Don't try this at home

I finished The Gathering Storm this weekend. It was absolutely fantastic. I was drawn completely in, down to gasping and whimpering as events unfolded. It was a major rush, and I can’t wait for the last two (for reals, yo) books to come out. Pure bliss.

Major kudos to Brandon Sanderson – he pulled it off beautifully.

In other news, I tried to electrocute myself last Wednesday. Took out half a wall and 3 computers in the lab at school – talk about embarrassing.

So, I was going to work on my project write up, using Pages, which means using my powerbook. The battery on the aging laptop doesn’t seem to hold a charge for more than an hour and a half, if that long, which means I needed to plug it in. There was an empty outlet, no problem. However, the desks and computers were wired such that the locking cable (twisted metal) to one of the computers was lying across the outlet. I pushed it aside, definitely out of the way, but there must have been more pressure on it than I figured and it popped back in the way as I was about to plug the cable in.

Pow.

Holeeecrap but that was some spark! There were a couple sparks that I just watched fall all the way to the floor before they went out.

Embarrassing.

Luckily, once the campus electrician dude found and threw the breaker, all was well. Outlet still worked, as did the computers. My power supply, however, is probably toast. I’m sure the cable is, at least, I’m not going to try it, but I’m not sure about the actual power supply. Maybe the Apple store has a way to test them, I don’t know. Still, at least my powerbook wasn’t plugged in yet, and, thankfully, neither was I. Eeesh.

Electricity is not necessarily your friend. :D

Next time, I’m just gonna suck it up and use notepad.

Eeep.

(click through for a more impressive size)


Update, of a sort.

Update in bulleted form:

  • Reading!

    The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose around the alabaster spire known as the White Tower. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

    Having read #1 – #11 of Wheel of Time from 9/8 – 10/16, I now have my hands on The Gathering Storm. I’m gonna try to savor this one a bit more…

  • I’m a bit… disturbed by my TX Government prof’s extra credit offering: Attend the Tea Party Express II rally downtown. On the one hand, it is political activity, and an example of how citizens can participate1 – on the other hand, ew. I’m also a tad bemused that he played an entire Fox News segment (which I can’t find right now and it’s driving me crazy) on the arson investigation around Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution; Perry’s dismissal of the whole thing on the grounds that Willingham was a “monster”. Yeah? So? Assuming the evidence shows that he didn’t set the fire, then he didn’t kill his daughters. While he’d never win any humanitarian awards, he’s still not guilty of the specific crime he was executed for. That’s Not Right in my book. </end digression> Anyhow, yeah. Fox News.

  • Videogames: Finished Fable II. Five times. Well, I had to play good! And evil! And good turned evil. And evil turned good. And good turned evil turned good. And then there’s the sex change potion…. Now I’m playing Lost Odyssey, the game I told Rob repeatedly that I did not want to play. I’m over 80 hours in now. So now he thinks that I’ll change my mind on Oblivion! But, even though I’ve apparently changed my mind on turn-based games *cough*pokemon*cough* I still say I don’t like first person that much. Still, maybe Fallout 3 will convince me, if I decide to try it. In DS news, I beat Professor Layton & the Diabolical Box, but I still need to finish more of the puzzles. Haven’t played much Pokemon (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum) lately, but ToysRUs is giving away Arceus soon, so I’ll dust it off for that. Still waiting for HeartGold/SoulSilver, but I’m not sure which one I’m going to get. On my “finish dammit” to do list is a couple of the GBA pokemons, but I’m not sure which ones I finished and which ones I didn’t. And by “finish” I do not mean “caught ’em all” because I am just not that obsessed. (Shut up Rob.) Pearl is closest to completion, and I’m happy with that.

  • My husband threw a glass of ice water at me today! Well, ok, he knocked it over on me while we were at the restaurant. And, ok, maybe it was because I asked him to hand me the very thick and heavy copy of the above mentioned WoT book. Still! Ice! Water! 2

  • Now you must see an incredibly adorable picture of George, The Sweetest Cat On Earth™!

George's headstand

What?

He was standing on my palm with all four feet, kneading and trying to stand on his head. Aside from leaning against my chest, he was supported solely by my one hand. He was also purring like mad.

1Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2No books were harmed during the events described.


Jen's 2009 Reading – a work in progress (updated 01/01/2010)

Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words. Words. Words.
Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus
“I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” – Mark Twain
“Whenever books are burned, men also are burned.” – Robert A. Heinlein
Happiness is an unlimited supply of good books.
Upset the politically correct – read banned books.


GoodReads

2004 – 2005 – 2006 – 2007 – 2008 – 2009


Book list under the cut…


Who says cats are graceful?

Who says cats are graceful?

They must have some massive PR budget, because my cats, at least, are decidedly not graceful.

Proof lies in the tale I’m about to relate.

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OK, take a look at this picture. This is an old picture; now there is another bookcase along the wall between the light and dark bookcases. It fits snugly – the corners of the book cases meet, creating a square behind them that is blocked off. Nothing is there, can’t get to it. The plastic containers on top of the bookcase aren’t there any more, but the monkey with the banana is.

So.

Lately the cats have been getting up there and knocking the monkey onto the floor. Almost daily we’ll find him sitting on the floor; once, we found him drug halfway down the stairs.

Today, today was their peak performance. I’m minding my own business, poking around on the computer when I hear a cat crying. Now we can usually tell more or less what the cats vocalizations mean. Playful, mad, hungry, needy – whatever, we can usually tell. Also, each cat has its own distinctive sound; Max is loud and tends to be yowly, George has the tiniest meow but can be heard when he wants to be, Fred is quite talkative, Tasha rarely meows, she mostly chirps and mrrrps. Yes, that’s a word. Really.

So there is this pathetic meow that sounded unfamiliar. It was definitely one of ours, but not of a sort I’ve heard them make. I go looking for the source, and end up in the library. George is agitated, and is snuffling the bookshelf. Fred is perched on the cat tree, looking very interested in the proceedings. The monkey is again on the floor. And then I heard the cat cry again.

Out from between the two bookcases where the corners meet, a grey paw waves pathetically. Tasha had managed to get up on the bookcase, shove the monkey off, and then, graceful creature that she is, either decided to see what was down in that corner, or simply fell off. I don’t know how long she was in there – could have been up to four or five hours, but honestly, I don’t think it was that long. The way the cats were acting, I think it had been a recent adventure.

To get her out, we had to empty one bookcase, so we could move it away from the wall. I’m not sure how we’re going to solve this little problem, either.

Cats.

Originally published at Jen’s Corner. You can comment here or there.


Book Review: Cloud Atlas

Wow.

I just finished the most amazing book – Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. I found this book when I asked a guy at BookPeople for a dystopia, and I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s a nested set of matryoshka dolls in front of a mirror; six separate stories woven together from the 1850s to a post-apocalyptic future and back again. Each could stand on its own, yet when taken together are glorious.

Here’s some thoughts I had while reading it:

About 10 pages in: Hmm. This doesn’t seem much like a dystopia. Oh well, it’s ok so far.

About 40 pages: WTF?

Another 40 pages: WTF???

Later: Wow, this is good! Hey! Wait! I needed more about that guy, you can’t just leave it hanging…

Still later: Holycrap this is good, but if all these threads don’t wrap up some how I’m gonna be pissed!

End: Wow. What a rush.

Can’t really say much about the stories, because really, you just have to see for yourself. Anything I could say would be a spoiler, so I won’t go there. This is one trip worth taking.


Overdue Update

Photography

I joined a photo group called Project 365+1 – the idea is you take (and post) a photo every day. Other than that, there’s no rules – it can be slice of life, “artistic”, whatever. Mine will probably be heavy on the cat side. :)

My cameras are:

  • Nikon D50 (love this camera)
  • Canon Powershot SD1000 (new!)
  • HP Photosmart 320 (old, and probably retired soon)

Anyhow, so far I haven’t missed a day, although I’ve been posting in batches rather than every day. I also haven’t managed to post them on my ‘blog, either. I really need to work on that. Hm. Think I’ll turn twitter posting back on too.

I’m going to “catch up” with photo posting, so expect a slew of picture posts soon. Gonna cheat and back date them, too.

Here’s my flickr page and my Project 365+1 set.

Books

I updated my 2007 book list – I apparently read at least 87 books last year. I think I missed a few, but no more than 3 or 4 I imagine. Maybe this year I’ll actually manage a few “reviews”.

Skool

Semester II! Back for English Composition II and U.S. History II (after 1865). I decided to drop Spanish II for now. I could probably do it, might even manage to pass (seeing as how I somehow got an A in Spanish I) but it would put the other classes at risk. History kinda got the short shrift last term and I really would rather do better this term. So, the plan is to re-take Spanish I for summer term, and take Spanish II next fall. Seriously, I don’t feel that I grasped Spanish I at all; certainly not well enough to dive into Spanish II.

Gaming

Man, I haven’t touched a console in months! I’ve been solely playing DS games. Currently I’m playing Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker – it’s DragonQuest meets Pokemon, and it’s a lot of fun.

Movies

Movies we’ve seen! The moratorium on regular movie theaters is still on – the only place we’ll go is the Alamo Drafthouse; specifically, the one on South Lamar. We’ll do the downtown one, but it’s gotta be for something special. We’ve got a backlog of movies though, so there’s always something to watch when we feel like it.

  • Cars – Fun movie, we were cheering! (Yet another reason to watch at home.) Pixar is just fantastic, although they may be losing it: Ratatouille wasn’t very good, in fact, we didn’t finish it.
  • Finding Neverland – I adore Johnny Depp, and this was a fun and bittersweet story.
  • The Libertine – Damn, I adore Johnny Depp! I liked this movie quite a bit, though Rob didn’t.
  • Sweeney Todd – Oh wow but this movie was fantastic. I’ve always loved the story of Sweeney Todd, and this was a superb version. I cringed at every throat slash and winced at every body drop. This was Sweeney Todd!. And yeah – Johnny Depp. And Alan Rickman! Man, it just doesn’t get better than that!
  • Beowulf – Wow this was cool. Rob kept muttering something about crossing the uncanny valley; I dunno, but I thought it was great.
  • The Dark Side of the Rainbow – Alamo Drafthouse showed this Oz/Floyd combination – a lot of fun, and surprisingly eerie in places. Still, I think I should have had more to drink before going. :D

Cats

Cats are all fine. We’ve gotten through (knock wood) a horrendous parasite infection, but it looks like it’s pretty much over with. The kittens are apparently acting “normally” now, which means they’re alternating being destructive little demons on crack with being cuddlebugs. The latter is the only thing saving them now. That and the fact that they are adorably cute.

All done!

That’s about it for now. I’m sure there’s more, but it’s long past and out of my head. I’m lucky I remembered this much. Now to have some lunch, then start posting and backdating my photos! Hasta!


Wow.

Originally published at Jen’s Corner. You can comment here or there.

Wow. Fantastic. Heart-wrenching. Exhilarating. Satisfying. 759 pages; 7&frac12; hours of reading.

Over.

Now to put my LJ reading list back together. :D

(Don’t read comments if you haven’t finished the book – there may be spoilerish things mentioned.)


This and that

Originally published at Jen’s Corner. You can comment here or there.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was great! And speaking of Harry Potter, since there’s some spoiler hints even on CNN, it’s time for me to pull the plug.

From /. – “Salon reports that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been leaked four days before it hits bookstores. It turns out that someone with access to the American edition of the book has taken a photograph of every one of the pages and made them available via bittorrent. Publishers may well be quaking in their boots, but in some places the quality is barely legible. On many pages the pirateer’s hands are in the pictures with other pages needing a bit of Photoshopping just to make out the words. It appears many of the sites have been removing the content, naturally enough.”

Warning – the /. link is almost certainly infested with spoilers in the comments, and I don’t know how deep the Salon article goes into it – I’m not reading it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – we know there’s going to be death galore. Fine, but I don’t need to know details and page numbers, thanks.

Anyway, I’m out until Sunday!

In other news, U.S. medical researchers have discovered use of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Ritalin by young children might affect their brains. Um, duh?