Hey Genius!

You forgot to wear pants!
Ha ha! Made you look!

August 30, 2005

Camping

8/30/2005 07:44:00 AM

We went camping on the weekend. [edit: The photos are now posted.] I'd never been down to the beach at Minnedosa. It was a lovely spot, and the stars at night as we walked back to our tent were amazing. We were right down on the beach, too, which was still as glass, reflecting the lights of the town on the far shore. Everything was perfect...

...except.

There was a wedding in town, and a bunch of the party-goers had tents two slots down from us at the campground. Which would've been fine except that they decided that 4 AM was the perfect time to turn on their stereo and blare craptastic music. I seriously considered just getting up, packing up, and driving home -- it's only half an hour from my house to the campground -- but I knew the campground gates were locked. So I lay there and fantasized about what I would do if I had a million-candlepower hand-held floodlight. Eventually I got to sleep, but it wasn't what you'd call a quality sleep.

How was your weekend?

August 25, 2005

As promised...

8/25/2005 09:51:00 PM

...my two "Gunslinger" stories are available over on my writing blog, Fantômes. Enjoy!

[edit] Except now, of course, the host that I have my writing blog set up on has been unreachable for 12+ hours. Brilliant.

August 24, 2005

New story

8/24/2005 11:35:00 PM

So I sat and wrote for about 2½ hours straight. I neglected my wife, I have a wicked case of numb-bum, and I have a new 2500ish-word story, a sequel of sorts to an earlier work. Tomorrow I'll probably post both of 'em over in Fantômes. Right now it's time for bed.

August 22, 2005

By the Numbers

8/22/2005 07:50:00 PM

I almost titled this one "8y 7h3 Numb3r5", but then I remembered how much I hate 1337speak.

So. I went for a bike ride tonight, a nice little jaunt that took me in a big circle (well, a square) (well, a polygon of some kind) from my place down to 34th street, then south and east to the mall, then north to Park Ave, west down to 22nd, and then a straight shot north back to my house.

Some Numbers
Number of minutes I was on my bike: 30.
Active heart rate at the end of my ride: 108bpm.
Number of small white dogs that I almost ran over: one.*
Number of big white vans that almost ran me over: one.**
Number of cars with loud "mufflers" that spat partially-unburned gasoline into the air at $1.039/litre***: two.
Amount of physical work that I did: a big fat zero.****

______________

* He was curious, and his owner had his leash payed out a little too far, and she (his owner) didn't see me coming. I managed to slide under some willow branches, off the trail, so as not to crush the poor wee beastie.
** It was in the former Wal-Mart parking lot. I imagine traffic's a little light there these days. I had right-of-way, and he was coasting through a stop sign. I don't know if he didn't see me, or if he did see me but is in possession of a brain with power enough to run a chipmunk or something, but the end result is, I braked, he braked (eventually), and I continued, unscathed but with pounding heart.
*** That's a bit over four bucks a gallon, for all y'all Americans out there.
**** By definition, in physics, W=mad (work = mass × acceleration × displacement), and is a vector. So, since I start out and end up at the same place, the d term is 0, and so the whole equation sorts out to nothing. (So, if I'd set up housekeeping, say, down at the mall, my physical work would have been some non-zero value. But then I'd have had to write out all kinds of change-of-address cards, and explain things to my wife, who is fine with my geekery in a theoretical kind of way, but probably not quite so understanding as to move just to settle a point. So... zero work done tonight.)

Mind you, I was born in Winnipeg, and that's two hundred kilometers away. a = v/t = d/t2, and d is 200,000 meters, and... oh crap, t=~1,000,000,000s, square that, and divide by it... The work done in getting from there to here, over the course of my life, is, shall we say, negligible.

Oh well.

And yes. I know I'm a geek. Oh yes, how I know it.

August 19, 2005

Maybe it's genetic

8/19/2005 12:56:00 PM

Does sneakiness run in the family?

My nephew:

August 17, 2005

1000 words at a time

8/17/2005 10:35:00 PM

A thousand words tonight, in about an hour. My novel-in-progress, Earth Fleet*, is now at 10,000+ words of a projected 120,000ish.
Snippet:
Cabrell hadn't been to the hub since the pressgang order had come into effect. He'd almost forgotten, this morning, had in fact been sitting down to a large breakfast when some little angel had whispered in his ear those magical words: weightless vomit. Instead of the omelette and sausage, he'd settled for some tea and a dry wafer of nutrients.

I have 11 chapters so far, of a probable 80-100. So things appear to be on course. (Yes, I like short chapters. That's just the way it goes, sometimes.)

_________

*Until and unless I come up with a better title.

Mmmm....

8/17/2005 06:18:00 PM

All day my house has smelled like beef stew.

I guess that's the peril of owning a slow cooker.

August 15, 2005

Loud obnoxious goodness

8/15/2005 08:04:00 PM

Bought Rob Zombie's Past, Present and Future album today. It's his greatest hits compilation CD/DVD, and has stuff like "Thunder Kiss '65" and "Dragula" on it. Great tunes, if you like that sort of thing. The man (and his band, the now-defunct White Zombie) pretty much invented grindcore, I think. And if they didn't invent, they surely refined it and brought it to the People. Or something.

Two weird things about this:
  1. I bought it in Wal-Mart. Now I'm in Canada, so maybe things are different up here, but I thought Wally World didn't stock music with Parental Advisories on it.
  2. Far be it from me to complain, but, man, Rob, you're slippin'. What happened to album titles like Astro-Creep 2000: Songs of Love, Destruction, and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head? I mean, really. Past, Present, and Future sounds a little like a Loverboy reunion album or something... (Please don't kill me.)

Hmmm... there's a tune on here, no kidding, with Lionel Richie on guest vocals. Lionel Richie. And Rob Zombie.

For the uninitiated, RZ looks and sounds like this:


And Lionel Richie looks and sounds like this:

Just so's you know what we're dealing with here.



Pop culture trivia time
Even if you're not a fan, you've probably heard Rob's work. There was a period a couple years back when you couldn't see three movie trailers without hearing a snippet--usually lyrics-free--from "More Human Than Human", off the Astro-Creep 2000 release.

The best part about "More Human Than Human" is that it's a song inspired by one of my favourite movies, Blade Runner. First off, the title is the motto of Tyrell Corporation, manufacturers of the replicants. There's a line in the song that goes "I am the Nexus One", which refers to the Nexus Six line of replicants that Deckard has to retire in the movie. And Rob borrows from Batty's dialog: "I want more life, f@#$er".



Best. Dialog. Ever.
Last night Grosse Pointe Blank was on TV. I love this movie. It's one of my top five, I'd have to say. The screenplay snaps and crackles, and never slows down. I think my favourite scene might just be Joan Cusack, playing John Cusack's secretary, "just taking down the office, sir" bit (as she douses everything in gasoline and takes a five-pound short-handle sledgehammer--which looks a little like Marvel's incorrect interpretation of Mjollnir*--to her computer).

This led me to IMDB, that wonderful, wonderful site.

Ten points to the person who can tell me what TV show this quote is from:
Normally at a time like this I'd ask you for advice, and you'd say something that would make no sense at all, but somehow it would all fit together. Like, I would tell you, "Sir, I have a problem," and you'd say, "Well, what is it?" and I'd say, "Well, sir, Lisa wants to have a baby, but she doesn't want to get married," and you'd say "Dave, why milk the cow when you have a fridge full of steaks?" And I'd say, "Sir, that makes no sense," and you'd say, "Well, it sure made sense when that guy Chuck Connors said it in that movie Chinatown," and I'd say, "Sir, Chuck Connors wasn't in Chinatown," and you'd say, "Dave, if I wanted to have this conversation I'd have hired that guy Siskel Ebert to do your job," and I'd say, "Sir, Siskel and Ebert are two people," and you'd say, "Dave, just because the man is fat is no reason to make fun of him."


Every time I even think of that quote, I laugh so hard that, if I were drinking milk, it'd shoot out my nose. I try to avoid thinking of it at breakfast time. Orange juice, I have it on good authority, hurts.
___________

* The Marvel interpretation of Thor's hammer features a wooden handle. The mythical version from the Norse sources is one chunk of solid iron, and the handle is short, so short that Thor can only hold onto it with one hand, because Loki, ever the trickster, disguised himself as a fly and harried the dwarfs as they forged Mjollnir. (Yes, I am a bit of a Norse myth geek. Why?)

August 14, 2005

Short book reviews

8/14/2005 01:50:00 PM

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
J. K. Rowling

Like everyone else on the net, I found this to be a darker work than what came before. There were fewer descriptive passages this time around, which allowed a greater focus on the action. I understand that, at 1Gsec+ of age, I'm not the target audience for this book, and that the target audience probably has read the preceding five books multiple times apiece, but there were sections where I was confused by the way previous events and minor characters from the preceding books cropped up without announcement or explanation. Oh well.

My other major complaint is that, for all that the books seem to be about personal growth, etc, Harry Potter doesn't seem any more mature at the end than he did at the start. It's like he's willfully remaining an obstinate child for plot purposes. Then again, he is seventeen years old, so maybe it's not that far-fetched...

I'll read the seventh one, too, to see how it all turns out, and then I'll probably set them all on the shelf and let the dust collect.

Going Postal
Terry Pratchett

Rescued from ceratin death by a most unlikely angel, Moist von Lipwig* is offered a job. And not just any job, either: a government job. Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, is offering Moist a choice: he can take on the mantle of Postmaster General for the city, or he can step out a door that leads to a thousand-foot fall. Lord Vetinari believes in choices.

Moist takes the job, planning to return to his swindling ways as soon as he can. What he doesn't count on is his "parole officer", a golem named Mr. Pump, and a whole assortment of odd characters that peoples this novel.

In short order, he's inventing stamp collectors, tripling attendance at local temples, and challenging the man who runs the clacks** to a two-thousand-mile delivery race.

I thoroughly enjoyed this outing into the Discworld's unique universe. The characters were sharply drawn, major and minor alike, be they human, golem, or otherwise. Vetinari, long one of my favourites, plays a significant role, and it's fun to watch him work. ("I'm a tyrant," he tells one character, who protests that the Patrician has overstepped his authority. "It's what I do.") Along the way, old familiar faces crop up: Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson of the Watch, Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully and the various other wizards of Unseen University, Hex the thinking machine, and others.

A lot of fun, and under the laughs, there's a fairly serious look at some of the troubles that plague the our-world version of the clacks system.
____________

* His real name.
** An internet analogue, with semaphore towers.

August 09, 2005

1 GSec; Why I'm not a samurai

8/09/2005 09:37:00 PM

Sometime in the last few months I turned one billion seconds old. I think the cake requires tiny blue LEDs rather than candles. Don't want to burn down the house...



I went to judo tonight, but nobody showed up. Not a huge surprise -- it's summer, and there are a couple of our members at the Legion camp at the Peace Gardens. Sat there and read the intro to Ideals of the Samurai. I'm going to have to borrow it some night, but I should find out who owns it -- if it's the dojo's copy, I don't have a problem taking it home and reading it, but if it belongs to one of the members, I'd like to ask permission before borrowing it.

I skimmed part of the Twenty-One Precepts of Hojo Soun. I think I'd have made a lousy samurai. He recommends going to bed no later than eight at night (since thieves usually come between the hours of midnight and two AM -- if you've been a-bed since 8PM, you'll be awake and aware enough to deal with them) and getting up at 4AM. Mind you, some of that is so that you can give the other servants their instructions by 6AM, and have time to do your work so that the master will see you as a good servant. Remember, everyone, the samurai were servants to their daimyo.

But still. The only times I remember seeing 4AM were coming at it from the midnight side, not the getting-up-early side. Ye gads.



Getting down to the end of my PHP project. Gad, I love object-oriented programming! Coded up a DB-read page in ten minutes from scratch, and it worked the first time. Nice. (Granted, the page that adds the data to the DB took longer, but most of the debuggery was stupid errors on my part, typos and the like.)

Snug harbor

8/09/2005 07:55:00 AM

So the Shuttle is down safely. I can't help feeling that the media are somehow subtly disappointed. Tragedy seems to be "better" news than joy...

I did a few hundred words in my NiP last night. Not anywhere near as many as I'd've liked to, though. It just wasn't flowin'. Hopefully it'll be better tonight; I'm done one chapter and on to the next one.

August 05, 2005

on to the next one

8/05/2005 05:49:00 PM

Rejected. Again. F&SF doesn't want "Outside, Looking In". So... who's next? Perhaps I'll shoot for Interzone. (Actually, I think I will.)

I'll post more later this weekend. I have family in town, so I should hang out with them.

August 03, 2005

Wednesday Night Geekery

8/03/2005 09:07:00 PM

First off: <geek>Duh. chmod.</geek>

Sorry. I was struggling with a PHP script that was supposed to upload an image to a server. It would upload fine, but then it wouldn't allow me to copy the file from the temporary location to the location where I wanted it. It was throwing an error related to permissions. Tonight I got the bright idea to set the directory's permissions (using the delightfully arcane *nix command chmod, for change mode) so that the directory's owner and group had write permissions. Boy howdy, whattayaknow, it worked.

Sorry, that's still a little geeky, isn't it.

Well, it's things like that that have taken up the last couple hours of my life. chmod this, track down that missing }, try to figure out if I've closed all my open brackets (not that PHP will leave me guessing, no, it'll throw errors quite happily).

But now, I think, most of the hard part is done. There's one more major section to do, and I hope I can get it done this week sometime. Then I can get back to work on my NiP. (After I crit the entries in Keith's SF challenge, that is.)

Everybody havin' fun out there?

August 02, 2005

The wedding

8/02/2005 09:34:00 PM



My wife's cousin got married this weekend. Click the picture for more.

We got a new digital camera, so we got lots of photos. I need to learn a bit about low-light shooting, though; several pix from the reception/dance came out dark and blurred.

Our new camera died the next day, and I couldn't get it replaced till today, so unfortunately I have no shots from the Johanneson family reunion at Winnipegosis. I will say that swimming in the Quarry rocks very hard, but I wouldn't recommend doing it after dark. Man was that cold. I think my heart may have skipped a beat...

Also, if you look around at my Flickr account, I put up a couple images of one of my hobbies. Mmmm, canvas jackets in 35°C heat...