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!


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.


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.


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

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


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: