Under Construction

Ugh, erk. And other appropriate noises of the undead.

Alex and I are currently existing in an undead state because we worked on the building--I can't count the days before Christmas, but we did indeed work Christmas Eve, took Christmas off, and then worked for the next three days straight. 7:30 am until dark. Our backs, necks, legs, arms, heads, feet, and other body parts ache beyond description. I was so physically exhausted at one point on the 27th that I cried, and I'm not much of a cryer.

Anyway, the "under construction" title applies not only to work on the building, but to the dearth of posts lately on my blog. The reason? My vacation is more like a work camp thus far--though the end results will be worth it!--and when dark comes, Alex and I shuffle like zombies to the shower and to bed. I've actually composed three or four posts while hauling sheet metal or drilling recalcitrant screws, but haven't had the time to post them. I'll post them later, after our New Year's Eve-Eve party tomorrow, for which I am dashing about the house organizing and cleaning and such. (If you're a party-goer yourself, ignore that last sentence and go on believing that I keep a pristine house year-round. Thanks for your kind cooperation.)

So, in the meantime, be heartened: I have not forgotten you. This is only a temporary neglect. Posting to resume in early 2006, and have a Happy New Year!


A Clean Slate... er, House

Whew... We've got the five trusses up for the building and a whole smattering of C-purlin to weld onto that to finish the frame. On Saturday, I wore five layers on my top half and three on my bottom half--not counting my unmentionables. You know how you can tell how old a tree is from the rings in its stump? Well, the layers in my cross-section let you know how many degrees colder than 60 it is. I think I put one layer of pants on for each 10 degrees below 60.

So, Saturday and Sunday were the building, Sunday evening Joel and Kali treated us to dinner--thank you both!!!--and some King of the Hill, Monday I think I did errands, Tuesday Kali graciously helped me to clean my kitchen and guest bathroom, and today I cleaned the master bathroom, down to the back of the cabinets. One huge sack of trash later, the bathroom's less cluttered and I vow never again to keep one ounce of shampoo in a bottle for two years. Ugh.

The rest of this week will be cleaning the rest of the house and filing papers--ugh, what fun "vacation" is--and then more work on the building. We were to spend all day Tuesday on it, but then the cold, cold rain started, and we weren't too keen to electrocute ourselves welding.

Last night, we wasted 104 minutes of our lives watching the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Wow. I'd heard it was good, somewhere, and now I really wonder where I hear these things. It's starting to worry me. I think those voices in my head are growing louder.

Ahem. Ah, right, just forget I mentioned being crazy. Um, please.


Rent or Purchase?

This sounded odd at first--renting a Christmas tree?--but I like it. San Francisco rents living trees to families for Christmas, and then instead of throwing the tree away come January 1st, the city takes it back and plants it somewhere. It appeals to the dryad in me.

Also, Digger is again available in print--go forth and purchase!


In Brief...

Ah... fiction. It's like a relaxing warm bath for my brain.

Accomplishment: having all presents for spouse, family, and friends wrapped and under tree over a week before Christmas.

The Smell of Leather

You know you're a librarian when: you refer to an item on hold at a retail store as "on reserve." (Boy, did I get an odd look from the saleswoman.)

In happy news, though, I used my portion of scrap metal money to purchase (from Wilson's Leather) a 3/4 length black coat, a pair of black gloves with purple fur cuffs, and a small purple purse for a total of $178 instead of the $550 it would have been originally! I did this while proudly wearing my Santa hat, which earned me a few more odd looks, but which I thoroughly enjoy wearing. It advertises my seasonal goofiness.
When leaving the mall, I had this strangely wicked urge as I passed the Santa photo-op to shout out "Santa's not real!" to all the kids in line. You'd think this wouldn't happen to a person wearing a Santa hat herself, and this was really a particularly authentic and jolly-looking Santa. Perhaps I need to dial down my consumption of hot cocoa to curb such caffeine- and sugar-crazed urges.

I did it: I began reading Knife of Dreams. I've waited for, what, three years for this book now, and so far it's not disappointing. But I do think that RJ's penchant for long prologues is getting wildly out of hand--this one numbered 99 pages. 99! Can't he just get over this notion and call it Chapters 1-3? There's nothing to make the narrative in them different from other chapters, unlike his earlier novels where prologues were special because they took place in the past, or from a villain's point of view. Now they typically span 4-5 locations and character's point of view and just flow into the narrative for Chapter 1.

Ah, well. I guess we're all allowed a few bad habits--his is extremely long and non-prologue-ish prologues. Mine... well, they're too numerous to mention, but I'll just mention unwashed dishes and leave it at that.


The Last Unicorn

Now we know more about how narwhals use their tusks (New York Times article). And I learned that there is such a thing as a double-tusked narwhal.

I always liked these creatures, just like the unicorn tales they inspired. A whale with a long spiraling horn seems only slightly less romantic (in the fairy-tale sense, not the love sense) than a horse with one. I'd love to see them in person--if only they didn't insist on living in such darned cold climates. There ought to be a Gulf Coast species of narwhal. The nar-y'all?


All Fun & Games

I just had to go to Slashdot to confirm the story I saw this morning about a Grandma Gamer. Her name's Barbara St. Hilaire, and her grandson is blogging* their joint gaming adventures. Man, I hope I'm that fun when I'm 69!

*caution: contains some language


Profession of the Over-Educated

Go read one of my favorite posts of all time, from the Library Avengers site.
Then take a fun language survey for UNT.

Go. Now. I command you!

...Close to You

Did you know you can make a cheap macro lens out of a Pringles can? Well, neither did this guy, but he did it anyway.

Macro shot of a match-head:


My Week in Review

Wow, can you believe that for six days I've neglected my prolific posting addicti--er, habit? Here's the brief version of what passed during those six days:

Man, don't I sound lazy? Alex and James spent the weekend preparing the next great evolution of the fireworks show--hence the number of Home Depot trips, plus one unsuccessful trip to Radio Shack. To be fair, though, at least three of those trips were building-related, not fireworks-related.

Okay, I love rubber ducky USB drives and all, but the really clever one is the thumb drive. (BTW, for anyone looking for a ridiculously expensive and odd gift for me, I like the iDuck in light-up Lemon.)

You've got to be kidding me:
RSS-printed TP?

My dirty little secret: Thursdays after work, I watch The Apprentice. I know, you've lost all respect for me--shucks, I've lost all respect for myself. The only point in my defense: Randal seems an honorable man, and I want to see him win, darn it!




...Lemme Sum Up

The day of insanely difficult questions:

Q: Population of Azherbaijan (for a movie industry person)
A: 7,911,974
Q: Location of Business Concepts, to access tonight
A: UNT Library doesn't have it and our online database was down, but the UNT Bookstore has it.
Q: Location of article in 1994 Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook
A: After half an hour of searching, I found the correct citation.

Best part of today:

Answering a question for a woman who works at Disney! Dream patron!!!

Par For the Course

Somebody was actually surprised by Xbox 360 glitches? In a Microsoft product? C'mon...

Morning Mantra

To be muttered furiously to the tune of "I Love Paris" while walking uphill in the cold wind.

I hate winter in the springtime,
I hate winter in the fall,
I hate winter in the summer when it sizzles,
I hate winter in the winter when it drizzles.
I hate winter,
Oh why oh why do I hate winter,
Because it's really cold.

Yes, I know it's not officially winter yet. Shuddup.


My Comic Education Continues

And in the category of how-to-make-your-webcomic, there's this "How To" article by the Dub This guys. And here's another good synopsis. I've spent a lot of time reading about and looking at webcomic publishing software, so now I'm down to the nitty-gritty of deciding whether to continue as I've been planning, sketching by hand and scanning in for clean-up, or attempting to scary world of digitally creating my webcomic from scratch. I shudder with terror.

It's not that I'm not handy with Photoshop and a computer in general, it's just that I'm clumsy with a mouse and reluctant to shell out money for a drawing tablet.

In the looking-for-a-Wordpress-theme category: finally, a Wordpress theme made for webcomics! Let the designing commence.

And in the webcomics-to-be-reading category, here's Copper. As for my more traditional print-comic education, see my previous post: I've been reading Maus and How to Read Superhero Comics and Why.

Merry Kitty-mas

Amy, Kali, this one's for you, babes. And your adventurous kitties.


I spent a lot of time today looking at dirt. We have to re-direct our sprinkler system and add a water line, so while Alex used a rented trencher to cut long lines 18" deep in our backyard, I dug out our three sprinkler heads. Luckily, the ground was pretty soft--our black clay can be hard as rock sometimes--so it wasn't hard, sweaty work, therefore I let my mind drift around a bit.

I spent some time thinking about the comic criticism I'm reading (see below). Its text reminds me that I enjoyed Dark Knight Returns, obligates me to read Watchmen, interests me in Marvels, and makes me eager to get my hands on Astro City.

Last night, we watched Sky High and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I give the Smiths a solid 7 for a good popcorn movie, and Sky High an enjoyable 8, which I did not expect. It was not only genuinely funny, but often clever, and most astonishing of all, it wasn't heavy-handed with the "moral lesson for young people" in relation to the main character, which made it much more enjoyable from the adult perspective. I'm not saying it wasn't predictable, but it was also just fun, and best of all, it had an awesome comic-book-style opening and close. And a great mad scientist teacher--I wish I'd had to construct a ray gun in science class.

Currently Reading

How to Read Superhero Comics and Why

By Geoff Klock

Currently Watching

Friends Season 9


Fan Stats!

Okay, now occasionally I realize that more than two of you (my husband being one of the two) are reading this blog, because I'll have a comment or two. But I recently signed up with Tracksy and was heartened to see that today's traffic alone had fourteen unique visitors!! Hooray! (And since I'm blocking the IPs I use, I'm not even included in that stat--how flattering is that?)

I think some people like me. Gee, shucks.

Visual Treats

These sites, particularly the Aeon Flux comic, made me think of the movie comic reviews that I've mentioned before, The Comic Critic and Joe Loves Crappy Movies. Gosh, I love those.

It makes me want to sit down and draw comics while watching movies. Or watch 8 episodes of Friends in a row--oh wait, that was how Alex and I spent yesterday evening. Heh, heh, the sheer gluttony of it all, made possible by Best Buy's extreme discounts on seasons 8, 9, and 10 last week. "We were on a break!"

I'm at the end of my work shift. And now, a little something I like to call, "Let's Celebrate the Fact that I Have Three Jobs and No Time to Cook by Getting Boston Market!" It's a good thing.

Oh, and in related news, I finished the last of the three murals at my client's house yesterday. Hooray for paychecks for creative work! (And hooray for a few days off from physical strain--seriously, painting's no desk job.)

O Tannenbaum

...So last Christmas saw my classic "slow-motion" moment--I had just finished putting up our 9-foot tree when it toppled completely over, bending the trunk. Tree Classics told us in October that they'd send us a new trunk to replace it, but when nothing showed up in the mail by Thanksgiving, I muttered darkly and put up our old 6-footer instead. However, they've restored themselves in my good graces today by providing us with a completely free, pre-lit tree as a replacement--apparently, they no longer make our previous tree. It's a foot shorter, but pre-lit--that saves me, what, an hour or so of untangling lights and dragging my footstool around the tree--works for me!

By the way, twelfth-century tradition or no, I happen to think that upside-down Christmas trees are a really silly idea. I particularly detest the way they're marketed--"Leaves more room on the floor for gifts!" Ugh, talk about blatant commercialism.

Random News: In the "way to stick it to the man" category: $70,000 worth of free flights in Canada.