Friday, September 28, 2007

Keeping Things Current

I've been thinking about updating the Cast List and FAQ pages a bit, the former because there have been some new additions to the Singles who really need entries, and the latter because, well, it just hasn't been updated since its creation. Of course, it's not like I'm drowning in a sea of questions which are crying out to be added to the FAQ, so here's my semi-regular call for blog monkey feedback: if you have any burning questions about me, my cast, or the blog in general, please submit them to me* via comments, email, text, phone, IM, telegram, candygram, fax, carrier pigeon, message owl, psychic bond, etc., and I shall do my best to answer them.

*I'm about 99.99999% convinced that I won't receive a single question, meaning either (a) my life is an open book or (b) I'm so danged dull that there's nothing of interest worth asking.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cue the "We've Heard That Before" Comments

I think it's been a while since I've made a "I'm going to start blogging more regularly, honest, I mean it!" style post, so we're probably about due, huh? Honestly, my well of creativity has been dry for a while; there was a brief upsurgance during the early days of Write in the Thick of It, but the stresses and travails of life soon sucked that right out of me, and after the finger fracturing incident, I didn't feel like writing much of anything. Oh, sure, there might be small bursts of activity here and there, but overall, trying to write anything of substance was akin to trying to argue with The Lovable PigPen: painful, frustrating, and ultimately futile. Of course, the less often I wrote, the less often I felt inspired to write; sort of a "use it or lose it" type of thing. At this point I'm determined to start plugging away at the blogging thing once again, and approach it with a spin on the NaNoWriMo philosophy: write something, anything, no matter how banal or pointless or brief, in the hopes that, the more I write, the more I'll want to write, and the more I want to write, the more inspired my writing will be. My goal for next week is to have something posted every day, even if it's just a little paragraph describing exactly why I haven't written anything of substance. With any luck, I'll get so tired of writing excuses that I'll actually write something mildly entertaining.

No promises, though.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This is a Subliminal Blog Post

Feeling kind of stream-of-consciousness today; I blame warring allergy medications.

Went to the doctor last Wednesday for the latest check-up, and I'm happy to say that I'm am currently without a splint of any kind on my finger. It is taking some getting used to, though; I've become so used to avoiding using that finger while typing that I have to consciously will myself to use it. I'm still not able to bend the middle joint all the way, or the top joint hardly at all, but I'm working on it. Of course, now that I no longer have the splint on, if the lack of bendiness in the fingers result in my accidentally flipping somebody off, they're probably not going to be quite as understanding -- at least until I explain and show them my scars.

A couple of weeks ago Cap'n Shack-Fu's deployment was modified so that he and his supervisor would be rotating between here and OK every two weeks, which was welcome news to The Singles in general, and HyperForce 3000 in particular. And, as I had hoped, once back in town Taskmaster-Fu did indeed make sure that I actually got off my lazy butt and headed to the gym, for which I was thankful. Unfortunately, the Shackster's two week stay in Denton turned into a week and a day as his supervisor became ill and he was sent back to relieve her until she recovers. With luck, the rotation will resume once she's feeling better. In his absence, apparently Cap'n Peanut has appointed himself as interim taskmaster; just minutes ago I received the following text message from him: "This is a subliminal message: you will work out today." He's a sneaky one, that Peanut.

I tell you, as soon as I stop hemorrhaging money due to paying off surgical costs, my first order of business will be going to see an allergist; I've been completely miserable the last couple of weeks, and it's getting really, really old really, really fast. After a weekend filled with constant sneezing and sinus headaches I actually made myself stay home last night instead of going to cheer on PigPen and the FBCD Men's Softball team.

In honor of the Fall season, next Tuesday will see the return of TV Tuesday. In theory, at least. With luck, I won't be experiencing any more strange VCR malfunctions like the one last night that messed up the recording of Chuck and the first 10 minutes of Heroes . Thanks goodness for NBC hosting the episodes online for free.

As long as we're on the subject of new TV shows, I will say that I really enjoyed the new Kelsey Grammer sitcom Back to You (FOX, Wednesday, 7:00), and that the new sitcom The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Monday, 7:30) shows potential. Other new shows I'm planning on trying out this week:

  • Chuck (NBC, Mondays, 7:00, pilot available online)
  • Journeyman (NBC, Mondays, 9:00, pilot available online)
  • Reaper (CW, Tuesday Sept. 25, 8:00)
  • Private Practice (ABC, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 8:00)
  • Bionic Woman (NBC, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 8:00)
  • Moonlight (CBS, Friday, Sept. 28, 8:00)
Of course, the new show I'm most excited about which has garned all sorts of critical awards and looks to be smart, funny, and slightly off-beat and so won't last more than three, four weeks tops, is Pushing Daisies, which will premiere on Wednesday, October 3.

I unfortunately missed out on a b-day party for Cap'n Cluck last Friday which included a game of Balderdash which added a few new words to the group vernacular; apparently, "quop" is the new "mohoohoo," or at least so it seemed to me the next time I was around the group, where it was "quop this" or "quop that" or "do you quop?" Luckily, Maverick had filled me in on the details earlier so I didn't feel too far out of the loop. Still, hate missing out on the genesis of such a wide-spread inside joke.

Apparently, Trouble has decided that my adventures in finger fracturing sounded like tons of fun, and has fractured her thumb, as well as spraining her wrist.

And it looks like the consciousness stream has run dry for the nonce.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My How Time Flies When You're a HyperForcer

When my best bud Cap'n Shack-Fu commented that Monday was the one-year anniversary of his first visit to our class, I was surprised. Part of that was a strange mixture of "how time flies" and "wow, has it only been a year?" but part of it was a result of the fact that whenever I try to tell someone how long I've bee a member of the Singles, I always have to couch it in generalities because, to be honest, I have only the vaguest idea of when my first visit was. I know it was in 2002, because I moved to Denton in 2001, and I'm pretty sure it was towards the end of April, because the in-house visit I got from Freezeout's FAITH team was the last such visit of that FAITH semester, which would usually end then. And then I did my usual "hang around on the outskirts" thing for awhile and didn't become a really regular attender until the end of August or beginning of September which is when the next semseter of FAITH began.

So, with such a hazy memory of my own, I'm always surprised when others have much more concrete recollections. I suppose it's possible that the Shack-man just has a better head for dates than I do, which wouldn't be hard; or, maybe joining our class was such a positive experience that he marked it down in his little Shack-journal for posterity's sake; or, quite possibly, the date of Sept. 17 2006 is seared into his brain forever as the day he was subjected to the rambling world of Cap'n Neurotic and thus made forfeit his very sanity.

I'm leaning towards that last one, myself.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The Very Definition of "Too Much Free Time"

As most blog monkeys should know by now, I am an avid drinker of Coca-Cola Classic, and a strong avoider of Dr. Pepper, a fact that leads to constant arguments with my roomie PigPen. One of my co-workers has recently joined PigPen's side in The Great Cola War, more as a means to mess with me than anything else. What makes me say that? Well, part of it is the fact that she was already taking great pleasure in messing with me by rearranging the action figures decorating my desk and pinning up a book cover guaranteed to trigger my HyperForce 3000 Pavlovian response so it's only natural to see her siding with PigPen as an outgrowth of such behavior, an idea that was pretty much confirmed after I was presented with the following photo-shopped image from her The Lovable PigPen was highly appreciative, and my good pal Cap'n Shack-Fu congratulated me on turning from the dark side.

Of course, the fun didn't stop there. Drunk on creative power, my co-worker's cubicle desecration, I mean, decoration went into full swing: posting certain words right above my monitor
pasting pictures of me on top of my action figures

presenting a framed version of the libelous photoshop

and, the coup de grĂ¢ce, placing the framed picture in the middle of my action figure display, and turning every single one of them to face it.

And this is but the tip of the iceberg, according to her. I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that, come Monday, I shall be her immediate supervisor and hold her fate in the palm of my hand. Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two Book Reviews In One Week? The Human Mind Can't Work At Such Speeds!

Three Days to Never by Tim Powers

English Lit professor Frank Marrity and his precocious daughter Daphne find themselves at the center of supernatural espionage after the death of Frank's grandmother Lieserl -- who Daphne has always suspected of being a witch --under strange circumstances during the Harmonic Convergence of 1987 leads two clandestine organizations to their doorstep in search of a powerful metaphysical device somehow connected to both Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin. On one side is a occult-focused division of the Mossad, led by the kosher Lepidopt who is cursed with premonitions regarding his own mortality; on the other, the mysterious Vespers, whose main field agent is the blind remote viewer Charlotte Sinclair who is only able to see out of the eyes of others. Connected by a psychic link which has grown incredibly strong following the Convergence, Frank and Daphne must piece together the truth of Lieserl's past while avoiding the murderous Vespers and a strange Shakespeare-quoting apparition referred to in Lieserl's correspondence as "Caliban."

You know, if I ever get around to posting a "Top 10 Authors" list, Tim Powers is going to be right at the top. I love the way he takes real people and historical events and merges them with the fantastic. In On Stranger Tides it was Blackbeard meets voodoo; in Declare it was notorious spy Kim Philby interacting with djinns; in The Stress of Her Regard it was Romantic poets Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley being inspired by vampiric lamias; and here we have Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin monkeying around with the space-time continuum. Powers excels in taking historical tidbits (Einstein's hair turning white prematurely, Chaplin's lost film, Einstein and Chaplin attending a seance together) and finding a way to turn them into one huge supernatural conspiracy theory. Half the fun of reading a Powers book is seeing how his extrapolations play out. While Three Days to Never may not be my favorite of what some refer to as his "secret history" novels, it's still an entertaining and engaging novel.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey, Look, a Book Review!

Darkness of the Light: Book 1 of The Hidden Earth by Peter David

To its original inhabitants it was once known as "Earth," but to the Twelve Races who conquered the planet -- races strikingly similar to creatures from the mythologies of the now nearly extinct "Morts" -- it is known only as The Damned World. Banished to The Damned World for their warlike tendencies -- tendencies barely kept in check by the being known only as The Overseer and his mysterious and deadly servants The Travelers -- each of The Twelve Races struggles to solidify their foothold on the planet which is now their home. In the land of Feend the cyclopean Oculars fight a battle against the blood-sucking Piri; in the city of Perriz a crafty Mandraque plots to unite the five tribes of his reptilian race under his rule with the help of his erratic sister; in water-logged Venets the power-hungry amphibious Merk queen schemes to challenge the power of the Travelers; in the underground realm of the Trulls two royal brothers struggle for supremacy; and in the borderlands of the Mandraques a Mort pleasure slave, freed by the death of her master on the battlefield, is taken in by a motley crew of scavengers who are conscripted by the Ocular king to retrieve the human artifact known as the Orb of Trinity which he believes will save his people, but which instead holds the potential to doom them all.

Darkness of the Light is the first volume in a new SF series by one of my favorite authors. Possibly his most ambitious work so far (in the realm of novels at least), this novel showcases David's ability to take familiar tropes and concepts and weave them into something new. In this case, there's more than a smattering of Fantasy elements, as each of the Twelve Races is based on a mythological creature . . . or, as the conceit of the book would have it, those mythological creatures were based on them. But while the members of the Twelve may have the trappings of Fantasy, there is little "magical" on display outside of the paranormal abilities of the sole human character, the pleasure-slave Jepp who is, of course, more than what she seems. While not as pun-heavy or self-aware as his excellent Sir Apropos of Nothing series, Darkness of the Light does demonstrate David's sense of humor quite often, especially in the passages focusing on the scavengers and the possibly-prophetic-and-probably-crazy Mandraque Norda. But, even thought there is abundant humor, this is not exactly a light-hearted series; there are several main characters who don't survive until the end, adding a degree of suspense that's often lacking in such series.

Darkness of the Light was a well-done introduction to an interesting new world, and should appeal to fans of both fantasy and SF alike.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Fractured Finger Friday - Visual Aids

You would think that getting out of the cast and being able to type with both hands again would have galvanized me into picking up the blogging slack but alas, that has not proven to be the case. Plus, today I have one blue whale sized headache, so don't expect this to be too long.

On Wednesday I was able to take a shower without a bag over my arm for the first time in a month; what a glorious way to start the day. Of course, this was quickly followed by me learning that my insurance company may not be covering as much of my surgery costs as I had originally thought, so, yeah, a nice way to bring me crashing back down to earth there.

While there are many, many reasons I wish my good pal Cap'n Shack-Fu was back here instead of being stationed in OK, right now the reason that tops my list is that if he were here he'd be dragging my fat butt off of the couch and kicking it all the way to the gym. I desperately need motivation to get started working out again after all of my injury-related down time.

Yesterday at work someone was asking me about how my recovery was going, and I mentioned that I was going to have to start doing some minimal physical therapy for the finger. Another coworker overheard this and decided to make something to help me out with that:

Yes, it's a mini-dumbbell, complete with tape to stick it to my finger.

And as long as we're doing visual aids, here are the only pictures available of the Orange Power cast, courtesy of my cell phone.

Loverly, ain't it?