Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

May 2011 bring you peace, happiness, and a new puppy from your local Humane Society. Or a kitty. Or even a tiger.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It doesn't will confused me.

Using ambiguous tenses is only confusing to those who haven't yet mastered the art of Time Travel.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Quote for the Day

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." (Carl Sagan)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moody Bluegrass

I came across this used-CD, a 2004 issue, while Christmas shopping. Since I like The Moody Blues and love Bluegrass, this seemed to be a nice fit. . Sadly, it wasn't. Oh, the Bluegrass was good - they even brought in Alison Krauss for big-name backing vocals. And the song selection was decent too. . But the bottom line is - the two genres don't go together well. Let's face it, we listen to Bluegrass for the pickin' and grinnin'. The vocals don't count for much (didn't anyone ever tell Bill Monroe he couldn't sing for sh*t), and the lyrics count for even less. Alison could sing us the words from the Sears catalogue and we wouldn't care. . OTOH, Moody Blues music is complex, tightly arranged, and the lyrics are an integral part. Forcing fiddle pickers to play Moody Blues songs is like making Michael Bolton do a Frank Zappa tribute album. So overall, Moody Bluegrass gets a 5*/10 rating. The effort was there, but it was doomed from the start. . Track Listing (best ones in pink) :
01.Lovely To see you Again
02. Land of Make Believe
03. The Voice
04. The Other Side of Life
05. It's Up to You
06. Ride My See Saw
07. I'm Just a Singer in a Rock & Roll Band
08. Legend of a Mind
09. Your Wildest Dreams
10. Nights in White Satin
11. Late Lament (this was terrible)
12. Never Comes the Day

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Excerpt for the Day

Hunt had been born in New Cross, the shabby end of East London, south of the river. His father had spent most of his life on strike or in the pub on the corner of the street debating grievances worth going on strike for. When he ran out of money and grievances, he worked on the docks at Deptford. Victor's mother worked in a bottle factory all day to make the money she lost playing bingo all evening.
.
(from Inherit The Stars, by James P. Hogan)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

RIF - Xmas 2010

I hope everyone's Christmas Day was fabulous and Santa brought you lots of kewl presents. He brought me over 6000 pages of fantastic books to read in 2011. Iain Banks, Neil Gaiman, Ian Rankin, Peter Hamilton, China MiƩville, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and David Foster Wallace. Is that a great list of authors, or what?! . Yeah, it was a great trade for the cookies, milk, and coffee-with-Bailey's I left him.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May peace and happiness abide and abound in your household this holiday season.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book Excerpt for the Day

my neighbor gives me the key to his house
when he goes on vacation.
.
I feed his cats
water his flowers and his
lawn.
.
I place his mail in a neat stack
on his dining room table.
.
am I the same man who planned to
blow up the city of Los Angeles
15 years ago?
.
(from Charles Bukowski's "The Old Anarchist")
.
I once vowed that I would blow up various Valley National Bank locations in and around Tempe. It had to do with them charging a $10 ISF fee when I was trying to close out my account at the end of a college year. I miscalculated (or they steered me wrong), and missed by 39 cents. For that I was penalized the ten dollars.
.
It felt good to vent to all my friends and acquaintances, and threaten VNB with explosive catastrophes. Later on however, it occurred to me that if anybody ever really did start vandalizing VNB banks, I would instantly become the prime suspect.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My favorite Christmas CD's

Well not really. Although I did see a Flaming Lips Christmas CD today when I was out finishing up my shopping. I almost bought it, just cuz it seemed so bizarre. If I get motivated enough, I may go back tomorrow are snag it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Excerpt for the Day

Florida's beauty creates the illusion of civilization. It is a thin but functional veneer, like fake-wood contact paper stuck to flimsy particle board. Glistening condos, palm trees down the median, corkscrew water slides and waiting lines of retirees spilling onto restaurant sidewalks at four P.M., hoping for a shot at an early-bird $3.95 Sterno tray of Swedish meatballs. Spring training, mermaids, trained whales. Brave New Disney World, where commercial microbiologists try to isolate the DNA responsible for bad thoughts and free will. Space shots and orange juice with more pulp and roadside hot dog vendors in T-backs causing traffic mishaps at the latest apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who chose to appear this time in squeegee residue on the plate glass of a financial tower on U.S. 19.
.
(from Hammerhead Ranch Motel, by Tim Dorsey)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Waiting for Godot

Miss Emily on the left; Preacher on the right. Alternative title : Firesign Theatre's "Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him".

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fraggle Rock

(Sighs). Nowadays, they just don't make TV shows like they used to.

Friday, December 17, 2010

RIP - Captain Beefheart

a.k.a. Donald Glen Vliet. Born : 01/15/41. Died : 12/17/10. In the music world, where everybody tries to sound like someone else, you were an original. Unfortunately, that didn't translate into a lot of sales.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tomorrow's Schedule

01. Quit dawdling.
02. Get my act together.
03. Stop playing HOMM-3.
04. Caffeinate.
05. Get my butt out the door and GET STARTED XMAS SHOPPING!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Excerpt for the Day

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose above the misty peaks of Imfaral. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
.
(from Towers of Midnight, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wonderphilly Cliff Lee

The big news of the (sports) day is that Cliff Lee surprised all the experts by spurning the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, and signing instead with one of his former teams - The Philadelphia Phillies. . Since I'm both a Phillies and Rangers fan, this is okay. Particularly since it means the "we don't win championships, we buy 'em" Yankees at least didn't get him. For the Phillies, it means a dynamite 1-through-4 starting rotation, and come Spring Training, they will probably be the oddsmakers' favorites to win it all next year. .

As a Texas Rangers fan, I suppose I should be upset about this, as Lee seemingly willed the Rangers to the World Series. last year. But the going price was a 7-year contract (6 years plus an option, actually), and summers can be brutal in Arlington. Lee would have been great next year as a Ranger, but for how long after that? Seriously, Texas' next major acquisition should be an indoor park. I don't see a top-flight pitcher ever signing a long-term contract with the Rangers until that happens.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Excerpt for the Day

"Father, what more should I do for the cleansing of my soul?" ventured Eluric, quivering to the last subsiding tremors of guilt.
.
"Penance may well be salutary for you," admitted the abbot somehwat wearily. "But beware of making extravagant claims even upon punishment. You are far from a saint - so are we all - but neither are you a notable sinner; nor, my child, will you ever be."
.
(from The Rose Rent, by Ellis Peters)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December Vacation

It's been a busy and successful year where I work. As with a lot of people in our Tech Services Dept, I face the end of the year with a poopload of vacation days and a need to use 'em or lose 'em. To accomplish this, I am off quite a bit in the near future. In fact, I only work two more days this month. . I haven't had many chances to time- and dimension-travel for a while, so I think I'll go hiking with my buds Xthnrr and Gnmmkq, under the dual suns on the planet Delvinium-25 (see above) and travel back 3,000 years or so for the Winter Solstice celebration at (what you folks call) Stonehenge. . Or go Christmas shopping. Which seems rather mundane, but would keep peace in the family.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Quip for the Day

"My faith in our Afghanistan mission will be restored when the president can pre-announce that he's making a trip there." (Bill in Portland, Maine; via Dailykos)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

RIP - Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards
b. : 03 July 1949
d. : 07 December 2010
. Rest easy now, Elizabeth Edwards; your trials are over. You had a tumultuous life, but Lord knows, you would've made a fabulous First Lady. Hell, you would've been a better choice for Chief Executive than your cheating husband and/or the Alaskan idiot. .

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

RIP - Don Meredith

"Dandy" Don Meredith
b. : 10 April 1938
d. : 05 December 2010
. Yeah, I'm a Redskins fan. So we don't give a lot of press here to ex-Dallas Cowboys. But Don Meredith was the epitome of class. A good football player, and an excellent announcer on Moday Night Football. .

Friday, December 03, 2010

ASU 30 - UofA 29

It's been a miserable season for my Arizona State University Sun Devils, but at least it ended on a high note last night, when we whupped the Arizona Wildcats 30-29 in double-overtime. Blocking two extra point attempts, which was the margin of victory. . No, we won't be going to a Bowl game - for the third year in a row now. But we knocked UA down a couple of pegs. And we did it in Tucson, no less. .
So congratulations Sun Devils!! It makes me kinda wish I had remembered to watch it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What makes my job exciting

Yeah, that's me he's talking about. Except that my title is Director of Quality Control, not Quality Assurance. And those poisonous spines were more of an irritant than an actual safety hazard.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Book Excerpt for the Day

"Why is it," Ash said under her breath, "that when the brown and sticky hits the fan, I'm always standing real close by?"
.
Thomas Rochester shrugged. "Just lucky, boss, I guess..."
.
(from Carthage Ascendant, by Mary Gentle)