most between their arrival and departure. My son's group has been standing around sweating in their fatigues since 1:00. It will be a ripe group getting on that plane later.

Finally, around 8 they're told the next buses that show up will be theirs. The buses arrive. I give my son another huge hug and tell him how much I, and all his family, and the huge circle of friends around us, are proud of him, will be praying for him and how much I love him. He heads for the bus, I head for the car. When the last bus drives off, I head for the road - it's about a 2 hour trip from Fayetteville to Raleigh where I am for the week.

He calls me about half an hour later - he's at "Green Ramp" which means he's at the airfield from which his flight will leave. He's not sure when they'll be loading onto the plane, but he is pretty sure he won't have another chance to call tonight. He promises to call me the next chance he gets. I'll be keeping the cell phone charged and near by in anticipation for the next, oh, 15 months or so.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Award Winning Mustaches and Beards

I am a huge fan of the Sheldon comic strip. I even have my own Lucky Duck tee shirt (you have to scroll down about half a page to see it) and signed book editions of the strips - the artist/writer even drew sketches in them which I love to pieces.

In his blog post today he asks, regarding a link he received to the World Beard and Mustache Championships 2007 (who knew?), " what point in your life do you go 'You know what? I'm tired of dating or of being attractive in any way. I'm past that. Instead, I'm gonna grow me an Imperial.'"

Good question. However I was more interested in what this guy could possibly have been thinking - and he only got 3rd place.

Yes, I know today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. I am just not clever enough to do an entire post in Pirate Talk. Arrr, me maties, ahoy and avast! That's about the most I can manage.

I did create a special avatar for today...

No grandkitties were harmed in the making of this avatar - it's entirely created in (and I would hope obviously since my skills are poor) Paintbox Pro. Maybe I should go look for a hat to put on it, too...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Very Special Pigeon, The "Pina Colada Song" In Real Life and Happy Birthday Smilies!

I've seen articles with pictures of momma mammals raising abandoned babies from other species but I've never seen anything like this pigeon and a baby monkey.

In other news, remember the "Pina Colada" song, which my husband reminds me was actually titled "Escape"? Back in the days before and online chat, this whiny dude sees a personal in the paper (while lying in bed next to his wife), responds to it (probably not right there in bed), and sets up a meeting at an Irish bar (we all know those are the best places to start illicit affairs) with this intriguing woman who may or may not be a wet, out of shape, alcoholic nympho with sand down her shorts. Oh Henry! It turns out to be his wife! They wander off into the sunset all smiles and renewed passion. Right.

Here's how it happens in real life.

My favorite quote of the piece was "To be honest I still find it hard to believe that the person, Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things to me on the internet, is actually the same woman I married and who has not said a nice word to me for years."

At least there was no blood shed. Yet. I'm looking forward to some interesting comments on this one, folks.

Finally, the smiley face is 25 tomorrow.

Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman says, he was the first to use three keystrokes - a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis - as a horizontal "smiley face" in a computer message...Fahlman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board at 11:44 a.m. on Sept. 19, 1982, during a discussion about the limits of online humor and how to denote comments meant to be taken lightly.

"I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-)," wrote Fahlman. "Read it sideways."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Righi Was Within His Rights

Update on the Michael Righi "Papers Please" story. The Cleaveland Plain Dealer carried an article (I'd link to it but I get a "not found" page when I followed the link from "Writes Like She Talks" Hi, Jill! Like the new site.) on the case and later this article "What Are Your Rights?" appeared. Two excerpts:

A store asks me to open my bag. What are my rights?

Customers have the right to say no, said Lewis Katz, a Case Western Reserve University law professor and author of "Know Your Rights." That's why store employees and security guards usually ask permission. Security guards are allowed to search you without a warrant in three specific instances, said Jennifer Brindisi, a spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. That's at the border, in the airport and before entering private property. Otherwise, unless you're prepared to take a stand, it's easier to comply, ACLU Ohio Director Jeff Gamso said.


Can police force you to present your driver's license?

If you are not driving a car, Katz and the ACLU believe that police cannot demand a driver's license.

Looks like Mr. Righi was right.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cute and Lucky - More Cute Animals, real and otherwise

Ok, no more politics/current events stuff. Back to the tried an true "cute animal" stuff.

Heartkun - not an urban myth! At least so says Snopes - where I go to check out all things suspicious I get via massively forwarded emails...This adorable puppy has a heart shaped patch of fur. Watch the video on the Snopes page if you need a pick me up. Then go buy a lottery ticket. If you win the big one, don't forget Dawno sent you there...

Speaking of cute animals - have you read Frank's recent post about his new Jack Russell terrier? You should.

I'm a fan of the web-comic "Sheldon" which features a pug dog, a duck and a cute ?salamander? maybe a chameleon? any way, a cute lizard-like animal. That and "Two Lumps" which is a great little strip about two cats - one who's smart and snarky and one who's rather goofy and not too bright.

There's your daily dose of cute animal stuff. Your cheeks should be aching from the smiles - just remember, "no pain, no gain"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Circuit City Apparently Is Exempt from Obeying the 4th Amendment

Mr Michael Righi was detained outside of an Ohio Circuit City Store by the manager and "loss prevention" person for refusing to show his receipt. The comments thread on Mr. Righi's blog post is very interesting in that so many people seem to think he's a jerk (well, most used less nice terms) for contesting the illegal search.

He called the police and was arrested and then released on $300 bail.

My husband and I shop at a local electronics super store and they have the same type of loss prevention person at the front of the store. We walk right past him every time. He has been trained NOT to try and force us to show the receipt. Good for them, because I'm not "guilty until proven innocent" in this country, yet. Accuse me of shoplifting, call the cops and then you can see my receipt and bag. Meanwhile, I'll be on the phone to my lawyer, the ACLU and the Mercury News.

Oh, and I liked the advice given in the comments to the above blog, take the merchandise directly to the returns counter and get your money back right then and there. You want to see my receipt? Bring that nice police officer over here and you can all examine the receipt as you refund my money.

ETA: ok, ok, my husband just reminded me that the 4th Amendment protects me from the government illegally searching me. In the back of my mind something tells me that if the government is prohibited then surely private citizens are equally prohibited - but that would be under some other statute - kidnapping maybe? I shot from the hip - but I know there's a grain of truth in there somewhere...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sumo Sushi Early Birthday Dinner

We've done a few of these birthday dinners for Matt at Sumo Sushi. One year it was closed on the day we chose to go and ended up somewhere else, but this is his favorite place. The owner knows him and gives us fairly special treatment when we come. It's very good food and judging by the constant flow of people, a popular place.

So here's Matt (far left), a couple weeks from being 22, with some of his old friends (a couple of them he's known since elementary school) celebrating.

In less than a month he's off to Iraq - I'm glad I can help him create good memories to hold on to while he's there.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Peek-a-boo Grandkitties

Here's Jello playing peek-a-boo in my office.

Here's Pudding a couple hours later doing much the same

Some days don't you wish you were a cat?

I do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Baby Orphan Hedgehogs and My Failing Vision. Plus! News Flash!

From the Daily Mail: Orphaned hedgehogs adopt cleaning brush as their mother. You really should click that link and look at the picture - the baby hedgehogs are about an inch long and totally adorable. They're named Mary, Mungo, Midge and Slappy. First the teeny duckies, now these. I'm on cute overload.

So, not satisfied with just one dose of cute, I go Google: "tiny cute baby animals" and the first hit is a site called "things that make you go aaahh dot com" DO NOT GO THERE. I didn't read carefully but Google had tagged the site "this site may harm your computer" right on the search page. I clicked the link anyway - having not read the first warning - and Google thoughtfully put up this page:

*Whew* dodged a bullet there!

I'm going in for an eye exam Friday. All those years of "high glycemic index food" are taking quite a toll on my close vision. I now have two pairs of glasses for bead work and my regular reading glasses which I wear constantly - this could be part of the problem because I sometimes try to see things outside the focal range and I'm sure I'm straining my eyes even more before I remember to lower or take off the glasses. I need to get graduated lenses this time around.

Hot off the press - Teresa Nielsen Hayden has announced her appointment (employment?) by BoingBoing to be their "community manager" - She's going to keep the comments, recently re-activated on the BoingBoing site, from turning into a home for spammers, astroturfers and trolls. Yay!! Congrats, Teresa!

Making Light is one of my mostest favorite online places (after AW of course) and it's very much due to the great job Teresa and Patrick do in the comments. It's a light touch and at most a good talking to, until the trolls come out then "wham!" with the disemvoweller!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Have Bedroom Furniture!

This may seem like a "so?" statement, but I haven't had a nice set of bedroom pieces since I left home for college. You may recall the excitement I expressed in my "I Have a New Bed!" post in March of '06 (the picture of the bed appears to have disappeared - I wonder why?)

As newlyweds my ex and I bought a multi-piece set from Sears that can charitably be called basic. I continued to use the stuff after the divorce, but when I moved up here I didn't bring it along. So there have been those build it yourself closet storage things and baskets and bins, in the bedroom or closets, but no real furniture.

Daughter and I were shopping when she was out here and the pieces I'd been eyeing at Bombay Company for quite some time were on mega sale. I snapped up a chest of drawers, a smaller chest for the bedside and a lingerie chest for a really good price.

The delivery people arrived today, hauled three large boxes up the stairs and left. I had to unpack them. It was challenging, but I did it. The lingerie chest was upside-down, which was also fun to fix all on my own considering the weight and seven drawers to keep from falling out or breaking. Fortunately, I could see it was upside-down while it was still wrapped up in its protective cocoon of saran-wrap and foamy wrap so the drawers didn't turn out to be an issue, just the weight.

The upstairs hallway is full of box remnants that I'll have to deal with pretty soon. The cats love it, but when my son comes home later tonight, if he has to fight his way through them, it wouldn't be pretty - so I'll haul the stuff down the stairs and out to the back porch for final breakdown into pieces our recycling bin can manage.

Of course now the walls look too bare and I'm pondering what goes on top - a small flatscreen TV might go on the chest of drawers, my clock and jewelry box will go on the bedside table but as for the lingerie chest - maybe some dust-catchers - I'll have to give it some thought.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Today I'll Grumble

Apparently whining brings out the comments...but I won't make a habit of it. Instead, I'll grumble.

Today I did some shopping at the local grocery. I used the self-check out kiosk. As I was scanning my twenty bottles of Diet Arizona Green Tea (they were on sale for a dollar a bottle - I cleared the shelf), a lady stopped and told me in no uncertain terms that by using the self-check out kiosk I was depriving people of their jobs.

I didn't pause as I told her that, no, the grocery chain might be depriving people of jobs but, since they didn't ask me if I'd rather they have fewer employees at the store just so I could check my own groceries, I didn't feel responsible. She wanted to argue some about it and made another couple of statements that I mostly ignored and then I asked her if she'd please go bother someone else with her crusade as I wasn't interested.

She made one of those little sniffy sounds and stomped off in her Birkenstocks, net bag in hand to the produce section. Nervy gal.

In fact, since I get charged exactly the same as someone who goes through the line and gets two employees' services - a checker and a bagger - it appears that I'm the one getting ripped off in this equation. As I looked around the store it also appeared that there was a 1:1 ratio of employees and customers at that moment. If they're depriving people of work because I'm using self-check out, they certainly weren't looking too understaffed, considering.

I got home and was sharing the story with my daughter, and she noted that there are the same number of check out aisles as ever in the store it's not like they closed a bunch of them down to make room for the kiosks. This is true, and I don't remember ever being there when they were all in use. My daughter is pretty smart.

Yes, self-service may cost some jobs. I don't know, I don't have the facts. But stores are in the business of serving the customer. If self-service is something customers want (and those kiosks always have people at them, so I guess it is) then it's a smart business move to put them in. I'd guess that keeping the store competitive so they don't have to go out of business and fire all the employees is a good thing. I hope the employees that lost their jobs found new ones at one of the other new, very large grocery stores that have gone up within 5 miles of here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wherein Dawno May Be Thought of as a Whiner

Ever see something somewhere in the blogosphere and initially want to make a comment about it, but then decide "Nobody cares what I have to say, and certainly someone around here is going to say it better, so why bother?"

I have that experience quite often at two particular, very popular, blogs I read daily (and sometimes follow all day long when the conversations get really good).

In fact it just happened, and that's why I'm writing this. I start to compose a comment and then get all self-conscious and delete it. I just can't get over that the regular commenters at those particular places are all so incredibly smart about the topics being discussed, to say nothing about just being incredibly smart people, and I'm not.

I know, it sounds whiny and self-absorbed. Well, "It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, whine if I want to...."

And I'm not posting this to get scolded or sympathy (feel free to comment that way if you want to). I'm actually interested in knowing if that's anyone else's experience and what you do about it. Do you just tighten up the bootlaces and march on in? I've done that on occasion, but mostly I remain a lurker - I just don't have anything of real substance I can contribute.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Excuses, Excuses, a Shaved Cat, Beading Frenzy, and Ducklings

Back two posts ago, I posted some excuses about my sporadic blogging - just got a great comment from J M McDermott with his excuses that I wanted to share:

1) I'd update my blog, but I'm way too busy reading other people's blogs.

2) I'd update my blog, but every time I try to write something, World of Warcraft somehow, mysteriously, loads without any help from me whatsoever. Promise.

3)I'd update my blog, but I'm just not that interesting. I've run out of interesting things to say. Isn't that interesting?

4) I've been updating my blog... my SUPER-SECRET EASTER EGG BLOG! If you search my blog thoroughly, you may piece together the clues that lead you into the vortex of recent updates! Keep looking. You'll find it.

5) I assigned a guest-blogger, and I guess that person just let me down. I'll never put my cat in charge of that again!

Speaking of cats - one of the grandkitties, Pudding, is a longhair and in the summer it gets pretty miserable for him so he spends too much time lying around under things and trying to stay cool. We had him shaved and he's much perkier now - although he looks very weird and big headed.

I've been on a bit of a beading frenzy this month. It's so relaxing to just string beads.

Most of my work is done with glass, ceramic, semi-precious stone beads, and metal findings/spacers. Some of my favorites up there are the ones with hematite and the ones with smoky quartz. Most of the pieces were designed with specific outfits I like to wear in mind. There's a lot of pink in my wardrobe so I've done a lot of pink sets - (I also like to make earrings and bracelets to match the necklace or badge chains I've done).

I'm going to (eventually) hang each set on a nice display frame - I bought one covered in white and one in black - and take individual pictures then post them on my own website. I need a tripod and a clear place to photograph them - the picture above was taken in my bathroom using the styrofoam pinboard I use to keep my work propped up right next to my beading desk (previous stuff inspires new stuff). I propped the styrofoam up on a pretty shoe box and placed it all on top of the toilet tank in the bathroom next to my office.

There are 57 pieces on that pinboard (counting pairs of earrings as one "piece"). I guess I've been a bit obsessed...

My husband just sent me a link to a story about two rescued ducklings. I defy you to look at the picture of these ducklings swimming in a teacup and not say "awwwwwwwwwww" at the total cuteness. If you can, don't tell me, I'll just never look at you the same way if you do.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Brief Outline of Dawno's Recent Adventures

Since last I posted

NASFiC: aka Archon 31, Aug 1 - 5
Flight delays in Dallas - Mary Kay ladies everywhere
Rental car not fun to get or drive
Hotel night clerk = jerk, got what I wanted anyway, I'm a stubborn b*tch
AW buddies everywhere!
Great art show, cool jewelry purchased, books too
Drinks and talk, talk, talk, in the Cigar bar, dinners at Ruby Tuesday - more AW buddies - fun!
Panel discussion on "Modern Mythology"with Laurell Hamilton, Barbara Hambly, Richard White (also AW buddy!) interesting but what was the topic supposed to have been? Need to work on that, guys...talking about it with AW buddies in Cigar Bar more fun.
Big AW dinner Sat Nite - salad had a whole fist sized minced raw white onion on it - should have had the pasta!
Trip home - upgraded to 1st for long trip home, gate clerk was rude and surly and screwed it up but Flight Attendent got all fixed - love that gal!

*intermission - three days back to work*

Anniversary Las Vegas Trip & 20th Anniversary of Star Trek @ Star Trek Las Vegas convention, Aug 9 - 13
Drive there went well, got there early enough to find Wil Wheaton in dealer's room and got 2 books signed, saw his talk, also wonderful.
Check in at MGM - nice room, wonderful service. Gambled some, no winnings
Shopped, gambled (won a lot at Hilton, lost most of it back at other casinos) went back to Hilton next day for lunch at Quarks, good lunch - saw a lot of costumed con goers, some really good stuff.
Gambled more after lunch - Hilton has two machines that really paid off for me - came out ahead $900
Saw Spamalot at the Wynn - very funny! Huge strawberry daiquiri in souvenir "Grail" to bring home
Checked out and drove back - stopped for gas at a remote station $4.40-ish a gallon!!
Bakersfield - hubby grabs Long John Silver chicken meal for lunch and one to bring home - why doesn't anyone open one of those up here?
Arrive home, tired but glad we went, glad we're back.

Tonight my daughter arrives for a 5 day visit, Sunday my son arrives for two weeks. Will probably not post for a while as a result.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hello, Anyone Out There? *crickets* Hmmm, I Was Afraid of That.

Twenty days since my last post. I have excuses:

  1. The dog ate my blog
  2. Geordi LaForge reversed the polarity on my computer and my blog posts all ended up in the Mirror Universe (see #8 of that very funny link for context)
  3. I've been re-reading all the first 6 Harry Potter books, then the 7th and then I went into a post-Potterum depression
  4. 5 seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD
  5. Catching up on all the TiVo'd TV shows I missed because of 3 & 4
  6. Blog Writer's block
Guess the real excuses.

And the sporadic posting will probably continue for a while. Wednesday August 1 I'm flying out to St. Louis for NasFic and the week after that my husband and I will go to Las Vegas for our annual anniversary/Star Trek convention trip. This will be our first wedding anniversary, our 16th anniversary of being a couple and our 5th Las Vegas Star Trek convention.

Then, later in August my son will be visiting again. I'm hopeful my daughter will make it out, too.

So, if you don't see much of me here, don't worry, I can't stay away long.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Crabby suggested a number of things I could write about next, but one of them got a supporting vote from Kira, so the topic tonight is dreams.

I've always had trouble getting to sleep unless I'm ill or exhausted. I need white noise, like a fan, and near total darkness. Yet, even with that, I still have times when I watch the clock go five, ten, thirty minutes, then an hour, sometimes longer, before I drift off.

I have some mental games I've played to help fall asleep faster. The first one I remember using, and this was way back as a child, was an alphabet game. Name animals in alphabetical order, or flowers, or girls/boys names, that kind of thing.

When I got older and had read a lot of Science Fiction, I used to name all the SF authors I could remember for each letter. I think I had trouble with Q - as a matter of fact, I still can't remember one that I've read (and that's part of the "rules" - I have to have read something by the author) whose last name starts with Q. Sometimes I'd be so caught up in the game I'd get to the end of the alphabet and have to start over just to fall asleep. Most times I didn't make it all the way through.

Anyway, about two years ago, I started telling myself a story to help fall asleep. I pretty much kept telling it every night, each night starting at the last thing I could remember from the previous night. Sometimes I'd advance the "plot" other times I'd get stuck in a loop trying to re-tell the same thing. If I got stuck in that loop too long I'd start a new story. I have about four or five of them now. They're all Science Fiction stories, too.

You'd think that as a result of this, I'd have Science Fiction-y dreams, maybe continuations of the stories, but no, my dreams - at least the ones I can remember well when I wake, are all weird, but not what you'd call SF.

I do have a couple of dreams that seem to repeat, and perhaps that's why I remember them. One of the oddest is the one where I'm at my old high school. Thing is, in this dream I'm not a teenager, I'm grown, I know that I've been to college, but for some reason I'm back and I have to take classes and graduate - again. There's usually some part where I have to go to my locker and the locker hall seems to be a mile long - I know I'll never get to the locker and also make it in time for class. There's also the class I have to pass to graduate but I never go to. One of the reasons I never go is that I can't understand a word the teacher says. I keep wondering how on earth I'll pass the final.

Some of the other dreams fall into the realm of "too much information," so I'll spare you.

Back when my daughter was still in high school, I drove her to school every morning and we'd chat about different things, it was always a nice time to spend with her. I had about ten or fifteen minutes with her during those drives.

I remembered a dream I'd had one morning, so I shared it with her - and this is one I've only had once, thank goodness. I had this cage with bunnies in it. Now, these weren't your usual bunnies - they were very very small, they stood on their hind legs and they were a number of different pastel colors. They marched around in lines inside the cage and, like the various little cats that came out of the hat in the Cat in the Hat story, each was successively a bit smaller than the previous one. That was about it, just the marching pastel bunnies. She shared the story of my weird dream with some of her friends at school and I think they still worry about my sanity.

I either don't have, or don't remember, nightmares. I can read Stephen King's worst right before bed and I don't seem to be bothered by it. I consider myself lucky that way. I also don't seem to talk in my sleep, at least nobody has ever mentioned hearing me do so.

Just a couple non-dream things to share tonight. First off, thank you to those of you who commented with suggestions. I appreciate the kick-start. I'll try to come up with my own ideas, but I'm always happy to write on request if there's something about Dawno you're interested in knowing.

Next is a plug for my Drive By Booking blog. On July 11th it will be a stop on Christine Norris's Virtual Book Tour for her new book Return to Zandria from LBF Books. I hope you'll stop by, I've got an author interview and a review of the book to post that day. After that I'll be reviewing two books by Absolute Write authors - I'll post about that on DBB soon.

Lastly, today was the "Live Earth" concert. I didn't watch it, but I heard something on NPR last week about it that tickled me enormously, the continent of Antarctica was also a venue for a band named Nunatuk, comprised of British scientists at the Rothera Research Station - there's a video clip on the Reuters page.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Lobster Purse and Other Things

The Lobster purse, suggested as tonight's blog topic by Cookie, has a history here on Dawno's blog. I first wrote about it in March of '06. A furry off-white lobster was discovered and I noted that someone had already created a plush toy of it. A Live Journal friend of mine named Cookie was hoping for a knitting pattern and I suggested it would make a cool purse. I never did get around to making it although I've said a couple of times that I might give it a try. Who knows, maybe after I finish the crochet scarf I was going to make for my daughter two Christmases ago, I'll embark on a 5 year mission to make the purse.

So as not to have another dinky post like yesterday's, I'm going to share some links that were sent to me today.

Technicolor Duck Isn't that a beautiful picture of a Mandarin duck? It would make a great subject for an appliqué on a green silk vest, I think. No, I'm not going to even attempt it. Don't suggest I even try. I wouldn't turn it down as a Christmas gift...size 10, long (I'm 5'7" and like the way long vests look)

Then there was this link. My corpse is worth $3950. Thankfully, my insurance will provide my heirs with a lot more than that, so they can afford a decent wake for me.

You might already know that I don't post much that's political here, but this link was sent along today and as I'd been reading some recent comments threads, with a number of folk expressing a very similar opinion over in Making Light, it seemed serendipitous.

When I got home today, I opened my office door and out leapt one of the grandkitties, Pudding. He'd been trapped in there since about 9:30 when I left for the office. He raced to the food bowl, poor dear. I am now certain I'll find something he peed on. I hope it wasn't one of my Buffy comics. This is Pudding in a typical pose. We call it "the bug" for some reason. Ok, I call it the bug and my husband kindly tolerates this, amongst other oddities of mine.

I mention this only as a very weak seque to this link of a comic I also received today about the one person's perception of the difference between cats and dogs.

How does my blog come up in a search for the answer to "why does only one nostril get block"? Nevermind, I don't want to know.

Tired of LOLCats yet? Don't click on that link.

Stumble took me to this fascinating view of the Imperial History of the Middle East. "5000 years in 90 seconds".

Lastly, I spent quite a bit of time on the National Geographic Genographic study site. The Interactive Atlas of the Human Journey is simply wonderful - if you only click one link here, click that one.

Ah, it looks like the first few episodes of Babylon 5 Season 2 have finally finshed downloading - bye!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thanks Sean, for My Topic of the Day

Sean (a writer and fellow member of Absolute Write forums) commented on my last post that I should write about the problem I'm having with my blog muse. In general it's probably pretty simple - I'm tired at the end of a day and would rather not think too hard - it's easier to surf the web, watch Season 1 of Babylon 5 (yeah, I decided to download it from iTunes) and post the occasional kitten picture on Absolute Write.

It takes mental energy to write anything, even a simple blog post, if you consider that there are readers. I have always thought of these posts as my side of a conversation. I try to put something out for you that you might enjoy reading, because it's something that interests me.

I can only hope that my mental energy returns and I can continue to find something fun, or meaningful, or informative to share.

eta: Thanks, Frank for catching the typo - more evidence that my brain isn't fully turned on at all these days.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Blog Muse...

...seems to have abandoned me. I'm reading so many other blogs and just feeling like it's all being said much better elsewhere. I don't want to bore folk but I also don't want to give up on the conversation.

So - you tell me - what should I blog about? Give me topics and I'll post something about them one a day, every day, for as long as the topics hold out.

I reserve the right to not post on topics I find inappropriate or icky.

By the way - Happy Fourth of July to my US friends.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Miss Me?

My son's visit and a project launch at work have kept me from posting, but I can't resist the pull of the blog for long.

Thursday night (the 7th) I drove with my son and a friend of his down to SoCal. We spent the night in Bakersfield and hit LA on Friday at about 10:30 am. It's really the best way to make that trip, the 7 to 8 hour drive is punishing if you do it all in one go. Besides, we avoided a lot of commute traffic, as well.

We spent most of Friday at my dad's place. His brother came by and we had lunch. My daughter and her SailorBeau showed up next, just missing lunch with us. Later my sister and her boys came by (the oldest is graduating next week and heading off to UC Davis in the fall). Then my sister-in-law came by with her boys who are 9 & 11. Her oldest was having his birthday that day, so they brought his favorite "cake" with them - two dozen Krispy Kremes. Then my brother-in-law came by after work, making it almost the entire clan, just my brother couldn't get there in time.

I was a wonderful get together - a typical noisy family gathering with a number of conversations going on all over the place. I was very grateful for the effort made on behalf of my son, who will be headed over to Iraq in the not too distant future.

About 8 pm my son, his friend and I headed out to Anaheim. We saw a Wienerschnitzel on the way and he had that for dinner. We got to the hotel around 9:30 and I half unpacked and headed to bed. Shortly after I'd turned off the lights a high pitched whine started. I wondered if it was my ears ringing, but I plugged them with my fingers and it stopped, so no, it was coming from somewhere, I thought, in the room.

I spent about half an hour trying to hunt it down. I shut off the AC, I unplugged the mini-fridge, I made sure all my electronics were off and even moved the alarm clock to the other room. No help. It seemed to be coming from the walls. I gave up and tried to sleep with a pillow on my head. Needless to say, I had a very fitful sleep that night.

Saturday morning my husband flew into John Wayne Int'l. and I drove out to pick him up. My daughter had to work Saturday, so she couldn't join us until Sunday. The trip to the airport and back was pretty uneventful, except that I circled about 20 times waiting for hubs to get outside. The good thing about that is the loop from baggage claim and out around the airport parking structure then back to the baggage claim is short and easy at John Wayne Int'l. - I'm glad I wasn't trying to do it at LAX - that's a nightmare.

There was one guy parked at the curb the entire time I was looping - I kept waiting to see the airport cops chase him off, feeling all self-righteous that I was obeying the posted signs that said "no waiting". The only thing I learned from that is I'm an idiot and should have pulled in behind him instead of wasting $3.50 per gallon gasoline, since not a single airport cop showed any interest in that parked car. However, with my luck, we both would have gotten chased off or ticketed or both. He should thank me.

Disneyland was busy, but not mobbed like I was expecting - I guess it's still early in the "summer" season. The day was warm but not too hot and my one application of Neutragena 45 SPF spray on sunscreen kept me from getting burned all day (yay!). I also bought a nice cap to wear to protect my scalp and face. There were painful lessons learned from my last trip.

What I didn't bring with me was a fanny-pack and I should have bought one when I got the cap. My little shoulder strap purse ended up putting just enough strain on my shoulder to have it aching by mid-day. I remedied that the next day - getting the fanny-pack was the first thing I did at the park on Sunday.

We rode Space Mountain first, and while making our way there, we saw that there was going to be a big media event the next day for the opening of the new Finding Nemo adventure that's taken over the old Submarine ride. A large portion of Tomorrowland was getting screened off for the private event. More on that later.

We were held up at Space Mountain for quite some time. First, before even entering the line, as they had stopped the ride and weren't letting anyone else in until they got it started again. We made it inside - then within a few feet of the place where you line up to enter the ride - they stopped the line again. They also turned on the lights at one point. The guys were disappointed that they hadn't been in the ride when the lights went on, they wondered what it looks like inside when it isn't dark. I just wanted it to be over with. I'm not so good on roller coasters these days - my head and back get really sore. Some of the riders got the choice to go again because they'd been stopped. Never did figure out why the ride shut down.

We did several more rides, including Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise (my favorites) then we walked over to California Adventure, where my husband and son & friend, rode the Tower of Terror and California Screamin' - without me. The California Screamin' ride has a 0-55mph in 4 seconds, magnetically propelled launcher, which they thought was cool. I went shopping and got a neat hoodie sweatshirt/jacket in pink with a small 'retro' Minnie logo embroidered on it and some cute Mickey shaped (you know, just the circle head and ears shape) sterling silver jewelry with little clear Austrian crystals.

We did a lot more walking around, and some shopping, then went to dinner at Blue Bayou. The food was ok, being right next to the ride is strange - some of the riders are rather vocal as they pass the restaurant "what's for dinner" and other things I couldn't quite make out. I had a prime rib slab that was an inch thick and covered more than half the plate (which was a good sized dinner plate). It was very salty and also had cajun spices rubbed into the outside - not bad, but way more than I could eat. After that it was back to the hotel and good night.

I was achy and tired in the morning, but I got up fairly early to get hubby to the airport for his trip home. Then it was wait at the hotel for the AEL and her SailorBeau to show up and then was back to the park. The kids wanted to do Space Mountain right off. The "media" center for the special event had taken over the Star Arcade right next to where the ride ends and where I went to wait for them. All I saw at first was a crowd of people just hanging around and lots of folk who looked like press agents and photographers wandering in and out of the media center. I had to use the restroom, which was around the corner and I saw even more people hanging out around them.

Turns out, some celebrities (mostly TV folk, I'm guessing) had on occasion used those restrooms and the gawkers were there hoping for a glimse or a picture or an autograph - good luck with all the Disney folk surrounding them wherever they went. There was a minor furor after I had returned from the bathroom and been sitting for a while. Apparently Holly Robinson Peete (according to the *squeeing* teen in the mouse ears) was in there with her boys (I think I got a look at her as she headed in past me - surrounded as she was with her entourage, I'm not 100% sure, but I didn't know who she was either - after looking at her picture on IMDb, I'm pretty sure it was).

Later on as I was walking over to meet the kids at California Adventure, I saw Dominic Purcell (Prison Break - but I know him from John Doe, which I loved) and his kids - he was saying "Watch this!" and catching an M&M in his mouth after tossing it about 6 feet in the air. Him, I recognized - what a hunk. *ahem* anyway...the thing about the media day that annoyed me most wasn't that they'd squeezed so much of Tomorrowland out of service that it was packed like sardines, but that these groups of people with their special passes were being led down exits into rides and allowed to cut the line ahead of folk who'd been standing in the sun for up to an hour. It just bugged me for really no good reason.

More walking and rides - I got tempted to request a wheelchair, my legs were so tired, but I decided that the kids could wander around on their own and I'd go get some rest at the hotel so I'd be fresh for a couple more hours in the evening, which I was. We spent that time at Downtown Disney, shopping and eating at a very nice outdoors restaurant. Then it was time for AEL and SB to head home, he had to get up early for work the next morning, and I wanted to get on the road back home around 10 am.

We did get on the road at 10:30 am on Monday, and the ride home was uneventful, if painfully long. We made it back in 7 hours, though - even with some pit stops along the way. One of the reasons we made good time was that it was a Monday, we missed the worst of the LA rush hour traffic and with passengers I could use the car-pool (Diamond they call it) lane. Then when we hit the 85 in NorCal we were driving counter-commute and didn't even need to use the car-pool lane. The other side of the freeway was a parking lot.

The rest of the week has been work, work, work. My project goes live on the 25th, we're in high gear with meetings and trainings and technology stuff. At the end of the day, I've been just to brain tired to post. I missed International Weblogger's day all together and I'm behind on my reading for my review (still). Lots of catching up to do today!

For those of you who read and are dad's - Happy Father's day tomorrow!

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Humaniform Robot Created in Japan

Sorry there was nothing new on Sunday or Monday for you. With my son home and a number of other things going on, I just didn't get to posting. Tonight will be brief, I've been working most of the evening on a project for the day job and I'm still at it!

As you may have noticed, I have a fondness for my little Roomba. The company that makes it is iRobot, so I think that's permission enough to call it a robot. I have been fascinated by robot stories since I was quite young. I may have read an Asimov story, or it may have been from watching the Jetsons...who knows after so long? At any rate when I see a story about a robot, I go and read it.

There's one in the news now that has a lot of folk blogging and commenting, based on a Google Blog search. It's the Child Robot. Here's a snippet of what Salon Tech blogger Farhad Manjoo said in his post from yesterday titled "A child robot that looks like it eats children"

CB2, which is short for "Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body," is 4 feet tall, 70 pounds, and repellent from head-to-toe. Packed with hundreds of sensors sewn into its sick-white rubbery skin, and powered by compressed-air actuators that put halting movement into its elongated arms and legs, the 'bot is purportedly designed to mimic a human toddler but comes off instead like a murderous muppet launching the robot invasion.
He was referring to his viewing of this YouTube clip (the YouTube site says "Embedding disabled by request"). It is a creepy little thing.

The Gizmodo subtitle to its article about Child Robot brings to mind some very disturbing thoughts about who might want to buy this kind of a robot. Ick. Since I don't want that word searchable in my blog (it's bad enough that perverts looking for "sex vides" keep coming here from Jamaica and the Middle East) you'll have to go look for yourself.

Now it's back to that spreadsheet. I'm determined to finish it tonight.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Maybe Someday All My Posts Will Be About Just One Topic

Writers, do you have trouble making up good excuses for why you're taking so long to finish that WIP? You should consider having a good selection of reasons and rationales memorized andready for all occasions. Remember, "The dog ate my homework" didn't work on Miss Ratzenberger in the 5th grade, why would it now?

You need to get creative. For example, I saw the video below in the comments section of a post on Pandagon, referenced in Making Light Particles as "Pandagon FAQ, draft version". It's a response to the question "It’s so cool that Amanda’s got a book deal! But why is it taking so long for her to finish?"

Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Here are some suggestions - feel free to use them.

"I got my protagonist lost in some underground caves and can't figure out how to get him out of there until I finish reading these 42 articles I Googled on spelunking."
"My horoscope told me this was a bad week for using my imagination."
"I have to make sure I'm keeping up with this thread on Absolute Write about Pirates of the Caribbean 3."
"I've decided that only celebrities get published, so I'm taking acting (singing, dancing) lessons instead of writing."

Feel free to suggest more in the comments.

Edit: J M McDermott suggested these in the comments:

I'd finish my WiP, but I'm WAY too drunk, all the time.

Also, Helena Bonham Carter keeps calling and calling me. I mean, seriously, how many times do you have to explain that "No" means "No".

My coffee machine broke. I've tried replacing it three times, but so far all I've managed to pick up are a waffle iron, a llama's bridle, and two illegal immigrants named juan valdez who keep offering me matte lattes - NOT COFFEE! shopping for a coffee maker seems to also require coffee.

I'd finish my WiP but people keep asking me what's taking so long. I spend more time answering that question than I do actually writing.

Also, I blame your (whoever happens to be asking) fascinating blog.

Other things around the blogosphere I've seen recently and made me think, on the topic of writing:

"So You Think You Can Write, or Tales from the Slush Pile"
"Five Years Later...(The Origins of International Slushpile Bonfire Day)"
"Five Top Reasons You Should Stop Calling Yourself a Writer, Right Now"

That whole writing thing is hard work. I have enormous respect for anyone who can stick with it. Anyone who says to themself, "I could do that" or "what's so hard about being a writer" should spend some time following links on agent blogs, writer's blogs and reading the forums at AW. If the amount of work needed to become a good writer doesn't faze you, you may have a decent chance. I recommend you start your education at Learn Writing with Uncle Jim.

Whatever you do, no matter how frustrated you get, don't send your book to Publish America. Please.

There's a new AW blog-chain going on - I hope you'll visit them:

Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!
hunt & peck
Life, Writing, and Other Things
Food History
A View From the Waterfront
Organized Chaos
The Road Less Traveled

Friday, June 01, 2007

First Post of June

Tomorrow my son arrives for his two week leave. We've got an extended family visit/Disneyland trip all lined up for next weekend. My posting for the next two weeks may be sporadic, we'll see.

I don't send much snail mail. So when the postage went up I hadn't gone to buy any forever stamps at the lower price. I just now had to go dig up a 2 cent stamp to add to one of my old 39 cent stamp to send a letter. I had put this letter in my purse with the intent of mailing at the PO after I bought some forever stamps, but the other day, due to what I'm certain is the complete onrush of total senility, I stuck it, unstamped, in my mailbox and put up the "pick up" flag. My husband brought it in with the mail today and I think there was some rolling of the eyes when I realized what I'd done.

so I go to my file folder with stamps and return address labels (I am somewhat organized) to grab a couple stamps for the letter. Turns out I have quite a few stamps in there - even some 37 cent ones from two Christmases ago (Christmas is when I send the most snail mail in the form of cards). I will need to go grab a long strip of 2 cent stamps to use and while I'm at it, I'll pick up some of those forevers. The way I don't go through stamps, they just might last "forever".

I need to ship some stuff, too, so the trip to the Post Office is getting up to the urgent level. I need to get organized again and caught up with my backlogged to do list. Well, I wrote that about an hour ago. I took a break to grab my full page sticky label paper to print out a label to put on the box that now contains my daughter's purses that she left in my car the last time she was down here(some of the stuff I need to ship, along with a way overdue prize to Rob from Standing Rule for making the 2000th post on a thread I started some time ago on AW). I mentioned that I need to get organized? It took me most of that hour to re-arrange all the stuff that's piling up in my office to find the dang sticker package. However, I now have a bit more open space on the floor.

Coyote Wild's submissions period is open again. Do you write short (under 10k in length) speculative fiction? Think about subbing to Coyote Wild. Non-fiction (query first), Flash fic and poetry are also accepted. Please read the guidelines in the link above.

POD People has openings for reviewers. Email me if interested.

I've been reading (on and off this evening) a Salon article about a Harry Potter fan con down in New Orleans and this quote about a presenter just made me giggle where I've italicized. (The article may be in the Premium section, but you can get a free day pass)

At a session called "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Colonialism," 22-year-old Tracy Douglas was giving a persuasive, Edward Said-influenced reading of the post-colonial overtones of Rowling's fourth book. She pointed out the focus on the eroticized "other" -- Fleur Delacour, Cho Chang, Padma and Parvati Patil -- as the female sexual ideal. Douglas' paper sounded like it could have been given at the Modern Language Association conference. Except that afterward, she thanked her mother. Also, at the MLA, you see fewer people with stuffed owls.

Perhaps the MLA needs to think about that. Reading this article makes me think fondly about the upcoming NasFic in St. Louis. I put a countdown ticker in my AW signature:

Check out my meebo chat widget in the sidebar. Meebo allows you to use one chat program (and it's browser based so no need to download an application) to sign in to any IM, Yahoo, Aim, Google, etc. I decided to give it a try because of the widget.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Last Post of May

I followed a link the other day from a comment on Making Light (thanks, Marilee!) and am now reading through the archives of yet another new (to me) webcomic, Two Lumps! There's a series of strips featuring the Two Lumps cats and a Roomba-like device! (keep clicking 'next' for the whole story-arc). I really believe you can't go wrong with the Roomba + cute mammal combo.

The comic is hosted on Keen Spot, which I can subscribe on my reader, unfortunately I have to scroll through all the strips I don't read to get to the ones I do (and so far there are two, Two Lumps and The Devil's Panties.

Do you remember the fads of your youth? I'm thinking of things like when I was in elementary school and everyone was doing those origami type folded paper "fortune" games - you picked a number (after the paper device was opened and closed in the proper ritualistic sequences) then a letter (more ritual) and finally got to lift the folded paper inside to find something written like "your secret crush knows you love him" or "you're the teacher's pet" (and the spelling wasn't always that good).

Then there was the jacks fad - could you ever get to tensies or higher? We didn't have superballs then, we used these little red rubber balls that didn't bounce all that high.

There was a brief time when all the girls would play on the parallel bar, spinning around and around it until you got sick or wore a hole in the sweater you used to keep from sticking to the bar and scraping all the skin under your knee off.

These days it's LOLcats and all the permutations thereof. LOLpresidents (at FARK, which may not always be SFW), LOLgerbils (hosted at LOLgay) (who spell it gebril and I love that to death - as well as the gebrils which are just so damned cute), LOLPilgrims, for the literate and an entire comment thread on Making Light of literate lolisms...apparently we've reached LOLsingularity.

Finally, for tonight that is, I had read a rumor that said:
On Monday, Publishers Weekly reported that Bookspan, acquired just six weeks ago by Bertelsmann, will cut 280 positions and close some of its book clubs, which include Book-of-the-Month, Doubleday and The Literary Guild. It looks as if the 54-year-old Science Fiction Book Club, which offers a selection of graphic novels and comic novelizations, will be among the casualties.

Although there haven’t been any official announcements, science fiction editor Jonathan Strahan reported on his blog yesterday that SFBC’s only editors — Editor-in-Chief Ellen Asher and Senior Editor Andrew Wheeler — have lost their jobs at Bookspan. Strahan says Bertelsmann probably will merge SFBC with its Doubleday Book Club.
However, an update post raises hopes that this is not the case.

I would be very sad to see the SFBC close. I have been a faithful member for over 30 years. I've been so loyal that about 15 years ago they took me off the "you better send in your card that says you are opting out of the monthly selection or we're gonna send it to you anyway and charge you for it" membership to "you just buy our books when ever you like, no worries about that selection response thingie". And I do buy from there, a lot. I hope it stays around for a long time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Keeping Track of My Conversations

For me, one of the best things about blogging is the conversations one can have in comments. I see blogging as the building of communities of interest unfettered by one's location, time of day, sex (see there Medievalist, I didn't use 'gender'), disabilities, race or creed. The more blogs I visit (and I have a huge list) and the more comments I drop about, the harder it is to keep up with them, right?

Well, kinda. I signed up at coComment in February of '06. Recent updates to their software and new features has made it even better for following my comment history, and for knowing when there are new comments on blogs that I've left my comments on. It's especially nice if the blogger responds to something you've said, you'll know about it as soon as you check your conversations page.

So, I wanted to recommend it to you and hope you'll consider signing on - I don't get any compensation from them for this, I just like the service and would love to have more "neighbors" there. You can see where I've commented recently.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

By the Time You Read This...

it will probably be May 30th. May 30th is the birthday of a very special friend of mine. Go wish him many happy returns of the day, ok?

Frank's blog
Frank's Website
Frank's Book

Monday, May 28, 2007

Measuring Up Mathematically

I don't remember exactly what my SAT scores were - I took the damn test in 1975 - but I know that my math scores were average and my literacy/verbal score was pretty high. This is apparently born out by the fact that my index and ring fingers are the same length, according to a study reported in LiveScience. If my husband wasn't asleep (I'm writing this at 12:45 am) I'd go take a look at his hands - he's the math genius around here. (ETA - just looked, yep, his ring finger is longer than his index finger).

The TV Show "Jericho" (which I haven't watched but am considering viewing somehow - re-runs, if they show them, or iTunes or online) won't be picked up for next season and that has the fans in a tizzy. What are they going to do about it? I saw on Slashdot that they are sending tons of roasted in the shell nuts to CBS execs.

Folks, I'm considering cancelling the next season of this blog.
If you're truly a fan and want to persuade me to keep blogging,
you should send me cans of Arizona Diet Green Tea.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gonna Pimp My Review Blog Post and Think About Our Servicemen, Past and Present

I have been working all day on a review for my other blog Drive By Booking (although I do have about 3/5ths of a post specifically for this blog in draft - that'll go up tomorrow). So I thought I'd just post briefly tonight and ask you to take a peek over there.

If you know someone published by a small press (not self-published, but small POD or ePub press is fine as well as offset publishers) ask them if they'd like to have me do a review of their book. They can contact me at the email over in my sidebar.

Hope you've had a good weekend - for my U.S. friends, I hope you enjoy your Monday off as well. As it's Memorial Day, I'd like to also mention my thanks to those who have and are serving in our Armed Forces.

My paternal grandfather was in the Army. My father, the Air Force. My sister and her husband and my brother were all in the Navy. My brother served in the first Gulf War on the USS Tarawa. Now my son takes his place in this line of servicemen as a Army Paratrooper and there's my daughter's significant other who just got back from 6 months tour in Kuwait with the Navy. You can understand, I'm guessing, the significance of this holiday for me. I'm blessed that on this day I don't have a lost loved one to mourn, but I do have a heavy heart for those who do and am prayerful that my son and my daughter's SailorBeau will stay safe during their service.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Lazy Saturday Posting

Found a new web comic today Marry Me. It has only been around for a few months so it didn't take long to catch up. Clever writing and good art.

Tomorrow and Monday I need to do some housework - my son will be here on leave next weekend! I'll also be putting up another small press book review on Drive by Booking tomorrow. My Brontë books arrived, but I have a couple things to finish before I can get to them, so they aren't on the list of things to do this weekend.

I nearly had a crisis today - due to a completely my fault miscommunication my hosting company agreement was not renewed and the site was down. A few years ago the husband and I read about this hosting company, 1&1, that was giving away hosting. We took them up on it and it was only recently that our free hosting agreement came to an end. My husband quickly got things turned back on, the monthly rate is very reasonable, and nothing was lost. I, coincidentally, discovered reading Whatever today, that site is hosted there too.

No hamster news. How about a cat picture? These are the grandkitties Pudding (l) and Jello (r)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stray Animals, Music and an Incidental Hamster (of course!)

Have you been following the story of the whales who swam up the Sacramento-San Joaquin River here in Northern California? They don't seem to want to leave quite yet. They've tried using recordings of whale songs about feeding, scary killer whale noises and now they've resorted to water cannon of a fire-fighting boat. The whales get a 3-day weekend's rest, at least. Maybe they were hoping to get a glimpse of Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Not to be left out of the news, Southern California has it's own stray animal story. Down in Los Angeles they've got a locally famous alligator, named Reggie, who made the national wires by finally getting nabbed after taking up residence in Harbor Regional Park's Lake Machado for the last two years. According to CNN "The gator inspired a zydeco song, two children's books and innumerable T-shirts. Students at Los Angeles Harbor College next to the lake adopted Reggie as a second mascot."

Zydeco! I've mentioned it in times past, but newer folk reading here may not know of my fondness. I first heard zydeco on Seseme Street when my children were small. I have a few songs on my iPod, it's great music for lifting the spirits. Lisa Haley & the Zydecats Krewe did the Reggie Alligator (you can hear about a minute's worth of the song at the link) song mentioned above.

In hamster news (and you thought couldn't possibly be going there again, didn't you), there really isn't any but I was looking and found a cute hamster image instead at this blog. Is that not one of the most adorable hamster pictures, ever? If I didn't have three cats, I might be driving out to the pet store for a hamster right now.

Wikipedia had to lock its article on librarians due to bit on Stephen Colbert's May 25th show, The Colbert Report, where he interviewed Jimmy Wales the founder and put up a "secret" message that "librarians are hiding something" during that interview. If I wanted to get intellectual about it I could try and talk about some of the interesting points Colbert made about the "democratization of information", especially the part about for too long the "elites who study things got to say what is or isn't real" and how with Wikipedia "anybody with a computer and the patience to put in a password can change anything". However, it's all been discussed in detail by some very smart people over on Making Light. I wonder if Colbert lurks over there?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gay Flamingo Foster Parents, Shaggy Beards and an Occasional Hamster

In my wandering around Science Blogs the other day, starting as usual on Pharyngula, I saw this article about a pair of gay flamingos adopting an abandoned flamingo chick. Apparently the couple wanted to be parents badly enough that "they had resorted to stealing eggs from other pairs as they sought to fulfil their desperate desire to start a family of their own." It's a fascinating article by GrrlScientist, "a molecular evolutionary biologist who studies and lives with parrots and other birds."

Is it a generation thing that I don't find scraggly beards or overlong beard stubble sexy? I was reading the post at Shakesville (formerly? Shakepeare's Sister) about the season finale of Lost and the poster plus a number of commenters thought Jack's untamed facial hair sexy. I like beards but I do prefer them trimmed and neat. Not real crazy about the long stubble look at all.

Found a new web comic (thanks to Joel who left a link in a comment on Making Light) to seriously adore. Sequential Art. It's got an artist guy and a cat girl and a squirrel-girl and a penguin and a platypus and the occasional hamster and evil little things that I'm not sure what they are!

The illustration is good and the story is funny with a number of real laugh out loud moments as I caught up through the archives from the beginning tonight. I wish I could put it on my reader, but there's no feed that my Google Reader could find. *sigh* I'll just have to go there the old fashioned way with a bookmark. Funny how you get attached to new gizmos like the reader and everything else seems like so much extra effort now.

I got an email from the International Weblogger's Day folk today, reminding me of the event and this year's topic. Click the button to learn more. InWeDay is June 14th.

International Weblogger's Day 2007

Cons and Other Places I'm Planning to Go, With Extra Hamster News, Too.

This August I'm going to NasFic, aka. Archon 31, August 2 - 5 in St. Louis, MO. The WorldCon is in Japan this year (and wouldn't I love to go there!).

I'm also going to try and be at the Star Trek Con in Las Vegas on August 9 - 12 held at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. It's an annual "anniversary" event for the hubby and I. Our old anniversary was August 15th, 1991 our new one is August 19, 2006. This year is the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Should be a pretty good con. Wil Wheaton is going to be a guest. We've enjoyed his previous visits and gotten him to autograph his books (Just a Geek and Dancing Barefoot) there as well as heard him talk and seen some improv/sketch work he does with a group called ACME comedy theatre. He's funny and very generous in giving time to his fans.

I just wandered over to Wil's blog. Apparently AOL has blocked him from emailing anyone with a '' email address. Those folk all need to get gmail, IMO. Read more at his blog WWdN: In Exile

Next year I'm going to go to the WorldCon in Denver.

Denvention 3 - the 66th Worldcon - Denver Worldcon in 2008

Aside from cons I'm looking forward to a visit from my son and a trip with him to SoCal to visit my family and go to Disneyland. I reserved our rooms online this evening, and called Disneyland for "Priority Seating" aka, a reservation, for dinner at the Blue Bayou restaurant. If you've never been to Disneyland it's an indoors restraunt at the Pirates of the Carribean in New Orleans Square. The Disneyland website says of it:

Savor the down-home Cajun flavors at this New Orleans-style eatery with a moonlit ambience, a dining terrace that overlooks Laffite's Landing, entry to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and the finest Crescent City cuisine outside of Louisiana.

Menu items include:
  • Classic Cajun gumbo and jambalaya
  • Dinnertime offerings of Alaskan King Crab Legs and Filet Mignon
  • Lunchtime exclusive of the Blue Bayou's signature Monte Cristo sandwich
  • Savory choices of broiled fish, chicken and beef dishes
  • Mouth-watering appetizers and delectable desserts

Haven't been able to get in the door to eat there on any of our last few visits - it's always booked up. Last year we got there around 9 or 10 a.m. and tried to get reservations for dinner. I even pulled the "we're newlyweds" card - it didn't help. Then I discovered that you can call up to 60 days in advance and book a table.

The only time I can recall eating there (and that doesn't mean I haven't since, I just don't remember) was back in 1977 when a bunch of college theater friends and I drove down for the day in the middle of the week around Thanksgiving time.

Another blog on my reader that writers might find interesting: Craigslist Curmudgeon. He talks about postings on Craigslist that are insulting to writers.

Lots of news posts about researchers discovering a hamster jetlag cure (I picked that one to link because I, 1) like ScienceBlogs and 2) it had the best title) often do hamsters cross timezones, anyway, that this should be a problem for them? (Yes, I know - but don't disabuse me of this notion, I'm enjoying the imaginary world of jet setting hamsters I've created in my mind, ok?) My first notice of this item was via Jaycinth on Absolute Write, btw.