Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lights Out!

Whee! Back again.

We had an interesting week. Monday evening it snowed. Tuesday it started in with a variety of stuff - sleet, freezing rain, ice pellets (noticing a theme here?). Wednesday was more of the same - only more so. Wednesday afternoon about 1, our lights went out. And stayed out. And stayed out some more. We lit a fire in the fireplace and huddled up as the house temp started sinking. Poor Rob hit the deck several times hauling firewood up to the back porch from our backyard stack.

No power also meant that the aerators in the fish tanks weren't working, so the fish were suffocating. So about every four hours, we would siphon out a bunch of water, and dump in new water so the fish could breathe, at least a little. Between the cold and the lack of oxygen, they were not happy fish.

Rob went in to work on Wed. - it turned out that outside of our immediate neighborhood, the streets were in decent shape, so we were able to go get battery-powered aerators for the tanks, and pick up some take-out food, but the power company was saying that we wouldn't get power back until 11pm Saturday, so we packed up and headed for Nashville, only to have Rob call us just as we hit the halfway point, and say the power was back on. So back we came.

Central heat feels unbelievably luxurious right now. And the effort with the fish tanks paid off - we only lost one fish (one of Aaron's pack of three silver dollars). Even the worst off of the rest (my iridescent shark, who was solidly upside-down and twitching), recovered rapidly once the tank systems came back on-line.

One good side effect, since it's a good low-light activity, I pulled out my spinning wheel and got it ready to roll again. I even got about half a spindle-full of soda bottle fiber spun (sock weight).

Right now we're waiting to see if the boys' school (which was being used as an emergency shelter), will be open on Monday, or if they get to stay home a little more. I hope they can go, they're getting a bit tired of each other right now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Photo Meme

Nicole tagged me for this, so blame her!

Rules are as follows:

1. Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
2. Go to the 6th Folder, then pick the 6th picture in that folder.
3. Post that picture on your blog and the story that goes along with the picture.
4. Tag 6 other people that you know or don’t know to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog or an e-mail letting them know you chose them.

As anyone who knows the movie will know, the photo in question is a scene from The Princess Bride, in which the Man in Black fights Fezzick the giant. While I love the movie, that actually has nothing to do with why the screen shot is in my photo-file. Instead it stems from my days writing for Damn Interesting! My last article for them (to the best of my recollection, there may have been another one or two), was on acromegaly, giantism, and the pituitary gland. My sixth photo file is my collection of photos of various people mentioned in the article, Andre the Giant (who plays Fezzick) being one of them. This shot didn't end up being used for the article, but it still sits in my files, mostly because I'm really lazy about clearing them out. This gives me a very odd assortment of pictures - the series on how to sex a mouse probably being the one that would give the most people pause.

As for tagging people - hmm. Becky, Martial Arts Mom (at your convenience, don't stress about it), Bill, Michele, somaserious, and CrimsonPhoenix.

In other news, we're snowed in at the moment, and well on our way to being iced in. Sensei just called to call off class for tonight, as he may not even be able to make it home from work, let alone to class. No school today, no school tomorrow, and possibly not Thursday as well.

Toby is starting to settle in. He's actually curled up on the couch and gone to sleep a couple of times (though never for long). He's discovered the back yard, though he hasn't figured out how to ring the bell to be let out yet. I've started working on training him to bark on command, prepratory to trying to get him to bark less generally speaking, but as food motivated as he is, it's still going to be slow going. We've always referred to Nicky as a basset with the optional brains package, Toby is a good illustration of a basset without the package. Other than the scaredy cat behavior, he's a sweetheart, but a definite numbskull. It's taken most of the afternoon to teach him "Speak", and he's still not terribly reliable about it - and this is a behavior he does all the time spontaneously! Nicky learned "Speak" in about half the time, is quite reliable, and almost never barked on his own at the time I taught him - still doesn't for that matter.

The good part is that he, like Nicky, would stand on his head for a liver treat, if he could only figure out how. It's just that he's much slower about the figuring out.

I'd say I have a pretty good chance of doing enough with Toby that things may not devolve into total chaos when the dachshunds arrive in two weeks. He may be a doofus, but he is willing to work and learn.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Random Updating

Today is the day my fil arrives with his basset in tow. Or actually in Rob's car, since there's no place to put Toby in the truck where he can't get in the driver's way if he gets nervous - and Toby is always nervous. You wouldn't think a basset, the world's most laid-back dog, could be a Nervous Nellie, but Toby has conniptions anytime things are the least little bit out of place. Lord only knows what he's going to think of living in our house. Eventually all three dogs will come up, but since DadW has to go back down for a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks anyway, we thought we'd give Toby some extra time to adjust.

I'm about halfway through Kusanku Sai now. Now I have to work myself out of an unfortunate habit I've picked up with the new sais. For some reason I'm pushing my left index finger forward into the tines when I'm holding them by the hilt. I don't do it on the right, just the left. I think it's a stabilizing shift, because I have some trouble controlling the tip of my left sai. Sanchin is also about halfway through, but I'd better get a lot more material this week if I'm to stay on track.

My left knee is officially recovered from the sprain/strain thing this summer. Tuesday was thirty minutes of working on Kusanku Sai, followed by being the demonstration dummy as Sensei D illustrated how to trap and torque a kick. My right knee was annoyed at me for a couple of days, but my left knee was fine. Though why it didn't occur to me until after class was over that perhaps I should have bowed out of demonstrating the torques, I don't know. I'm usually Sensei D's choice of demo dummy, because I have the only reliable roll-out in the class other than him and Sensei, but using me for knee-straining stuff is probably not the best choice.

ChoreWars is coming along swimmingly. I added my friend L and her son to our group, which has given a shot of motivation to all concerned. We did have to explain to her son, though, that picking up books wasn't something you could get credit for six times a day. He picked up all the books in his room, and then every hour or so was wandering back in, looking around, and giving himself credit for having picked up all the books in the room, since there weren't any. If he'd done it once, he might have gotten away with it, but we got suspicious around the fourth reiteration. I've added some of the FlyLady stuff to the list as well, and our adventures are getting nicely personalized.

Off now to finish spiffing up the guest room for DadW's arrival.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Film List from Becky

SUPPOSEDLY if you’ve seen over 85 films, you have no life.

There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, go to your own blog, paste this . Then, put x’s next to the films you’ve seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun.

(x ) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
( ) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
Total: 7

(x) The Princess Bride
( ) Anchorman
( ) Napoleon Dynamite
( ) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
( ) Anger Management
() 50 First Dates
() The Princess Diaries
() The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 8

() Scream
() Scream 2
() Scream 3
(x) Scary Movie
(x) Scary Movie 2
() Scary Movie 3
() Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
() American Pie 2
() American Wedding
() American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 11

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Resident Evil 1
(x) Resident Evil 2
() The Wedding Singer
() Little Black Book
(x) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 19

(x) Finding Nemo
() Finding Neverland
() Signs
(x) The Grinch
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
() White Chicks
() Butterfly Effect
() 13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot
(x) Robots
Total so far: 23

() Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
(x) Universal Soldier
(x) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
() Along Came Polly
(x) Deep Impact
() KingPin
() Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
() Meet the Fockers
()Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
() KING KONG (The Original)
Total so far: 27

(x) A Cinderella Story
() The Terminal
() The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
(x) Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
() Halloween
() The Ring
() The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
() Flubber [the original]
Total so far: 30

() Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
() Practical Magic
() Chicago
() Ghost Ship
() From ***
(x) Hellboy
() Secret Window
() I Am Sam
() The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 31

(x) The Day After Tomorrow
() Child’s Play
() Seed of Chucky
() Bride of Chucky
(x) Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
() Gothika
() Nightmare on Elm Street
() Sixteen Candles
() Remember the Titans
() Coach Carter
() The Grudge
() The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
(x) Son Of The Mask
total so far: 34

() Bad Boys
() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Slevin
(x) Ocean’s Eleven
() Ocean’s Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
() Lone Star
() Bedazzled
(x) Predator
() Predator II
( ) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
() Curious George
Total so far: 39

(x) Independence Day
() Cujo
() A Bronx Tale
() Darkness Falls
() Christine
(x) ET
() Children of the Corn
() My Bosses Daughter
() Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
() Rush Hour
() Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 41

() Best Bet
() How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
() She’s All That
() Calendar Girls
() Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
() Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
() Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 48

(x) X-Men
(x) X-2
(x) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
() Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
() Jeepers Creepers 2
() Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday (the original)
(x) Reign of Fire
() The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions
() Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 57

() Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
() Old School
() The Notebook
() K-Pax
() Krippendorf’s Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
(x) Ice Castles
() Boogeyman
() The 40-year-old Virgin
Total so far: 59

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 65

() Baseketball
() Hostel
() Waiting for Guffman
() House of 1000 Corpses
() Devils Rejects
() Elf
(x) Highlander
() Mothman Prophecies
() American History X
() Three
Total so Far: 66

() The Jacket
() Kung *** Hustle
() Shaolin Soccer
() Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
() Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
() Willa74
Total so far: 69

() High Tension (Haute Tension)
() Club Dread
() Hulk
() Dawn Of the Dead
() Hook
(x) Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
() 28 days later
() Orgazmo
() Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
Total so far: 71

() Kill Bill vol 1
() Kill Bill vol 2
() Mortal Kombat
() Wolf Creek
(x) Kingdom of Heaven
() the Hills Have Eyes
() I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
() The Last House on the Left
() Re-Animator
() Army of Darkness
Total so far: 72

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
() Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 78

(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix Reloaded
(x) The Matrix Revolutions
() Animatrix
() Evil Dead
() Evil Dead 2
() Team America: World Police
() Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
() Hannibal
Total: 82

Hmm. I'm not too sure I agree with this evaluation, as I actually don't watch all that many movies at any given point in time, yet I'm awfully close to the 85 limit. I'm suspicious of how they're choosing which movies belong on here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Forging Ahead

Well, this last few days has brought some serious progress. My brand-new Shueido sais showed up this afternoon, and I've been spending the time since doing things one-handed, while playing with one of them. They're really nice - a bit smaller through the tines than I was expecting, but a nice weight and balance.

Last night's karate class was small, likely due to the abysmally cold weather that we (and nearly everyone else) seem to be having. I got to get Tokumine no Kun vetted by Sensei to make sure I really had it down, and then we went on to the beginning of Sanchin. I hadn't quite registered how darn short Sanchin is! I'm about 1/3 of the way through in one fairly short session. Which means that unless there are unexpected complications with either this or Kusanku Sai (which I can't wait to try with the new sais), I'm pretty well on track to have all my required material down by the end of the month. The muscle clenchng is going to take some getting used to. I keep remembering to tighten one part and then noticing I've let something else fall loose. Oh well, that is why I wanted to get it down now - so that I have time to ingrain all this before I have to perform it with people beating on me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Out of the Depths

Well, I survived the holidays! Actually, I had a lot of fun, even though it was a tremendous amount of work. One of the downsides of being fundamentally introverted is that even when you're having a good time with other people, you're still using energy being with them. Friday and yesterday were largely spent falling over and recovering. Today, Rob decided to do some furniture rearrangement. He cleared out his desk in the basement (which he hasn't used in about two years), and we brought it upstairs to be used as a computer/homework desk for the boys. With some luck, this will enable him to get his computer back (the boys have been using it quite a bit).

It may give you an idea of just how swamped I've been feeling if I note that in the first week of 2009, I read one, and only one, book. And I wouldn't have read that one, except that my temp. neighbor brought it over and handed it to me, having taken it out on his library card. The only other week in which I can remember not wanting to read at all was during a week-long whitewater kayaking class one summer almost two decades ago. Then it was up at dawn, eat, hit the river, work insanely hard until dark, eat, fall over until dawn. I was too tired to read.

Wait - that explains it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

'til Friday

A and her husband arrived yesterday. I was somewhat hopeful that having her here would mean a less break-neck pace than when I visit her, but unless the first 24 hours was a quirk, no such luck. Don't expect to hear much from me until they leave on Friday - and possibly for a couple days after that, since hanging out with A is usually followed by a couple of days of falling over.

A is being really good about the state of the house (pretty good by my standards, cruddy by hers). Her husband, on the other hand, has named it "Cindy's Chemical Spill" on the GPS, and made some (mostly) good natured comments about people who don't know where everything they own is. Though if he makes any comments about it going downhill over the next few days (as they keep me running around 16 hours out of every 24), he's going to have to duck.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Books Read: July - December 2008

This time I kept a running list, so it is both accurate and complete. I was so interested in the patterns showing in the first list that I thought I'd try it again. Rereads are marked with an (R). My personal impression is that I read somewhat less than average this last six months, due to spending a good deal of time working on writing instead. (If you count book-length things "I" wrote, then I also read through Ghost Dancer some unknown, but large, number of times, and this year's Nano some other large, unknown number of times.) If anyone wants my impression of any of these books, let me know in comments and I'll put up a review.

1. Jade Darcy and the Affair of Honor - Stephen Goldin & Mary Mason(R)
2. Eragon - Christopher Paolini
3. Magic Steps - Tamora Pierce(R)
4. Trickster Queen - Tamora Pierce
5. Eldest - Christopher Paolini
6. Mastery - George Leonard(R)
7. Jhereg - Stephen Brust(R)
8. White Knight - Jim Butcher
9. Small Favor - Jim Butcher
10. Best Karate: 2 Fundamentals - Nakayama
11. When the Air Hits Your Brain - Frank Vertosic (R)
12. Gaia & God - Rosemary Ruether
13. The Spriggan's Mirror - Lawrence Watt-Evans
14. Crystal Dragon - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (R)
15. New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One - Cat Bordhi
16. Knitting Over the Edge - Nicky Epstein
17. Sister of the Dead - Barb & J.C. Hendee
18. Sliding Scales - Alan Dean Foster
19. The Lady on the Embankment (short story) - Lois McMaster Bujold
20. Wild Magic - Tamora Pierce (R)
21. Wolf-Speaker - Tamora Pierce (R)
22. Emperor Mage - Tamora Pierce (R)
23. The Realms of the Gods - Tamora Pierce (R)
24. Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs (x2)
25. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein (R)
26. Speed Training - Loren Christensen (R)
27. Night Life - Caitlyn Kittredge
28. Where We Stand - bell hooks
29. Dust - Elizabeth Bear (R)
30. Fledgling - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (online- in draft form)
31. Saltation - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (online - in draft)
32. Dzur - Steven Brust (R)
33. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (R)
34. Living the Martial Way - Forrest Morgan (R)
35. Life in Cold Blood - David Attenborough
36. Journey to the City of the Dead - Alan Dean Foster (R)
37. Fellowship of the Ring - JRR Tolkien (R)
38. The Gift of Fear - Gavin de Becker (R)
39. Iron Kissed - Patricia Briggs (R)
40. Ill Wind - Nevada Barr
41. The Mummy Case - Elizabeth Peters
42. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights - John Steinbeck
43. Reserved for the Cat - Mercedes Lackey
44. Yoga Body, Buddha Mind - Cyndi Lee
45. The Serpant in the Crown - Elizabeth Peters
46. Winter Study - Nevada Barr
47. The Curse of Chalion - Lois McMaster Bujold (R)
48. The Paladin of Souls - Lois McMaster Bujold (R)
49. Low Port - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
50. Balance of Trade - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller (R)
51. The White Dragon - Anne McCaffrey (R)
52. Backup - Jim Butcher (x 2)
53. Beyond Black Belt - Hanchi Duessel (R)
54. You Know You're A Writer When... - Adair Lara
55. Karate-do: My Way of Life - Gichin Funakoshi (R)
56. The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (R)
57. When Demons Walk - Patricia Briggs (R)
58. A Hole in Space - Larry Niven (R)
59. All the Weyrs of Pern - Anne McCaffrey (R)
60. Mister Monday - Garth Nix
61. Grim Tuesday - Garth Nix
62. Drowned Wednesday - Garth Nix
63. Making Money - Terry Pratchett
64. Storm Front - Jim Butcher (R)
65. The Parable of the Sower - Octavia Butler
66. On Writing - Steven King
67. Good Omens -Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
68. My Son, The Wizard - Christopher Stasheff
69. On The Prowl - Patrica Briggs et al (novella compilation)
70. My Stroke of Insight - Jill Bolte Taylor
71. Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
72. Magic or Madness - Justine Larbalestier
73. Crystal Rain - Tobias Buckell
74. Emotional Awareness - the Dalai Lama & Paul Ekman
75. The Miracle Workout - W. Jackson Davis, Ph. D.
76. Ragamuffin - Tobias Buckell
77. Cry Wolf - Patricia Briggs (R) (x2 - yes again)
78. Graceling - Kristi Cashor
79. Mr. Popper's Penguins - Richard & Florence Atwater

The stand-out book of this lot (non-fiction) was Outliers, which I mentioned in an earlier post. The fiction selection had a lot of good ones. Obviously by the repeats, I'm currently obsessed with Cry Wolf, but I'm not quite sure why. Don't get me wrong, it's good - very good - but not inherently more wonderful than several others on the list - I'd probably be rereading Graceling right now if I hadn't had to give it back to the library.