Friday, February 29, 2008

I Love My Mom

A few days ago I linked to this. On Monday, my mom gave me this:

Bedsie Pocket

Hubby-Eric helped me "install" it by holding up the mattress. He wants one too, now.


And Now It's Friday

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #144: Amy Grant, Steve Lightle, and Mature Readers.

Self-link: Johnny Quick = Not Aquaman.

The Photoshop-fu is strong in this one.

Continue to Boycott Hot Topic.

More from Oz and Ends on The Arrival.

Obama at Comicon? I don't care, I won't be in San Diego. I'm only doing Emerald City this year.

Time Travel Cat

Suddenly I want to train crows to find coins for me.

Robin Williams Saves the Day.

Mmmmmm...Bacon Cups.

So, can non-Canadians read the Canada Reads 2008 Book too?

I think the judge screwed up on this case, as the trees were there before the solar panels. The tree just, as trees are wont to do, grew. The dude with the solar panels should have planned better.

Ah, the dumb robbers of the week awards. Bikers and Bingo Players, two groups you don't want to mess with.

Five myths about the satellite smash-up.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's Thursday Already

February 29th: The Ladies' Privilege.

Oz and Ends examines The Arrival, which I recommended a bit ago.

Keming is improper kerning. In the comments of the original post: This is the basis for a puzzler: What part of a ship turns into its opposite when the "rn" is turned into an "m"? Very easy, but I did have to think about it for a moment.

What If Joss Whedon Wrote Doctor Who.

Scary exchange student story. I think the fact that the kid didn't complain to his parents is chilling.

Street Racing. An accident in Maryland claimed 8 lives when people watching a race in the darkness (in the middle of the street) where hit by a car that was not involved in the race itself.

Cryptomundo reports on an old mystery of the Ural mountains, in which 9 experienced skiers died when they abandoned their shelter in the night for unknown reasons, and ran out nearly unclad into the freezing weather. That alone would have been unusual, but some of the skiers had massive internal injuries when they were found months later.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CameraPhone Zen

Grandma Katy

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


If you have a pet peeve, you must blog about it.

League of Extraordinary Freelancers Redux.

I, too, am Toshiko.

All the effort put into the diorama... and instead of asking for corrections, new museum director Jeff Hunt destroys it. Scumbag. He owes those students for their time and efforts. Picture of the destruction, on a mailing list about the event.

Revising Islam. Can they pull it off? Will it help?

A Guide To Your Pug.

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Monday, February 25, 2008


I went off to go swimming tonight with my mom, and haven't got the energy to come up with anything intelligent. Not that I usually manage much intelligence, but I think you know what I mean. Go visit Neilalien and wish him a happy Blogiversary instead.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Sunday Review

Sai and Hikaru
I started this week by catching up on my Manga anthology reading by going though Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump from the last few months. As I've said before, it was worth subscribing to Shonen Jump just to keep up with Hikaru No Go, which is one of my favorite comic stories, bar none, at the moment. I would easily pay $3 an issue just for Hikaru, and with the subscription I was paying less than that and getting five other decent series as well (along with one crappy/unreadable one). Yes, it's in black and white, but I pay $3 an issue for good b&w independent comic books. Unfortunately, I won't be getting SJ anymore, as Hikaru No Go has been dropped as of the May issue.

Incidentally, if you use my links to Amazon to buy a book, I generally end up using the tiny amount of money I get to buy the latest volume of Hikaru No Go. Which might give you a hint of how little I get through those links. But as long as I get Hikaru No Go, I'm happy.

My main complaint with Shojo Beat is the fluffy and disconnected style of some of the stories. In many shojo stories, the writer assumes that the reader knows the writer's intention without it being explicit. Well, sometimes the writer is correct. Other times the jumps are too much and instead of stark and beautiful it is confusing and annoying. Not every story suffers from the problem, but the ones that do tend to irritate me. Here's my thoughts on the stories I caught up with this week.
  • Absolute Boyfriend: One of my favorite features... it ended in the March issue. And it actually managed to have a decent ending, even! I was a little surprised. This one was a solid adventure from the start.
  • B.O.D.Y. (Preview): Enough to set up the premise, not enough to convince me to try it.
  • Be With You (Preview): The preview was too short to get more than an impression of the style. It's impossible to tell if I'd enjoy this or not. I learned more about the tale from the one-page ads in later issues than from the preview.
  • Crimson Hero: My other favorite story, about a girl determined to be a volleyball player despite her family's wishes. This has been a solid feature of this book.
  • Haruka: Beyond The Stream of Time: All the characters look the same, and it's difficult to tell who is male or female. And it's very fluffy and disconnected.
  • Honey and Clover: At times too fluffy, but overall fairly sweet and readable. The characters have distinct personalities, which sometimes doesn't seem to happen in shojo manga.
  • I-O-N (Preview): Another preview that's a little too short to figure out whether it's worth picking up.
  • Monkey High! (Preview): Now this is how a preview ought to be. Enough of the meat of the tale to know what it's going to be about, enough art to judge the style. It's a cute story, typical shojo. I suspect it will do well.
  • Sand Chronicles: Too much wishy-washy looking at the past. If the story didn't fall into retrospective in every single issue of the magazine, it wouldn't be so bad. But this one goes a little overboard with the "Oh, how neat things were in the past!" meme. Otherwise, a halfway decent story is buried in there.
  • Vampire Knight: I hated this when it started, but I've grown to almost appreciate it since. The main character is a wuss, and annoying. If she'd grow a spine, I think I might start to like this.
Overall, I'm not sure why I bother to subscribe to this anthology. Especially now that Absolute Boyfriend is ended. It doesn't have any one feature that I find so compelling that I have to buy the book, like with Shonen Jump. It's a smaller anthology than Shonen Jump, with less extras and a higher price tag. I tell myself I get it to keep my fingers on the pulse of manga, but I'm not really sure it's worth it.

I've said that I would buy Shonen Jump just for Hikaru No Go, so it's been fortunate for me that I also enjoy some of the other stories. The ones that have been in the book since I started reading it have grown on me. For the most part, I've been able to take these stories as they are intended (shonen=for boys) and appreciate the goofiness. Here's my thoughts on the stories I caught up with this week.
  • Bleach: This one is relatively new to Shonen Jump, and I can't say I like it. I tried reading the first volume some time ago and wasn't impressed. The chapters in Shonen Jump pick up in the middle, and while I try to read it, I'm still not drawn into it yet.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: I can't stand this feature. It's poorly drawn, badly plotted, and generally stupid beyond any reasonable level of stupidity. I no longer bother to try to read it.
  • Hikaru No Go: My favorite tale, about an irresponsible kid who is possessed by an ancient master of Go, which changes his life. The last few installments have been REALLY interesting, as the Go master wants to take center stage, as he's been feeling out of the action.
  • Naruto: SJ took a short break from this feature to dump a whole lot of graphic novels on the fans, and get a bit ahead of the story. The new storyline is intriguing, and if they had to jump ahead, I think they did a good job with it.
  • One Piece: Ridiculous, silly, and at times hard to follow... but this one manages to be amusing and have a plotline as well. This one took a long time to grow on me, but I find it funny now.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: I enjoyed the original Yu-Gi-Oh to some extent, as it was a fairly compelling story with a nice history. A bit too much fighting, but most of these stories have too much fighting. This version, set later in time than the original, has it's high points as well.
  • YuYu Hakusho: This one seemed like entirely fighting for the first year or so that I read it. Now it's settling down a little into a bit more than that. Another one that's grown on me.
After I've read SJ and SB I donate the magazines to the local library for the young adult librarian to give away as prizes. I then buy the collections of Hikaru No Go for my library. In the future, I'm only going to be buying the collections, which means the librarian is out some prizes. Sorry, library.

No movie for this week thanks to a full weekend. Hubby-Eric did finish watching the extras on the Dreamgirls DVD set that we got from the library.

TV this week: Classic Doctor Who: "The Invisible Enemy" parts 1 & 2 (I haven't seen this story in ages, it's practically new to me), Robin Hood: "Ducking and Diving" (Josie Lawrence!), Smallville: "Fracture" (yawn), Dinner: Impossible: "Late for the Luau" (most of the foods don't appeal to me, but I'd love to smell them), Torchwood: "Dead Man Walking" (don't listen to headphones during an evacuation), Supernanny: "Wilson-Knutson Family" (poop and songs, a perfect combination!), Ghost Hunters International: "Frankenstein's Castle" (interesting EVP there... but I'm disturbed by one of the Ghost Hunter's disrespect for the location), American Gladiators: "Grand Finale" (rip-roaring fun, and not much else. But then, that's sports in a nutshell), and Ace of Cakes: "The Spy Who Caked Me" (that housekeeping staff has a lot to answer for).

Got the latest Fortean Times, #233, to hit the Americas. This one had a couple of intriguing bits. The cover story, about two Italian guys who listened to messages from space just as the space race was starting, was very interesting. Especially the bits about possibly lost cosmonauts. Yikes. It's certainly something I can imagine the USSR doing to prevent knowledge of its failures, but you would think that somebody would have come forward by now with some hint of what really happened... wouldn't you? I also enjoyed "Rock's greatest lightshow" in which it is theorized that Neolithic rock art was in part inspired by a Southern plasma lightshow, an auroral storm. There was some unexpected Johnny Cash, as well. The reviews weren't very captivating this time, but overall a good issue.

My library book this week was The Doctor Who Was Followed by Ghosts: The Family Saga of a Chinese Woman Doctor by Li Qunying and Louis Han. An excellent book, it's basically the story of a woman's life through the last 80 or so years of China's history. She joined the Communist Army as a teenager, served in Korea, became a doctor and had four children. She survived the Cultural Revolution, and her first-hand account of all the events are amazing and frightening. She brings history alive in this book, in a down-to-earth manner. While not everyone will love this one, it is worth reading. Particularly if you have only a little understanding of China's recent history.

This week's comics arrived a bit late for me... because I was sick and not able to get them the day they arrived in the shop, for once. How do you know Laura is really sick? She doesn't get her comics on Wednesday. Anyway, on to my thoughts on this books... Checkmate #23 lost me a bit. I remember the previous issues in which this character infiltrated Kobra, but I felt like it jumped too quickly into the new plot. I think maybe I'm being nitpicky. Moving on... Justice League of America #18 did nothing for me because I'm not paying attention to the whole salvation run series, or whatever it's called. The various crossovers in DC-land are getting too much. Speaking of crossovers, Brave and the Bold #10 was a solid little tale featuring an almost unknown Aquaman character and a major event in Aquaman's life. And Aqualad actually looked correct in this one, wonder of wonders.

The Spirit #14 was fun, as usual. The old folks home was a nice touch. Witchblade #115 was a standard day-in-the-life story, and worked for what it was. Art was too cheesecake-y, but not as bad as it has been in the past. Conan #49 had lots of gore and not much plot.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Night Links

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #143: Wonder Man, Flex Mentallo, and The Human Fly.

The Marvel Assistant Editors' Month.

Ok, maybe I need one of these. I bet my sister could make one.

Obama, Japan has a preference for the US President.

Scoble takes a ride in a Tesla Roadster. I don't want a sportscar, but I'd love a commuter car that fit some of those specs.

Saved by a dvd.

Häagen-Dazs to battle Colony Collapse Disorder with $250,000 in research grants.

Another NorthWest meteorite.

New ways to study baseball statistics reveal that Jeter does suck.

Boycott Hot Topic T-shirts.

Boing Boing reports on the effort to put Carl Sagan on a stamp.

This news probably shouldn't make me so happy. But I hated those ads with an overwhelming passion.

Happy Villain dyes her hair. That's a way to fight depression.

Images from a fire should never look so beautiful.

A solar grand plan: how to end US dependence on foreign oil by 2050. Along the same lines, the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century.

Open Source software, Vendor-Free software, can help companies keep running critical components. Because they don't have to worry about the vendor going out of business.

This website seems to be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Speaking of lawsuits, this article makes me want to never go to Home Depot again. Especially since I usually bring tools/parts with me to the hardware store to compare to what I'm purchasing.

Ah, for Doctor Who fans.


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Friday, February 22, 2008

This... Is... Jeopardy!

Hubby-Eric was just informed that, once again, he's in the contestant pool for Jeopardy (after the screening/in person test in late March).

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Unrelated to Anything Else

Today's morning weigh-in shows that I've lost 110 pounds since I started my efforts on June 10th 2006.

It's been over two months since I last had an update. I think part of the reason my weight loss has slowed so much lately is because it's winter and I haven't exercised much, and the holidays disrupted my eating patterns a bit as well. As for this weight loss, I think the only reason I hit this milestone this soon is because I've been sick and haven't been eating much for the last week. Still, a milestone is a milestone!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

An Apple A Day?

No, lack of health insurance keeps the doctor away. Still, I seem to be recovering. I'm following the instructions of the nurse from my doctor's office, keeping hydrated and resting. I can breathe today, and I've completely regained my appetite (a mixed blessing). If I'm feeling better later, I'll even go get the comic books for this week. Maybe.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

No Doctor Visit. Yet.

The nurse listened to my symptoms, asked some questions, and determined that there wasn't much they could do for me at this point. If it gets worse over the next 24-48 hours instead of getting better, then I should come in and visit the doctor. In the meantime: plenty of liquids (keep hydrated!) and rest.

Because Eric is also sick, I called a friend who got some orange juice for me. She also brought freshly baked biscuits, cookies, cheese nips, and apple juice. Enough to keep me alive for the next two days, I'm sure.

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Called Doctor...

...waiting for nurse to call me back and tell me if it's worth coming in to see the doctor. I really need something to drink that isn't tea or water. I want orange juice.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maybe It Is The Flu?

I will be calling the doctor's office tomorrow if I don't start feeling better. I've been consistently feeling worse as the day has gone on. The back ache has turned into an all-over ache, and I'm starting to have mild cramping. I really want to sleep and not hurt all night.

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It's Nearly As Bad As A Flu

Still having trouble moving because of the back pain, and the stuffed sinuses seem to be moving down into the lungs, making it hard to breathe. I hope I survive this. It really hurts.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

I Don't Think It's The Flu

I have massive back pain that makes it hard to move, sit still, lie down, and exist in general. I have a very stuffy nose and a sore throat. But I'm not aching all over like a flu (or even a bout of fibro), and my brain is mostly functional. So I don't think it's a flu. Just a bad cold and a back ache.

I very much want to start up my Ripples Through Time again, but there are levels of brain ability, and I'm not quite up there yet. There are some specific things I want to say about the next story I'm covering, so I have to have some brain power before I start writing it.

Now if I could just get all better. Oh yeah: it's safe to call us on the phone again. I don't think we're likely to use up our minutes again anytime soon.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Sunday Review

A Farewell
I started the week with The Arrival by Shaun Tan. If you have not read this book, find a copy and read it. Really, it's fantastic. It successfully manages to evoke the confusion and fear of someone leaving home and arriving in a strange country. And the artwork is simply amazing. The details make the book wonderful. Seriously, get yourself a copy through the library (like I did) or buy one. It's worth the read. Heck, this is probably the first book I ever opened, stopped on the endpapers, and had to study them for some time.

Ghosts, Critters & Sacred Places of Washington And Oregon II by Jefferson Davis is much like the previous volume. It's a collection of ghost tales with a few sacred places and strange critters thrown in. Again, a good book for kids interested in the paranormal. And this volume read much better than the previous one, now I know what to expect.

TV watching: Smallville: "Siren" (Justin Hartley is hot, otherwise boring), Classic Doctor Who: "The Horror of Fang Rock" (I love this story! Creepy tale set on a lighthouse), UFO Hunters (nah, not my thing), The Daily Show and the Colbert Report (return of the writers REALLY helped), American Gladiators (fun!), Ghost Hunters International: "Headless Haunting" (Fantastic locations! I want to visit that first citadel), Torchwood: "Adam" (that was intense, poor Ianto), Supernanny: "Daniels Family" (six kids is at least four too many, in my opinion (as the fifth child of seven)), Dinner: Impossible: "Robert & the Chocolate Factory" (mmm, chocolate), Ace of Cakes: "Mascots and Mice" (mmm, cake), and Torchwood: "Reset" (oh my, kicking it up a notch).

This week's library movie was Dreamgirls. You hardly have to watch this movie, just sit back and enjoy the music. In between the music, the movie itself is a good look at the music industry with all its up and downs. It runs a little long, but the music makes it seem a lot shorter. Definitely worth listening... er, watching. Especially if you want to see some incredible musical performances.

Hubby-Eric and I finished watching Sapphire and Steel: "The Railway Station". If nothing else, this makes me not want to go ghost hunting. Steel is really quite nasty, isn't he?

A note on Sapphire and Steel. Do not watch ANY of the episode commentaries until you've watched the whole series. They talk about future episodes and end up spoiling them. Argh!

For a Valentine treat, hubby-Eric put on the DVD of the Muppet Show Valentine special. It's on the Season Two DVD set. It was actually the first pilot for the Muppet Show, and shows some familiar characters mixed with ones who didn't pop up again. Crazy Harry appears as Crazy Donald (?!) and Kermit isn't the main man. Er, frog. I notice that Season Three of the Muppet Show is coming out in May. Gotta put that on my wish list!

This week's comic books! I read D's copy of Superman #673 and found it... well... normal. I like Chris, but I'm not sure what to think of his addition to the mythos. Moving on to Green Lantern Corps #21... I still don't like space adventures, and none of the Lanterns I like were in this one. It's a miss.

Another one that hasn't caught me yet is Wonder Woman #17. Again, it just hasn't got hooks into me. I want to like it. I'm giving it a couple more issues to convince me, but I just can't get excited about the character. JLA Classified #52 had lots of fighting and a little thinking. I'm more interested in the next issue, as the tiny preview cover seems to have an Aquaman in it.

A comic with not enough Aqualad in it was Tiny Titans #1. Even so, what I saw of Aqualad in this comic was WAY better than the ugly portrayal in Year One. I saw Astro City Special #2: Beautie described as Kurt Busiek's Barbie Fan Fiction, and giggled about that right up until I read it. At which point I was startled and pleased. It's good stuff. Note the dedication on the inside front cover, by the way.

Doctor Who Classics #3 was exactly what I expected, because I have read this story multiple times before. Again, the coloring is a great improvement over previous versions. And the story is still fun. I'm just impatient for the new stories, due at the end of the month now, according to a note I found on IDW's website. And lastly for this week, DMZ #28 was a bit of a letdown. I'm not sure what it was trying to say. I guess I need to reread it, but not right now. Too many other things going on this week.

I liked The Arrival by Shaun Tan so much I went to the library and picked up every other Shaun Tan book I could find. Memorial by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan is a sad little picture book about the fate of a tree planted in memory of soldiers who fought in WWI. The Viewer by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan is a frightening little tale of a viewmaster. Yes, a viewmaster. The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan is a tale that pounds you over the head with the idea that invasive species are bad and destroy everything. The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan is a sweet little tale of how we lose our innocence. None of the four books live up to the sheer power of The Arrival, but they all have their high points. I think I probably liked The Lost Thing the most.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Been Sick

Woke up late this morning, attempted to eat breakfast, and have been resting since then with hubby-Eric taking care of me. No blog today, sorry.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Game Day!

So I went to hubby-Eric's school today and presented some games for students.

The most popular would have to have been the Giant Blokus. One student told me "We all have ADHD, so the big colorful game is attractive!" They started out just fitting the pieces into the board, then eventually I taught them the game itself. A group of kids remained playing the game for the rest of the two plus hours.

Another game that was played a bit was Batik, which has the advantage of being a quick game with really simple rules. Eric played a round of Quits with one student. He also played Pirateer with a couple of students, one who took to the cheating aspect of the game a little too enthusiastically. I played Quarto with a couple of students as well. The other games remained mostly untouched.

There was a fairly small turnout to start, then more students wandered in throughout the duration of the time. By the end I had some trouble keeping track of the folks playing. Luckily, they were all good kids and they helped put the games away.


Friday Night Linkdump

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #142: Kevin Maguire, Judd Winick, and the Adversary of Fables original identity.

The Blue Eyes logic puzzle. Can you figure it out? I sure don't get it. Here's a more gory version of the puzzle, and a wikipedia article about it. And the ever exciting MetaFilter Thread about it.

How to count cards in blackjack. I don't think I'd be able to master it. I would lose count way too easy.

Very short YouTube link, it's nicely cute.

This image requires a bit of explanation. The top part is from the US version of the Indiana Jones movie trailer. The bottom image is almost the same frame from the Norwegian version of the Indiana Jones movie trailer. Notice some differences?

CGI Censorship

Amazing what they can do with CGI these days. Even censor guns out of a trailer.

The Kingdome, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Cheaters never prosper, but will this lawsuit go anywhere?

Vampire Cats are getting Nervous.

I Can Has Marriage Proposal?

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


Because I was so sick last night, hubby-Eric and I didn't learn a game. So tonight we had to learn to play both Quits and Blokus.

We started with Quits, before dinner. Eric read the rules and set out the game to teach me. We played a round in which I somehow managed to barely win. In Quits, you have three marbles that you are trying to get off the field of play. The field consists of a 5X5 square of tiles with indents to hold the marbles. On your turn you can either move one of your marbles OR slide a row of tiles that one of your marbles is on. The goal is to get your marbles across the field to the opposite corner. At the same time, you want to block your opponent from getting his marbles across. Eventually I realized that my best bet was to just race him for the corner, and, like I said, I just barely beat him. I can see myself losing this game consistently against just about anyone.

After dinner and before Torchwood we played a round of Blokus. Blokus is a simple game in which you attempt to just put all your pieces on the board. As a bonus, you also try to block out your opponent. Eric and I played a good round in which I think both of us won. I did have to point out a move to Eric so he could get all his pieces down, but we both put every piece down. It felt like a cooperative game instead of a competition, which was nice. I suspect that this is another game I'll get consistently beat at when I play in the future.

So, tomorrow is the big game day. I hope I'm ready.


It's Thursday Already!?!???

Bad Astronomer's Valentines.

Cute Overload's Valentines.

The Best $3 Ever Spent. Oh man, I'd actually really like this.

Oh, I MUST get this: Optical Allusions by Jay Hosler. AWESOME. I highly recommend Clan Apis, as well. Not available through Previews, buy it here.

Oh dear: Torchwood Babiez. And don't miss more here. And, credit where credit is due, I got this via ComicMix.

The Bad Astronomer posts the Doctor Who Season 4 Trailer (bootleg).

More Wallace and Gromit from Michael Sensei.

Darth Vader Sings Muppet Favorite. The bit at the very end is pretty amusing.

My support of J'onn J'onzz was noted. Apparently I have readers on the Aquaman page.

Mike Sterling always makes me happy.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I barely managed to get safely back from the comic shop today before a migraine set in. I'm not really up to writing anything right now. So this is it. Sorry.

Update: Though, if you're feeling up to it, you might try visiting Pontoon. It's really grown, probably all thanks to you folks.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pancake Day

So hubby-Eric and I went down to IHOP for our Free Pancakes. Service was slow. The restaurant was clearly understaffed for the day. We had the free pancakes and some extras... enough that my stomach is still crying in overstuffed pain.

Before heading down to IHOP, hubby-Eric and I played Pirateer. It's an easy one to play, and the instructions are all on-line (click on the "Service" link). In fact, the entire game is on-line (under "Service" and "Free Demo"). With Pirateer, you play one of four groups with a three-ship fleet. You race your opponents to Skull Island to claim the treasure and return home... or chase your opponents to sink their ships. Or both. In our first training game, I managed to sink all of Eric's ships. In our second game, with both of us playing two fleets, he completely outclassed me and brought the treasure home.

After that, I had to open my new copy of Quarto, and Eric asked to play a round. So I whipped his butt. I'm sure the next game we play he'll beat me. He wasn't familiar with the game, so I played with my often advantage of knowing the rules very well while my opponent is just learning. Quarto is a game in which you attempt to get four pieces in a row with a single attribute in common. The trick with Quarto is that you don't get to pick your own piece, your opponent picks the piece you play for you... and you pick the piece your opponent plays. So you can set up a winning play as long as you don't give your opponent the winning piece. I love the game because it's strategic and it's a beautiful game made of wood.

I also pulled out my dice collection and gathered a few games together, including my Dino Dice, which Eric rolled to remember how to play. Dino Dice is a set of five dice with different dinos on the sides. You attempt to form herds of the same type of dino without getting eaten by the hungry Rexes. As his dinos got eaten, Eric said, "Nom nom nom".

So we still need to learn Blokus and Quits. And I need to gather a few other games to take, and refresh my memory of how to play them. Anyone wanna come over to my place for a game night?

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In a few days I get to visit a school with some games for a gaming afternoon with some high school students. I went out to the shop I sometimes work at to get a few demo games to take. They let me snag Blokus, Quits, Batik, and Pirateer. The only snag is that I have to learn any game I borrow. That's the rule with the shop. I know Batik already, but I'll have to figure out the other three. I had to download the rules to Pirateer because the demo is missing the rulebook.

Anyway. This game day also gave me an excuse to use my birthday money to buy a copy of Quarto, a game I've wanted since I first played it. This adds to my modest game collection. I have Abalone, Gobblet, Checkers 2000, Apples to Apples, Set, Fluxx, Express, Mille Bornes, Empire Builder, The aMAZEing Labyrinth, Phase 10, and a nice collection of dice games. And that's just the games I can easily get at. I may have more hiding around the house. We also have the usual... backgammon, chess, checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, mancala.

Now the trick is finding someone to play the games with. I wonder how much I'll have to bribe hubby-Eric to play a game a night with me?


Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Night Thoughts

If you are feeling like having some pancakes, IHOP Free Pancake Day is tomorrow, February 12th 2008.

The minicity I've been following, Pontoon, now has industry! So the Pontoonians have gone from being farmers to... um... building things? I wonder when the transportation link will become active? SimCity via links.

I would switch "Love Poem" and "Chocolates", but otherwise this Savage Chickens cartoon has it pretty right.

GO PIA! YES! Pia Guerra to work on Doctor Who! AWESOME! If it sounds like I'm thrilled for this, it's because I am.

Why Aren't You In Newspapers? Bill of Unshelved (one of the best webcomics out there) explains the situation. Incidently, if anyone wants to buy me this, it'll go great with my Library T-Shirt.

Comic Strip Protest Round Up.

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #141: Storm, Magick, and Supergirl. Also see: Comic Book Urban Legends Addendum, on Super-Menace.

Michael Sensei links to YouTube Wallace and Gromit commercials from Japan. Now I'm amused.

Woody Guthrie bootleg recording restored.

Slashdot has a fascinating article on how laws ought to be "developed".

The Doctor Who LOL Macros group has been having a meme going 'round of "Terrifying Pertwee". It starts here.

He quit Aquaman for this? *sigh* I'm utterly uninterested.

In more somber news, Steve Gerber.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Sunday Review

This week started out with hubby-Eric, two other friends (including Pontoon MiniCity owner), and I all watching the Superbowl together. We were cheering the Giants and hoping for good ads. The best one was the Coke ad with the balloons, but the Bridgestone ad with Richard Simmons was also pretty good. We also enjoyed the game a lot. It was a good excuse for a little party.

On the TV, I saw the remainder of the American Gladiators that got cut off last week (fun), and the new American Gladiators (also fun), House: "Frozen" (eek!), the Conan/Colbert/Stewart brawl (see here and here), Ghost Hunters International: "Fortress of Fear" (cool location, Barry is hilarious as usual), Torchwood: "Meat" (ew gross), Supernanny (if she's a supernanny, what's her super power?), and Ace of Cakes (I love cake).

I checked out Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science's Outer Edge by Mark Pilkington from the library. There are 101 short articles, all with a feel somewhere between Fortean Times and Damn Interesting, about science on the fringe. Most of the science is junk/discarded theories, but some is still viable and it's all fascinating. It's a very cool little book, worth a look.

Another library book was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. As I read the other ones, I figured I ought to read this one too. But I didn't want it enough to buy it, so I waited for a library copy. It's a mishmash of a book, with lots of the usual Moore stuff (i.e. "Not for Kids"). The wonderful mining of literature is fun for anyone who is well-read, but might be boring/incomprehensible for non-English Majors. There was a bit too much of the text pieces for this to really be called a graphic novel, in my opinion. The only text piece I couldn't get through was the beat novel, which was pretty much unreadable for me. The Jeeves and Wooster bit was hilarious. The 3-D ending was slightly annoying, and maybe even a little disappointing. All-in-all, though, it was a fun package.

Hubby-Eric and I watched more of Sapphire and Steel: "The Railway Station". Scary bits in this one, as they learn more about the soldier and what's really controlling his actions.

I read my comic books this week in record time. Justice League Unlimited #42 was a bittersweet story that makes me dislike Green Lantern. I was a tad confused by JSA #12, but then the cast of team books always has that potential. I really like Cyclone (Maxine Hunkel), and her inability to shut up still amuses me. I found myself nearly breathless when I saw Joseph Curry's image on the table, and started to ache for what some time with the JSA could do for him. Oh yes, put Artie Joe in the JSA! Ahem...

Going back to another Aqua-character, Teen Titans: Year One #2 is so incredibly disappointing to me that it's not even funny. The mistreatment of Aqualad is intense in this issue. Not only is he drawn completely incorrectly and incredibly ugly, but the various bits of "can't breathe" go just a little overboard. I understand... some of it was needed for the tale. But this book treats the character like an utter joke. I want very badly to like this book, but I can't. It's just awful. Once again, THIS is what Aqualad looked like:

Real Aqualad

Moving on... I also read Detective Comics #841, which was a nice one-shot featuring the Mad Hatter. I was very disturbed by Jonah Hex #28. A boy wants revenge for a lynching, and Hex ... no, no spoilers. But it was disturbing. Phantom #21 had a surprising event. If it stands, if it isn't a trick, it's a serious shock to any Phantom fan. Star Wars: Rebellion #11 is the start of a new story, and it's somewhat promising. The ending makes me wonder how the heroes can possibly get out of it, which is what you want from a book like this, I think. Northlanders #3 continues the excellence, as Sven begins a reign of terror. I'm enjoying this book a lot. And lastly, True Story, Swear to God #10 is one of those books where you might need a tissue handy while you are reading it. The book was a good reminder that all relationships require work, but the best relationships are worth the effort.

A comic I was given was The Last Musketeer by Jason, published by Fantagraphics. It's a very simple book, with a standard evil villain, a noble hero, and the sassy female helper. The art is basic but draws you in, the writing is plain but also manages to do the job. It's a very odd, very interesting little book.

Another library book was Redwall: The Graphic Novel. I read the original book a long time ago. This was a pretty straightforward retelling. Not much else I can say, really.

Anyone who knows I have an interest in the paranormal won't be surprised I checked out Ghosts, Critters & Sacred Places of Washington and Oregon by Jefferson Davis. I was mildly disappointed by it. It's a good collection of ghost stories, but there isn't much beyond just stories. The critters and sacred places get seriously short shrifted here. The writing level is a bit jarring, I expected something other than a book written at a grade-school level. On the other hand, it wouldn't be a horrible book to give to a kid interested in the topic. I think it could've used a good editor and another draft: I found lots of typos while reading it. On the plus side, the book has an index and every section has bibliographic information, so finding original sources of any story shouldn't be tough. Overall, not a bad read. Just not what I was hoping for or expecting.

We got another copy of Ratatouille from the library to watch. This one played, although there was a headache-inducing moment in a later scene where it stopped... but when hubby-Eric restarted the scene, it played all the way through. Yes, that was a very good movie. I now understand why people like it so much. If you get your hands on the DVD, be sure to watch "Your Friend The Rat". It's worth it just for the Canadian video game spoof.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Torchwood Party...

We had a Torchwood party tonight. It was lightly attended, probably because BBC America is showing the episodes so quickly after they air in England. I'm still hurting, so I haven't got a lot to say.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

No Blog Today

Fibro pain. No blogging. Later.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday Night Links

I've always been a fan of Gail Simone, I'm even more in awe of her now. Here's the thread from the start.

Michael Sensei talks about smoking in Japan. The ads are great. I want to see more of them.

Heh, Pontoon got some paved roads finally. I wonder what comes next? If enough folks visit, we might find out. Otherwise it's just the owner of the city and me checking it every day (you can visit once a day to "add a new citizen"). I claim one of the houses on the paved road.

The funny pages will have a bit of activism coming up this Sunday. I just want to say that Herb and Jamaal is one of my favorite comic strips of all time.

Check it out: scenes from the Amelia Rules! Musical.

Speaking of music: one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve!

Is it legal to sell something you find in the trash? Well, yeah, but not in this particular case.

What does it take to scour YouTube for Alex Trebek bloopers?

I think I might like to buy this. Brad "Evil Inc" Guigar and Dave "Sheldon" Kellet alone make it worth the price.

If you were born via sperm donation, would you be curious about your siblings?

Seattle 911. I wish there was one for Bothell, too. Allows me to be nosy and yet stay completely out of the way. It would've been slightly useful that day the swat team moved into my neighborhood to find a criminal.

NASA is still looking for Astronaut Candidates. If you are a teacher, you qualify.

Ah, Puppy Bowl! I want a kitty to play with! I want the PuppyBowl DVDs!

Is it art if the pictures are taken by a cat?

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The Cell Phone Downside

Please don't call us.

Hubby-Eric and I went exclusively to cell phones a couple of years ago. I can't remember when exactly, but we worked out the numbers and realized that it was cheaper for both of us to have a cell phone with no landline than for us to have a landline and one cell phone for me. I needed a cell phone due to car troubles at the time (which continued on for quite awhile).

We got a 500 minutes plan after figuring out our usual usage patterns, and weren't surprised that we NEVER used even half of that. We just don't talk on the phone all that much.

Until this month.

Our plan resets on the 16th, and we've currently used 502 minutes of it. Whoops. We're now getting charged 45 cents a minute, and have no recourse except to move "up" to a "better" plan that charges $20 more a month... or just make sure nobody calls us who doesn't have to.

We're going for the latter option, as this month was an aberration for us. I ended up talking with Microsoft tech support entirely too much (and spending a LOT of time on hold with them). We don't expect it to happen ever again.

But it certainly does make me inclined to move to a different cell phone provider if I can find one with the options I need. I don't like Verizon. But then, are any of the others truly any better?

Btw: I looked into Credo, and they seem ok except you MUST buy their phones to get their service (and they aren't very good phones), and I'm very happy with the phone I own now. They also don't offer the "no answer/forward" that Verizon does, which allows Eric to take his phone to work with him and let me get all his calls while he's working, so they are kind of out of the running for us.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Self-link: Don't Call Him Arthur!

These rings, they can't possibly be licensed. But they are pretty cool. Who wouldn't want a Legion Ring? Or a complete set of Lantern Rings?

Real Aqualad

I just thought you all might want a reminder of what Aqualad really looks like, instead of that dreadful rendition in Teen Titans: Year One. The artist must hate Aqualad with a passion to draw him so incredibly ugly.

Making Light has a bit on Making Your Own Fun. Too bad I almost never play games anymore.

What do they mean by "Canadian"?

Lea Hernandez tried to use WINE to install some Windows programs on Ubuntu. As a person who is pretty close to moving over to Ubuntu myself, I'm hoping by the time I need it, WINE will be robust enough to handle the handful of programs I want to run (most notably is CalorieKing).

Warning, a bit gory in places: What the ER would be like if all Urban Legends were real.


Who cut the cables? Nobody knows, but we are assured that it's not a conspiracy. Boing Boing readers are betting on Cloverfield.

Invisible Ink Pens for voters?

Reduce your sodium. I wrote to Banquet after eating a crock pot meal that had WAY too much salt. They just sent me a coupon for another one. *sigh*

Danish Police don't recognize iMacs. Oops.

Ah, exercise!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tuesday Night Links

JM DeMatteis gives us The Secret Origin of Abadazad.

Phil thinks new Doctor Who starts March 22nd, but I don't think anyone knows for sure yet. I know I'll be watching, though.

Want to read a Firefly novel by Steven Brust? Well, go download it then. It's free, and it's fanfic.

Another dumb article on obesity. Here's what it comes down to folks: We all want to be able to say it's not our fault, but the truth is that only a few people have serious conditions that "make" them fat. Most of us simply need to change habits and assumptions. And if you cannot overcome your environment, you aren't trying hard enough. Really. If *I* can lose 105 pounds in 18 months, anyone can lose weight. I have no willpower to speak of.

Bush's budget tries to kill PBS.

Amazon DRM = Don't Restrict Me. Heck, I want one.

Why Dreamhost isn't so bad. At least they tell you what they did wrong.

So... in the 20th century, some Islamic radicals decided to ban depictions of all people, particularly Muhammad (before then it was just discouraged, not banned). And now Wikipedia is being criticized for using Historical Islamic depictions of Muhammad in their entry on him.

My eighth cousin, Stanley Dunham, Barack Obama's mother (yes, mother, she had an odd name), lived in the Seattle area. I think she left before my parents moved up here. Stanley was descended from Benjamin Dunham, the twelfth child of Richard Singletary/Dunham. I'm descended from David Dunham, the eighth child. We have the same great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

Stack Cats.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Some Links

Superman and social justice.

The Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2011. Ouch. This one hit me hard: "What Berlin wall?"

Geeks supporting Obama.

Peter David live-blogs the Superbowl ads.

Cell Phones change the World.

Another reason to shop at Costco instead of that Wal-dude's place.

Clues from old photograph solve mystery of who the drowned man was.

E-voting sucks, so it does, and so we perceive it. We might as well go back to paper and make sure votes aren't lost by computer "bugs".

I love this stunt. Art for fun's sake.

The TSA has a blog, and people are using the comments to complain about the TSA's insanely stupid policies.

Go here to watch the 2008 Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts.

When Geek Relationships Cool Off.


Chairman Pug

Yes, this is for the in-laws.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

A Sunday Review

Hubby-Eric and I watched more of Sapphire and Steel: "The Railway Station". Nicely spooky. Very slow, deliberate pacing.

On television, I watched American Gladiators (but the TiVo cut it off!), Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (just to watch Guy eat), Ace of Cakes (mmmmm...cake), Ghost Hunters International: "Haunted Village" (Barry and Brian lost in the woods, almost worth watching it just for that), Colbert Report (had some good bits this week), Torchwood: "To the Last Man" (that was really heart-breaking), Robin Hood: "The Angel of Death" (catching up on this series), and Mythbusters: "Airplane on a Conveyor Belt" (Ok, I understand the whole plane thing. But the radiation myth was DISGUSTING).

A book I checked out from the library was Do Not Open by John Farndon. It looks like the perfect coffee table book. Something to have sitting around to pick up and read when you are waiting around. It's not a terribly good borrow from the library, though, because it is the kind of book you want to savor. I hope I someday get a copy as a gift, but for now I returned it to the library.

Another library book was Peach Fuzz Volume 2 by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges which continued the ferret-y fun. I'm really enjoying this series, and this I'll check out volume three as soon as it becomes available at the library. It also seems like it would be a good gift book for a pre-teen girl.

I finally broke through my "do not feel like reading comic books" barrier and caught up on a few titles. For superheroes: Teen Titans: The Lost Annual was an excellent Elseworlds tale. Wonder Woman just isn't holding my interest. Sorry WW fans. Checkmate #22 was good, I like the historical aspect. Justice League of America #17 made no sense. JLA Classified has a fairly decent story going in the last two issues. Superman/Batman #45 completely got Joseph wrong (Hint: he's not going by "Arthur" anymore (doesn't anyone actually read the books before writing a character?)). Green Lantern #27 had one really amusing bit, as in who was chosen as the Sinestro Lantern on Earth... heh. The Spirit had a couple of solid standalone issues.

And in non-mainstream books: The last couple issues of Witchblade have been extremely readable, with very little unclothed women. I wonder if my friend will drop it now, so I can't read any more now that I'm enjoying it. Castle Waiting #10 has a bit of mystery, and I'm feeling very impatient for the next issue. Usagi Yojimbo #109 had an ending that I didn't want, but totally expected. Enough with Jei already! And I also loved Amelia Rules #19. Family history is cool (my sister is posting family pics on Flickr, so I'm experiencing my own Family History lately, as well).

We attempted to watch Ratatouille as our movie of the week, but the library copy we got was scratched enough that it wouldn't play all the way through (in fact, it stops just as Remy gets into the kitchen). GRRRR. How much brains does it take to be smart enough to NOT ruin a library item? What's with people who damage library DVDs?

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Night Linkdump

Rachel Hartman Rocks.

Dirty minds will find the oddest things.

You guys are awsome! My friend's city of Pontoon seems to be growing. I wonder how many folks need to show up before she gets an "industry" link?

LEGO does Speed Racer. I think I want one.

Wired interviews Brian K Vaughan, but be warned, SPOILERS ahoy.

Idiot warriors vandalize ancient artwork.

Yay, another face on Mars!

I sort of wanna watch the puppy bowl more than the Superbowl.

Huh, I may be changing my phone company.

With Edwards out, I guess I'll be supporting my cousin, Barack Obama (his mother is my eighth cousin, both of us descended from this guy).

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Night Linkdump

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #140: The Fatal Five, Superman's Twin, and Emma Frost.

Every time I go to the Wizard of Oz convention with my hubby-Eric, I see someone wearing a t-shirt like Wil describes: "There is no place like" I love it, and one of these days I'm going to make one for myself.

A friend of mine has started a mini-city named "Pontoon". If you visit this link it will add a new resident to the town, and help her play the game. No, I don't know the point. But I'll be checking it out to see if her town grows.

Hubby-Eric and I have been cutting down our meals to help with my weight loss efforts. One time-saver meal that we use is Stouffer's Large Classic Lasagna. It's very good when you want a meal but don't want to go to any effort. We've been trying to convince Lean Cuisine to make meals in 2-person sizes. Well, I got a response from my last letter that said they were thinking about it... "Should consumer demand become great enough, we may introduce such a product into the marketplace." How do I get the word out to consumers that it's a good idea to write to Lean Cuisine if they want this?

The Spanish businessman in this article is clearly a psychopath.

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