Wednesday, September 28, 2011


070, originally uploaded by randomjules.

Mojo loves his new and huge backyard. He leaps off the deck -- I need to get a shot of that. It's amazing -- and runs flat out in big loops around the yard. He does skid into the fence sometimes. He is not grace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


So cranky lately.

Moments of cool, like realizing that the grill blew across the deck yesterday, during our very blustery day.

But mostly.  Shit.

The tiny number of people who have almost all the money in this country is obscene.  Mark and I have worked hard and tried to save money and do the right things, and yet we still have a house in Tucson that we won't be able to sell FOR YEARS.

Are we better off than we were a decade ago?  Hell, no.  This economy sucks.  We should be so very much better off than we are, and sadly, we are in so much better shape than a whole lot of people we know.

I really don't feel bad for the guy who nets $400,000 a year and doesn't want to pay more taxes.  Pay me $400,000 a year and I will be thrilled to pay more taxes on that, because I realize HOW DAMN LUCKY I AM.  Asshole.

Told you.  Cranky.

On the other hand, we watched Terra Nova last night.  Pretty good, not groundbreaking, but fun.  Not thinking about it too hard, because then I will start to notice the holes and the unoriginal writing and characters and stuff...

And Pinterest.  Sucked me in and won't let go.

I haven't started reading the SciFi/fantasy list yet, but I did get Guards Guards by Terry Pratchett on and started listening to that.  So so so so so so very good.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address in a Wordle

  Wordle: Lincoln's Second Inaugural

This made me happy.

Global Warming Poll Presents Challenge to GOP Candidates...
 According to a new poll, 83% of Americans believe the planet is warming and 71% believe it is caused by humans. (That other 27% are running on faith alone...there is no peer-reviewed science of any kind that supports the natural cycle idea.)

 But the current crop of Presidential hopefuls are all on the "global warming is crap" bandwagon. Which sucks for them, because most people do not agree with them.

 This is the part that made me very happy...
The campaigns will likely look at the poll and ask, "How did this happen?" The answer may be found in the Republican campaign strategy book. The poll seems to show that the recent campaign appearances and debates staged by the field of Republican candidates has focused Americans on the concern about global warming. The more the candidates talk about the "unsettled" nature of the science, the more the public has become interested in trying to figure out what the science actually says. Playing down global warming, the poll indicates, has had the opposite effect on voters. The law of unintended consequences has turned on the candidates who deny the science, and bitten them on the backsides.

Politicians are so willing to take a stand and start screaming about anything they think will get them elected, and over and over again our country suffers because of it.  Immigration, terrorism, personal freedoms and rights versus safety and security.  So for a group of pols to get bitten in the ass by their own game, awesome.

While I find it impossible to believe that the politicians will learn from this, it is heartening to think that Americans might actually be thinking for themselves instead of blindly believing what politicians are spewing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's not class warfare.

‎" There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there -- good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea -- God Bless! Keep a Big Hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." - Elizabeth Warren More about Elizabeth Warren, running for the Senate in Massachusetts, here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Since I know live up against a field, outside of Rockford, in a v quiet subdivision...

The noises around me have changed. Quite a lot.

A plane just flew over and I noticed it, because we just don't hear planes here. We have lived for years on Army Posts, where they have helicopters and cargo planes. On Fort Lewis, WA, our house was across the street from the air field, and McChord Air Base is just down the road, so we got very used to planes and helicopters.

There is highway 20 just over the rise to the east of us, but I really can only hear the traffic early and late.

It's a breezy day, so I can hear the leaves of the tree behind our house rustling. Very soothing and peaceful sound.

And the bugs. I think this is the closest to country living that I have ever been, and I love all the bug and bird noises. Except maybe that really strange noise Thor and I heard last night while hanging out in front of the house.

I am really liking it here. The photo is the view out the back door yesterday morning... So very happy to be back in the upper Midwest! What's not to love?

Monday, September 12, 2011


Holy crap I hate this keyboard. I always get my fingers on the wrong keys. That title was supposed to say Dang. Anyway...I need a job. Because there is some seriously cool stuff I would like to buy, like a ton of stuff from Thomasville's Reinventions furniture line. But right now, I can't get a job. Because I am needed for other stuff. So my lust for industrial style furniture will go unfulfilled. Sigh. Also. My head cold has devolved into a cough. With disgusting mucus.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


There are a LOT of noisy bugs in Illinois.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

100 books part two.

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons Not something I have read. Not something I am looking forward to reading. I don't know why.

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman I think this is the other Gaiman book I found on a plane. So once I get to unpack my boxes, I can read it.

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson Seems tedious and complex.

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks Who doesn't love zombies? I love zombies.

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle I know I had my sister's copy of this book. Don't know if I ever read it.

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman Another Earth-at-war novel. Yay.

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett Best opening to a novel EVER. I love this book. I love Terry Pratchett. Discworld rules.

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson An epic. The hero has leprosy. *falls to the bottom of the pile*

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold I am not buying the edition they show on the NPR page. The cover makes it look like a bad SF romance novel.

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett I don't think I have read this one yet. But I know it's gonna be good.

61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle Looks like a classic....but another "fate of humankind is threatened" story. Not my favorite stuff.

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind sigh. Young man on an epic mission.

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy Thor thought it was weird. The punctuation was inconsistent and mininalist, and it had a dreary dead vibe. So looking forward to reading it now.

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke This looks v much like a book that would appeal to me, and yet I have not read it. huh.

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson Vampires. I hate vampire fiction. But now I am doomed to read at least one more.

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist Sagas. Epics. Aren't there any light fun fluffy books on this list?

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks I loved these as a teen. My kids won't touch them with a ten foot pike. But now. Ha! They have to. because I have turned this into a competition.

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard Really? Really? ugh. ugh. ugh.

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb Tess has these, but I can't borrow them, because I MIGHT CREASE THE SPINE. Tess is insane.

70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger It took me forever to read this. Because ugh. I don't like it very much. Thank God I don't have to read it again, because I think I got rid of it.

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson Is it just me, or do really a lot of sci-fi/fantasy writers have three syllable last names?

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne Another classic, read as a kid.

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore meh.

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi Interstellar war. I should have maybe actually glanced through the list before I decided to read them all...

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson huh? (just go look at the description. See if it makes any sense to you.)

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke Classic space novel. I like the genre.

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey Truly wish I had glanced at the list before I got this dumb idea.

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin Anarchists and Utopia. Okay.

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury I remember creepy. And it's set in Illinois. hmmm.

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire Yuck. Made it through a couple chapters. So ugh and yuck and repulsive. Won't be reading any more of it.

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson I hope some of these series are good (I guess they should be, since they are favorites of NPR listeners...) I didn't realize this is more like 250 books than 100, what with all the trilogies and series.

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde Enjoyed thoroughly. Want to read it again, and the subsequent works.

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks Why is there so much fighting in space?

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart i used to read Arturian stuff. I think this is one I missed.

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson Could be interesting. Starts in a monastery though, and how often does anything good start there?

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher homeland erupts into war, young lord or prince or duke or whatever must save the kingdom. sigh.

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe okay.

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn I have, until now, avoided Star Wars fiction.

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan Borrowed this from Marilyn. Haven't read it yet. But now, I have to.

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock Stars an albino prince. Okay.

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury Read it a very long time ago. Bradbury was very good at creepy, if I remember correctly. We shall see.

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley I like zombies. This book has vampires.

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge Far distant future.

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov Part of the Robot series. I love Asimov.

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson Another trilogy. About Mars.

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle Crud. I think we just got rid of this book. Now I have to replace it. Anyone know of a good used book store in the greater Chicago area?

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis Time travel plots seriously piss off Tess.

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville Sounds interesting, if dark.

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony This looks fun. I wonder why I have never read it...

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis I like Lewis, have read Narnia books a million times. I didn't even know these books exist.

Right below the list, there's a link to Heady, Not Heavy: 5 Smart Playful Summer Books...Why didn't I see that list first?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Top 100 sci-fi fantasy books, according to NPR.

list here

Thor and I have decided to read the list. Although there is no way either of us is committing to actually reading everything all the way through. I read a bit of Wicked, and that counts, because ugh. I hated that damn book.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien Okay. Not starting with this one. I suppose watching the movies don't count.

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams Really like the new Dr Who on BBC. Again, doesn't count.

3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card I haven't read this one?

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert 8 million pages long, set in a desert...I lived this, why do I have to read about it. (Of course, these are just my impressions/opinions/random and illogical thoughts. Not meant to have any resemblance to reality. Or, as Jon Kyl would say, "not meant to be a factual statement.")

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin eh. Seems bulky.

6. 1984, by George Orwell Read this in college, in high school, lived through the Bush administration.

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury I have come around to the belief that while banning books is wrong, there is nothing wrong with throwing away the crappy ones. Not that this is a crappy one. I bought it a while ago, haven't gotten around to re-reading it yet.

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov adore Asimov. Have read tons o' his stuff. Including the Foundation books. But looking forward to reading them again.

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley been in my "to be read" pile for months now.

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman Oh, my gosh. Best book, most amazing ideas, concepts. Loved loved loved this book.

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman "I don't think that means what you think it means."

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan I have read four of these. Or five. Or three. Nobody EVER dies. That is not realistic, even for a fantasy novel.

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell Fascism on the farm. Woo. (so it's totalilatarianism. Sue me. Which you can do, because at least there we are still a free country.)

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
A seminal work in the genre that would come to be known as cyberpunk.
huh. Sounds interesting.

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore a graphic novel. Cool. I like graphic novels and manga.

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov see #8. I have read this more than once. Will read it again.

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein one of those books one is sure one has read, but one doesn't necessarily remember the readin'.

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss My children will love this. There are a bunch of their books on this list. Books I have now committed myself to reading. Whoops.

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut I read Vonnegut when I was younger. Now for some reason I just feel like it would be too depressing.

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley Read it several times. Holy crap, Shelley was wordy.

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick Read Phillip K Dick a lot in high school. Really like it. Hated Blade Runner -- the Harrison Ford movie based on the book -- the first couple times I saw it, then I liked it.

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood Feels like one of those books I should have read.

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King I really really like some of King's stuff. Have avoided this one, though I am unsure why. Guess I will have to give in now.

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke I dunno. I read a lot of stuff as a teenager, might have read this one. Will have to read it again to be sure.

25. The Stand, by Stephen King I remember the mini series, pretty sure I read the book, but have been wanting to read it anyway. And watch it on Netflix.

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
Weaving contemporary imagery with Sumerian myths,
I really like new stuff, and I don't off the top of my head know what the hell Sumerian myths are, so cool.

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury Another blast from the past. Adding it to my TBR pile. (to be read.)

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut Have read this one.

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman 75 comic books. Luckily collected into ten trade volumes.

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess Haven't read it, really don't want to, but will try it at least. sigh.

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein ??? Was this a really good movie or a terrible one?

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams Rabbits!!! Read this one more than once as a kid.

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey The Dragonriders of Pern. Have read everything repeatedly, some copies till they practically disintegrated, have multiple copies in my bookcase now. Or would, if I had unpacked them already.

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein I am pretty sure I have read some Heinlein, just don't know which.

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller Always a sucker for a good tale with monks.

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells Classic. Will read again.

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne Deranged submarine captain.

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys Never read. The title doesn't sound very sci-fi, it always seemed like it should be some sort of WWII novel, a coming of age and depressing as hell, novel to me.

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells Read it, watched several movies, used to listen to the rebroadcast on radio on Halloween. Classic's classic.

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny Zelazny is weird, but awesome. Abe ate the second book in the series, took me a while to find the right edition to replace it.

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings a mystical orb, in five volumes. Not particularly appealing cover art (if you follow the link, you see a synopsis and cover of each book.) This one is falling to the bottom of the TBR.

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley Love MZB, love her Darkover novels, have read Mists once or twice.

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson Curious about this one, because it seems so run of the mill. But NPR listeners love it. We will see.

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven Good book. Looking forward to reading it again.

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin For whatever reason, LeGuin has always struck me as rather froufrou. I guess I will find out if I am right.

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
These creation myths of Tolkien's Middle-earth, for those who found The Lord of the Rings too breezy and slight
Can I get a woo?

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White The first book, when Arthur was a young man, was very good -- at least I remember it that way, it has been many years since I have read it -- and Disney's The Sword in the Stone is based on it. Camelot is based on the last two books.

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman I believe this is the Gaiman book I found on a plane, so I have it on my Kindle and in the bookcase. If my books were in a bookcase.

49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke Is this a book I have read, or one of those that everyone is supposed to read so eventually you think you might have read it?

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan Should have read this one, if I haven't. "Billions and billions." I miss Carl Sagan.

So. The rest of the list tomorrow.