Friday, December 31, 2010

Books I Read in 2010

1. Sergio Aragones: Five Decades of His Finest Works - Sergio Aragones - ***
2. Small Gods - Terry Pratchett - *****
3. Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett - *****
4. Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett - *****
5. Moving Pictures - Terry Pratchett - *****
6. Eric - Terry Pratchett - ****
7. Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett - *****
8. Pyramids - Terry Pratchett - ****
9. Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett - *****
10. Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 3: 1984-1986 - Berkeley Breathed - *****
11. Sourcery - Terry Pratchett - *****
12. Mirror Kingdoms - Peter S. Beagle - ***
13. The Mark - M.R. Bunderson - *
14. Masked - ed. Lou Anders - ****
15. The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times - Adrienne Mayor - ****
16. Stories: All-New Tales - ed. Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio - **
17. The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson - *****
18. Singularity's Ring - Paul Melko - *****
19. Mort - Terry Pratchett - *****
20. Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett - ****
21. The Light Fantastic - Terry Pratchett - ****
22. The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett - ****
23. Darwin's Bastards - ed. Zsuzsi Gartner, William Gibson, Douglas Coupland, and Yann Martel - **
24. The Walls of the Universe - Paul Melko - *****
25. The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories - Walter Jon Williams - **
26. Shine - ed. Jetse de Vries - **
27. Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy, 2008 - ed. Merrie Haskell - **
28. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe - Charles Yu - **
29. Waking the Witch - Kelley Armstrong - ****
30. Stars and Gods - Larry Niven - ****
31. Cthulhu's Reign - ed. Darrell Schweitzer - ***
32. Timeshares - ed. Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg - ***
33. Solar - Ian McEwan - *
34. Mercy Thompson: Homecoming - Patricia Briggs - ****
35. Firefly: Still Flying: A Celebration of Joss Whedon's Acclaimed TV Series - Joss Whedon - ****
36. Third Class Superhero - Charles Yu - *
37. Must Love Hellhounds - ed. Penguin Books - ****
38. The Book of Dreams - ed. Nick Gevers - ***
39. The Bird of the River - Kage Baker - *****
40. Arkham Asylum: Madness - Sam Keith - ****
41. Boneshaker - Cherie Priest - **
42. The Fuller Memorandum - Charles Stross - *****
43. And Another Thing... - Eoin Colfer - ****
44. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - *****
45. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible - A. J. Jacobs - ****
46. American Gods - Neil Gaiman - ****
47. The Atlantis Code - Charles Brokaw - ***
48. Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson - ****
49. Blood Oath - Christopher Farnsworth - ***
50. Magic Bleeds - Ilona Andrews - ****
51. The Road to Amber - Volume 6: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny - Roger Zelazny - ****
52. Nine Black Doves - Volume 5: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny - Roger Zelazny - ****
53. Last Exit to Babylon - Volume 4: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny - Roger Zelazny - ****
54. This Mortal Mountain - Volume 3: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny - Roger Zelazny - ****
55. Power & Light - Volume 2: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny - Roger Zelazny - ****
56. Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 2: 1982-1984 - Berkeley Breathed - *****
57. Threshold - Volume 1: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny - Roger Zelazny - ****
58. Changes - Jim Butcher - *****
59. Kick-Ass - Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. - ****
60. Across the Wall - Garth Nix - ***
61. Abhorsen - Garth Nix - ****
62. Lirael - Garth Nix - ****/**
63. Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 1: 1980-1982 - Berkeley Breathed - *****
64. Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs - ****
65. Not Less Than Gods - Kage Baker - ****
66. Sabriel - Garth Nix - ****
67. Halting State - Charles Stross - ****
68. Glasshouse - Charles Stross - ****
69. Accelerando - Charles Stross - ** 1/2
70. Destroyer of Worlds - Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner - ****
71. Frostbitten - Kelley Armstrong - ****
72. Black Magic Sancton - Kim Harrison - ****
73. Missile Gap - Charles Stross - ****
74. Iron Sunrise - Charles Stross - ****
75. Singularity Sky - Charles Stross - ****
76. The Story of a Marriage - Andrew Sean Greer - **/****
77. Who Censored Roger Rabbit? - Gary Wolf - ***
78. Wireless - Charles Stross - ****
79. The Complete Peanuts, 1973-1974 - Charles M. Schulz - ****
80. The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972 - Charles M. Schulz - ****
81. The Atrocity Archives - Charles Stross - ****
82. The Jennifer Morgue - Charles Stross - ****
83. Toast - Charles Stross - ***
84. The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration - Robin Rosenberg PhD - **
85. Star Wars: Death Troopers - Joe Schreiber - ***
86. The Women of Nell Gwynne's - Kage Baker - ****

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Flashback Music

Back in the 90s I loved Tiny Toon Adventures and their adaptation of the They Might Be Giants "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"

Then Jennifer was watching an episode of "Raising Hope" and while Cloris Leachman was playing Jenga, she was listening to the song, but it wasn't They Might Be Giants. I did a little looking, and found on Wikipedia that the original artist was the Four Lads. So I had to go looking for their version.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Visit With a Lovely Pleasant Hill Policeman

I got pulled over this evening on Taylor just after Morello.

PHPD: Do you know why I stopped you?
Me: No, sir.
PHPD: You were moving between the lines and making sharp corrections. Have you had anything to drink tonight?
Me: No, sir, not tonight.
PHPD: Are you on your way home?
Me: No we're out looking at Christmas lights.
PHPD: Well, be careful. There are people who are out driving under the influence.

He didn't ask for my license, or insurance. And Jennifer and I drive away thinking, "Yes, sir, and your badge is very large and you have nothing to compensate for."

Jennifer said many times on the way back, "You weren't making sharp corrections. I wold have told you if you were. I'm your wife; that's my job."

We were just a couple miles from the Pleasant Hill police department. We figure he was just out of the barn, and thought in his best Star Wars Imperial voice, "Our first catch of the day."


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fieldwork for 2010 Completed

Have I mentioned how much I've been in the field the past few weeks?

All of last week and the past three days this week, I've been in Fremont.

The week before that I did a jaunt to Bakersfield, and a two day trip to Madera and Fresno.

The week before that I had been in Sacramento for three days.

And after I take this next week off, I'll be in Santa Clara for the first week of 2010.

I think I'm just going to hole up for the last week of 2010 and enjoy the silence and climate control.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Full of Fudgy Goodness

Tonight, fudge was a success.

I used the candy thermometer, and achieved the soft ball temperature necessary. it took 13 instead of the directed 10 minutes to reach the proper temperature.

Oh but the spoon and pot tasted so good while waiting for the fudge to cool.

Now I have to apportion for the various parties and gatherings coming up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cleaning with Power Tools

Have you ever burned food so bad that you had to clean the pot with a Dremel?

I attempted to make peanut butter fudge on Saturday while Jennifer was out watching men beat the shit out of each other.

I think when I got to the step of putting in the peanut butter and marshmallow creme, I didn't get the temperature up high enough. And so the concoction didn't set up right. I ended up with four glass dishes of peanut butter syrup.

A plea to my parents gave the suggestion of putting it all back in the pot and heating it up to "soft ball" temperature (about 235 Fo). I think it would have worked if the stuff wasn't so thick that I could hardly stir it. By the time it started to get soft, it was too late.

The wonderful smell of peanut buttery-fudgy goodness slowly became the smell of burned food.

I finally gave up as the mixture kept getting darker and pieces started to break off from the bottom. And so after letting it partially cool, I threw out the mix and found about an eighth of an inch of burned candy on the bottom of the pot.

I soaked it. I boiled it. I simmered with baking soda and dish soap. But there was still about half of the bottom covered in thick black distilled carbon. I attacked it with a cheese knife, and then a putty knife. Then I finally had an epiphany.

I got out Jennifer's Dremel, and put in the plastic brush attachment. that proved to be much too soft, and so I switched to the wire brush. And that's what I used for the next half an hour with safety glasses and the occasional pause to change the slight bit of water in the pan to keep the tip cool.

And so I have a clena pan that I can used again some time this week when I get my confidence back.

Of course that's not all that I burned today. I burned a batch of cinnamon toast from neglect (I got distracted), and nearly ruined a batch of Rice-A-Roni when it got hotter than I expected.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


back when I was addicted to clicky games on Facebook, I was playing several at once. Eventually I whittled them down to just one: Castle Age. Then as I was playing one day a new gift came out for the construction of some sort of druid's weapon.

It was labelled as a ginkgo leaf, but the picture is obviously a magnolia leaf. I grabbed a screen capture, and saved the picture. I filed the picture away planning on doing something with it, but never got around to it. Now as I'm organizing my files from the back-up restoration, I thought I'd have some fun.

Now I'm going to try to submit this to the science geeks' LOL page: LOLCats Can Haz Science.

Marching Band Awesomeness

I saw this on Up Next In Sports, and was amazed. Aside from the fun animation, the band's lines are strong and stable.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Fail Blog

Today I took my car in for it's first smog certification.

And it failed.

There's a service engine light that's come on and the smog center gave me a print out of the error messages. They sound a lot like the error messages I was getting when some of the parts were recalled.

So I got an extension for the registration, and now I'm waiting for the consumer assistance program to help me out with getting it fixed.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Temporal Revisions

So Friday, my schedule for the coming weeks was shuffled a multiple times.

So as it turns out, I'll be going down to Fresno County tomorrow and Tuesday, and then be drilling in Fremont for the rest of the week and all of the following week.

Then the week of Christmas, we've got training on that Monday.

We'll see how the rest of that week goes.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I haven't had much time to play with it yet because of my work schedule (up at 5:00 and home after 7:00) this week, but it's pretty amazing.

I'm still learning the keyboard which is a little different as far as page navigation, but the best part (and the thing that didn't photograph) is the backlit keyboard.

I look at the keyboard too much because I use what I call an accelerated Columbus typing method. I've learned to type pretty quickly, and can type without looking if I don't think about it. But with the backlit keyboard I can type without having to have the desktop spotlight of my desk on.

I've installed most of the programs I need onto it, and right now I'm restoring the files that are stored on my backup storage.

And because I got on John's case for announcing a new monitor without specs, here's the laptop's specs:

HP ENVY 17 customizable Notebook PC

Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-740QM Quad Core
processor (1.73GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz
Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5850 Graphics [HDMI]
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
1TB 7200RPM Dual Hard Drive (500GB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive
6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 2.25 hours of
battery life +++
17.3" diagonal HD+ HP BrightView Infinity LED Display (1600
x 900)
Blu-ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
(Slot Load)
HP TrueVision HD Webcam
Intel Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
Backlit Keyboard
Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) Elements 8 & Adobe
Premiere(R) Elements 8
I'm very excited about it all. The most I can say is: Insurance is a wonderful thing, and so are new release specials.

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