Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sidetracked

Oftentimes my train of thought takes some interesting paths. I start at one topic, slide to another and before you know it, I've taken a completely different direction. Kind of like surfing Wikipedia.

Usually, though, these thought paths have some kind of logic. Something I'm doing or something that I'm thinking about has a connection to the next direction, and I can usually follow them back to the original thought.

Today, however, I'm stumped.

I was making macaroni salad. Making pasta of any kind usually makes me think of Kingdom of Loathing, where two of the classes of adventurers are pasta-centric (pastamancer and sauceror). This also led me to think of church, because we have potluck this coming Sunday (which led to me thinking about my talk, about printing out the article it's based on and some printer issues at work).

Then it came out of the blue. The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. Really? A Disney musical? C'mon brain - where did you pull this out of?



We saw the movie when I was a kid. We even had the album, which we played on our turntable. But I haven't thought of this movie or album in at least 30 years.

Looking over the Wikipedia article, I notice that Lesley Ann Warren was in the movie. She also is in "In Plain Sight," a series on USA network. It's just possible that a brief thought about the IPS episode I watched last night led to my brain digging deep enough to retrieve this memory, but it's still bizarre. I didn't even see her in that episode, but that's all the connection I can come up with right now.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oh, rats!

Just one, actually. Cayla and I are going over to visit my niece Suzanna, whose fiance, Chad, has a rat. This rat needs a new home. Cayla has been asking for a rat for about 4 years. I might relent.

I went to Earl May yesterday and looked at cages. There are several options, but I only really considered two of them. One is quite vertical and has ramps for the rat to run up and down. The other one attaches to the top of a 10-gallon aquarium and also has ramps. The little bit of research I did says this is good if the room has drafts, but this type of habitat has to be changed more often.

I'm still ambivalent. I mean, a rat! I shudder at the thought. I grew up in old houses mostly - where, yes, we often had mice. And we (Kent and I and the girls) lived in a mobile home that was fine for several years but suddenly got mice one winter. So, I'm still trying to overcome that prejudice.

We'll see. I need to find out about the cost for a youth conference this month - still have no information on it except that it starts June 21. Not much time to make arrangements - in fact, it might already be too late. But if I don't have to pay for that (because we missed a deadline and she can't go), I might be able to afford a cage for the rat.

UPDATE: The youth conference doesn't cost, and I have the details about what she needs to take and when and where to meet for her ride down there. As far as the rat goes, it's not looking good. Cayla liked playing with it at Suzanna's, and when we looked at cages at Earl May, she told me which one she liked. But she's not willing to clean/rearrange her room or to keep the lawn mowed this summer to earn my approval for the rat.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Android Karenina: a review and giveaway

I have read four Quirk classics so far: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters," Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls" and now "Android Karenina."


"Android Karenina" takes one of those books you avoided reading in high school and adds a bit of steampunk, intrigue, conspiracy and alien threat. I initially had to overcome some resistance (it's Tolstoy!), but once that obstacle was cleared, I enjoyed reading "Android Karenina." In fact, I actually laughed out loud when Matryoshka's nature was revealed in Part Two, Chapter 14.

The themes include: marital faithfulness and infidelity, humans' dependence on technology, and threats to humanity. These threads weave in and out, bringing the reader to a conclusion which surprised me. I fully expected that the unfaithful Anna Karenina would suffer some illness or accident that would require her to merge with her Class III companion, Android Karenina. This was foreshadowed, in my mind, by her husband's Class III being his Face - a metal plate that covers half of his face, a servomechanism, a thinking machine that councils and later controls him.

I can't do justice to this book in this review. I read it, liked it and will read it again. I do have a copy of "Anna Karenina" and have read portions of it for comparison, and I like "Android Karenina" better because of the sci-fi, steampunk aspects. The recurring thread of the conflict with UnConSciya, the dependence on machines, and the alien "Honored Guests" liven up the book.

There is also a giveaway at Quirk Classics:
Let us know where you read the review. In the comment section below, add the name of the blog where you read about Android Karenina. Please include a link to the blog post. Not only is adding the link very helpful for us, it also gives your favorite blogs some added exposure.

Doing so will automatically enter you to win one of 25 Quirk Books Prize-Packs worth nearly $100, each of which includes: 
You are at Carol's Random Babble. Click here, leave a comment with Carol's Random Babble and this link: http://tinyurl.com/AK-review in the text and you'll be entered in the giveaway.
Contest closes at June 14 at 5PM EST, and we'll be announcing winners on June 17 at 12PM EST.
 And whether you win the giveaway or not, you can get your own Tolstoy to-do list.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Strange dreams

I have them often. Sometimes I write them down - today this blog post will have to suffice.

Background info: I work at a newspaper where we use Macs with OS9 and use QuarkXPress 4.1 for layout. We also have PCs with a proprietory word processing software that pulls in AP content as well. We have new Macs now, with QuarkXPress 8. There will be a bit of a learning curve this week as people begin using the new computers and new software.

In my dream, it was the day we were to get the new computers hooked up. But in my dream it was more than computers. The whole newsroom was changed:
  • There was an area with bunkbeds arranged in a square with a couple of loveseats and a table or desk in the middle - I called that a dorm room. There were college students sitting around in this area.
  • There was an area with files and a person who transported the files - it was very different from our hardcopy library system (file cabinets with file folders), but approximately in the same area. (I say approximately because the whole area was more square than the actual building.)
  • Our desks were different - and this to me was the worst part because the desks were switched out without notification and I didn't have a chance to clean my desk out of personal stuff. (Example: Amanda gave me a small stuffed bear that says "Happy Mother's Day" several years ago for, you guessed it, Mother's Day.)
  • There was apparently a day care setup where employees could bring their small children and have them right there at work (never in a million years). I know how wrong this is when I saw (in my dream) our managing editor changing a baby in the middle of the newsroom.
So you can see this was a very strange dream. There was more - a group of people were upstairs going through boxes and bags and sorting out Christmas ornaments and decorations. That's about all I can remember.

And now it's time for me to get ready for work.

Last day of school

Cayla made the bus this morning ...

I'm sure she would rather not have gone, but I didn't suggest it and wouldn't have allowed it. I told her to take her camera, but I don't think she did.

She's just glad her days at good ol' PMS are done (yep, Phillips Middle School). She doesn't want any reminders of her two years there. I said that in the unlikely event she returns to this area to raise her children (she's so anxious to get out of this town I think she would vow never to return) that they would not go to this school (the district is building a new middle school).

That degenerated into a discussion of the whole green project the district insisted that the middle-school kids participate in, wasting their time (in Cayla's opinion) and for nothing, because only one suggestion was considered. Cayla said that the teachers were told to make time for this project - having the kids help design the new middle school with "green" aspects in the building - but still manage to get their regular lessons done.

What I learned out of that project was that I don't talk to Cayla often enough, as I didn't hear about it until it was nearly over.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sims 3 Ambitions

So ...

Sims 3 Ambitions expansion pack came out on Tuesday and I bought it on Thursday. It's installed and I got a household that I had made previously set up in a house in the new neighborhood. I haven't had much time to play yet, and I have to build up their skills to get them to the point where they can do the things I want them to do.

Why is this so important?

Well, besides the fun aspect, I used Sims 3 (this household) to get footage for a video that I put together for my web multimedia class for the spring semester. I did the video and got the grade, but there were glitches. We think it's because the speed on the Sims 3 clips is faster than the default speed in Premiere Pro (the software we were using). So I have to redo the video for the instructor to use as an example for future classes. And I wanted to have my "mad scientist" have the inventing skill and be able to build some things to enhance the video.

The video is for "Skullcrusher Mountain" by Jonathan Coulton. It's a love song.

When I get the video done, I'll post it here. ;-)

This is my post for June 3

I was sleep deprived, running late and exhausted. I asked Kent to drive me to work twice. That means four trips into town for me, plus two for Cayla (she needed a ride to school and to be picked up because her class went to Adventureland.

I also didn't have time to take a supper break at work the second time I went. So, I worked from 4 to 10:45 p.m. with only a bag of chips, a soda and a bag of M&Ms (coconut flavored). I was starving when I got off work. I asked Kent to take me to Hy-Vee, and I did some grocery shopping.

I had something to eat when I got home, and played a little on Facebook, and now I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting things done (or not)

I haven't made my list yet, so haven't crossed anything off. I stayed up too late last night (as always) and overslept this morning. (7:38!) Kent took Cayla to school. I went back to bed for a couple of hours, then played around on the computer for awhile. Played some WoW with Amanda.

Took Cayla to YW, but they were meeting at the (outgoing) YW president's house instead of church, so I had to take her all the way across town again. Then back to the east side of town to Mom's to download some Big Fish Games for her. And back to pick Cayla up.

Now I'm tired, but kind of want to play either Sims 3 or WoW. For now, I'm going to change into my pajamas and see what I feel like.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Now

That's the theme for June at NaBloPoMo.

I am full of good intentions. I always want to fulfill them, but get caught up is daily grind, silly stuff and inconsequential things.

I need to focus.

I need to set things in order.

I think I need to take the advice of experts - I need to figure out my goals and what steps are needed to achieve them.

I'll start with a to-do list. Crossing accomplishments - however minor - off a list makes me feel like I'm actually getting things done. And it's good to keep track of what I'm doing, especially at work.