Monday, December 17, 2012

Computer Learning Curve

So Wednesday night, I was doing some basic computer maintenance updating my drivers.  I installed one update that didn't work, and then did a second one that required a reboot.

And my laptop hung on the reboot, and I got an error message asking for a start-up repair disc.  I will now be keeping one in the laptop bag, because I did not have one.  I had to wait until I got home this weekend to create a disc from Jennifer's computer (I couldn't find one I had created previously).  The repair disc wasn't able to perform the repair, and my only option was to reformat and reinstall.

The bad news is that I haven’t been able to do a backup lately.  Things just haven’t been working well.  So I was a little troubled.

I borrowed Jennifer’s computer, and dove into finding a Linux boot CD/DVD with a file system program so that I could move my documents to a jump drive.  I got better than I had hoped for with Knoppix.  It had a pretty easy to use GUI, and got me connected to my wireless network.  I was able to move my user files to my NAS, and then do the reformat and reinstall thing.

My spare time this week is going to be getting rid of the junkware that came with the computer originally, and getting all of my settings back the way I liked them.

But the point is, I have all of my files to do that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


John's posted about the vagaries of global interest in his blog a couple times (I don't know the specific post).

And I've looked at my stats occasionally.

But I just have to ask: Why is this post on my birthday last year so popular?  Just to set a benchmark, it is presently at 535 hits.

The next closest is one from a chain of blogs for scientists to talk about their blogs and their take on science in science fiction.  It got cross linked for the chain, but I can't figure out why one that just talks abotu my birthday gets so much interest.

Is it the picture of maple syrup served in a shot glass?

Is it the link to the Anchor Steam bicycle jersey?

Or is it the picture of Jennifer's bike with petunias in the front basket?

Please tell me, because I'd like to know.  Maybe I can duplicate the interest.  Any maybe I could break into double digits of followers.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

New Layout

I found a new layout.

This one isn't quite so crowded, and I kind of like the sidebar.

Let me know if there are any readability issues.


I collect things.

I used to collect comics.  I still have my collection, but it now no longer grows every week.

I used to collect unicorns, patches, hats, and at one time seedpods.  On my computer, I have two collections I keep in Word documents.

One is my collection of jokes.  I used to subscribe to many different mailing lists of jokes.  I also subscribe to Bizarre News.  I use to distill the news, taking out all the ads, and spread it around to my friends and family.  I eventually ran out of free time to do that, and also eventually whittled away my jokes emails to nothing.  Now I just add to my jokes when I come across a new one.

My other collection is one that is simply titled “Wisdom.”  It is a long list of quotes that I have found to be true, funny, and/or enlightening.  Every now and then I come across a new quote that hits me just right, and I add it to the list.  I try to attribute where I can, so that when I share them others can know where I found them.

I've cobbled this list from books, comedians, message boards, television, moves, friends, and family.
My latest addition is from Stephen Fry:  This is the point. One technology doesn’t replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.

Then there is this one I just came across in the list today from Scott Adams:  The only time women are not attracted to intelligent men is when they have the option of a good looking guy who is dumber than pants on fish.

And because I do actually add quotes from my friends, this one is from John:  Welcome to R’lyeh Spaceport. Please pick up your bags as they emerge from fifth-dimensional space. Please do not stand near any ninety-degree angles. Please avoid any sentient colours. Please do not make religious offerings until you have exited the premises. Thank you and fhtagn.

He related this one to me when a coworker said:  If I say “You’re welcome,” that’s not a binding contract involving my soul in any way, is it?

And one from another friend:  Everyone’s “fifteen minutes of fame” is turning into everyone’s reality show slo-mo farewell montage.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Usually I follow for my forecasts.

I’ve been following the Weather Channel since it was just 24 hours of Doppler radar.  On a rainy day, Dad and I could site forever, just watching the sweep of the radar change the precipitation pattern.  And if there was a tornado watch in affect?  We were rapt looking for that hook echo.

I’ve got the app on my phone and have a couple bookmarks for my browser.

But today I get up in Santa Cruz, and I hear rain on the bathroom skylight.  I look out the window and I see rain.  What does say?  It’s cloudy.  Cloudy until 8 this morning with the dun coming out later.

So I pull up the back-up,  Weather Underground says that it’s likely to rain until 3 PM today.  Now, yes, I’m pulling for rain because I can go home sooner, but still…  How do you get such discrepancies?

We also have a meteorologist working for PG&E who gives us periodic forecasts so that we can be prepared for days like today.

I have an acquaintance who is a meteorologist.  I met him when I bought a DSLR camera from him.  Later, I bought a tripod.  He get interviewed often by the Bay Area news shows.  I respect that there is a lot that goes into being a certified meteorologist as opposed to a weather girl in a tight top and skirt.  We all just wish we could be wrong as often as some forecasters are.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Okay, so I never was really racing to post things, but lately I’ve certainly decelerated.

It’s been hard with the extreme routine of life for the past twelve weeks to come up with something new to post.

I’m still working my way through the Dune series.  I have to admit I’m excited that the next book will be back in the original series, but I’ll be taking another break in the stride to read Terry Pratchett’s new one (Dodger).

I have watched a few movies lately.  “Men in Black 3” was a fun, tight little time travel movie.  “Apollo 18” was so so.  “The Dictator” was a typical Sascha Baren Cohen movie.  “Seven Psychopaths” was a whole lot of fun.

This weekend, it sounds like I’m probably going to see “Skyfall” and we’ve got tickets for 12/14 to see ‘The Hobbit”.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Clever, You're Not

This post goes out to all if the DJs who think it is the height of comedy to play "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurhythmics.

It isn't, and we're tired of it.

Just stop.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


Today I went for a bike ride.  I fear one of the last for a while unless the weather is nice on the weekends.  Sure I’ll keep riding between work and the hotel, but with the time change tonight, it’s going to be too dark in the evenings to go for a long ride in Santa Cruz.

I managed to get to the Natural Bridges Park twice, and that was cool.  Today, back at home, I made it to Costco and back in exactly an hour.  I was a great ride with minimal wind, and perfect temperature.
On my way back home, I started thinking of my past pedal powered vehicles.

I never had a Big Wheel, but I did have a little red tricycle.  I can remember riding around the subdivision with my parents.  they still talk about how I would pedal hard to keep up with them.

Then, when it was time for something better (with training wheels), I got a yellow Schwinn.  I believe it looked something like this.  Except mine was yellow.

Then, for 1976 and the bicentennial, Schwinn made a special Spirit of ‘76 version of the Stingray.

Then for my 10th birthday, I got a Raleigh Rapide 10-Speed.  I had that bike until I went to college.  And it got stolen the first week.

That year for Christmas I got a Peugeot.  (Yes, Papaw, a Poopy-Joe).  I had that one for several years until it got stolen as well.

Then dad gave me his old bike, and I rode it a little, but I never really took the time.

Then Jennifer met the owner of Citizen Chain, and got her red bike (later stolen).  A few months later (with my some of my severance money from ETIC), we bought me my bike.  It got stolen once, but I took it back, as you’ll remember.  And now, it will probably be the bike I’ll have for a long time.

Unless of course, I decide to have the guys at Citizen Chain make me up a bike special.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Good Eye, Bad Eye

Have you ever had one of those mornings when the thoughts going through your head while putting in your contacts could be used in a spy or police interrogation?

If you relax this won't go so hard on you.

Don't fight it; we'll just have to start over.

Are you trying to be difficult?

See, now wasn't that easy?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where Was I?

I was playing Ultima V in my apartment in Sacramento, blissfully unaware.

Where were you 23 years ago?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

So, Rain

The weather is what it is.  Today it was spitting rain on my ride back to the hotel.  It wasn’t much more than enough to speckle my clothes and bag.  But it did send me back to my freshman year of college.
I used to have early classes all of the time.  The chemistry or physics lab option that would fit my schedule was inevitably 7:15 or so on Tuesday and Thursday.  And for a few semesters that lab was all I had on those days.

So while living in the dorms, I would get up early, eat breakfast, go to class, and then have nothing to do other than homework for the rest of the day.  Now of course, I didn’t spend all my time schooling, so I would ride my bike.  Typically to Tower records or the mall.

One day I was riding up Watt Avenue, probably halfway to tower, and it started to rain lightly, you know, just a sprinkle.  It wasn’t any big deal, so I rode on getting slightly damp.

After my time browsing through cassettes and books, I decided to head back to campus for lunch.  And it was pouring.

Now something to remember is that I got up early enough to eat breakfast before lab.  I had a high metabolism for for most of my life, and while in school I ate constantly.  So I was eager to get back for lunch.

So I rode back to the dorm in the rain.

And when I got back, I was soaked.  This is not hyperbole; my jeans were notably heavy when I walked up to my dorm room.  I ended up laying all of my clothes out to dry on my drying rack.  (Yes, drying rack.  My T-shirts last forever because I don’t tumble dry them.)  And then I took a hot shower.

While I was in the midst of all of this, my floor-mates had seen me and asked why I was riding in the rain.  I told them what had happened, and they asked why I hadn’t called them for a ride.  Now first off, I didn’t have any of their numbers, but secondly, this was 1987/88.  There were no cell phones.  Or at least nothing truly portable.  So I said I would get their numbers and call if it ever happened again.

All this flashed through my mind today on my ride to the hotel.  That and the bit of thrill of feeling the weather on my face.

I think I owe my wife an apology for poo-pooing her desire to ride in the rain.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

King or Queen

Over the past year, I have been away from my wife overnight while working more than the rest of time together combined.

Because of this, we find ways of keeping the other in our thoughts.

Somehow, I appointed the egret as my animal.  There always seemed to be one flying or walking nearby when I was thinking about something difficult.  Having one or more around was just cool.

Jennifer has developed an association with ravens.  Somewhat from reading American Gods, but somewhat for the same reason as me with egrets.

She also has an affinity for butterflies (hence two of her tattoos).  Some of this comes from our visit to the butterfly house at The-Park-Formerly-Known-as-Marine-World, and some from the butterfly house in Key West that we visited twice while there.  She’s also had some other personal experiences with butterflies.
And then there’s dragonflies.  I find them fascinating, and like the things they hunt (mosquito larvae and, a recent find, termites).  I’ve had some close encounters with them including a big one that was sitting next to a lock at a job site one time.  Unfortunately, I don’t have that picture on my computer; it must be on the NAS at home.

But with these affinities, Jennifer and I know when the other is thinking about us.  Sometimes.

Last year when I was in Madera, there was one day when no matter where I looked for about 5 minutes, there was a butterfly swooping across my vision.  It was just as if Jennifer were waling past me saying, “Hi, honey.”  That day was the end of my stay at that job, and before I hit the road, I sent her a text saying I was on my way home.  I knew when she got the message, because while on the highway, a cloud of butterflies suddenly erupted from the flowering bushes in the median.

She had a similar experience one day at Lake Merritt.  She was thinking about me, and suddenly an egret landed on the beach n ear here and walked slowly across her vision while she was reading, seeming to make sure that she noticed it.

So yesterday I had an amazing experience with dragonflies.  We had cut down a tree a few weeks ago, and yesterday finally did some digging near it.  I think the excavator bumped it going by, but I noticed later that it was covered in winged termites.  The termites started taking to the air, and I saw two dragonflies start swooping through them, eating them on the wing.  Soon, there were at least eight dragonflies hunting through the fleeing termites.

Dragonflies and Termites

The termites are invisible, but the swooping things are the dragonflies.

And then today, I saw a butterfly flit by.  It stopped for a second on a large transformer, and I thought I’d get a picture, but it flew away.  Then it landed on the fence, so I got as many pictures of it as I could before it flew away.

It just kept opening and closing its wings in the sunlight.  I waited each time for it to open before I took the picture.  The third one is my since the wings were flattest and so the whole insect is in focus.





These aren’t with any fancy camera either.  This is just a basic, digital point-and-shoot.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Power Failure

This morning I was awakened by deafening silence at 4:20 AM.

The fan on the hotel air conditioner had shut off and so had my speakers which had been playing my white noise app. The power tried to come back on, but failed.

PG&E's webpage estimates power restoration at about 8:00 AM.

But have you ever realized how dark and quiet a hotel is without power?

I'm grateful Jennifer bought me a travel candle holder (it looks like a thick makeup compact) several years ago, and so I always have it and some tea-lights in my luggage. Of course I had to use my flashlight app on my phone to find my matches. I need to get a lighter for less smoke in the future.

I showered last night, and hair isn't a big issue since I wear a hard hat all day, but without the candle it would have been decidedly more difficult to get my contacts in.

So now I've been awake almost an hour and a half. I'm dressed; I've read my non-RSS feed comics on my phone; and I'm curious how much of a breakfast, if any, will be available from the hotel at 6:30.

Plus, one tea-light is not enough light to read by.

I guess I'll play phone games since I'm not going back to sleep.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Teeeee Veeeee

So most of the new season has started for this year in television, so let’s talk:

Go On – a new show with Matthew Perry.  Jennifer and I loved “Friends” and we’ve liked all the stuff Matthew Perry has done since.  “Studio 60” and “Mr. Sunshine” were both lots of fun.  We’re hoping this show stays around.

Grimm – Aside from the new intro which is stupid, this show is moving with continued momentum.  And after this last week, Nick shows again that his fighting skills are (while not being as good as his mom) not too shabby.

The Neighbors – We like it.  I think it has the potential to be clever and funny.  However, the stinger before the commercials has got to go.

The New Normal – We’re giving this one more episode.  We like the concept, but the message behind the concept is beginning to feel like propaganda.

How I Met Your Mother – We watched this through streaming on Netflix to catch up, and it’s cool to be watching it closer to real time.

Mike & Molly – This is mostly Jennifer’s show, but it was a fun season premiere.

Modern Family – Lots of fun once again.  I’m tired of Dylan though.

South Park – Awesome as always.

The Big Bang Theory – I must have Sheldon’s shirt showing the Kryptonese alphabet!  If you find it, share the link!

New Girl – Maintaining a high level of quirkiness.

2 Broke Girls – A little below average for a premiere, but we’ll keep watching it.

Partners – A show with potential.  I think they crammed too much into the series premiere, but its got two people we really like (Superman and Mr. Universe), so we’re hopeful.

Animal Practice – We’ve watched three shows now with Tyler Labine, and if they keep him at a certain level, this show could be really good.  Plus it follows the Julius Schwartz rule:  Everything is better with monkeys.


Not Yet Returned

The Simpsons – That’s on tonight.  I might be awake enough to watch it after it records.

Once Upon a Time – Also on tonight.  Will probably wait until next week when I’m home again.

Suburgatory – Not sure when this one is coming back.  It’s eagerly awaited on our parts.

Whitney – We like this one.  We’re hoping it also maintains its previous levels.

The Bitch in Apartment 23 – A late starter last year, its one we really started to enjoy.

Community – please please please please please…

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All Work and No Play

So, yes, I’ve been out in Santa Cruz since the day after Labor Day, going home on weekends, resting briefly, and then driving back Monday mornings.  Very early Monday mornings.  So early that I’m up before this guy.


Now, we’re working long hours, but I’m keeping up my spirits while away from wife by going for bike rides.
last week, I experimented with the river trail, and went down to the Boardwalk.  I didn’t linger long as I'd forgotten a bike lock last week, but I took some pictures, and felt good.

Earlier this week, I went to the local Costco for an eye exam, and went upstream on the river trail.
Yesterday, I realized I’d been in Santa Cruz for almost three weeks, and hadn’t had any of my seafood staple: clam chowder.  So I rode down the river, along the boardwalk, and then up the pier to Andy’s Bait & Tackle Shop.

I had clam chowder in a bread bowl, and a crab cocktail without cocktail sauce.

After dinner, I walked my bike up to the sea lion viewing holes, and got some pictures.  Then I went to the end of the pier and watched the pods of sea lions come in and leave.  I was also treated to an alder male showing off. 

I stayed for most of the sunset, and had some fun there as well.

Below are some of the better pictures.

Santa Cruz 002

Santa Cruz 010

Santa Cruz 040

Santa Cruz 156

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Like a Donut

I have an astigmatism.  I found this out today.

I've been struggling with distance vision attached with contact lenses for a couple years.  Near vision is no problem, but distance has been legible, but fuzzy.

Today, I got a bit of an explanation, and new contacts.

I was told they were toric lenses.  I asked if that was based off of torus, and she just repeated that they were toric.  It just goes to show that simply because you're a doctor does not mean you've learned everything there is to know about topology (and going by my Chrome spellchecker, neither do the people at Google).

Clarification for those who didn't keep up with three dimensional figures in math, go here.

The lenses are not cut from a sphere, so they have a definite up and down.  When I put them in, while there is no specifically different feel, my distance vision si still fuzzy.  But as I blink and the lenses settle into position, distance clarified.

So my eyes are almost the same prescription, but they require a different bit of toroidal (another word Chrome doesn't recognize) section to fix my sight.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Adventure Begins

Today is day one of the excavation project in Santa Cruz.

it was a difficult farewell this morning, and weekends are going to be precious.  Yes, even with football starting.

The bright side is the accrual of hotel bonus points, and eventually a vacation with which to use them.

Some day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tattoo Time

This weekend, I got more work on my back piece.  Phil continues to amaze me with his interpretation of color and style.

He finished the exhaust pretty quickly, and so with the rest of the time he added in the black of space.  I had really had all that I could take after that, so he’ll color in the voids with stars and nebulae next time.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Well, you know...

The spheroidal hydrogen fusion furnace which we orbit seemed exceptionally productive of visible light photons this morning.

But it was surely nice to spend the night in my own bed.

Recently I've read a few comic hardbacks.  Two were Batman graphic novels and one was a collection of a four-issue mini-series.

Last night I read Batman: Death by Design.  The story was pretty good, but I had trouble placing when exactly ti was taking place.  It seemed like it was the 20s or 30s, but every now and then the technology or the dialogue seemed modern.  The art was incredible, and when I read at the end of the book that it was all done with pencil and graphite with computers only used to add color and glow effects, I was pretty blown away.

Another I have recently read and I thoroughly enjoyed was Batman: Noel.  Again some incredible artwork, but the story was what I enjoyed so much in this one.  First off, let me say that this book was set aside with the pile of comics that I had net been reading, so that's why it's a little out of date.  It was a retelling of A Christmas Carol with Batman as Scrooge.  Now, yes, it does sound kind of corny, but it was creatively done, and very entertaining.  Plus it had both Superman and the Joker in it, so that gave it an additional boost too.

And finally, I recently read the collected Flex Mentallo.  To preface, this is a book written by Grant Morrison; surreal doesn't begin to describe it.  Even the introduction is made up.  Upon hearing the title and seeing the cover, Jennifer asked me if it was about a muscleman with mental powers, and I said, essentially, yes.  When he flexes different muscles, specific powers are activated.  But that's just the glaze on a huge mix of Morrison fruitcake.  Oh, did I mention Flex Mentallo came as a spin-off from Morrison's run on The Doom Patrol?  If that doesn't tell you what to expect, then nothing will.  It is definitely a book that will require multiple readings.  I enjoyed it, but it was a lot to absorb.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


I re-experienced two things that week that threw my mind back in time:  Lava soap and a Master combination lock (and that lock on the home page is the lock that I got).

We got some Lava soap for the office down in Santa Cruz where we’ll be working for a few months.  the first strange bit was that it was in pump form, so I wasn’t expecting the scent.  But the scent was exactly the same as I remembered.  And I remembered it from 40 years ago.  My Dad’s father was a mechanic.  He worked on cars before they ad computers in them.  And so he had oil and grease worked into his fingers all the time.  And the bathroom at Granny’s always had a bar of Lava soap for Papaw to clean his hands.

The combination lock almost sent me back as far because I used to use one to lock my bicycle up at elementary school.  I remember drilling those three numbers into my head so that I would not forget them.  Later, I got another one because the old one had died due to rain and grit.  The second combination lock had a number that by the time I got it had actual significance: 0-18-12.  The War of 1812 was a fun war to learn about in school, so the number stuck. It makes me wish I still had the lock.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Why Physics, Why?

So I go out to a gathering with Jennifer, and what grabs my attention?

People danicibg? No.

The food? Okay, a little.

How about the play of fire across the metal mesh of the patio heater? Oh, absolutely.

I was fascinated with the parts of the mesh that would turn orange with the flame played across it and then fade to dark when the flame moved away.

Okay, so I've never been much of a dancer. Yes, I have actively avoided it sometimes, but tonight a release before the beginning of a long term field job might have been nice.

Still not into it though.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Everything Ends

So recently, I have come to a conclusion: I really dislike DC Comics New 52.

I don't care for the changes in the costumes.  The lines and such that have been added to most of the heroes are reminiscent of the plethora of belts that were given to heroes and villains in the 80s and 90s.

I don't like the stories.  They aren't grabbing me like they used to.

And it really bothers me that DC got rid of so much of their history.  I know that some of these complaints may echo the feelings of others after the Crisis in 1985.  Then, they rebooted most of the heroes, got rid of a few, and moved on.  But I had been reading the old comics of and on before that, and I enjoyed the new stuff which eventually shifted back tot he old stuff again.  Kind of.

So, I've stopped collecting.

If there is another big change, I may look into it, but I'll read the reviews before I decide.

I am continuing with some of the hardback stuff.  I just got Batman: Earth One, and really enjoyed it, and I've preordered the second volume of Superman: Earth One.  Some might say that I'm contradicting myself because of the added lines in the costumes in these books, but the lines are seams and such that show up with the higher detail of the art.

Jennifer is curious to see what I'll do with the extra time now that I used to put into reading comics.  It's a good question.  Maybe, I'll get back into painting miniatures; I haven't really done much of that since the move.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Truly a Rum Weekend

So, the acceleration of social gatherings for the summer truly kicked in this weekend.

Friday evening, Jennifer and I met a group of friends at Forbidden Island in Alameda.  We ended up being there until a little after midnight.  I drove, and so got to enjoy only a small portion of the drinks.  We did share around a Virgin Sacrifice (flaming bowl for 6 with sprinkled cinnamon), and had a grand old time.  One of the couples said they were having an open house on Sunday for their new home in San Mateo, so that gave us something to do Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, I went for a bike ride, and then we headed out to the Sorrells for their annual Tiki Party.  Jennifer drove for that one, but since our hosts backed down their drink portions to match recipes from mixes, so no one overdid.  There were lots of people there from all around, and it was really great to see some of those we only see at the parties because they live so far away.

Sunday, Jennifer and I decided on going for a ride, and we planned to go to T-Rex for brunch.  We were out a little early, and thought we would ride out and hit brunch on the way back.  Then we remembered that way out at the end of our ride is the Boilerhouse Restaurant in Richmond.  So we had brunch there with bottomless mimosas.  The nice long ride burned off the alcohol and a lot of the food, so we were all set for the open house.

At the open house we met a lot of new people, and will likely see them again as some live close by, and others have invited us to events.

I'm going to need more rest if my social calendar keeps filling up.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Apatite and Appetite

So, yesterday was a day to visit the dentist.  I worked through lunch, and left the office early.  I drove to BART near home, rode into San Francisco, and walked to Washington Square Park Dental.  We started going there about a year ago when they had a 2 for 1 Groupon.  They use a great x-ray machine that is handheld, USB connected to a computer, and doses you with about 1/5 of the amount of radiation as the typical x-ray machine.  The doctors and hygienists are fun and friendly, and we've really enjoyed it.  Plus it provides for an afternoon/evening in the city.

Our dentist recommended an amazing restaurant for us when we told him we were looking for someplace to eat.  He said to go to Don Pisto's at Union and Grant.

He suggested we try the pork chop, but we ended up with a seafood evening.  The food is designed to be shared, and we did.  I had the salmon sashimi and Jennifer had the prawns ceviche of which we shared one piece each.  Then for our main course we had lobster burritos.  They provided  us with a lobster cut down the middle, and bowls of butter, rice, beans, and red sauce.  We each had one burrito with half a tail, and tonight we're having claws.

And if you go, either make a reservation, or be there at 5:30 when they open.  It filled up fast!  And this was Tuesday.

Oh, I almost forgot.  For a drink we had their margaritas which are made with agave wine (fermented, not distilled).  So amazingly fresh.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Mundane and A Celebration

So, it’s been a couple weeks, but not a lot has been going on. Work and such.

This last weekend was great as I celebrated my birthday with my wife and friends.

I got to work a half day after a 15 hour workday on Wednesday. Upon arriving home, Jennifer had presents for me to open and an incredible made from scratch chocolate cake that she was just finishing icing. We put Theo cocoa nibs on top or added excellence.

Jennifer and I then drove into the city, and after parking in our secret location, we had a beer at Kennedy’s (I’d link to it, but they’ve apparently got some malware associated with their fav.ico). Then we met John and Steve at E Tutti Qua.

That night we went to the Kabuki to the “The Dark Knight Rises”, and finished the evening at Local Edition. Again, the two best things about the Kabuki are that you can drink in the theater and they have reserved seating. Local Edition was louder than the first time we had gone. Apparently it’s been discovered. The drink of choice? The Laphroaig Project. (And I just found the recipe.)

Saturday, Jennifer, John, and I went tasting at St. George Spirits in Alameda. When we hit the island, I played “The Ballad of Hangar One” for Jennifer and John. They have a bourbon blend (Breaking and Entering Bourbon) they’ve made from bourbon distilleries all over Kentucky. The tasting room has been remodeled again, and it’s gorgeous. Plus we got dog tags for tasting. Then we had lunch at Picante in Berkeley where we all entirely too much food, and finally went tasting again at Takara Sake. John used a gift certificate we’d given him for his birthday last year, and I got a bottle of sparkling sake that I look forward to trying the next time we bring sushi home.

Then we went back to our place, and had more cake, and after John went home, Jennifer and I took a nap.
The future is hazy as to when I’ll be heading to Santa Cruz for the next excavation, but it will probably start in the middle of August.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why Did We Move?

So, I successfully rode my back to and from work yesterday, arriving safely home a sweaty mess.


Well, first of all, I’m still getting back into bicycling shape.  I lost some of my stamina after the accident and then having my bike stolen.  Things are getting better though.

Second of all, there’s this whole reason why living near the water is awesome.  Large bodies of water act as temperature buffers for the air around them.

It was in the mid-90s when I left Walnut Creek yesterday.  The BART car I chose to ride on had no air conditioning.  And it was about 75 degrees when I got off the train in Oakland.

A difference of 20 degrees is quite a shock when you step directly from one to another.

I have to say, I love my home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Safe at Home

The ride home went just fine today.

I will repeat tomorrow.

Halfway There

So, it’s a new week, and after a little trip to Lodi for work yesterday, I decided I’d ride my bike for the rest of this week.

It even seemed auspicious when driving home yesterday the freeway sign said that Tuesday (today) was a “Spare the Air” day.

So, I’m here at work after two bike jaunts separated by a BART ride.

Now I just need supportive thoughts (and a safer route than last time) to get me home.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pizza Cupcakes

So, Monday I came across this photo article.

I told Jennifer about it, and she said we just had to try it.  So we made it, and tonight, I made it again.
We went to Trader Joe’s and got their ready-made pizza dough and sauce, some hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, olives, and mozzarella cheese.

When we got home, we browned the sausage and mushrooms, and mixed them with the pizza sauce and added some of the grated cheese into the mix.
July 2012 019
Then we cut the dough into circles, and after rubbing the muffin tin with grape seed oil, we packed the meet and sauce into the dough.
July 2012 020
July 2012 023
The olives are for Jennifer.  Then we added cheese on top, and cooked at 425 F.
July 2012 024
After 15 minutes, they are gorgeous, and delicious.
July 2012 025

July 2012 026
They come out of the tins surprisingly easy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Comics are Still Gay

So at the beginning of the month, I posted this article on the hype of homosexuals in comics all because of making Alan Scott the new version of the original Green Lantern gay.

Today, I read this article from Comics Alliance.  I'm proud of myself for naming as many as I did in the DC Universe, but I totally flaked on DC's peripheral titles.

Midnighter and Apollo?  Totally blanked on.  But they were originally created as a homosexual spoof on Batman and Superman.

And I didn't even think of the gay characters in Sandman or The Invisibles.

Still, it just goes to show that making Alan Scott gay was simply pandering.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

iTunes Top 25

So this evening I was reading this article on Gizmodo, and I just had to look at my top 25 tracks on iTunes with the number of plays.

1. Static-X – Ostegolation – 18
2. James M. Venable – Going Away Party (Clerks 2) – 17
3. The Devil’s Song – Marcy’s Playground – 17
4. My Chemical Romance – It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Deathwish – 17
5. The Bloodhound Gang – No Hard Feelings – 16
6. Jason Mewes – Jay’s Chant (Clerks) – 16
7. Good Charlotte – Complicated – 16
8. Jonathon Coulton – IKEA – 16
9. Wings – Baby’s Request – 16
10. Billy Idol – Plastic Jesus – 15
11. Breaking Benjamin – Polyamorous – 15
12. Breaking Benjamin – Firefly – 15
13. Def Leppard – 10538 Overture – 15
14. Good Charlotte – Boys and Girls – 15
15. Jeremy Irons – Be Prepared (Lion King) – 15
16. Jim Sturgess – I’ve Just Seen a Face (Across the Universe) – 15
17. Joe Satriani – Raspberry Jam Delta-V – 15
18. Jonathon Coulton – Code Monkey – 15
19. The Offspring – She’s Got Issues – 15
20. The Pointer Sisters – Be There (Beverly Hills Cop II) – 15
21. The Pussycat Dolls – Lights, Camera, Action – 15
22. Sum 41 – Fat Lip – 15
23. Van Halen – Get Up – 15
24. 30 Seconds to Mars – Oblivion – 15
25. The All-American Rejects – Real World – 14

And this all works out pretty well except that #25 times with a bunch of other songs with 14 plays but gets this spot because of alphabetical sorting by artist.

The pint of the article, based on a comedian’s tweet is that many people might be embarrassed by the songs in their top 25 plays.

I’m not really embarrassed, more intrigued by which ones made it.

Strangely enough, “Be Prepared”, will actually go up in the list because I heard it on my iPod about half an hour ago.

Also another odd thought, is that I “discovered” Breaking Benjamin from the song “Firefly” when I was looking for the title song (by Joss Whedon) for the TV show “Firefly”.
And one additional odd discovery is that I have never tagged “Firefly" before.
Of that, I am embarrassed.  Or possibly ashamed.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


So I woke up this morning full of hope.  At 7 AM the weather listed the wind as “Still”.  Cool.

So I read my comics, and some of my news, had cinnamon toast, and then got ready for a ride.

By then the weather had it up to 9 mph.  By the time I got to the trail, it was back up into the teens.

So I decided I would turn around at Golden Gate Fields.  However, when I got there, I couldn’t deny myself the thrill of a speedy downhill, so I worked my way to the top and back of the parking lot, enjoyed the zoom downhill, and then slogged back home with the strong crosswind.

I ended with 10.2 miles today, so I ‘m just short of 35 miles for the weekend.  Maybe next weekend, I can make it to Craneway.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Walk, Run, Bike

So I’ve been on crutches many times in my life. (Relax, I’m fine.)

The first time was when I was 7, when I got a fracture in my lower leg from an accident involving a lawn aerator.

Then it seemed for the next few years of elementary school, I was suffering from an bacterial inflammation (if memory serves) in my hip joints that would alternate, and I’d be on crutches because it hurt so much to walk.

I was fine until after high school when on a trip to Germany and Austria with the local youth orchestra I jumped down some stairs, fell, and tore a ligament in my left ankle.

The same thing would happen later in college but to my right ankle.

It was when it happened in college, that I really began to miss walking on my own.  And running.  And bicycling.  Probably what made me miss it the most was that I was away from home with no one to care for me except my roommate and an ex-girlfriend who I got back together with because of her taking care of me.

This week, my job in Lodi finished a day early, and so Friday when I got home, I changed clothes and went for a bike ride.  If it wasn't been for the crosswind in the teens, I probably could have gone further, but I only made it to what Jennifer and I call Costco Point.  That’s about 15 miles round trip.  Today I did 19 miles stopping just before the Richmond shoreline park trail.  Same crosswind.

When I got home, my expense check was in, and I was too tired to get on my bike again and head to the bank.  So I rested, had lunch, and then walked along the Emeryville path to the bank. 

On the way back, I remembered a psychology class I had been taking for general education.  One of the questions we asked in it was “what is something people take for granted every day.”  I was on crutches at the time after the fall, and I said, “Walking.”

On the job site, I walk every day.  I walk around checking the perimeter.  I walk back and forth from task to task, checking on the other geologists, engineers, and/or scientists to make sure they are on track, on task, on schedule.  I should really track some day how much walking around I do during the day.

Tomorrow, I’m going for another ride to see if I can make it to Craneway Pavilion.  No matter how windy it is, and no matter how far I end of riding, I know I’ll enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pick a Color

So, when you were a kid, what color was dirt?  Brown, right?  and you used your Crayola brown crayon to color it.
Now let many years pass.
You’ve been through college.  You've worked for nearly a decade and a half.  And at work, you use the Munsell Soil Color Chart when describing the color of soil in boring logs.
Okay, maybe you don’t, but I do.
Oh yeah, that’s something else you learn in school; it’s soil not dirt.  People get all kinds of upset about that.
Now, the purpose of the Munsell is to allow anyone who should be looking at your soil descriptions in the future, will know that the soil was about the color of the chip on a specific page at the designated grid location.
So, today with my trusty, nearly-$300 book of colors, I’m describing soil.  Many were dark grayish brown.  A few were dark yellowish brown.  But a good quarter of them were…
To sum up: 9 years of college, 14 years of work experience, and I’m officially describing the soil as brown.
But I am getting paid to do it, so I guess that’s all right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not Much to Say

I've been busy lately with work, travelling for work, bike thefts, and stuff and sundry.  I couldn't not write about this though.

Today my Grandmother passed away.

Read my Mom's post.

Maybe I'll be able to say more later.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Did I Fall Asleep?

I got some more tattoo work done today.
The artist had an iPad he’s started using for reference images and colors.  We pulled up the post I did after I decided on the color.  And then I pulled up the one with the baby rocket on the cover.
And then, he got to work.
He used some lidocaine on the work he was doing, and it was mostly numb for the second hour.  I got kind of meditative, and zoned out for a bit of the work.
I’m very happy with how it’s going.  I’ll be going back in August for a longer session for the rocket exhaust and the shading of space.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Comics are Gay

So, yeah, let’s look at this.

DC Comics has made Alan Scott (now only of Earth-2) gay.  The legacy of Alan Scott is that he was the original Green Lantern written around the time of World War II.  I haven’t read the Earth-2 books yet, but I’m sure I’ll learn how it differs from the old pre-Crisis Earth-2.

But my problem with this is that there have been gay characters scattered around DC Comics for a long time.  I can remember when they revamped Superman in 1986 that the police commissioner of Metropolis was a Lesbian.  A stereotypical skinny lesbian with short hair and dark eyebrows, but she just was.  It wasn’t a big deal.

Then there was Alan Scott’s son Obsidian, who was openly gay.

Renee Montoya, a female cop from Gotham City who ended up taking over being the Question is gay.  And so is the recently introduced Batwoman.  Then there’s the lesbian couple of Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass in the Legion of Super-Heroes.

And okay, so I’ve named one gay man and several gay woman, but I’m sure there are other characters out there. (Oh, yeah, the villain turned hero Pied Piper was gay.)

This all just seems like pandering.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Geek Pride Day

So, I vaguely remember reading about this earlier this week, but it must have stayed in the back of my mind, because today I wore my Darth Vader hoodie complete with black Levi's and my black boots.

Plus I have to say that it’s pretty cool that  I’m familiar with all three special dates.

On May 25, 1977, the original Star Wars (A New Hope) opened.  I remember going to see it (not on that day, but soon after it opened).  I remember going with my parents to the theater in Walnut Creek.  It was the first time I’d ever waited in line (that I remember) for a movie.  I was really too young and had sensible parents so I never waited in line all day for the sequels.  I did however wait all day for the three prequels.  At this point, I’m not sure what that says about me.

My dad introduced me to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy back when I was in high school.  He came home one day with the original trilogy, and I burned through them pretty quickly.  And I thoroughly enjoyed the fourth book (So Long and Thanks For All the Fish), and was slightly disappointed by the end of the fifth.  I have the bible-ish tome that collects all five, and used to read it every year.

But then I found a new obsession.

Early in my time with the marching band in college I met a saxophone player (no not this one, a different one).  I was expounding on the wonders of Douglas Adams, and he told me about Terry Pratchett, who early on in his Discworld career was considered the Douglas Adams of fantasy.  Pratchett quickly grew beyond that title, and made himself a name (and a knight) for showing us the master writer that he is.  Now I read the entire Discworld series every couple of years as well as reading every new book when they come out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name

So, no I can’t explain why, but I can do this:

Mrs. Seidman:  I heard about your engagement through a mutual friend.  It was a knife that tore through me, and I even found out the date.  For a a while I brooded, but eventually, I wished you happiness and joy.  Many years later, I saw pictures of the wedding. While it hurt to see them, I saw that you were beautiful and happy.  The strangest thing that I experienced was the closest I’ll probably ever get to falling into a parallel world as I could almost see myself in those pictures.

Mrs. Baerman:  I went to your wedding and was happy for you.  I had thought my feeling gone, but later I, and others who went through similar events that summer commiserated.  I had always hoped you would be happy.

Mrs. Thomas:  This was a surreal event for me.  It was the death of a dream.  But I wished you the best, and all has been well.

Mrs. Scherr:  Yours came out of the blue for me.  I had known you were gone.  My feelings had swung on a giant pendulum for years.  I was stuck for a while, but When I let go, I felt a release.  I wanted you to be happy, but I always wondered if it were ever truly possible.  Now, I can only hope that it is.

To all of you, I wish you joy and happiness.  I love you all.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Name Game

So it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve dated someone.

It doesn’t matter how long it’d been since you saw them last.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married.

There is an emotional impact when you learn that a ex has gotten married.

Back in the Saddle

So, eight days after my accident, I went on my first bicycle ride.

Yesterday when I got home, Jennifer and I ran a couple errands.

We crossed Ashby.  No big deal.

We went to Bay Street to return something for Jennifer, and we had dinner to celebrate.

There was no pain, and I only got nervous the first time a car passed me.

I’ll probably go for a ride on Saturday, and then try biking to work again next week.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Postponement

So yesterday was the monthly role-playing game.  Steve hosted in his condo in the City.  I took BART in and walked the six or so blocks to his place.  I was feeling pretty good.

During the game, I sat on his couch next to the dining room table, so that I would have a cushioned seat.  I iced my back twice with a session of heating pad in the middle when things got uncomfortable.  Then afterwards John, Scott, and I walked swiftly back to BART because there were fireworks going off at AT&T Park, and we wanted to beat the Giants fans to the train.

We did just walk, but today I’m a bit stiff.  Probably just due to the total distance.

I wished my mom a happy Mother’s Day, and asked to postpone our Mother’s Day time for one week.  I just didn’t think I’d be very good company.

Then I called my grandmother who’s in the hospital in Kentucky.  She sounded pretty good, and was finishing up lunch.  The fare sounded pretty good with soup, a Benedictine sandwich, and a dietary cheesecake.  A far cry from the Jell-O you tend to hear about.

She asked if I was going to see my mother, and I briefly had to explain my circumstances.  I glossed over them, because I may be stiff, but I’m not in the hospital.  Or nearly 95 years of age.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Back to Work

So I’m back in the office today.

I’m learning a few things about my self today.

Opening doors uses a surprising amount of muscles in the back.

Leaning from the chair into a lower drawer also flexes interesting locations in the back.

Also, good posture is always less painful than slouching.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Morning After

So, an update.

I’m sore, but otherwise doing okay.  I slept through the night, and even slept on my back for a few hours.

After some questions from work people, I figured I should say that I never hit my head.  My helmet has no scuffs, so that’s all fine.  I have no road rash, or tears in clothing or shirts.

The only thing that took any damage is my Chrome bag.  Not a whole lot, but you can see in the fabric where it contacted the ground.

So to sum up in GURPS terms: I made my default acrobatics to reduce injury (but did not critically succeed), and the Chrome bag game me a point or two of Damage Resistance against the fall.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


So, today’s ride home from work was not the best of incidents. (Remember my earlier post and/or read my mom’s post, and buckle up).

I was less than two blocks from home when suddenly I was tumbling over my handlebars.  I tucked and rolled, and hit my back on a parked car.

What had happened was that in a stopped car, a girl had opened the rear door (I’m guessing to get out), and neither she nor her mother saw me.  Then right before I went past, my bike hit the inside of the door, and I went tumbling.

I didn’t hit my head, but I am a little bruised.  My right wrist is a little stiff, and I’m pretty sore along a couple of my lumbars.

The alignment on my bike is a little messed up, and one of the brake handles is askew, but I don’t think the wheels are messed up.

I had a good soak, and took some ibuprofen.  We’ll see how I feel in the morning.

Wheels on Wheels

So, I started something new for me today.  I rode my bike to BART, took BART to Walnut Creek, then rode my bike to the office.

I was semi-surprised at the number of bikes on the train, but it was a pretty enjoyable experience.  My only issue was that I dressed a bit too warmly, and was pretty warm on the train.  The rides themselves were great.

Tonight is when I think I’ll see the better part of the commute when I don’t have to wait at the tunnel to go home.  And then I don’t have to deal with waiting for the bus at the BART station.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

My Over-thruster is Complete

And so tomorrow, I’m going home.

Yeah, About That…

So, I took a look at the length of the previous post, and I thought I should probably mention.  I have a tendency to make long story out of simple ones.

I’ve been told it’s a genetic disorder.

No wait, that’s wrong.

It’s a family trait.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Game On

So we’ve been doing a parking lot restoration here in Watsonville.  And that’s the kind of thing you subcontract out many of the phases of the job.  Concrete paving for example.

As some will know, I end up talking with the people I’m working with.  I met one of my best friends that way.  He was sitting on a loader in Yerba Buena Island while we were cleaning out lead paint impacted planters, and I saw he had headphones in instead of ear plugs.  And I asked him, “What are you listening to?”  That sparked a conversation that quickly formed our friendship.

So you can understand why I like talking to the subs.

So this time, I’m talking to the guy running the trowel machine in between pours.  He’s telling me about his son, and mentions a game store that he is half-owner of in Fremont.  I ask him if it’s tabletop or electronic, and he says tabletop.  RPGs and board games.  It’s called House of Games.  And I tell him I’ll be sure and check it out when I’ve got some free time on a weekend.

The next weekend, Jennifer and I were both down with being sick, and hermitted watching movies, and moving very little.

Then this past weekend, we were looking for something to do to get out of the house.  I suggested the game store, so we headed out to Fremont.

House of Games is a fun little store.  There’s a lot of selection, but not much for supplements.  I’m guessing if you’re local you can order the supplements, but they’ve most got the main books on the shelves.  As an example, they only had GURPS 4th Edition Characters, and no other GURPS books.

While wandering the shelves, I saw this, and stopped cold.  The Discworld is a series of books I’ve talked about often, and is one of many Jennifer and I read together.  I called her name and just held the box up as she turned the corner.

So we bought it.

We drove home then, and after a best of seven series of Zombie Dice to get us in the mood (I won 4 to 3), we sat down to play our new board game.

Three hours later, we were worn out from having an amazing time.  The game is like any of Terry Pratchett’s books as it builds slow, and then rushes to the end with ever growing excitement and activity.

The game itself is a melding of Monopoly and Risk, with bits of Uno and Mille Bornes thrown in.  Upon completion we immediately decided we needed to find other Discworld readers who we could talk into playing with us.  It’s be a much different game with 4 players instead of just 2.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Closing In

So, things are starting to look like a completed job here in Watsonville.

Today the landscapers began setting out the new plants and even got some of them in the ground.  We are presently on track to be able to hand over the parking lot to the restaurant owner on 5/4.

It being a Mexican restaurant, you can guess that this will be a pretty big deal.

So I’ve got a week and a half left here.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


So, I just feel the need to mention that I surprise myself sometimes.

Most recently with the speed at which I can down a half-liter of water.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ummmm, Hi

So...  Have I mentioned that I'm working out of town?

I typically leave Monday morning around 4:30 AM for Watsonville, work there for five days, and drive back home early Friday afternoon.

At least the days are long, and I have work to do when I get back to my hotel room too.

So, I've got that going for me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Beware the Ides of March

Beware the Ideas of March

Beware the Tides of March

The Dude Abides in March

Beware Tour Guides in March

Play Hide and Seek in March

Beware the Pies of March

Don’t Take Sides in March

Game Called

So for the past three weeks, I’ve been in scenic Watsonville working on a remedial excavation.

And no, that doesn’t men an excavation that’s in need of special construction in school. (And yes, I was actually asked that once).

We’re cleaning up another company’s mess.

Now, our first week, we had some rain.  It was frustrating, but it didn’t affect the dig.  But the rain on Tuesday and Wednesday (and today and tomorrow…) makes it too sloppy to dig because then you expose soil that will have to dry out before you can put anything on top of it.

So we’re shut down.  I’ll go back Monday and see how things are, and how much we can get done before the next bit of rain comes in.

Until then, Jennifer is very happy to have me home.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Treasure of Watsonville


We ain't got no wrenches.

We don't need no wrenches.

We don't have to show you any stinking wrenches!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mogo Doesn’t Socialize

Yeah, it’s the little thing s that get me.

So I’ve been working out of town this week, and will be until about the end of April. Friday I came home and was sitting around looking to just relax, but then I read this.  Now I’d been suffering through near freezing mornings, and two days of cold rain with just a picnic type canopy to shelter under.  I decided I needed to get outside.

Friday afternoon, I did 14.7 miles on my bike, making it to the radio towers out near Costco-Richmond.  Today I made it all the way to Craneway for 24.1 miles.  and while I’m tired, I feel really good.

you see the hotel I’m staying at has minimal exercise facilities.  There’s a recumbent bike, a treadmill, and a machine that allows very specific workout positions.  Plus I’ve got a big exercise ball to do crunches on as well as some other things.  But nothing beats being out for an hour or two on a bike.

Now, because I’m gone for so long, Jennifer needs some other forms of entertainment, so I shifted all of our Netflix DVDs to her queue.  But one had gotten through before I did that, so I had a movie to watch this weekend: the DC animated feature Green Lantern – Emerald Knights.

Now this is reminiscent of the old Tales Green Lantern Corps quarterlies that used to tell stories from the Book of Oa.  This DVD tells tales related by Hal Jordan, once again voiced by Nathan Fillion, to the rookie Lantern Arisia.  they are well told, and for those in the know of Corps mythology, most have an underlying story that makes them that much deeper.  Not that a lack of knowledge takes anything away from the telling.

Add to this that I’ve had a lull in books, so I’ve been catching up on my physical comics reading, and I was pretty psyched by this DVD.

As for the title… it’s from the DVD, and had me howling with laughter just like the Lanterns that said it as a joke.

Friday, February 24, 2012


If you’re cold, why should you stand in the corner?

Because it’s 90 degrees.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Model Behavior

Yesterday was my Grandmother and Papaw’s 50th wedding anniversary.  My mom and her brother (with my dad and aunt) took them out for dinner, and my mom performed a renewal of vows ceremony.  Details are sketchy from 2,700 miles away, but keep an eye on mom’s blog, and I’m sure she’ll have a full accounting and pictures.

Coming up in April, my parents will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.  And no, they didn’t get married when mom was 5, and I wasn’t born when she was 8.  My Grandfather passed away from cancer when my mom was a child, and Grandmother married Papaw when mom was in college (if I’m getting my math right).

But what better living examples of marriage could I have than these two?

Congratulations to Grandmother and Papaw for 50 years!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Post and Music

It’s been a while since I did this to music, so I thought I try it again.

{Queensrÿche “Hard Times”}

So yeah, no matter what, comic book plots tend to slip into my mind at the strangest times.

This evening I was in my office/craft room looking for something and my tabby Oscar came in to see what I was doing.  I played with him a little, and was pleased when he started purring.  even as he rolled onto his back, and I scratched his belly while he gnawed on the cuff of my shirt, he kept purring.  I figured he must be really happy.

And then an old plot from the Flash came into my head. and so we descend into geekdom.

{Evanescence “The Other Side”}

One of the villains of the Flash is Gorilla Grodd.  Grodd has been around for a long time.  He is a super-intelligent gorilla from Gorilla City, a city of super-intelligent gorillas hidden somewhere in Africa. According to Wikipedia, he first appeared in 1959.  Most of the gorillas are peaceful if reclusive, but Grodd is evil with the powers of telepathy.  He constantly chafes at the presence of humans whom he views as inferior.  And if you compare intelligence and strength, he’s got a point.

{Breaking Benjamin “Skin”}

One of the Flash comics in the 90s had Grodd build a device that increased the brain power of animals all across Central City (the Flash’s base of operations).  And because humans are such jerks (or insert other synonym here) the animals attacked.  Birds swooped and pecked.  Rats rose up.  Zoos became pandemonium.  But some pets, those that were well treated, defended their owners.

{Chris Cornell “Other Side of Town”}

The main one shown was the new kitten of a little girl who at first seemed to have fallen under Grodd’s spell, but was actually upset about the squirrel that about to launch itself through the picture window to attack the little girl.  The kitten ends up killing the squirrel, and then goes back to wanting to play with the little girl.

Yes, of course, the Flash stops Grodd.  I think this was even one of those times when the invention backfires, and makes Grodd (temporarily) a vegetable.  He is returned to the custody of Gorilla City where he would later escape and wreak havoc once again.

And yes, the point of this is that as I sat on the floor rubbing my kitten’s tummy, I felt confident that if he were to suddenly gain sentience, he wouldn't attack me.

{Garbage “Stupid Girl”}

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Invasion of the Syrup

So I regularly listen to Kevin Smith's podcast "Smodcast".  (I may have said before, but the M in Smodcast is for Scott Mosier.)  And when I say I regularly listen, I mean that I'm many episodes behind.

So I was listening to one yesterday, and Kevin and Scott were talking about this article by Mark Hyman about the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Now, I've worked very hard in the past few years to get off of HFCS.  And of course it coincided with my cutting down on caffeine as well.  I had heard about the HFCS tricks you into remaining hungry after you've consumed it, but I didn't know about the other affects it has on a body.

I'm thinking that at this point, I'm going to be getting rid of anything with HFCS in it, and won't be getting any soda out of a fountain again.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bungee Blog

So here I am bouncing in again with a long delayed post.

Hey, I’m working again, what do you expect?  Oh, so because I used to post all of the time when I was at ETIC, I’m supposed to post be back in that mode again?  But my workload there was not what it is here.  Time and Materials billing doesn’t allow for the slack that Unit Pricing does.  If you’ve got an established pattern for billing to a Unit then you need to keep that up.  So now, I’m moving from task to task here, not just doing a task, and figuring out how to bill it.

And besides if it were all about free time wouldn't I have posted all the time last year when I was mostly unemployed?  But then nothing was happening.  Sure I was reading and biking, but I posted a bit about that, but there wasn’t much excitement going on.  And yes, I realize I’ve been mentioning the unemployment thing a lot.  I try not to, but it’s just hard not to compare “then” and “now” without doing so.  It’s like “pre-break-in”, “post-break-in”, and "Emeryville Epilogue”; things are just so different.

So why am I posting in the middle of the day today?  Because I needed a break.  So there.


Now, the reading part of the blog.  For Christmas, Jennifer and I got Nooks from my in-laws.  The Simple Touch ones. We don’t know how because we’re pretty sure they were and are over the family cost limit, but we were very surprised to received them.  I acted happy, but was resistant to using them at first.  I love the feel of a book, and the whole “I can read this without charging it” thing made me feel superior.

So I downloaded some free books, and tried things out.  It was okay, but got better as I personalized the method of turning pages.  Then I thought about using it to read PDFs.  It does an okay job, but then I found an online converter that can change formats, and learned that EPUB is the way to go for the nook.

So I’ve been slowly acquiring copies of books that I like.  Right now I’m working my way through Larry Niven's Ringworld series again.

And the really cool thing is that the Nook fits perfectly in the back pocket of my Tumi bag.  I could probably even fit it inside if I really wanted to be secure, but it fits low enough that you can’t see it.  But I can have my library with me at all times.

The Nook is so what Mom and I needed when I was a kid.  Especially for all of my doctor visits.

“Yea, though I wait at the pharmacy of Kaiser, I shall fear no boredom, for my Nook is with me.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Books! (and Candy)

I finally finished the H.P. Lovecraft compendium.While I’m glad to be done, I have to say that it was really amazing to read his works in chronological order.
Now, I’m on to the Ringworld cycle by Larry Niven.  It’s been a while since I’ve read the whole series, and I think I’ve only read the last book in the series once.  I don’t think I even own it, so I’m going to have to go on the hunt for it.
I’m also placing several books on hold at the library, so I’ll get to intersperse re-reading with new reading.
And speaking of old books, I’ve got Jennifer reading Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light.
Tonight also marks the end of my Christmas candy.  I splurged and at the last two of my See’s dark chocolate butter chews.  Wow, those are good.  But I made the box last for over a month.  In other news I also found Kraft Caramel squares on clearance at Target this weekend.  No promises on making them last.

Friday, January 20, 2012

… and a Half

Happy… to…

Happy… to…

Happy… dear…

Happy… to…

The day just doesn’t have the impact that it used to have.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Return to Arkham

So yeah, it turns out, I wasn't really in the mood for James Watson recounting how he met Francis Crick, and how they came up with the double helix structure theory for DNA.

So I'm back to reading H.P. Lovecraft until I get a chance to run by the library and get a recent Charles Stross release.

Then once I"m done with those, we'll just see what books come next.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm Not Dead, I'm Working

It's just been a couple of those weeks.

Last week, I started my new job.  I'm doing geology work again, and spent most of the first week reading up on the three sites I'll most likely be working at in 2012.  Then this week, I was in San Rafael at one of those sites.  We were scheduled to be there for five days, but we were so awesome that we finished in only three days.

Now I'm reading up on a site in Watsonville.  The kind of cool thing is that our subcontractor for the excavation there is going to be the company that I worked for before coming here.  It will be good to see the guys I got to know again, and I'll know they do a quality job even before going into it.

Now, I'm already on my third book of 2012.  I had to set aside my Lovecraft book because I had all of these books come in at the libraries.  Yes libraries, because from my office I'm only two (very long) blocks from the Walnut Creek branch of the Contra Costa Library.  And I had also put in some requests at the Oakland Library as well.

First I got to devour the latest book of the Discworld, Snuff by Terry Pratchett.  This one is more of a social commentary than any he's done before.  But it was lots of fun to see His Grace, the Duke of Ankh, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, the Blackboard Monitor in action again.  And very much in action.  It only took me a couple days over the weekend to finish it.

Then I read After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn.  It's the tale of a woman who is the unpowered daughter of two of the greatest heroes of her earth.  Her father is a Superman-esque hero, and her mother is a fire manipulator.  And the poor woman keeps getting kidnapped in an attempt to control her parents and their super team.  It was a fun read, and Jennifer is going to see if she'll like it.  Apparently Vaughn also writes an urban fantasy series.  Jennifer has requested the first two books of the series, so we'll see how things go with that.

And now, I'm almost done with the  latest Kate Daniels book by Ilona Andrews.  Jennifer burned through it while I was reading the other two, and I can see why.  The MacGuffin in this one is powerful and dangerous, and has toally given me a great idea for a GURPS adventure.  SUre it will take a little tweaking to make it work jsut right, but it'll be great to throw it out there.

And then after this, I've got some books by one of the co-discoverers of the DNA double helix, James Watson.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Books I Read in 2011

Yeah, I should have done this yesterday, but I didn’t think about it until I was falling asleep.
I got a lot of reading done in 2011 as I had so much free time, and I probably could have had a higher number of books read if I hadn’t been caught up in a 1,100 page tome of Lovecraft fiction.
Not that that’s a bad thing.
And I ‘m closing in on the end of that one as well.  But in the meantime, here’s my list of books I read in 2011.
The Complete Peanuts 1981-1982 - Charles Schulz - ****

The Complete Peanuts 1979-1980 - Charles Schulz - ****
The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb - R. Crumb - ****
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Volume 5: 1987-1989 - Berkeley Breathed - *****
The Omen Machine - Terry Goodkind - ***
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out - Richard P. Feynman - **
What Do You Care What Other People Think? - Richard P. Feynman & Ralph Leighton - ***
UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities - John B. Alexander PhD - **
Tuva or Bust! Richard Feyman's Last Journey - Richard Leighton - ***
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) - Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton, Edward Hutchings & Albert R. Hibbs - ****
A Dance with Dragons - George R.R. Martin - ****
Ghost Story - Jim Butcher - *****
Room - Emma Donoghue - ****
Wesley the Owl - Stacey O'Brien - ****
A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin - ****
Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return - Marjane Satrapi - ***
A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin - ****
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - Jon Ronson - ****
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin - ****
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin - ****
Bigger Damner Book of Sheer Manliness - von Hoffman Brothers - ***
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi - ***
Instructions for Living Someone Else's Life - Mil MIllington - ***
The Wise Man's Fear - Patrick Rothfuss - *****
River Marked - Patricia Briggs - ****
The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss - *****
The Bones: Us and Our Dice - Will Hindmarch and John Kovalic - ***
The Complete Peanuts 1978-1977 - Charles Schulz - ****
The Complete Peanuts 1975-1976 - Charles Schulz - ****
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vol. 4: 1986-1987 - Berke Breathed - *****
Once More * With Footnotes - Terry Pratchett - ****
I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Pratchett - *****
Wintersmith - Terry Pratchett - *****
A Hat Full of Sky - Terry Pratchett - *****
The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett - *****
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett - *****
The Last Hero - Terry Pratchett - *****
Pale Demon - Kim Harrison - ****
One of Our Thursdays is Missing - Jasper Fforde - ****
Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett - ****
Making Money - Terry Pratchett - *****
Dark and Stormy Knights - ed. P. N. Elrod - ****
Thud! - Terry Pratchett - *****
Going Postal - Terry Pratchett - *****
Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett - *****
Towers of Midnight - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson - ****
Night Watch - Terry Pratchett - *****
Thief of Time - Terry Pratchett - *****
The Truth - Terry Pratchett - *****
The Fifth Element - Terry Pratchett - *****
Carper Jugulum - Terry Pratchett - *****
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean - ****
The Last Continent - Terry Pratchett - ****
Jingo - Terry Pratchett - *****
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett - *****
Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett - *****
Maskerade - Terry Pratchett - *****
Interesting Times - Terry Pratchett - *****
Soul Music - Terry Pratchett - ****
Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett - *****
Side Jobs - Jim Butcher - *****
Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett - *****
A Catch in Time - Dalia Roddy - *

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