Elen sila lumenn omentielvo!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A partially-fond farewell

The move is done.

Well, at least the part that involves "taking all of our stuff from the old place and bringing it to the new place". I can't believe how long this process took. It seemed a good idea at the time: "Hey, we've got about two months, so we can just slowly nickel-and-dime our way over there! We can slowly pack and take a few things over every day and gradually it'll get done!"

Take it from me, folks: this approach sucks, and should never be adopted by anyone. Live and learn, I guess. Now, I do stand by this approach as far as moving my books went, because that really took a lot of effort and there are so many of them that moving those all in one day would have really added to the amount of weight being hauled. I'm glad that I got all the books over here myself, which meant that I was able to hit the ground running as far as setting up my library went.

Everything else, though? Moving it in little chunks was a stupid, stupid, stupid idea, and it may well rank with my dumbest ideas ever. What sounded like a way to make moving into a less-stressful, less-annoying, less-soul-crushing-of-a-day turned out to be "death by a thousand cuts". The old place became this daunting monkey on our backs, always there, always in the back of our minds. Every day, thinking, "I'm almost off work, gonna go home and take a nap...oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff." "Hey, it's Sunday, I can read the paper and--oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff." The phrase "Oh wait, gotta go grab more stuff" has become the most often-said thing around here.

So yup: it was a dumb plan. Oh well, live and learn. I suppose we were partially affected by our last couple of moves -- more than eleven years ago! -- which were both occasioned by promotion/transfers at The Wife's job. These were both instances of her district manager calling her on, say, Thursday morning, offering her a new position, and then saying, "OK, you start there next Thursday morning. You can be moved by then, right?" Those moves (to Syracuse in September 2002, and then back to Buffalo in April 2003) were basically of the "pack it all and move it now" variety, with no opportunity for sorting and discarding. At least with this move we were able to ditch a whole lot of stuff that we no longer need or want. Along the way I sent a lot of books to the library, for them to put for sale at their used book events, and at the end, we filled a friend's pickup truck with stuff to donate. But even so: this move was a glacial process, which I do not recommend.

Anyway, here we are now, in the new place. Now we can really start getting settled in. As I write this on a bright Saturday morning waiting for The Daughter to shower so we can go out to breakfast, the FedEx guy just delivered the new shelves we'll use in the bedroom to sort our clothes. I still have to assemble our new metal fire pit -- and hey, we get to use a metal fire pit! -- and there are some light fixtures that desperately need to go. The light above the dining room table is very dim and casts a pathetically small pool of light, so only one person can really see what they're eating. I have to hook up garden hoses, and The Wife wants to start getting flowers to plant and she still has her sewing room to set up. Lots to be done! Good thing I've spent the last ten years at The Store learning how to do many useful things with tools and such.

Even so, I have done some looking-back over the last few months. We really outgrew the apartment five or six years ago, but moving didn't start to become a serious option until just two or three. There was a period in the middle of the '00s when life handed us one massive speed bump after another, and it was in that apartment that we saw our fiercest tests thus far. We had to confront serious financial hardships, health problems, the fifteen awful and amazing months of Little Quinn's life (which I dearly wish was still going on), the loss of tiny baby Fiona, and eventually, the passing of The Wife's mother. We lived all this in that cramped space filled with too much stuff, so much so that The Daughter was never really able to have any of her friends over to visit.

It wasn't all bad, though, and that apartment is where we lived as we crawled through Andy Dufresne's river of shit and came out stronger the other side. A lot of amazing and prosaic memories spring from our time in that apartment, all eleven years of it. That's the second-longest I've ever lived in one place, and the longest if you factor out places where my time was punctuated by stuff like semesters at college. The Daughter took up the string bass. The Wife's professional life flourished, as did mine. After floundering for too long, I finally got busy living and got busy writing. Those two Princesses, in space? They took flight in that apartment, as did a former cop haunted by ghosts and a young lighthouse keeper whose life is rocked by the secrets of his father's past. I've been remembering a lot of random stuff from our years in that apartment:

When we first moved in, we put the potted ivy plant (which we still have!) on the balcony. A robin immediately built a nest in it and laid eggs, so for the first month we couldn't even go out on the balcony.

We had in-home nursing care for Little Quinn. One of the nurses was a very attractive young blonde woman, and she always had to hold him because if she put him down, Little Quinn would start crying. He didn't do this with the other nurses, who were not young and blonde. Yeah, he knew.

Little Quinn would always start fussing at night, invariably, about ten minutes before The Wife got home. It was uncanny. Again, it was as if he knew that Mom was ten minutes away. Although this was scary one night when our doorknob broke, and we had to call the on-call maintenance guy to come figure a way to open the door.

We introduced The Daughter to The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Captain Jack Sparrow, and many others whilst living there. Remember that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Belloq and Marion are in the tent, and the Nazi enforcer dude comes in and pulls out what looks like some kind of nunchuck thing to torture them? Remember how we all tensed the first time we saw that and then breathed out in relief when it turned out to be a hanger for his overcoat? The Daughter did the same thing. (Why on Earth did that guy wear an overcoat in all those hot places?!)

I discovered other bloggers in Buffalo, many of whom are awesome people! (And those who aren't awesome are still pretty swell.)

I started using a thing called Facebook.

I rejected using this dumb thing called Twitter...only to come 'round eventually.

The Wife and I once wanted to watch a movie, so we went to Blockbuster. (Heh!) While looking, I spotted a movie and said, "Hey, it's that romantic comedy we thought we wanted to see last year. It's the one with all those British people in it. Love Actually. How 'bout that one?"

In 2004 I watched a speech at the Democratic National Convention by some young and energetic legislator from Illinois, and I thought, "This Obama fellow seems like he might have a bright future."

The Wife got home late at night from spending a week with family after her mom passed; we picked her up at the airport and brought her home. On the way home, we passed a lot of emergency vehicles speeding the other way, but it was late so we didn't check the news or anything. We just got home and went to sleep. Next morning my mother is calling us in a panic to make sure that The Wife wasn't on the plane that had crashed nearby, killing all aboard and one on the ground. That was when we learned about it.

My favorite authors kept producing work while we lived there! Christopher Moore had eight books come out. Guy Gavriel Kay had five. Stephen King had twenty-nine.

Star Wars and Harry Potter both ended while we lived there. Star Wars started up again. James Bond rebooted, as did Batman. Green Lantern misfired. Marvel mostly hit it out of the park every time they stepped to the plate.

Three desktop computers came and went, as did two laptops. The Wife got a cell phone in 2004; I joined in the fun with a Razr flip-phone in 2007. We upgraded our phones in 2010, and got our first smartphones this past Christmas. The Daughter got her first phone. Three tablets have come. The Wife's sewing machine population went from one to three. We started life in the apartment with zero grills; then I won one of those tabletop grills shaped like a golf ball. Then we got a cheap standup grill, ultimately followed by the current Weber kettle grill. I acquired vintage Lee overalls and discovered Carhartts and I was even gifted a hand-made pair by an artisanal denimwright from Ohio. The Wife's jewelry collection expanded greatly, oft at my own expense. She took up crocheting, which added "yarn stores" to the Google searching I had to do whenever we went to a new city (to go along with "bookstores"). We drank a lot of rum and coffee (not at the same time). We cooked a lot, never as much as we wanted, because the kitchen was so small, but we made do. Lots of ice cream, and lots of pizza, and lots of soup. Chinese takeout and Friday fish-fry's, eaten in front of movies on the teevee.

"I hear this show Castle is good, wanna try it?"

"Are the Bills gonna be good this year?"
"Hope so!"

"People keep telling me that Arrested Development is really funny."

"I'm hearing interesting things about Person of Interest...."

"Ooooh, Hell's Kitchen is back!"

"Are the Bills gonna be good this year?"
"Well...maybe. You never know."

"Couldn't the President just pardon Jack Bauer before she resigns from office in disgrace?"

"I can't believe FOX cancelled this. What a bunch of idiots."

"Wow, this has really gone downhill. I wish FOX would cancel it."

"Why does it have to be coconut cream? Coconut's gross!"
"I'm the one getting hit with it, so I pick the flavor."

"They're rebooting COSMOS with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the Family Guy dude? Huh?"

"It's about Sherlock Holmes, but he's living in the present day. Let's check it out!"

"Oh wow, I got hired at that store! I start next week!"

"I joined orchestra today! I'm gonna play the bass!"

"Are the Bills gonna be good this year?"
"Ha ha! No."

"I think the car needs new brakes."

"Oh Dad, I have a school book order due tomorrow. I only want $35 worth of books!"

"Hey! Five Guys is finally open! Let's go!"
"I have to eat gluten-free now. Doc's orders."
"So much for that."

"Wanna go for Chinese? I'm in the mood for...you jerk, you had Chinese for lunch, didn't you."

"Is it gonna hurt when I hit you with this pie?"
"Um, how hard are you planning to hit me with it?"

"Hey look. Lester likes eggs. He comes running every time I touch the egg carton."
"Ooooh, let me try!"

"It's not tuna, dummies! Get away from me! It's a can of tomatoes!"

"Wow, that coffee smells good."
"Yup."
"So why don't you go make me a cup."
"OK, dear."

"I see you just sat down with a plate of cheese and crackers and a Coke. You must be settling in for a bit!"
"Sure am! Why?"
"Julio is pooping in the box. You're gonna have to scoop it."

"We should have stayed in Cape May."
"Word."

"Did I do it right?"
[blinks through whipped cream]
"Feels about right."
"Good. You look ridiculous. Here's another one."
[splat]

Yeah, lots of memories...eleven years' worth. Now we make memories at our new place. Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!



























Friday, May 30, 2014

How to tell who your best friends are

Really good friends help you move. Your best friends help you move twice.

Instaweek (kinda-sorta)

Here's a sampling of recent pictures I've taken of stuff!

(BTW, The Move That Ate Tokyo should be over this weekend, and our lives should start settling out into something approaching normal...or rather, now that our focus on vacating the Old Haunt will be done, we can really start putting together our lives in the New Haunt. Which means, among other things, that writing and posting should become more consistent, and a good thing that is, too -- my story ideas are starting to leap out of my head for lack of use!)

If you recognize these comics panels, then you are my people:



Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain:



From the Rochester Lilac Festival:













New toy for my library and writing room:



Around and about:











The kittehs:















And, about to retire the overalls for the summer!







And finally, given the new writing space, it's time to replace the old "Writing in Action!" photo with a new one:


Zap! and Pow!, indeed!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cover art?

Saw this on Tumblr. Wow, this is right up the alley for the cover to Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).


(artist)

Something for Thursday

Last night I attended a school concert in which The Daughter was performing with her orchestra, and this work (shortened a bit) was on the program. I've never been the biggest fan of Jan Sibelius, but he does have his incandescent moments, and this tone poem has quite a few of them. Here is Finlandia (couple with some really nifty nature photography of Finland, so you might want to watch it on HD and in fullscreen, if that's a viable option).


Happy Thursday, folks!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

For those of you bothered by grammatical errors, what one common error bothers you the most?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Just ONE Princess in space, Wachowski brothers? That's cute!

On this year's summer movie docket, two items in particular stand out to me. First is Jupiter Ascending, in which young Earthwoman Mila Kunis apparently discovers that she is key to the resolution of some kind of space saga thing. I'm intrigued enough by this trailer to want to know more:


Ooooh, Sean Bean! The guy who has made a huge career of earning big paychecks by reliably playing the dude who dies at the end of Act One!

And then there's Guardians of the Galaxy.




I'm incredibly amused that Marvel is actually going with this group as part of the second wave of their Marvel Universe comics-to-movies, building up to the second Avengers movie. Guardians isn't terribly familiar to most audiences, so it will be something new and a bit unfamiliar. Having read some of the Guardians comics, when executed well, the concept plays like a weird mashup of Chris Claremont's best X-Men work with the all's-fair-in-search-of-laughs work of Chuck Jones. I can't wait.

On a more meta level, I hope for success for both films, as that would represent a new taste in audiences for space opera, which would in turn make the world ripe for the picking when Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title) is unleashed upon the unsuspecting peoples of Earth. Zap! Pow!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Those who went, but did not return

Tomb of Unknown Soldier



Know, all who see these lines,
That this man, by his appetite for honor,
By his steadfastness,
By his love for his country,
By his courage,
Was one of the miracles of the God.


-- Guy Gavriel Kay



"The Green Field of France", by Eric Bogle

Well, how do you do, young Willie McBride,
Do you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
And rest for awhile 'neath the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only 19
When you joined the great fallen in 1916,
I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death-march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?


Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
And, though you died back in 1916,
To that faithful heart are you forever 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enshrined then, forever, behind a glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death-march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?


The sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
No gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that's still No Man's Land
The countless white crosses in stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death-march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?


And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did they really believe when they answered the call,
Did they really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying, was all done in vain,
For young Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Did they Beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly?
Did they sound the death-march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play The Last Post in chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?







Sunday, May 25, 2014

The mother of all cooking competitions!

Ooooh, my favorite summer teevee show, Master Chef, returns tomorrow night! Huzzah! I always enjoy the hell out of this show, even with its tendency to over-inflate itself ("One home cook will win the cookbook publishing deal, the cash prize of [six-figure amount here], and most important of all, the Coveted! MasterChef! TROPHY!!!"), when it's really just a fun cooking show to watch. I've blogged about the show on occasion in the past a couple of times, so I'll just relink my favorite two such items:

:: Gordon, the Fat Guy, and the Skinny Douche. This is mainly about Joe Bastianich, the "skinny douche", although apparently Graham Elliot has undergone stomach surgery since last season and is no longer so much "the Fat Guy". Time will tell if we have two skinny douches on the show now, although as I note in my post, since Season One, they've dialed way back on Joe Bastianich as the "douche" of the show. But still, he's generally cast as the "mean judge", which is really funny. Last year after one episode in which he really lit into one of the contestants, I had to laugh when someone commented on the show's Facebook page, "Hey Joe, why can't you at least be nice and respectful like Chef Ramsay?" That was hilarious -- had they really never watched Gordon Ramsay on, well, anything other than Master Chef?

:: The Many Faces of Monti Carlo, my tribute to my favorite reality show contestant ever, on any show. You know what? If I were to name my own five favorite posts I've done for this blog over the years, this one almost certainly makes the cut. Monti herself discovered it, commented on it, and linked it from her Facebook page!

Bring on the Mystery Boxes! I, for one, would like to see a Mystery Box full of nothing but very cheap "starving college student" stuff. Let's see what the home cooks do with Ramen noodles (preferably to unidentifiable "Oriental" flavor), boxed mac-and-cheese, and stuff like that!

Sunday Burst

You stay classy, Internet!

:: This is good a graphical representation of what it feels like to be in an ensemble, performing a piece of great music, as I'm ever likely to see. If you have the bandwidth, put it on fullscreen!

ZKO Rollercoaster // GREAT EMOTIONS from virtual republic on Vimeo.

:: The Songs of Summer. It's not a list of songs specifically about summer, but rather...

...to discover which summer songs were either released or peaked in popularity during the summer of their respective years. Some are about the summer or the stuff of summer: parties, picnics, fleeting love, nostalgia or fun. Some have that summer feeling in sound alone. Many are relevant to their times. Some have become standards. Some annoy, like a sticky day with too many mosquitoes. Others slow down time, like an unexpected breeze one hopes will never stop.

(By the way, is anybody besides me starting to get a little freaked out with how recent "100 years ago" is getting to be?!)

:: I really like this graphic of typical kitchen measurement conversions. The only way it could be better is if it included ounces.

:: Solar roadways?!


::  And finally, the greatest refrigerator ever:


I love you, Internet!

A brief note regarding comments

The last few days I've noticed that a couple of comments have slipped in without my receiving an e-mail notification, which means that they sit in my Unpublished queue until I sign into Blogger again. This happens once in a while and usually fixes itself, but meantime, if your comment sits longer than usual, bear with me!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Drones Over Buffalo!

My city is quite lovely, sometimes:


Have a great Memorial Day weekend, folks!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Something for Thursday

I've posted this before, but it always bears revisiting, especially if your day needs a bit more pep. Here is Emmanuel Chabrier's Espana Rhapsody.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

We've been looking at patio furniture lately and have been shocked at the price tags involved! Seriously, we don't really want to pay what we'd pay for a couple of pieces of indoor furniture for some stuff we'd only be using six months out of the year, at best. And yet, it seems that there is no "mid-range" for patio furniture -- it's either low-end cheap plastic crap for under $200, and then nice stuff starting at $750. Weird.

Anyway, what's something that gave you some serious sticker shock?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

From the Books: Douglas R. Hofstadter on the Rubik's Cube



My uncle Jerry once told me an awful joke:

What goes, "Click--do I have it yet? Click--do I have it yet? Click--do I have it yet?"

Answer: Stevie Wonder doing a Rubik's Cube.

I know. Awful.

Anyway, many squeals of delight reverberated through the online world yesterday as Google's doodle turned out to be a quite-functional Rubik's Cube, in honor of the puzzle's 40th anniversary. That's amazing to me, another milestone of a passage of time that just doesn't feel that long. I remember the first times I saw the puzzle, in the toy store of the Beaverton Mall in Portland, OR. This was late 1980 or early 1981, when the Cube was just starting to become the most popular thing going.

Eventually I got one, courtesy my parents, and I fiddled with it a lot until I could get two sides complete at the same time. But I was never able to crack the thing entirely, and I think my father was intrigued by the puzzle's mathematical nature, so he sprang for a solution book, through which we pored until we both saw how the thing worked and how it could be returned to its pristine state, usually in a smaller-than-expected sequence of moves. The logical approach to solving the Cube, which I have long since forgotten, was really quite elegant, and I occasionally want to revisit it, now that I'm old enough to appreciate such things. At the time, for an awkward fifth grader in a new school, the ability to solve a Rubik's Cube turned out to be quite the ice-breaker. (It may have also cemented my reputation as a soft and nerdy kid, but hey, it wasn't like I was going to be on the football team anytime soon, anyway.)

Years later, in college, I bought a book by Douglas Hofstadter called Metamagical Themas, which was the title of a series of columns Hofstadter wrote for Scientific American back in the day. Hofstadter is an interesting person, although frankly whenever I read him (and I haven't read him in too, too long), I got the feeling that I was peeking through a knothole in a fence into an awfully grand universe. In short, he was often way over my head. But he did write two columns about the Rubik's Cube, which he found appealing as a puzzle and as a mathematical object. Both columns are presented in the book, and I excerpt the first of them here:

The Magic Cube is much more than just a puzzle. It is an ingenious mechanical invention, a pastime, a learning tool, a source of metaphors, an inspiration. It now seems an inevitable object, but it took a long time to be discovered. Somehow, though, the time was ripe, because the idea germinated and developed nearly in parallel in Hungary and Japan and perhaps even elsewhere. A report surfaced recently of a French inspector general named Semah, who claims to remember encountering such a cube made out of wood in 1920 in Istanbul and then again in 1935 in Marseilles. Of course, without confirmation the claims seem dubious, but still titillating. In any event, Rubik's work was completed by 1975, and his Hungarian patent bears that date. Quite independently, Terutoshi Ishige, a self-taught engineer and owner of a small ironworks near Tokyo, came up with much the same design within a year of Rubik and filed for a Japanese patent in 1976. Ishige also deserves credit for this wonderful insight.

...

When I first heard the cube described over the telephone, it sounded like a physical impossibility. By all logic, it ought to fall apart into its constituent "cubies" (one of the many useful and amusing terms invented by "cubists" around the world). Take any corner cubie -- what is it attached to? By imagining rotating each of the three faces to which it belongs, you can see that the corner cubie in question is detachable from each of its three edge-cubie neighbors. So how in the world is it held in place? Some people postulate magnets, rubber bands, or elaborate systems of twisting wires in the interior of the cube, yet the design is remarkably simple and involves no such items.

In fact, the Magic Cube can be disassembled in a few seconds, revealing an internal structure so simple that one has to ponder how it can do what it does. To see what holds it together, first observe that there are three types of cubie: six center cubies, twelve edge cubies, and eight corner cubies. Each center cubie has only one "facelet"; edge cubies have two, corner cubies have three. Moreover, the six center cubies are really not cubical at all -- they are just square facades covering the tips of axles that sprout out from a sixfold spindle in the cube's heart. The other cubies, however, are nearly complete little cubes, except that each one has a blunt little "foot" reaching toward the middle of the cube, and some curved nicks facing inward.

The basic trick is that the cubies mutually hold one another in by means of their feet, without any cubie actually being attached to any other. Edge cubies hold corner cubies' feet, corner cubies hold edge cubies' feet. Center cubies are the keystones. As any layer, say the top one, rotates, it holds itself together horizontally, and is held in place vertically by its own center and by the equatorial layer below it. The equatorial layer has a sunken center track (formed by the nicks in its cubies) that guides the motion of the upper layer's feet and helps to hold the upper layer together. Unless you're a mechanical genius, you can't really understand this without a picture, or better yet, the real thing.

...

It is likely that many people will buy cubes, little suspecting the profound difficulty of the "basic mathematical problem". They will innocently turn four or five faces, and suddenly find themselves hopelessly lost. Then, perhaps frantically, they will begin turning face after face one way and then another, as it dawns on them that they have irretrievably lost something precious. When this first happened to me, it reminded me of how I felt as a small boy, when I accidentally let go of a toy balloon and helplessly watched it drift irretrievably into the sky.

It is a face that the cube can be randomized with just a few turns. Let that be a warning to the beginner. Many beginners try to claw their way back to START by first getting a single face done. Then, a bit stymied, they leave their partially solved cube lying around where a friend may spot it. The well known "Don't touch it!" syndrome sets in when the friend innocently picks it up and says, "What's this?" The would-be solver, terrified that all their hard-won progress will be destroyed, shrieks, "Don't touch it!" Ironically, victory can come only through a more flexible attitude allowing precisely that destruction.

In a postscript, Hofstadter adds:

I finally must confront the matter of the cube fad's passing. David Singmaster's Cubic Circular is going under after Volume 8. Many thousands of Megaminxes [a puzzle similar to a Rubik's Cube, but dodecahedral in shape] were melted down for their plastic. Uwe Meffert's puzzle club seems to have been a flop. The Skewb and many other wonderful objects I described never hit the stands. A few that did were almost immediately gone forever. So...have we seen the last of the Magic Cube? Are those cubes you bought going to be collector's items? Well, I am always loath to predict the future, but in this case I will make an exception. I am bullish on the cube. It seemed to seize the imagination wherever it went. Despite the line concluding my second cube column, the cubic fad finally did spill over into the Soviet Union.

In my opinion, the world simply overdosed on cube-mania for a while. We humans are now collectively sick of the cube, but our turned-off state won't last too long -- no more than it lasts when you tell yourself "I'll never eat spaghetti again!" after gorging on it. I predict that cubes will resurface slowly, here and there, and I am even hopeful that some new varieties will appear now and then. This is Mother Lode country. There may never again be quite the Gold Rush we witnessed a couple of years ago, but there's still plenty of gold in them thar hills!

I've just decided that I needed a Megaminx. Among other things, the shape of the dodechedron plays a role in the Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title) series.







Long live the Cube!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Linking some stuff!

Time to link a few items that have been languishing while I've been otherwise occupied!

:: Friend and fellow writer SK Waller has been paying tribute to the rock bands of California's Gold Coast:

But the Tri-counties didn't adhere to the British Sound. Instead, they took what they liked and cast off the rest. While southern California topped the charts with Folk-Rock (the Byrds, the Mamas & the Papas...) and Progressive Rock (the Mothers of Invention, the Doors...) and northern California grabbed national attention with Acid Rock (the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company...) the Gold Coast, overlooked and passed over, was busy mixing up their own brew that included all of that, but whose base was Surf. Welcome to 1960s proto punk, California style.

She's created a whole site about this part of rock history, California Gold Coast Dreamin'. Check it out!

:: Farran Nehme, one of the best film-bloggers around (under the title Self-Styled Siren), has a novel on the way. It sounds amazing, steeped as it is in her astonishing knowledge of film history:

New York in the late 1980s. Ceinwen Reilly has just moved from Yazoo City, Mississippi, and she’s never going back, minimum wage job (vintage store salesgirl) and shabby apartment (Avenue C walkup) be damned. Who cares about earthly matters when Ceinwen can spend her days and her nights at fading movie houses—and most of the time that’s left trying to look like Jean Harlow?

One day, Ceinwen discovers that her downstairs neighbor may have—just possibly—starred in a forgotten silent film that hasn’t been seen for ages. So naturally, it’s time for a quest. She will track down the missing reels, she will impress her neighbor, and she will become a part of movie history: the archivist as ingĂ©nue.

As she embarks on her grand mission, Ceinwen meets a somewhat bumbling, very charming, 100 percent English math professor named Matthew, who is as rational as she is dreamy. Together, they will or will not discover the reels, will or will not fall in love, and will or will not encounter the obsessives that make up the New York silent film nut underworld.

As it turns out, I know nothing at all about silent film...but I might have learned some, had I gone to college a couple years later. The music director of my school's orchestra was a part-time player in a Des Moines ensemble that played the scores to accompany silent films, and just after I left with diploma in hand, she made this passion of hers a part of the college's orchestra scene! I've always been bummed that I missed out on that.

:: It's Monday; your to-do list at work is probably short and manageable. So go waste some time learning stuff! Atlas Obscura is one of those sites you can lose yourself in, quickly.

:: I'm a sucker for reading other writers discuss their procedures, what tools they use, their workspace, et cetera. I obviously don't subscribe to the "Maybe if I use the same pen Stephen King uses!" kind of thinking, but I still like hearing about process. I find it a bit inspirational, both in general terms (these folks still have to sit down and work), and in practical terms (lots of successful folks have good thoughts on how to organize and create a workspace). George RR Martin is very particular about the word processor he uses.

:: Chalkboard art, created in secret.

Have a great Monday, folks!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Building a Library

When the prospect of finally moving from the old Casa Jaquandor into a new Casa Jaquandor started shaping into more of a realistic goal than a "here's something we should do one day" dream, maybe a year-and-a-half ago, there were a number of thoughts that flashed through my mind:

"A space of our own, where we can put whatever we want on the walls or plant whatever we want in the yard!"

"A kitchen large enough for our kitchen stuff! A kitchen with enough counters to be able to prep multiple phases of a meal without having to completely clear one spot constantly!"

"The Daughter can have an actual room of her own, as opposed to half a room which is half storage for our stuff!"

"Space for The Wife's sewing machines and crafting stuff!"


And, for me, one glaring notion:

"A new writing space with enough room for books to be on shelves, as opposed to stacks everywhere I turn!

The old space was...well, it wasn't so much a space, as a hollowed-out corner. I ran out of shelf space for books many, many, many moons ago, to the point where books just started going into stacks on the floor, tucked into corners and piled beside my desk itself. My desk was an awful clutter, and frankly, sitting down to work felt less like sitting down at a desk so much as climbing into a cramped cockpit. Looking back now, I wonder how I managed to get as much work done there as I did; in the last few years, there have been three complete novels and half of a fourth, in addition to all the various bloviation I pile into this space.

Worst of all, my books felt less like a collection or a working library than a massive horde of crap gathered at random over the years. Eventually I had to stop going to those used book sales at the public library, because I simply didn't have room for all the treasures I often found from there anymore. I got a lot more selective with the books I bought, and still, they piled up in unacceptable states of inaccessibility. Yes, there are books I forgot I owned (though I didn't end up with multiple copies unknowingle), but that mattered little; I reached the point where I knew I couldn't find a specific book a lot of the time, so it just languished unread in some stack, some pile, someplace.

I fooled myself for a long time into thinking that I loved that space, until I finally came to the realization, when moving was a possibility, that I hated it. I mean, look at this mess!




Ugh.

So when it finally came to pass that we found a new living space and that it might be ours, I knew that I was possibly going to be able to convert an entire room into my "book room", my "study", my "library", my "writing space". I'm still not sure what I call it. But it's amazing.

It started with a room.


Yes, the deep blue walls would have to go, but first, into the room came...boxes.


Boxes begat more boxes....


...which begat more boxes....


 Then the painters came, and away went the deep blue in favor of a brighter, more soothing amethist.

Along with more boxes.




And more.


Finally, they were all over here, all boxed up (minus half-a-dozen large bags of books that I decided were better served in someone else's library, so off they went to the local public one as offerings in their next used book sale). This took me probably about six weeks, packing up four or five boxes of books at a time and driving them over. Luckily, New Casa Jaquandor is only a few miles away from Old Casa Jaquandor, so it wasn't like I had to drive an hour each way or anything. But it did get pretty tiring, nonetheless; lugging boxes of books up and down stairs is never fun.

This felt weird, for a while, not having any real access to any of my books, and it took a toll on my writing productivity. There really is something of an osmotic process to being in the presence of lots of books. I find their presence conducive to getting work done, and when they were all boxed up, I felt so out of sorts that I ended up not writing at all when the move finally drew near. But I knew that soon it would be time to start unpacking them all and getting them on shelves.

Which meant, buying and assembling new shelves. I didn't want anything ridiculously expensive, and I certainly didn't need any specialty cabinets built. I kicked around for a bit the notion of building my own as a carpentry project, but I rejected that for now on the basis that I want to be set up to work now, and not at some indeterminate point in the future when I get a chance to build something, which would certainly be later rather than sooner. Besides, to me, bookshelves are a purely functional thing; what matters is the books. So I ended up buying four of these units, since they're a good size and they actually match one unit I already have.

So, then came...assembly time!


What I always find is that assembling more than one of the same unit goes faster with each one, once I'm familiar with the procedure. These actually went together pretty quickly, probably taking on average around an hour for each one. Maybe a bit less, actually. Then it was time to start setting them up:


Obviously, I needed to level things up a bit! These units actually come with a bracket which you use to secure them to the walls by drilling into the wall stud, so they're actually really sturdy. If anything ever happens sufficient to make these shelves fall over, well, I'll likely have bigger fish to fry at that moment.

These units take up one entire wall of my library. I used my other shelving units -- collapsible bookcases that fold flat for travel when not laden -- in the opposite corner, two tall units (one of which is actually two bookcases stacked) behind my desk in the corner, one on the other side of my desk, and one next to the door. Now I was ready to start shelving.


It was somewhat serendipitous that Dr. Sagan's shelf started first, because that's what I found in the first box of books I opened. But there he was! And that brings me to something else that has eluded me for years: organization.

In the past, I've always had books in a mishmash, scattered all over the place, nonfiction mixed with fiction, and authors with their own books scattered all over the place. I wanted to reduce that, if not eliminate it. Carl Sagan's books are all together now, on one shelf, and his shelf is alongside a few others filled with science-related titles. I tried to keep most of my history works together, my travel writing together, my books on movies together, fantasy books together, and so on. I have a science fiction shelf and an entire poetry area. All my Star Wars books reside together, and my art books and graphic novels all take up one entire bookcase. JRR Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay each get an entire shelf (with room on the GGK shelf for his next novel in hardcover, and then I'll have to start thinking a bit), and both of these are on the shelves by my desk so they're always right there next to me.

This entire process was mostly enjoyable, although it was at times a bit overwhelming:




Going through everything in a more controlled manner allowed me to take more stock of my collection, and I ended up filling two more boxes with books to be donated to the library. Weeding is always useful, and I plan to do it more often now that I'm in a state where I can look at things and assess them more readily. I greatly downsized my Philosophy collection, most of which were texts I acquired whilst studying Philosophy in college. In most cases I just had to eventually admit that my reading interests are unlikely to take me into places like twentieth-century analytic philosophy again, and to be honest, I found this part of the process less emotional than I expected. When keeping a book depends on moving it, it's easier to ditch it.

Anyway, the job finally got done, for the most part -- at least as far as the books are concerned.












What's left? Decorating and more organization. I have a closet in this room, which is nice; I'll be able to create an "archive" of sorts for stuff to go live in there, stuff that routinely got piled elsewhere. I need to get my various knick-knacks out and about; currently all my little spaceships are still in a box because I'm not sure what to do with them, and I need a basket of some sort to toss my car keys and all the various things I carry around in my pockets when I'm at work. At the old place I just piled this shit in a spot on the top of my desk, but I don't want to do that anymore. I have two narrow bookcases, twelve-inches wide, that will be for various writing supplies, but I discovered the other day that they do not fit the binders I use for my manuscripts, so I may need to acquire another small bookcase. I need to arrange candles, and right now as I write this, I have no idea where my coasters are. I can't just put beverage vessels down on bare wood! That's just not right!

Oh, I got myself a new desk lamp. I didn't really care for the old one, a silver aluminum thing with a white plastic shade. This seems more...I don't know, Philip Marlowe-esque. Why I'd want to look more Philip Marlowe-esque, I have no idea, but this seems anyway more like a lamp a writer uses. Hey, what can I say. Sometimes you do want to at least look the part, and I don't have a wastepaper basket full of rejected pages from my Next Great American Novel.


I have some wall art that I want to get up, but I'll need to do some framing, and that's going to have to wait for a few weeks while we finish getting all our crap out of the old place. I've already hung my Phantom Menace poster, and I have a Star Wars: A New Hope poster to go up too, as well as three Japanese lobby cards for the Original Trilogy that I've keep carefully stored for years (a reader sent them to me, anonymously, way longer ago than I like admitting -- if you're still out there, Reader, thank you so much!), which will also go up. And so it goes.

I'm settling in. The place is becoming home, and I have a place to work. In the old place, I had books in just about every room; now they're all in here, and I've decided I want it that way. I'll read in my bedroom and living room and dining room, but I don't want to be surrounded by this aspect of my life anymore, except for when I want to be surrounded by it (which is often). I keep returning to these posts by Sheila O'Malley about when she moved and had to rebuild her entire library, and among the many wonderful things in those posts (seriously, read them, they're among the best things I've ever read in blog form), she says this:

“I don’t want any books in my bedroom. My bedroom is for sleep and moisturizing and loving. I’m sick of sleeping surrounded by 5,000 books.”

Ayup!

So there I am. Time to start working again, eh? Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!


(Yes, I've added "splat" to my roster of standard sound effects. Seems pretty obvious, with the pies and all.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Brief dispatches

Let's see, what's going on? Well, we're still moving and settling. My Heavens, what a process this is. It's awful. I hate it...except for the parts of unpacking, settling, and building a new life. That's pretty cool. But we still have stuff at the old place, and frankly, were it not an apartment building and thus other people living there, I'd be giving a lot more thought to the old "box of matches and some incendiary additives" approach to dealing with the rest of it. Yeesh.

Writing? Well, I knew that May was going to be an awful month for writing, and it has been at least as far as actual generation of real content goes. I have been thinking a lot about my story (well, two stories, because focus just isn't something I do), and while I have been doing a bit of toe-dipping here and there into writing, I look forward to resuming the work with vigor in June. Onward and upward! Zap! Pow!!

Day job? I don't talk about my day job much at all, but hey, you know what? It's going pretty well. I enjoy the opportunities to learn to do new things (at least, new to me), and I'm not burning myself out in front of a computer screen before I come home and try to write. So there's that.

Lessee, what else...oh yeah. The Wife and I were married seventeen years ago today.


So there's that. Happy Saturday, Blogistan! Let's all be careful out there. See you at halftime.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Something for Thursday

I wanted to post something by Dougie Maclean and couldn't decide which of his many wonderful songs to use, so...here's the entirety of my favorite album of his. Enjoy! It's just a Scot and his guitar and his audience. Sometimes it's the simple things, innit?


(If you watch it via the YouTube link, the user links the timings where each song specifically starts.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

I was going to ask something about moving and how much it sucks, but I figure we're all tired of hearing me whine about that by now, right? So here's something random: Describe your perfect taco! (Including tortilla preference -- corn shell? Soft wheat tortilla?)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Huh.

Now here's something I didn't know octopi could do....

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A bit less long ago, still in a galaxy far, far away....

So, the dust is slowly settling from The Move That Ate Manhattan (which isn't even done yet, so there's still dust to be...rendered unsettled), at least enough to the point that I can start to think about taking my writing muscles out for a spin or two. Thus it's time to do just that. But what topic would be a good one to jump-start the blogging engines?

Hmmm...let me think...oooh! I've got one! Let's talk about....


Heh! Who saw that coming!

Now that production on Star Wars Episode VII: You Will Not Go To Space Today (not the actual title) is ramping up, we're starting to get details dripping through, such as this photo of what is most of the main cast gathered around for the first reading of the script.


JJ Abrams and crew took a bit of flak after this photo's release, on the basis that surely there should be more than just two females in the cast of a new Star Wars movie. The original trilogy was never awash in parts for women, with just four speaking roles for women that I can remember over the course of three movies. The Prequels did get women into the act more, but heavens, those are the Prequels. We can't give them credit for anything.

In a post on this, good guy Jason Bennion makes a reasonable point:

The other issue that’s keeping me from getting too enthused about more Star Wars  is, frankly, my fellow fans. It only took an hour or so after last week’s news surfaced before I saw the first round of complaints… in this case, that there are only two women on the cast list and how is it possible that the Star Wars universe can still be so sexist after 40 years? Never mind that we know nothing yet about the plot of this new movie, or how much screentime the two women cast members will be getting compared to the males, or who the protagonist of the movie might actually be. Hey, here’s a crazy possibility for you: maybe the new Campbellian hero about to take their great journey is Leia’s daughter and the movie focuses on the two of them, with all the menfolk relegated to supporting roles! Probably not, I’ll admit, but my point is, we don’t know anything yet, so how can we already be complaining?
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not dismissing or belittling concerns about sexism. It’s a valid criticism: Female characters reallydon’t fare very well in the genre films that dominate popular culture these days, and Star Wars, which looms above everything else in the zeitgeist, is in a position to take the lead and set trends for years to come. A new entry in the series really ought to reflect the changes we’ve seen in our society since 1977. And chances are, it’ll fail in that regard. But we don’t know yet that it will. And I’m troubled that people who supposedly love this franchise are already bitching before we see even one frame of film. But really that’s just par for the course these days, isn’t it?

My main problem with that is that Abrams and company really should have seen the complaints coming. Their response to the complaints was a hasty "But we're not done casting yet! There will totally be more females! You'll see!" Well, that's not really inspiring of much confidence, especially considering that the production is at a stage where they are willing to gather up "the cast" into a single room and release a photo of this (complete with R2D2 hanging out in the background) to start drumming up excitement for a project that does -- let's be honest, here -- have a faint air of "Going back to the well again" about it.

I completely agree that there should be more women in Star Wars, and if they really do make a new movie with only a slightly better male-to-female ratio than the first one, that's a problem. But I'd also have to admit that I do partly hope that happens, because if it demonstrates the need for a space opera franchise that's got more women in it, then I happen to know of one in the offing...it's about Princesses...in space!!!

(Yes, folks, I am that big of a whore.)

Jason also makes a larger point about the general tone of Star Wars discussion these days:

I remember another time, before the prequels, before the Special Editions, when the original trilogy was beloved by pretty much everyone of my generation. It was the closest thing to a lingua franca we had. Stuck for something to make small talk about? There was always Star Wars. When I met my best friend 21 years ago on the streets of Cambridge, England, two young guys from different parts of the U.S. who didn’t immediately seem to have much in common, we bonded by sharing our memories and thoughts of Star Wars over pints of Guinness. It was something special, something we both treasured. Something we all treasured.
Then came the Disillusionment of 1999, and the long period of darkness I think of as The Great Fanboy Wars, when everybody had an opinion and was determined to make damn sure everyone else knew what it was. And suddenly, this wonderful, cherished thing became a source of never-ending contention and argument, something you really didn’t want to bring up anymore. Whatever else you may say about it, pro or con, the prequel trilogy sucked all the fun out of being a Star Wars fan.
Long-time readers may recall an entry I wrote shortly after Revenge of the Sith, in which I declared that I was tired of the rancor and hostility that now surrounded something I just wanted to love, tired of feeling like I had to defend my opinions all the time, or at least listen to everyone else’s. That was nearly 10 years ago… and nothing has changed. You still can’t mention the prequels in mixed company without someone going off on a spittle-flecked rant about Jar Jar Binks, or what a hack George Lucas is. Worse yet, all that animus has started to spill over to the original trilogy, as well; a lot of people now believe it really wasn’t that good either, which is a worse piece of revisionism than all the CG dinosaurs Uncle George everdreamed of inserting into Mos Eisley. It’s no wonder George finally just wanted to wash his hands of the whole damn thing.

I do agree with this, for what it's worth. Not only are the Prequels widely hated, but it seems that negative opinion toward them is increasingly spilling backward, to the original films. It's rapidly becoming accepted wisdom in some circles that Return of the Jedi isn't very good, and I'm starting to see a general sense emerging that if there have been any good Star Wars movies, there has only been one, and it's The Empire Strikes Back. I have a lot of trouble with that view, simply because if something was generally that crappy, why on Earth would it be this big of a cultural thing so many years later?

Jason's right in that Star Wars discussions these days almost invariably devolve into various levels of taunting and bitching about the Prequel Trilogy (which, for those new to the scene, I openly admit to loving although not without reservation and admissions of a lot of flaws in them). I dread May 4, which we've adopted rather oddly as "Star Wars Day", because of a bad pun. Everybody just makes some Star Wars jokes or whatever, and if any discussions actually come up, it's more "Lucas sucks" and "the Prequels are awful" and "Mr. Plinkett's reviews should be required viewing" and the like. The degree of negative passion inspired by a set of well-intentioned space opera movies dismays me, and the general reaction to the production of an Episode VII seems to boil down to two camps: "Meh, who cares, I gave up on Star Wars years ago" and "Cool, we can have Star Wars without George Lucas's scummy handprints on it".

It's as if just letting Star Wars be, without bitching about it, isn't even an option, which leads to things like John Scalzi deciding that May 4 was the perfect time to rev up his Star Wars engine. Now, I love John Scalzi. He's a fantastic writer, and I tend to agree with him on many issues; when I agree with him, he still manages to put things in ways I hadn't considered, and when I disagree with him, it's in the nice way of being challenged to think things out a bit more. But it's my experience that when he starts in on this topic, the results don't tend to be inspiring. (Examples, here and here.) Anyway, Mr. Scalzi tweeted thusly:



Now, I've little doubt that Scalzi doesn't really think that there's some kind of equivalence between anti-science weirdos whose views have created serious public health problems and some folks who view a movie differently than he does. But when that's the starting point in the conversation, when it gets framed that way right from the outset, well...it makes the ensuing geekery less than fun, unless you're on the side that's saying "Ooooh, look! A pile-on! Let me join in!"

Oddly, Scalzi later on justified himself on this basis:



As if being a critic, or having been one at one point, means anything at all, in terms of the factual level of one's opinions. Scalzi doesn't say this, actually; in a subsequent tweet he indicates that his knowledge of film is sufficiently broad that no one can sway his opinion on these films. Well, that's nice. Roger Ebert gave positive reviews to two of the three prequels; but then, he also famously praised Speed II. In the end, a critic is simply a talented writer paid to write about films. They may offer insight and intelligence, but that doesn't mean they are offering fact.

But I digress; the point here isn't to rail on John Scalzi, which is like a flea biting an elephant anyway. Star Wars fandom seems like a fractious thing these days, almost like fandom in general, and now I've seen the word "fandom" take on a new meaning, to refer to the thing you're a fan of. Thus, my "fandoms" include Star Wars, Star Trek, the films of Hayao Miyazaki, and so on. There are so many more things to be a fan of these days, and the Internet makes it so easy to divide oneself into a lot of separate little fan communities. So it is with Star Wars, to the point where often there's just not that much of a feel of fun to being a fan in the first place anymore. To be a fan seems to be to be angry at things a lot of the time. I'm guilty of that myself, but I try to keep it in check; why spend time constantly griping about the awful things that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did to Star Trek? Why bring it up each and every time the general topic of Trek arises?

Maybe that's what Yoda was talking about in The Empire Strikes Back when he told Luke that the Dark Side is quicker, easier, more seductive. Anger is easy, and sometimes, it even feels good. Which is a bummer, because love is harder, but it feels so much better.

(None of this should be read as an exhortation for people to love the Prequels. If you hate them, that's honest and real. I'm just tired of that general hatred of them being the starting point of most discussions.)

Let's see, what else is bugging me about Star Wars? Oh yeah: apparently the new film will pretty much set aside all of the Expanded Universe continuity and do its own thing. So no, the events of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy never happened. Luke Skywalker never redeemed and married Mara Jade. Han and Leia may have had kids, but not those kids. And so on. How do I feel about this?

Well, I stopped reading the Expanded Universe books years ago, when their production outpaced my desire to read nothing but Star Wars. I can see their point, in a way; they're making a movie or movies for an audience that likely knows nothing about everything that's gone on in the non-filmed Star Wars continuity, and it's just easier to start over as opposed to honor everything. And yes, I suppose that fans can adopt their own individual preferred continuities if they like. But it's not as if a new movie has to include everything; surely a writer of Lawrence Kasdan's skill can get what exposition is needed in with pretty short order. Want to show that Han and Leia have kids? Easy:

EXTERIOR: Coruscant -- spaceport landing platform.

THREE YOUNG ADULTS, two men and one woman, are waiting.

MAN: Mom and Dad are late.

WOMAN: There they are now!

The MILLENNIUM FALCON appears in the sky and comes in to land. HAN SOLO and LEIA ORGANA disembark.

HAN: Hi, kids!
Again, I get why they're doing it. But an awful lot of people have invested a lot of emotion and energy in all those tales that have been spun in this universe since 1991; to toss it all aside seems to me a pity.

Let's see, anything else? Hmmmm...nah, I guess not. But by the way, seeing as how Disney now owns Star Wars, I suppose that means that we'll have Star Wars movies without the iconic 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare at the beginning. So be it...but this would be a cool alternative:



Party on, Star Warriors!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Something for Thursday

Lord, what a task moving a household is. And we're still not done! Probably about eighty percent of our stuff has made the move, and then there's still the cleaning to be done in the old place. It really is amazing how much dirt and dust can accumulate underneath things when they don't move for over eleven years. (It's also amazing that I lived in one place for eleven years. Of all the places I've lived, the duration spent at the last apartment is the second-longest I've spent at a single address, and the longest if you disqualify addresses where my "living time" was occasionally broken up by things like semesters at college.)

Anyhow, I'll have more to say about the move in the future. For now, this is a piece of music that's been on my mind through a lot o this process: "Building the Barn", from the score to the film Witness, by Maurice Jarre.

We're settling into life in our new home. In fact, as I write this, I'm sitting on the new couch we just bought. It's the first couch that The Wife and I have bought together since...ever. Almost seventeen years of marriage, and over twenty-three years of being a couple...and we've finally reached the point of "Hey, we should buy a couch." Oh well, it's not like there's a correct order to these things, is there?

Monday, May 05, 2014

Good morning Blogistan!


Just popping in for a moment before I get back to work. This library/study/book room/evil lair isn't gonna set itself up, you know. Anyway, just tapping the microphone and saying 'Hello'.

(BTW: next time we move, we're paying guys to do the whole damn thing. This will be feasible as by then, I will be living off the proceeds from the wildly successful screen adaptations of the Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title) series. Moving well-and-truly blows, folks!)

(Oh, and that photo? That's the sun shining through the trees out our new backyard. I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's fully leafed-out and green!)

So, how are you all doing, anyway?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Something for Thursday

Yup, still here. My head has not exploded yet from this moving crap, which I take to be a good sign. All moving and no writing make Homer something something.

Anyway, here's a small musical item in memory of actor Bob Hoskins, who sadly passed away yesterday. I saw him in lots of stuff -- his cameo as J. Edgar Hoover in Oliver Stone's Nixon is memorably chilling -- but I suspect I'm like many in that he achieved his greatest share of immortality as Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Here is the End Credits suite from the score by Alan Silvestri.