Sunday, August 17, 2008

Go there!

So, while HKC is remaining shuttered, there's a new blog in town - WalakaNet Annex. No, it's not the artsy-fartsy new blog I started, it's a new presentation of the same stuff you liked so much about HKC. A guess a leopard can't change its spots - it can only rename its blog. Go check it out and change your bookmarks and RSS feeds. We're back in business, baby.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Millennial Post

Happy 1000th post to me!

I've been a long time blogging and now it's time to mark this milestone! Herewith, HKC proudly presents a compendium of features selected or saved especially for this occasion!


ANIMANIAHKCS!

We kick things off with an example of that perennial favorite, the animated gif! This fine example was made by Lizzie in The Couv after she read the announcement that this benchmark was nigh:



I think that captures the spirit of this blog completely!

Current Events

Did anyone catch the Olympics opening ceremonies on Friday night? This photograph of one of the dancers in the artistic presentation has become my new desktop wallpaper:


Click the image for more wonderful photos.


Photorama

Speaking of photos and computers, since I bought this MacBook laptop at the end of last year and began using the built-in camera and the Photo Booth feature to take pictures, a copy of every photo has been automatically saved to a special file. I wanted to make an animated gif that riffed though all 99 of them really quick, but my skillz were not mad enough, so here's a slide show that's a bit more laid-back.



(Note: the quality of this video is really crappy, and I blame You Tube - I've uploaded it three times now. If you just can't live without seeing a nice, crisp, clean version, ask me the next time you see me.)


HKC Top Ten Posts

In honor of this 1,000 post, here are the top ten posts from the past three and a half years, ranked by number of comments generated:

#10: This invitation to attend the Fremont Solstice Parade was the first post to break double-digit comments back in June of 2005. (10 comments)

#9: My announcement of my tenure-track position in May '07 drew a lot of support. (10 comments)

#8: This "What're Your Politics" test generated a bit of discussion in November '05. (11 comments)

#7: The discussion following this Movie Round-Up created more heat than light in January '06. (11 comments)

#6: This collection of photos and links led to an unusually high number of responses for no discernible reason in May 2006. (11 comments)

#5: A post from January 2006 makes the top ten for the second time with this call for de-lurking. (12 comments)

#4: The most recent high-response post was the cannibalism quiz from January of this year. (12 comments)

#3 A third entry from the chatty month of January 2006 was the Find your Daemon quiz. (16 comments)

#2 Just two weeks later, in February 2006, this discussion of Google ethics tied the daemons' comment total. (16 comments)

And the number one comment-getting post in the history of HKC is....



This one!

C'mon, don't make a liar out of me now! Leave a pithy remark (or two)!


Random Image

I've been looking to post this image for a while: it's a depiction of all the main female characters from DC Comics - it was poster they used at the NYC ComicCon. How many can you name? (Hint: the central figure is Wonder Woman.) Even if you can't name any, it's still a great picture.

(Oh yeah - there are some artistic/symbolic clues in the picture, too.)


The Surprise Ending

So, I guess the big news on the occasion of this 1,000th post is that I am shutting down HKC.

I have had a real ball keeping up this blog. Over three and a half years, I have averaged more than five posts per week, and lately I have been posting every day. I have enjoyed playing with words in my own small way, I have enjoyed building a continuity of community, and I have enjoyed sharing links that might have been illuminating, fun, or otherwise engaging. What I have liked most of all, however, was when I got to list who did what and what fun we had together in real life; putting down those silly aliases in bold face, making someone "almost famous" for a brief moment and documenting my friendships, was the best part of all. But I think I am done now; my friendships are still as important as ever, but this particular expression of them seems less so.

Fear not, if you really want to keep reading my deathless prose: I have started another blog. Walakanet is my new site over in the WordPress universe. I imagine it will be a place for a different kind of writing; no more diary posts and funny links, a bit more exploration and contemplation. And no more daily entries; I need to get back to writing some more complex pieces, which will, by their nature, take more time, so posting will be an occasional thing. I'm still not quite sure of my audience (an awful admission for a writing teacher to make); perhaps I am more interested in the process than the product right now. Still, I hope you drop by and check it out from time to time.

I'll keep this site up, for a while anyway, but perhaps not all the ancillary sites that it has spawned. (On a related note, I Summer Humpdays may also go on hiatus for a bit; more on that via email.) I'll try to keep the links updated, too.

So, thank you, dear readers and fellow bloggers, for all the support over the past few years. When we started building this little corner of the blogosphere, it was new and exciting and we really didn't know what we were doing; now it seems blogs and blogging have become routine parts of our daily lives. I love the connections we have built, particularly with friends who are not local to us, and I hope never to lose that; nonetheless, the time has come to cover the furniture with sheets, turn off the utilities, fasten the shutters, and lock the doors of this particular structure.


The Last Post, for the record

The highlight of yesterday (besides tea with Dingo) was a visit from The Goddess and DeeDee, in town from The Couv. It was great catching up with them again and talking higher ed gossip and gamer geekishness. Before taking a walk around Fremont and coming to the RD to see the townhouse, we went to Silence Heart Nest for lunch. I had the Neat Loaf sandwich (hold the mayo), with a side of cashew gravy for my home fries.


Bye-bye

And to send us off in style, here's none other than that Swedish songbird, Miss Ann-Margaret Olsson:





Cheers, all.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Breakfast on Neptune

Otis had a morning appointment, so I am once again camped out at the Neptune in Greenwood. I just had a breakfast sammich, and it was good, but very garlicky.

Yesterday in the daylight was hella quiet. After walking around the lake, Otis and I each settled in to creative endeavors: she with her art and me with some other stuff (which you will see soon). As the sunlight waxed and waned and wind picked up and died down, we each set to our tasks for most of the day, with few interruptions aside from meals.

After dinner, we headed up to LFP, ostensibly to have an evening with Mater and Pater watching the Olympic Games opening ceremonies. It turned into a bit of a tumult, what with some malfunctions of medical equipment and an unscheduled visit from a home nurse and whatnot. Things eventually settled down, and we did watch some spectacular performances and part of the Parade of Nations together, but Otis and I left before the end.

Otis and I caught the end of the show at home, and then things turned into a late night for reals. First, Selkie caught the heebie-jeebies and gave Mountie a mild case, too, so we had our hands full with them. Then the upstairs smoke detector started beeping, and we practically had to erect scaffolding to get up to the pitched ceiling to deal with it. (It was a persistent little bugger, too - even after it was unplugged from the electricity and the back-up battery was removed, it was still chirping! I had to bury it in a file cabinet drawer downstairs.) The upshot was that we didn't get to bed until almost 2:00 am.

Nonetheless, I managed to get my morning turn around the lake in today before I had to to take off - even though it was raining, I dragged my sorry butt up and headed out. It actually felt pretty good. Maybe that's a sign it's becoming a real habit.



I had always heard that lightning actually strikes from the ground up, but could never visualize it satisfactorily. Well, apparently there's this Italian guy who likes to take high-speed video of lightning, and you can see it perfectly. I think this is the coolest clip, but he's got more on his YouTube channel.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Found and lost

I reported about a week ago about having lost my keys, and my gut feeling that they were somewhere in O's house. Well, a few days ago, she called to tell me that she had found them: in a manner not unusual to my custom, I had placed them high - this time on a picture rail that runs along her living room wall. So, yay, they're back, and now I have a complete second set as a spare.

Of course, to remind me of my increasing mental decrepitude and keep me from getting too cocky, the fates arranged for me to leave my phone up at LFP yesterday. So, if you have been trying or are planning to call me, I will be without the miracle of wireless telephony until tonight.

I did get a turn around the lake in yesterday, after which Otis and I had a spectacular lunch out courtesy of my Subway free lunch points. The we spent the afternoon running errands and heading up to LFP for our visit. After dinner, we watched Deep Core, a dreadful on-the-cheap sci-fi thriller that merely ripped off the key elements of Armageddon without any grace or style whatsoever.

Follow-up department: Dingo passes along the latest episode in the Saga of the Kilted Mailman, originally posted here last week.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Accounting woes

Okay, so after doing some reconciliation, I have determined that this is not the 1,000th post on
HKC.

Believe it or not, I had two posts on what would become HKC way back in December 2003, but they were just content-free tests, back in the day when Blogspot didn't play well with Macs. There was another post in January 2005 that was just a test-link to Flickr, but posting in earnest didn't begin until early March 2005. (I think Wheylona was tinkering with Viva! at the same time, and I went public about two weeks before she did.)

Anyway, I have deleted those early proto-posts, so this is actually post number 997. You'll have to wait a few days for the big celebration. (Wheylona is at 996, so perhaps she'll have some fireworks soon, too.)



Yesterday wound up being the first day in a long time that I didn't get around the lake. What with Otis's schedule, and then recovering the Spectrator, and then heading to LFP to welcome Pater home from hospital, and then the Humpday Dinner's running really late, we just never got out there. It's much better to get it done early in the day, so I will be heading out in a little while, during Otis's morning appointment.



I don't know how it reflects on his qualifications for holding public office, but watching Al Franken draw an accurate map of the U.S. freehand is at least a pretty impressive party piece.





Oopsdate 11:33 am: I forgot that last night some folks requested a rerun of the pirate-monkey-ninja-robot quiz. So here it is!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A shop so nice I blog it twice!


I haven't posted the picture-of-where-I-am-blogging-from for a while. I have left the house this a.m. so Otis can focus on a two-hour appointment, and wound up here in Greenwood at Neptune Coffee, a totally cool place that I discovered through a free-wifi website. In addition to the usual coffeehouse goodies, they have a more extensive menu and also serve beer and wine - and even have events, like Friday's Flight of the Conchords Trivia Contest. This may become a regular stop!



Yesterday did include a trip to the hospital; Pater had not yet had the procedure when we visited, but we got reports later in the day that it went off well.

I did go around the lake with O yesterday afternoon, and it was pretty darn hot. Johnbai came down to the hood a little later and we hung out before transporting the Big Wall Spectration Unit over to O's for a dry run of the Summer Outdoor Spectration that Little Spark has planned for a few weeks from now. It all went well, and as a collateral benefit, we got to eat a truly delicious O dinner: currant-tomato-cheese crustini, stuffed peppers and squash, corn pudding, and green beans.

Editor's note: I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I saw it was one of the best meals I have ever had, clearly in the same league as some hella expensive meals I have had in restaurants. I feel lucky to be able to enjoy this food, and OLC should, by all rights, be an enormous meteoric success, and we can all say we Knew Her When.

Oh, and to top it off, we not only had the BEST. RASPBERRY. SORBET. EVAR. but also O's SIGNATURE BLACKBERRY-CHAMPAGNE SORBET. Mmmmmmmmmm...

We didn't stay for the screening, but just made sure that the equipment was working, so I still haven't seen Rocky Horror Picture Show.



Today, Pater should be released from VM, so we may be heading up to LFP for a while in the afternoon. The Summer Humpday dinner is going off as planned, although we haven't received any RSVPs, so it may wind up being a diner intime for Otis and I.



Fellow travelers: Dingo comes back from the East Coast tonight, and we get the pleasure of her company for a weekend or so before she's off again! Neds comes back from Europe tomorrow after too long a broad abroad.



Check this interview with astronaut Peggy Whitson and tell me that this woman doesn't have The Right Stuff. She's my new hero. Talk about yer sangfroid...



Okay, so the Blogger computer tells me this is my 999th post. What is in store for the millennial? You'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Short shrift

If you were sitting opposite me and happened to look up, this is the vertiginous view of the ugliest building in town award-winning downtown library that you would have.

As you probably know, yesterday was mostly filled with hospital stuff. Today will likely be filled with more hospital stuff on top of Otis's work stuff and my staying-out-of-the-way stuff, although I do have the promise of a lake walk with O later today (we're waiting until it gets its hottest out).

More soon, or sooner or later, I suppose.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Post-poned

So, Pater had a bad night and early this morning headed back into VM for the day. Otis and I drove in and were there all day; I just bussed home a little while ago and she is still there. Mostly it is a case of trying to respond to some immediate discomfort (to put it blandly). There was a procedure already scheduled for the morning that should ameliorate the situation somewhat, but it appears that More Needs to Be Done. We'll probably be on the DL for a little while.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gray again

Although it did get sunny yesterday, didn't it?

I wound up walking back home so I could have lunch with Otis between her appointments, and then taking of for O's to spend some time geeking with Johnbai. It was a groovy visit, and Otis even joined us when she was finished, but the jaunt led to a bit of difficulty: I can't find my keys.

When I got up to leave O's, I did my habitual pocket-pat (wallet, phone, keys) and there were no keys to pat. They didn't appear to be anywhere around. I thought I might have left them home (even though I would normally have checked when I left there) but couldn't find them at home, either. We checked each location several times before giving up. My gut feeling is that they are at O's, accidentally moved or buried under something. In any case, I'm getting a new set made today. After I pay for new keys, the old keys will likely make themselves known.

Otis and I spontaneously decided to go see The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in the afternoon. It was as delightfully cheesy as I expected, suffering only a bit from overdone CGI-army bloat (and with some wonderful CGI yeti that were inexplicably left out of the trailer). If you like Brendan Fraser in his light movies, there's plenty enough to watch here; Maria Bello takes over the Evelyn role with vigor and John Hannah is still one of my favorite character actors. But the Big Deal is Jet Li as the emperor and Michelle Yeoh as his nemesis - and any movie that has a showdown between those two (too terribly brief!) gets a thumbs-up from me. Oh, yeah, and there are a couple of kids in it, too. Great to watch if you like swashbuckling pulp adventurers versus super-powered undead warriors- and who doesn't?

A nice touch at the Oak Tree: before the coming attractions, there was nothing, No funny commercials, no trivia contests, no fake entertainment news shows, no nothing. I had almost forgotten the especial pleasure of sitting in a darkened theater in the few minutes before a film, listening to the rustle of popcorn bags and the whispered murmurs of other patrons, and nothing else. I don't now if it was a choice or a malfunction that caused this circumstance, but I'd like to see more of it.

Afterwards, I cooked up a little dinner, and we took a little walk, and did a little shopping, and settled in for a quiet evening.

There was a total solar eclipse on August 1 in some parts of the world; here's a striking image from northwestern China. Click the pick for informative linky.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Gray weekend

Yesterday: quiet. Nice. Otis spent most of the day at VM with the family, joining Pater at an extended appointment, so after my morning walk around the lake, I came home and alternately read and did house stuff all day. When Otis got back in the afternoon, we did a little shopping and then headed up to LFP to fix and early dinner for her parents and spent the evening there.

Today: a little busier. Otis had two appointments today, so I am wandering around on foot, having made it to the Wallingford Tully's so far. Who knows where I'll wind up? It's not a bad day for a walk, and the sun is supposed to come put later.

Department of barking up the wrong tree: A few days ago, we got a copy of Field and Stream magazine in the mail, addressed to Otis. The cover proclaimed it the "accuracy issue" and, next to the image of a hunting rifle, said "never miss your deer again." Then yesterday we got a copy of Maxim magazine in the mail, also addressed to Otis. The cover featured a picture of a bikini-clad woman who apparently is "Pineapple Express Bombshell Amber Heard." So, did somebody screw up the mailing list in the free sample department? Or do you think something else is going on?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Doggie day one

Man, am I creakin' this morning. Last night, I went over to help CC Rider move out of her place on Cap Hill (fourth floor studio apartment in an old building with a cranky elevator) and over to her new place in Wallingford (Craftsman bungalow shared with some other folks). This particular move was characterized by the malfunctioning elevator, the presence of someone else moving at the same time, the use of several vehicles in lieu of a big truck, and, of course, the rain. It was a tough job, but we got 'er done, with particular yeomen assistance from Yohanna, the Mensch B, and, in a cameo appearance, Johnbai. I shifted a lot of mass, and my body is reminding me of that this morning; my usual physical routine is being delayed pending some abatement of discomfort.

Anyway, best of luck to CC in her new digs! As I told her, she's now closer to us - and to O's cooking!

Earlier yesterday, the highlight had been a social call from NatDog. Otis and I caught up with her over drinks, chips, and salsa in a great afternoon diversion. The only other activity of the day that was nearly as significant was my doing laundry.


I may crosspost this to my comix blog, but I thought it was funny enough to put here as well:


via videosift.com

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The one who killed Miles

Up a little late today - we stayed up after the humpday dinner last night working on projects 'n' stuff. I'm having morning tea before heading the lake today - Otis is off to LFP in a little while anyway.

Yesterday, we stopped in to visit J-Force. We was ensconced (enthroned?) in T-Square's living room, looking pretty damn good for someone with three broken bones. We socialized for a while, and Otis did some energy work and some PT exercises. It was great to see her, and I think we can expect her back in the timestream pretty quick.

After the visit, we grabbed a bite of lunch and then caught the early show of Dark Knight at the Neptune. Otis loved it; while it wasn't the character I know, and not the Batman movie I eventually want to see, it was a well-crafted film and story in its own right, and I liked it a lot. Heath Ledger is absolutely compelling, but I thought the whole cast and the story hung together as well.

We had just enough time for Otis to fit an afternoon appointment before heading down to Fremont for dinner.

UPDATE 11:11 am

I guess it is worthy of note that midnight marked the halfway point of the 92 Days of Summer. That's right, 46 days of my summer vacation have slipped away... only six and a half more weeks of indolence or industry remain before my time is no longer all my own.

As John Lennon said, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, and while a lot of life happened in this first half of my first summer off, it bore little resemblance to any plans I might have had. Nonetheless, I'm pretty satisfied with the way things are going, and I have a few more surprises up my sleeve before fall quarter rolls around again.

I hope everyone else, working or no, is have a great summer season as well, and I want to thank everyone who has helped make my vacation grrrrrrreat!




The website for the design firm that produced this table seems to indicate that it represents dripping paint, but I'm not so sure about that. I thought it would look great in Soapy's living room. They have other groovy stuff as well.






We haven't had a kilt-related piece in a while, so here's an article brought to our attention by NatDog. It's actually a local story, and talks about an idea that I have thought of many times as I have watched the mail carriers on their routes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A.M.R.D.

I just got back from a turn around the lake. We're out of orange juice so I am having limeade with my toast. You would think it would be a pretty good substitute, but it's not nearly the same thing, actually.

Yesterday we were all bidness. Selkie went back to the vet for a follow-up, not willingly and not cheerfully, but he went. The upshot was that "his pee is beautiful" and his shots are now current.

While Otis had a mid-day appointment, I ran down to south Seattle to get rid of some old electronics. It was slick and easy and cost less than I thought it would. It feels good to have the stuff gone, too.

There was some grocery shopping and cleaning and stuff, and after Otis's evening appointment, we headed downtown so she could buy a back-up massage table she found on Craig's list. She is going to leave it at LFP so she do regular work on Pater more easily.

Then Johnbai and I lured Otis into some late-night nerdcore with the promise of animal love. She ate it up. The pint of 8% Belgian ale Johnbai poured her helped, too.

The grayness of the days, yesterday and apparently today, too, is a bit of a downer but we're trying to stay sunshiney anyway. We should be able to handle a midsummer slump, eh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Late Monday for Tuesday

So, there wasn't really a Monday morning post, except for that cool wheelman picture, but by the time I got around to blogging, it was kinda late for a morning post, but I'm going to be busy again Tuesday morning, so I am writing this Monday night, and it counts for Tuesday, although it includes content that should have appeared Monday. Got that?

So, Sunday: Otis had her writing workshop to prepare for, so I bailed out of the house early to get out of her way and let her focus. I made the usual round of teahouses, comic book stores, and coffee shops, laptopping and bopping along, until I met up with Johnbai after his softball game and we engaged in some serious nerdcore activity (still top-secret). I delivered him back to the RD when Otis was free again; she and I had planned to attend Toni-Tony-Tone's summer soirée, but Otis was so spent from facilitating we just had a quiet bite to eat instead. In addition to missing out on the festivities, we also missed a chance to see J-Force, who is out of the hospital recuperating from her spill and still only making limited public appearances, but Otis was just too fagged out. We did walk across the alley to O's later in the evening for some homemade dessert, which turned out to be the BEST. RASPBERRY. SORBET. EVAR. I mean in the whole world, and prolly most of the inner planets, too. No, I'm telling you, seriously, this stuff was wicked good.

So, Monday: We were up and at 'em fairly early. Otis moved up her regular writing date to accommodate her going to an appointment at Northwest Natural Heath with her dad at noon. For my part, I jumped in the saddle and pedaled my way up to Bothell, because Scotty Tuxedo needed a reference letter and I had no college letterhead at home. I hung out on campus for a bit, and then made my way back, winding up heading all the way down to the University Bridge and then coming back up Eleventh. (That makes the ride longer but avoids the Ravenna hillclimb.) At 32 miles, it was my longest ride this season. (This is what Scotty was referring to in is comment on the wheelman post.) After we both made it home in the afternoon, we spent the rest of the day reading and writing, eating some of O's leftover stuffed yellow peppers for dinner, walking to the library, and reading and writing some more.

So, Tuesday: I have to get up and stuff Selkie into a box to take him into the vet for a follow-up appointment, so I won't be able to do a morning post.

And that's where I came in!



Today's video is actually just audio, although I guess you can watch the record spinning around if you like. Here's Dick Haymes and Helen Forrest singing I'll Buy That Dream, the only pop song I know of that mentions an autogiro.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The return of the wheelman




Post coming later - must roll now!
I'm off to Bothell for the morning.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy and stuff

So, yesterday was pretty much a pretty busy day. Otis had been having a very active weekend, and yesterday was full of prep for a surprise party that she was helping to expedite and for her workshop, which will be going on a few hours from now. Me, I just tagged along and helped as I could with all the chopping and cooking and cleaning and copying and whatnot. We did manage to squeeze in a walk down to Wallingford, just to unwind the muscles.



The surprise party was for Otis's old pal Kris-10. Her sweet hubby Rye-N set her up well: she thought she was walking into a business meeting at her partner's house until she got to the back deck an found it full of very familiar-looking pirates!

"Where's the meeting?"

"Aaaargh!"

Did you know Rye-N used to be a model? Kris-10 is not so sure of his vamp...

The Buccaneer Twins

I had a good time


Of course, when life opens a door, it closes a window. In order to help Otis out and to go to this party, I needed to miss another: my old pal DeeDee turned forty yesterday, and The Goddess, his wife, was setting him up for a big surprise as well. I had totally planned on being there, but with all the craziness this week it just didn't work out; on the happy side, I am sure that he was surrounded by friends and well-wishers anyway, and we might be able to get together in just two weeks or so anyway. In any case, I want to commemorate the happy day:

Happy Birthday, Dee!

And best wishes for many happy returns of the day!



Today I have been banished from the house: after my morning exercises and walk, I came back to Hurricane Otis cycloning through the house putting the last finishing touches on her workshop prep. It seemed prudent to absent myself from the situation, so here I am at Teahouse Kuan Yin, laptopping it and planning for a peripatetic day.

Videorama!!

I saw this on Will Shetterly's blog and thought it was cool punky anthem. Then I clicked though to see who the rocker grrl was and I was surprised. I still dig it.



This is a seriouser one: it made me think of Stella and a lot of the work she does with our students.



And finally, this BBC advert for their Olympics coverage should become an ongoing series starring the Monkey King (a traditional Chinese character recently used to good effect in Gene Yang's prizewinning graphic novel American Born Chinese).



(Okay, let's start fighting over who gets to play who in the GURPS adaptation...)


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The wheel of karma spins

So, a few months ago, our hot water pipes started squeaking whenever we ran the water. It was kind of annoying.

Jules and Lon, in a neighboring unit, said they had had the same issue, and that after they had turned off the water main for some other purpose, the whine disappeared when the water was turned back on.

So, we turned the water main off for a while and then turned it back on. This seemed to do the trick.

But then, something weird happened. All of a sudden, we started getting cold water out of the hot water tap -- unless we opened two taps at the same time. If we wanted to wash the dishes, we would have to run the upstairs bathroom sink as well, to get it started. If we wanted to take a shower, we needed to run the bathtub faucet, too. Odd.

I consulted with our owner, Jim. He came out and we both stared at the heater for a while, but couldn't come up with any ideas. We decided to delay any action for a while to see what might happen next.

Well, the shoe dropped the other day: we had no hot water at all! Yikes - the whole unit was cold, all the outlet pipes and the tank. A tech came out and pronounced it dead. Bad news: this unusual unit, which also serves as a pre-heater for the furnace*, is hard to find and might take two weeks to get. Bad!

So, Jim came out yesterday and looked at the unit again. This time, he removed the plate and checked the pilot light**. It was out. We re-lit it. Success!

Now, not only do we have hot water again, but it comes out of the tap when you open it, just like it is supposed to! No more goofy haunted-house business. Yay!

Of course, the whine is also back. But this time I think we'll leave it alone.


So, most of yesterday was spent waiting around for a return visit from the hot water tech, who never came. Otis was busy with family stuff and errands, but I don't think I got further from the house than the mailbox all day.

We did host Johnbai, Dingo, Mr. X, and Soapy for GURPS night, with special guest star The Crocodile. While we were meleeing, Otis and The Angel took off for babysitting duty. We all had late nights, leading to a slow morning, at least for me.


For your non-text content today, we have Natalie Portman starring in a faux-Bollywood music video for her boyfriend, the Venezuelan-American indie-folker Devendra Banhart.



Well, then. have a nice day


Notes on the hot water situation for the technically inclined:

*The water comes out of our heater at 160 degrees and cycles through the furnace, doing something efficient in there. When it comes out, it has to go though a mixer that puts cold water back into the flow to bring the temperature down to 120 degrees, the standard tap temperature. The tech guessed that it might have been a malfunction in this t-valve that was causing the water-weirdness - we weren't getting any hot at all, just the re-mix cold, unless two taps were open to increase the flow. Sounds plausible - but this is the guy who didn't check the pilot light, so who knows?

**The day before we lost hot water, Otis smelled gas in the house. I checked the fireplace and saw that the pilot light had gone out. I closed the gas supply to the fireplace and the smell went away. I even checked the hot water tank room, and there was no gas smell there, so I presumed everything was all okay and the misfire was limited to the fireplace. Well, it seems that the hot water heater has a failsafe mechanism that automatically turns off the gas flow if the pilot light goes out, so that was why there was no gas smell, even though interruption in the gas supply probably made both pilot lights go out. All of this just reminded me what used to be second nature back when I was a cop: there is no such thing as a coincidence. If there was something hinky with the gas flow one day and the next day your hot water heater stops heating, the two incidents ARE related, even if the evidence seems to indicate otherwise. (For the record, Otis had it pegged.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

In the fullness of the day

Yesterday was packed with relaxing!

I met FarmerScott in Bothell for breakfast, and we had so much to talk about that we stayed in he restaurant until people were ordering lunch!

Then I had to hustle down the Mukilteo Speedway and catch a boat to Whidbey Island so I could put my feet up on the deck of Doctor Burn's spread and pass the afternoon in idle conversation, in the company of good folks. That's what it's all about.

The traffic gods smiled on my return trip, and Otis and I had time for a nice walk after dinner before settling in for the night.

While settled in, I found this groovy site that turns any text or website into a word cloud. Here's this blog:
The bigger words are those that appear more frequently. (I think it's just looking at the last page displayed, not the older posts.) Here are some more samples from our blogroll - whose are these? (I let the program pick colors and formats at random.)





I think you can learn sometimes surprising things about a text from this method. Here's the Declaration of Independence, for example:

Try it yourself!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Time travel

Past: Yesterday fit the usual rhythm of summer, even though the weather wasn't in high gear for it: Otis and I walked around the lake early in the morning, and then she took off for a midday meet with a pal while I stayed home and wrote and read. And dealt with the painters, who were finishing up. And dealt with the water heater guy. And so on. The afternoon had more of the same, and some ukulele practice, and a walk-to-coffee, before we headed down to the Summer Humpday dinner.

Present: The kitties have decided that 4:44 am is the perfect time for all sorts of activities: barfing, fighting, romping, racing, eating, whatever. Today's festivities were enlivened by the addition of the smoke alarm going off for no apparent reason. Then, by about 5:20, everything settles down again, Mountie goes back to sleep, Selkie cuddles up next to me, and we get another hour and a half or so of peace. Weird.

Right now, I am waiting for a big pot of water to get hot so I can refill the bathtub so Otis can take a bath since our hot water heater has not yet been replaced. Maybe later today or tomorrow they will come with a new one.

Future: Today is jam-packed: brekkies with FarmerScott and then a trip to Whidbey Island to see Doctor Burn, the famous supervillain.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer break

As in, a break from the summer. For the first time in I don't know how long, I wore a black T-shirt because it wasn't all sunny and warm. It was cloudy most of the day, and the intarweb says the temperature never got past 65. I guess every day can't be paradise.

Nonetheless, I made my now-daily walk around Green Lake during Otis's morning appointment. She had a busy day, with several appointments spread out, making things a bit stop-and-go around the townhouse.

Speaking of the townhouse, the painting of the property is about done - the crew is just chasing the final details. But now, it appears our hot water heater has crapped out. Technician should be here today. And so it goes.

One of my chores yesterday was to head up to Group Health Northgate to pick up some prescriptions for Otis. Just for the heck, I took the bus up - piece o' cake, the 66 runs right by it. Got there, got back, no sweat - and had the added bonus of a phone chat with Johnbai while I was waiting. Now I feel all green and stuff.

One of the things Johnbai and I talked abut was D&D. This site has a very complex survey to determine a person's character class and core abilities. Might be an interesting way to start a game.

Speaking of links, here's a follow-up to the BBC article on American accents. Click the audio box to hear some Brits doing their versions of an American accent.

See ya tonight!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Union membership assured

After a nice morning walk yesterday, I passed most of the day reading, first some books from the library and then some books on comics that were delivered from Amazon. Otis was working in her office most of the day, and we had to hang around anyway, since the crew painted our doors (which required removing the locks and all). We took another walk in the evening, down to the library for more books. Later, we watched Swingers, Jon Favreau's breakthrough work. We thought it was pretty good and a lot more heart than we had expected it to.

Just two links, but they are substantial:

Since Neds is back in Iberia, here's a little cartographic slice of Spanish history.

And this story from Auntie Beeb is mostly for Jon of Monmouth, not least because it echoes one his perennial complaints in its opening.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mornday monding

What a groovy day yesterday was!

It started out with brekkies at a sidewalk cafe on the rambla (actually Green Lake Bar & Gill) and it was so pleasant that afterwards Otis and I walked around the lake in the morning sun.

We took care of stuff at home, and after lunch took a bike ride up to LFP so Otis could find some books for her workshop and we both could get new August-to-August calendars.

Then it was time to head down to Gasworks Park for the birthday celebration for CC Rider. Under a tent by the lake (Union, this time) we congregated and celebrated and conversated. Neither Johnbai nor O nor Dingo could make it, but Sylvio was there and we got to reconnect with Yohanna as we scarfed veggie burgers and yummy sweets.

At home afterwards, we were both terribly productive, Otis with art and me with GURPS, and I had a nice long phone call with ScottyMagic, who is once again on the cusp of a new adventure.

Wow! And today has already had a morning walk through the Ravenna ravine! Any more of this, and they'll throw me out of the lazy guy union.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pictures and stuff

Yesterday had a lot of low-key happenings in it. Otis had a morning appointment, so I walked around the lake during that. Afterwards, she headed up to LFP for lunch and a visit, and I was designated stayer-at-home for the Painting of the Doors (which requires them to stand open for four hours). It worked out just fine, me having lunch and reading and stuff while the cats were barricaded upstairs, except that the crew didn't paint the doors. Dur. They sort-of said they would do it today, but I haven't seen them yet.

In the afternoon, we headed up to Harborview to pay a little visit on J-Force. She seems to be recovering nicely, and was cheery even in her temporary quarters in the corridor, while she waited to be transferred from room to room. She's almost famous, too - a Ballard newsblog covered the story almost immediately.

After our visit, we left the hospital but not the hill, meeting The Angel and The Crocodile in Cal Anderson Park. We had a bite and a cuppa and passed a few hours shooting, how they say, the breeze. Good times.

So, in light of anything substantive, here's are some pictures from over the past week or so:

Me at the park the other day - this is what summer looks like!

O & Johnbai, Mr. and Mrs. Softball

TomCat!

The Angel, skeptical

The Crocodile, attentive

Otis, dramatic

Saturday, July 19, 2008

God-sib

Since yesterday's post was so late, no real diaristic news here. Otis and I had some take-out Mexican for dinner and passed a quiet evening, which I topped off by watching a little bit of a late showing of That's Entertainment on PBS, full of the movie-musical goodness that Johnbai loves so much.

But that doesn't mean there isn't news, and the biggest news is not so good: on Wednesday, the scooterific J-Force lost a contest between her front wheel and a rut in the road. The end result was a little asphalt surfing, followed by a trip to Harborview. Reports from Dar-Dar and T-Square tell us that she's looking at a broken collarbone; there was surgery yesterday and recovery at present. T-Square said that it all looked good, at least in context. Otis and I are going to head up for a visit today. Send whatever good karmic energy you can muster J-Force's way, to speed her recuperation!

In cheerier news, Neds has arrived on the Continent and has resumed blogation. Check it out, but bring your calculator.

Any Dark Knight expedition has unraveled a bit. I think Johnbai and O went last night; Dingo has chosen to let the opening weekend go by; Yojimbo, Farmer Scott, and the Bellevue Posse are going to see it in Alderwood late this afternoon (Soapy might want to check that out); and Otis and I still don't know what we want to do (although today is looking pretty unlikely). Its getting great reviews and apparently broke the records for midnight showings, so I imagine it'll be in theaters for a while, eh?


Friday, July 18, 2008

Impressions

My walk around Green Lake yesterday morning was interrupted by a short spell of watching the wildlife. A raccoon was climbing a tree, and I watched him grapple his way up one limb and down another and then back up again until he was thirty-five or forty feet off the ground. All the while, several crows were cawing at him and harassing him a bit, just shy of dive-bombing him. I think he was just looking for someplace to sleep, but those crows didn't like him there one bit. He was mostly ignoring them, and when I left, he was still there, settling down in a fork.

A little later on, I saw about a dozen ducks bobbing in the water just a few feet from shore, and maybe because it was overcast and cooler they were getting a late start, but each of them had their head tucked under a wing. The looked like a bunch of footballs floating in the lake.

Further on, I came up behind a mother walking her two daughters. She looked like a crunchy-granola hippy-girl, with long straight hair and a tattered-hem skirt, carrying her infant in one of those snuggle slings. The other daughter, a towhead about six or seven years old, was wearing a full-on old-school yellow and blue Wolverine uniform. She was stomping along, waving her arms, and proclaiming over and over "Wolverine means business! Wolverine means business!" As I passed, the mother managed a small smile that was part tired and part embarrassed.


I finished The Curious Case of Sidd Finch during the day while Otis had some appointments, and our socializing for the day was to meet up with The Angel and The Crocodile, who are in town from Boston and have taken a place up on Cap Hill for a while. Over soygurt and pineapple, the gals reminisced about their old days and the guys geeked out about RPGs. We hope to see them again, since they have a pretty long visit this time.

Today I was at campus all day and tonight should be filled with not-playing GURPS and not-seeing Dark Knight.

We interrupt this vacation...






I have to head into campus today for a meeting. NatDog is going to pick be up in a little while, so no post this morning. I'll be back later today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ugh

Man, after the late humpday dinner yesterday evening and several middle-of-the-night cat combat incidents that caused sleepus interruptis, I feel like a couple miles of bad road this morning. I got through my exercises but I'm still movin' slow. Here's the Wednesday checklist:

Green Lake: Walked around.
Magnuson Park: Ate lunch in.
Yojimbo: Had coffee with.
Humpday Dinner: previously mentioned.

Fill in around the highlights with some creative projects and readings, and you have a summer day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's a gas

Well, between the fumes from the primer being slathered on the house by the painting crew and the off-gassing of the new rug in the living room, I am sure that there are enough fumes floating around here to kill a canary. But we endure.

The new stuff looks pretty good, but it's a little hard to tell, since the house is in a bit of disarray from our having had to move all the exterior stuff, some of which came inside, for the painters. I gotta tell you, the front yard* looks a lot better to my eyes with all the potted plants and cat stuff removed; maybe we'll be re-thinking our exterior design somewhat.

Yesterday evening, we took a post-prandial walk up to the library to (a) pick up materials and (b) join J-Force for some ice cream! It was a perfect time to walk on the grass of the park in the sunshine and watch the summer go by.

Speaking of the summer going by, Otis still has room in her Writing from Your Body workshop, so if you were thinking about it (or know someone who might be interested), let her know! Check out the updated announcement.

When I wrote this sentence, I first used the term "areaway" instead of "front yard," because that's what we called the fenced space in front of our house when I was growing up, although we pronounced in "airy-way." It was always concrete and enclosed the basement windows and door (which was usually under the stoop**). Here's a picture from about three blocks from where I lived:

But then I looked up the definition in a coule of dictionaries, it doesn't sound at all like that, and I thought that y'all would be more confused than anything else, so I edited it out. But I still wanted to talk about it, hence this sidebar. The space in front of my townhouse is an airyway in my mind, and always will be.

**I don't have to explain a stoop, do I?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Splurge and purge

Wow, things sure got cranking here! I'm posting as I listen to an interview on KIRO Newsradio with Neal Adams, one of the coolest figures in the personal pantheon of my youth. (Hat tip to
Yojimbo for giving me the heads-up!)

Yesterday started out slowly; Otis had a writing group so I puttered around the house until she got back. Then we had to head up to LFP for some TCB at the Putnam Compound and to have a chance to get together with Stella for a little bit. We swapped out Renty Red for the minivan for our airport run later in the evening to get Otis's folks. That "later" wound up being pretty late - we went townhouse to airport to LFP and back to the townhouse for bedtime about 1:00 am.

We jumped up at the crack (aided by the kitties) and headed out to have a bon voyage breakfast with Neds down in West Seattle. Fueled by taters and eggs, we braced ourselves for an expedition to IKEA. We got out with goals met and little collateral damage - some (replacement) occasional furniture, frames, and a new carpet. Of course, we had to put it all together (well, not the carpet) and clean up and stuff, so we're just slowing down now.

Busy this morning!





Busy morning! Heading out! Post later!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sultry Sunday

Once again, the highlights of the day are nothing more than a walk (around the lake for me, through the ravine with her pal Dot for Otis) and a movie (Road to Perdition on the Big Wall - it was better than I had thought it was going to be, and more thoughtful than brutal). The rest of the day was passed in quiet TCB and relaxation.

Quick bits:

J-Force's Honda is back on the beam with only trivial adjustments, so she will be the Scooter Force for the rest of the summer.

The painters who are working on the property haven't made a while lot of progress. After about three days work, the back face of our building has been scraped and primed. Considering there are three more faces of the same size and four more that are slightly smaller, I think they are going to be here a lot longer than a week.

The paint all piled up in the back kinda stinks, too, and the supplies and equipment take up all the parking spaces.

Soapy was going on a bit about absinthe when it was getting legalized in the U.S. again. Here's a little report form Slate about the subject. One commenter on another site discussing this said that the best party drink might be absinthe plus champagne plus Red Bull. And I have no response to that.

If you can imagine it, there is a website: here's one dedicated to tattoos with literary themes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hellacious

Well, maybe not as hot as hell, but yesterday may have been as hot as the hinges of hades (as dear Lynn would have it). I took a walk around Green Lake before the temperature was its highest, and it was still plenty hot enough to leave me wet and wilted and the end of the circuit. I even made a stop at the library to see J-Force and tinker a bit with her motorbike, which is acting up a little. Besides that, most of the day was filled with quiet activities, such as reading and sweating.

In the evening, after Otis got home from Whidbey Island and we had a little dinner, we headed into the bowels of downtown to catch Hellboy II: The Golden Army with Soapy, Neds, Mr. X, Johnbai, O, and Dingo. The movie was a little goofier than the first one, but delivered both the whiz-bang effects and creatures and the smaller aw, shucks moments. The afters was problematized by an inability to find a place that was open past 11:00 and wasn't a bar; Otis and I headed home and I have yet to find out the upshot of that search (obviously).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Urgle-murgle mumble

So, when I got to bed after GURPS last night, it was about 3:00 am. I got up at about 7:20 am and even at that, we overslept: I needed to deliver Otis to Phinney Ridge by 8:00 so she could ride with Hi-Lai to a creativity retreat on Whidbey Island. We got her there right on time, and I pointed Renty Red back home (and found my same parking spot). I debated going back to bed, but had to talk to the painters for a little bit, and then slammed a window shut on my finger, so I decided to just stay up and take a nap later.

Yesterday was kind of busy. Otis had work, we went out to lunch and compared our schedules, worked on projects in the afternoon, and before we knew it, it was time to start prepping for the RPG crowd. The game ate up the last six hours of the day, and a couple of the first of this one. It was good to have Otis back around the house again, but it will hard to tell today that she even came home!

Watching the cats this morning, I have decided that much of the time when Selkie chases Mountie around, he's just playing. But sometimes he's not. Unfortunately, Mountie can't seem to tell the difference, and always responds as if it is serious, which sometimes escalates Selkie's play into a real fight. I wish we could all just get along.

I mentioned parking and painters above. The townhouses on the property are all being repainted; right now the crew is in the scraping mode. A genie lift and a scissor lift are parked out back, and the remaining parking spaces are taken up by painting supplies, so the residents all have to compete out on the street for a while. We also have to keep our windows shut while the painters work on each of our units; right now, they are on the back of my place, so we get the fun of no cross-ventilation. The work is not supposed to last much more than a week (although I think that is optimistic), and then we'll have nice, new, pretty paint.

Well, it looks like the Pluto lobby has been tirelessly working behind the scenes since 2006, when the former-ninth planet was demoted. Those wacky guys and gals of the International Astronomical Union Committee on Small Body Nomenclature have proposed, and the full organization has accepted, the naming of trans-neptunian bodies that meet certain criteria as plutoids. As currently defined, this august category includes just Pluto itself and Eris, the planet who, going under her unofficial name Xena, stirred up the whole controversy in the first place by seeming to become the "tenth planet" when she was discovered in 2003. As we now know, not only didn't Xena/Eris make the cut, but she took Pluto down with her, both getting assigned as "dwarf planets," leaving us with only eight proper planets.*

It's a small comfort to us plutophiles, but it's nice to see the little guy back in the limelight again, if only briefly. All of us here at HKC send Pluto and Eris our best wishes for continued success together in the new endeavors, and remind them that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

*Ceres is another dwarf planet but it isn't a plutoid because it's not trans-neptunian, it's in between Mars and Juptier. Yeah, go figure.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Otie's back!

After a long travel day and bit of a delay right at the end just to make it interesting, Otis returned to the mainland late last night. Kitties exulted, brief festivities ensued, and now, Selkie and Otis are still sleeping while only Mountie and I are up to enjoy the morning breeze. No rest for the wiki, though - Otis has a client coming this morning!

The homecoming capped a day that was by turns social and contemplative: change-of-plans Stella came by for lunch and catch-up, and then NatDog stopped in to share a smoothie, so there was a festive break from my agenda of reading and catching up on correspondence.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Late morning post

It was such a beautiful, sunny morning that I decided to go for a walk around the lake immediately after finishing my toast. Funnily enough, it started clouding up right as I approached home; I expect it will get bright again soon.

Yesterday was pretty much a replay of the day before: a little biking, a little reading, a little messing about with other stuff, including a long phone conversation with Jon of Monmouth. I did make a run to a couple of stores looking for frames for a project I have cooked up, but no luck there.

The big difference yesterday was, of course, the Humpday Dinner, which this time included coffee-an' afters, up on Cap Hill. It was nice to get out and be social!

Today will likely be close to the same, although dinner will be with Stella (who is at a conference at UW). And then Otis comes home late tonight. Yay!

Last Hawaii Picture:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Just like old times

Yesterday felt like a day out of my grad school summer, when I was living a pretty solitary life in Cheney while finishing my thesis. I took a walk around the lake early, and a bike ride to Office Max in the afternoon, and a walk to the library in the evening, but spent the rest of the time at home. The only conversations of substance I had were with J-Force for a few minutes at the library and with Stella and Otis on the phone. The rest of the day was passed in reading (I finished off The God Delusion) and writing stuff. Today will likely pass the same way, at least until the Humpday dinner; it was supposed to start out foggy, but the skies are blue and I expect it will be hotter than they initially predicted.

In the midst of this summer daze, we have let Jon of Monmouth's birthday gone unmarked. I mentioned earlier that we seem to have lost the blog-habit of birthday celebrations, so here's another (belated) attempt to resurrect the practice! (You can check out the festivities on Jon's own blog.)

Happy Birthday, Jon!


Here are today's Pictures of Paradise from Otis:

poets in the sand

ooooh...

aaaah...

I don't know what the heck this is about

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tea and sympathy

I have my tea, I could use some sympathy. After a late night last night, I woke up at 5:30 and had to deal with the cat, and taking out the garbage and recycling, and moving the car to a legal spot. I went back to bed for an hour and a half or so, and got up feeling beat up, worn out, and hay-fevery. I'm going to try to get myself together and walk around the lake and turn into a functional critter.

I rode my bike to Bothell and back yesterday, and my knees felt every mile of it. It wasn't until after I had returned my library book that I realized I could just have gone to Suzzalo at the main campus, but it was nice to see Vee and the other librarians for little visit anyway, and it sure was a great day for a ride.

After quotidian enterprises, the beautiful day was bookended at the other side by a session with the GURPS gang. Soapy, Dingo, Johnbai, Neds, and Mr. X arrived with armfuls of deli and heads full of adventure, and we ate them both all up. Selkie spent a good deal of the evening on the couch listening to the escapades of five picaroons with various neuroses and/or psychoses alternately argue and hack 'n' slash their way across New Amsterdam. Good times.

When the dust and black powder had cleared, and the players were dispersed, and the dishes done, and the evidence hidden, I had a chat with Otis on the phone and finally got myself to bed, happy with the fullness of life.

Today's Daily Dose of Paradise Pictures:

the paradisical photog

Big Ed

pacific

you're a kitty!

nice


This will melt the hardest heart (and raises a lot of questions about what we "know" about animals):



Here's a left-brain link.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A real summer Sunday

What I did yesterday:

Rode my bike to Ballard and back to the UW campus.
Stopped in at the Fremont Sunday Market.
Talked to Stella on the phone.
Had soup and salad for lunch.
Got GURPS ready.
Read about half of The God Delusion.
Practiced the ukulele.
Played with the cats.
Had a sandwich and salad for dinner.
ichatted with Neds.
Took a little walk.
Talked to Jules in the front yard.
Did some laundry.

What I did not do yesterday:

Spend any money at all.
Start the car.

Not too bad.

Here's today's Picture of Paradise from Otis:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Sunday paper

News:

List found
Some months ago, I encountered a slip of graph paper in my files; it contained a hand-written list of book titles. I apparently wrote it who knows when back in the day; my best guess would be somewhere about 1994 (I feel a vague association between this list and my tenure at the Green Lake library). I thought it was a curiosity, and threw it back into the data stream, as it were.

Well, since I have this little summer self-improvement project that involves a lot of reading, I decided to dig it out and perhaps use it a structure for my reading. Of course, I couldn't lay my hands on it - it wasn't in any of the "current project" folders that I keep. Its absence was a niggling loose end.

Last night, with Swing Years on the radio, I launched a major file clean-up. I went through the four drawers of my file cabinet and three boxes of "to be filed" paperwork, purging old lesson plans, paper copies of class records, old utility bills, birthday cards, old ads and other stuff. About six inches from the bottom of the last stack, I found the list. (I also found some other neat stuff which may turn up here later.)

It's an oddly apt list on a number of levels. I wonder what impelled me to compile it, and what kept me from reading my way through it. It's a bit bracing to think that I could have spent so much time and effort on something -- it's very neat handwriting, for me -- and have never followed up on it at all. I'm not sure that it is the the list for me, who I am today, but it looks like a pretty good place to start.

(Click pic to embiggen. And yes, I see the error in the Campbell title.)

Scooter scene seen
As I was walking down to the U-District yesterdayto meet Dingo for a GURPS conference, I encountered a veritable horde of scooters proceeding en masse down Ravenna Boulevard toward U-Village. The sight of all those scooters, all different colors and makes and models, made me sigh for the recently departed Ruby. I don't think I would ever have joined such a party, but it would have been nice to be eligible.

Oddly, I have encountered a couple of people recently who are considering a scooter as their primary or secondary transportation mode, and they are running into the same barrier that I have found when considering replacing Ruby: the damn things are just too expensive. The Craig's List offerings seem to be priced 20-30% above last year. The invisible hand of the market makes itself felt!

Cats are weird
I don't know if it was the weather or what, but all the cats I had to deal with yesterday -- Sage, the cat-sittee, as well as the two who live here -- were all acting oddly, either overcharged or lethargic. At least Selkie appears to be back to normal, healthwise.

Travel section:

Pictures from paradise
More photographs from Otis, enjoying her time in Maui:

Otis and brah

C'mon, are you at all surprised?

Words are superfluous

Automotive section:

VW 100 miles-to-the-liter car
This is the first car that I have seen in twenty years that would make me actually consider getting a car loan. It reminds me very much of an independently-designed concept car that I saw back in the eighties; I think it was called the Aerostar (it predated the minivan) and it had the same tandem design, albeit with a less high-tech look (it looked more like an airplane fuselage sitting on the chassis of an old-school formula-one care). I can't even find any information on that one; this new VW version looks cool, though.

(Click pic for link.)

Entertainment section:

Punk rockers are still relevant alive?
Perhaps Jon of Monmouth can give us an informed response to this trailer, since he was once, briefly, a member of the Sex Pistols (although Wikipedia seems not to mention him for some reason). Apparently, this proposed ten-part television series has not yet found a home...

(Click pic for link.)




Funnies:


Just because it's relevant to our lead story, here's Alison Bechtel's recent graphic essay on reading the stuff we're "supposed" to read.

(Click pic for... ah, you've got it by now, no?)