Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

I dressed up as Jane Roland from Naomi Novik's brilliant and altogether wonderful His Majesty's Dragon books. Obviously, obscure literary characters go with my job. Anyway, I was too old and brown of hair to be any other female in the series except perhaps Laurence's mother.

So here's a list of guesses regarding my costume:

  • Pirate
  • Paul Revere
  • Rush Revere
  • George Washington
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Napoleon
  • Colonial Soldier
The more one must explain a costume (or a joke) the less successful it is. Obviously, I expected questions and odd looks; however, I never expected people to be so certain that their guesses were right! was pretty mind-bending. It was also pretty much awesome fun.

I already had the hat and pants and got the rest of the outfit from eBay and Goodwill, except the boots, which were on sale at TJ Maxx and will be worn again (and I walked over 11,000 steps in them with minimal pain, first time wear. Nice...neh? The jacket was a tight fit, but who knows? Maybe better next year?

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

But they can't even drive!

I wanted to wait until after World Stroke Day to post this, otherwise I would have released the steam sooner.

So basically, one of my friends who likes to rib me about the geritocracy thing expressed doubt that people who couldn't even drive a car in many states, because of age restrictions, could lead a country.

As much as I hate the term ableist, that's kind of it in a nutshell right there. What abilities are absolutely necessary to be a good leader? I believe common sense, natural intelligence, compassion, a deep well of life-experience, and a calm demeanor are among the most important qualities. I see no reason why matters of body or health should interfere with matters of mind or soul.

Do any of our sitting presidents drive themselves anyway???

I would much rather have a president that can't stand up than one who won't stand up, if you know what I mean.

That's all academic, I know, but it really bothered me how inane of a qualification that is. And not because I didn't learn to drive until I was almost eighteen.

Monday, October 28, 2013

World Stroke Day - October 29th

Yes, I know that's tomorrow, but what's the point of blogging on the day, if you really want people to do or think about something? Isn't that a little late?

So here's the thing, someone I love very much, a friend, had a stroke about ten years ago, long before I met him. Having a stroke cost him a lot, including his profession, but from what I understand and can see for myself, he made a pretty terrific recovery. He was pretty young when it happened - think early fifties here. Nevertheless, unless someone knows what to look for or asks the right questions, they would never guess what had happened. I think it would be disrespectful to the long process he's gone through to achieve this level of recovery to call him lucky, but in some ways, yes, he is one of the lucky ones.

Some statistics:

1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime. (

Number of adults who ever had a stroke: 6.2 million (

Cause of death rank: 4 (multiple sources)

Stroke was the second most frequent cause of death worldwide in 2008. (World Health Organization)

In the United States stroke is a leading cause of disability. (Wikipedia; article)

Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every four minutes, someone dies of stroke. (

So in the time I've spent writing this post, at least 30 people have had a stroke and 5 have died.

If I see my friend this week, I fully intend to hug him, which will no doubt be the most awkward thing I do for quite some time, and tell him how grateful I am for his recovery and his life.

I seldom make recommendations regarding individual action, although I have no problem trying to rewrite society in general to suit my fancy, but in this instance, I urge all of you to learn the warning signs of a stroke and to educate yourself about prevention.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Psycholinguistics redefined

Psycholinguistics is actually the study of language from the psychological perspective. But I think a secondary definition should exist. It should read as follows:

Psycholinguistics [noun] speech or language that when used is guaranteed to make the listener go psychotic. See also fighting-words.

For me, several phrases pop into mind:

Who told you that you could _________?
Well, don't you think that ...
Who let you (do) ____________?
A reasonable person could only believe/think...

These push my buttons. I am an adult by many standard definitions. The idea that I require permission for any of the mundane activities of life or am required to think as the speaker (any speaker) dictates is repugnant to me in the extreme. The notion that I can be manipulated to change word, thought, or deed by use of these petty, brow-beating phrases is as insulting as it is absurd.

For example, from this evening, no one told me that I could tuck my jeans into my boots. I chose to tuck my jeans into my boots because I felt the jeans were slightly short and because tucking-in showed the good-looking boots to better effect.

For less recent example, a few years ago a baby-doc (that is, a doctor under the age of 35) expressed the following sentiment upon learning that my ob/gyn had provided me with my first Mirena IUD:

He let you get an IUD?

Strong emphasis on the let, moderate emphasis on the you.

So basically what I heard: I can't believe a doctor actually gave a dumb slut like you such a valuable medical device.

I wish my comeback had been more authoritative, but I was unaccustomed to that kind of tone from a medical professional. I think I feebly informed her that I had asked her for it and he had taken my request under consideration. Like I said, quite feeble.

For a more pervasive example, I have a work-related acquaintance who begins perhaps one-third of every sentence she speaks with a passive-aggressive variation on don't-you-think... I absolutely loathe that. The haughty tone is just the bonus plan. Like she cannot even conceive that this world may in some dark and shabby corner contain a thought that disagrees with the one she is about to suddenly and shrilly vomit into the room. I have terrific blood pressure. And yet, I literally feel the blood in my arms SMASH against the artery walls every time she does this.

So that's psycholinguistics for me. Tongue-in-cheek, you know. I bet a word already exists to describe the phenomenon. Shoot me a comment if you know it.

Another food experiment

Although I hesitate to use the word food to describe this stuff.

Back in the day, I used to have dinner once a week with my dad and afterward, I would have these mega-carb cravings of absolute epic proportions. I cannot describe how bad they were, and they always started about fifteen minutes after the meal, which was generally healthy stuff in responsible portions.

So on the way home, I would bolt into the gas station and spent all my change on snack cakes of various composition. Then I would speed home, drag the black bag up to my office, and gorge myself on the snacks...always wanting more after I finished. Scary.

So I guess we know what I did yesterday.

And, yes, the pattern holds. Even with gas station Little Debbie snacks, there is a definite limit. For me, it was three chocolate cupcake packs, one Swiss roll pack, and two Zebra cakes. I would have vomited if I had eaten another single bite. So that's about 1350 calories of really low-qualities 'baked' goods.

Unlike with the donuts and cake experiments, I felt like crap the rest of the day. Fuzzy, slow, bloated, unwell. My appetite still hasn't really come back. I am not a scientist, but I think those things have much higher levels of toxic elements than fresh-made donuts or grocery store freezer-cake.

To try and make it up to my body, I had fish and vegetables for dinner last night. Today, I hope to move around a bit more and eat some more veggies and no-sugar vitamin water-type drinks, in addition to my usual healthy eating.

But, yeah, my desire for the desserts ran out long before they did. Again. I think it's pretty safe to say at this point that I am most def not the bottomless pit I always feared I was.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grocery adventures

I don't do the majority of the grocery shopping for my household. My partner a) has more time, b) does most of the cooking, c) is extremely picky, but not very cost conscious, and d) can more easily pay money for food to his liking.

But every second Friday, I have the day off, thanks to working every other weekend. Nice schedule. I use these Fridays to run errands, including buying groceries. Most of what I buy are essentials, things I like, and bargains that my partner would eschew on principle.

I shop a lot of stores to balance quality with cost-effectiveness. I optimize my route. Don't worry, environment people, don't worry.

So today's adventure involved a small, eclectic grocery store. Aldi's, if you must know.

I noticed a crowd or badly organized queue at one of the cold cases and decided to see what the fuss was about. After a few moments waiting, I discovered the answer. Duck! Yes, they had frozen duck at Aldi's. And people were going nuts over it. I got the second to last one!

Cost-wise, I think I got a very good deal, as long as the thing turns out to be edible. All right...I paid $13.27 for a whole frozen bird. I've looked at other stores and have never been able to justify the cost, but that seemed manageable. I hope it will be thawed and ready to go in the oven for dinner Sunday night.

If all goes well...maybe pictures.

Still, I have never seen that kind of frenzy at a store, except at Walmarts on Black Friday.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

World music

Most people are comfortable with music in their own language, regardless of where the musician(s) come from. That's understandable. We like that we can...understand, especially without too much/any effort on our part. Thinking about music? Not really within the realm of most (American) people's experience. It's different in polyglot societies, I think, where more than one language can be heard on the radio waves or found in local mp3 downloads.

Do music stores still exist? Or would I be dating myself again?

Anyway, my problem is that I love languages and maybe two-thirds of the music I listen to comes from languages I've been exposed to in the classroom or elsewhere, but not typically in everyday life. I like German and Japanese music and music from Africa. Not the silly-ass ogling of other cultures prepackaged world music. Popular music from those languages/regions.

Can I understand it? The German, yeah, for the most part. The Japanese, only a few words. The multilingual slurry from Africa...uh, no, but I still like it, and I have looked up some of the lyrics to get the gist. It's wonderful to live in the age of Internet. When I understand a word or phrase from the latter two music source languages, I actually get a thrill, like what I imagine (and only imagine, I promise) a cocaine user gets from taking a line. It's powerful.

Why don't other people experience that? Or would they if they ever gave world music a chance?

I guess part of it is that this isn't what music is for. It's for entertainment, not ... what? Education? Enlightenment? Music was for mind-expansion at one time (hullo, 1960s), but I don't think this is what they meant.

Even people learning (of their own free will) another language don't seem, in my experience, to derive enjoyment from their second-language's music. That really stymies me. How can someone enjoy learning Spanish, but eschew listening to any Spanish music? For example.

To be fair, they don't seem to enjoy poetry either. Conversational language learners...may not have the sensibilities necessary for music or reading? I don't know. I learned German because it was required. I loved it because of a lot of weird little things that when pieced together make something. Not crazy about the poetry. The music does something for me that's between healing/soothing and awakening. Love that. To everyone else, German music is comprised of dead composers, beer hall songs, and one-hit wonders.

If you find yourself puzzling over whether or not you could ever love world music, as described above, I suggest going to Amazon and perusing their mp3 selection. You don't have to buy; just listen to snippets of songs and see how you feel. If you need some recommendations for artists to start with, recall that German is my primary love, and start with these guys: Peter Maffay, Matthias Reim, and Falco. If you can find a copy of Falco's Der Egoist, it's worth a listen.

Peter Maffay himself is a lover of world music and has collaborated with artists from many other countries. Search for his Begegnung albums. Many of these are very good.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Start the morning with Library Annie

Again, yes, it is a little true to life, although I'm hoping for something more Dilbertesque. I wish I could draw my own, but I just don't have that skill or the time to take a drawing class. Maybe once I'm out of school?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Riding in cars with dogs

Or at least with my dog.

Gracie started out in life with pervasive carsickness during trips lasting more than twenty minutes. She could go to the park, Petsmart, and a few other places. She could go to the vet's office (I was a good mommy), but she always tossed her doggy biscuits on the way back.

Fast forward to adolescence...the carsickness ended, giving way to car-excitement.

When my partner and I take her to (or just toward) the dog park, she whines and carries on like she's going to Disney and we're driving too slow!

This past weekend, or rather yesterday, if you will, we were taking a family trip to the dog park, about half an hour away with church traffic.

This is new, by the way - what I'm about to describe is a first time thing that I hope to curtail for the safety of us and others.

Once we got close...she flung herself into the front seat of the Jeep with my partner (driving) and me. She ... please believe me ... let down my window and proceeded to attempt to jump out of the car. I had both arms wrapped around all 82 lbs. of her. The driver got the window back up. I tried to settle her in the floor board.

She lunged for the controls again, this time lowering his window, but only slightly, and scrambled like mad from my feet/lap to his! He pushed, I pulled, she barked and whined and chortled like a mad thing at the top of her doggy lungs!

My window started going down again! I held her almost in a head lock until he could park the car.

Clearly, we must address this behavior, but my partner does not want to crate her in the car. I would do anything short of duck taping her at this point, because that was hilarious, but...also kind of scary.

If you want to see her, go here and look for Gracie.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another Nature Sunday

Today, I took a walk (3.47 miles) near the lake-shore. The weather was perfect - cool, clear, a hint of autumn breeze in the air. Purely by chance, I took a dirt trail down to the water's edge just in time to stumble upon a flock of ducks, about ten of them, in the shady shallows.

I got a new Samsung Galaxy phone to replace my broken one, and the camera is far superior, not to mention the awesomeness of the Dropbox app, from which I retrieved these pictures without any fuss or cabling. And, yes, the colors you're seeing here are not enhanced with filters or anything weird, although I did some judicious cropping. No, don't thank me.

The third picture is from the cart path, about .75 miles south of the duck pictures, on a rise overlooking part of the lake near the city park and conservation area. I hope to get more foliage shots next weekend, but right now is pretty darn gorgeous too.

I had the greatest time on my walk. You can probably tell from the images. It's a beautiful area. The piedmont of Georgia isn't exactly world renown for its beauty, but that doesn't mean it isn't here. Trust me, it very much is here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ticket prices

I haven't gone to a concert or to the theater in years and years, so when I started browsing tickets this afternoon, I sort of got a wake up call. Tickets that would have been $75 back in the day were going for between $200 - $300.

I'm not sure when this happened, but it is mucho depressing. I like to think that the higher prices reflect market demand, but somehow, I don't think that's the case, except with sporting event tickets. BTW, I cannot imagine spending well over $1,000 to watch the SEC championship from the semi-nosebleed section, nor would I want to. Geez...are all rednecks rich???

Actually, I'm not at all sure why event tickets cost so much. Inflation? Increased overhead? Supply-and-demand dysfunction? Or maybe I'm cheap. I mean...I don't have a lot of money. The only reason I'm even looking at tickets like this is because I won a gift card to and wanted to see what I could do with what initially felt like fabulous riches.

(Thank you, Coors, for the gift card! I'm totally not ungrateful! Just shocked!)

What to do, though, now that I know. Less cool event, better seats? Cooler event, cheap seats?

I seriously want to take my partner to see The Book of Mormon at The Fox in Atlanta since it's in town right before his birthday, but tickets for the orchestra level start at $115. Dress circle is a little less pricey, but he's from New York and is accustomed to better seats than that.

I sound a little awful, don't I?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Media post - books

These are books that I am reading/have read in the last year that I believe are good enough to blanket recommend to pretty much anyone:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (in-progress)

It's literary. It's better than the movie. It informs the reader about human nature and themselves. And unlike the movie, IMHO, it isn't just about slavery. If you like short-stories, but find they leave you wanting more...ding-ding-ding.

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik

Of course, read the other books first, but that's sort of the point. The Temeraire novels are terrific almost all the way through. Well researched, wonderful characters. Basically, it's Horatio Hornblower with dragons. And actually, yes, it is mostly about slavery.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Another human condition-type book, but the prose is wonderful, the suspense is palpable, and it will make you (the reader) think hard about what's important in life. Uncomfortably funny, very British, but worth the read.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Best thing in modern, dark fantasy for the younger crowd. Seriously dark for my tastes, but utterly inspired from beginning to end, incredibly daring. If Gaiman, Pullman, and Nix had a literary love-child, I think it would look something like this. Bonus: the sequel is just as good, but even darker.

Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

This is from the Flavia de Luce series of mystery novels. Start at the beginning. Please? Again, seriously anglophilic, but charming. The series takes place in post-WWII England in a quaint village with even quainter people. Flavia is...twelve, I think? She solves mysteries and thinks about poisoning people.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

A little too popular, but still worth the time. Readers of John Grisham might especially enjoy this one. I am not such a person myself. The book provides an interesting look into the justice system and into family curses.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Again, dragons, but this time in a more high-fantasy style, although definitely with modern twists. The book asks interesting questions about love, kinship, and family secrets. I am eagerly awaiting more from the author. I usually don't say that.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Second book in the All Souls Trilogy. I feel the urge to defend this as not being paranormal romance. The author did some terrific research into history, science, and literature. She also wrote a vampire novel I actually read...and loved. But, yes, tons of romance novel here. Aching for the final volume.

So that's a year of the best books from my reading life, brought to you with memory-jogging help from Good Reads. If you read, you need a Good Reads account.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Library Annie #02

It's a little too much like real-life, I'm afraid.

Monday, October 14, 2013

More almond butter

This is an addition to this post, comparing brands of almond butter.

MaraNatha Almond Butter (No Stir)

As I mentioned before, I cannot eat natural, oily nut butters. Not happening. MaraNatha's no-stir butter is...perilously close to having an oily sheen. It is just barely no-stir, in other words. However, the product has a terrific dark and inviting color as well as a rich texture very similar to my fave (Berry Hill from Aldi's). In fact, I kind of wonder if they might be the same product. But I couldn't compare them side-by-side, so that's mere speculation. The taste was a lot more wholesome and buttery than Jif or Barney butter, even though the sugar content was rather low (3g/serving). It's a good product. Sadly, this one is also quite a bit more expensive - I believe my partner paid $9.99 for a really small jar of the stuff. Not something we could/should have all the time!

I'm not receiving any inducement to post this.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stay classy, Houston

I enjoy professional football and am actually an NY Jets fan (please feel free to e-mail any condolences); however, I feel compelled tonight to talk smack about the Houston Texans. No, not about the team - about the people in Texas from Houston who thought it was at all civil, appropriate, humane, or generally okay to award their injured quarterback, Matt Schaub, with a standing ovation for leaving the game.

If you feel the need for video or additional commentary, Yahoo! has it, as always.

These are the same fans that possibly went to his house. And not in a nice way. Whaaa?

Schaub is actually a good quarterback - perhaps not Hall of Fame quality, but better than any QB my team has fielded since Joe Namath. Not luckier, obviously, but certainly stats-wise, much better than recent...but I digress.

What I'm saying here is that far worse quarterbacks have been given far less shit for far worse early season performances. So that fault must lie with the fans, in that they are boors without the least shred of decency.

And for the record, I had Houston to win today, but was far more upset by the fans than by my points lost in the football pool.

For whatever its worth, football is an ugly game, and that's part of the attraction, but cheering over injuries is too much real-life and not enough American-pastime for my taste, ESPECIALLY when people are celebrating the injury of one of their own team's players.

Note: you may have noticed that I didn't mention salary here or wealth or perceptions thereof. I don't care. That simple.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An interesting, if unhealthy, experiment

I have always had this fear that if I let myself eat an unlimited amount of anything I wanted, that I would literally not be able or even want to stop eating. Like one of those people who can win eating contests. Only worse.

Two weeks ago, I decided I would face my fear and see if that would actually happen.

My biggest fear-food is donuts. Or doughnuts. Your choice. So I bought...okay, let's just say I bought a creepily lot of donuts and leave it there, from Krispy Kreme, which sells the best ones in my area and is pitiably close to my house. I love their chocolate glazed and their iced cake donuts, as well as their traditional cake ones. So that's what I brought home...

And I began eating them.

And after seven and a half, I could not force down another single bite.

It was one of the happiest moments I've experienced in a while, because while that may be A LOT of donuts, it was not as bad as I imagined. I figured I would sail through the first dozen and just keep going. But not even close!

Better yet, it has at least temporarily cured my constant nagging doughnut craving.

Because in science, reliability is everything. I tried the same thing with cake (yesterday) and found that while a single slice of cake leaves me craving more, a third of the thing makes me wish cakes didn't exist at all. Score!

So I'm on my way to thinking that maddening, pervasive cravings can be treated, if not cured, by periodic over-overindulgence in the craved food. I'll see if my craving for either donuts or cake returns.

FYI: At all other times, I have eaten a healthy, normal, low-carb diet, so my weight hasn't fluctuated significantly during these two weeks. Okay...about two pounds up and down, like normal, but it didn't screw up my whole diet or anything.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blogging it forward

I am not really one of those people who support charitable causes. Mostly because I am always broke, but I digress.

In Russia, a young blogger named Anton Buslov has cancer for which he cannot afford treatment. From the Yahoo! News article I read and his Give Forward site, I feel like he's a good guy and, if he lives, will continue to contribute to society in above-average ways - he's smart, for one thing.

Another reason I want to support his campaign, if only by blogging about it, is his stance that it's better to fight his disease with good instead of using the method lionized by the TV series Breaking Bad, which uses cancer to justify criminal enterprise and violence. The show disgusts me on a visceral level, because it is entirely possible that people will use it to excuse bad behavior...and I'm not talking about parking in the handicapped zone without a sticker here, okay? But real, violent, anti-social behavior because they're ill.

Well, you can't fight Hollywood, but Buslov is doing a great thing by getting it out there that a grim cancer diagnosis does not need to make someone a monster.

If you have a mind to, please at least read his story. With a lot of luck and less bad in the world, he may get the treatment he needs to live.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tom Hanks...diabetic?

I wish I had actually seen the Letterman interview instead of just reading about it, but I only catch the late night shows once or twice a month and who knew, right?

He handled it really cool, from what I've read, especially since he really doesn't fit the stereotype (I'm looking at you Meatloaf and Paula Deen) for Type II diabetics. Hanks is getting older, which is a factor, but it isn't as though his weight draws attention. He has one of those faces: ordinary-handsome, not cinema star - that doesn't really betray body issues the way some more stunning lookers' might (Alec Baldwin, for example).

Anyway, one thing he said made me feel really good, and this was from another interview, I think: "Type 1 diabetes is very bad. Type 2 diabetes is controllable".

I'm Type I (for 28 years now...woot!) and most of the time, I tell Type IIs the opposite - they have it bad; worse comes to worst, I can just inject more insulin. Quick fix. What can they do? Okay...I don't say it like that. I say it nice. But still...for a Type II with very high BSL to feel better, they need an IV, medication, and some time. I need 3 to 5 units of Novolog. They might need hospitalization. Yikes!

So, yeah, I kind of feel good that Hanks recognized us skin-poppers, and right back at him!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Almond butter

I really didn't want to blog product reviews, but this isn't so much about that. No one will ever ask me to review their product. I'm too mean and basically, I hate everything.

I'm semi-Paleo in my dietary habits - meat & veg, little processed foods, low-carbohydrate. The recommendation is to forgo legumes, likes beans and peanuts, which I find ridiculously different, even more so than giving up pasta, rice, and bread. I still eat peanut butter and can definitely see where that sabotages me. But it's so good.

Anyway, one common suggestion in this area of weakness is to replace peanut butter with the healthier (and mucho more expensive) almond butter. When I first started this diet in May 2012, almond butter was impossible to find in my area, even at higher-end grocers. Amazon had it, of course, but um...cost prohibitive.

Lately, this has changed, in that all the big grocery stores now carry a couple varieties of almond butter. I won't eat the natural (stir in oil) kind because it make me queasy just opening the jar. Seriously, no can do! I never buy crunchy, because my partner has recurring diverticulitis and I don't want to kill him. So far, here's what I've learned.

Jif Almond Butter (creamy):

Tiny jar, but the cheapest butter I can get from the big grocers. The taste is bland, but certainly edible, and the texture is slightly oil, not rich. For people looking for a peanut replacement, this probably works okay. The best price I've seen is $5.99 on sale.

Barney Butter Smooth Almond Butter:

Again, smallish jar, very pricey, but ounce-for-ounce very close to the regular, non-sale price of Jif. The taste and texture are decent - richer and fuller, less oily. This one also feels thicker. Not terrific, but a step up. I also feel better about the quality. Best price: $7.99 on sale.

Berryhill (Aldi) Almond Butter (creamy):

The jar is mid-sized between the other two brands. I have to admit it: the texture of this one is far superior. It has a grainy texture, but in a good way, like with fudge. Probably because it has so much sugar (6g) in it? The taste is very nice, but not to-die-for good. That said, if you can find it, the price is very reasonable, considering. Price: $4.99.

Just added:

MaraNatha Almond Butter (No Stir)

This particular no-stir butter is...perilously close to having an oily sheen. It is just barely no-stir, in other words. However, the product has a terrific dark and inviting color as well as a rich texture very similar to my fave (Berry Hill from Aldi's). In fact, I kind of wonder if they might be the same product. But I couldn't compare them side-by-side, so that's mere speculation. The taste was a lot more wholesome and buttery than Jif or Barney butter, even though the sugar content was rather low (3g/serving). It's a good product. Sadly, this one is also quite a bit more expensive. Price: $9.99.

Note: when I eat peanut butter, I only eat Jif. Just FYI.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Zombie-ville south central

I live about eight miles or so, depending on the location, from where the show The Walking Dead films.

If you're not familiar, real quick: zombie apocalypse set just south of Atlanta, fairly grim and gory, with characters that are characters. It's based on a series of even grimmer graphic novels, many of which have won awards.

The thing is this...people are coming to the area now to see Walking Dead stuff - the towns and landmarks, mostly - and some places, being in dire economic need, are catering to this zombie-tourism with tours and things. Actually, this is quite cool. My issue is this...I live here and my family five generations (no, really), so is it okay to do Walking Dead tours? I mean, go on them for fun? Or is that weird?

The weather is starting to get nice. It would be something entertaining to do...but then again, it's almost like rubbernecking an accident where you might know the victim. You know?

I just saw an article about the tours...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What does it take to make a comic strip?

Apparently not that much anymore.

I can't draw; however, with Make Beliefs Comix comic maker...even I can try to make a comic.

I used an editing program to make the title and byline nicer.

Maybe more at some point? My friends say I need "columns" for my blog to attract regular readers. A comic must be worth 1,000 words, right?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Interesting travel news

According to a random Yahoo! New article found here, these are the Top Ten cities in the world (presumably from a tourist standpoint):

1. London
2. Sydney
3. Paris
4. New York
5. Rome
6. Washington D.C.
7. Los Angeles
8. Toronto
9. Vienna
10. Melbourne

I bolded the ones I've visited, because, you know, blogs are always supposed to be self-referential and all that. When I was younger, I got out of the house more, clearly.
This is from Rome. Audrey Hepburn
once touched it.

Seriously, Vienna beats DC any day of the week. I haven't been since my twenty-fourth birthday, but I loved Wien. Toronto was kind of awful. Rome does not need me to defend it. Taking my partner there is on my Bucket List.

This is Prague with typical weather.

Prague needs to work its way up there too. And Munich. Sigh...someday, I'll win the lottery and travel...everywhere in the civilized world...and post pictures of the grand adventure of it all.

In the mean time...pic-spam.

Blast from the past

I don't know how many people remember the TV show Sliders from the 1990s, but a friend of mine brought up an episode that is sort of germane to the topic of geritocracy. I know I'm dating myself here, but I really liked the show as a teenager, even if I only saw the first ... maybe four seasons. At some point, even good shows can jump the shark, right?

Anyway, it's the Sliders - Third Season episode, The Breeder, which is like a mishmash of Species and Logan's Run. The important point in the episode is that young people are assigned to be forced organ donors for the older and more powerful.

So my friend wants to know what's to stop the elderly from using us for spare parts if they have all the power?

Well...creepy as that may be, I actually think that people over the age of 90 are not really looking for spare parts. At that age, haven't most people made their peace? Also...isn't the surgical survival rate for the extremely old (hey, let's not sugarcoat here), a bit less than it is for the current people in charge (45 to 65-year-olds)?

I imagine we do have some coercive organ donation going on already, probably catering to the current age-group in power, since they are better suited recipients; however, I really don't see that spiking in a geritocracy. In my experience, immortality is not the obsession of centenarians, but rather the young who fear the loss of youth and vigor as much as they fear death. In other words, I think people my age and slightly older are more likely to prey on weaker members of society than the very aged are.

Oh...for a non-aged-related book on this train of thought try Unwind and its sequel by Neal Shusterman. I wish I had remembered that day, but it's been a while since I read it. Talk about an interesting thought experiment!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hunker down time

I am in graduate school, part-time. I don't know if I've mentioned that before. This is my third fall semester. This is the only time I have struggled with grades. I mean, really did the work and earned less than full marks all the way. I feel crippled from the effort and outcome mismatch.

I don't know what to do, honestly. I'm stressed and miserable and feel like I'm being crushed. It's only October!!!

Next semester, I get to take an AWESOME elective on marketing. Why does now have to suck so much?

Seriously, I am doing exactly what I did to get a 4.0 for three solid years and I'm earning Bs and Cs on my major papers! I don't get it.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Atheists need a house

I was just thinking about this yesterday morning: how much I miss the sense of community I had as a teenager who attended church (a little too) regularly.

Well, maybe soon I can get that again: news story.

The problem would be driving all the way to Atlanta to attend. That would be nigh impossible for me right now. And my Catholic partner? Oh...forget about that!

Still, I really like the idea of my people getting together in more positive way and building the kind of community I grew up with, only without the racism, sexism, homophobia, and hatred of the poor and ill. It's a nice thought.