Friday, July 31, 2009


It's been almost a week since I last posted, so before my sister pops in again and asks me if I'm still alive -- assuming she's still alive, and not melted into a puddle of goo in the unfamiliar heat -- I figured I ought to, y'know, post something.

So here are some completely random things about my life at the moment:

1. I was eating leftover pot roast for four days, but it is gone now, and I am sad, because I had not yet grown tired of it. One of those days, I took some of the leftover meat & veggies and baked it into a pre-made pie crust for a yummy meat pie. I can recommend this as an excellent way to vary your leftover pot roast diet.

2. I have been spending far too much time lately playing Plants vs. Zombies. Those of you whose fault this is, you know who you are.

3. I have also been obsessively watching Freaks and Geeks on DVD, which is pretty amazing, since something that puts me back in the mindset of high school seems like pretty much the last thing I'd ever want to watch. But, wow, is that a good show. (The person responsible for this also knows who he is.)

4. I have a ticket to see this next month. Should be fun!

5. Also next month I am doing some kind of road trip with my mother. I'm not even entirely sure where we're going. I think we're maybe going to drive north, then west, and see how many national parks we hit before we have to turn around. Wish me luck!

6. If there was going to be a 6, I've forgotten what it was. (Oh, wait, I just remembered. But it was even more boring than the rest of this stuff, so never mind.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Culinary Triumph

Ooh, baby. I have pot roast so tender I just dipped it out of the pot with a ladle. Man, I don't know why I don't use my slow cooker more often.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maybe It Is Possible To Have Too Many Books? Naaaah.

The Great Book Migration, it is finished! Well, there are one or two little things still to do. I've got a small bookcase that's now completely empty, which I think I'm going to fill up with magazines or something... later. But otherwise, everything is now where I want to it be. Yay! I guess that's what happens when, instead of three days of intermittent, leisurely activity, you for some reason opt for one sweaty, day-long marathon session of hammering and dragging and hauling and re-arranging.

I must say, I am quite pleased with the results. I very much like having the non-fiction in the computer room. It just feels like it belongs here. And, as predicted, adding an extra three bookcases allowed me to accommodate everything beautifully.

Here's what my dining room looks like now:

That's just one side of it, of course. There's two more bookcases on the opposite wall: one the same size as these, and another that's a bit wider, but has only three shelves. (I couldn't use a bigger one there, as it would have blocked a light switch and a thermostat control.)

This room now looks much more like a library than it does like a dining room, certainly, but I regard that as a good thing, because a) I think any room can be substantially improved by becoming more library-like, whatever its function. (Well, OK, maybe not the bathroom, but only because the books would get soggy.) And b) I almost never actually dine in there, anyway, so I might as well get some use out of it.

Note the nearly empty bookcase on the right, which was pretty much the entire point of the exercise.

So, I am happy, yes, but also very tired and very achy. My current plan is to spend the next couple of days lying on the sofa reading more books to put on my new shelf space.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle...

The great book migration has begun! I've only taken the first few preliminary steps so far, but hopefully I should be all done by Friday.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

That Light In The Sky Is A Place That We've Been.

Now here is an awesome way to mark the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11: taking pictures of the Apollo landing sites from orbit. Check out the Apollo 14 pic, in particular, where you can actually see the trail left by the astronauts' footprints. Wow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Butterfly Porn

I was greeted with an odd and interesting sight in my front yard this morning when I went out to bring in my garbage bin: a couple of mating butterflies. So of course, being the shameless voyeur that I am, I had to take pictures.

Actually, I took a lot more pictures than that, but I figured there were probably only so many photos of butterfly fucking you guys would want to see. I had lots of opportunity to snap away, though, because butterflies definitely have what you'd call stamina. I went back out again an hour later, and they were still at it. In fact, I was beginning to worry that there might have been some kind of problem and maybe they'd gotten stuck, but, no this paper I found online (warning: PDF) assured me that butterflies can spend up to three hours in the act, and that larger ones take longer than smaller ones. Well, these were certainly the biggest butterflies I've ever seen around here, so I guess they were just being normal.

Anybody know exactly what kind of butterflies these are, by the way? I have an insect identification guide, but I'm not sure I've ever been able to correctly identify a single bug from it. These look a lot like the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail picture, but I think I might be a smidge far west for those.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy B-Day To Me!

So. As of today, I am 38. I'm getting to the point now where my age is starting to seem like a totally meaningless number, but I guess maybe in a couple of years I'll feel differently.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Aaargh! Zombies! They're everywhere! It's the freakin' zombie apocalypse, man! I'm going to try to hold them off with my giant metal wrench, but if you don't hear from me by tomorrow, assume I'm already out looking for tasty brains to munch on, and for gods' sakes, don't come looking for me!

(Well, OK, not really. But yesterday my sister told me that this blog was "too boring" lately, so I figured I'd try to spice it up for ya. Zombies are exciting, right?)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Your Regularly Scheduled Memey Thing

Current clothes: White t-shirt from the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo. It has a picture of a space shuttle in front of the Earth and the moon. They are very much not to scale. Short-sleeved blue deinim shirt over that, unbuttoned. Blue jeans. White socks. Black belt. No shoes.

Current mood: Not too bad, actually. I was feeling a little bit groggy and out of it, thanks to my current messed-up sleep schedule, but after a nice lunch I feel a bit perkier.

Current music: Nothing at the moment, really

Current annoyance: Primarily aforementioned messed-up sleep schedule, I suppose. I've been trying to keep 26-hour days in order to rotate myself forward from night shifts to day shifts. This can work very nicely, but when you keep waking up after six hours for some stupid reason, it becomes problematic.

Current thing: Keeping wacky hours.

Current desktop picture: The Jellyfish Nebula.

Current book: The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown. And, man, "harrowing" is right. Books like this can certainly give you a sense of perspective on your own problems. Even on the worst days of my life, at least there was never any cannibalism. Also, I believe I now understand why people in California are crazy. Anybody who would make that journey in a covered wagon is certifiably insane. Presumably this is genetic.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment, but Brain Radio's been weirdly hyperactive lately. I had "Particle Man" stuck in my head for two days earlier this week.

Current DVD in player: The season 2 finale of The Pretender. I was listening to the commentary track.

Current refreshment: Lemon-ginger tea.

Current worry: That my stupid feet are never going to stop giving me problems. Bah. I'm really going to have to see a podiatrist. Probably very soon.

Current thought: My foot hurts, and it makes me pouty.

Monday, July 06, 2009


My car is working again! $25 for a new battery cable, and I'm back in business and can cross one major worry/annoyance off my list. Hooray!

While I Wait For Monday Morning, Have Some Random Links

Farscape DVD News: Complete Series Coming from A&E: Announcement about a new Farscape DVD megaset, to be released in November. May possibly be of interest to some of you.

50 Reasons No One Wants to Publish Your First Book : A very amusing list. Although I would read a book about vegetarian zombies.

Vanishing Head Illusion: Freaky fun with your blind spot!

Giving up my iPod for a Walkman: A 13-year-old's reactions to having his iPod replaced with a vintage Sony Walkman. Made me feel kind of nostalgic, even though I only ever had a cheap Radio Shack knockoff, not an actual Walkman. Ah, kids, today, they don't know how good they have it.

Baby bat eating and care: Little orphaned baby bats! I honestly don't know how people can think bats are ugly. These little guys are the most adorable things ever!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Sadly, Independence Means "Having To Deal With Your Own Crap Yourself."

I have decided I do not much like holiday weekends. They're like some sort of engraved invitation for things to go wrong. Now my roof is leaking again, my car has died, and I seem to have lost my work key. None of this is necessarily disastrous, but it's all deeply annoying, and, of course, there's not a thing I can do about any of it until Monday.


While I'm At It, Happy Anniversary, Crab Nebula!

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

Also, here's an interesting trivia fact from my astronomy wall calendar: the Earth is at aphelion today, meaning it is now at its farthest point from the sun: 152.1 million kilometers.

Only now I'm wondering if it's somehow unpatriotic to use the metric system on Independence Day. Y'know, that's one area in which I wish we were a little less independent.

To Continue With This Theme...

Dear comics,

Naming your aliens by spelling your friends' names backward is not clever and cute. It is distracting as hell and snaps my suspension of disbelief into tiny little pieces. Please stop it.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Hollywood Pet Peeve #97

Dear television,

Astronomers do not wear lab coats, as there is very little danger of accidentally spilling a galaxy on your clothing.

I hope this information is of some use to you.