Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I've actually made a study of efficient packing for travel. I've made it a goal to never have to check a bag at the airport. I'm getting pretty good at it, for short (fewer than four days) trips. I'm going to keep practicing. Packing light makes traveling so much simpler and easier.

I toy, from time to time, with the idea of trying my hand at travel writing. It's kind of a silly idea, because compared to many of the travel writers whose web sites I've seen, whose books I've read, whose articles I've read - I haven't traveled.

Oh, my job has taken me all over my home state of Nebraska many times. And it's sent me to conferences in many cities I otherwise would never have been able to visit. Let me count the cities: Chicago, San Antonio, St. Louis, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Madison WI, Annapolis, Atlantic City, Kansas City (many times, and I can always go there anyway), Nashua NH...seems like there were more but I can't summon them up right now.

Oh yeah, that's another thing: my lace-like memory. And my brilliant powers of observation. (sarcasm) Those are both things that will serve me well in travel writing (/sarcasm). What town was I in? *scowls, straining to remember*

Well, it just occurred to me I might try a rapid memory exercise here. How about if I try to list the one thing that stands out most about each of those cities in my memory? Stream of unconsciousness...

Chicago: architecture. Love it!
San Antonio: the Alamo
St. Louis: how gray the downtown is
Flagstaff: those mountains
Albuquerque: the giant Native American-style pots in the highway medians
Madison WI: State Street!!!!
Annapolis: the sailboats in the marina
Atlantic City: the boardwalk, of course
Kansas City: Oh, I've been there too many times to pick one thing. The BBQ, I guess.
Nashua NH: my friend Chriss. Oh all right, and the fall foliage. But mostly Chriss.

It's discouraging, looking at that list, how mundane and cliche my Main Memory Things are. The Alamo??? The Boardwalk??? Yeeesh. I'm going to have to do better than THAT. Well, okay, I'll dig out all my photos and my trip diaries and for the next month I'm going to try to write *real* travel articles, the kind I like to read.

I'll include places I've been that weren't for my job too: Sunnyvale CA, Tucson AZ, Lake Andrusia, MN (obviously a vacation spot), Cheyenne Crossing SD...

This should be fun for *me*. Maybe some readers will enjoy it, too.

Monday, September 26, 2005

About the Battlestar Galactica 9/23/05 episode:

That rape scene from Friday night's Battlestar Galactica kept bugging me. It didn't harrow me, or "disturb" me – it provoked a lot of questions.

"She" is a machine – though capable of emotions, thought, and getting pregnant (this copy of Boomer IS pregnant by a human soldier, Helo). So what if they rape her? Especially since her kind is hell-bent on annihilating the human species? Why is any method of extracting useful information from her, wrong? Isn't it like torturing your car, or your lawn mower?

Ahh…that gets us closer to the answer.

Let's say that all the apparently human responses she showed during the rape (screaming, fighting, crying) really are just pre-programmed computer behaviors.

If you torture your lawn mower, it's not a crime. There's no law, legal or moral, against torturing your lawn mower. But what kind of person tortures their lawn mower?

And even if that asshole viewed the Boomer/Caprica copy as a machine, when it was giving off all those human-like signals of terror and horror and revulsion and pain, what kind of person wouldn't have an instinctive sympathetic response to that? Either a total sociopath, or a psychotic. Either actually evil, or helplessly sick. Or – if not one of those, then someone who knows perfectly well right from wrong but who has thrown all moral framework away in favor of indulging his fantasies of hatred and revenge.

But, say he's raping a machine. Isn't it a victimless non-crime?

Maybe a non-crime, but not victimless. He's distancing himself from the best parts of himself. He's crossing a line that he may not be able to cross back to regain his own humanity. And when (in the BG universe) there are only a few tens of thousands of human beings left, and they are threatened with extinction by millions of machines – isn't he really, by opting out of humanity, committing a crime against humanity?

And doesn't this resonate interestingly with the real USA right now?

Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm one with the notion that we immortalize loved "ones" in our memories of them, whether they're people, animals, places or events.

Reading the poem "The Rain Poured Down" by Dan Gerber (http://articles.poetryx.com/89/), a new thought struck me. In my memory there lives, will always live, a single tear: the first one I ever saw my father cry.

I can see him now, crouching forward on a living room hassock, elbows on knees, eyeglasses dangling from one hand. I don't remember for sure, but I think he'd just learned that his dad's cancer was inoperable.

He turned his face toward the open front screendoor so I wouldn't see, but it only threw that narrow quarter-face view of him into silvery light relief against the shadowed interior wall. And with a thrill of shock and dismay, I saw that tear run down the very border between his silvered cheek and the darkness beyond. That moment is frozen in my mind.

I knew as much how to comfort him then, when I was 12, as I do now, when he himself has been dead 11 years.

A single tear sinking like acid down through the softness of my broken heart.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"What'd you do over the weekend?"

"Oh, I got the snow tires swapped off my car."

I had to empty the trunk to hold the regular tires. I took out the pair of drapes with hardware that are supposed to get dumped at a Goodwill somewhere, the cardboard box holding my snowmobile boots, my hip waders and my irrigation boots, the three-legged stool that's broken, the "reacher-grabber" I take to the grocery store so I can get at things on the top shelves, the soft old Indian-print blanket, the half-jug of windshield wiper fluid and the dirty rag I use to check the oil, and put them in the garage. My emergency overnight duffel bag I brought into the house suspecting it needed refreshing and updating.

I went through the back porch and got the key to the padlock on the toolshed. I went out to the toolshed and got out the wheelbarrow, loaded the regular tires onto it, and hauled them out to the driveway and shoved them into the trunk. I left the wheelbarrow in the garage, and went back and locked up the toolshed. We took the car to the tires place and ordered an oil change and a tire swap.

Back home, I went down to the basement to start the laundry. The cat box needed cleaning, so I did that, and took the bag of dirty litter out to the garbage cans. I loaded and started the washer. I went back upstairs and brought the duffel bag up to the bedroom. I wanted to lay out its contents on the bed, but the linens are overdue for a change. So, I stripped the bed, tossed the linens down the chute, and put clean sheets & pillowcases on the bed.

I opened up the bag. A couple of books; a dirty toothbrush, a dried-up miniature tube of toothpaste; a hotel shampoo bottle whose contents looked like old amber; old contact lens solutions and cases, a box of granola bars and a sealed packet of beef jerky; a pair of underpants; a sweater so small for me now that I couldn't get it on if my life depended on it - ditto for a tee shirt; the two halves of a little plastic case I gleaned from the research lab I worked in years ago, and one of two cheap faux-pearl earrings I'd kept in it. I searched and searched for its mate, but it wasn't in the bag. I turned to the big jewelry box my father-in-law made me years ago. It broke recently; the lid's back rim stayed with the box's hinge and the top, with its mirror inside now loose, had come off. I laid all that lid stuff on the bed and started looking for the faux-pearl earring.

My jewelry box was a disaster. It looked like I'd thrown everything into the air and plopped random wads of earrings, buttons, belts, dead watches and God knows what else, back into its nine little velvet-lined compartments. It had been bugging me for months. No time like the present.

I pulled out all the buttons and put them in a pile. I emptied one compartment's contents into another, and put all the watches into the empty one. I went through every compartment and put all the "singleton" earrings into the center compartment, and all the earrings that were broken - with their mates, if they had them - into another one. All the loose earring-backs have their own "room." At the same time I matched up all the pairs and put them into the other four rooms.

Then I went through the mated pairs and put the cheap tacky ones into one compartment, and sorted the really good ones - which make up most of my collection, actually, my hubby has great taste - into the remaining four compartments. Voila! A long-needed task complete. I put the box lid, mirror and hardware in a place where hubby will be reminded he needs to fix it.

But no faux-pearl earring. I picked out a couple of cheap pairs I don't use much, and put them in the little plastic box. I tossed all the old toiletries and replenished them from my (recently-organized!) Travel Supplies box. The contact lens stuff I tossed; I only wear them at rock concerts any more. I re-packed the duffle with a new tee shirt that fits and a pair of socks. It's ready to go back into my trunk.

It's 1 p.m. So I went down and made three sandwiches and two glasses of Crystal Lite lemonade, and we're each eating lunch at our computers. When we're done, we'll go get my car.

And I can cross one To Do item off today's list.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

As usual, nothing turns out the way you plan it. At least, it doesn't for me. I did okay with the writing for the first couple of days, then came down with a horrendous head cold and crapped out the rest of the week...it's better today, good Lord, it should be, with the zinc lozenges and cold medicines and orange juice I've been guzzling, and all the naps! What a way to spend a vacation. Oh well, it's just a cold. And it should be gone by the time I have to go back to work Tuesday. Hubby called, said they'll be getting back to town that day, too, so I have something to look forward to when I get home from work! He says Manitoba is gorgeous, so maybe we'll go back up there sometime for a getaway.

The writing went well when it was going, and I've gotten my plan logged so now I'll just chip away at it a little each day - more when inspiration hits. I will be SO glad when this monster is finished! I don't even care if it sells (though of course I'd rather it did than not)! I just want it off my back!

I feel just good enough to not want to nap any more, but not good enough to really desire to do anything, specific. Usually when I'm in this gray fog I go do housekeeping chores and that makes me feel at least somewhat productive. When I get tired out, I take a break with a book -- I'm re-reading Jack McDevitt's Eternity Road right now. He's a joy.

So it's down to the kitchen for some busy work. Maybe I'll get more writing in this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

So now I have EIGHT DAYS all to myself. I've launched a final desparate grab at finishing this demmed novel that's been sitting for like, five years, bugging me from afar. I love the first two-thirds, so now it's Step Up to the Plate Day. And I have been; all morning I worked on edits and re-acquainting myself with the "voice," and all that. I'm not giving myself time to get scared (what the effing BLOCK has been all about, though beyond that I haven't figured it out), I'm just TYPING. I'm always better at the re-writes, though I don't do what you'd call a *re-write* so much as multiple comb-throughs.

Anyway, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to immerse myself in this story, this world, and see how well I can do justice to it. The story's been in my head since about 1970. That's NOT kidding. 35 years. Wow. It deserves finishing, and publishing, and going out into the world to make its way. Been under Mommy's thumb for far, far too long.

Love ya, hubby. Have a great time! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Another old screed that I'd forgotten I'd written until a friend put it into his email Signature rotation (minor changes made for updating):

First it was Collin. Then John McCain lets us down. Rudy. One by one the ones who have shown us that greatness lies within them, succumb to the siren song of power.

Maybe the definition of a politician is a person who, at some later point in their life, discover that why, yes, they can use those heroic younger selves to gain more power for themselves today. That courage and integrity that saw them through those awful tests then, well, they're not really that useful today. They're now just coinage.

Whereas to an ordinary person who opts not to so use their own earlier days of triumph over adversity, who instead just live their lives peacefully and honorably, those days were all that justifies the rest of the time we take up space on the planet.

Friday, April 15, 2005

I just came across this old screed that I wrote on...November 23, 2002. Unfortunately, it's still topical.
We don’t need no steenking Homeland Security Department.

There, someone finally said it.

They could assign one or two key people from each of the agencies to serve on a coordinating governing board, to implement the meshing of computer and intelligence systems. It would save us taxpayers millions, maybe billions, of dollars. Just think of the letterhead printing changes alone! Give that governing body a clear agenda, a realistic timeline, and the power to carry it out. Give the agency heads the message that these people get cooperation at every level, or high-level heads will be rolling down the hallowed halls. Give them money to do the job, and a reasonable framework of rules to operate under. Then turn them loose with it.

Have *any* of our “leaders” *ever* worked INSIDE a government agency? I don’t think they could have, because I don’t hear or see any evidence that Bush or Ridge or any of them have any clue that what they’re demanding is ludicrous. Expensive, and frightening on several counts. But first, ludicrous because right now is NOT the time we need a gigantic percentage of our intelligence and law enforcement people coping with restructuring and moving furniture and people around.

Has it occurred to *anyone* that these people *already* have full workloads? And Bush thinks this Frankenstein monster is going to be up and running when? In a month? A year? Five years? Fine–we’ll tell Al Quaeda to come back later, when we’re presentable.

I can’t wait to see the organizational chart (the unrevealed Lines of Power chart would be too scary for a lay person, I’m quite sure). If they ever publish it, you should study it carefully. I know I will. Because if for any reason I ever get caught up in its coils, it’s liable to be an excruciatingly Byzantine trip back out to freedom. And that’s assuming that your capture was a benign mistake.

With Ashcroft looking more and more like Goering, there’s not much hope that everyone one who *is* masticated by the Homeland Security Department is guilty of something. At least, having to do with security. Perhaps guilty of criticizing Ashcroft on TV, or writing an anti-Iraq-war screed to the local paper’s Letters to the Editor. Or participating in a public rally to support Arab-Americans. Or having the misfortune to brush against a “Persian-looking” man on your way through the airport...or buying girlie magazines from your neighborhood’s Korean-American convenience store. I can, as you can see, imagine about a million ways that Bush’s minions might cast their suspicious eyes upon any given innocent citizen. Who can predict which one they’ll label “enemy combatants” – which means, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye, because you don’t get a lawyer, you don’t get to know what you’re charged with, you don’t get to see or talk to or correspond with your family, and you don’t have any way of knowing when you’re getting the hell out of their prison, and you have no rights and no recourse whatsoever.

Read that last sentence over carefully: "you have no rights and no recourse whatsoever."

Does that sound like America to you?

Some Democrats fought the Homeland Security Act’s measures that would strip all those government employees’ workers’ rights. While many citizens think any punishment for a guvvmint employee is too light, there is an aspect to this that bodes even greater evil for the people’s interests than whether a guvvmint employee gets to sue his supervisor for interrupting his coffee break (which seems to be what most citizens think is about the level of seriousness of guvmint employees’ complaints).

Any agency of public servants has its unwritten laws: mores of the culture of that particular agency. There may be an unwritten rule, for example, that no one gets overtime paid as *time*, no matter what the collective bargaining agreements might say about having to offer the employee a choice. Ask for your O-T in hours once, and you’ll get them. But you’ll never be granted O-T again (and most agencies now require employes to put in for O-T permission in advance).

There will be dozens of those kinds of rules thrown into chaos with the smashing together of all those existing federal agencies–that’s not necessarily a bad thing, by the way. But other unwritten rules may concern how privacy issues are handled for informants; how much latitude a staffer has to stretch the Chief Executive’s policies in the name of common sense and compassion. Or how to balance one’s knowlege of the deep-down bedrock patriotism of a co-worker who, in a caffeine rush, utters a disparagement of W Bush with other co-workers as witnesses. You may know the person is joking (albeit unwisely), but you also know that the other witnesses will be reporting the comments to *their* superiors.

Oh heck, go read Solzhenitsyn and LeCarre to see what the ramifications of government workers without rights can result in, and what happens to the general citizenry and truth and justice. This worries me more than the “well-being” of those employees now facing such a life–and I *am* concerned with their well-being. After all, they’re Americans, too. And if one of them learns of clandestine but profound violations of the Constitution by their agency or the White House? What does she do then, with no right to complain if her job is suddenly terminated, or she’s shifted over to the basement paper clip-counting gulag? Or, and I hope this isn’t likely, if her life or family is threatened if she blows the whistle?

Excuse me, but I don’t think this is how democracy works, I don’t give a DAMN about Al Quaeda. If we end up with the same nightmare that Bin Ladn or Saddam would impose upon us, given half a chance, imposed instead by our own “leaders,” how have we gained? I believe we’re in as much danger from those now running the show around the White House as we are from Saddam Hussein. Their methods won’t be mushroom clouds or insidious microbes. They’ll use stepwise dismantling of our Bill of Rights, methodical replacement of centrist judges with those more amenable to the far-right plans, and relentlessly equating dissent with anti-Americanism. And they’ll count on our love of ease and cheapness of gasoline to keep us quiet while the transformation takes place.

One more peeve: Who the hell thought up the title, Homeland Security? It sounds more like some mindless Maoist or Ruskie slogan than anything I ever heard of here. It sounds like “The Fatherland.” Are we going to be required to call W “Father” someday soon?

I'm sickened to realize that the situation has only gotten worse over the past two and one-half years, not better.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I did something cowardly yesterday. I am full of rationalizations but it was still cowardly and against everything I say I stand for.

I spoke about wetlands before about 60 6th graders yesterday afternoon. After I gave my basic Wetlands Intro talk, we had Q & A. They were asking good questions, several wanting to know what different kinds of wetlands there are and what each kind is "good for." I myself opened up the subject of vernal pools and started to talk about how one of their chief benefits in nature is protecting tiny populations of small amphibians and invertebrates from larger predators - and I started to say "provide habitat for isolated populations that through thousands of generations will evolve into even more different species" - when the words stuck in my throat. I wonder if I looked panicky for a second. I remember my gaze zooming around the room, taking in the childrens' faces, the teacher's and the principal's and the other guest speaker's - "What if one of the kids objects to the mention of evolution?" raced through my mind. "No-win: argue with a 6th grader? Parents! Irate principal? Professional reprimand?" All in an instant,- and I choked. I went on to another topic.

I have a bagful of rationalizations: I was only there for 1/2 hour, why introduce controversy and a complex subject way over the kids' heads? It's not my job to teach evolution, I was there to talk about wetlands (yeah, that sounds lame even to me). What right do I have to stir up trouble and leave the school staff to deal with it? (another lame one)

This forces me to re-evaluate my self-image as well as what my role is when I go to these guest shots. It is also a wake-up call; now I realize what kind of temptation towards self-censorship teachers must experience on a daily basis. I'm sure the support level of the principal is absolutely critical on a school-by-school basis, and of course that's determined largely by how much support the principal gets from the school board. And the population from which school boards are drawn seems to be racing for the Dark Ages as fast as it can go.

My own cowardice shakes me deeply. We're in worse trouble than I thought. What can I do? I can think hard about what I did yesterday and make concrete plans to prevent it from happening again. I can post it on my blog for all the world to see, to ventilate the struggle.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I've been wringing my hands over what's happening to this country for so long - since the Nov. 2000 "election," really - and it's time I quit wringing and started doing something. Not being sure where I'd put a barricade but being quite sure it'd look pretty silly for one short, chubby, middle-aged woman to be "manning" it, I look around for what else I could do...well, the internet makes it easy to send outraged emails to Congress and the White House and the State capitol. So I've increased my rate of doing that.

I've spent all these years since the Occupation of the White House reading and listening (radio), trying to understand how things work, what's happening. I surprised myself by beginning to perceive people's motivations behind their actions. I could be wrong, probably am sometimes, but if it's true that "by their deeds you shall know them," I think Bush & Co. have painted a pretty clear picture by now.

What baffles me now is how ANYONE with ANY intelligence whatsoever could believe a word t/he/y say/s. What baffles me is how so many professional news people - who are *supposed* to be the world's most cynical human beings - continue to take Bush Administration utterances at face value, with no follow-up questions - and there are dozens of follow-up questions BEGGING to be asked whenever one of those sociopathic liars speaks in public - and how true political investigative journalism seems to be completely missing from television news these days. They're all "personalities" (hairdos) or celebrities.

Even people with decades of experience don't seem to realize who they're dealing with. They ask questions AS IF there must be some benevolent reason for the outrageous acts of this Administration. AS IF Bush & Co.'s systematic destruction of The Bill of Rights could maybe be a reasonable approach to anything, if only the interviewee would share the reasons with us.

I'm really really sick of the media acting as if the current Administration is anything other than a fascist regime in power due to a coup achieved through the rigging of national elections. I'm sick of the "President" and his cronies marching us lockstep off the short dock to turning the USA into another Third World dictatorship suited only to serve the wealthiest with underpaid manpower and stolen natural resources. I'm sick of their pandering to fundamentalist lunacy, beating our science and social support systems down, back to the Dark Ages.

At the same time, like everyone else, I have a mortgage and look ahead to the likelihood of increasing medical costs as I get older. I can't quit my job and take to the streets - well, I could, but what would that accomplish? Living in a box under a bridge isn't a very effective political statement.

Well, I'll start with what I can do now. I've got this blog, that some people read (not many, but I have Statcounter, I know people visit here), so instead of using it only as the not-very-interesting personal diary it's been, I'm going to sound off here when I need to. Will it help? I don't know; not much, probably. But it's a record that one more person is not buying the bullshit.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Road Through Kurdistan: Travels in Northern Iraq - Another book I'll have to find, Powell's review linked below. In reading The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asia, I'm finding out that NOTHING we've been trained to think about that part of the world (which is, essentially, nothing, except maybe that they're "primitive tribespeople" and it's very mountainous, which is half true) has any relationship to reality.

It's discouraging because it's such a complicated mess and has been for so long, and there are so many powers vying for ascendancy over there, and have been for over a hundred years, that I don't think there's ANY honorable alternative to what we're doing (which I don't believe is honorable for one nanosecond). It's fascinating reading, but then glimpsing the truth always is.

But it's disgusting that we are so ignorant of what keeps our precious "free market democracy" running. As usual, the people at whose expense we thrive have no such illusions about us. We're in Afghanistan and Iraq, we're dealing with the butchers in Khazakstan and Uzbekistan etc, we're ignoring what Russia's doing to the Chechyans, for the oil. Period. Full stop. They know it. *I* knew it by September 18, 2001 - the minute I heard the word Afghanistan, I thought, uh oh, primo excuse here we come. Why didn't everybody else know it?

Why do I ask? It's deliberate, cultivated ignorance. Everybody just keeps on being good little patriotic consumers.

Today's Review From
Times Literary Supplement

Road Through Kurdistan: Travels in Northern Iraq
by Archibald Milne Hamilton

Read today's review in HTML at:

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Woo hoo, now I've done my 15 @ 15 twice this week. This is a major improvement from having done NONE for MONTHS. I even did some stomach crunches the way my Doctor advised me. They sound weenie but they HURT. Man, I'm out of shape. But it amazes me every time how much better I feel right after exercizing! (Is that spelled right? It doesn't look right.) Anyhow, here I go, trying to get back in the habit of working out again. I had that danged flu two weeks ago, for like 8 days, and it's just so nice to feel alive again!

I took a book down there to read on the bike, but I also had M. Ward's next-to-last CD playing in the headphones, and I quickly dumped the book to pedal (and sing, if singing is what you call what I do) along with M. I want his new CD!!!

Not a very exciting blog, but one, at least.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I subscribe to Heroic Stories (http://www.heroicstories.com/). These true stories of people reaching out to help one another with no regard to their own benefit, are really little doses of antidote to the horrors and outrages that seem to overwhelm us these days. The most recent one was from a man who as a small child was afraid of the water, and how he overcame his fear to save another little boy, and then realized he had to learn to swim. Both kids had their lives given back to them that day.

It got me thinking about three skills that I believe are essential life skills: learning to drive a stick shift automobile, swimming, and reading.

Well, just learning to drive is essential, in my opinion. Even if you never own a car, you never know when you'll need to be able to get around in one. And for that reason I also emphasize driving a stick shift. Anybody who can drive, can drive an automatic shift car. But you might find yourself in a life or death situation and the only vehicle available is a stick shift. Think how awful that would be, with the vehicle right there but useless to you because you couldn't get the damned thing to go!

It's my impression that women are most often dismissive of stick shifts, but as more and more women are working in jobs where that's what's likely to be around - I'm thinking of engineers and building contractors on job sites, but there are plenty of others, I'm sure - it's just crazy for a woman not to know how to drive a stick shift vehicle. It may not be easy to learn (my first attempts in Driver's Ed were a failure, but my first husband had a stick shift Rambler and he taught me), but really, if you're determined, you can get it. Once you figure out that catch-point of the clutch, every stick shift vehicle, whether "on the floor" or "on the column" (do they make those any more? Doesn't matter - the old ones are still around) will be your servant when you need it.

And swimming! It's insane not to teach your kids to swim! Or if you've reached adulthood without it, not to go learn how. There cannot be many places in the USA where there's not someone, and somewhere, to go to learn this vital skill. Even if you never intend to go to the beach, or swim recreationally, you never EVER know when you'll need this ability. Imagine how horrible to have to watch someone drown in a flood or a motel swimming pool because you can't get to them. Not to mention drowning, yourself. Most swimming teachers these days know now to teach someone who's afraid of the water, and no mature adult is going to have anything but respect for a person who wants to learn.

So if you can't swim today, and/or can't drive a manual transmission car - do what it takes to learn. You can do it! And the life you save might someday be your own, or someone you love.

Reading is too big a subject - I'll get to that another day. Besides, if you're reading this, it doesn't apply to you!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I've got this nifty program called Musings that I've set to open when I turn on the computer. It gives a daily quote from some writer down through the ages, about writing, and then it gives a little writing exercise you can do. I don't often do them, because usually I'm pressed for time and just want to check my email or get to my WP to start writing. But I liked this morning's, which said to make up a definition for each of these four non-words, tell what part of speech it belongs to, and use it in a sentence:

malstudious: adjective. designating a student of black magic. If that boy Malfoy isn't malstudious, I'm a purple spider.

shombex: adjective. a gem having one or more facets located in a different dimension than the observer's. The way it teases the eye, I think this Rigellian crystal is shombex.

infergus: noun. A leap taken to a conclusion. It's a bit of an infergus to think that just because James is black means he doesn't like country & western music.

hestie: noun. A flat-chested Irish woman with a grudge. Don't get on the wrong side of that hestie; she'll lay a curse on your butter.

Fun! Musings is Freeware from Grim Software in Nova Scotia: http://www.grimsoft.com. You can try it free for like a month (I think) and then if you want to buy it, it's just a nominal price.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

So here we are in the new year. Considering that my mother died on January 1, 2004, this year is already way ahead of last year in the betterness department...unless you're in Sumatra. Somehow the enormity of that tragedy makes anything I might write in here seem despicably self-centered and tiny.

There was one odd thing; the day after the tsunami, my web site got a hit from the northern tip of Sumatra - someone had googled the term "usage of the ellipsis" and gotten my web page that discusses that very thing. But I'm having a very hard time figuring out why anyone there would need that information on that particular day. Is someone's English teacher a really truly frightening hard-ass? Somehow I doubt it.

The world is a very weird place.