Thursday, December 31, 2009

Compare and Contrast

Thanks goes to my hubby for this very entertaining idea. What sort of latte would a Gnome drink, anyway?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

And Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson (aka, It Takes a Time-traveling, Space Station, Fantasy World Village to Fight Cancer)

Artists give to us all the time. A long time ago Spider Robinson gave me a love of quirky speculative fiction. Technically he gave me that for free because I bummed copies of OMNI magazine off my brother, so it was a gift in a way. To this day my husband knows that an easy gift option is to find out if Spider has published anything new because I'm always delighted to see anything from him. Do you see how this has been a one-way relationship between Spider and me? I've only had to buy one book out of my own pocket.

Well, now Spider needs something from me. And from you. His wife Jeanne has been suffering from cancer for some time. Rare, nasty cancer. I don't think I have to tell you that in America that means you can go from a fairly comfortable life to shaking a can for nickles down on the corner pretty quickly. Fortunately for Spider and Jeanne they are citizens of a really terrific community - SFF geeks. Scalzi is the one who tipped me off by sending me to the Blog Rally post. I did some research to make sure everything was on the up and up (don't trust everything you read on the internet, right?) and I've found that there are a myriad of ways to help.

Paypal donations to
More details on her friends fundraising at
Info from Jeanne herself at
All proceeds from this e-book go the Robinsons (if purchased by 12/31; additional funds can be added)

Go forth, do good things. And say hi to Spider and Jeanne for me.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Star Trek: Beautiful Misery

In celebration of Monday being Sci-Fi and Bureaucracy day we've opened up the Star Trek (2009) DVD that I got for Christmas. It reminds me that the new movie is so beautiful, so well cast, so spectacular, that it is almost, almost, almost possible to completely miss the fact that the writing is utter crap. When we saw it in the theater it wasn't until after we were outside that I realized the plot holes big enough to fly the Enterprise through. Further, they could have removed the whole thing that masquerades as "the main plot" (i.e., ditch Nero/Bana) and I would have been happier. Then we could've just followed our favorite characters around while they give each other a hard time and the biggest plot issue would have been the Kirk/Spock/Uhuru love triangle. It also would have saved me from the moment in the movie when they reveal The Red Matter and I asked myself, "Damn, is this product placement for Target branding?" Seriously, that was my first reaction. NOT the way to engage the emotions of your audience. Although it did make me crave some pretty, useless items for my home.

And the whole Sulu with a katana thing? I'm sure that George Takei rolled his eyes at that one, cool and modernistic a weapon as it may have been (wicked cool transformer katana!) it totally flew in the face of the non-stereotyping choice of a foil that George had fought for in the series. Yes, I caught the nod when 2009 Sulu says he studied fencing. But if they wanted something sturdier than a foil they should've gone with a sabre. In his own mind 1966 Sulu is more Musketeer than Samurai. It's his life, he has the right. Must we change him so much? Have we slid backwards on racial stereotyping since 1966? I often think we have.

But, all that aside, they did manage to capture a big part of what made Star Trek immortal: camaraderie and humor. Hopefully next time out they can also tap into the intelligence and social commentary aspects. Until then I will content myself with just not watching the parts I think are stupid. It's a shorter movie that way, but much more enjoyable. This unfortunately means that I have to skip the Spock Prime scenes, the Spock I love above all Spocks, but I can only hope that Leonard Nimoy will forgive me. I daresay that if I talked to him about it he would shrug and say, "Don't look at me, I didn't write the goddamn thing. If I had it would have made more sense."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Actually I Hate "Ender's Game"...

Did you see the Fiction Reader's Guide to Social Interaction? Once I knew the question (what's your favorite novel?) and the premise (that the question is difficult to answer because, *gasp*, you wouldn't answer it honestly!) I just scanned down through looking to see if my honest answer might be mentioned, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, because I think it's the coolest book ever - and assumed it probably wouldn't be in there. Instead I found this section:
The choice of Frank Herbert’s Dune or Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy insinuates that you were too ashamed to admit your first choice, Ender’s Game, because it involves non-satirical spacecraft and is not yet vindicated by being “retro” or “classic.”
Errrrrgh!!! I HATE Ender's Game. As Dorothy Parker said, some books are not to be tossed aside lightly but hurled with great force. For me, Ender's Game was one of those books. Yes, I know opinions vary but that's mine. I don't want anyone assuming that I use The Hitchhiker's Guide as a beard for that book. Ever. So now I feel like if anyone asks about my favorite novel I will have to answer with, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... and, by the way, I really hated Ender's Game." An answer that, depending on the company, might get me into a fight. But some things are worth fighting over and for me books are almost always in that category.

Perhaps I need to clean my eyes with another reading of the Hitchhiker's trilogy. I've read the whole thing at least ten times starting when I was nine years old. Because when I say favorite I mean favorite.

*Revised 1/5/10 to be slightly, uh, less reactionary. Slightly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

Sometimes it's easy to keep up with the coolness of the universe, and other times you realize you've completely missed some things. Graphic apps that show you what's on your Mac hard drive (and makes it look like an old quilt)? Awesome. Thank you, iJustine.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Finding Nimoy

After contemplating Leonard Nimoy's "I Am Spock" and "I Am Not Spock" came up with this logic problem (link to Twitpic) which I'll be using on the "Topic" page for Leonard Nimoy.

Guess They Want to Know What Soogle Means...

There are Googlebots crawling all over my blog today like the nanobots from SG-1. It's kind of freaky. Not sure if this means that my page ranking is going to go up or down. The Thoughts are still #2 in Colbert Fan Fiction after
I mean, come on. You can't fight Digg.


Spock Invasion! More baking, more to glaze. Must be the movie... on Twitpic Combining my beloved Spock with whimsy? MUST HAVE! Thank you for the cuteness @iktizo. Order yours at her Etsy Shop.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dystopian or Pragmatic? The Gervais Principle

Do you watch The Office? Would you consider it to be a cynical look at aspects of working life, or a fully realized alternate view of management theory? Venkat at makes a pretty good case for the latter in his post The Gervaise Principle, or The Office According to "The Office."

If we accept the basis that he describes, then a few questions come to mind. First, is this a dystopian alternative view of reality or just a pragmatic one? In other words, do you only see it this way if if you are wearing celadon-colored glasses (or whatever the opposite of rose-colored would be), or do you see it this way if you are seeing clearly? For my own peace of mind I prefer to believe the former because if it is the clearest, truest view of reality then I would like to turn in my library card right now.

However, regardless of how you take it, the obvious next question is: how do I fit in? For myself, I'm obviously clueless. Not having the capacity for sociopathy (and I think that's a GOOD thing) nor much capacity for shirking (again, believing that's good!) I'm simply excluded from both the top and bottom of the hierarchy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

+10 Resume of Hiring

We absolutely, positively must all look for jobs where we can use a character sheet format for resumes. Geek Dad is right that the originator totally cheated on his stats, but listing your deity as "Caffeine" is definitely a redeeming item. Not sure I would've used Wisdom as the dump stat. Basically his profile translates to "likeable, talented guy who is unable to learn from his mistakes." Which, I guess if it's true... well, he can always say he warned you.

Props to @jennreese for the link.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dear Advertisers

Having your ads blare out of my TV at two to three times the volume of the show I'm watching does not endear you to me. When you're annoying enough I write you on my list of Things-I-Will-Never-Buy. The list is getting very long.

Please stop it.

Sue London

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What is Your Modern Communication Style?

Broadcaster: You love blogging because it gives you a chance to really get your stuff out there for others to see. It might be opinion, expertise, or just things you find interesting. Now you love Twitter because you can bark out 140 character info bites whenever you feel like it. More than anything else you just have the need to express yourself. Sometimes you notice the reactions that are flowing back but other times you don't.

Connector: If you blog, your favorite part is that you and your peeps (meaning your closest friends and family) can keep up with and tease each other. You have probably fallen in love with Facebook because it has all the best parts that you liked about blogging without all those trolls and other world-wide-web creatures. You watch YouTube videos that people in your circle recommend and probably have a Flickr account because even if you don't post things yourself you like to be able to leave comments for those you love.

Explorer: You might have a blog but it would look a lot like a Broadcaster's. You spend your internet time finding new things and sharing them with like-minded people who will feed their explorations to you... so that you can go explore those things. Primarily you Digg, Stumble around, and find the internet You have your fingers in everything but don't feel the need to bond via the web like your Connector friends do. You enjoy because investigating how people interact is sometimes more satisfying for you than interacting.

Gamer: You've probably never blogged, nor are you likely to tweet or facebook. You're here for one very serious purpose and that is maximum fun - whether it be measured in kills, points, quests, or some other scoring system. You use things like Vent,  message boards or your game consoles to keep in touch and your gamer group may bond over game-themed videos. You don't have to hide it, we know you watch The Guild

Info-Junkie: Why have a blog? There's no time to write anything when there are all these wonderful things to READ on the internet. You enjoy Fark, Slashdot, Scribd, and various blogs and news sites that you've discovered. You mastered RSS readers early and have a hard time understanding people who don't want to enjoy everything the web has to offer (meaning information, of course). For you, internet communication is incidental: sharing must occur because that is the most efficient way to parse information.

Networker: If you have a blog or Twitter account they are associated with your business. You are a member of LinkedIn, have a profile on if you freelance, and may have explored Facebook because of all those articles that came out about how it was the best place to connect for job opportunities. You RSS articles from key trade journals and receive filtered news from major business sources like WSJ or FastCompany. For you the internet is not a toy, it is very serious business.

Shopper: For you the internet was the solution you had been looking for to accommodate your shopping needs and your communication is focused around that. Your particular interest might be designers, saving money, or general style, and when you use a social website you optimize it for your shopping needs. You probably connect to other shoppers through lists and reviews, like on If you are a saver you might be disappointed that Froogle never took off (fyi, they are trying again with Google Product Search) and you check sites like the Yahoo! Shopping deals. If you are a style guru you probably enjoy things like Kaboodle, StyleHive, and Wists. You're not particularly likely to have a blog unless you've got a solid circle of like-minded shoppers that you need to connect with on a regular basis. Even so, you are more likely to use message boards and shopping sites to share information.

Do you have just one of these modern communication styles or are you some kind of hybrid?

*Updated 11/30/09 to correct the oversight of Gamer. They are a particular brand of communicator.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lyrics for "The First Mate is a Monkey" from Disney's Swashbuckling Sea Songs! I'm not the only person who loves this song from Swashbuckling Sea Songs because every few days someone comes by searching for the lyrics. Since no one else has posted them let me perform that public service. You can thank me in the comments.

5/20/10 Update: Posted the song from YouTube.

Quick link to get someone back here?
The First Mate Is A Monkey (mp3 on Amazon)
The first mate is a monkey
The leader of the crew
He was born to pirate the seas
He'd rather sail on the wild ocean blue
Than to swing in the coconut trees
Oh how that monkey climbs
Up in record time
So we call him Prime Mate

The ship's cook is a parrot
What a chatty bird
He's always fast with a quip
Each morning he'd ask him,
"Monkey what's the word?"
Oh they had the greatest friendship
He made banana stew
For the Cap n' crew
I think you'd like a taste, too

The first mate is a monkey
Say "aye, aye sir!"
He was born in the jungle
With big ears and a long, long tail

The first mate is a monkey
Tell you why, sir
The monkey is a pirate
Who was made to live on the seas
And always sail

Well, we docked down in Rio on a windy day
The monkey was keeping an eye
Parrot said, "Monkey, there's nothing more to say
So it's time for this parrot to fly."
The monkey shed a tear for his old buccaneer
And said, "Let's sail out of here."

The first mate is a monkey
Say "aye, aye sir!"
He was born in the jungle
With big ears and a long, long tail

The first mate is a monkey
Tell you why, sir
The monkey is a pirate
Who was made to live on the seas
And always sail

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cookie Monster: Vindicated

After three years of being forced to express a public preference for fruit and eggplant, the Cookie Monster was vindicated by the weight loss success of followers of The Cookie Diet.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Couldn't George Lucas Explain it Like This?

What a great way to round out a sci-fi and bureaucracy Monday, with an analysis of how the key agents of the rebellion were really R2-D2 and Chewbacca. In A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope: Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III Keith does a great job of not only explaining how the movies flow, but making me almost like the whole thing. Because of these healing abilities I'm guessing that he is either a Jedi himself or a level 30 cleric.

Props to @jonrog1 from Kung Fu Monkey and Leverage fame for bringing this excellent essay to our attention.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Quest for Content!

Another page in the book of "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

The Quest for Content! Kev and Kell

Note that the year on this is 1996. Wonder how many zeros we should add to the end now?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Princess and the Frog

Oh, how I love, love, LOVE Disney movies. Waiting for The Princess and the Frog has been hard, because there is a wee bit of concern that it could suck and I don't want it suck, especially since it is centered on beloved New Orleans.

Now Disney, knowing my addiction well, has emailed me about the release. It will be nationwide on December 11th and there will be a limited release on November 25th in NY & LA.

I stared at that a long time.

Don't you, I thought, want to include New Orleans in that early release? For a moment my brain even saw it as NOLA (abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana if ya'll don't know). But alas, no.

Thank you for the email addressed to me and signed by you, Mr. Lasseter, but come closer, closer. Yes, lean over here and I will grab hold of your funky Hawaiian shirt and we will have words. Are you listening?

THE RIGHT PLACE FOR AN EARLY RELEASE IS NEW ORLEANS. You should have involved yourself in renovating the Saenger (damaged in Katrina) and made the premier of The Princess and the Frog it's grand reopening. Failing that, find a nice theater and make a big deal out of it opening there and put that lovely city all over the news. Make it an event. Make it mean something. This is the first movie we've really had the opportunity to do that with so it amazes me that you didn't think of it yourself.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Knight

Wil Wheaton shows off his uber-geek chops with is post that is ultimately about character death in role-playing games, I'm saying this for the last time: HIS. NAME. IS. AEOFEL! Don't miss the "nerd-grief" text messaging portion. DND+ST=WIN.

By the way, the title of this post is half tribute to Dylan Thomas and half tribute to an explosive multi-character-death end to one of my husband's old games. The lingering quote from that session is,"What was the last thing to go through the paladin's mind? The gnome..."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I Learned From the Balloon Boy Episode

When you got in trouble as a kid wasn't the first thing your mom said, "So what have you learned from this?" Hopefully Falcon learned... something. I certainly learned a lot.
  1. We don't have news on news channels anymore. Although long suspected, this was the tipping point of confirmation. What we have are clucky knitting circles that sit in studios with cameras on them, babbling reflexively to the latest chaos to cross their line of sight, while being slightly less informed, intelligent, and/or savvy than the majority of people we run into on a daily basis. No, I wasn't watching The View. Yes, some of them had (or were capable of growing) beards. That didn't make them any less clucky. Sometimes more so. Honestly, my barista has more gravitas and better information.
  2. Be careful what you hear from your news source. Because they aren't careful what they read on the internet. They kept throwing out rumor and speculation by citing "some websites suggest." Turning to my husband I said, "I need to blog that the kids is actually a 2,000 year old vampire and although he fell from the balloon he's fine, he just needed the blood of twenty cows to heal his wounds. Very messy." You know, just to see if the news channels would bite. The only reason I didn't was because at that point we weren't sure the kid was ok and it would have been callous to disregard the family's feelings in an attempt to speculate. Obviously I don't have it in me to be a TV news anchor.
  3. Being a kid is harder now. Let's be honest, we all did really stupid things when we were kids. But the chance for us to be fodder and spectacle for a drama-hungry 24-hour news network was dramatically lower in the 80s or even the 90s. Before the 80s those networks didn't even exist and you REALLY had to do something to get on the sedate, stately nightly news - either local or national. I'm now a little scared to have kids because they will be growing up in the roaring 2010s where.. there will be roving cameras zipping around trying to catch something interesting happening? I don't know how it can get worse from here, I just assume that it will.
Maybe I'm the last one who should be reviewing the news networks since I actually don't watch them often anymore (or maybe that's the point). My primary news source? Kind of... ambient. Information is pretty much omnipresent in our lives and when I hear/see/sense something that interests me I follow up on it, usually with Google. (Usually on my Blackberry, so my learning is 24/7 and location-independent.) After that I would list Daily Show and Colbert Report (affectionately dubbed "the boys" in our house) and I read the Late Night Political Jokes list pretty consistently. Last, but not least, is checking in on my blogging circle periodically to see what's up.

All that makes me question: perhaps it isn't just the newspapers that are becoming irrelevant.

Oh, Balloon Boy, what have you done?

That Special Time of Year

For @JWOcker, a small sample of our Halloween decor stored away. Yes we put everything back in its box, including lights with those wicked little plastic trays you have to pop them back into. That's what makes us extra creepy. Time to decorate!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Email is Dead? I Think It Was Just In Nebraska

New! Now! Different!

That sort of sentiment is always entertaining because it's the same feeling people have always had (how's that for a paradox?), and supports the basic premise that the more things change the more they stay the same. Certainly there have been eras that are more "innovative" than others. But from where they stood in the mid-1920s, young Americans were every bit as smugly confident of their modernism as we are today (women's independence! cars! planes!). And don't get me started on the Enlightenment. But in another hundred years, probably less, others will be looking back on us and indulgently thinking how cute it was that we thought we were really cutting edge.

Which brings us to the concept of email and the exaggerated reports of its death. Rob Preston (InfoWeek) argues in E-Mail is Dead, Long Live E-Mail that email remains king because, quite frankly, people need to be prodded.

But for business communication there is really a simple analog between how we were doing business then (offices circa 1950-1995) and how we are doing it now.
Email = Memo
Chat = Phone Call
Feeds/Blogs/Tweets = Watercooler/Grapevine/Cocktail Party
Perhaps you've already noted that, egads, we are still using the items on the right side of the equations! We will probably never leave anything behind, we will just continue to expand our repertoire of communication options. Twenty years from now nothing will be quite as impressive as a REAL memo on REAL letterhead. Something that in 1961 we might have used to order office supplies. But in 1961, little excited monkeys that we are, we were extremely excited that we could keep a copy of that order due to our brand new Xerox machine. New! Now! Different! Or, as I like to call it: Same ol' same old.

Update: Just noticed that BlogThings recently added a What Email Function Are You? quiz. How timely. I'm "Archive."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Addicted to Immediacy

This year I tried Amazon Prime because I needed to ship a gift fast and two day shipping went from $20 to free...with an annual fee charged in two months. I worried that when the $60 charge hit I would be filled with regret. But now instead of regretting the impulse I consider Prime to be awesome with a side of awesome sauce. It pretty much guarantees that I will do all of my gift shopping on Amazon because it conquers my two problems - timeliness and shipping.

I love the 21st Century.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Malawi's MacGyver

If you missed William Kamkwamba on The Daily Show you can watch it over on his blog. I wouldn't be able to do justice to his story (primarily about a boy and his windmill) by trying to tell it here in an abbreviated form so just go check it out. He's brilliant.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck, Please Don't Suck...

To start off, I'm going to say something unpopular in my circles. Brace yourself.

I hated the new Battlestar Galactica.

Hated to the extent that the hissing, spitting, venomous creature I became when made to watch it meant everyone around me learned to keep me away from it.

On the other hand, I loved SG-1. And learned to become fond of Stargate: Atlantis.

So when the ads for SGU started and it looked like some bastard child of BSG and SG-1, well, I didn't expect the best...

Live blogging of reaction:
9:15pm - Thus far I've detected both the gentle humor of SG-1 (yea!) and 'night-time drama' of BSG (meh). I'm hopeful about the fact that one of my favorite actresses, Ming-Na, has a leading role. (You rock Ming-Na!)

10:00pm - For my taste there is way too much BSG and not nearly enough SG-1. There are also hints of Voyager which was not my favorite ST option.

10:15 - Got lost in reading the tweets and blog post comments over at Scalzi's. Stopped paying any real attention to the show.

Conclusion: Sorry guys, I will probably sit this one out. But at least I don't hate it with the visceral pain of acid eating my flesh like with BSG. I just didn't much care for it.

However, if my husband likes it and leaves it on all the time, which he will only do if it is good, I will eventually like it. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Tao of Kitty

My cat Mr. Bond has started tweeting the Tao of Kitty. I knew that when he started helping me type my papers in college that it would eventually come to something.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Destiny just handed me U2 tickets! Entertainingly, I am posting this from my Blackberry (sponsor of the tour).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vanilla is a Valid Flavor Choice

For some reason it bothers me that vanilla is treated as though it is a second-class flavor. Like with ice cream. Everyone is all lovin' on chocolate and strawberry and a billion other flavors. But vanilla? You offer someone vanilla and they ask you what comes on it. Vanilla is treated like a friend who isn't cool enough to invite to the party. And "plain vanilla" is a way of describing something boring and/or minimal.

Well, as Grumpy would say, I'm agin' it. (More after the jump.)


Just found out that one anagram for Sue London is Loosed Nun. WOOOOOOO! Excellent news on God and Cheese Day

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why Jay Quit the Tonight Show

Rather than watch the last night TV I usually keep up with the parts I like by reading the Late Night Political Jokes. All the snark, no interviews with idiots, no annoying bands you wish you'd never heard of, etc. However, this gives me a unique perspective on the jokes because although I can imagine their delivery, I'm really enjoying the writing.

Comparing current Leno to Tonight Show Leno I must conclude: Jay left the Tonight Show because the writing was too good.

1/13/10 Update: Reading some articles about the NBC Leno/O'Brien controversy it looks like O'Brien signed a contract five years ago to begin hosting the Tonight Show in 2009. Also, admittedly it looks like the writing on the Leno Show got much better after it settled in. In all their wisdom the NBC executives promptly canceled it... Then in an even brighter moved decided to screw over my Irish-American peep. We don't take that well. #TeamConan

Living in the Future

When we got the Prius we thought it would take awhile before we adjusted to jumping into a car and just pressing a button instead of having to fish out car keys and turn over the engine. Actually, not so much. Within a week or so we found ourselves walking up to our house and wondering why it didn't just recognize us and let us in.

Now I see that Schlage has a lock that can be locked and unlocked from a cell phone. From anywhere. The Jetsons side of me says, "Squee!" But the cautious side of me is concerned about the whole new security paradigm that I would need to worry about.

But, hey, maybe if I'm living in the future there aren't any security concerns. George Jetson never seemed worried about it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Marketing Advice: You Can't Make Me Change if I Don't Want To

Do you remember the old Reese's Cup ads that were a little confrontational? "You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!" "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" And then they discover that the whole was better than the sum of it's parts and both go away happy.

Ok, so... do you remember when FedEx bought Kinko's? To me this rang with the possibility of Reese's Cups. Two great things that taste great together. I still called the store Kinko's (kinda the way that I call Reese's a peanut butter cup) even though they changed the sign to FedEx Kinko's. But today I just noticed that they changed the sign to FedEx Office. It's like the chocolate got rid of the peanut butter. What's up with that? Further, this makes me feel like they are waiting for me and my breed to die off because I know that for years (possibly years and years) I will continue to call it Kinko's. I will refer to it as Kinko's when talking to friends and co-workers. When I'm looking for another one I will ask people if they know where the Kinko's is. Kinko's has my share of mind and I'm perfectly happy with that. Good luck, FedEx, on making me change. I think of you when something absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, not when I need a copy of my D&D character notes (which, uh, yes, is why I was there today).

One entertainment from this, of course, is that it shows how Generica (the parts of America that are so generic that they are identical from place to place) has recreated in odd ways the feel of small town America. In another ten years knowing what used to be Kinko's will be like old-time directions. Instead of "remember old Johnson's field where that cow used to stand, take a left there" it will be "you know the place that used to be Kinko's, it's right next to that."


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Favor-ite Writers

If Scalzi can't promise that I will be smothered by adorable kittens and fluffy bunnies then I guess I just won't ever ask him for anything.

Actually, I'm kind of shocked that Scalzi got the reaction he did. I assume that he posted because somebody stepped over the line (thanks, whoever you are, for going and screwing it up for the rest of us). But it's obvious that he is as "in touch" with fans and budding authors as anyone ever has been, so a wag of my finger to those who are giving him a hard time. Yes, he can be a bit... hmmm, overbearing? Short? Touchy? Aggressive? But it doesn't take much reading of his blog to get the sense that yes, there is a grouchy bear side to him but he's also playful and interested in others.

I just want my kittens and bunnies.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Why Does Our Tea Suck?

My sister and I were discussing earlier that tea we drink that has been hand carried by loving friends from England is VASTLY superior to any 'imported' tea that we have bought here in the U.S. Why is that?

We blame the abolition of the Board of Tea Experts (aka Board of Tea Appeals).

Get on the issue, Tea Association, before we insist that another Imported Tea Act be passed.

Until we clear this up, my favorite "Earl Grey" is from California (does that technically make it Awesome Dude Grey?). Thank you, Ceylon Teas, for not sucking.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's All About Convenience

Mobile blogging is great for these moments. I was just at a gas station where they couldn't process my card at the pump. The attendant came over the speaker, "Number 16, press the pay inside button and come in after you pump." No. Bad news, but as well as selling me gas you are selling me the convenience of indulging my shyness. As an introvert I have a limited supply of interaction energy and I expended a surplus of it yesterday volunteering time at a call center. So I got back in my car, muttering my signature "you are of no use to me" under my breath, and scooted across the parking lot to the BP on the chance that their pump would work. It did and all was right in my world. They also promised that their gas would invigorate my car, which sort of scares me.
Quite often I doubt that companies really know what they are selling. In case you were wondering, yes. The gas was more expensive at the BP.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Today's Thought

My enthusiasm has been ground to a fine powder that, when mixed with my tears of despair, is used to caulk the crumbling foundation of our management structure.

Monday, August 31, 2009


How did we have so many Sci-Fi and Bureaucracy Mondays and miss writing about the Douglas Adam's game Bureaucracy? It came out in 1987 so its doubtful you can get a copy and/or run it on your current machine (the faster cpu might actually make it an efficient Bureaucracy and as Clean Gene warned us, the last thing you want is an efficient bureaucracy). To make up for that I found you some description and screen shots, so you can just pretend you're playing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Agent Simmons says "Ooh. Nokias are real nasty."

This month Fast Company is telling us about Nokia's plans to take over the world in their cover article Nokia Rocks the World: The Phone King's Plan to Redefine Its Business. Take it over and charge us all rent, mind you.

While reading the article I kept finding myself caught between finding cool things in their plan and then wondering whether their business model was downright evil. Alright, maybe evil is a bit strong (no doubt fueled by their description of the VP as "a cross between an Andy Warhol mystic and James Bond villain"), but a giggling enthusiasm for charging farmers in India $1 per month for a cell phone internet app that can help them with weather predictions and market prices seems a little sadistic somehow... because I imagine that is a very steep price for them. When I searched for the average income of an Indian farmer I came across this blog post from Devinder Sharma that cited it at 2,115 Rs in 2003 (that would be $43.28 American at current exchange rates). Could it be much more now? I doubt it. While trying to find a good source there were plenty of articles talking about the impoverished conditions of the Indian farmer, including one article that talked about increased suicide rates. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm trying to imagine spending more than a quarter of my income on a cell phone app (I assume the cost of the cell phone and plan is not included in that). Do I think it would be awesome for everyone in the world to have access to everything through the wonder of inexpensive phones and internet access? Yes I do. I'm just not sure that it can always be a profit thing.

Meanwhile, Fast Company is crazy good, so if you haven't read it consider this to be your sign that you should. It's like the Wired for business. If you don't read Wired either then get on that! Sheesh...

Bing! It's God and Cheese

Thought we would try out Bing! for God and Cheese Day, with some good results. First, something that seems like the best God/Cheese combo yet.
God's Country Creamery
An excerpt of their cheese descriptions will leave you with a craving. They open with "our Gouda has a melt-in-your-mouth, buttery texture and a pleasantly mellow flavor." Yes, I will send you all my money please-give-me-some-cheese. And I guess their graphic is pointing out that if happy cows make happy milk, imagine what our cows do since they are snuggled from infancy.
Then, some entertainment.
Milk-based product of the gods
"Adam milked God while he was sleeping..." claims the Uncylopedia. "Since then other gods have been milked by daring adventurers called milketeers adding to the variety of god-cheese available." Beware, the article goes downhill from there in terms of good taste...

More Geek Chic

The monkeys at ThinkGeek are always coming up with more things that we want in our Geek Abodes. Nothing says "Geek Interior Design" like decorating with light.
LED Panel
Glowing Coaster
LED Faucet Lights
LED Shower Lights

Of course, your Geek Look wouldn't be complete without one of these, but I assume if you're reading this you already own one.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Story Time: Cake

Having just put a cake in the oven I am reminded of a story. Back around '90 I was going to school full time and working a few part time jobs. Our chemistry professor had an annual "Chemistry Picnic" and asked for people to bring various dishes. I volunteered for cake.

It couldn't be just any old cake, you know. I was young, energetic, and loved to bake. So I made a plan for a giant Table of Elements Cake. Four 13X9 sheet cakes put together, frosted in buttercream, with a colored-gel table of elements in blue and red. It was going to be awesome.

Now, with a plan like that it doesn't matter how you approach it - it's going to take a good bit of time. Going to school full time and working a few mall jobs takes up a lot of time, so of course it pressed into sleeping time to get this done.

Here's the funny bit.

About four in the morning it suddenly occurred to me: I could have used a mix. Yes, I was making all four cakes from scratch as well as the four batches of buttercream frosting. My Mom is an excellent cook/baker and I had learned at her elbow so it had never crossed my mind to use a mix. I looked around the slightly flour-dusted kitchen and realized that this was one time that a mix probably would have been alright. (She had also bred into me a certain snobbiness about the idea of using cake mixes.)

Now I am not quite so young and energetic and I tend to use a mix more often than not (what just went into the oven was Betty Crocker Carrot Cake and some of her Cream Cheese Frosting is ready for when it cools). I can still do some mean scratch baking but tend to do that around the holidays when we have some time off and a good reason to give most of it away.

The good news was that the chemistry professor was old enough (70 or so at that time) to know the difference between mix and scratch, with a preference for the later. Unfortunately, it didn't count towards my grade...

The Wee Folk

If you have an interest in the Good People, check out Faerie Magazine and The Faerie Magazine Blog.

via OTIS

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just Need to Add a "Poker Playing" Version

Few things have made me laugh as hard as these pictures... Alien vs. Predator.

It's the little things like how the Predator holds his snifter and the Alien holds his cigarette that really put these over the top.


Not As Young As We Used To Be

There was a time when I could whip a three-bedroom place into shape for company within a few hours. Its important to keep track of when those days end because it can have a severe scheduling impact. After being unsuccessful in our evening attempt to achieve "good enough for company" (which means I will need to ask for a half day off tomorrow on short notice) I tried to think how long it has been since my halcyon white cyclone days. Answer: twelve years. Granted, as little as two years ago preparing for the arrival of some cousins included painting two rooms and the porch, but we spaced that out over at least a week. It doesn't hold a candle to the time we received our truckload of household furniture on Thursday and had the house ready for company Saturday morning. Without taking Friday off. Oh, youth. Where have you gone?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cheezy News Network

We need to come up with a new phrase that indicates when a cable news network has gone over the edge. When a sitcom collapses it is called "jumping the shark." When it's a classic movie series it is called "nuking the fridge" (something I would like to retroactively apply to Phantom Menace, by the way). And now with CNN coming up with shows like "Just Sayin'" and "What the..." (not to mention the cancer that is known as Lou Dobbs) we have to find a way write them off in pop cultural shorthand... in some way that is less lame than their own segment titles. Have they been taken over by 13 year olds? What's going on?

As background you should know that I was a huge fan of CNN when it started back in the early 80s. I loved Bernard Shaw's gravitas. I loved keeping up with international events. My only complaint was that eventually the news recycled because at ten years old I was happy to sit down and watch that channel all day long but when they started the cycle over again it harshed my curiosity.

It's possible that the classic purpose of CNN has become outdated - namely 24-hour NEWS. If people are really migrating to FoxNews and MSNBC then they don't want news they want opinion (specifically opinions that support their own and, you know, "An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it." ~Jef Mallett). It's like another era of yellow journalism. Pulitzer vs. Hearst has been replaced with Murdoch vs. well, I guess, Soros.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Infinite Monkey Theorem (or "What's the Deal with Twitter, Anyway?")

When it comes to technology these days it isn't just "have and have nots," there are also "do and do nots." When I mention something like Twitter the "do nots" usually ask, "What's the deal with Twitter, anyway?" They confide that they can't figure out what it is for or how it works or why anyone would want spend time on it anyway. This innocent and earnest confusion on their part has made me think more deeply about something that was previously just entertainment.

My conclusion is that Twitter is basically an enormous test of the Infinite Monkey Theorem. I mean, that's not what we each individually THINK we are doing. We are mostly amusing ourselves by posting stray thoughts and becoming a voyeur of other's stray thoughts. But with approximately six million monkeys pounding away at the keyboards - intersecting, overlapping, scaffolding, and weaving - we will sooner or later come up with the 21st century answer to Shakespeare. The question is whether we will recognize it when it happens. Because although we've built a machine of almost infinite potential, each tweeter has a very finite perspective.

You define your Twitter experience based on who you choose to "follow." Mine is defined by comedians, geeks, writers, and liberals. Basically I want to chuckle and see the thoughts of people who agree with me. It's like extending my friendship circle using my Blackberry and recent tweets often drop into my real life conversations. So although Jim Gaffigan didn't know it, he might as well have been standing in the coffee shop with us on Friday when he commented, "Biting into a chocolate chip cookie and realizing it's an oatmeal raisin cookie is kind of like finding out she's a dude."

Now that I'm done with this exploration of the tweetdom I'm going to tweet the link, which will display in the Twitter feed on my blog, thus creating a perfect circle and swallowing the universe. Sorry about that. For more info on Twitter, try checking out the Wiki entry.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

King of Pop? Apparently More Like Pharaoh of Pop!

We've often speculated that Elvis escaped to the stars (or Route 66... same thing) but now we have proof that Michael Jackson escaped through time. It's good to know that he didn't die he just traveled back to Egypt to rule as an eternal Boy King. Go see the evidence in Chicago. (Pics and articles on NBC, the Telegraph, and Chicago Sun Times.)

Story via J. W. Ocker of O.T.I.S.

Update: amusing review by The Inquisitr.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside (Shiver)

Tonight I had the privilege of attending Maggie Stiefvater's book launch party for "Shiver" in Williamsburg. Who is Maggie, you ask? Soon you will know because "Shiver" is expected to premier at #9 on the New York Times best seller list next week. It is a Young Adult (YA) novel with romance and werewolves. Yes, you read that right, romance and werewolves. From the two chapter reading that Maggie did tonight it promises to be even more enchanting than her previous books about homicidal fairies. (Yes, homicidal fairies. That series starts with the book "Lament.")

In person Maggie is delightfully enthusiastic and engaging, so this is definitely an author that I can recommend going out of your way to meet. She will be at Dragon Con if you are headed that way. Or you can check in at her blog for other appearances. We got the CD version to listen to on the way home so you will have to wait a few days for a full review. But the first two chapters were great.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Keep Doing What You've Done, Keep Getting What You've Got

It occurs to me, as I take the dogs out for the fifth time today (they get spoiled on weekends), that life has settled into a predictable and none too beloved pattern. Not that I have a bad life. But I'm more about impulse than routine, so having years go by with little variation is driving me oh-so-slightly crazy. And at this point I do have to look around and say, "Really? Is this all there is?" Because nothing is what I would have predicted and is all far, far less glamorous than I would have hoped. Not that I wanted to be a rock star or anything. Just something other than horrifyingly ordinary.

Must be time to shake things up...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Isn't This How Your Games Go?

If you play role playing games you know that even the most clever players will eventually have this sort of conversation:
Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: Have we anything resembling a plan?
Herger the Joyous: Ride till we find them. Kill them all.

13th Warrior

Don't You Love Bill Cosby?

While flipping through the Encore Video on Demand options we ran across "Bill Cosby: Himself." Since my copy is on VHS I haven't watched it in quite awhile and it was fun to stop and watch again. Having grown up with the vinyl albums his humor is quite ingrained and Cosby-isms litter my daily speech. Need to agree with someone? The answer is "obie-kaybie." Someone tailgating? Time to mutter "go around, buddy, go around." If you love Cosby, too, you can check out his official website at and follow him on Twitter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh Captain, My Captain

Tonight Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) said that if he got to 100,000 followers he would show up at Comic Con on Saturday and "whip that place into a frenzy." How could I let Captain Mal down? I re-tweeted for over an hour to drive up his hits. Can't you help a Captain out?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wow, that's bad

Do you ever have a food item that sounds like it should be good, so you keep ordering it when the memory of the last one fades? That's me with the McDonald's Iced Mocha. This time they have outdone themselves. It tastes like a stale coffee bean that has been rubbed around an ashtray.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson: America's Child

Right now at the Michael Jackson Memorial Smokey Robinson is calling Michael his "little brother." Love him or hate him, you've also known Michael for the last 40 years (or all of your life), probably as well you know most of the members of your own family. He grew up in our collective conscious and is, more than anyone else, America's child. Since there are expected to be at least one billion viewers of the memorial today he is America's best known child. One of our friends from Russia was crushed by the news of his death and said, "You don't understand. In the 1980s Michael Jackson WAS America to us, and we loved him."

Monday, July 6, 2009

Is Geek the New Gay?

Over the weekend I played Dungeons and Dragons with my friends and had the following conversation:
Him: when I was in England all the shops had these cool little fairy fossils. (Laughs) It would be so funny to see you put something like that in your office!
Me: Are you kidding? My boss bought me a Fairy Swatter, so I have all these static decal squashed fairies on the office window with the swatter hanging next to them.
He looks at me like I'm crazy. I'm not just "out" as a geek, I'm "out" to my boss. It was obvious he couldn't fathom such brazen behavior.

It's not the first time for this kind of conversation, either. At a conference just last year one of the other attendees noticed that I wear a dragon pendant. "It's just so awesome you can be open about it like that," she confided. "I love dragons. My favorite book ever is DragonLance. But I could never wear something like that." I nodded understanding and she continued wistfully. "I collect dragons and it's nice because my fiance puts up with that side of me..."

Is it really such a big deal to be a geek? There is obviously a strong seam of geekery running through our society. Look at the highest earning movies of all time. Look at the sales of speculative fiction. Look at the fact that gaming has it's own entire industry. It's time to come out of the game room, people.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh, it's so true..

You Are Dusk

You are a naturally idealistic and creative person. You look forward to nights where everything is possible.

You spend most of your energy on play. Work is okay, but the true you emerges after the work day is done.

You're an offbeat type that doesn't like rules or schedules. Life's too short to waste at a desk in a cube.

Whether you spend your night socializing or working on side projects, you like that your time is yours.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Color Theories...

Your Colors Say You Are Hopeful

When you are at peace, you are:
Deeply stable

When you are moved to act, you are:
Confident and optimistic

When you are inspired, you are:
Creative and productive

When your life is perfectly balanced, you are:
Totally in the moment

Your life's purpose is:
To change the world

Friday, April 3, 2009


What makes Soogle happier than a giant gorging feast of data? A giant rainbow cake of data, which is the best description I can think of for Don Markstein's Toonopedia. He definitely has an encyclopedic knowledge (or good research skills) and includes every type of Toon-life you can think of - animated, comic strip, comic book... Well, ok, I haven't seen any webcomics listed yet but it's a VERY long list and definitely a work in progress. And honestly, it is cool to have a place to go to read about Quick Draw McGraw because I can read about Penny Arcade anywhere.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Feeling Antisocial

I should buy this shirt and change my name to something like Obsidian. Then read Le Fanu and think dark thoughts...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Thoughts Are Stuck on the Self Made Scholar

As you may recall, I love learning (it's my number one Strength) and education, but often wonder if we're going about it all wrong. You know, if maybe instead of lighting fires we're just filling buckets* in our educational system. The Self Made Scholar is wondering the same thing but did something proactive and put together an awesome website of self-directed learning opportunities.

If you need a geek-reason to visit, check out the post Podcasts vs. Professors.

*“Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire.” William Butler Yeats

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Random Album Cover Meme

Pam over at Beancounters must've realized I had a hard week because she posted this totally awesome meme.

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit random

The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to The Quotations Page. Hit random quotes

The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr. Click on explore the last seven days

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Kimberly Wood Photography, In the Sky with Diamonds on Flickr
Centro (Mexico City) on Wiki
Martha Brooks, True Confessions of a Heartless Girl on The Quotations Page

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Well, That's a Relief

You Are Not a Jerk

You treat everyone as fairly as possible. You think it's important to be good to people.

You may feel like being rude at times, but you hold back. You are civilized.

While you are considerate, you don't go overboard. You only show others the same respect you'd expect.

Those who want to take advantage of you may accuse you of being a jerk, but in truth, they're the real jerks!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A is for Apple

You Are Apple Juice

You're very likable and quite popular. It's hard not to find something to love about you.

You are playful and fun. You try to bring levity to situations.

While you are entertaining, you're not very hyper or mischievous.

You are laid back, low key, and even a bit sensitive.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hero of the Day: Brandon Banks

Brandon Banks, 16 — got into the water and helped calm one of the dolphins weakened by the ordeal so they could tow it to open water.

"I had a floater suit on," said Banks, "And they would come up and rest their head on me and I would keep their head out of the water so they can breathe through their blowhole."

'Local boys' in speedboat free dolphins

That's Why They Call Me Soogle....

You Are FAQ

For you, the internet is like your personal library. And you know more facts than fifty normal humans.

Your brain is basically lot a computer at this point. You have a lot of information stored up there.

You spend hours looking up obscure information and learning things. If you have question, you always Google it.

You can't help but be a bit of a know-it-all. You can answer everyone's frequently asked questions.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Can Give You a Buzz

You Are Coffee

You are highly ambitious and goal oriented. You feel like there isn't enough time in your day to get it all done.

You are outgoing and creative. You love talking with people, thinking up crazy plans, and then acting immediately on them.

When it comes to caffeine, you'd like a refill. You can almost always use an energy boost.

Life is too short. You're going to get as much out of it as you can. You live for today.

Quote of the Day

"Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun. But I have never been able to make out the numbers." - Richard Lederer collection of student essays and answers

Saturday, February 14, 2009

They Called Me Thin...

You Are Thin Mints

You are bold and brave. You dare to be different, and you are confident about who you are.

Your fearlessness has paid off. You are extremely well liked and popular.

You are charismatic and charming without even trying to be. People appreciate your unique take on life.

You are willing to take risks, speak your mind, and live life to the fullest.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You Are a Coffee Mug

You have loads of energy and stamina. You can zip through the most boring of tasks with complete enthusiasm.

You are also great at motivating a group. You are a fearless leader.

You are efficient and productive. You don't put off tasks or procrastinate. You actually enjoy working.

You would make a good small business owner or startup employee. If a job requires blood, sweat, and tears - then you have some to give.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

If I Ever Go to a Reunion This is Totally What I'm Going to Tell Them...

Your International Spy Name is Anaconda Shriek

Your Code Name: Sunburn

You Reside in: Cairo

Why You're a Good Spy: You're agile

Maybe you should check out the International Spy Museum.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


You Are a Playwright

You are a highly literate wordsmith. You love both reading and writing.

You are also a natural storyteller. You can turn a mediocre anecdote into a riveting tale.

You find people and all aspects of life fascinating. No topic is off limits for you.

In modern times, you would make a good filmmaker or novelist.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Your Word is "Peace"

You see life as precious, and you wish everyone was safe, happy, and taken care of.

Social justice, human rights, and peace for all nations are all important to you.

While you can't stop war, you try to be as calm and compassionate as possible in your everyday life.

You promote harmony and cooperation. You're always willing to meet someone a little more than halfway.