Monday, June 29, 2009

I must be reaching that age...

...where everyone I know starts dying. Strangely, despite the physical feeling of slowly coming apart at the seams, mentally I feel like I'm too young for this to start happening.

Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon... even TV pitchman Billy Mays (that wonderfully, ever-energetic guy who pitched everything from Oxy-clean to Wonder-putty) died very recently. As if watching all the seasons of "Six Feet Under" didn't already have me contemplating pre-need funeral options.

But then there's my wonderful grandmother, still kickin at the spry age of almost 90.

I'm about to make a pilgrimage up to see her and the rest of the clan, so I may be quiet for the next few weeks (I know, like you could tell the difference. :D). I've been in book-reading mode, having discovered the wonder that is e-books *without* the benefit of a Kindle, thank you very much. So far I've read Lumley's "Necroscope" which was okay but not mind-blowing. I tried to get into the second of the series, but they changed the font enough that it was smaller and harder to read, thus very off-putting. So I switched to CJ Cherryh's Chanur series, and having finished "Pride of Chanur" I'm on to "Chanur's Venture". Even though they seem stilted and slightly stand-offish (the characters don't seem to want you to understand or get to know them very well) they are an interesting look at making something seem both alien and familiar at the same time. I just wish I could warm up to them and think of the characters as fondly as I do, say, the characters in MacCaffrey's "Crystal Singer" series.

So that's the news this week (month?). After I've recovered from a total of 52 hours in our tiny car, I'll probably be swinging back into the fiber mode. Since all TV up there is aerial, and all internet connections dial-up (gods preserve us) I plan on a lot of knitting, and possibly taking my Kromski spinning wheel, room permitting. I have two pairs of socks that I intend to finish, a beautiful laceweight sweater I might start, and a couple of baby hat/sweater kits from Knitpicks. Just in case little cousin Cole makes an appearance.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I feel like a slacker

Everyone who has ever kept a blog goes through dry spells, and they always apologise when they come back... so I won't bore you with another one. Consider it given.

There's really not a lot going on around here to warrant blogging, or at least not a lot that's shareable. Monkeypants had her awards ceremony for graduating fifth grade, and she was the last person to receive her awards because she got *every award it was possible to receive*. Well, except perfect attendance due to that very nasty flu we all got in November. But everything else from Bluebonnet awards for reading, to "Fact Frenzy Master" test awards (they never explain what these accomplishments mean, which frustrates me to no end). But her teacher made a point of mentioning that she got them all, which is very gratifying and not just a little bit scary. The word "brilliant" was used. I can't help feeling that we're making her into a big fish in a small pond by keeping her in public school. Are we doing her a disservice because we can't afford private school? Or is she better off being the most brilliant where she is, than the average somewhere else?

Other than the end of the academic year, there's not a lot to tell. We're trying to save up for a trip to Minnesota in July, but we're continually running out of money before the end of the pay period. Expenses haven't seemed to go up much, and pay hasn't gone down, we're just not making it as well as we used to, and we can't seem to figure out the cause. I've taken to making homemade pizza a lot again, and if you've been following my blog you know that's how I make the food budget stretch in times of crisis. We just can't understand how it's happening, unless some sneaky expense has been increasing so gradually we haven't noticed. For the first time ever we're cutting the cable TV for the summer... I know many people who do this, but for us it's always been a negligible expense. Now it seems a needless one. Between Hulu, Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix's "Watch it now" and DVD box sets, broadcast television seems like a luxury... and an unused one at that. Since my ReplayTV DVRs have been acting up, I may be less choked up about it than one might think.

Hubby has again attempted to quit smoking, and I think he might actually be serious this time. The true test (as always) will be to see if he goes back to it once we have money again.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Grr... Arrgh... THUNK

I love Joss Whedon fans to death... the ones from the old guard, Browncoat days. They are some of the kindest, most generous people on the planet. When my family and I went through Katrina, the support from my fellow Browncoats was touching and overwhelming.

That being said, the new ones are getting on my last freaking nerve.

Maybe it's just Joss Whedon fans who are knitters. The groups related to Joss shows on Ravelry are filled with immature types who use past plotlines to justify their wild speculation about current plotline directions that *will never happen*. Just because you have a slash fantasy about two Whedon characters on Dollhouse doesn't mean it's somehow magically going to happen just to make you squee.

Joss doesn't do wish-fulfillment. He certainly doesn't pander to his fans... he likes to plunge the knife in your heart and give it a twist or two. In a good way.

I am also extremely tired of every single fan group, whether it's for Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse, or an all-encompassing Joss group having all the exact same topics in them. If I'm a member of all these groups, I don't need SIX threads discussing spoilers, or SEVENTEEN threads discussing what Summer Glau is doing. This behavior is starting to spill over into other groups that are for shows totally unrelated to Joss, simply because one of the actors used to work for him (Hello "Castle"). I mean, if you go into the Castle group and start talking about being in your bunk, shindigs and strawberries, you're going to get a confused "Huh?" from about half the people there.

Knock it the fuck off.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's a Sim Life...

Sims 3.... not bad! (How's that for a ringing endorsement?) I played it all day yesterday once it was a) delivered and b) my computer finished its on-boot C: drive defragmentation I foolishly started to "keep me occupied until the game got here". The dang defrag took two freaking hours! That's what I get for being a hard drive space hog.

Sims 3 is both shiny-new and terribly familiar all at the same time.... both in very good ways. With the seamless neighborhood, load-times are limited to when you first load up the game... no more loading every time you travel. You no longer have to endlessly make friends to advance your career, you get to actually *do* your *job*.

Wants are no longer mandatory, they are put into a "wish list" where either you can promise your sim you'll try to accomplish it, putting it into one of four empty slots, or skip it by right-clicking and dismissing it.

My only problem with the game is that even at the fastest speed, waiting for your sim to get done sleeping is a tremendous snooze-fest... and they need to sleep a LOT. Let me put it this way, I've gotten 153 pages into one of my favorite epics (The Proud Breed by Celeste DeBlasis... my first ever trashy novel) while watching my sim sleep. It's a flaw, to be sure, but not irredeemable.

I've still only experienced a fraction of the game, but all in all I am happy with my purchase... unlike SPORE, which disappointed me to no end. Just exploring all the fishing spots on the default town could take me days! Now, if only I could tinker with the refrigerator to make it self-cleaning like the stove, sink and shower, I'd be content.