Wednesday, November 30, 2005
My birthday-day was a bit lame as I had a ten hour day at work, eight of which was spent in a project management workshop (basically eight hours of people saying things like buy-in, deliverables, and responsibility matrix - plus I got eight more hours of it today. I can manage the fuck out of your projects now). After work was much better as Dr. Mystery presented me with a case of beer and a mix-CD that he made for me. I can't really explain how great the mix-CD is. We have been together for 6+ years and the guy has never made me a mix tape even though he is constantly producing mix tapes (he has probably made 500 mix tapes since we met). He's always said he thought it would be cheesy, which it kind of is, but it is still totally nice. And I really don't think anyone has ever made me a mix tape before ever.
Other things I got for my birthday:
1. Three e-cards, two nice emails, and two happy birthday comments.
2. A bookcase from my parents.
3. A rockin paper-mache cat and a shiny fish mirror from tjd. I hung the mirror up in our kitchen way up high in an interesting spot that needed some shinyness and the kitty is in the living room so I can look at it all the time because I love it.
4. As yet unknown presents from my two sisters, one of whom actually has the same birthday as me since she was born on my sixth birthday. I lamely didn't get her anything but love this year, but she got me something anyway. What a good sport.
5. Three birthday phone calls.
So, overall, the day was a success. I was able to apply my learning and creatively manage the 29th birthday project. Yay!
Monday, November 28, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Saturday, November 26, 2005
This show originally ran as a four or five part series, and was released on DVD with an additional "where are they now" episode. I saw a condensed version of the series on PBS the other night. Several things made it so much better than usual reality shows:
1. Everyone was a grown up.
2. No one tried to be mean -- they didn't show the "bad" performances (at least in this shortened version), and no one made snide comments.
3. Everyone was British and had nice accents.
4. No commercials (in the PBS version), so it didn't have that irritating build-up / re-cap cycle that so many reality shows fall into. This also resulted in much less filler.
5. The prize wasn't a million dollars or a recording contract or a new life, it was a chance to sing a role in a professional production of the English National Opera.
They ended up picking two winners who split the lead female role in Verdi's Rigoletto. I don't really know anything about opera at all, but they both did a really excellent job. And from what I can tell from their websites, they are both giving a go of singing careers and have each released solo albums.
The show also made me want to learn a little more about opera -- do any of you know anything about it? I saw a production of Carmen when I was in college that I liked, but I felt like I didn't know enough about it to really get everything that was happening onstage. Opera is kind of intimidating, but less so when you see nice grocery store cashiers, blind housewives, and investment bankers with British accents singing it.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Josh and Kristy Thanksgiving 2005 was a resounding success. Either one or the other of us was cooking for about five hours straight (I made molasses spice cookies, Josh made the beautiful pork/onion/apple stuffed poblano peppers with walnut cream and chile colorado sauce pictured above. Oh yeah, also really good black beans). Then I spent a good chunk of time cleaning up -- almost three loads of dishes, we used just about every pan we had. We had morning beers to help us cook, then tons of food, then a drive over to Mt. Bonnell (which we thought would be empty but was actually more crowded than I've ever seen it), then home for movie watching, wine drinking, and Monopoly playing. I give this Thanksgiving five thumbs up.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The complete table of contents includes:
Time Wants a Skeleton, by Ross Rocklynne
The Weapons Shop [Isher], by A. E. van Vogt
Nerves, by Lester del Rey
Daymare, by Fredric Brown
Killdozer!, by Theodore Sturgeon
No Woman Born, by C. L. Moore
The Big and the Little [Foundation], by Isaac Asimov
Giant Killer, by A. Bertram Chandler
E for Effort, by T. L. Sherred
With Folded Hands... [Humanoids], by Jack Williamson
A surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising) awesome story is Theodore Sturgeon's "Killdozer!" about a bulldozer that becomes possessed with some kind of ancient kill spirit with a vaguely science-oriented twist. It is obvious that Sturgeon worked in construction in his past with the lovely descriptions of operating and repairing heavy machinery, and yet none of this drags the story down or makes it any less exciting than you would want the story of a killer bulldozer to be.
Other stories include space travel, the mix-ups possible with time travel, robots, mutant rodents, robots, futuristic political systems, and more robots.
There is something about the pulp stories from the forties that really appeals to me, be they detective stories, romances, westerns or science fiction. Its like these guys are really real writers with typewriters and cigarettes and a whole industry of cheap magazines to publish their work. And science fiction in the 1940s has this great atomic power / distrust mixed with total excitement about the power of science and space travel and such. So good.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Scroll down for the best part of the website - an interactive Flash layout of the complex. When you hover over different areas of the map, you hear the associated sounds. The people in the reception garden sound like real assholes. And why doesn't Storage sound like anything? I want to hear boxes shuffling around or something....
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The Rainbow Pipeline
(this one from an oddly named oil company effort from the 1960s)
If this doesn't work out as a band, I'm planning to license the name to a GLBT group of some kind. Or a series of porn movies.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Lets take a look, shall we... (oh, and you can click here to get a more readable version of page one, and page two of the list)
Observations from 1998:
1. Still in college, so still a lot of school books. I took some awesome classes in 1998, though, including a history class where we read all about witches and saints and crazy ladies and an independent study on novels of sexuality. Hot.
2. Got a little royalty in there with Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, and I still remember which of Henry VIII's wives died how by the little rhyme from that title (the whole thing is divorced, beheadead, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. I think. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong.)
3. Apparantly in 1998 I could read whole books in Spanish (I was, after all, a Spanish minor). I don't think I've read any books in Spanish since 1998. I bet I could do it if I really tried though...
4. When I looked over this list a couple weeks ago I was surprised to find that I had read Masuji Ibuse's novel Black Rain. I saw the movie based on this book recently and had no idea that I'd ever read the book. I still don't remember reading it -- I don't think it was for a class, and I know I don't own it. And I don't think I ever bought it. The movie is really good, and I'm assuming that the book was too, although I'd really have to read it again to be sure.
5. I remember really not liking Julia Penelope's Speaking Freely, and yet for some reason I wrote it down twice on my list and had to cross one of them off. I must have been really glad to be done with it.
6. Junebug loaned me all those Dave Sim Cerebus books. Those were awesome. He only had the first four or so volumes, though, so I never got past those. I would like to reread these guys and catch up with all of that crazy pig's adventures.
7. Wuthering Heights is so good. I really want to read that again.
Have you read any of these books? Did you read any of them in 1998? If so, perhaps we are the same person! Or else we took some English classes together....
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I thought I was just standing in line at a drugstore buying an economy sized box of tampons, but I must have inadvertently stepped into some kind of Miss America pageant. Luckily another register opened up before we got to the swimsuit competition.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
at Toma himself. Don't forget to listen to his theme song.
Now that we are all in the mood, lets take a look at the back cover (the aspect of the book that originally attracted me) [oh and a more readable version can be found here]. The book is basically your standard undercover cop story -- in this case Toma is infiltrating a mob fencing ring at the airport that keeps stealing diamonds and fake plane tickets. Does Toma get his man in the end? You'd better believe he does, but not everyone likes the way he does it. No sir. This was actually very readable and pretty fun, with a few neat twists. The only really silly bits are when Toma puts on his costumes (which actually isn't as much as the back cover might lead you to believe). He dressed up as a hippy a couple of times and later dressed up as an Indian woman for a long chase scene at the airport that ends with this lady getting her head knocked off by an airplane.
Here's a trivia tidbit for you all -- when Tony Musante wanted to quit the show, the producers decided to cast a certain Robert Blake as Toma. Blake didn't want to be a Musante replacement, however, and insisted that they retool the show and give it a new name. That was the birth of the "Baretta" that we all know and love.
Shine on you crazy diamond... Shine on.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Find this and other fantastic action shots from my parent's visit this past weekend here. Make sure you don't spend all your time just looking at Josh's pratfalls -- you should also take a look at my awesome new birthday bookcase. Plus many shots of nature.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
As you may know, I love royalty, and Mary Queen of Scots is great because she fits right into the Elizabethan period, which happens to be the part of English history that I know the best. Mary is also particularly wonderful because she was really tall for the period (actually even pretty tall for nowadays) at 5 foot 11. I just love tall ladies. Her story is also very salacious and ends with a dramatic execution. So the outline goes something like this:
Mary's father, James V, dies just a few days after she is born. She is his only child and becomes the queen of Scotland. The nobles tussle over who she should marry for awhile, eventually sending her to France to be married to Henry II's son, Francis, the heir to the French throne. She grows up there and marries Francis when she is a teenager, but he is in poor health and dies after about a year. They had no children and many historians question that they ever even had sex. Mary is shipped back to Scotland (a place she hasn't been since she was 5 and her mother has since died). She's got all kinds of problems because she is Catholic and her subjects are Protestant. Henry the VIII dies in England and they run through the short rule of Edward, the bloody rule of Mary, and then stick in the Protestant rule of Elizabeth for most of Mary's life. Mary desperately wants to meet Elizabeth, partly because Mary is really the next heir to the British throne if Elizabeth dies with no children. Elizabeth doesn't really seem to like Mary for this and many other reasons (especially the Catholic stuff).
Mary marries this cute young guy that she loves, but no one else likes him and he ends up being kind of a playboy and a gambler. They have a son (the future James VI of Scotland and James I of England). The Scottish nobles plot to kill him (probably without Mary's consent) and do, then the main conspirator kidnaps Mary when she is moving from one castle to another (possibly with her consent), "ravishes" her, and forces her to marry him. Pretty much no one likes this. Mary gets a bad reputation with her people and the nobles, and ends up fleeing to England at the age of 25 for Elizabeth's help (which she promised to give). Instead, Elizabeth puts Mary in jail for the next 17 years before executing her on a trumped up treason charge.
And I know this has gone on for way longer than anyone is probably interested in, but let me give you a taste of the execution from Fraser's book: "The time had come for Jane Kennedy to bind the queen's eyes with the white cloth embroidered in gold which Mary had herself chosen for the purpose the night before. Jane Kennedy first kissed the cloth and then wrapped it gently round her mistress's eyes, and over her head so that her hair was covered as by a white turban and only the neck left completely bare... The queen without even now the faintest sign of fear, knelt down once more on the cushion in front of the block. She recited aloud in Latin the Psalm 'In you Lord is my trust, let me never be confounded' and then feeling for the block, she laid her head down upon it, placing her chin carefully with both her hands, so that if one of the executioners had not moved them back they two would have lain in the direct line of the axe. The queen stretched out her arms and legs and cried 'Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit' three or four times. When the queen was laying there quite motionless, [the executioner's] assistant put his hand on her body to steady it for the blow. Even so, the first blow, as it fell, missed the neck and cut into the back of the head. The queen's lips moved, and her servants thought they heard the whispered words: 'Sweet Jesus." The second blow severed the neck, all but the smallest sinew and this was severed by using the axe as a saw."
Very exciting, folks. It makes me really want to see the movie from the 1970s with Vanessa Redgrave. Plus Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth? Awesome.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
In fact, now that I think of it, I probably shouldn't have put one of the offensive sweat-pics up here as I will now no longer be able to look at Spacebeer until the picture has moved off the page (even that picture of the toilet paper from yesterday puts that irritating bear-butt-wipe jingle in my head instantly). I'll have to be tough. I hope you all appreciate the sacrifice.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Sample lyrics include: "Hey little fella gotta change your touch / What you thought was enough might be too much," and "A deeper clean you can get behind"