Sunday, February 28, 2010

And Now Back to the Wall...

Three days, and three books.

Well, almost. I think I did it in four days, but I tried. The Kim Harrison book just didn't get the dedication the other two did.

I have to say of the three books so far in Niven and Lerner's New Terra series, Destroyer of Worlds is the best. Maybe because I was so interested in the timeline relating to Protector or simply because I'm three books into this arc, but this one was a much easier to read.

I have to wonder at the leniency shown to the enemy over much of the book, but that could very well be explained by mind conditioning.

Anyway, it sets up the bits for the next sequel wonderfully, and really makes me eager for the next installment.

In about a year's time.

And so I return to my stack of Charles Stross books with Accelerando.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

While the Wife's Away...

.. the husband reads.

Not that I wouldn't be reading anyway, but last night and today have been petty much dedicated to reading with only a slight break for a run for comics.

Last night, I finished Kim Harrison's Black Magic Sanction. I like that her character Rachel Morgan is no longer defined by making stupid decisions every third chapter. She's grown, and the book was wonderful to read. And of course, is set up for the next sequel.

This evening, I just finished Kelley Armstrong's Frostbitten. This one is back with the werewolves, especially with Elena as the main character. It read faster than the Harrison book, but was smaller. Still also a good femme-fantasy romp.

And now I'm on to Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner's Destroyer of Worlds. I read the dedication and the dramatis personae.

The dedication: To Werner Heisenberg - Maybe

And the dramatix personae makes me near giddy to begin reading; it mentions the Pak.

Another Video (NSFW)

This one is just amazing. I can't say why beyond the presence of Kirtin Dunst, but there's just something about it.

Slightly NSFW due to two half-second shots of topless anime/manga girls.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Squashing Tomatoes

First off, let's start the post with the newest OK Go video, which features the Notre Dame Marching Band.

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

(I just checked, and this worked. Yay, for me.)

Next, I got a swarm of books at the library yesterday that are all new, and I have to regretfully put aside Charles Stross.

I've chosen to read them in what the past has shown to be fastest reads. So the first is Kim Harrison's new book Black Magic Sanction (I'm already about a quarter of the way through it), then Kelley Armstrong's Frostbitten, and then Larry Niven's Destroyer of Worlds.

Then I can get back to Stross.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Last night was a fun night, but some things sneak up on you.

So today, I didn't do a whole lot.

Tomorrow, I'm back out at the excavation to watch the backfill with aggregate.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oakland Excavation and a Day of "Rest"

Two days of digging under my supervision, and one day under another geologist, and the excavation is complete. Now we'll just need to see how the confirmation samples come back for if we'll need to expand the excavation or not.

A few weeks ago, Jennifer had suggested taking this Friday off, so while it later ended up corresponding to a day excavating, it's what we did yesterday. And did we walk.

We started at the Embarcadero Hyatt where she had stayed for a party for a friend, and then walked to where she had parked over at the Rincon Center. Then we walked down to the Embarcadero, and had breakfast at Sinbad's on Pier 2. Then we walked along the Embarcadero, heading around to a bike shop owned by a guy Jennifer knows, and along the way, we came across Tcho.

Jennifer spotted it by the words painted on the side of the building at Pier 17 (I can't remember them, but something like "All chocolate made on site"). It looked like just another warehouse on the pier, but there was also the word tour painted on it. We found out that the tours haven't begun yet, but we did stop by their little shop attached to the factory. It's some incredible chocolate, so if you're walking along the Embarcadero for whatever reason, stop in.

We continued on to Bay Street, then curved onto Powell, and went to Citizen Chain Cyclery. the guy's philosophy about bikes is great, so check the site.

We then walked up Powell to Washington Square, and the Rogue Public Alehouse located there. We ended up not having their beer, but had an apple and pear cider each. They were a very different taste, but we followed them up with the Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey. It's very light, and has a slow finish but builds up nicely. I'll have to look and see if the local BevMo carries it or not.

After Rogue, we continued up Powell towards up to Union Square. Just before the square we had lunch at one of our favorite sushi restaurants, Maru Sushi. We ate light, but got our fill, and then we moved on to the shops around the square; essentially Levi's. They were having a sale.

Then we headed further down Powell and stopped at Lush for Jennifer, and then DSW for both of us. We could have spent nearly $1,000 at DSW (they have Mark Nason), but limited ourselves to one pair of shoes each.

Finally, we figured we had done enough damage, and walked down Market to where Jennifer's car was parked, and drove home.

Whew, about 4.6 miles all told. I deserve this relaxing evening coming up.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I am surprised how tired I get from just walking around watching other people work.

I'll write more tomorrow. I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oakland Excavation - Day One

And the excavation formally begins.

Today I was shocked at the appearance of the site. They had taken out two of the planter mounds and rocked a work pad. It looked so different, and yet so professional.

The excavation went very well, and we would have been done at a good time. Except that our concrete pumper, which normally uses two pumps, was only operating on one. So instead of a constant flow of concrete, it was spitting.

Finally after about half of the slot was filled, we let the trucks free fall into the pit.

That helped a lot.

Tomorrow we move to the opposite end of the excavation for an other slot. Hopefully, tomorrow will go even better than today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dense Metals and Crystalline Carbon

Valentine's day was a wonderful day.

We started it with juice in bed and an exchange of gifts. I got some cologne and lotions and soap, and Jennifer got jewelery.

Then we went for a hike in the Marin Headlands with the Sorrells. We had a great time with them, but didn't hike as far as we had planned due to major runoff at one trail branch. It wold have been extremely muddy, and slippery.

Then we came home and rested a bit, then got cleaned up for dinner. I surprised her with a roundabout drive to Nibbler's in Pleasant Hill. The food and pairings were wonderful. The best part was that at the end we were neither drunk, nor stuffed.

We did have a craving afterwards, so we stopped off in Walnut Creek for a shake and fries (Jennifer had a Shamrock), and we sat on Grizzly Peak and looked over the Bay. It was actually clear enough to see the lights of the Golden Gate Bridge and Sutro Tower.

Today we did not much around the house besides laundry, and I'm getting all set for the Oakland excavation to start tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

And for the Babylon 5 fans, Happy Valen's Time Day.

Last night we were in Sonoma for Art from the Heart. the art wasn't anything special, but we got some wine from the auction. I'm looking forward to tasting it.

Today we're going to the Marin Headlands, and then back home to go out to dinner.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kaesonell Ligna Premarborell

The tree spoke slowly, but the Wood Elf listened patiently. After allaying its fears over his axe, the tree warned of the holdouts of the Blight in the Green Woods: plants and creatures that were able to maintain a foothold in the cleansing aftermath of Prince Karl’s assumption of the Crown of Leaves. It tended to explain the scars and black veins that remained on the prince’s left arm. But using their strange forms of communication, the plants of the Green Woods had mapped the locations of these holdouts. Now Kaesonell and his friends could get to work.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fungus Speculations

Okay, now stick with me here.

I have an occasional skin fungus that appears on my back and arms. It's a yeast that is related to athlete's foot and dandruff, and tends to make the host body itch a lot, and is noticeable by it's blooming marks. Today I was hit with a massive itching attack, and while Jennifer was scratching it she noted that my back was exceptionally dry, but there was no sign of the fungus.

Now here's the speculation.

I've cut back on sugar quite a bit.

Yeast needs sugar to live. Sugar is what yeast eats.

Sweat is the moisture the fungus would need to live as well.

Excess sugar can be passed through urine.

Sweat is a kind of waste similar, but more dilute, to urine.

What if the yeast-related skin fungus was feeding on the excess sugars I was excreting when I would sweat? And now that the sugar content has been drastically reduced... they're starving and dying.

I can hope.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I'm a Geologist, not a Doctor (Nor am I a Bricklayer)

So I wrote about Charles Stross yesterday, but I didn't really recap the books.

Wireless and Toast are collections of short stories.

The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue are kind of supernatural spy stories. Magic and mathematics and Lovecraftian horrors all mixed together. The Jennifer Morgue especially is a tribute to Ian Fleming, but also contains nods to others as well. One of his stories (I forget the exact one, and it might be more than one) refers to those on the Other Side as being in the Dungeon Dimensions. It's a straight up connection to Terry Pratchett, which made me giggle.

Tonight I finished Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary Wolf. It was not what I expected, and I had had my expectations lowered after reading that the only line the movie has in common with the book is Baby Herman's reference to his lust level versus his equipment. It was also hard to make the transition from seeing the movie be about animated 'Toons, and the book being about funny pages 'Toons. I think it may have to do with not really liking murder mysteries in the first place, but this one seemed to be written with an extremely convoluted plot. I enjoyed for the contrast to the movie, but I definitely prefer the movie to the book.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Charles Stross

I've just finished my third book by Charles Stross straight after being introduced to him by a few short stories from Tor.

I find myself needing more.

Stross may be my new favorite science fiction author. I still enjoy Larry Niven, but his writing is graspable by my knowledge of astronomy and physics, or maybe its just that it has become comfortable after so many years of reading. Stross' work is just barely comprehensible with my knowledge of computers and what I've read of Lovecraft. It makes everything I read seem that much more fantastic.

I'm definitely going to read as much of his stuff that I can find.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Who's On First

I've always been a big fan of Abbot and Costello's routine "Who's on First". The complete episode of that particular radio show is full of great puns and misunderstandings.

Salesman: This bat was made for Slaughter.
Costello: Ain't you got one that was made for baseball?

But the primary routine is amazing. The timing and the lines. I can remember two guys in middle school translating and performing the whole skit in Spanish. One of my favorite Animaniacs skits is Slappy and Skippy doing "Who's on Stage?"

Then today I found a list of variations of "Who's on First?".

First is the grammarians version.

And then the Shakespearean version. I would love to see this performed at a Renaissance Faire.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Early Morning Misunderstanding

A few years ago, when the alarm went off, and Jennifer had shut it off, she turned to me and asked, "Do you have supervision today?" Essentially, she was planning on playing hooky or had a holiday I did not, and wanted to know if I could take the day off as well.

Now, I was not fully awake yet, and I heard, "Do you have super vision today?" I thought she was wondering if I had somehow developed super powers in the night.

It led to a little confusion after my denial of super vision, but it did make me think my wife was pretty cool to pose such a question. She's still pretty cool, but this would have put the whole thing up another level.


As a show of her further coolness, other than our trip to Las Vegas, Jennifer got me the complete "Friends" on DVD. Last night we watched the series premier and the first two episodes. That was a lot of fun. I look forward to watching the rest over the next few months.

News and Such

First off, I just found out that Kage Baker passed away this past Saturday. The more I read about her, the more I wish I could have met her.

Then there's this news about bad science and medicine. I wonder how long it will take to fix the damage one bad paper caused.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Cravings: The Resolution

Trader Joe's Lemonade.

I just had half a bottle.

I'm feeling much better now.


With golden hair, golden eyes, and cloth of gold, the Ageless Songmaster stands on the sea cliff. As always being at elemental boundaries made his marks tingle: the puff of wind at his collar, the waves encircling his calf, and the earth cross at his breast. The burden of being a Warder of E’Arles, the first of many, still weighed on him, as did the imprisonment of his wife at the hands of the Malsedrans. However, he knew that with his magic, his sword, and bow, as well as the other Warders, there was always hope for her safe return.


So I'm having major cravings. But I'm stuck for figuring out what the cravings are for.

It's probably something as simple as sugar, but as I don't really have any of that around (or candy), I'm stumped.

Maybe I'll eat my apple early, but that doesn't sound right.


Monday, February 01, 2010


Lately I've been in a bit of a slump writing-wise. The creative juices have not been flowing. I really think it has been due to the music I've been listening to.

I have not been in a soundtrack listening mood, and I have so enjoyed having my ~6,000 song shuffle list of "rock" music, but music with lyrics in not conducive to writing.

At least not for me.

So I was complaining to a friend today about my writer's block, and she suggested writing drabbles.

I tried, and drew a blank. So I forced myself to switch to soundtrack music. I started my Pirates playlist (the three soundtracks in order), and before the first one was finished, I had two drabbles completed.

She also gave me a site with a list of words, so once I run out of small concepts, I'll try those words for themes as well.

Ho Eyoh He Hum

And February is here with a blah.

This weekend was a wonderful time of closeness with Jennifer. We spent time together, and did things together. It made it difficult for it to end. Sunday night we ended up reading together until after midnight, just to put off the end.

This morning was the monthly morning safety meeting, and it was hard getting up and leaving.

We've got a few events coming up on weekends that we'll be doing together. I think I"ll be craving them come the time.

Google+ Badge