Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 08:53 pm
My Friday reviews rotated between four long running series? Say, Vorkosigan, Kitty and two others?
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 11:49 am
Better. Rugs is vacuumed, ant invasion is over (I hope; I haven't seen any ants since Wednesday), computer is backed up, router seems to be behaving, laundry is sorted. Floors need swiffering and mopping and laundry needs doing, in that order so I don't have to mop around the drying rack, but at least I don't feel quite so much like I live in a pit tangled up with a mass of cat hair and rug fuzz and broken technology.

There's nothing wrong with my computer. The Computer Loft ran a bunch of tests on it and said it was possibly the router, and to try resetting that before I call RCN and spend half my life on hold so they can tell me to unplug it and plug it back in again. So I came home and unplugged the router and plugged it back in again, and tried it, and it wasn't having any. But this morning, when I was resigned to calling RCN, it all behaved perfectly well. I do not understand technology. (And I actually like RCN, especially compared to the other option, which is Comcast.)

I broke down and ordered a DVD bookcase because I am so tired of having more DVDs than I have shelf space. The extra ones do not belong on top of the cable box; it annoys me to see them there, and I have enough other things to be annoyed about and enough money to throw at the problem, so that's what I did. I've found myself not thinking so much about money lately, which is new and different. I used to think about it in the context of not having much at all, and then I gradually started thinking about it in the context of having enough to be able to do things that made me happy but weren't absolutely necessary, and now I'm sort of taking having a certain amount of it for granted. Which is probably a bad idea. I was prepared to throw several hundred dollars at computer repairs, having already thrown several hundred dollars at Lily's blood test earlier this month. That would have been impossible when I was young, and inconvenient five years ago, but now I'm OK with it and I'm not sure I should be.

I am, however, allowed to go spend my birthday gift card for Brookline Booksmith, so I think I'll do that today. Books make me happy, even if they do take up space. I have two largish boxes of books that need new homes. I still want to start the ODE Non-Dental Book Swap Shelf, but I never get around to it. Maybe I'll sneak in some weekend and start it.
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 10:59 am
Six (nearly seven) months in and my Bullet Journal is still going strong.

I've made a couple of changes to the format. Instead of writing a daily log every day I do a weekly spread. It allows me to park weekend tasks on those days, from the beginning of the week, instead of having to either remember them or carry them through every day until I get to the point I can actually do them. It also means less disruption of my routine on the days when I can't check the journal over breakfast (early starts where I have to eat at my desk, for example), since I don't have to prep the log every day.

I've started putting in a deadline calendar each month, but only for the current month. Future deadlines are still going in my diary, along with appointments. It's a little clunky having two books, but the way I look at it is the diary is for the future (and I can leave it at home) and the journal is for now. I don't think I'm quite ready to abandon the traditional diary yet.

I'm still scrapbooking in the back (and a note for future journals is that pritt stick might be better for this than staples!). My Beadhaul comes with a leaflet showing all the beads included, so I've added that as well. So far I've only made a pair of earrings. I've got ideas for a couple of other things but I'm not sure I can translate the ideas out of my head at this point.

It hasn't helped much with my writing, but I think there's a larger issue of balance there, rather than being disorganised. Overall I'm getting more of the day to day things done that used to slip under the radar, so it's definitely working. The only problem is I'm bored with the notebook now and ready for a new one!
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 07:04 pm

The boat docked this morning in Russe, Bulgaria, which you will also see sometimes spelled "Ruse". We had a brief bus tour of Russe on our way out of town, but this was one of those days where our destination was a couple of hours away on the bus, so it was very brief indeed. Read more... )

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Read more... )

Friday, July 21st, 2017 01:07 pm
Computer is going to repair shop tonight, because I brought it to work today to see if it responded better in air conditioning, and it doesn't. It's probably either a two-minute fix or something that requires taking the entire laptop apart.

Accreditation documents are going to printer on Monday for sample copy, which means they are going for final copies either late next week or the Monday after next.

Both cats are shedding like mad, which I can't really blame them for because this is not good weather to be covered in fur and hate water. But I wish the rugs didn't look like disaster areas. They wouldn't be so bad if I had gotten off my overly large backside last weekend.

Standard 2 is finally about as done as it's going to get. It's a shadow of its former self at 250 pages, because I reduced all the tables to 10-point font and doing that shortened the damn thing by 20 pages.

Now that I have spare brain cells again, I'm thinking about scuba certification again. It may have to happen next summer after chorus is over, though, because I need 14 hours of pool time and however many hours of classes and I can't squash all that into August. Maybe next summer I won't look like ten pounds of bulk sausage in a five-pound bag when I put on a wetsuit, too. There WILL be Things Done About That.
Friday, July 21st, 2017 02:41 pm
The King and I: I went with a friend to see The King and I at the Kennedy Center on Wednesday night. This is (like most Rodgers and Hammerstein) a musical I have mixed feelings about. There is some glorious music, e.g. "We Kiss in a Shadow." And, of course, "Shall We Dance?" is a nice showy number. But is "The March of Siamese Children" anything more than a way to show off kids so parents will go to the theatre? Louis (Anna’s son) could use a lot more development as a character. And "I Whistle a Happy Tune" simply annoys me, aside from its earworm potential.

Despite those inherent flaws, the production was quite good, with special kudos to Jose Llana as the King of Siam. I also thought Manna Nichols was very good as Tuptim. The choreography made good use of a relatively small space (this was in the Opera House, not the Eisenhower, which also has the disadvantage of less than wonderful acoustics). Could one write a musical nowadays with an internal ballet like "The Small House of Uncle Thomas?"

My only real complaint (aside from my overall lukewarmness towards the score) is that the show was awfully long. I was nervous about the metro schedule, since trains stop running at 11:30 on weeknights now. I may have to limit weeknight excursions to things that are driveable or that I know will end by 10ish.

Chinotto: We had dinner before the show at Campono, which has okay food and is right across the street from the Kennedy Center. The café in the Kennedy Center is dreadful, with mediocre food and high prices. And the friend I went with was driving, so didn’t want to do dinner in Foggy Bottom beforehand. My salad was fine, but the real reason I am mentioning this is that they have chinotto! I know I am the only North American who actually likes those bitter Italian drinks, but the point is that I do like them and they are hard to find here. So it was a rare treat.

Now, if I could only find somewhere that has Schweppes bitter lemon…

Fielding Dreams: I shouldn’t really go out two nights in a row, but the DC JCC had a program on Washington’s Jewish Ballplayers and, given my minor obsession with Jews in baseball, how could I resist? Fred Frommer (who authored a book on Washington baseball, not limited to Jewish players) moderated the event. The other speakers were Phil Hochberg who, in addition to a career in sports law, was an announcer at RFK Stadium, and Aviva Kempner, who is well known for her documentaries, including The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. The big news is that she is now working on a documentary about Moe Greenberg and she talked extensively about him.

Anyway, there were 18 Jews who played major league baseball in Washington, though some played only 1 or 2 games. The number should really be 17 because Buddy Myer, despite being in nearly every Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, was not actually Jewish. Most of the players talked about were active in the 1930’s or so, but there were a few I remembered. For example, Greg Goossen played for the Mets for a while, though, of course, their real Jewish star was Art Shamsky. (As far as I know, Ed Kranepool is not Jewish, though he did give a talk at our shul when I was a kid.) It was Goossen about whom Casey Stengel allegedly said "I have a 19 year old player. In 10 years, he has a chance to be 29."

Another familiar player was Jason Marquis, who I saw pitch here several times. The only Jewish pitcher who had a winning career in Washington, however, was Al Schacht, who went 14-10 in the early 1920’s. The other really significant pitcher who was discussed was Syd Cohen, who gave up Babe Ruth’s final home run. But the better story about him is that he played winter ball in Mexico under the name Pablo Garcia. The minor league ballpark in El Paso (where he grew up) is named after him – and his brother, Andy, who was the more successful ballplayer.

The big story, however, was Moe Berg. His baseball career wasn’t exactly impressive, but his career in the OSS made up for it. Apparently, he spoke at least 7 languages – and couldn’t hit in any of them. But his linguistic skills got him sent to Japan with much bigger names and to Switzerland to meet Heisenberg and so on. He was a genuine character and I’m looking forward to Aviva’s movie.

Speaking of Baseball: Jackie Bradley made an awesome catch Sunday night, robbing Aaron Judge of a home run. That is exactly how I like to see my Red Sox deal with the Source of All Evil in the Universe.

Don’t Analyze This Dream: I had, for some reason, been given an opportunity to do another Zero-G flight, for free this time. But there was a lot of paperwork to fill out – enough for a 100+ page book. I got hung up on a question asking me to check off which conditions I had, which including being blind, blonde, or blinde.
Friday, July 21st, 2017 12:30 am
I just got to a series of posts from 2014 Wiscon harassment meltdown. Ah, memory lane.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 04:28 pm
Previous models set first occupation significantly later. Much earlier and the first humans on the path to Australia would have left footprints in the still-cooling ashes of the Toba eruption.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 10:12 pm
Reliable sources report the death of Jordin Kare.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 10:00 am
It turns out you can connect Calibre directly to Project Gutenberg.

Having downloaded a bunch of public domain books, I then went looking for the proper cover art. Interestingly, although I am convinced I owned mid-1970s editions of both Blackman's Burden and Border, Breed nor Birth, I can find no evidence those editions actually existed.

Another interesting thing. This is the list of science fiction books on PG and this is the list of science fiction works by women on PG.
Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 06:07 pm
Things that do not inspire Fig to go into hunting mode:

A baby rabbit

Things that do inspire Fig to go into hunting mode:

A robin
A 50 kilogram dog