Random (but not really)

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Amsterdam

If you’re a fan of fantasy and steampunk, then you’ll want to know that Elizabeth Bear’s New Amsterdam will soon be available at Subterranean Press.

I loved this book. It was sort of a cross between Ellen Kushner and Kate Ross, and one of the best books I read last year.

My only problem is that I want MORE and I want it NOW.

Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Whew!

Looks like I’ve made it through today without breaking anyt

Written by Michelle at 4:44 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Computers & Technology,House & Garden  

Saturday, March 29, 2008

CURSES

Things I considered doing with our tax rebate check:

1) Get the house resided
2) Replace the sofa
3) Get Michael a new computer
4) Upgrade our cell phones

Things I was not planning on doing with our tax rebate check:
Repair or replace the wood stove.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I–your gracious host–managed to break the wood stove this morning. It absolutely cannot be used until it is repaired or replaced, and considering the shape it’s in, replace makes a lot more sense than repair.

What did I do? It had four heavy glass panels on the front lining the two doors that open to allow you to put in wood. It was a pretty stupid set-up, actually, but as the wood stove only cost us $50, we weren’t complaining. As you may have guessed, I shattered one of those panels this morning.

Bah humbug.

Written by Michelle at 1:28 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  

You Have Been Warned

So…. I’ve signed up for a writing game with the Whateverettes et al. And YOU are invited to participate.

Rules and list of participants are here.

If you’d like the play along, make a comment on Nathan’s blog before noon (EST) on Sunday.

It’s most likely going to be silly, so don’t be afraid to jump in even if you’re unsure of your writing skills. Hell, you’ve seen my writing and I’m playing, so jump in.

Whenever it gets to me, I’ll have a link to the previous portion of the story, and to portion that comes after me.

Although rumor has it there may be portions involving the digestive tracks of dinosaurs, we’ll just have to see.

Written by Michelle at 11:11 am      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Writing  

Friday, March 28, 2008

Now That It’s Over…

Holy Cow!

As if the morning wasn’t rough enough, as soon as I got my computer on, I got an IM from the GA at the front desk that there were two cops in the facility.

And they were there to proctor an exam or something.

Or maybe protect a teacher or student.

That of course got an, “I’ll be right up,” from me.

Apparently a resident got booted from their program and made random threats, so the University Police were here to make sure that if said loser appeared, nothing untoward would happen.

Thing is, it sounds a lot worse than it felt. The officers were relaxed and didn’t think the individual would actually do anything, but all things considered, felt it better to take the threat seriously. So we had at least one cop here for the entire six hour exam.

One can only imagine how the other students taking the exam felt. (Luckily they were squirreled away in a classroom and the cop sat out front where he could see the front door of the facility, so they should have been able to focus once they got started.)

Or the professor who had been threatened.

On one level you can almost understand how someone could be upset about getting kicked out of their residency. But my understanding stops when someone threatens to come back with a gun, and instead makes me wonder what this creep had done to get booted out of the program, and to hope that this is the end of her career.

Because that’s just a crappy thing to do.

Written by Michelle at 2:34 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Uncategorized  

All You Get Today

Is this:

Daisy (not her real name) plopped down and stretched out.

“Really,” she said, “it’s just a job. I got tired of givin’ it away for free, y’know? They’re always buzzing in and out, and it’s always take, take take. Well I’ve had it with all that bullshit. I decided that this time I’d get something back. I’ve already got a bit stashed away as you can see, so I figure I’m gonna spend the entire summer relaxing. Eat, drink and be merry and all that.”

“No, I’m not worried about anything. My mum’s long gone–don’t even know where she is anymore, so who cares? Yeah, I’ll probably end up with kids, but isn’t that what all the girls want? Really? They may protest, but you see ’em standing there, so proud, with their offspring crowded around them, but you know they’re going to come to no better end than than their mother–and will she be looking on as proudly then?”

“Hey, it’s a short brutal life–we’re living on the edge and have to take what we can get. I have no apologies for my life. You don’t like it, then just turn your eyes when you walk on by.”

Based upon this from S. (Go ahead, it’s safe. I promise.)

Written by Michelle at 12:26 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden,Writing  

More Website Changes

The changes I tried to make earlier are now implemented.

If you look at the sidebar (sweeps arms to point to the viewers right) and look at the recent comment listing, you’ll notice the new and improved comment listing. Not only does it update immediately, but you can now scroll through and see this last 50 comments (this can be modified to display 10, 50, 100, whatever comments).

Thanks to Michael, who was willing to poke through the WordPress code and pluck out what I needed to, it was a relatively easy process. It’s combined with the WP plugin bdp comment, but it could easily be used with any comment listing system. No it’s not a plugin, because I’m not smart enough to make a WP plugin. But still, I’m very pleased with it.

The other thing is that I am not much more comfortable using Photoshop, and have added a raft of new images to my main page. As with the header images here, Ctrl + F5 will refresh the page and bring up a new random image. I’ve got a few more Photoshop tricks I’d like to try to figure out, so new images may be added, but for now I’m pleased with what I’ve got. So instead of a redesign of the front page, I just made new images. Which is good, because I’m actually really happy with the layout of the main page (the fly out menus work only if you’re NOT using IE. Because IE is stupid and evil. [It’s all straight up clean CSS. It’s just that IE doesn’t do CSS properly.])

Written by Michelle at 9:06 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Computers & Technology  

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Headlining

the reunion band that Hendrix plays in headlines in venues neither you nor I nor anyone else on earth can reach

That comment on Nathan’s site dropped an idea in my head. Since I have nothing else for you today, here’s the result:

Vince pulled aside the curtains and stepped into the darkened room, dragging a large wheeled suitcase behind him. “Come on,” he said and waved to the person behind him.

Jeri peered uncertainly into the room. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

A soft voice sounded from the inky shadows of the room. “Of course it’s not a good idea dearie. It’s never a good idea to disturb the spirits on the other side.” A short thin woman dressed in elastic waist jeans and some sort of draped Hawiian print shirt stepped forward. Her hair was curly and gray and went halfway down her back. “But you’re going to do it anyway, because he’s piqued your interest, hasn’t he?”

“Well,” said Jeri uncertainly, “I guess he has.”

While Jeri and the woman were talking, Vince had started pulling equipment out of the suitcase and setting it up on the table. He’d obviously done this before, as it took very little time to get everything assembled.

Jeri looked uncertainly at the table. In the dim light the assembly looked like little more than black boxes and tiny satellite dishes, all strung together with network cables.

“Almost all set up,” said Vince. He turned to look at the tiny woman. “You ready for us?”

“Of course I am,” she replied. “Why don’t we all sit down?”

The small woman sat down at the table, with her back towards the wall, facing the door that Jeri and Vince had entered. Vince sat on her left, Jeri on her right. Vince handed Jeri and the woman earphones.

“Bose?” asked Jeri. “They’re awfully pricey aren’t they?”

“Trust me, you want quality for this,” replied Vince, as Jeri settled the earphones on her head. With that she heard nothing else. “Wow, he even got the noise canceling ones,” she thought.

With that, the woman placed her hands face down on the largest black box and closed her eyes. Her face relaxed almost immediately.

Suddenly, a sound like nothing she had ever heard started to come softly through the earphones. It quickly grew louder, and within a minute tears were streaming down Jeri’s face as she listened to a music like none she had ever heard before.

After what seemed like mere moments, but Jeri later discovered had been three hours, the music ended. She opened her eyes, and saw Vince and the woman taking of their headphones.

When she could finally speak, she asked, “What was that?”

“That,” said the woman, “was Mozart and Jimi Hendrix playing the latest piece composed by Wagner.”

“It was incredible,” said Vince. “Even better than Steve Ray’s playing of Beethoven last week.”

“Stevie Ray Vaughan and Beethoven?” asked Jeri. “Who else have you heard?”

“Why just about everyone,” replied the woman. “The bopper, Vivaldi–why last month we even heard some of Shakespeare’s new sonnets set to music by Aaron Copland and performed by Ethyl Merman.”

“No Elvis?” Jeri asked.

The woman looked disdainfully at her. “Of course not!” she replied. “He plays evenings at the local bar down the street. I don’t expect he’ll be joining for another ten years or so.”

Written by Michelle at 11:27 am      Comments (9)  Permalink
Categories: Writing  

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today’s Word

This is amusing only if you were reading yesterday’s comments.

sericeous \suh-RISH-us\ adjective
: covered with fine silky hair

Example sentence:
The shapes of the aster’s sericeous leaves range from lanceolate or oblong to broadly elliptic.

Did you know?
In the writings of the ancient Greeks, there is mention of the Seres, an eastern Asian people who made “serikos” fabrics. Historians now believe that the Seres were the Chinese, from whom the ancient Greeks first obtained silk. The ancient Romans wove the Seres’ name into their language, creating “sericum,” the Latin word for silk. The English word “silk” is also assumed to be spun — with some very dramatic alterations from Old English to Middle English — from the same Greek fiber. Both “silk” and “silken” have been in the English language for many, many centuries, but scientists of the 18th century wanted a new term to describe the silky hairs on some leaves and bodies, and so they adapted the Late Latin word “sericeus” (“silken”) to create “sericeous.”

Written by Michelle at 11:07 am      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

For the WIN!

S made some crocus pr0n for me!

I just KNEW flowers were all flaunting their naughty bits for something other than the birds and the bees!

Written by Michelle at 8:44 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: House & Garden  
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