Sunday, January 31, 2010

Binary

It is Sunday morning and I am sitting by the window in the blinding light of the bright day reflected by the fresh snow. All it needs is some daffodils. In some alternate universe I am still asleep, because yesterday was a late night and I did not get anything like eight hours of sleep on this non-work day.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I do have a love-hate relationship with it. It threw a party, and I have a love-hate-hate three-way with those in the biggest way. And here's the thing: it was a good party. In spite of the snow, in spite of the last-minute anomalies, it was my best birthday in years. Any birthday with a binary birthday cake in it has to be a success. It's amazing how much difference one good cook, a projector, some really strong drinks and some really great people can make.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Future soon

It begins with ears and ends, for now, with robots. The ears are Spock ears, and the robots are in this song. Well, and in the Jonathan Coulton song, but that wasn’t new. There are blue drinks, long meetings, German chocolate cookies; there even is a little bit of country music (I hate country music?) It has me being the beneficiary of some really good taste on the part of my fellow human beings. Thank you, humans.

By the way, about the country music – wouldn’t a real geek aspire to be Patrick Stewart or Nathan Fillion* or some such (nice!) body, rather than Brad Paisley? Just asking.

How was your week?

*I want that shart. Ideally with Nathan Fillion in it

Thursday, January 28, 2010

To dream

There are two things I have clearly done too much of, one of which I might be doing too little. I have been listening to too many podcasts, and I have gotten too involved in Twitter; and I probably haven’t slept enough.

Last night, I dreamt that I was waiting to go onstage for the Moth storytelling podcast, and the two people on before me were Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame (and fuzziness; I find him unaccountably endearing) and Neil Gaiman. I was feeling the kind of existential angst one might feel when trying to come up with a good story in time to compete with Neil Gaiman. I messed up, then woke up. When I fell back asleep, I was in a different theater, but doing the same thing. I was watching Neil Gaiman perform, and came up with a really wonderful story, so much better than what I did before; but I didn’t know if they’d give me another chance.

Kind of like life.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Infinite enthusiasm

You all already know that I thrive on my enthusiasms and obsessions. It’s the stuff that makes life worth living (I just wrote “reading” instead; some Freudian slip). In addition to that, it is the stuff that forces you to be here, right now, doing only one thing. It’s good. Anyway, I’ve talked before about how I somehow ended up in the geek subculture in spite of the fact that I don’t play video games and only sort of know my way around technology. I’ve realised why that is. It’s because the gamers and software developers and I intersect at important points – we share a love of science fiction and fantasy, a playfulness, and of course, a love of Good Geek TV. This is great because the fact that I am not a geek in the strict sense, there is more for me to discover. Like a kid in a candy shop, I go, for example, Whil Wheaton>WW’s books>astronomy (well, again, given the Spouse)>Star Trek>back to WW>Firefly>Nathan Fillion>Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog>Castle. It’s like when your friends introduce you to exciting new books and music, except better, because now you have your Real Friends (some of whom are geeks) and your Imaginary Friends (who are SuperGeeks), and when you get to the end of the day the only problem is that you’re running out of time to explore all the exciting new things you just found.

*sigh*

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Odds

I wish I had a giant sticker that said “solidarity”. It’s as much as I am willing to say about any current topic.

Of course, what I really wish I had is this thing. Because you never know when you’re going to find yourself in a time machine. Speaking of time machines, has anyone here seen Primer? Low-budget and unbelievably confusing, yet slightly boring, movie about banal time travel? Yes? No? I saw it a while ago and well, and you see what I think.

Fiction, I live in a world of fiction. I also find myself obsessively checking Twitter. This whole idea that it is a glimpse into people’s lives…it’s strange. Informative, yes, at times. But very voyeuristic. More and less so than blogs – more because it is more immediate to the person’s life; but also less personal, more public. Myriad semi-personal details.

Speaking of not fiction at all, and in keeping with my being behind the times, I recently read Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer’s book about the disastrous Everest expedition he was in. Riveting and heartrending, but that is not my point. My point is that non-fiction is so much more interesting then I thought it was. I know that sounds…obnoxious. But I mean it. I used to think that fiction was where all the action was, but as time goes by I find myself more and more drawn to non-fiction, especially environmentally tinged books, and political biography. Oddness, but truth really is stranger than fiction.

My bigger point? None, really, only that reading = good and that it is nice to know that there are always unsuspected new fields to discover.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heroes

Somebody remind me not to start watching creepy yet mesmerising sci-fi when I'm by myself. This is almost as bad as when decided to watch the Shining when I was housesitting for my sister.

Whoosh

It was an exciting weekend. Nothing much happened (like one of my favourite Tragically Hip songs, Long Time Running “We don’t go anywhere/Just on trips”) but it was fun. The Spouse cooked, and I discovered that

a) I have a knack for discovering cool things late

b) I have yet another thing to thank Whil Wheaton for

c) the Spouse is as good a cook as I remembered

Damn. So the Spouse and I, we made out way through the long and initially quite tedious pilot for Firefly. I know, I know, only seven or so years late. Anyway, we kept going and man, have I been missing out. It has been a long, long time since I’ve seen such well-written, compelling drama. Damn. Damn because of course there is only one series of it, what with the idiots at Fox and their fascinating habit of cancelling awesome shows (Futurama, anyone?)

Still, and even belatedly, Firefly = the awesome.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sweet FA

I really don't think I'm that interesting.

It's ok. It's Friday. I have no agenda. Well, except blogging. Not for your sake, just for mine, so feel free to wander off to check Facebook. I'll just be typing away here in a corner. On the couch, in my moose jimjams. Slightly tipsy (it is Friday after all) and nibbling on some chocolate.

Turns out there is rest for the wicked after all.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Things I come accross on perfectly valid wanderings across the web

pet
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Thank you, Bad Astronomy. Also for the other, more sciency stuff.

Favourable

I have no reason to feel optimistic. Actually, I don’t like feeling optimistic about things; too much like thin ice. Still, I find myself seeing ways out of the Beckett box*. I don’t know where the optimism is coming from, what with the weight of obligation and the general going-to-hellness of the world. I blame Whil Wheaton and Jukebox the Ghost, blame them for the strange dangerous exuberance, blame them for the early January careless, carefree TDEC. I’m turning thirty-one soon, and in three years I will have to forego my foolish way and repent for my youthful sins and be a real adult. Better make the most of it.

Meanwhile I am watching CES coverage – we really are living in the future.

*When I was in college, a guest lecturer on Samuel Beckett described him as drawing a square on the floor, and then exclaiming that he was imprisoned. It is a great description of Beckett, but also of the many ways in which we imprison ourselves with the everyday. Hence the Beckett box.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Excited

You know, I am a fool. I mean that in the best way. You see, ever since I was, oh, twelve or so, my main aim has been to not be in Belgium. It’s a perfectly good little country, really it is, only I got quite bored with it, and Britain (Scotland! Oxford!) was so much more exciting. Canada was so much grander. Hell, even America was more interesting (sorry America, I was young and foolish then). I have done very well at not being in Belgium. I don’t even keep track of the horrifying politics. My family and friends, and of course the food and alcohol, are what really matters to my about the tiny home country.

And yet I am a fool. I am a fool for forever giving up the chance to be all in one place – it’s the expat’s dilemma. I could say I did it for love, but even before the Spouse I had hopelessly lost my heart to a variety of people and places that will never be together. Well, we all pay for our sins, and of course there are many compensations (like the Spouse, and good hotdogs, West Virginia, long weekends in Florida, long weekends in Canada, better bookstores, automatic transmissions, Jon Stewart, and the fact that everybody lives here, even the people who don’t, like Stephen Fry). Yet mostly I am a fool for forgetting the rest. While I usually say that I am an Eng. Lit. girl, I in fact have a degree in English and Dutch language and literature. It’s just that the Dutch…well English Lit is so much bigger. This is idiotic. I was reading a story by a Belgian author over lunch, and not only did it make me laugh out loud, it also reminded me that Belgium has its own voice, and that I miss it, I miss the elaborate, verbose, profane directness of it. Thanks, Tom Lanoye, you’re a star, as they say here.

In other, somewhat related news, you will know by now that I like Whil Wheaton. He makes me happy. I was listening to him telling a story about Patrick Stewart and thought the following, in chronological order:

1) I love Patrick Stewart

2) I love Wil Wheaton

3) How cool would it be to have Patrick Stewart as a mentor?

4) Did I mention that I love Patrick Stewart?

5) Books do make life better

6) I need to get on with it, get excited and make something

So yes.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Review

You know, House really is quite good this season. I finally caught up on the last two episodes and yes, quite good. Also very slashy.

I need a day off from this universe. Where is Star Trek when you need it? Oh, right, SyFy.

So here are some of my happy things, as written by someone else.


I need to see these guys.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Reading

I am in the final throes of Collapse, Neil Diamond’s book. Seriously, I know, he’s called Jared Diamond, but in my head, he is Neil Diamond, and besides, what kind of a name is Jared Diamond? It’s like a pimp name. Anyway, great book, which I am taking forever to read. In the other ear, you will find The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s book, which I have been sort-of listening to by way of the Spouse’s New Exciting Shiny Thing. In my head, the two books – one about the factors that lead to societal collapse, the other about the tipping point of epidemics (in anything – but mostly sales) – go together surprisingly well, and have little thought-babies, like when I was reading about sustainability certifications in forestry, and it speculated about the spread of such certifications, and I started thinking about factors that could help it past the tipping point. Hmm. Interesting.