torquill: Art-deco cougar face (omg)
Holy IQ overload. Four days of listening to panelists and keynotes from this list? I think my brain would fry. It would be a delicious way to go, but dayam.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (heroes)
I just ordered a couple of decals from Vinyl Disorder (difficult website, good designs). When I hit the site today, Firefox informed me that RetailMeNot had coupons available (there's a Firefox plugin for it). Curious, I looked up the coupon codes. The usual assortment, with a fairly high rate of success -- then the third one down caught my eye. "RETAILMENOT", offering 25% off your order. I used it, and it saved me $2.

That's the first vendor I've found that actively encourages use of RetailMeNot. Most try to get their codes taken off the site. I guess these guys realize that part of the point to promo codes is to get more orders...


On a different note: I'm tempted to send email to Vinyl Disorder to ask them to alter their website. While I understand the desire to keep people from ripping their decal designs off the internet, totally disabling right-clicking doesn't prevent anyone with even basic knowledge from doing it anyway. (I easily pulled the five designs I liked onto my computer so I could play around with placement/scale and see what looked best.) What it does do is to eliminate useful features many of us rely on -- like "Open in new tab". Sigh.
torquill: Doctor Wilson, thoughtful (wilson)
I've been musing on this for quite some time, and it got stirred up again by another friend's recent post on the ins and outs of the fiction realm. I guess I'll finally put it here so I can mentally shelve it.

I read and watch a lot of SF and fantasy. It's almost everything I read, and other than crime dramas, it's about all I watch, from Heroes to Stargate SG-1. Meanwhile, whenever those lists of classic must-read novels come out, I've read maybe three entries -- all during secondary school, kicking and screaming. Every time I pick up a book, it's speculative fiction, that arena of worlds that aren't this one; it may be light and fluffy or deep and dramatic, but it's all set in some imaginary place.

I sometimes feel like this lack of grounding in The Classics makes me under-educated in some way, like someone would look down on me for it. Then I look for why I'm so deficient. I'm not lacking in intelligence or reading ability, certainly... I have a decent amount of interest in human interactions, as evidenced by my favorite stories being character-driven. Even when I write my own stories, however, they're set elsewhere, not here and now, despite the fact that the characters and their problems would fit in quite well in the modern day.

I think I finally hit on the reason a little bit ago, though: I read for escapism. I want to be entertained, not edified about "the human condition". I know what the human condition and hardships are like... hell, I've lived through my own life-altering drama. That means I don't want even more of it when I read. I want to take a break, pretend I'm in another world where you can make the problems go away with a modified phaser blast or a dimensional portal. Reading about the sordid and somewhat depressing lives of 19th-century ladies who are condemned to loveless marriages or tragic death just doesn't appeal. Shakespeare knew how to really engage his audience, but plays where everyone ends up dead aren't my idea of a good diversion.

I think that's part of why speculative fiction has such a huge following in the public. We don't want to explore High Art and Literature, we want to relax and de-stress. We want to identify with characters whose problems are easily defined, if not so easily solved. We want to be diverted by those elaborate imaginary worlds, pretend we could live there instead, or perhaps even add on to it a little; that's not nearly so daunting as creating a new world, for the non-writer, but it's nearly as fun. It's make-believe for adults.

I sometimes wonder why people feel I should be reading The Classics, but given that I don't like to read a book simply to have read it, and no one has really given me a reason to other than "as an insight into the human condition", I suspect I may never really understand it. I read for fun, others read for culture. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
torquill: The devourer of worlds is not impressed. (devourer)
I think Heinlein's "Future History" timeline was off by a bit in yet another way...

He describes the 90's as "The Crazy Years". I think the last decade fits that epithet considerably better, at least in the U.S. I mean, we have the rise of authoritarianism, gobs of people who believe in creationism over science, and a host of politicians and talking heads who contradict themselves with incredible frequency, yet their followers never lose the stars in their eyes. You thought the 90's were crazy? You hadn't seen nothing yet.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (weirdness)
Friend Computer,

I'm ready for you to break out my next clone now. Battling the pinko commie mutant traitors has left this clone kind of rickety. A fresh one would be great.

Your loyal citizen,

--A
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (challenge)
Today I have baked bread, used a radial-arm saw, sowed seeds, and written half of a virology research paper.
Yesterday I did minor tuning on the recumbent bicycle, assembled a plywood box, and mended a rip in my jeans.

I feel like a Renaissance woman.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (bean)
There is no turning back for me now: I've started buying flour by the case.* Next stop: leasing commercial space for a bakery.


I ran into [livejournal.com profile] dancingshaman at the grocery store again last night... He's apparently been dubbed fit enough to go back to work again, but he is not optimistic about the chances of getting a job soon. If anyone knows of an office admin spot within easy commute distance of Concord, you might drop him a line.


* True, a case is only 24 pounds, but still.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
Rabbit, meet Owl. It's such a cool snow picture.

Ever wonder exactly how awesome something is? The Periodic Table of Awesoments can tell you.

Burger King perfume. Bwah?
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
Each time I read the first few paragraphs, it's like settling into a familiar recliner. Why can't I write like this?
She scowled at her glass of orange juice. To think that she had been delighted when she first arrived here—was it only three months ago?—with the prospect of fresh orange juice every day. But she had been eager to be delighted; this was to be her home, and she wanted badly to like it, to be grateful for it—to behave well, to make her brother proud of her and Sir Charles and Lady Amelia pleased with their generosity.

Lady Amelia had explained that the orchards only a few days south and west of here were the finest in the country, and many of the oranges she had seen at Home, before she came out here, had probably come from those same orchards. It was hard to believe in orange groves as she looked out the window, across the flat deserty plain beyond the Residency, unbroken by anything more vigorous than a few patches of harsh grass and stunted sand-colored bushes until it disappeared at the feet of the black and copper-brown mountains.

But there was fresh orange juice every day.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (grin)
It amuses me how iconic and instantly recognizeable certain video game sounds are to the majority of my generation. This came about because I heard a familiar "bwoop bwoop" from one of the little runabouts used to carry Athletics cheer squad members around to hype up their games -- it reminded me of Pac-Man. A few seconds later I heard it emit the intro music to, yes, Pac-Man.

Just hum the intro bar to Super Mario in a room full of grad students (dadada duhda DA... dum). Only the exchange students won't automatically get the theme running through their heads. Some of them will, too.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (techie)
I found what is, supposedly, the secret code to make a Prius run the engine while stopped. Not having one myself, I have no way to see whether that's what it does.*

Has anybody been having trouble with getting Prii smogged, or are the California computers smart enough to recognize a hybrid and waive the idle-speed measurements?



*If it does, even if there's no need for it... it's so cool being able to hack your car like you used to hack old Capcom games. :D
torquill: The devourer of worlds is not impressed. (devourer)
I was thinking last night, "I need to pay for my lj account, it's expiring soon." Forgot about it until just now, when the expiration message hit my inbox. Sigh. At least they didn't nuke my icons.


I'm going to take a while to get used to seeing the old "Lucky's" logo everywhere. Usually, when stores get bought, they move in a name you've never heard of (see Pac Bell->SBC) or a contemporary. To see one resurrected from the dead after a couple of decades is just.... odd.


I'd totally forgotten that there's a medley of "Carmen" that was irreverently mangled performed by Spike Jones. That shows what happens when I pull out old CDs.


I need to go up and paint the floor... I got a paint chip from Ace Hardware, and when we went into the store to ask for a gallon of floor paint in the color we had selected, it took the two ladies subbing for the paint guy almost fifteen minutes to determine that they couldn't make it for us. Neither could the Pleasant Hill Sherwin-Williams store. The Concord Sherwin-Williams almost yawned and gave it to us... for $68/gallon. Ouch. Apparently floor-grade latex in a custom color is a rarity.

Not going to be ready to move in this weekend, obviously. I'll start it next week.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (cougar)
Today did not go as expected. That's okay.

"V for Vendetta" is a good movie. Glad I've finally seen it. A pity Alan Moore is still such a dick that he can't enjoy it.

The apple crisp can wait until tomorrow to be made... though tomorrow is a day where I don't even have expectations, just hopes. And so it goes...
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (challenge)
I am feeling very much less unattractive at the moment. Dunno how long that's going to last, but I'll enjoy it in the meantime. Mmmm... :)



I'm just praying this isn't a harbinger of more complication in my life.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
While I was driving out to the bike shop today, I was playing "spot the B box". These are the ubiquitous large metal cabinets next to the street, which are painted unassuming colors of grey, beige, or green, and which blend into their surroundings so well that they're functionally invisible. There's one every few blocks to serve the local area's telephone distribution needs... I managed to find almost all of the ones along my route across town, but with a couple of them I suddenly realized that the reason I couldn't see it was that I was staring directly at it. Thus, the game to spot the invisible.

Bicycle chatter )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (cougar)
Watching CSI on my laptop while pitting dark red cherries with a knife, the juice running down my fingers and staining my hands...

I hope I don't dream too vividly tonight. :)
torquill: A road sign that reads "cruve" (humor)
...pronounce "Suisun".

(I expect the locals to get it, but I'm curious about what some of the people who didn't grow up in the Bay Area/Sacramento area have to offer.)

I'm really thinking about making a car sticker/sign that says Axial tilt is the reason for the season.

Tired now. Lots of stuff to post about, haven't had any time to. I may catch up on that on Sunday.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (brooding)
My god, it's content.

I was watching Bullshit! last night, and it's had me thinking. Penn went on a big long rant about how easily offended people are, and how it's started limiting free speech. While I agree with him that people are awfully thin-skinned, I'm not sure I'm totally with him.

Society has started to assume that we have a right not to be offended, not to be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that's in direct opposition to the First Amendment -- the more free speech is, the less we can protect ourselves from offense. You can't have it both ways; you can't have both as full rights.

There's also the problem of what the line is between offense and abuse. Where does harassment shade from simple irritation or discomfort to actual injury? Workplaces make for such hairy problems, but schools do too. Where do you go from saying "get over it" and start punishing the one doing harm? Who determines whether harm is being done?

I'm still mulling all this over. Comments welcome.

QOTD

Jul. 23rd, 2006 11:42
torquill: A road sign that reads "cruve" (humor)
If you're going to be reprehensible, at least be competent.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
I just wanted to express gratitude for the existence of an online English-Greek dictionary. If I want French derivatives for fictional names, I have an ancient hardbacked copy of Larousse, but we don't generally keep a Greek dictionary on hand, let alone one that does Roman alphabet.

Maybe I should do more Greek-derived person/place names, now... I had hunted it down for use in making disease names, but some of these words look too cool not to use.

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