Thursday, October 23, 2014

Really? I'm Not That Hungry.

So, I'm apparently on the part of my reading book list that I have acquired from web page recommendations.

Graham Joyce's Some Kind of Fairy Tale left me wanting.  It builds up in the beginning, and then doesn't really go anywhere.  I read the whole thing for the conclusion, and it wasn't very satisfying.

Then I tried M.R. Carey's The Girl With All the Gifts.  I found the basic description of the book intriguing, and the writing style was captivating.  And then it became a zombie story.  Maybe it's not a true zombie story, but it's damn close enough that I got disgusted with it.  Add to that the fact that it's about the study of the children of zombies, or maybe children infected with the zombie virus, and I was appalled.  I don't think I got past 50 pages, and life is too short to read books you don't like once you're out of school.


And, so I'm moving on to Claire North's The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.  I'm already finding it very interesting.  Much like The Confessions of Max Tivoli it is a mundane world seen through the eyes of a person in an extraordinary situation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Big Test

So, it's been pointed out to me that I didn't talk about how my test went last Thursday.

The test was supposed to start at 8:30, so I decided to make it an easy morning.  I slept in until 6:00, got ready, and walked to Emery-Go-Round at 7:00.

I only had to wait a few minutes, and the shuttle showed up.  Then I had only 1 minute to wait for a San Francisco BART train.

The testing center was at California and Davis, and I was glad that I had talked to a previous test taker and my dad about what it was like.  First, I was supposed to take everything out of my pockets, and put all that I carried into a locker.  Because, they do treat you like you are a criminal.  I was only allowed to bring a calculator and the key to the locker with me into the test.  This compared to engineers who were taking the California Seismic portion of the Professional Engineer test, and were allowed to bring 3 text books and a binder of references.  I was even given special test center pencils.

The test itself was 3 hours long and consisted of 85 questions.  I'll save you the math: that's about 2 minutes and 7 seconds per question.  It went pretty well.  I had four primary equations memorized as well as a few conversion factors, and there were a few other equations provided in other questions.  I ended up finishing about 30 minutes before the clock on the test said the test would be complete.  I checked through those questions I had marked to go back to, and I was done.

And so now, the waiting begins.  It will be about 90 days according to the guy I studied with which puts it into the new year.

Again, I'll keep yo all posted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Magic of Music

So, regular reader will know that I am part of a monthly pen and paper, role playing game.  This past Saturday we had our session, and a certain topic came up.

Just follow this logic.

In the GURPS Magic system, the kinds of spells are broken into Colleges: separate colleges for the four elements, animal magic, sound, light and darkness, etc.  Then there are ways of limiting the magic user like allowing one to only be able to cast spells in a single college, or only cast spells during the day, or (what my recently retired character began the campaign with) only being able to cast spells when singing.  This last are usually called Song Mages

So the next step in speculation is: who sings all the time?  Disney princesses.

Disney princesses have a tendency to be able to magically interact with animals.  They can speak with them, and sometimes control them.  And usually this is done through song.

(And yeah, this does kind of make Mulan into the Batman of Disney heroines, but still...)

But take this a little farther (and it even continues the Disney theme), what other famous character communicates and kind of controls animals?


Now, nowhere in the rules does it say that a song mage has to have any musical skill or talent.  So with only a gorilla's sense of music, Tarzan casts his spells to do what he does with the animals of the jungle.

This was about where we left it on Saturday, but I started applying this to other things.

What about super-heroes?  What do a lot of super-heroes have in common with Disney princesses?  They're orphans.  Is this another link to the hidden power of magic/super-powers?  Sure this doesn't work with Batman, but it does explain why Mulan can only talk with the spirit-powered dragon, but has no control over him or the cricket.

Ariel's powers are limited because her father still lives; she can speak with some of the fish (and the seagull), but can't control the shark or the eels.  Aurora probably gained hers from the good fairies because both of her parents are still alive as well.  Pocahontas is gifted by her grandmother.  Snow White - major animal song mage.  The trope is even mocked silently with Giselle.

For a full circle head spin, what super-hero (other than Black Canary) is most known for singing?

Mighty Mouse.

::mike drop::

Monday, October 13, 2014


So, Sunday, I met with some other geologists at the Oakland Public Library's main branch for a little CHG study session.  One of them had taken the exam last year, and not passed.  The rest of us picked his brain for what the test was like, and we went over questions of the type that he felt sure would be on the test.

We all decided that we hadn't been studying hard enough, but were going to focus the rest of the week.  Jennifer and I are going to keep out television off once I'm home.  She's going to read, and I'm going to do the end of chapter problems in my old textbooks.

I'll be in San Francisco on Thursday for the test.  Send all of your good thoughts and energy my way from 8:30 to 11:30.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Hati and Mani

So, I was reminded of a few things this morning.  One of the smallest is that if you take the time to setup a tripod prior to getting up to take pictures of a lunar eclipse, you'll probably fall back to sleep sooner afterwards.

I didn't do that though.

The first picture I took, I forgot to turn off the flash...

So the moon's there, but it's really faint.

So next, I turned off the flash, but didn't realize how much hand moved when supporting the camera, and it's a bit heavy with the zoom lens.

So I went to the closet and got out the tripod.

I took several pictures, but this one I think is the best.  What surprises me is how much the stars moved in just a 6 second exposure.  I have one shot I took that has a 10 second exposure.  Even the moon is blurred and slightly elongated from its movement.

Still, it was cool to see.  We were very fortunate to have fog only over San Francisco and not all over the Bay Area.

Also, for reference, Hati and Mani...

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Needing Your Support

So, my mom is going through a lot right now.  I'd recommend checking out her blog for the news.

I spoke with them this weekend, and then earlier this week when they left the hospital.

As she says, please keep them in your thoughts, and keep it positive.

Google+ Badge