dxmachina: (Charlie Brown 2)
For the second time in a month, I am sick. Low fever this time with associated achiness along with congestion. I was freezing for most of the afternoon, then took some dayquil and as the tylenol started reducing the fever started roasting beneath all the layers. A couple hours later I appear to have reached temperature equilibrium, at least for the time being. I had a flu shot a couple months ago, so it's probably not flu, just something obnoxious picked up at the elementary school where we play volleyball. I should probably buy some hand sanitizer for Thursday nights.

---
Looking out my living room window I spotted two separate tufts of down stuck to the outside, the remnants of a real life angry birds attack. Poor bruised birdies. I get bird strikes on my picture windows quite often. I'm not sure if there's anything I can do about that.

---
Things that take me out of stories, item the first:

Note to the writers of Law & Order SVU: Bernardsville New Jersey is pronounced BERnerdsville, not berNARDSville. I rarely watch SVU, but I caught a bit of an interrogation while channel surfing.

---
Things that take me out of stories, item the second:

Not so much a pronunciation issue, but the characters on NCIS (original recipe) would never refer to highway route numbers as "the 95." McGee does this all the time, and yet his entire family appears to live close to DC. The proper shortcut term back east is either Route 95, I-95, or just plain old 95. The only exceptions to this rule are named highways: the Turnpike, the Parkway, the Deegan, etc., and the Beltway if one wants a DC specific example.

---
And then there are historical inaccuracies in non-fiction... )

---
Talked to my folks tonight. They were 13 days without power. The generator was a good idea, at least until they ran out of gas for it. They had to throw out all their perishables. Jane, who lives way out in the sticks, was without power for even longer. Yikes!
dxmachina: (Writing 01)
The annual ritual...

January I spent New Year's Eve with friends, playing Apples to Apples and singing along (badly) while the kids played "We Got the Beat" in Rock Band.

February Last weekend I joined my friend Tom Z on his annual pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I'd never been before, despite it being no more than 15 miles from my brothers' farm. Tom goes every year for a F2F with his online fantasy baseball buddies. Now I know how civilians feel at b.org gatherings.

March World Crossing is apparently closing its doors, or rather having its doors closed on it.

April ...because the dreams can get a little weirder than usual. All I can say is that it is comforting to know that Lea Michele won't be playing Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in real life.

May Mother Nature finally remembered to flip the switch on her the heating system last Sunday.

June I suppose I ought to post something, if for no other reason than if I don't, it'll really screw up my first lines of each month meme in December.

July Today is the 4th of July, which means it was time for the 11th annual Casa Machina shrub trimming extravaganza.

August I had the best ride yesterday.

September So, that NASA satellite that nobody can find? Didn't land on my house, so that's good.

October Previously on LiveJournal, our hero managed to dump a glass of milk into his wireless keyboard.

November Almost all the snow was gone by last night, so Halloween arrived on time.

December I have been in the grasp of the Worst Cold Ever(™) for a week now.

---
I noted last year that I hadn't written much. If anything, I wrote even less this year. And once again I didn't write much about the books I read, although I read quite a few. So it goes.

A lot of it is that the process of writing just seems to get harder every year. I have lots of ideas for posts, but when I actually sit down in front of the computer, I can't face the effort of converting those thoughts to into something coherent. If I were to make a resolution for the new year, writing more might be it.
dxmachina: (Projects01)
The annual ritual...

January - There was no coffee in the house this morning, so I drove down to Dunkie's to get some.

February - Haven't watched any of the Super Bowl except for occasional score checks, but I did catch Pete and Roger do the CSI trifecta at halftime in honor of their corporate masters.

March - Finally, a weekend day that was neither ridiculously cold nor rainy/snowy.

April - I sucked up the last small puddles of standing water tonight.

May - So, three tomato plants (from Wal-Mart) and some spaghetti squash seeds (left over from last year) are in the ground.

June - Into the wind
And up the hill,
But careful not
To lose the will.


July - This is going to screw up my first lines meme.

August - Remember me mentioning three weeks ago that I picked up some new tires for the 3-speed?

September - So here's the thing.

October - So, after one glorious autumn day on Saturday, the weather seems to have taken a turn towards winter—cold, gray, windy, rainy.

November - It is a cold day in November.

December - I'm sitting here with my coffee while waiting for the feeling to return to my toes.

---
I didn't write a whole lot this year. There was only one entry in all of May, although that might have been the rebound from kvetching so much about the great flood of late March-early April. Didn't write much about my reading, either, even though the list is longer than it's ever been. So it goes. Apart from the flood, not much happened to me this past year. Maybe next year.

Plus, the process of writing seems to have gotten harder for me. I often composed posts in my head while riding or driving, but once I sat down in front of the keyboard to set them into electrons, the ability to translate those thoughts into coherent sentences seemed to vanish. I do have one half-written post in the pipe (about the late, great Bob Feller). Maybe I can finish that.

Stuff

Oct. 4th, 2010 09:25 pm
dxmachina: (Writing 01)
So, after one glorious autumn day on Saturday, the weather seems to have taken a turn towards winter—cold*, gray, windy, rainy. Blech.

* It's actually in the fifties, but it feels damn cold after the tropical air we had last week.

---
I'm watching House as I write this, and I was going nuts trying to figure out where I'd seen the patient of the week before. Turns out it's Amy Irving, who I haven't seen in anything since, like, Yentl. She's gotten old in the interim. What's worse is that she's a year younger than I am.

---
Ben Mondor, the owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox and one of the best-liked people in Rhode Island, died this morning at the age of 85**. In the late seventies he bought the then bankrupt PawSox, and over the years built it into one of the most successful minor league franchises in the US. He was the antithesis of the stereotypical team owner, always wandering around the stadium during games, talking to fans. (The first time I ever saw him was when he took my ticket as I entered McCoy stadium for a game a couple three decades ago.) He always seemed a nice man, kind and generous, and I've never heard anyone say different. He will be missed. R.I.P.

** He was two weeks younger than my father. Gulp.

---
I need to get back in the habit of writing stuff down. I did lots of stuff in September, and all I've got to show for it is two lousy posts. We'll see. I've also written no book reports in a very long time, but I have been reading a lot. Lately I've been alternating between rereads of Pratchett's Vimes novels and first-time reads of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series.
dxmachina: (Charlie Brown 2)
...why I'm not a famous writer/blogger. It's because even when I'm on to something neat, I fail to get the flash of inspiration necessary to take it to the next level. Unlike, say, Joe Posnanski, who upon discovering I Write Like, submitted some of his own prose*, but didn't just stop there.

* He got David Foster Wallace, too. One can make the case therefore that I write like Posnanski, which actually makes me feel a little better.


He also submitted some passages from other authors, as I had, with similar results. Then he had his eureka moment:

In any case, I thought it might be fun to take the dozen or so most famous quotes in American sports, plug them into "I Write Like" and see what comes out.

So, he started submitting famous quotes from sports figures, just to see who would pop up. There are some truly funny comparisons, such as this:

The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided.
– Casey Stengel


For being one of the most quotable men in the history of American sports, Stengel doesn’t really have many pithy quotes … few that would serve well as, say, titles of books. Maybe "Most games are lost, not won," would work as a book title. But Stengel was more of a storyteller … his lines take a little bit of a setup.

This is a good example of a Stengel quote: "Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It’s staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."

Great quote. But it takes a little setup.

I think his quote about a manager’s job is probably as true as anything ever said about being in charge of people. It is just as true in and out of sports.

I Write Like: Oscar Wilde


It occurs to me that Wilde and Stengel would make one hell of a conversational tag team. The matchup of Ted Williams and Ernest Hemmingway seems apt, too. On the other hand, I'd guess that Satchel Paige has probably started looking behind him to make sure his authorial counterpart can't catch him. Read the whole thing to find out why. Some of the comments are hilarious, too.

I Write Like … Who?


dxmachina: (Writing 01)
I have fooling fooling around with I Write Like, a site that analyzes samples of text and then tells you which famous author's style yours most resembles.

I started with the longest non-fiction piece I think I've ever done here on lj, about my first three bicycles. When I entered the first five or six paragraphs, it gave me J.D. Salinger. I suppose that makes some weird sort of sense, since I don't socialize with the outside world much anymore, but other than that it tells me nothing, since I've never read him. Just for the hell of it, I submitted the entire thing. Now I was William Gibson. Okay, I do occasionally socialize over cyberspace, but it's been more than ten years since I read Neuromancer, so that doesn't tell me much either.

Maybe fiction would work better. The first thing I submitted was the first half of a piece of Sang Sacre/Pratchett crossover fic I did a couple of years ago. It came up as James Fenimore Cooper. That can't possibly be good. Him I remember. I tried to read The Last of the Mohicans a few years back, and it was like wading through thickening concrete. I didn't get out of the introduction. All is not completely lost, though. I resubmitted the entire piece, and now I was David Foster Wallace, whoever he is.

Just to make things more confusing, I started submitting my Tureleg posts from Sang Sacre. After the first piece, I got Margaret Atwood. No help there, never read her. OTOH, after I appended the second and third pieces to the text and submitted each, I got J.R.R. Tolkein. Now him I've read. Of course I suspect the result may be more because of the dead elvish impersonator in the alley, along with the part elvish investigator and assorted orcs, trolls, and vampires of the Watch scouring the area for clues. Then, when I appended the fourth piece and submitted the whole thing, I became Dan Brown, who I haven't read, either.

It's all very confusing.

So for the hell of it, I submitted the entire first chapter of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. Sir Terry, meet Mr. James Joyce, of all people. Similarly, Rex Stout became Stephen King. Finally, I tried one last submission, and at long last it correctly matched the first chapter of Cat's Cradle with Kurt Vonnegut. Remarkable!

---
Eureka! )

 
dxmachina: (Books 04)
Spent a long weekend in Burlington, MA, riding my bike, eating terrific barbeque, and attending Readercon 21. The weather was really muggy, but otherwise I had a pretty good time. I drove up Friday morning, so I missed Thursday night's session, which looked like it had some interesting stuff. Anyway....

---
Friday Sessions... )


---
Saturday Sessions... )


---
Sunday Sessions... )

---
Other... )

 
dxmachina: (Double Rats!)
...got me up again at 4:30*. I stuck a foam plug in my ear, buried my other ear in the pillow, and briefly fell back asleep until 5:00. Then it started raining, which quieted the birds somewhat but brought it's own form of noise, and my back started complaining, and I was up for good. Now I have coffee.

* A couple of weeks ago I purposely got up before dawn to look at the Venus-Mars conjunction, and the racket outside was incredible. It's one thing to hear it solely from the direction of the single open window in my bedroom, and quite another to be out in the open in a neighborhood surrounded by evil thicket. It was a very Tippi Hedren moment.

It was the same story yesterday, albeit without the rain. I just don't get it. I don't have this problem on weekdays. Just on days when I don't set the alarm, apparently. When I do set the alarm, I may briefly wake up in the vicinity of dawn, but then I roll over and go back to sleep until it goes off at 6:25. And then I hit the snooze button and sleep for another nine minutes. Stoopid brain.

---
Here's another terrific Posnanski post, this one on the battle between writers and editors.

---
Andruw Jones feels he was disrespected by the Dodgers, especially owner Frank McCourt, last season.

"He wasn't standing behind me, I think," Jones said, adding that if McCourt had shown him more respect, "I almost definitely would be part of the L.A. Dodgers right now."

This from a man who signed a contract for $36 million dollars, then showed up massively overweight and out of shape for spring training. Who batted .158, with an OPS+ of 34. OPS+ is on-base pct. plus slugging pct. normalized for ballpark effects. An OPS+ of 100 is average. Jones's OPS+ last year was one of the worst in baseball history. There are a lot of pitchers who have had better seasons with the bat. And the only reason it was even that high was because he did manage to walk every ten plate appearances or so.

The Dodgers dumped Andruw in the off-season, but are still on the hook for the rest of the $36M. Jones hooked on with the Rangers, showed up to camp in shape, and his OPS+ currently sits at 125. I'm with McCourt on this one. Andruw deserves whatever lack of respect can be heaped upon him. He basically defrauded the organization of $36M. I haven't disliked a former Dodger player so much since Darryl Strawberry decided to put his salary up his nose.

So, no Andruw, you wouldn't still be part of the Dodgers. The Dodgers currently have not one, but four outfielders better than you. Even Juan Pierre is a better player than you. Say what you will about his failings as a hitter, when he got sent to the bench last season he didn't sulk, he just made sure he stayed prepared for when he was needed.

Boskone 46

Feb. 18th, 2009 04:33 pm
dxmachina: (Marvin01)
I often complain about not being able to find enough decent panels to attend, or that there are too many scheduled concurrently when I'm at a con, but this year's Boskone was just right. There was something to pique my interest pretty much every session, and I rarely had to choose between two equally appealing panels. The con was held in a different section of the hotel this year, and it seemed a much better arrangement. All the panel sessions were on the same floor, and while the con suite area was downstairs, it was huge.

---
Saturday... )

---
Sunday )

---
So that was it. I took a last walk through the hucksters area, then headed for home. Learned some science stuff and some writing stuff, and enjoyed myself quite a bit this year.

Finally!

Mar. 16th, 2008 08:22 pm
dxmachina: (Bike 02)
The sun finally peeped out for a little while today, enough to get the temperature up into the forties, which was enough to get me down to the bike path. It was only a short ride. The sun ducked back behind the clouds about the time I got down there, so it was a little chiller and a lot windier than I expected. I haven't been doing much of any kind of exercise, so all that riding into the teeth of the wind tuckered me out pretty quick.

I rode the Univega to see if the repairs took. Nope. There's something weird going on the the shifter for the rear derailleur. It's taking two clicks to go down a gear instead of one. Time for another trip out to Exeter.

---
The crocuses on the south side of the house are ready to pop open, and there are daffodil and tulip leaves about. OTOH, the beds at the top of the driveway and out by the cherry tree are showing a just handful of sprouts so far.

---
I finished the latest project today, so I need to write that up. I also have posts on spring training stats and my most recent read halfway written. Plus I've got posts for Sang Sacre that have to be finished. However, I lack all motivation to do anything further tonight.
dxmachina: (Writing)
Sunday:
Had better luck with panel scheduling today, and was able to find a decent one for each of the first four sessions.

Sunday panels... )
dxmachina: (Writing)
So here I sit, since working on the computer doesn't aggravate my knee. Today this has mostly involved either playing various forms of solitaire, or trying to translate various and sundry words and phrases into Sindarin. Sindarin is frustrating the everliving crap out of me. First because Tolkein didn't actually create much of a vocabulary, and second because all the frelling vowels and consonants in the words he did create keep changing, apparently depending upon what day of the week it is. Or something. I had it easier in Fr. Rutkowski's Latin class.

Im benn annaer ah erethren... )

Snowfall

Dec. 16th, 2007 05:46 pm
dxmachina: (Snow)
So, we had our second snowstorm in four days, and thus I've been able to play with my midjit snowblower. It was quite a lot of fun Friday morning, when the snow was all fluffy, but less so this evening with about three inches of slushy mix on the ground. Still, it worked adequately even on that. It can't throw it very far to either side, but dead ahead works like a charm. It's all a matter of picking your angles.

I feel like I haven't accomplished much this weekend, but I've made four batches of truffle centers (raspberry, orange, mint, and coconut). Three more batches to go (dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and mocha), and maybe even some sugar-free for my mother if I can find sugar-free chocolate chips. Then I have to dip them all, but that's next weekend.

I also replaced the lamp cover in the range hood over the stove. There's never been one there as long as I've lived here, so the metal screen that's supposed to trap any grease in the smoke rising from the stove never did, since all the airflow just went through the opening where the cover should be. I assume it got broken one time, and the previous owner never bothered replacing it. It's the kind of thing that's easy to drop to the bottom of the priority list. It's out of sight and out of mind. I have occasionally looked for a replacement part at the Depot, but while they have replacement screens, they don't seem to carry the covers. It's just a piece of flat glass, so I picked up a piece of acrylic sheet, and cut it to fit the opening. Easy peasy. Seems to work fine. Should of thought of it years ago.

I still have some presents to put together, framed photos for various family members. I even had several candidate photos to convert into a Christmas card, but never got up the will to fiddle with that. I did put my wreath up, and brought down the electric candles for the windows, although they're still in their boxes. Still not feeling all that Christmassy.

Now I'm doing laundry, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on TV (very timely because I started rereading The Hobbit last weekend), working on some notes for a murder mystery, and thinking about making dinner.

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