Monday, March 31, 2008

It's Monday Again Already

Happy 5th Birthday to

Here's a Superman Copyright FAQ that explains how the Siegels got half the Superman copyright back. For the record, since I strongly oppose the Disney-driven copyright extensions, I think my opinion on the details of this subject is best left unsaid. However, I firmly believe the Siegels and Shuster estate deserve compensation as well. Overall, I think this is a win.

Mark Evanier quoted my e-mail to him about our road trip, and linked back to me. Of more interest, he actually got a look at the ingredients of The Soup, which I wished I'd done once I learned they were available. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's a list from which you can duplicate the recipe. (If you're wondering what the road trip was about: Road Trip Part 1 and Road Trip Part 2.)

More on April Fool and the history of the day at the Museum of Hoaxes.

Another condemnation of Vista. As I've said before, I have no intention of ever downgrading to Vista. I'll go to LINUX first.

World's fastest internet connection 'used to dry laundry'. I like this lady's style.

Ah, uses of the internet. Yup, Eric and I do this all the time.

Fifteen years of Spam.

I'm Buffaloed.

Brian Wood tells about the inspiration for DMZ "Friendly Fire".

This is just sick. Putting seizure inducing graphics on a forum for sufferers of epilepsy is the kind of crime that should be punished with prison for a few years.

For the in-laws: sand pug.

And lastly, I've been e-mailed by a friend to ask if I will be posting when/if Eric gets called in for Jeopardy. I can make no promises. I figure that I'll post only when an air date is set for an episode he appears in, and not until. Lots of reasons for that, not the least of which is that things sometimes change at the last minute, so if I post that he got called, and for some reason he doesn't actually play, I wouldn't feel like explaining it. And of course, should he get on the show and play, we won't be telling anyone how he did until after the show airs.

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The Road Trip (part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about driving down to Portland, wandering through Powell's, and sitting in a parking garage waiting for Eric to finish the Jeopardy tryouts. Here's the rest of the tale...

I finished reading my book near 2pm and realized that I was slowly freezing to death. It was time for a brisk walk to the hotel to see if Eric was finished. The walk almost warmed me up because the sun was finally out, but the wind was still bitter cold. Once at the hotel, I asked about the Jeopardy thing and they pointed me to the second floor. Moving through the hotel, I got warmer and more comfortable. Once on the second floor I found a table for Jeopardy sign-ins, and stood by it only to discover I was right under a heating vent. I decided to wait for him right there.

I could hear Eric's voice and laughter from inside the room I was next to. I wondered how much longer they would take, hoping it would be long enough to thaw me out completely. Only a couple minutes later the meeting broke up. First out of the room was Eric, who was surprised to see me waiting. I was warm enough, so we headed back to the garage.

Now, I'm no expert on these tryout things, but my impression is that once you pass the Jeopardy on-line test, they still have to make sure you would look good on TV. So they have these tryouts to find out if you have any personality whatsoever, and can actually answer the quiz questions in person (ie you didn't have someone else answer the on-line test for you). Even if you qualify, they get a lot more people every year for the contestant pool than they need. So Eric still has to actually be chosen, and that may not happen despite his feeling that he did really well this time. Remember, this is the third time he's made it this far in the process. He'll be in the pool for 18 months. If he isn't called up in that time, he can take the test again (marking Sep 29th 2009 on the calendar).

Eric mentioned that he'd accidentally washed his Jeopardy pen the last time he tested, so this time I told him to put it in the glove box right away. It's now sitting by his chair, waiting to be used as a clicker when he next watches the show.

It was time to find the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant. As I'd studied the map while Eric was testing, I drove us out of Portland and up to Vancouver via a slightly different route than we usually take. Surprisingly, it wasn't much out of our way.

The Sweet Tomatoes restaurants are basically all-you-can-eat buffets. I haven't been to an all-you-can-eat since I started my weight loss, for perhaps obvious reasons. I always feel like I have to eat a lot in those places to get my money's worth. We'd decided ahead of time to have a very light dinner, so we could eat what we wanted at this place. For the record, we paid $21.16 for the meal ($7.69 each for food, $2.09 each for drinks (!), and $1.60 in tax).

Happily, they still had Mark Evanier's Creamy Tomato Soup on the menu. If you've read his complaint, it's that this soup isn't always on the menu. Apparently they change the menu regularly, and the soup is usually only available in March. I told one of the staff that we'd driven a couple hundred miles just for this soup. I don't think he believed me. That's ok, it wasn't precisely true.

Anyway... I had a choose-your-own-adventure salad that I loaded up with all my favorite salad makings and none of the stuff I hate. Then I added a couple of muffins to my plate, and a bowl of creamy tomato soup. I got a strawberry lemonade to fill it out. I later went back for seconds on the soup and muffins. After I got home and worked out the calories from their nutritional info on the website, I figured I had about 1400 calories for the entire huge meal. I usually have about 1800 calories in a day.

So how was this much-hyped soup? I went back for seconds. It was that good. I wouldn't call it the be-all or end-all of soups, but it was certainly very good. It was creamy. It was tomato-y. It had a hint of spices. It was extremely good for dipping corn muffins into. I would love to try it as a sauce on fresh pasta. Actually, just thinking about it now makes me want to drive back down and get some more. I can understand why Mark Evanier loves it.

I also really liked their muffins. The corn muffins were perfect. They were soft and just crumbly enough. I usually don't like corn muffins that have whole kernels mixed in, but these were too good for that to matter. I would pay the price of admission just for the corn muffins and tomato soup alone. The salad was a normal sort of salad, but the ingredients were certainly fresh and tasty. Eric seemed to enjoy his meal, as well.

When we came in, we told them it was our first time. As a result, we each got a little bag of chocolate chip cookies with a survey tag on them. Both of us called the survey line and left voice mail that said they should open a restaurant in Seattle and that they should have the Creamy Tomato Soup all year long. The survey gives us 15% off on our next visit, but we have no idea when that will be. I suppose we're going to have to visit Portland again before the end of the year, when the tags expire. Maybe I can go down to see Periscope Studio or something.

After stuffing ourselves to near breaking, Eric took the wheel and we headed back up to I-5 and home. The weather seemed to change every five minutes along the road, with sun giving way to rain giving way to hailstorms giving way to sun again. I saw many stretches where I could see the snow on the hills brightened by sunlight. As we headed up through Kelso we saw a horrible car accident in the Southbound lanes, with the contents of one car strewn across the road while the other was just smashed up. Police and fire crews were dealing with it, but it really didn't look good at all. Another mile up the road there was another accident in the Southbound lane, more of a fender bender this time, but still enough to make us both feel sorry for anyone headed South at that point.

We stopped for gasoline at one point, and Eric forgot to put the gas cap back on. Fortunately, he found it after it rolled off the car while I was pulling out. The whole trip took about a full tank of gasoline. I was extremely drowsy from the food and long day, and let Eric take over the driving during a hail storm somewhere. We also got caught behind an accident, one that was nearly cleared by the time we reached the spot. My memories of the rest of the trip are a little hazy, and I was getting carsick (which usually happens to me on long car trips) and was very sleepy. My body also seemed to be having a difficult time dealing with the changes in the weather (changes in air pressure often seem to trigger my fibro, so I think I may have been dealing with that). All told, when we finally got home around 7pm I didn't even bother turning my computer on. I took a nap. When I woke up, the clock said 8:00, but it was light out. I'd slept for 13 hours. I missed dinner, but I really didn't mind (or notice) thanks to the large lunch. More odd was the fact that I was offline for over 24 hours and didn't really care.

Despite the carsickness, the long "nap", and Powell's not having a copy of Nancy and Plum, it was a pretty good trip. Hey Eric, let's do it again!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Road Trip (part 1)

So, Eric had to head down to Portland, Oregon, on Saturday the 29th for the Jeopardy tryouts. The tryout time was late enough that he didn't have to get down the night before, like last time. So, after some consultation, I decided to go with him, and we'd take my "new" car, Cody the Cavalier, and see how it handled a long trip.

On Thursday, I read about Sweet Tomatoes Creamy Tomato Soup on Mark Evanier's blog, and checked the map. The nearest location of that restaurant is in Vancouver Washington. But wait... on Saturday, Eric and I would be very near there. I told Eric to read Mark Evanier's blog and see if he thought what I thought. He did, and we planned a detour on the way home. Lunch at Sweet Tomatoes in Vancouver!

Eric's tryout was 11:30am, and it usually takes about 3 hours to get to Portland (even with my driving) from the Seattle area. We decided to leave by 7am, giving us time if there was an accident or other problem. As we watched the snow fall on Friday afternoon, we decided that we would leave the next morning as soon as both of us were ready. Eric printed out maps and directions, and we put everything we might need in the car the night before.

At 5am Saturday morning, my phone alarm woke me with the Jeopardy theme song, which amused Eric. I posted my links for the day, then whipped up a batch of oatmeal for the two of us. We got out the door shortly before 6am, and hit the road with me driving the first leg.

Roads were wet, but clear. Light traffic for the morning, and nothing unusual until we got near the Toutle River rest stop. There was lots of snow on the ground around that area, and the rest stop itself was still under a blanket of snow although the lot was clear. I drove from that rest stop to Portland, while Eric snoozed. Because he was asleep, he missed the heavy snow we drove through. None of it was sticking to the roads, but the visibility was bad enough that I slowed down to well below the speed limit (which is a tad unusual for me). It was only raining in Portland itself, so that wasn't stressful.

We found a parking garage at 10th and Yamhill, then walked over to the hotel where the tryouts were to be held. It was 9am. With two hours to kill, we decided to walk to Powell's.

I'd been to Powells once before, and everything about the experience had been bad. I decided that I was going to completely forget that previous visit and pretend this was my first time going there.

As Powells is widely considered the best bookstore around, I've heard that some people "test" the store when they visit by looking for specific books they don't expect to see in bookstores. I came up with my own tests. One: I would look for an Aquaman collection. With a couple of trades, the Archive, and the Showcase volumes, I figured this would be easy. Two: I would look for Queen Ann In Oz, hubby-Eric's book. Although some stores carried it, I wasn't really expecting to find it there. Three: Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald. This one is a no-brainer... a local author whose 100 birthday was just a few days ago? I expected a display of her books.

It didn't take us long to get to the store, once we figured out what direction to go. It was only a half-mile or so from the parking garage. Once inside (and out of the rain) we wandered aimlessly for awhile. It's a BIG store. Easy to get lost in. We found the Children's section relatively quickly and got separated when I spotted some old adventure-type books and started down the aisle forgetting for a moment that I was married and hanging with my hubby. Eventually I tracked him down again (or he tracked me down, I'm not sure), and he showed me their Oz section. Sure enough, Queen Ann In Oz was there! I suggested we tell someone that Eric is the author so he can sign it, but he refused. Eric noted that they had lots of the Books of Wonder Oz books.

Next we hunted down the graphic novel section. I found Manga scattered all over, including one island in the Award Winning Children's books section that had all of the English Hikaru No Go so far on it. Eventually we found the graphic novels in the coffee shop. Have I mentioned that I hate the smell of coffee? The section itself was tiny and I nearly gave up hope of finding any Aquaman when I spotted the Archive sitting on top of a stack of others, mis-shelved and looking forlorn. Despite finding Aquaman, I was NOT impressed with their graphic novel selection. The Manga selection just outside the coffee shop was bigger and better lit (and didn't stink).

So the last book to look for was Nancy and Plum. We wandered a LOT (and yes, it was fun) and didn't find it. Eric hunted through the sports section for books on the Olympics and found less than a shelf of them. Eventually, I found a computer and typed in "Betty MacDonald". The only book they listed was The Egg and I. Huh. That was odd. Maybe they misspelled her name in the catalog. I typed in "Nancy and Plum" and got no hits. Hrm. I went back to searching for her name, and found out where her books were located. The local interest section. Ok, we trekked over there and... the only book by her available was The Egg and I.

And so I left the store slightly disappointed. It is a very impressive book store, but it wasn't nearly as robust as people have claimed. I'm being slightly snarky here, by the way. I really did enjoy the visit.

We walked back to the parking garage in the continuing rain, and I decided to nap in the car for a bit while Eric went to his tryout. I also had a book to read. And so I napped and read in the car. At one point, I heard this incredibly loud "KERRRSCRUMP!" which repeated every few seconds. It got louder and louder and I realized that something was coming up the ramps of the garage making the sound. It finally passed my car, and I saw that it was a car with one of those plastic carriers on the top that was just too tall for the garage. Every time it passed under a supporting beam, it scraped against it, making that noise. The driver didn't seem concerned. Another driver had her music so loud that it echoed in the garage... even though she had all her windows rolled up. I was very relieved when she shut off her car.

Ok, I'll break off there... you'll have to read the rest of the tale tomorrow...

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April 1st

At the moment I have no plans to do an April Fools joke this year. However, I urge everyone to remember that the internet, which is usually fairly unreliable, generally becomes COMPLETELY unreliable at this time of year. Any item you read on April 1st, or that is dated April 1st, check the sources. If you can't find any sources, don't believe it.

This has been a public service announcement.


A Sunday Review

TV this week: Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II: "World Enough and Time" (the new actors playing familiar parts take some getting used to, but this is good), Iron Chef America: "Morimoto vs Cole" (surprising ingredient, but not a surprising result), Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: "Regional Favorites" (pancakes WAY too big), Robin Hood: "Treasure of the Nation" (Lynda Bellingham! She made this episode), Ghost Hunters: "The Fear Cage" (they were red, not pink), Destination Truth: "Sea Monster; Bat Demon" (Josh is so snarky about the places he goes to I'm surprised he doesn't get beat up), Dinner: Impossible: "Groundhog Daze" (I think Robert deserved this one), Supernanny: "Weinstein Family" (big scary father learns what he looks like to his kids), Ace of Cakes: "Avenue Q Cakes" (I really want to see Avenue Q sometime), and Smallville: "Veritas" (is this series over yet?).

Comics this week:
  • Countdown 5 - Another depressing issue, although it pretty much sorts itself out at the end. So, I'm guessing that wasn't the main Earth?
  • Green Lantern #29 - Oh no, not Hal Jordan's origin yet again! Well... this is a little different. Promising start.
  • JSA Classified #36 - Cats and more cats. I'm not that interested in Wildcat, but this has caught my imagination.
  • Spirit #15 - What on Earth does he see in her, anyway?
  • Fallen Angel #25 - I keep thinking it will explode into something great, and it keeps not exploding.
  • Phantom #22 - The change hasn't been retconned away, so maybe it'll stick around a bit. Maybe. Or perhaps he'll wake up and it was a dream.
  • Star Trek: The New Frontier #1 - I read the cover twice, this is issue number one. So why do I feel like I came in at the middle of the story?
  • Rogue Angel: Teller of Tales #2 - Ah, the origin story! I think I'd rather have read more about the find in the basement, but this wasn't bad.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #110 - A great done-in-one tale! I've missed those. This is one any Usagi fan will probably enjoy.
  • Amelia Rules #20 - Amelia was ok, but Apathy Kat was surreal. I'm not sure what I thought of it.
My library book this week was The Search for the Red Dragon by James A. Owen. I read the first book reported on here, and enjoyed it, so I checked out the second. This is more of the same in some ways... lots of literary references and a rippin' plot that pulls you through history and reality. I haven't yet been able to identify all of the characters, but I feel like I'm getting close. This is definitely a series that will reveal more on rereading, so I plan on buying copies of these books once we've got money again. Unfortunately, this book came out this year, so I'm going to have to wait for any more sequels (and I'm thinking there will be at least one more).

A second library book I picked up was The Daily Show and Philosophy edited by Jason Holt. This book is a collection of essays deconstructing the Daily Show from a philosophical viewpoint. Among other topics, the essayists tackle the concept of using fiction to tell the truth, Jon Stewart as a philosopher, critical thinking within the show, how religion is treated in the show, and Truthiness. There's a solid index, footnotes on each essay and biographies of the essayists. It's actually a very good package, although the individual essays vary in quality. Even if you do not watch the show, the essays generally give enough context to understand the concepts. If you are interested in how the media works from a broader view of history, this is a book you may want to check out.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rainy Saturday Morning Links

Are you going to participate in Earth Hour?

The Happy Villain talks about fictional non-fiction and how libraries must deal with it.

Neat housing designs, with the idea that the homeowners can help build the house easily.

My Mormon cousin posted this YouTube video on her blog, so it's ok to laugh heartily at it. I found it ROTFL funny, myself.

Botanist sues to stop CERN hurling Earth into parallel universe.

First the bees, now the bats. Don't care about bats? You should. They reduce the overall number of bugs, so we aren't overrun by hordes of insects. Bat die-offs are a bad thing for humans.

Stowaway objects tell stories.

Want to know why a scientist would go to see a crappy Creationist movie? Well, so they can debunk it of course. Be sure to read Richard Dawkins' take.

Step 1: Stop Stealing.

Oz and Ends directs us to a great video of a pop-up book.

Ok, I think this might be a cool fate for my ashes.

A paper airplane from space. The Japanese do the coolest things. I'd love to be the one to find one of these.

This article is startlingly familiar.

Thanks to Elayne for pointing me at The Ten Peepish Plagues for Passover. Plague #2 is the best.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Snowy Links

Yup. It's snowing. Hard. In Western Washington. In late March. This is freak weather.

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #148: Mayo Kaan, David Ben-Gurion, and Chris Claremont.

A prayer goes out to Don Rosa.

When they say "Do Not Reply" they mean it! The poor guy who owns will get your e-mails instead. Then he'll blog about them. "Faliszek said he is constantly threatened with lawsuits from companies who for one reason or another have a difficult time grasping why he is in possession of their internal documents and e-mails." Well, let's see... if you forge the header to respond to instead of an internal server, then bounced e-mail will end up at the forged domain! Simplicity! And a big security problem for companies with idiot IT administrators. The companies are illegally using a false domain in their e-mails. I heartily approve of Faliszek's response to the problem. I wouldn't be half as nice as he is.

You don't own your eBooks. At least, that's what Sony and Amazon want you to believe.

Putting a videogame console into your TARDIS. Easy for the Doctor, not so easy for us average folks.

Food Advertising vs Reality. Some foods come across ok, most do not. Someone should do this with American foods.

Vandalism on Easter Island. I hope they throw the book at the moron.

Skeptic giggles as he's cursed to die. On India's national TV. No, he didn't die.

When you Gotta Go...

Getting rid of the penny. Should we? Would we then say, "A dime for your thoughts?"

Hypnotist thief caught on video. Very strange. True hypnotism is more of a relaxation technique than mind control, and he apparently relaxed the clerks into not realizing that he was stealing from the register in front of them.

The Predictions of Arthur C Clarke.

A simple tale of treating someone right.

Ok, I understand why the court overturned the passenger bill of rights, but why on Earth would any responsible group CHALLENGE the law in the first place?!?? In short, none would. The Air Transport Association of America does not care about their customers. I haven't flown for many years, and I have no plans to fly until the TSA is revamped and airlines are held responsible for tormenting their customers.

I don't really need this, but I installed it on Firefox anyway. I like being able to mouseover an icon and see the time in cities around the world. I even installed it on Thunderbird. I now can find out the time in Kathmandu instantly.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

It Can't Be Thursday Already!

Stupid Google Tricks.

Compact Fluorescents aren't so good, after all. Don't worry, we'll be moving to LEDs or something else soon enough.

Spy Hunter!

Comics Should Be Good examines Oz.

By now, everyone has heard about PZ Myers being barred from seeing a Creationist movie that he was tricked into appearing in. And you've all probably heard who PZ's guest was who managed to see the movie because they only kicked PZ himself out. But I couldn't not link to the story.

Simply clicking a link could get your home raided. The article says the FBI isn't bothering to record the referrer, which means some "prankster" could put the link up in a major forum and it would get tons of hits... I'm afraid clicking a link should NEVER be "probable cause" for a federally condoned home invasion and robbery.

All roads lead to Rome. Or somewhere.

The 5 Most Ridiculously Over-Hyped Health Scares of All Time.

Pastafarians in Crossville Tennessee got permission to put a Flying Spaghetti Monster statue on the Courthouse lawn. I want one! (A statue of the FSM, not a courthouse) Be sure to scroll down for pictures on how they made the FSM.

ARGH! People are so stupid! You don't believe everything you read online, especially if it's about free stuff, including a horse. Whoever posted this needs to go to jail, but so do the idiots who went and robbed the guy's house.

Speaking of not believing everything you read online, the Museum of Hoaxes reminds us that April Fools Day is coming by doing a little more research into the possible origins of the day.

I loved this LOLcat.

I hope they rolled a critical hit (it looks like they did to me).

Pugs for the in-laws: I Has A Me.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Links and Ranting

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #147: Daredevil Cartoon, Azrael, and Sgt. Rock.

It's no secret that I've lost 110 pounds by counting calories in the last couple of years. Which means I really want nutrition data to be available at restaurants for the rare times I get to go out. However, I've never been keen on King County's Plan, which requires that data to be put on the freakin' MENU. I want the data available, either on a website or a booklet I can take home. I don't want it on the menu.

The Gruesome Origins of 5 Popular Fairy Tales.

Happy Anniversary (belated) to Larry Young's AiT/Planet Lar.

More belated: The Uncanny X-Peeps.

Wait, Firefox 3 is NOT bloatware?!? Someone is actually listening to users? NO WAY!

Garrett links to stabilized footage of that near airplane crash.

Hmm. I tend to think that parents who reject vaccines ought to have that right... but we ought to have the right to completely quarantine their children away from properly vaccinated children. Those kids should have "I AM NOT VACCINATED" in big letters on all their clothing. If any parent complains that such a child is in their properly vaccinated child's class, the non-vaccinated kid should be rejected and forced to find a new class. Then those rare cases of people for whom the vaccine fails won't be put at risk by people for whom intelligence has failed.

Oooh, awesome 1934 Popular Science report about a planned Soviet amphibious monorail. Cool.

Clean up an environmental threat and make clean energy at the same time. That's the goal of converting algae blooms to biofuel.

The X Prize offers $10 Million for 100-mpg vehicle. I hope someone claims it soon.

Chocolate may save forests (Video Link).

LOL graphic: The Wizard of Oz from recent Doctor Who.

Arty pug helps kid to read. And these pugs don't look happy.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Seattle Links

Peter Bagge's Betty MacDonald
The Seattle Times looks at Betty MacDonald, a local writer that I adore. She would have been 100 on March 26th. They've put up excerpts from her books, and a couple of letter from fans. As you might recall, I reread all of Betty MacDonald's autobiographical books a few years ago and made a little bibliography of her works.

Sticking with Seattle... Vintage Seattle lets us know how to survive the atom bomb in Seattle.

The most respected Seattle Mariner, Edgar Martinez, denies the charges of drug use in the clubhouse.

The Seattle Times also tells about a Boot Camp to fight Chronic Pain. I do wonder if this would help me. The point is probably moot, as I haven't got insurance nor money to pay for it.

And, not Seattle-related, but for the in-laws: Easter Puggy.

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CameraPhone Zen

A Walk to the Post Office


Monday, March 24, 2008

On Comment Moderation...

I moderate all of my comments.

Like Chris, I get so much spam that if I didn't moderate, half the comments (or more) on my blog would be spam. I also moderate so I'm sure I don't miss any comments that people post. I don't get a lot of real comments. Most of what hits my queue is spam. After deleting the spam, I look at what's left, if anything... any personal attacks go into the bit bucket, and what's left goes onto the blog.

While I don't always support Valerie's opinions, I support her right to express them in any way she feels, up to and including deleting dissenting opinions *on her own blog*. As long as she doesn't reach across the internet and shut up dissenting opinions everywhere, I'm cool. What each of us does in our own corner of the 'net is up to us. Not to the masses of people who may or may not read us.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Sunday Review

Cutest Aquaman Ever!
Comics this week: Best book of the week, month, and year so far is Super Friends #1. I'm now a fan of writer Sholly Fisch (hmm, "fish"?). And this is the first time I've read a comic book and immediately started thinking of children I need to give it to. By contrast, Countdown 6 was terribly depressing, with non-existent people trying to fight the end of the world. Tangent: Superman's Reign #1 was bizarre, but the back-up story helped explain things a little. Good choice, having a back-up story like that.

Justice League of America #19 ties in with Salvation Run, which I haven't read. Funny to see Waller again. Speaking of, Checkmate #24 was incredible. I think that story was built up the right way. I'm a little surprised we didn't get any Aquaman in the various hero scenes, but it was still incredible. And lastly, Witchblade #116 wasn't as good as the last few issues, but was still ok. I think she should've let the Witchblade strangle that dude, though.

I finally got through the latest Fortean Times, which has an awful cover. I hate those paintings. As I've reported elsewhere, I was reading the bit on Arthur C Clarke's opinions of UFOs when I set the magazine down, logged into Twitter, and learned about his death. Very Fortean, and not in a good way. The Vegetable Lambs were interesting, but overall this wasn't the best issue ever.

TV this week: Robin Hood: "Lardner's Ring" (I like the Fool), Iron Chef America: "Flay vs Back" (once again cheering for the challenger... and Popeye), Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: "Like Mama Made" (Oh I'm craving some biscuits and gravy... my absolute favorite breakfast ever), Robin Hood: "Walkabout" (nice suspense and humor in this one), Torchwood: "Adrift" (give the poor woman some retcon, Gwen!), Ghost Hunters: "Words From Beyond" (cool library, and the diary find was interesting), Destination Truth: "Wildman; Swamp Dinosaur" (in this episode: Josh eats the strangest things), Supernanny: "McKeever Family" (what an incredibly cowardly and selfish father!), Ace of Cakes: "Police Cars and Wine Bars" (fun snowboarding attempt), Smallville: "Traveler" (Lionel continues to demonstrate his really bad judgement), and Torchwood: "Fragments" (unexpected TW bonus this week... bombs and flashbacks).

I got through a couple of books this week. A Haunted Tour Guide to the Pacific Northwest by Jefferson Davis was a quick read, because I didn't bother to go through most of it page by page. I just flipped through looking for places I've been or intend to go. If I wanted to do an actual tour of haunted places, I'd probably look for a copy of the book. As it is, I thought it was ok, but not very interesting as a book to sit and read. I did, however, enjoy Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society by Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, and Michael Jan Friedman. The voice of the book was Jason from the TV show. He tells of some of the pre-TV show cases, then goes into detail about a few of the ones that made the show. I thought I'd be bored with it once he got into the stuff I'd already seen on TV, but I found myself interested in reading even the bits I already knew. It was an easy and comfortable read, despite the odd subject matter. I wouldn't recommend this to someone not interested in ghosts, but anyone who has an interest might find this book intriguing.

This week's library movie was Pan's Labyrinth. Wow, what an intense film. I was only partway expecting the ending... it didn't quite take the form I expected. In any case, I'm glad I avoided spoilers for it before seeing it. The violence was a little more graphic than I anticipated, and there were several times I had to look away, which was tough, as I also needed to read the subtitles. I finally figured out how to cover most of the screen while still making the subtitles visible. It was difficult to tell if what Ofelia was experiencing was true, or just her imagination, which may have been the point. Anyway, I highly recommend it, but only if you can stomach some intense moments.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

CameraPhone Zen


Blessed relief (?)

Poor Laura still isn't doing too well. Maybe she needs a nice soothing head massage, like the rabbit is getting from its robot counterpart in this video:

Thanks to Aaron Williams for finding that one. It also brought back some memories, as I used to sell those rabbit toys in my first job, and they'd run around the floor a lot amusing customers.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ow Ow Ow Ow

I had a bad headache/migraine this morning and I find that I'm still sore enough that I don't want to go to the effort of putting together a link post. So just go check out the Hugo Nominees.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

What, More Links?

The Discovery of the Mile High Collection, a tale I knew was there, but hadn't read before. Wow.

We are a nation of brats.

I don't know if you want to re-examine What's Opera Doc for subtext.

I've had these. Really good, but extremely expensive.

Michael Sensei looks at The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.

A penny costs 1.7 cents to make... but it's used WAY more than once, so that's a silly way to judge it. And yet, steel pennies may return if the price of copper keeps going up.

The return of Battlebots! Yay!

Yeah, I kind of want one. They are small, but the gas mileage makes up for it.

Tidal power is getting closer, and may be a reality soon. I think it's a great renewable resource, if they can work out the kinks.

Remembering the past when the water recede.

The CBC is following Norway's lead and releasing a show on BitTorrent.

JP Patches statue will allow resident to add to it. In the spirit of Seattle and JP Patches.

Palolontology. The second is quite good (scroll down!) but the third and fourth make this post.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Super Friends

For the record, I loved the new Super Friends book. I'm still giggling about it. I haven't enjoyed a comic like this in ages. And that's gotta be the cutest Aquaman EVER!

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Wednesday Links

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #146: Ray Bradbury, Avengers Forever, and Knightsend.

I wish I could afford these. Herbie is one of the weirder comics ever made.

Fun Story: Wikihistory.

New Seven Deadly Sins. Does this mean the Rock of Eternity will change?

TSA Endangers Child. The TSA is a joke, and an annoying and dangerous one at that.

Web designers who think that accessing unpublished URLs is "hacking" should be banned from the internet for five years. Maybe then people wouldn't be so fast to scream "hacking!" to hide their own inability to secure their sites.

I love this thought for the day.

More attempts to ban books, even though options were offered.

Norwegian Broadcaster Loves BitTorrent (the definitive documentary about the Møøse!). But then, Norway is a civilized country.

It's... a... gazebo!

For Androgums only: The Seal of Wrasslin', Huzzah!

For the in-laws: Pug Attack. Attack on Pug.

I've been doing these piecemeal, instead of dropping two weeks worth of accumulated links on you all at once. I'm not sure if folks prefer it this way or not, but there's more links coming...

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Linkdump for Tuesday

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #145: DCU rules, John Byrne, and Sex (well, actually: sex, sex, and sex).

Death is delayed.

What causes traffic. Be sure to check out the comments.

Doctor Who Videogame. I probably still won't get it.

I honestly had no idea what rickrolling was until I read this post.

Nine Inch Nails understand the new economy. This is how you make loads of money on the internet.

If you liked Cat Man Do (aka Wake Up Cat), then you might also like Let Me In! I like Simon's Cat. But I wouldn't want to live with it.

Making impossible promises. The internet will never be free of LOLcats, until everyone is completely bored with them.

Prison for selling lightbulbs.

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Monday, March 17, 2008


I could see taking down the site if it listed personal details, but GoDaddy shut down the police rating site that only listed names and badge numbers.

TSA confused by a new computer.

2008 M's Commericals.

Stumpy Friends! from friend-of-the-blog Karin!

Bees are having even more problems. From the Sacramento Bee. Heh.

Magna Carta seems like it would make a good superhero name.

A dramatic video of an airplane nearly crashing.

The ringed moon of Saturn.

More tomorrow.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Sunday Review

TV this week: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: "Big Breakfast" (I always wonder how Guy can eat as much as he does), Torchwood: "From out of the Rain" (freaky freaky freaky - I hate circuses), Dinner: Impossible: "Santa Fe Struggle" (despite revelations about Robert's resume-padding, I enjoyed this one), Supernanny: "Banjany Family" (cross-dressing 3-year-old and poor snack management), Ghost Hunters: "Two to Tango" (not much of interest), Destination Truth: "Haunted Island: Death Worm" (hilarious! Those islanders put on a show for them), Ace of Cakes: "Celebration Week" (the ear cake was great!), and Smallville: "Hero" (Pete as freak-of-the-week, huh?).

Comics this week: My friend D, who buys some comics through me, decided to get the rest of Countdown, so I'm starting with Countdown 7 and I'm slightly confused. It had high points, though, and I'm curious to see how this whole thing ends. Green Lantern Corps #22 was the typical space adventure that I have no interest in. Wonder Woman #18 still hasn't got my interest. It's well-written, the art is good... I just don't care about the character. JLA Classified #54 had enough Aquaman to satisfy me, and Byrne's artwork wasn't nearly as bad as it's been in the recent past. I really like Tiny Titans #2, but I agree with the commenter who asked, "Who is the audience for this?" It seems a bit too continuity-laden for kids, but way too simple for (most) adults.

I like DMZ, but it sometimes reminds me too brutally of the current political situation. DMZ #29 continues the trend with a reminder of just how difficult it is to bring people who have been at war back together. I've been mostly disappointed in IDW's Lone Ranger, so I wasn't expecting much from Lone Ranger and Tonto #1. But this was great! Ok, it's a depressing story, but it's powerful. I'm glad D bought it. My friend D also bought Rogue Angel: Teller of Tales #1, which was also better than I was expecting. The archeology aspects probably pulled me in the most. I hope he gets the next issue. Doctor Who #2 was considerably better than the first issue artwise. I'm curious to see where the story goes from here, though, particularly the bits with planetary populations vanishing. Serenity: Better Days #1 nice set up. I liked it. "The Hero of Canton... he's real!" Bwah!

An unexpected bonus in the mail this week was the final State Quarters set from the US Mint. This one has Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii. I don't like Oklahoma or Arizona. Oklahoma has flowers and a bird, and I just don't like the composition. Arizona's design tried to do too much, and is cluttered as a result. New Mexico's simple design breaks one of my rules (state outline appears) but is otherwise very nice. The Alaska one is going to irritate Stephen Colbert, as it's got a bear on it. I also like Hawaii's coin. Best of the bunch? I'd go with Alaska. Worst is Arizona.

This week's movie was Justice League: The New Frontier. Not enough Aquaman, but otherwise pretty good. I think it might be a pretty confusing movie if you don't know your DC history. On the other hand, bits of the book that didn't make much sense to me now make perfect sense. I'm looking forward to seeing the extras on the disc.

I also got a Fortean Times mag and a couple of library books, but I haven't had a chance to read them yet. I've been too obsessed over the Aquawiki.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Too Much Pi

Maybe I overdid it yesterday, 'cuz I don't feel well today.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Pi Day!

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196 4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273 7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436 7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094 3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548 0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912 9833673362 4406566430 8602139494 6395224737 1907021798 6094370277 0539217176 2931767523 8467481846 7669405132 0005681271 4526356082 7785771342 7577896091 7363717872 1468440901 2249534301 4654958537 1050792279 6892589235 4201995611 2129021960 8640344181 5981362977 4771309960 5187072113 4999999837 2978049951 0597317328 1609631859 5024459455 3469083026 4252230825 3344685035 2619311881 7101000313 7838752886 5875332083 8142061717 7669147303 5982534904 2875546873 1159562863 8823537875 9375195778 1857780532 1712268066 1300192787 6611195909 2164201989 and so on and so on and so on...


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Game Night

My sister and niece came over tonight. We played Fluxx, Express, and a-Maze-ing Labyrinth. We bored the heck out of my niece with muppets and political talk.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nothing Today

Sorry. I'm just enjoying being obsessive too much.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Too busy being obsessed to blog. Sorry.


Monday, March 10, 2008

I Wanna Bake Something

Does anyone have a recipe for a small cake, with only two or four servings? I'm talking from scratch, here, not from a package. Any flavor, but chocolate would be best.

I want to make something neat that I can make more often than once a year on Aqualad's birthday.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Daylight Savings Time Wastes Money

Daylight Wasting Time. ABOLISH IT TODAY, CONGRESS!!!


A Sunday Review

The week started out with a memorial service for Eric's Grandfather, and thus lots of family. I could tell you some of the great family stories I learned from various relatives, but I think I'll keep those to myself. I will say that Grandpa Paul will be dearly missed. I need to read his autobiography, "The Life of An Ordinary Man in the 20th Century". It's on the shelf behind me. Someday, I hope we can digitize the book and put it up for others to read.

TV this week: Iron Chef America: "Cora vs Hillson" (I like Cat Cora, and the ingredient just made me hungry), Robin Hood: "Show Me the Money" (yes, finally! I wondered when that would happen), Robin Hood: "Children in Need" (nice use of Pudsey, there), Torchwood: "Something Borrowed" (what an absolute nightmare wedding!), Supernanny: "Prescott Family" (seven children... sounds familiar), Destination Truth: "Yeti" (Josh is a good narrator, so the trip is more fun than the destination), Ghost Hunters: "Fort Mifflin" (hrm, not much there but fun to see the guys jumping in fright so often), Robin Hood: "Get Carter!" (touching), and Ace of Cakes: "Skaters and Speedsters" (wow that car cake was cool!).

Comics this week: Teen Titans: Year One #3 brings to mind the old saying, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Not surprisingly, so does Green Lantern #28. Justice League Unlimited #43 was a fun Booster and Blue Beetle story, although they seem to have their personalities switched in this version. I was mildly disappointed in the Justice League New Frontier Special, as I was hoping for a little more Aquaman. Ah well, I knew his part would be small. I just didn't expect it to be non-existent.

In the non-DC books, Doctor Who Classics #4 has the last installment of one story, a neat little two-parter, and the start of the next story. This artwork has never looked better. The new coloring is doing wonders for the story. Powers #28 continues the eternal saga. The ending was frightening, but since I have no idea when I'll see the next issue, I'm losing interest already. The cream of the crop this week was Northlanders #4, in which Sven continues his reign of terror, and unfortunately finds a very worthy opponent. As a person who has been interested in Vikings for many years, this book has been of great interest to me, and continues to impress me with the use of real culture and real political situations to establish one heckuva story. Keep it up, Brian!

This week's library movie was Meet the Robinsons. While it was a fun little romp, I can see why it didn't take off and win awards. The reveals of the story were painfully obvious. Little kids would enjoy this far more than adults, who might find themselves saying, "we know, already, just get to the point!" Of course, the point is the journey and NOT the reveal. So if you go into this hoping for a fun little ride and not much else, you'll probably like it. If you want a movie with heavy meaning... go somewhere else.

My library book this week was Here, There Be Dragons by James A Owen. I first learned about this book from the thread that never ends. James himself posts on the thread, but it was this post that got me to look at the book. If you have a solid grounding in literature, you will probably enjoy this book for all the bits and pieces that are familiar. I enjoyed it enough that I wish I could buy a copy to sneak into hubby-Eric's reading pile, and I put the sequel on hold at the library.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

No Blog Today

Too tired.

Can of Soup


Friday, March 07, 2008

Little Linkdump

Retrieving colors.

Pictures from Watchmen.

I want. I don't generally want video games of any type, but this one could actually help me, so I want it.

Obsolete Skills.

I haven't been interested in Smallville the last few seasons, so this news isn't all that exciting to me.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Aqualad's Cake

I won't torment you like I did last year with the details on how I made my now annual tribute birthday cake for Aqualad. Instead, here are a couple of pictures of the finished product:

Garth's Cake
Garth's Cake

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Wednesday Linkdump

Sluggy Who?

Who wears Short Shorts? Robin wears Short Shorts.

FilkerTom reports that Elf*Quest is going on-line.

Newsarama on Oz: Dark Oz coming to the big screen and Skottie Young and Eric Shanower's new project.

Google Video: silent home video of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, in color, no less!

While playing with wikis, I found a Doctor Who Wiki cool.

Which reminds me. My wiki is almost ready for folks to look at, although it's sparse of content. I've been spending joyful moments troubleshooting templates and learning how tables work in wiki-land. I think the result so far has been worth it, though.

Nine Inch Nails releases a new album... online.

Dragon Tails in The Arrival.

Happy Villain wants to know how you met your sweetie.

I wouldn't be far off if I said the TSA is a group of thieves

Fail Dog!

Pug for the in-laws.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Wikify Me

Wow. I've started to work on creating a website using MediaWiki software. If all goes well, substantial portions of my Aquaman website will be replaced with this new wikified version (you can probably even guess the address of the wiki). I'm pretty excited about it because it means I'll be able to invite people in to help keep the content up-to-date and to maintain the website. While I love Aquaman, I'm just not too good at keeping websites up-to-date. And other fans have been asking me for years if they can help. Now I can say, "YES!"

Anyway, I've been dipping my feet in the wiki pool, and have discovered a LOT in the last few days. The biggest discovery so far, though, has to be templates. I knew that Wikipedia uses templates to make life easier for their editors. I didn't realize that it wasn't simply a natural function of the software! I got all excited when I went to Dreamhost's Wiki and saw this stylesheet for infoboxes on websites. I assumed, very wrongly, that I'd just need a little markup and I'd be good. Ha.

Because I want to use the infoboxes on my wiki, I grabbed what I thought was the code from Wikipedia for the Superhero infobox, planning on adjusting it to my needs. It didn't look like it would work... and it didn't. I then discovered what Templates are (I originally wrote a bit about namespaces and the structure of wikis, but decided that's too techie even for me). I found the template for my infobox, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. I then found this helpful page that explains the details. Progress is being made!

So I created the template on my aquawiki, and... it didn't quite work. It was all messed up with extra characters. I couldn't figure out why, because everything I was reading seemed to indicate it should work fine.

Eventually I found a mailing list that had the answer. I needed to install an extension onto MediaWiki to PARSE the code correctly. The templates, the way I was using them, don't automagically work with the main code... they need a ParserFunction Extension. Funny how none of the pages on templates seem to mention that clearly. I found the installation instructions and followed them, and then checked my test page... perfection!

The reason I'm posting this is because someday I may help Eric to set up his Wizard of Oz wiki, and I want to remember how to create templates properly. And also, there's a tiny chance that someone else out there has a wiki that they want to put infoboxes on, but can't figure out the details. Now I've hopefully given enough clues for them to put it all together (Custom CSS => Template code from Wikipedia (both infobox and the ! templates) => ParserFunctions Extension).

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Monday, March 03, 2008


Another Monday, another swimday! Yay!

Visiting my parent's house to pick up my mom today, I drove by a house where three young men were... um... well... two of them were on the roof with a wheelchair. The third was standing in the driveway. The two on the roof released the wheelchair, which crashed into the driveway while all three laughed. I nearly drove off the road at the odd sight. When my mom and I returned, they were still at it. I can't quite imagine what level of entertainment dropping a wheelchair repeatedly off the roof of a house into the driveway can give, but it can't be good.

I also got caught in a nasty traffic jam. It wasn't the usual... as I came up on the backup, I noticed the emergency vehicles racing by in the carpool lane. Just for kicks, I checked how far I went in the 30 minutes I was caught up in the backup: 2.5 miles. Ouch.

Heading out to the pool, we had a heavy downpour, enough to make me worry about going through some of the suddenly forming puddles on the road. The on-ramp onto the freeway was a flowing river. But we got through it.

My mother, bless her, made a bedside pocket for Eric to match the one for me.

My latest project: creating a page using wiki software. We'll see if it ever gets to the point that I make it public. Truth is, even if I make it public, it'll never be a real wiki. I'm not inclined to invite the general public to edit my websites. Trusted users, sure. General public... no.

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Sunday Review

Aquaman Punch!
Started the week with the Oscars. Although I don't generally go to parties unless I'm hosting them, I went to an Oscar party and joined in the guessing contest. I'd only seen one of the movies (Ratatouille), but I still managed to guess 11 of the winners correctly, netting me the grand prize of the party. I should have got 12 right, but I picked Persepolis for best animated despite my certainty that Ratatouille would win.

TV this week: Iron Chef America: "Flay vs. Rathbun Brothers" (any time Flay is on, I root for the challenger... and hey, fascinating theme on this one), Classic Doctor Who: "The Invisible Enemy" parts 3 & 4 (hilariously bad special effects make this one a treat), Torchwood: "A Day in the Death" (if he doesn't have any breath, how can he talk?), Supernanny: "Tafoya Family" (liquid soap in the mouth is VERY BAD), and Robin Hood: "For England...!" (whoa, that one almost upset the apple cart).

Comics this week: JLA Classified #53 had Aquaman! And he did ok, as well! And there was even an "alternate" Aquaman! Happy happy Laura! Justice Society of America #13 was more Kingdom Come, and not enough of my favorite JSA characters. Eh. JSA Classified #35 was Wildcat and not much else. I don't mind Wildcat, but he's not my favorite of the JSA.

Moving on to other books, Fallen Angel #24 was just confusing to me. Why is V for Vendetta hanging out there? Doctor Who #1 is let down by the artwork. The story needed strong art in all the "talking bits", but it didn't get it. I hope the art is better in the next issue. PS238 #29 was great as usual. I've been a big fan of Tyler, but The Flea has me in near-hysterics half the time now as well.

This week's library movie was 300. What a crappy movie! Very stylish, very pretty in some ways, but s-l-o-w as molasses and without enough plot to support the action. How can you possibly make a movie about the Battle of Thermopylae that's this boring? I've read the graphic novel, I thought I knew what to expect, but this was just silly junk. Nice try, but not good at all.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Yearly Scourge Has Returned!!!

That's right! Girl Scout Cookies!

We went shopping tonight and at both stores we stopped at there were Girl Scouts proudly asking, "Would you like to buy some cookies?" Legitimately, I could've said, "No, thanks, I've already ordered mine." ... But where would be the fun in that?

At the first store, as we left, I confronted the poor startled girls after they asked their question with, "Are they made from REAL Girl Scouts?" Both girls faces went slightly pale with shock, while one of the mothers standing guard behind them laughed and prompted them with, "Yes, yes they are!" The girls, smart as whips, quickly got into the spirit and started pointing out which cookies had which types of Girl Scouts in them. If I hadn't already ordered cookies, I would've bought many more boxes from them! I got one box of Do-si-dos (55 calories a cookie).

At the second store, the girls had the more typical reaction. Though one of the mothers reminded the girl about the movie where the joke originally came from. I bought one box from them as well, Tagalongs (75 calories a cookie).

*sigh* I have some money set aside in a drawer for my niece when she comes calling with our pre-ordered boxes. And I have to avoid any more Girl Scouts for the rest of the selling season, because I just cannot resist playing with their minds.

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Math Problem

I read about China's Population Problem, and began to wonder about the gender imbalance. Putting aside the ugly moral problems involved (and the horrible practice of infanticide of baby girls), the question can be a fairly straightforward probability problem.

In urban areas, families are limited to one child per couple. But in rural areas, there is a one boy/two children limit. If your first child is a boy, you are done. But if your first child is a girl, you may have a second child.

Would this policy lead to any gender imbalance in and of itself?