so long and thanks for all the fish

I was going to try and close this old thing down last month, it being my 10 year anniversary and all. OF BLOGGING.  But I didn’t even (have time for that).

Oh right, life.  Babies happened!  Double your wonderful and all that.  No pics because if you’re so inclined you’ve already seen them and such.  And probably have my wife’s blog link where’s she’s posted some adorable pics….

So.  Babies.  Keeping us/me busy.  Slammed at work and at home…no time is no time, ya dig?  No time for working on my books, no time for gaming (!) and definitely no time for blogging.  Plus, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered wtf. I was doing this for?  I’m not “involved” in any kind of internet social mediasphericals of what not, so it’s basically just limited interaction with people I already interact with…hence: point lost and less.   Maybe I’ll try some other sphere that takes less effort and try and be involved so it’s not just me shouting into a chamber so large I can’t even get a good echo going.  Or maybe I won’t.

I think I’m going to move the archives over to wordpress.com so I can start vacating my webhosting and all that.

Onward and outward, so long and thanks for all the fish!  It’s been a decade-ful 10 years!

[UPDATE: I AM THE ARCHIVE.  Obviously.]

odd ends

First off, let’s just get this out of the way (because it relates to nothing else I’ll say today): Just because something you saw didn’t make you (a) racist, doesn’t mean that thing (that thing you saw!) isn’t in itself racist.

[I mean.  The ocean.  It’s over there, right [[we pretend to stand against the shore/adrift amongst the dunes/dry feet like crones’ eyes/toes riddled with cracks without answers/blue meets blue/clouds flee]]?  And oceans are wet.  But I’m not wet, so it’s clearly not an ocean!]

This is “duh”?  Right.  Kinda in reference to the Tom & Jerry BS, but also: because people have said it a million times before.  “I saw/read/consume X and it didn’t make me racist so how can it be racist?”  See.  I want to call that shitty logic.  But I can’t.  BECAUSE I DON’T THING IT’S LOGIC AT ALL.   Does it count as a “divine fallacy“?  I don’t know, my logic is old and rusty, but even I can still smell stupid.  (Yes, I know that statement in itself was illogical.  Move with me.)

OK, now what else?

Life

In general is good.  Babies are coming!  Soon.  Excited.  Stressed.   Compressed.  Elastic and ecstatic and everything around the edges.  Jen is doing amazing with the whole thing.  Prepping and transporting 2 kids to school and handling #3 at home AND carrying #4 & #5 around in her bellah like a champ.

#3 fell his ass off the chair the other night.  Totally his fault…he’s a daredevil.  Anyway, said fall left him with a nasty little gash (fingernail sized, eye-shaped) on the back of his head that required a trip to the doctor the next day (yay, no emergency room!) and I think they glued his head shut.  Which is interesting.   I had a similar thing happen around his age and the doctor just died a knot in my hair to hold it together while it healed.  Poor little dude though – he called it his “crack”.  As in “I have a crack in my head” and “The doctor fixed the crack in my head.”  So sad/funny.  Oh, and it was scary.  Lots of bright blood.  But not the worst thing that’s happened to him.  I dread his teenage years on a regular basis.

#1 & #2 are doing great in school – it’s always scary/wonderful to see them grow and change in response to all that outside input.

 

Music

I need to buy the new Rentals album.  (I think you can stream the whole thing from there!  It is good.) Well.  “want”.  “badly want”.  You know.  Not need.  I just haven’t yet.

The new Gaslight Anthem album is quite good.  Different.  But/And good.  Here’s Helter Skeleton.  You can play it whilst you scroll downwards, toward some kind of nirvana:

(The) Pixies put out a new album too.  And it’s not bad!

Those are the 3 blips I can think of at the moment.  Oh, Rancid just announced they have a new album coming out this year, so that might not suck.

Yard/plants

Because I know you wanted to know, right?

OK, so my current state of mind is: I FUCKING HATE CATS.  AND SQUIRRELS.  They tear up my planters daily and it is incredibly frustrating.  I’ve been trying to find some kind of “natural” way to deal with them (yes, I know death is natural, but that’s not what I’m talking about).  Supposedly rue keeps cats out…but can also cause nasty infections on human skin!  And: kids.  So I don’t want that…

Stuff is cool though.  I’ve been growing some sedum clippings.  That’s kind of neat seeing whole plants grow from pieces of stem:

That’s a week or two out of date, but still pretty neat to see all sped up.

Blogging in general

I’ve been feeling burned out on blogging lately…I mean, next month it will have been 10 years that I’ve been grinding away at this.  10 YEARS.  I have children younger than that.  Ahh, my first post.   I was so young and me then.  Ish.  So yeah, 10 years of doing this and I almost never have new visitors – outside of the 4-5 RL folks I know who still read this occasionally  I mean – we can have separate conversations, so what’s the point of all “this”?  I’m trying to figure that out.

[Sidenote: I think I used to have some kind of blog before this one, but I can’t remember what or who it was.]

Creation

I haven’t written much of anything in a while.  It’s depressing, but it is what it is.  Time is in short supply these days.  I’ve got two things I’m reading from other people, and that’s pretty much it. I’ve done an occasional poem, so at least that’s something.  I had a couple creative days where I came up with several new things for the mud I still code on (also when I have: The Time), and those are kind of cool if I ever get around to finishing.

Here’s a poem:

fast/hall of leaves
08/12/14

My brain doesn’t remember the sunny nights of my youth
but my body does like an egg now goosed in a bottle
pushing
My ribs are old
best if they don’t break

I do fly down the hallway of leaves
Autumn always at my feet
cackling
gleeful

We’ll fall in love somewhere further
and I’ll skin my knees

Thoughts of thievery in thieves cant
Thoughts of things that cannot be stolen back
A wisp of pressure and tricks of light
Deep into the memory hole I

Flung from the hall of leaves
a toddler in the Stream
I
Into the night
-unstuck-
carry me once.
Me.

 

Visual consumption of media that moves

I’ve been slowly working my way through the 5 years of Futurama that I missed (now that it’s available on Netflix), and there are some pretty funny bits in there.  I think I’m up to season 10.   Or 9.  I’ve tried a couple other random things on Netflix, but nothing has stuck.

The last movie I saw was Guardians of the Galaxy and it was wonderful.  (Wait!  That’s not true, we took the kids to a dinner theater (no, not that kind, the kind where you can eat dinner at a theater) and watched How to Train Your Dragon 2.  Which was entertaining for all.)

Um.   Since the last book review I posted I’ve read a collection (Long Hidden) edited by Daniel Jose Older and his collection (Salsa Nocturna) of short stories.  Both were good, his collection was better as the other one, as it was hit or miss as those things tend to be with some stories being amazing and some being meh.    I think I have some issues with the short story format in general, as more than a few of them felt like they were trying to hard to jam some twist/brilliant ending into too small a package.  I was going to write individual reviews for them but it’s been too long and I’ve pretty much forgotten them.  My brain is awesome :(.

We are watching the following with the kids: Cosmos (the new one), The Life of Birds (might be done with this, I’ll have to check) and Avatar (the cartoon one).  All are interesting in their own way.  I love it when Cosmos keeps the kids attention, as there is so much cool stuff in there.  The Life of Birds has had some pretty neat bird stuff in it (also very sad, like the bird that hatches 7 chicks, then kills them one by one until its down to 2 or 3.  And cuckoos.  Seriously.  FUCK CUCKOOS.  Hate those guys.) and Avatar, while problematic in some ways (long other topic that I’m too tired and just google it), is an entertaining show with some positive example behavior type stuff  in there.

Cool Comic Art

Some of my favorite artists currently making comics:

Click to make bigger.

 Jamie McKelvie (tumblr)  So amazing.  His Young Avengers Run as well as Wicked + Divine are so crisp and clean and amazing and creative.  Single images really don’t capture as page/panel flow are such a part of what he does well.  Check out any issue of the above.  Also, the colorists on those two books are amazing too.   Picking single panels is like chopping out one section of painting…but I’ll do it anyway:

Also fun stuff like this:

Click to make really big.

Oh hey, here’s a whole page from W+D:

Does what you expect when clicked.

Sara Pichelli (of Ultimate Spider-Man fame)

To me, they both share a sense of just…I dunno… “cleanness”.  Like everything feels real and vibrant.

Then, there’s the “weirder”/more stylized stuff, like Skottie Young (deviantart), who can have a pretty varied style (he’s the one that does all those “baby Marvel” style covers):

& Chris Bachalo:

 

There are better examples in the actual comics, but that’s what some speedy googling turned up.

So.  Yeah.  There’s 1500 words for you (guys/girls/nons) instead of a month or two’s worth of scattered posts.  WITH PICTURES.  (I’ve been told by the impression left in the comment threads at various places that pictures mean things.  I think they are supposed to have captions or moving parts.  One of mine moves!  Hopefully that’s enough).

-Until next time

book review: Full Fathom Five

by: Max Gladstone

I debated not doing a review, because I don’t have much of intelligence to say here (STOP. Don’t compare that to anything else I say, ever.), but I felt I should say something (TM), even if only to get the book whatever extra tiny press my blurbage here might generate.

Because it’s pretty good, and the series in general is also pretty good, and the writer seems to be a pretty good guy.  Not that we owe pretty good people anything!  Nor pretty people, nor good people.  Look at me re-using basic words.  I’m pretty good at that.  You can debate my subjective and objective prettiness and goodness in your own free time.  I’ll spend mine re-using words.

So, first things first: I will shamefully admit that I have no idea who the woman on the left is supposed to be.  I wondered that through the whole book.   It can’t be Izza (she’s a kid).  Is it Mara?  I think she’s native to Kavekana like Kai (woman on the right)…so it wouldn’t be her.  Or Cat (she’s blonde)…so it would have to be Teo?  But isn’t Teo from Quechal??  Maybe not Quechal nationality…but she does mention having the Quechal priest tattoo things and I AM SO BAD I PRETTY MUCH FORGOT THE ENTIRE SECOND BOOK.  I guess Teo is priesty?  Shit, I need to re-read them all now.  Doesn’t it have to be her?

[UPDATE: Via @MaxGladstone on twitter, it’s Izza! ]

[sidebar: Per this post by the author, the chronology in the craft books goes 4->2->1->3.  Note that the 4th book isn’t out yet. So when I re-read, I’ll do Two Serpents, then Three Parts.  Also what’s up with the him using numbers in the first 3 book titles, then dropping it for the 4th (Last First Snow)? HATE BREAKING CYCLES. ]

[sidebar 2: How weird is it that there are no actual wiki entries for these books, only the author?  What the literal actual fuck?  How is that helpful to detail obsessed people like me?  You’re telling me that no one more neurotic than I has read these books, lost their battle with self control, and succumbed to creating those wiki pages?  INTERNET YOU HAST FAILT ME. ]

Uhh.  Back to stuff.   So.  I quite liked this book.  It was a little like a legal drama from the other side (the point of view of someone working at a company involved in the drama, without actually being involved in the drama itself…UNTIL – but you know, that’s an interesting angle), with a bit of corporate whistleblowing and corporate ethics (if such a thing exists) thrown in.  Not to mention the question of where a tiny independent island and its potential economy fits into a larger picture in a world dominated by larger powers that could potentially easily squish/consume it.

Oh, and there’s also more than a finger’s worth of looking at being transgender in a world like this.  As an outsider to this community, I can’t comment much on that – other than saying I suspect trans folks in this world would love to have the options available in that world.

I love all the stuff about idolatry as a 9-5 and the differences between worshipping and selling and man…I wish there had been like forty pages explaining the technical details of it all.  I would read that.

FOUR STARS

Good, solid stuff.  Still hinting around the bush at the over-arching plot. I wonder how long it will take to knock the leaves off?

yard completed? get psyched!

or: HYPE!

or something.  Onward into the next chapter in the yard saga.

So I kinda sorta finished my yard overhaul.  For this year.  Maybe.   I have a feeling it’s a “manject” in the sense that a) I really want it to be done but b) there’s always more stuff to do if you look at it just right so c) why are you doing that!?!?  There are a couple larger things I want to do, but I think those can wait until next summer – plus I’m pretty sure I’m taking out the metal swingset this winter, so that will open up some more space (and potentially more lawn to repair/annihilate).

And so far it’s been a decent thing.

My shrubs are mostly growing OK.

I’ve lost a couple sedums, but they were all the same type, so that probably just doesn’t work so well with my soil or whatever – and one of them got stepped on anyway.

Get ready for a ton of plant/yard pics. HOLD ON IT’S A RIDE.

Here’s the more-finished back corner, update from the pic in the first post:

Yes, it’s not “done” completely.

This falls under “more to do later”…but I think it’s at least cleaned up enough for now.  Plus, I’m dumping all my excess dirt in that pile, so no sense doing anything with it until I’ve moved around the rest of the dirt.  Ish.  So, funny story about that (OK, it’s funny if you are me and maybe no one else) – those bricks were originally for the front planter, but felt a bit noticeable, so it went from the top pic to the bottom:

I think it looks better.  Doesn’t impact the flow of the house or whatever, but still separates shitty grass from hopefully-not shitty planter.  I kinda wanted to do a raised thing, but it wouldn’t have worked well there I don’t think.  I’ll do that elsewhere…. <.<

And here’s the other side:

I went for a simple, but interesting (to me) color mix on both… I’ll talk more about specific plants later (BECAUSE I KNOW YOU CARE)…but for now…colors.

OK before we talk about a bunch of plants in general, let’s talk about one in specific, because it’s kinda fucking weird.  Cool weird.

So check these little guys out:

Neat looking right, little balls of spikes and what not?  They’re a species (or sub-species or …I don’t know <biology>) of jovibarba globifera, generally called “hens and chicks” (there are a ton of hens & chick varieties) or, more specifically:  “jovibarba rollers”.  Why “rollers”?  I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.

Those smaller spiky things?  They fall off, roll away, and grow on their own.  You can see a little “chick” has started growing on its own just to the right of the middle “hen” in the shot above.  Neat?  But not too weird…right?  Well, check out how they flower:

Only two of them flowered…the center one, not at all.  Here’s a closeup:

Note that some of the flower stalks fell off…and started growing!  Cool, creepy, or both?   That main flower stem looks like a cluster rocket or something…keeps popping out little stalks.  Also, apparently the plant that flowers, dies after it flowers.  So I guess each of those stalk things and their anchored “chick” will die?  We’ll see.  It’s something to be aware of if you buy other “hens and chicks” plants – if it’s just one hen, and it’s flowering (I’ve seen these in stores) – don’t buy that one, as it’s on its way out.  If it’s flowering but has a bunch of chicks then you should be fine, as those will live.

So that’s maybe a bit much on the plants.   Let’s call it a post.  ..maybe I’ll do another one later about the other plants, because why not?

book review: Endymion

by:Dan Simmons

I haven’t had much time for reviews lately, but it feels like I should at least try…

This one got off to a really slow start, but there was a method to the madness, it just takes a while to get there.  I’m looking forward to the sequel, as some crazy things have been set up and implied (as well as one reveal that should have been obvious, but maybe wasn’t – which is the best kind?)

I did love the crazy future monster being defeated by massively archaic technology… like taking out a drone army with a catapult or something.  SUCK THAT FUTURE!  Also, the reveal on that one’s ID was a bit interesting and makes me want to re-read a few segments from the previous two books.

The whole ‘hanging out with a little girl who grows up to be your lover’ thing is never not going to be weird though, no matter how much time-travel spin you put on it.

 

THREE AND A QUARTER STARS

Because it sets up some cool stuff, and has a few solid bits of intriguing payoff.

more yardening, mostly by daylight

Hi, I’m the part of my personality that does crazy things like weeding, mowing the lawn, moving dirt and planting things.  You may remember me from such posts as this one annnnnnd…. OK, just that one.

When last we parted, I had a pile of rocks on some black shieldypapery stuff.  Since then, improvements!  I put in some shrubs…because it doesn’t seem like small plants are going to do that well under the deluge of eucalyptus leaves (but who knows, really?  Certainly not me.  I just make this stuff up!).

So now we have that stuff on the right.  Might die, might not.  Weirdly, these shrubs weren’t a whole lot more than a plug of grass.  Who knew?  Then again, might be a sign…

So what ARE they?  [Because I Know You Care. O.O]

The two outside ones are myrica californica (aka “generic shrub #14″ and the one in the middle is garrya elliptica aka “james roof/silk tassel”.    Potentially a little more visibly interesting.

I’m hoping the bark stuff will keep the weeds down.  You’d think all the leaves would…but NOPE.  It’s never easy.

 

After that, it was off to the south side of the house (I’d call it “Johnny”, but I’d be the only one who got the joke.  And it still wouldn’t be funny.  Although then I’d have a reason to digress on Hearts of Stone and Springsteen in the 80s…..)

I wish I remembered to take a picture with all the weeds.  Anyway, just pretend there’s another shot in the below sequence, to the left, and filled with dead, grass-ish weeds.

I’m still missing a few plants.  Because: duh: money and time.  Hopefully I’ll get those done this weekend.  Then around front…then back to the back north corner…then umm.  Well, not “done” PER SE but “kinda done”.

So what I’m I going for here?   I wanted some cool and colorful grasses – or things that look like grasses anyway – (as compared to shitty weed grasses) – I finally settled on a mix of Hakone Grass and Black Mondo Grass – but Hakone is especially hard to find here and both are kinda expensive per plant, so I wound up spacing them out even more and going with more groundcovers (less than half the price of the grass, generally – and will occupy more space) like sedum (SURPRISE! o.o) in between as well as a bit of this crazy purple stuff.  Not drinkable, sorry.

You can see the colors a little better to the right.  That weird little patch of orangish-brown near the wood is, I think, sedum polytrichoides.  It was labeled with a generic ‘sedum hakonense chocolate drop’ which, apparently, is commonly mislabeled or something. BECAUSE WHAT DO I KNOW?  It just looked cool, and was the first (and only) sedum like that I’ve seen so far.

I might try a couple different things for the last section…we’ll see what I can find this weekend.

Should be some interesting color in a year or so.

 

 

 

Also, update: I’m pretty sure my wife thinks I’m crazy.

 

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