Thursday, December 01, 2016

Why This?

Seriously, why a remake of "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters"?  Why Amazon?

Why not Lidsville?

Why not H.R. Pufnstuff?

Why half ass the return to psychedelic 'member-berries?

However, you have to agree with Bleeding Cool, Sid and Marty Krofft is such an example of why we grew up the way we did.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stress Relief

So, back when I was in school studying to be a geologist, my Geologic Structures teacher was giving us assignments.  Mostly they were drawing lines to connect boundaries between rock layers.  Then to better differentiate between the layers, we were supposed to color them.  The best advice she gave us was to have a glass of wine and then draw our lines (connect the dots) and color inside the lines.

Yes, I was a college student learning how to color.

However, the trick with the wine was great because it kept your hand from shaking and gave nice smooth curves.

I've been trying to find things to break up my routine while I'm traveling.  I've been going to San Luis Obispo now every week since the last week of July.  I drive down Sunday afternoon/evening, stay at a hotel during the week, and then drive back home on Friday afternoon.

For those who aren't familiar with the distance, it's 3.5 hours without traffic.  With traffic, it can be anywhere from 4 to 5 hours.  I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's drive home.  One of the worst commutes I ever had was a drive home from a jobsite on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Back when I was with Kleinfelder, I was working at a site in Redwood City for the San Jose office.  At one point, the project manager wanted me to drive the samples to the San Jose office.  I told him that I didn't know where the office was, and that there was no way I was driving that far south and then driving back to PLeasanton to return to company truck, and then driving home to Concord or Pacheco (I forget where home was at that time).  It was a full day's work, and with the drive segments, I didn't get home until after 8:00 that night.

We are all hopeful that tings go well enough tomorrow that we have a half day of work.

Now, on top of this looming drive, I found out on Monday that a good friend and coworker has a sick father.  When she told me, I gave her a hug.  Then she said that he has pancreatic cancer, and I gave her another bigger hug.  Like my mom, his is inoperable, but fortunately discovered early.  The tumor appears to be only the size of a golf ball, and has not spread.  It is early enough that they are still waiting for the biopsy.

So add all of that together with the general background stress of the approaching holidays, high profile work, and being geographically separated from Jennifer, and I needed a distraction.  Reading has been okay, but I'm having trouble focusing and not falling asleep while reading.

So I've been coloring.

I've printed out some outline artwork from Deviantart, and have been coloring some of those.  However, Jennifer and I found a craft store nearby when she came down for a visit, and they had an amazing color-by-numbers book called Color Quest.  It's a not just about coloring by numbers, but it's also an experiment in tessellation.

And so using the cool new app from Google called Photo Scan, I took pictures of my chosen piece of work after each color was completed.






I will say that after the first two colors, I thought it was going to be a snake.

Anyway, it was mindful relaxation, and I fell a bit better.  I might be able to get back to drafting the changed map for the roleplaying game.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Why, oh Why?

Why do we do stupid things out of curiosity?

Why do we go looking at old pictures of friends and former loved ones?

Is it personal torture?  Mental masochism?

And when you find yourself doing it, and Joe Satriani ends up playing a song called "Saying Goodbye," isn't it just too much to ignore?

Chalk it up to loneliness, and being alone during the week for just too damn long.

Someday, I'll have a November free to regurgitate all these thoughts and feelings out uninterrupted.

But for now, just consider me mentally cutting.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Stross! Stross! He's our man!

So, I just finished (literally) Charles Stross' latest additional to the Laundry Files The Nightmare Stacks.  And it is bunches of fun.

The Nightmare Stacks reminds me of a Tom Clancy novel.  I've only read two of those, but it has that feel.  A reluctant agent caught up in things, tactical maneuvers, and technical specifications.  And reading about a dragon's technical jargon just makes me smile.

The favorite characters aren't in this one aside from side mentions.  Dr. O'Brien is seen in passing, as is the BLUE HADES Representative on her way to the pool in a wheelchair.  Bob Howard is unfortunately in Japan.  So the main character is Alex Schwartz one of the Laundry's PHANG agents.

But it's not a vampire book.

I was reminded of two fictional invasions while reading this.  One was a GI Joe cartoon where they go up against a group that uses biological versions of all mechanical devices.  The other is Sliding Albion from The Authority comic books.

A recommendation before reading this are Stross' short story "Equoid".

It's been a while since I've this much fun reading.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Epiphany

I had a revelation the other day:  I used to write this blog for my mom.

It didn't start out that way, but it developed into a way for me to tell my mom what I was doing, what I was reading, and such.

I kind of lost momentum when she died.  I was working, and grieving, and kind of being.

I'll get back to this I promise.  Even if it's just another way of telling her what I'm doing.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Done Been Framed

So, Thursday I got a call from Michael's that my picture framing had been completed.  Friday evening, I was home in time from San Luis Obispo to go pick them up.


Here is the "Discworld Massif " by Paul Kidby.  We covered up the original name, but added the plaque.


Here is the "Speechless" reframe.  You can see the two bits of matting (the black and gray) from the original framing.




Here is how we hung them on the wall in the stairwell.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Post-Tropes

So, I read a lot.  This is no real surprise if you know me and/or read this blog.

I am about halfway through Neal Stephenson's Seveneves. And while I'm enjoying the book, I am also getting angry while reading it.

I've read lots of... okay, we'll call them post-apocalypse books, but it's not always an apocalypse.  Sometimes it's a disaster.  Sometimes it's a crash.

My favorite is Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer.  A comet hits the Earth, and things go bad and badly in California.

Another that comes to mind is David Brin's The Postman.

The thing these two have in common is mercenaries who end up as cannibals.

Now, in Seveneves, things are pretty dire, and there are a small fraction of humans how find a way to survive.  What makes me angry is that Stephenson isn't satisfied with just getting the survivors to struggle to survive, he has to add Politics.  And it's capitalized for a reason.

I guess it just is how I am, but political intrigue is not needed at this point in the book.

Not that I'm stopping reading, because if I feel this strongly about it, it's surely and enjoyable book.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Getting Framed

So, for my birthday today, I was given the gift of framing.  Specifically, I took two prints in to be framed.

Back when I was in college, Mel Blanc passed away.  I have always enjoyed the Warner Brothers' cartoons, and my parents knew it.  This was during the heyday of the WB Store, and my parents bought me this print:


It made me cry the first time I saw it.  I hung it on my wall everywhere I lived, but the frame ended up delaminating, and so it got shifted to a closet.  Today, it gets an additional matting, museum glass, and a new frame.  (The lithograph "Speechless" is still available here.)

Christmas 2014, I bought this print:



Little was I to know that just a few months later, Terry Pratchett would pass away.  I was thrilled when I got this, and was slightly teary today as we were designing the matting and frame to go with it.  (There are still prints for "Discworld Massif" available at Paul Kidby's site here.)

I will post pictures in a couple weeks when we have the final products hanging up


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...

Yes, it's been a while.  Blog momentum is difficult.

But anyway, you need to watch this:



It'd be great if every show could have fun recaps like this.  But then, not every show is on HBO and can thumb its nose at the censors hiding in Standards and Practices and the FCC.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Rainbows, How Do They Work?

So, a discussion Jennifer and I like to have is if everything in the Bible is to be taken as written, then light must have worked differently before the Flood.  I base this on rainbows being a new thing as a symbol of God's promise.  So in the pre-Flood world light could not be split?  But then how were there any colors?  Or if water wasn't able to split light, then how was it different?

It's a fun thing to talk about, at least for us.  It's no different than putting yourself in any other fantasy world and arguing the differences in physics.

Which brings me to XKCD's spin-off site "What If?" and more specifically pondering about rainbows in Tatooine.

Now beyond the concept of the what the system looks like, I have to ask, "When does it ever rain on Tatooine to even create a rainbow?"

But then back to my original biblical thought experiment, here's this XKCD strip:


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

My Bike Spoke - And Another Thing...

I think the whole time I was writing yesterday's post, I was close to achieving something.  Then like coming up with an insult to the junior high school bully, I came up with the perfect stinger yesterday afternoon.

So think back.  Read yesterday's post.  Now insert this at the end.

"You could honest say that my bike is now... true blue."

Monday, June 06, 2016

My Bike Spoke

So, what do you do when you break a spoke on your bike?

I had been noticing a wiggle in my rear tire.  It was most noticeable when I was riding along a linear feature like brick pavers or a stripe.  The bike would almost fishtail as the tire stayed in the groove and moved the bike around.  So I went to a bike shop and bought a spoke wrench.

I had watched a couple YouTube videos, and repair seemed pretty straightforward.  However, while I was working on the adjustments, I found that one of my spokes had come out of the frame at the hub.

Jennifer and I spent Saturday morning at Love Our Neighborhood Day.  Then we took a ride to Blue Heron Bikes on Gilman.  They didn't have any service reservations available until Thursday.  And I'd have to drop my bike off on Wednesday, and then figure out how to get there and back afterwards.

But Yelp to the rescue.

I looked for nearby bike shops, and found Berkeley Bikes & Skateboards.  I walked into this little shop, and the guy behind the counter (way behind, he was working in the back) said he could have the work done in two hours, and it was $5 cheaper than what Blue Heron quoted.  I kind of had to laugh because he was a little apologetic that a black spoke would cost $2.

So Jennifer and I checked out the Tokyo Fish Market and Gift Shop.  Then we walked over to T-Rex for a drink and lunch.

And now my blue-wheeled bike is true.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Truly Zen

So after the horribleness of multiple tube punctures in the rain, I ordered some new tires for my bike.

But not just any tires, Tannus Solid Tires.  Unfortunately, there is only one distributor in the US, and that is Cycle to Go.  In Tuscon.

But they were incredibly helpful and friendly over email, and helped me choose the correct width and diameter tires for my bike.



Installation was tedious, but simple as I had to insert the little yellow tabs about every inch around the circumference of the tire.



The only real difficulty was getting the tire onto the rim of the wheel.  Fortunately Jennifer was around to hold the wheel as I pulled the tire into place.


Then it was just as easy as using the provided tool to push the pins into the rim of the wheel



And they are amazing tires.  They feel a little different to me because I've been riding on hybrid tires for a couple years, but otherwise there is no difference.  By finger squeeze they feel like well inflated tires.  the best part is that I never have to check the air in them again,

If you want to see the best review that I found before buying, watch this:



And I have to agree.  there's not much to say about them because they simply perform like regular tires.

I can address a comment that a coworker was given about them.  Apparently someone claimed that in the event of hard breaking, the tire can keep going while the wheel stops.  Essentially they are describing sliding in the rim.  Now, Sunday I tried a hard stop coming home from a ride, and the bike and tires stopped just fine.  I think anyone who has issues with the tire sliding in the wheel got a tire that is too big for their rim size.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Alert *** Geek Ponderance *** Alert

So, I'm reading Leonard by William Shatner which is a biography of sorts of Leonard Nimoy, but more of a story of their 50 year friendship.  I've just gotten to the time in the past when they had finished Star Trek II.

And I began thinking of Star Trek III in terms of the military.  A crew of 6 steal a ship for personal reasons.  One of them sabotages the flagship of a new kind of ship.  And then they end up destroying the ship they stole.

Think about that.  They destroy the ship.

Okay, so there's no money in the Star Trek world, but think of the exotic materials and time it required to build that ship.

And then by the end of Star Trek IV, the Enterprise A is ready to go.  And it lasts for two more movies before being mothballed, because the Enterprise B is introduced in Generations.

Enterprises don't have the best record.

Original: heavily damaged often

Mark II: Dealt with V'Ger, beat up pretty badly by Kahn, self-destructed by Kirk

A: [REDACTED], and fought Klingons and Saboteurs.  Presumably mothballed

B: Bridge ripped apart by nirvana fragment

C: Sacrificed itself to save Klingon settlement against Romulan attack

D: heavily damaged often, destroyed several times in time loop, battle bridge destroyed and saucer section crashed after fighting a Klingon Bird of Prey

E: severely damaged after fighting Romulans, but retrofitted

Replicators must be awesome.

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