Monday, June 30, 2008

Systems Analysis

I still don't understand exactly how it works. I loathe drawing the diagrams for organizational and data flow. I despise the planning stages. I despise the data collection phase. I despise the testing, implementation and maintenance stages. Most likely I will never, ever end up in this profession.

But I got a 93%. So I'm good at stuff I don't even like. I think that kinda speaks for itself.

It may be the one thing I will always be categorically great at is going to school. That doesn't really translate in to employment of any kind. Such a shame.

Nevermind. I got 93%. ^_^

Friday, June 27, 2008

Actual Conversation #15- wherein Earth is invaded by Comet-burgers.

Robert: I was pondering Indian food tonight. You have any thoughts in mind?
me: I was thinking that a quarter is probably not an accurate thing to spin in order to obtain a true chaotic solution to something.
You would be better marking a washer with a sharpie. H and T for heads and tails.
The design makes for extra weight on one side over another, even when worn down in the case of quarters prior to 1976 that have silver in them.
Robert: True
me: And then I got mad because I wanted to buy purple and red ink to write in but I don't have the funds.
Robert: Well, a quarter isn't truly chaotic anyway. It has 2 answers. True chaos leaves room for 'let's fly to japan for sushi'
me: ..............I love you......................
True chaos flips the quarter, then pulls out the 20 sided die, then rolls that, then goes to the random number generator...then wanders off in search of cotton candy.
Brilliant.
You.
Are.
Brilliant.
Robert: *chuckles*
me: But Indian would be good.
Robert: Lol
me: I didn't have anything else in mind. :)
Robert: Okies, we'll see how it goes
Maybe in true chaotic fashion burgers will arrive via comet.
me: I welcome our new comet-burger overlords.
Robert: Indeed!

Que the Brass!

Confession time.
I have always thought that there were certain timeless things that were sexy and classy. Like Myrna Loy. And I often think if it were possible to go back to that time period and be a well-dressed individual like that, well, it'd just be damned sexy. If you brought that time period forward, it would STILL be damned sexy.
And that includes the thought of burlesque shows.
I'm blushing right now, btw. But yes, burlesque shows. I'm sure they were quite the scandal of their time, but there was just something glamorous about women being strong enough to go out and strut their stuff covered in naught but rhinestones, feather boas, and giant ostrich feathers. The costumes were exotic, and I like to imagine some of them looking like the stained-glass pictorials in Art Deco, covered in peacock feathers and dark cabochons holding together tasteful draped fabric that revealed yet concealed. It's all a highly romantic image, and I'm sure there were just as many that got up there in cotton or rayon and did their thing.
I always thought slipping your gloves off with your teeth was rather sensual, as was slowly strutting back and forth, or dancing with your intimate bits barely covered by feathers and fabric, yet in utterly no threat of being exposed. It wasn't giving the whole thing away like strippers would, or porn would. There was a certain amount of desire built up around the with-holding of the full thing, and a certain amount of power to be shown for that, and respect to be given.
Anyway, I was excited to find out that Philadelphia has it's own burlesque troupe. (Or at least one, there are probably others but this came up most often in searches!) Called The Peek-A-Boo Revue, I'm not going to call this classy just yet because some of the photos on the website have given me pause. But I am damned curious and I am now hoping to get a chance to go see it. It's in the realm of odd things I would like to be able I sat down and saw once in my life. Like the Carnivale freak show and La Boheme.
I was reading an article earlier today which talked about burlesque schools that opened in Seattle and New York. Seattle?? Damnit, if only I'd known! I remember seeing fliers in passing as I wandered around my city and pondering going, but not wanting to go with the guy I was with. My main thought was I didn't want to take someone who thought it was all about the skin and the sex, which he would have. Part of me now wonders if I should have judged, but I know at that time anything he would've said...ANYTHING...would've set me off. And, of course, it never occurred to me to go alone.
I ran the idea past Bob, who's interest was piqued, especially since he thought such things no longer occurred. So maybe at some point in the near future we go see it and I get to revel in it while getting my idealistic fantasies straightened out rather quickly.
That is not to say that I wished I were a burlesque dancer, although part of me always did want to be a show girl. I no longer have the body, for one thing. But it would be neat to see it in person and see how others choose to take the performance. I'm a big fan of all kinds of art, and performance art/theater is one of the ones I have been guilty of not exploring as much as others. Although not necessarily theater so much as spectacle, I secretly hope I will enjoy it more than La Boheme, which I have seen and did not like. (Overrated, really.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Goal in Life...

...my next job will NOT have me answering phones to fix things. I have sworn this.

I hate answering the phone. It impacts my productivity, people don't know what they actually want, and it is actually NOT faster than IM. And thanks to all these people calling up and screaming at me, who has no clearance to fix their issues, I have now bitten off part of the fingernails I have been so good about not biting for 2 weeks.
At least we know what the trigger is.

It's very hard not to announce "fuck you" to the vague amalgamation of people who call up. I found myself flipping off the phone when it rang several times earlier today because it interrupted me being almost complete with something. And promptly, as I predicted, diverted my attention.

I want to work in a lifeless cubicle with as little phone contact as possible. I'll get to keep my fingernails and my amicable disposition.

Actual Conversation #14

me: I became very popular over IM.
Robert: I'm sure
me: People are suddenly telling me stuff about their families and things.
....is that what they do after a while?
Robert: Yeah, it seems to be how they interact.
;-)
me: Oh.
So...
...should I reply back with things that are happening with my family?
Robert: If you wish. I'm sure they do it because it expands their world and helps them feel more connected to those they talk to on a daily basis. If you're into that sorta thing, go nuts. It can be healthy. ;-)
me: That's kinda cool.
Robert: Seriously: Yes, as long it's not creepy, this is what people do over time. It's cool. ;-)
me: It's not creepy.
They're telling me about how they hide the trash from their fiancee and stuff
Robert: *chuckles* Neat.
me: Well, if this is normal, I guess I'm going to tell them about Gramma's goiter.
Even though she doesn't have any.
I just don't think they'd appreciate a little sonnet on walking across the grass in the night with my love watching the fireflies rise in slow clouds around us.
I shall ponder this.
Robert: Eh. Well, the question is, what are you trying to convey. Are you trying to convey what you want to say, or what they want to hear?
Assuming you guess correctly what they want to hear, that is.
I say just say what you want, as yourself, and if they don't get it, they don't get it. Are you speaking to speak or to be heard?
me: I'm just attempting to convey back in kind. Which, as you can gauge from this conversation, I dunno how to do.
Robert: *nods* I'm no expert on it, either. :-)
me: I just know that the best response is not "Huh."
Robert: Then talk about funny things, or things most people do, or similar things, and you're cover 90% of the situations.
me: Sweet.
I will complain about work and the economy.
But with you...I shall talk of fireflies. ^_^

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Making Sense of Mess.

It's a fascinating study in psychology to come home and see what another human being has done with objects they have utterly no emotional attachment to.
We have a cleaning service come every 2 weeks to take the edge off the house's slowly worsening state. It's interesting to have them because they come in the day, clean, and leave after locking the door behind them. So when you get home, like I did last night, and you don't remember they were coming, funny things occur. Like I stand in the hallway for 3 minutes trying to figure out why Bob took the time to like my shoes up against the wall in pairs before going to work. And folded the jacket I tossed on the dining room table. Things like that.
But what follows upon it dawning on me that we were visited by Ye Merrie Maides is a small tour around the downstairs figuring out exactly what has changed since this morning when I went flying out the door with my lunch trying to get to work a little early.
Because there is no emotional attachment, they have decided that things that sit together on surfaces must go together -barring obvious things in the bathroom like toothbrushes and toothpaste, that have a context- and that when they do go together, there is some sort of geometric arrangement to be made of it.
Without the benefit of knowledge where we normally store items and why, they collected up every single DS game piled up on my various flat surfaces and arranged them, neatly, on the shelves of my TV console upstairs. They gathered all of the paperwork in to one pile and placed it at the corner of the coffee table, having no way to know that we actually had them separated out because they were 3 different issues. And the coffee table actually had items lined up neatly and squared off along the edge and the corresponding opposite corner.
The geometry of organization was fantastic. And when they made the bed they didn't stack the pillows upright like we did, but laid them all flat. It was so odd that I found it intriguing, mostly because it wasn't my way of doing things.
It gave me pause to sit and think about it. We'd both forgotten they were coming, and so we hadn't tried to pick up the mess around the place in an attempt to convince the people coming to save us from being slobs that we were not slobs. There was a LOT more to deal with this time.
There are multiple geomtric piles of items on flat surfaces around the house. The coffee table and kitchen counters are clean again. To their credit, my martini from Monday night was still half-finished in the martini glass. They were smart enough to know I insist on hand-washing those things, and also smart enough not to drink the rest of my drink. Both would have gotten me upset.
But I digress.
As I looked around I noted that they tried their hardest, making best sense of the space and what we did with it to do what THEY need to do with it. Even though they were no longer there (and hell, I hadn't even realized they'd been there at all for the first few minutes) they left something of themselves behind. They had no idea why we had things where we had them. But it looked nicer when they left anyway.
I think that says a lot when a total stranger can arrange my house to look better than I can, honestly.
Perhaps it's weird to be so fascinated with something so mundane, but I like seeing how corners and edges and shelves are mentally ingrained as storage spaces for items spread out everywhere. They fold the towels differently, and they always take the items off the edge of the bathtub, which strikes me as a perfectly viable place for bubble bath to go. Why do they do it that way? Who knows. But it is INTERESTING.
If I find out it's the same 2 people each week, I may randomly leave them cookies at some point in the near future. It's the least I can do to thank them for this little insight in to human behavior.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's a good thing they don't hold grudges.

There is a downside to writing, I have learned. You can leap forward with all the passion you can muster and then suddenly... everything seems silly and contrived. How could you possibly think any of this stuff would work?
Or...even worse and most recently...you start to really like your characters. REALLY like them. To the point that you feel bad when you do stuff to them.
Case in point: I was writing and I knew I had to get my character from one point to another. I knew he had to be discovered thanks to noise. But what I didn't know, and totally startled myself with, was by hurting him. Very badly. This caused him to scream and alert soldiers out on patrol that he was there.
Wow...wow...even now I sit here and feel a little clench in my chest. The character isn't real and I know this. He doesn't exist outside the confines of the written page. But somehow he lives and breathes through me and the thought that I could put him through that makes my stomach turn a bit. It makes me wonder...if I could so flippantly create something in my mind like that, create a scenario where someone gets hurt, am I just a little bit of a monster? Or am I just like every other human being out there, except that I put it down on paper and admit to it publicly? Who knows.
But I do know that I hurt my character very badly the other day. And I got up and walked away in shock because I hadn't known when I sat down that the story was going to turn that way. I had to because I was too scared to sit there and get him back out of the predicament after what I'd just done to him.
Contrary to popular belief, I am learning that rarely is the whole story worked out before one sits down to write it. The story actually creates itself and borrows your fingers. In the end the filter that you get to put between the brain and the keyboard is very small, or outright ignored. If you know what you're doing and if you don't strangle it to death.
This is another thing I have discovered. If you sit down to write and you just don't care about what comes out, your mind can weave things of serious beauty and complexity. When you release your stranglehold on what should be done and just let what could be done happen, it comes out a lot less like crap and a lot more like something with some possibilities in it.
Either way, I'm in love with it. And I feel bad for everything I'm about to do to my characters. But the tale wouldn't have it told any other way.

When I Win the Lottery...

...I am SO going to get me one of these. It is so awesome it makes my teeth hurt. I could totally plug Stewie or Wendy in to this thing and play whatever I wanted. Hell, I could hook the laptop up and play TF2 projected ON THE WALL.
This will be right up there with the Tachikoma robot in terms of awesomeness level. Maybe they would be friends. That would be neat.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blue Tongues Should Sometimes Stay in Skinks.

I am betrayed.
This morning when I went to eat breakfast I realized that I could not taste anything that I was eating...unless it was on the sides of my tongue. The top was completely devoid of tasting ability.
My lips, as well, seem a bit numb today.
I recall last night eventually marvelling that I must have gotten tired of the ice cream because it tastes like ~nothing~ by the time I was done. In fact, it was almost like liking room-temperature...nothing. I figured my tongue was cold and the tastebuds were numb.
Not so. And this is the oddest allergic reaction I have EVER had to something. But I can't taste anything. It feels like my tongue was burned along the top and everything has died. Only when food passes to the sides of it do I even begin to taste anything, and realize exactly how much flavor I am missing. I'm actually afraid to EAT right now for what I will be missing!
This alone has made me grateful to have my faculties such as they are. I couldn't imagine only being able to see some colors, or some of what was ahead of me, or only part of the music score.
How freakin' bizarre. Thank you, blue ice cream, for bringing me thankfulness in a totally bizarre manner.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Signaling Flares

This evening we were coming home from dinner at Bob's folks' house when we realized we both desired ice cream.
We pulled in to Main Street at Exton and wound our way through a rather long line of teengers and twenty somethings poised at the counter of Maggie Moo's, looking on as ice cream was mashed and molded in to a variety of things that were both fun to look at and delicious to taste.
I myself opted to have ice cream based purely on the fact that it was a blue color. Smurf blue, to be exact. It turned out to be cotton candy flavored and I am still sporting stained lips and tongue from the enjoyment of it. Bob had cherries and dark chocolate in an ice cream who's flavor I couldn't determine. It was slightly pink, though.
We walked outside and sat down at one of the outdoor tables near some very ancient trees. Their bark was mottled, gray in some parts and white in others where the older outer layer had flaked off. They'd obviously been there for some years and Main Street had taken pains to leave them there while developing the land.
As we sat and watched the fireflies rose up in solemn silence, flashing in brief brilliance before disappearing in the growing dark of the evening. They all stayed close to the ground, no more than a few feet above, and seemed to weave back and forth over the culvert of undisturbed ground beneath the ancient trees. There was no where to look where there were not fireflies flashing and flaring brightly, and were it not for the teenagers chatting behind us about smuggling alcohol in listerine bottles, I could have easily lost myself in the scene and believed it all to be the edge of the land of Faerie.
We sat and slowly consumed our melting ice cream, watching them dance. After a bit we began to ponder aloud the fact that these were staying so close together, a completely throng of them whirling and moving but not seeming to go much further. The ones at our house do, rising up and seeming to park themselves about the maples and pines out on the back course. Sometimes they seem to fly higher. They must, they go somewhere out of our sight eventually, drifting upwards. Why did the ones there feel the need to rise up in to the night while these stayed down low, close to one another?
Perhaps, I posited, it was because there were so many of them. They didn't have to go far to find each other. The ones around our house were not nearly so numerous, so maybe they rose upwards to see farther, to try and see one another at a distance.
Possibly true, Bob allowed, and it made sense. The ones near our house weren't nearly so thick as the ones we studied.
It made me think about those flashes, how they were trying to find one another in the dark, reaching out the only way they had available to them. A single flash every now and then, when they felt was right or when evolution dictated, either way. To try and find that other someone out there. They were all looking for someone else. And somehow even though the flashing looked the same to us, they could find one another through all of that and knew based on a moments hesitation, the perfect timing, that they'd discovered another lightning bug to fill whatever need they had.
It's like people. We only know how to do so many things to connect. And really it's all the same. Words, actions, are really such small and imprecise tools to try and communicate with each other. A sentence said one way to one person will come across entirely differently to another. It may hurt one but overjoy another. We're all just floating in the dark flashing our lights trying to find each other, trying to find others who will be friends, family, lovers, mates...whatever we think we need. Whatever we hope to find. And even with the imprecise nature of our tools, we join up and embrace in the darkness that can be a very large world. But we do it with the strength of two, or three, or more.
This weekend I witnessed a young man in line in front of Bob and I waiting for autographs. He was carrying an iPod, occasionally hitting record on it and speaking in to it with his version of well-known movie lines. At one point he even rick-rolled us by speaking the words to Never Gonna Give You Up. (I plugged my ears and very maturely chanted "Lalalalalala laaaaa lalalalaaaaa!!!" for the duration). He spoke with the girl behind him concerning various things, and I noted he was looking for anybody who looked at him while he was talking. Flashing his lights. Floating in the dark.
He was rude, but unaware of his rudeness. He was arrogant, and probably unaware of that as well. When a young girl behind us decided to engage him in conversation and showed him her yaoi paddle, he snorted and declared "I've got better things to read than that...I've got classic manga from..." then he rattled off a list of people I vaguely remembered based on some research I'd done a few months ago. He was so rude I actually snorted in surprise and turned away, feeling a connection to that behavior that I really didn't want to acknowledge. The young girl tucked her yaoi paddle under her arm protectively and withdrew back to her group of friends, all of whom murmured about him and how nasty he was. More flashes in the dark, and this time a flash misread. I felt so bad for her because of how her attempt at friendliness had been smacked down by the clueless wonder who was still talking about what he knew and his superior reading choices, but this time focusing on the girl directly behind him who had made eye contact in a moment of shock at his tone. But at the same time I felt bad for him because he had no idea he was distancing himself from those around him with his actions. He was completely unobservant about his own behavior, or the fact that the reason he was now so desperate to make contact was because he himself was driving the contact away. More flashes, frantic flashes, in the dark. He just wanted to talk to somebody about what was in his head and what he knew. And he had no concept of what was outside of it, or how to integrate and accept what others knew when they came to him. Almost painful to watch, I nursed that small throbbing ember inside me that remembered childhood and teenage-dom spent that way. He was rude. He had an inflated opinion of himself. But you had to feel bad. He was the only one in that world he'd built up around himself, and he was stumbling all over his attempts to step outside of it or draw people in. My compassion waned, however, when he attempted to talk directly to me and I didn't know what movie he was referencing. "Nevermind," he growled, rolling his eyes and turning his iPod up, "Some people just don't do pop culture. I don't tend to talk to them too much."
I avoided him later when I saw him watching a demo, his iPod still in his ears. Not because I was mad at him for how he treated me. But because he was like me, and it was very, very hard to look at.
Finishing up our ice cream back at the outdoor tables of Maggie Moo's, I smiled at those little fireflies dancing and flashing and looking to find each other. There was something comforting about them and about how they were always there. Summers could come and go and they would rise from the grass to dance in the evening and bring about thoughts of sylphs and elves. Simple communication that had been there long before we'd shown up in that place, and simple communication that would be here after we moved on. Those little flashes in the dark whisper quietly that all you have to do in the world is give it a shot and reach out. There's more than one searching the very same way, and at some point you'll bump in to each other. At some point you'll be rick-rolled by an annoying fanboi in a crowd of a thousand. At some point you'll talk with beautiful, wonderful people with flaws that make them glorious and human. And at some point you'll find whoever else is looking back through the dark to find you.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Actual Conversation #13

What an auspicious number! And I've got a good one for you. Bear in mind this happened in complete darkness.

Bob: Goodnight sweetie!
Me: G'night sweetie! G'night Daisy! Wh...whoa...
*thump*
Bob: So we're getting up at 6 to get there in time (to AnimeNext), you think?
Me: *muffled* Yeah.
Bob: Okay, then should we just get up with your alarm?
Me: *less muffled* Yup. Sounds good.
Bob: Makes sense....where are you?
Me: *from the floor* Down here.
Bob: Oh. I was wondering because you were there and then suddenly you were not.
Me: Yes. I'm down here now. *small laugh*
Bob: Are you coming to bed?
Me: Yep. I just...I...hold on.
*rustle of sheets, another laugh*
Bob: Are you okay?
Me: Well, yes, I'm fine. I went to get on the bed and Daisy moved because I leaned on her. And I moved my hand, but when I went to put it down there wasn't any bed there and my other hand couldn't balance the weight so I sort of...rolled off.
Bob:....
Me: *laugh in to pillow*
Bob: Wow. You just failed to go to bed?
Me: Yes. I just totally failed to go to bed.
Bob: Wooooowww. You must be having a hard night.
Me: *unable to answer for laughter*

Friday, June 20, 2008

No, I do NOT has a Tardis. And it's not fair.

I think it's about time I accepted that I will never even meet David Tennant, much less get to know him. As it is, that wouldn't be enough. I would want to meet the man and leave a lasting impression. Otherwise I might as well become one with the wall and go on through the world the way I have been.
And this stupid goofy crush I've got? Damnit...the eyes...it's the eyes, all their fault.
I think I need to also face up to that with the likes of Robert Downey, Jr. and Johnny Depp. Both the crush and wanting to make an impression. Once again, it's the eyes. What is up with me and dark brown eyes??
It's just not worth the exchange of energy or taking up my time or their time if there's not...something...left of it, you know? I just can't think of any legitimate reason I would ever need to meet any of these people or what I could possibly have in common with them so... logic prevails and I cast aside all my secret school-girl-esque longings.
A man like that has never set eyes upon and ~seen~ a girl the likes of me. Ysobelle was right. It just don't happen. There's a certain level of "Hollywood" that must be possessed in a person before another picks up on it. I don't have it. Hell, I don't even have the best ability to talk with the non-famous. :)
This all came about when I read about the gush-thread on LJ concerning the 10th Dr. Who. I must admit with embarrassment that yes, I too am smitten. It was interesting to note that they cited about 95% of the same things, and most everything that caught my eye. I guess women are looking for certain traits?
It's odd to be in the bell curve for anything in the population, so I'm amused by this. Someone figured out how to tap in to estrogen. Good on them.
In the meantime, I have a beautiful blue-eyed Bob who holds me and says sweet things to me every day. He's not famous but he's fucking brilliant and soft and gentle. He's my people. And if I didn't already have him, I'd probably have a crush on him. ^_^

Of Lemmings and Men - Actual Conversation # 12

me: My stalker called this morning.
And the only reason I know it was him was because he didn't introduce himself, but didn't say "What the hell slacker, answer the phone faster"
Which is how WoW Boy greets me when I answer.
Robert: *chuckles*
me: And he asked me a question while I was looking stuff up...I answered it...and he was totally at a loss for a response.
It was just some lame thing about how's your morning going.
*sigh*
Robert: *chuckles* Was it one of your 'honest answers that's not just vapid chit chat' that throws people sometimes. :-)
me: Ohhh.
Robert: I love when a grocery clerk or something asks you how you are, and you actually respond with things like 'I have a headache'. It's like...he was not expecting an actual processed discussion. :-)
me: Yes.
Like when I said "I'm tiiiiired"
Robert: It's really very cool you do that. :-)
me: *laugh*
Robert: It's like not walking in the door 90% of the people do when there's another one there. Think instead of being a herd animal . :-)
me: I think the brain just fires off that fast and never learned how to do chit chat!
^_^
I likes lemmings but is not one.
Robert: Aye
So, you answered a question and he was surprised?
me: I don't know if he was surprised.
But he was at a loss for words.
Robert: Did he call for a technical problem, or just to chat?
me: Tech issues
Robert: Cool
me: It's just....
I dunno, I want to shake him a little.
Just grab him by the shoulders and rattle his skull a bit
Robert: Shake him a lot please. I've seen you try to 'shake a little' and it leads to it getting worse. :-)
me: Yes.
Well, here is exactly what was said
Him "How is your morning going?"
Me: "Eh. I'm wishing it was afternoon rather than morning, really."
Him. "...*small noise*..."
Robert: *chuckles*
me: Me:" You know. So it would be closer to leaving-time."
Him"..*sound of chair shifting"
Me:" Cause it's Friday and then it would be the weekend... Found your guy"
Robert: (Him: looking at his script trying to figure out what went wrong) ;-)
me: Nothing went wrong.
You called ME! DUN DUN DUUUUUUN
Robert: Lol
me: I go in the door that's already open because I like to test if people are polite enough to hold it for me, btw. ^_^
So...lemming with a purpose.
mrrrerrf!
Or whatever noise a cute lemming makes
Robert: Yeah, you got me on that one.
me: Oh wait, I know what noise they make.
"Oooooooo fuuuuuuck Clyyyyyyyyde wheeeeere aaaaare yooooou gooooooooooooiinnggg? AAAAAAHHHHH!"
Robert: LOL

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What the hell is going on, Vancouver?

SIX now? People have to be pinned underwater or else chained up and dropped off the coast there somewhere. That many feet randomly floating to the surface in such a short period of time is too coincidental.

Alternately, I'd like to say that now is probably not the best time to visit the fine beaches of British Columbia. Maybe go to Nova Scotia instead. They're relatively appendage-free.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I can has gnarly shreddin' on guitarz?

So I'm a big fan of music games on the computer. I bought a guitar-playing video game for the DS. In Japanese. Interestingly enough, it still translates. An A min is still written A min even if the game is from the land of the rising sun. So I lucked out.
We have Guitar Heroes 1 thru 3 and we've been eyeballing Rock Band for some time now, unable to bring ourselves to purchase that many peripherals all at once despite the promise of awesomeness.
We have wireless guitars. We have wired guitars. We have bongos for the Game Cube. We have microphones for Sing Star. (We have 3 of the 5 currently available. Pop and 90's were put on hold until we could get through the first 3.) My PSP even has a BeatMix game where you tap on buttons in time to the music, and I'm really enjoying it. Basically, we like the musical games. In fact, Monday I got as far as I've ever gotten in a Guitar Hero game when I hit the fifth venue. And that it is now across all platforms, not just the Play Station, is really awesome and just screams of its universal appeal.
In fact, I guiltily admit that I am looking forward to the release of Guitar Hero: On Tour for my DS, even in spite of that utterly cheesy ad they've got for it.
So basically up until now you could have fun, but people would sit there and make fun of you for not going to play a real guitar. (As I have done...but I CAN play a real guitar, so the argument is null.)
Well, here's the thing. Now you can. Thanks to a lovely little program you can now download and create your own songs to play on the guitar. Which does actually make it a musical instrument that you are playing. It's called Frets on Fire, and it's actually kinda neat if you don't mind the hassle.
I wanted to share.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did you wake up this morning to find you were missing your right foot?

Chances are it's in Vancouver.
How utterly bizarre. Where are all these people without their feet? And why Vancouver? Is someone dumping bodies or does the ocean current just drop them there? I might have to look at a currents map later today, something interesting and new!

So my Mom is coming. And this is cool because she's coming without the dog, without the husband, and without my brother, SIL or chibi niece. Not that I don't love each of them in my own way for their particular gifts, talents, and reflection as a facet of reality. But honestly? Sometimes you just want to hang out with one person at a time. I don't believe my Father's wife even remotely has a grasp of this concept, as she tends to invite as much of her family as possible and then the neighborhood kids just for good measure. The cacophony is enough to deafen one of the more delicate types. We Davises are a humble, stoic people that really can only handle so much of mixing it up in big, loud groups of people. We prefer our friends to be at arm's length, with plenty of room to hang out at places other than our own house, and in small tight-knit groups of 3-5. And occasionally we even allow ourselves
Said the girl who whethered the Philly Zoo in 90 degree weather and had a terrific time. Hey, there were Galapagos Tortoises there. Those are awesome in the clinical sense of the thing. And a zoo is something every child needs to experience at least once to develop that sense of wonder about the bigger world. If the biggest animal you've ever seen is the dog, you're never going to get the perspective seeing an elephant gives. But I digress. And yes, the previous paragraph was full of crap, but still does not lessen the fact that I like one-on-one time with my family!
We've devised a great many activities to do with my Mom once she arrives that are guaranteed to put her completely out of her element and ensure that if we aren't drunk, we probably should be before we continue with some of them.
I fully intend to engage my mom in a Dance Dance Revolution competition, followed by some Donkey Konga and maybe some Mario Kart Racing. After that I'm not sure, but I think perhaps we may try to initiate her in the Ghost Hunters drinking game since she'll be here Wednesday.
And I write all of this out knowing she reads it, too. This is my attempt to give her some warning.
Eh, maybe if she's cool about the DDR we'll just sit on the couch and knit. But I have a feeling she'll be nasty and use the green shell while we're tearing up the track in Mario Kart, so I've got to see that go down.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation - Azeroth edition

It's official. Just about anybody who's word I care to read has played World of WarCraft. The guy who writes Ommatidia fessed in his blog that he, too, once tripped over the stones of Azeroth questing his heart out.
Well...he didn't say that exactly. But everybody knows that's what you do the second you spawn in the Valley of Trials. Or Teldrassil. Or wherever the hell you spawn if you haven't played a Nelf or a....most of the Horde, actually. Oh yeah, Deathknell. One of my least favorite places to crawl out of in the whole game.
But, per usual, I digress.
How interesting that a common thing binds so many folks together, but for entirely different reasons. Playing World of WarCraft is getting up there as something shared the way being American is shared. Or Buddhist. Or vegetarian. You say "Hi, I'm a blood elf warlock" and you can virtually guarantee someone from the back of the room is going to shriek "NERF WARLOCKS! BELVES SUCK! YOU GOT A PRETTY MOUTH BOY!!" Unless they're a girl, then it'll be some comment about their tits. But you get the general idea.
Playing Warcraft is like saying you watched the Challenger explosion. Or watched the Jamaican bobsled team win the winter Olympics. Just a shared commonly accessible experience. It's interesting to think about that. Much in the way people can share enjoyment of a movie, or an opera, or a camping spot, people can say "Oh yeah, I had to run Kara 23 times to get all the badges I needed" and at least one person in that room...they are going to know your pain.
Kinda cool.
I was going to draw a parallel between neat people playing WoW who were also highly creative and relatively interesting until I realized...I was looking for those kinds of people, and so I came across them. Just like if you're looking for those kinds of people in a bookstore, or a concert. You'll find them. If I'd set out to look for the beer-drinking jocks, I would've found them too. Because it isn't a club. It's simply a population of people. And if I were to deceive myself for one moment that there weren't some true dickheads in that population like there were in the real world, I could disabuse myself of that notion in 2 minutes just by setting foot in Warsong Gulch.
It's just people. No neater, no more banal, than anywhere else. It's just one more thing in common. :)

Actual Conversation # 11

Robert: Sorry, got into a long discussion on requirements. Yeah, I'm doing fine I think. Just really bored.
me: You're SURE you're not hungry???
Robert: *chuckles* A touch, but I'm going to see how I go without lunch today as an experiment.
And you are set on DND, should I hush?
me: That was for AIM's sake.
People were looking for amusement.
And I had tickets to filter.
Robert: Ah, well I let you filter. :-)
me: If you want.
I am here to hear your mouth-words.
Or finger-words, as it were.
Robert: As it were. :-)
me: were-tee-were-were
whirrrrrrrrrrrr
That is an awesome sound.
You should go do sudokus for fun.
Robert: What is it the sound of?
me: whirrrr?
It's the sound of a one winged humming bird.
Robert: ??
me: If you think about it, a one winged hummingbird is going to spin downward.
Like maple seeds do.
But they rattle more than whir.
Humming birds kinda buzz.
So if you have a one winged hummingbird, he's pretty much going to spiral down on one wing and whir.
Robert: I.....how much thought have you put into this?
me: It was just an image that popped in to my head.
And as I went to explain it, it fleshed itself out.
I suppose that was a bit bizarre.
Robert: No, it was interesting, I was just wondering if this is something you came up with on the fly or specced out years in advance for some heretofore undisclosed top secret project.
me: That was on the fly.
I'm sworn to secrecy on that other stuff.
If I ever murmur "Heilenberg generator" in my sleep, it's your patriotic duty to smother me, btw.
Robert: Ooooo, okay.
me: Oh wait
Shit.
Robert: laughs
me: Get a gun and meet me at home. *sigh* I loved you.
Robert: Loved you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday the 13th...


...struck with a big fat 'ol vengeance. The funny part was, I didn't even recall that until my father texted me in response to my ordeal earlier in the day. A light bulb went on and I kind of stared at my cell for a few moments whilst fighting off a "Duh" moment because...I'm really not superstitious in the least.
But anyway, as you can see, Friday the 13th, without explanation, completely wtfpwned my car's tire. There was no warning, it simply started to hum VERY loudly, and within a matter of a few seconds I heard the sound of something thrashing inside my back wheel well.
I was on I-76 at the time. For those of you in PA, you know that this means that there pretty much is no where to pull off until you get to an emergency pull off, about every half mile or so. The rest is blocked by cement barriers turning everything in to a cattle chute.
So I thumped along, pulled off after about a minute, and promptly called AAA. No problem said the woman on the other end, who was obviously used to reading from a script, we will get them out there sometime between right that second...and 60 minutes from that second.
So I stood there for a bit. And got a call from people trying to find me. I clarified my location to them. They said great, no problem. They would be there in ten minutes.
They were not there in ten minutes.
In the mean time a gentleman in a white car pulled over and jumped out with a look of great concern to check on me. I assured him I'd called AAA, thanked him for his concern, and wished him a good weekend. He pulled back out and was on his way.
I got another call, this time from the dispatch truck. They couldn't find me. He kept arguing with me that if I was between 333 and 326 I was going away from the city. I said that's not possible, I got on near the Jersey border and 326 dropped me off on the Schuylkill Expressway. He argued some more, then asked if I really knew where I was. I re-explained. He said great, he would be there in 5 minutes.
He was not there in 5 minutes.
At this point another gentleman of about the same age pulled over in another white car (different make and model) and jumped out to check on me. I thanked him for checking on me, told him the tow truck was already on the way, and wished him a good weekend. He hopped in his car and left as well.
At this point I got sick of waiting, so I unbolted the spare tire in my trunk and pulled out the tire iron.
I would like to note that during this time several women in mini vans drove by staring at me, several truck drives honked and beeped, and the Boy Scotts of America drove by with their trailer (marked as Troop 276, I believe. It was on there in big letters) without even so much as a passing glance.
Oh, if I'd had my camera-phone at the ready, I would've had a picture for the FAIL blog.
I don't mean to sound irritated. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I got to see the pattern in traffic and how it came in waves about every 5 minutes. I got to watch the butterflies on the side of the road go from mustard flower to mustard flower. I saw crows play tag on the electric lines. And I got to send lots of texts to people and have a quick conversation with my buddy Foxglove, who I texted because it was actually the first really interesting thing that had happened to me in a while and I thought she might sympathize. It was too loud to carry on a real conversation, unfortunately.
SO, I am waiting patiently, aware that I am tanning every second I am outside my car. I am ready to go! The only reason I have not yet attempted to change my own tire is the narrowness of the emergency pull off. I'm afraid I will get hit because the tire is on the traffic-side of the car.
A third car pulls up. A gentleman from the turnpike commission gets out and dons a brilliant yellow vest. His white car (I kid you not, only people with white cars stopped) had an orange light on top of it. And he walks up to me and says "Why are you on the side of the road?"
"I'm waiting for someone to come and fix my flat tire. I really don't want to do it myself in this traffic, I'm afraid I'll get hit," I reply.
The man looks at me for a long moment and says "Well, are you a part of a road service? Like Triple-A? Could you give them a call? Maybe you wouldn't have to stand here, then," he replies.
Now at one point some of the dispatchers had said a PennDOT truck might be what showed up to help me with the tire. So I am taken aback by this announcement. You see, I figured he was with PennDOT. He is driving a government car. "You mean you're not from PennDOT? Because I HAVE already called, I'm waiting for them to show up, and they said someone from PennDOT might show up to fix it. I thought you were with them."
He looks at me in surprise. The realization that he has just questioned my intelligence when I have already done what I am supposed to creeps up on to him and he sort of babbles for a bit about not knowing that I had been there and simply having pulled over because he saw me. Finally, he says "Let me go call and see if we've gotten any service requests over the radio for you."
So I wait, and wave to somebody else who beeps at me as they go past. In the meantime, I somehow manage to miss a call from AAA.
He comes back a moment later and asks "Did you tell them exactly where you were?"
"Yes," I reply, "I told them I was between exits 333 and 326."
"Yes, but did you say specifically in 1-76?"
"I told them I was on the Pennsyvlania Turnpike, I-76, headed towards Philadelphia."
"Okay, then you told them right," he says, and I realize he now also thinks I don't know where I am. "We didn't get a call in for you, so whoever said that thinks you're on the Schuylkill Expressway. Otherwise they would have told you they can't come out on the Turnpike to fix your car."
Well, fuck.
So I call, and AAA confirms what he's just said, also says the original woman who didn't have terrific English wrote the information down wrong, and they gave up looking for me on the expressway 20 minutes ago. The gentleman from the turnpike commission, upon hearing this, goes and puts a call in for me, the nice boy at AAA leaves a nasty note for someone to go talk with the other woman about transcribing directions more careful, and 45 minutes in to having a flat tire, I wish the gentleman from the turnpike commission a good weekend before he hops in his car and drives off.
I am now waiting for a tow truck.
At this point I am beginning to grow irritated simply because so much miscommunication is now leaving to me feeling hot, dizzy and nauseas. This is, in fact, exactly how I felt after riding a bike around Valley Forge and I realize I'm about to get hit with the same problem agian if I don't get out of there. So I grab the tire iron and do my damnedest to get the wheel off.
Problem is, the car is firmly resting on the busted tire, and each time I lay in to the tire iron the car shifts forward and then back a bit. I had the strength to get the bolts loose, but I couldn't get the tire off and another one on without the car shifting around dangerously. And traffic was much heavier by this time.
So I wait.
10 minutes later Chaz, nicest guy in the world, pulls up in the biggest tow truck I have ever seen. He shows me what I should have done if I'd had a jack in the car (Thank you, Honda, for not seeing fit to put anything in there of that ilk) and that I've got a locking lugnut on one of them, and the key was in my glove compartment. He points out that my stickers are VERY old and does me the favor of not calling it in. He tells me what the spare is rated for speed-wise, assures me I can drive the other 30 miles home on it without much issue, and tells me to go slow so I don't get caught by the cops. The whole thing takes 10 minutes tops, and I am back in my car and listening to NPR with the air conditioning blasting. Total elapsed time from start of ordeal to finish is an hour and a half.
At this point this might be seen as a story of misfortune, but it's not. And I'll tell you why. It forced me to drive slow, and to drive in the right-hand lane most of the way home. I got to see a different part of things than I usually do. I focus on getting around and through traffic as fast as possible normally. Well, I was already late to get home at that point, so no reason. Also, because it was later the sun was at a different angle, and 76 goes through some beautiful country. I got to see farmland and forest lit up in the golden afternoon sun, and because I had to keep it around 60 I got to spend more time looking at it. I got to listen to a different section of NPR programming, and because I was so hot and sweaty I got to really appreciate the AC in a way I normally don't having stepped out of an air conditioned office building.
And, of course, there was the people watching, the butterfly watching, and the bird watching.
I'm not bitter about this in the least. It was fascinating, and it served to remind me that I had fallen in to a routine without realizing it. So for that I am grateful.
It also made me realize I needed to take better care of my car and clean it out, as I had to actually move a woolen cloak and a typewriter to get to my spare tire.
Bob took me out for sushi when the whole thing was said and done. I was exhausted, slightly sun-pink, and brain-dead. We ordered drinks and ate heartily of the fish. Our usual waitress was there and chatted with us briefly before having to buzz around to the other customers. It's good to be well known.
And the final good that has come from this? Besides a general warm feeling that three perfect strangers stopped and asked if I was okay -which has almost fully restored my good opinion of humanity- was Bob taking me by the shoulders when I got home and telling me that, no arguing, he was paying to have my car inspected and my tires replaced. I guess the whole thing scared him. I was at least half an hour away when this happened and he had no way to get to me. If it had been something more drastic there would've been more serious repurcussions. And he also knew that I was waiting until I had more saved up to get everything fixed.
My car has new tires, new break pads, and passed inspection. Had the flat tire not happened I would've had no impetus to get these things checked and fixed. My breaks were dangerously thin. They even replaced my windshield wipers, which had been trashed during an ice storm in March. I just kept forgetting to replace them.
So... as I said, I am not superstitious. I do believe things happen for a reason. And I think this whole thing went down so that I could realize I was smart enough to fix that thing without help (if I'd had a jack...Honda...) that I could handle a stressful situation without getting massively upset, and so my car could be safe while I continued on with life.
At least, that's what I'm choosing to take from this.

Area 53 #3


As always, click for make it bigger. Sorry it's askew. My scanner seems to take the edges of drawings and papers as mere suggestions.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Actual Conversation pt. 10

me: btw, Silly says she misses you.
Robert: Nice of her.
me: You sound thrilled. *chuckle*
Robert: I don't sound at all, I read. It was nice of her to say that. I couldn't think of anything else to say about it.
It was pretty neutral / slightly positive. ;-)
me: Ah.
You do too sound! I have heard you!!!
3:15. And all ticket movement has halted dead for the first time since Monday.
looks around, worried
Robert: Oh noes! *watches tidal wave coming in*
me: *throws hands up in the faint hope of defense, knowing all too well that already she is too late, the die has been cast and that wave is coming....*
Robert: *gets out his little umbrellas for the beach drinks*
me: *braces herself for what could either be the worst or the coolest thing that has ever happened to her*
Robert: *lays out a towel and puts on sunscreen*
me: *tenses for impact...*
Robert: *sighs contentedly*
me: *finds herself in Camden*
....what the fuck?
Robert: ....... I thought that's where you wanted to go?
me: Apparently.
*is now extremely puzzled, and also notes there's no water, nor are either of them wet*
Well, that was a lot of buildup for nothing.
Robert: True, maybe next time

Hello, Kettle?

This is the Pot. You're black.

Now, I don't happen to think that Ira Isaacs actually makes art. I think he makes porn. I think he makes really gross porn that people who are in to that kind of thing will pay a lot of money to obtain simply because there's not a lot out there. Freedom of speech is one thing, and he can take that. But him comparing bestiality to me sitting down with my watercolors is bullshit. He is doing it for profit purely, despite his claims to want to do something extreme.
At least, that's my opinion. I opine that his claim to wanting to do extreme art is just an excuse so he can robe himself in more layers of martyrdom. Say that five times fast.
I would also like to point out that I like porn. It does wonderful things for couples, and lets you explore things you would never actually do yourself or with another person. Porn is entirely safe sex. And as long as everybody consents who's being taped, hey, it's a victim-less crime. Those are the better kind if you've got to have crime around.
Back to the article, though, I'd like to quote Bob from this morning when I shared the article with him.
"Oh noes! I can no longer espouse morality because it's now been proven I'm more like you than not!"
Well spoke. How about just sticking with making sure nobody gets hurt. It's disgusting. It's not art. But it is covered under the first amendment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Shape of Things

Let me preface this entry by saying that yesterday was awesome. As in:
Main Entry:
awe·some
Pronunciation:\ˈȯ-səm\
Function: adjective
1: expressive of awe
2 a: inspiring awe b: terrific, extraordinary

It was awe-inspiring. While some might say okay, why not say awe-inspiring, please remember I grew up in the 80's and 90's where we eschewed proper descriptions for overarching terms of our general happiness with how life was going.
That being said, let me debrief the whole world on my Tuesday night, which will go down as one of the best ones I've had. And I do this while acknowledging that I have had only 4.5 hours of sleep. You better believe I'm waiting for that hammer to drop about, oh, 3 pm.
The heat on the East Coast was unrelenting, and I think honestly an ant under a magnifying glass must feel like that a few short moments before he ceases to be in a burst of flame and smoke. If I hadn't had the forethought to roll the windows down to catch errant passing breezes and let the worst of the heat radiate out, getting in at the end of the day would have been hellish. It would've simply wicked all the moisture out of me and I would've sat in the seat, shriveled. It smothered us like a pregnant yak. Hopefully I have conveyed how horrible the whole thing was.
This area isn't used to this kind of unrelenting heat. A kind of pressure had been building in the background, slowly and almost imperceptibly. I kept expecting to see storms explode any evening to counteract the grossness of the weather. They didn't, and I kept being confused. It felt as if it should be happening, was imminent. The clouds kept twiddling their thumbs on the issue, however.
Yesterday had been a day of utter zoo-i-ness at work. Calls and tickets raining in on us at a rate I couldn't keep up with. I gave up, packed up, and went home as soon as I was allowed.
I was already under the burden of two papers due and no comprehension of the subject matter (as previously blogged). It was disgustingly, oppressively hot. And I was feeling antsy, as if I could not move forward in my life despite this drive to.
I wanted to play video games. I wanted to read. I wanted to do umpteen things and I could not. Not tonight, no. Because I had 2 papers due.
So I pulled in to the driveway and collapsed on the couch with Bob, announcing I simply did not have the strength to cook dinner. And that Chinese with a focus on vegetables and rice sounded wonderful. Bob looked at me in concern, because I never, ever say this. I never ask for Chinese, that is patently within the realm of things that HE requests to eat. Then seeing how tired I was, he gathered up the phone and acquired sustenance for us.
In the meantime we had had multiple birds gather at the birdfeeders on the corner of the porch. I fidgeted and opted to look at them for entertainment until I could gather up the willpower to take myself upstairs and start writing.
On the ground picking away was one brown bird and one blazingly bright red bird with a black mask. And as I watched, the male cardinal turned towards the female and began to pick fallen seeds from the grass and lean forward to give them to her. She would take them gingerly in her own beak, mess with them a moment, then swallow. And he continued to do this several more times, feeding her gently from the millet that had fallen from the bird feeder above. It was very touching in a totally anthropomorphized way, and I even made cooing noises over it. That alone made my day. I'd never seen bonding behavior between mates like that.
About that time it was noted that there was a huge thunderhead growing in the sky behind the house. The wind was also picking up. I had a wonderful time pointing to the rising thunderhead and the whisps of the clouds being blown out from the body of an approaching cloud bank demonstrating the strong updraft of the winds, and the indication where the storm cell was in the middle of the mass. In my intemperate youth I studied such earth sciences as geology and meteorology in the anticipation of becoming a biologist, and it is only on rare opportunities like this that I still get to use that knowledge.
It was purple and navy blue, like someone had hit the sky with a baseball when it wasn't ready to catch. And as we watched for a bit, it grew and billowed, preparing to become something very, very powerful.
In the mean time I was lamenting the fact that I really and truly desired to play Guitar Hero III, as I'd set up the character of Midori in a cute outfit and a matching guitar and I loved how she reacted when playing the guitar. Bob pointed out to me that the food wasn't there yet and a supposedly massive lightning storm was coming, which could pose problems for writing papers. It was probably best if I just played a song or two until the food got there, then I could head up and start to work.
So I did. I popped the wireless controller in, fired up GHIII...and 6 songs later my hands were buzzing and tingling in their lovely near carpal-tunnel way but I had gotten at least one 5 star song, several 4 star ones, and I'd even gone through the encore without really screwing up too badly. I had started with "Holiday in Cambodia", which I found myself humming often after that. I enjoyed the hell out of it, it only took perhaps 20-25 minutes, and I was mostly sated. Had my hands and arms not opted to pull rank, I probably would've kept going. But that was okay, because by then the food had shown up and the vegetable mei fun smelled glorious.
By the time the food had been served up in to bowls the clouds had slid in between us and the sweltering summer sky, bringing with it whipping winds and the distant rumble of thunder.
I gave up on my food almost immediately, leaving it on the coffee table and jumping out on the back porch. I took the clip out of my hair so the wind could play with it and weave it in to elf-locks. And while the storm drug itself in slowly and the lightning divided the sky, I stood barefoot on the back lawn and felt the breeze on my face.
Bob stood with me for a bit, watching the lightning fork through the sky in angry little white-blue streaks, crawling like a pissed off viper darting...to get away from something? To something? who knows. Then eventually he broke away and went inside and I stayed out there to feel the wind tear around me and through my hair. As the storm drew closer I began to get nervous, waiting for the feeling of the hair rising on my neck and get out of there. The charge in the air was immense anyway. I had the honest thought that if I stayed out there long enough, I would probably be struck by lightning. Then about 2 minutes later I opted to go back in, telling myself it was because the cats might eat my orange duck and rice more than getting myself away from the storm.
As we ate we watched the storm build and break, thrashing the leaves outside in to a silver and green gyrating ocean. The sky darkened as if dusk had fallen and a pale yellow cast snuck through the purple to cast itself over everything.
As we sat and watched, the lightning sizzled and the thunder boomed. Those lights we left on in the hallway flickered and gave up three times as we watched it have its way with the golf course, the hill, and the woods. In the darkness we cuddled together listening to it unleash its fury, tearing apart the stifled pre-summer day with great abandon.
The neighbor's inflated pink flamingo raced along the grass and parked itself in our backyard grass, vibrating there. Loose pots and peat plugs for seedlings shot off our top porch and littered the back patio, bouncing around and rolling wildly. It was all very energetic.
Eventually it died down so that only a mild rustling wind remained. Bob and I disentangled ourselves and turned the lights back on, marveling at how beautiful it had been.
Then I wandered upstairs and fired up my computer, the threat of losing my papers to a sudden blackout having past.
I listened to music and sang along softly while typing away about systems architecture and analysis. The words flowed out and while I struggled, there was basic understanding of what they wanted me to convey, and so I did.
And at 2 am I curled up in bed against Bob and listened to the last dregs of thunder, wind and rain as they shuffled half-heartedly over and around our house.
I tell you, it was an awesome day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My brain, ftw.

I have been struggling mightily in my current class, which talks about systems analysis and project something or another...I don't know. I just know you go through many steps before they approve and complete a project and it just makes no sense to me. It's like they handed it to me in hiragana. I can pick out words, but the overall gist of it escapes me.

Until today.
See, today in desperation I began clawing my way back through the material because the entire concept is lost on me and I am very unusued to not grasping something, at least slightly. Football and Nascar? I can grasp. Balloon antics on youTube? I can grasp. Systems analysis? Snowball, it's been nice to know you, enjoy your short visit to hell.
I stared at the words on the screen at length, willing them to become something that made sense. Then I tore the sentences apart and defined the words one at a time, trying to moosh those definitions together in to some sort of picture in my head. None of it worked.
Until I realized something.
The SETI @ home project. I was a fan of it. We talked often of getting it on the computers in the library area and letting it run along merrily. For some reason my brain ticked over to that while reading.
And suddenly it allll became clear.
The SETI@home project has multicomputer architecture. Different home-based end users are using their machines to process the data. In addition, it has distributed architecture, because it sends the data back and forth to the thousands of end users via interwebs.
And suddenly when I realized that it was a physical thing, that architecture and systems analysis was just putting in words and pictures how something as ephemeral as "data" travels around to various machines and systems...
That lightbulb went on so fast I fell backwards out of my chair, blinded. Well, not really. But I did have one of those moments of stunned silence, followed by many moments of kicking myself for not seeing the simplicity of it until now.
I think I may yet "get" this class. I know it's important, as I'm headed in to an arena where systems analysis will be a part of every day life. And now there can be some relaxing since I proved I don't completely suck at comprehension now that I've hit the 3rd decade.
No more alien feelings of a total lack of comprehension. I enjoy that.
Oh, and this is the 51st post. Just thought I would note that. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Actual Conversation pt...9? I think?

Talula: i got soooo sick frmo drinking on prozac
me: You're nutz, woman.
Talula: well, iwas 19 at the time
and didn't realzie the implications
me: Oh!
Talula: heh
me: Well that makes sense.
Teenagers are made of steel.
Talula: at least xanax acts on the same neurotransmitters as alcohol
GABA-urgic drugs
me: Gesundheit.
Talula: heheh
sorry, lots of random psychology of drug knowledge in the ole cranium
me: Indeed.
That's okay. Mine is full of latin names for plants and bugs and birds.
Drugs are slightly more useful.
Talula: haha
me: Like it's never a life or death situation if someone can shout out "CALINECTES SAPIDUS!"
CrucifyTalula: LOL
me: And everyone heaves a sigh of relief.
Although they should.
Talula: hehehehehe
me: Because blue crabs are tasty.
Talula: yum

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Area 53 - #2


As promised, second installation! Click on it for a larger version you can actually READ. :D

Friday, June 6, 2008

Gamers - 1, Jack Thompson - 0.

Honestly, I don't mind that people speak their mind. I don't even mind when they get creative with the truth. But Jack Thompson twisted the law to try and suit his ignorant, self-important views. And I am so glad they gave it to him like he deserved. 10 years should be enough time for him to cool his jets. And if not, it's good to see the Florida State Bar Association will stand up to him, show their brass ballz, and escort him back out the way he came in. Kudos guys. Especially when he had the chutzpah to walk out on his own hearing, being entirely disrespectful of the judge. I don't know what country he thinks he's practicing law in, but he didn't seem to learn it in the US.

Milestones

My car hit 45,000 miles yesterday, and today we auto-deposited enough to cover two plane tickets to Japan. Anything after this covers the hotel stays, transportation and food. Wow! It's so neat to think the most expensive part is done! Anything after this is just covering the level of hotel room and cuisine we want to experience. At this rate I've been dropping $100+ in to it a month. That should be enough for a few nights somewhere nice. Maybe some really good sushi. Maybe a night at a ryokan with extra soft comforters to sleep under. The possibilities are just really, really neat.

I have another comic I'm going to scan and post today. I've had it since Wednesday but I'm lazy. And nobody's clamoring for it, really, so... it could wait. The funny thing is I've got all kinds of ideas for it now.It's just slightly easier to sketch up, because I've still got ideas for Zombie-Nation as well. They just take forever with their shading and sketching, etc, etc.

Your Nugget of Joy for Today.

Britain's oldest man turns 112.

This man saw the original planes that flew the skies of WWI. He knew how to handle something made of wood and canvas and make it soar over the land. I sometimes hope I live to see a full century pass. Then when they come to visit me I can chuckle and say "Let me tell you a story about something called a VCR..."
Or even better...
"I remember back when gas was only $2 a gallon. And rice didn't bankrupt you to eat. None of this new-fangled Soylent Green stuff they serve the kids nowadays."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I wandered clueless as a noob that floats on high o'er interwebs and forums...

I just learned that I completely missed National Poetry Writing Month. It was April! Who knew?? Well, the people participating in NaPoWriMo, for sure. It came just in time for...gasp...National Poetry Month, which I ALSO did not know about and so I have completely failed my wisdom roll at this point.

I am a bit bummed, yes, but now that I am aware that it is out there I can make ready for it with heavy, steady practice. While I wouldn't yet set a toe in the land where one is named a "poet", I do write them. I also drive a car fast. This doesn't necessarily make me a race car driver.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time plowing through NaNoWriMo (have the Major Award to prove it, too!) and while these days I rarely need an excuse to write, I do need a challenge. For now my Bleeding Ink Project should be enough to sustain me. But eventually when I have proven to myself that I can sustain a habit (this usually takes about 3 years for me to notice, by the way) then I will shift away and start working on intensive projects. I'd already planned to include the NaNoWriMo in to Bleeding Ink. It would just make for a fabulous little thing, writing 2,000 words a day to survive...and this year I can try it WHILE employed, meaning I will have to be very, very much more disciplined. For once the thought excites me instead of makes me grumble in irritation.
I am so very ready to put thought to word and pen to paper, and overeager about it at times. Give me an excuse, America. I am finding I am no longer afraid of you.

And now, click for a really, really good poem.

Good news! We found your lighthouse!

Sorry we misplaced it. It's close by, really.

We engaged in the Ghost Hunters drinking game last night, and in so doing recalled a few more points previously undocumented that required a drink...
~someone plays a practical joke on someone else
~they send Chris in as an experiment anywhere
~Steve gets scared of ~anything~, not just spiders
~someone injures themselves during an investigation. -this was actually added on after they investigated the speak-easy near San Fran and Grant fell from the ceiling, tweaking his ankle.

Anyway, I have a hangover. Steve is great for prompting shots, all I'm gonna say.

What's interesting is that ever since my birthday it's been an odd relationship between myself and alcohol. I used to be able to enjoy it without getting completely blasted. But now I'm finding I don't like the taste, and I get drunk with lasting consequences FAR more easily. The scientific part of me find it very hard to believe such a change in physiology could happen in one week to bring about these new reactions. Same goes for cigars, I'm afraid. :( Almost sad my former vices disappearing like this.

I keep meaning to blog about the Wizard World convention that Bob and I went to. Much fun. Lots of people dressed up. Lots of comics! And we watched Shin-Chan for a bit. Overall a good time, but there were photos and it deserves more than a three sentence blurb. Think I'll go write it up over on LJ.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Daily Bit of Wonder.

Really the timing couldn't have been more impeccable. If there was any time for an airplane to suddenly fail, it would be this one.

I love the world. It's a neat place sometimes.

The Daily Bit of Wonder.

Really the timing couldn't have been more impeccable. If there was any time for an airplane to suddenly fail, it would be this one.

I love the world. It's a neat place sometimes.

Area 53 - a comic for your perusal.

I really enjoyed doing Zombie Nation. After I figure out how to juggle everything I intend to go back to it. But in the meantime I realized I keep having these thoughts that would go really, really well in comic form, just not in the Zombie Nation format.

So I started a second one. Area 53. Randomness presented in comic form. (click for full size!)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Actual conversation

Red: As a total aside, I just now realized that I have enough music to make both a "melancholy" and a "Starbucks-background-music" playlist. *laughing*
grudan: *chuckles* You'll be the hit of the sad, coffee drinking party circuit!
Red: YES! BRING ON THE EYELINER, TIGHT JEANS AND MOCHAS!
grudan: *LAUGHS*
Red: Poetry slam, anyone??
grudan: Highly caffinated poetry slam!
Red: omg world
Red: What do you think
Red: you are doing here?
Red: you think I don't see
Red: your evil in every pore and crack?
Red: YOU CAN'T HAVE ME!!!
Red: I am a child of light
Red: in the seed of darkness
Red: and my life is forever
Red: wither before me and die
Red: crawl away in my shadow
Red: I am eternal.
Red: zomg
grudan: *snaps in appreciation* Groovy, baby. Just groovy.
Red: Uhhh... that wasn't supposed to actually have merit, but in the middle I sort of let it slip in.
grudan: You can't stop the muse you can only hope to contain her.
Red: Indeed. *sigh*

What's white and red and pink all over?

Gave myself heat exhaustion or something while biking Valley Forge with Bob on Sunday. No water and no sunscreen make Helen a nauseas, dizzy girl.

I am in need of rice and gatorade. And to not throw up again. And to not feel like I'm on fire but unable to sweat thanks to this stupid sunburn. I'm very, very pink.

The bike ride was completely awesome. I rode down a steep hill without breaking and held my arms out like when I was a kid. Joggers looked at me funny. I did not care. It was good to return to flying that way.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Janey Apple Seed.

I love when life does something new and unexpected and I'm there to view it. Even better if it's something small because somehow that seems more of a miracle. Nature had to stop and take time to craft that small moment. Unlike something huge like a tornado that safely deposits people miles from their homes where you come to expect odd things from that kind of tumult and fury.
I was sitting here digging away furiously at tickets when I reached for an apple that had been housed in my lunchbag all weekend. It was still sweet, so I dug in to it as I worked on the massive mound of incoming work requests.
At one point I took a break and looked down to see something I have never encountered before. Small green shoots and roots coming from where I'd accidentally bitten in to the core and torn it wide open.
I picked at the mass of twisted tiny roots and marveled at the split apple seeds sporting bright green cotyledons, tucked in against each other like littermates in the narrow space of the core. The picture is crappy, taken with my cell phone, and doesn't begin to convey the complexity of the roots interweaving with each other.
As I leaned over to peer in and see how entangled they were, a small of green growing things hit my nose. If you have ever stood in a late spring forest after rains have soaked it and gotten a nose full of rotting leaves, bark and ferns, you'll be familiar with this scent. It just screamed life and growth. I was so caught off guard that I just sat there with the apple 4 inches from my face staring at it like a goofball.
I carefully ate the rest around it then snapped it in half and picked out the small seedlings inside. The roots were small and fuzz-covered like I'd seen before with other seeds. Taking a pen cap, I used the little plastic extension to fish the tangles out one at a time until I had the little pile in front of me. There were quite a few of them sprouted!
Why it should be so fascinating I'm not sure. Seeds grow, it's what seeds do. But to find them in the middle of an apple when I presumed it was not done being an apple yet threw me a loop. Then again, what is an apple for if not to provide food for the seeds? There would still be apples even if nothing were there to use them for food.
I just looked down at the group of tiny baby apple trees forcing their way in to the world, then wrapped them up in moist tissues for transport home. Tenacity should be rewarded. I'm going to see if I can grow an apple tree.