castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Dear subconscious,

No, despite the fascinating dream, the Pandorica was not built by Tolkien's Elves. (Though if anyone could build a prison that can't be escaped from even by death, FĂ«anor's the one.)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
If I were an Evil Supergenius with Unlimited Resources, I would try to genetically engineer long-lived octopuses, just to see what would happen if their problem-solving skills and ability to learn weren't hampered by a three-year lifespan.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
My new bizarre fannish theory: Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus is River Song on one of her side adventures.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
"I could tell you how to get to Sesame Street, but then I'd have to kill you."

(The illustration almost has to be Bert.)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. The world needs a Christie/Chalionverse crossover fic where Miss Marple is a saint of the Father. (No, I'm not planning to write it.)

2. Before reaching the age of two, Youngest Son has learned to unlock an iPod screen. (He also desperately wants to plug in the charger cord, but since it's an older pod and that cord is no longer being made, I'm discouraging this.)

3. Middle Son was in a mood the other day, so when he'd calmed himself down, I made up a story about Clarence, the train from Mirkwood who wanted to go to the island of Sodor and visit Thomas. (It also involved Godzilla, a boat that wanted to be a plane, a plane that wanted to be a boat, and Kehaar the gull.) It went over very well.

4. The biggest roadblock in genetic genealogy is people who don't answer emails. I can understand with someone who tested on 23andMe, because they might just be interested in the health info and don't give a flip about genealogy, but if you tested on FamilyTreeDNA and aren't interested, why did you spend the money?

5. Finding a first cousin who you didn't know existed, though, is pretty cool.

6. This was on the side of my family where I assume there are close cousins that I don't know about, and even a surprise aunt/uncle wouldn't be that much of a surprise. If it were the other side of my family, I'd be a little more taken aback, but I'd like to think that my ultimate reaction would still be "unexpected relative! cool!"

7. Duolingo is a fun way to learn the rudiments of a foreign language.

8. The text portion of Jennie Lindquist's The Golden Name Day may be in the public domain; it doesn't show up in the Stanford copyright renewal database, though Garth Williams's illustrations do, and The Little Silver House was definitely renewed (and The Crystal Tree is copyright 1964, so was auto-renewed by later U.S. copyright laws). I still hope that Lindquist's heirs will rerelease the books, but The Golden Name Day might actually qualify for Project Gutenberg release....
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
It's great fun, when reading an organization's bylaws, to try and figure out what circumstance caused the organization to formalize a particular policy.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
I tried my hand at the 2048 game generator: 2048 Genealogy. Sadly, you can't do line breaks on the text version, so I had to abbreviate N-times-great-grandparent as Nxggp; maybe one day I'll be bored enough to make images for a non-abbreviated version.

It's no Doctor Who 2048 or Academic Publication 2048, let alone Cumberbatch vs. Otters 2048, but it's entertaining me anyway.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Dear subconscious:

I do not know where you came up with the dream that Stephen Fry was hosting a quiz show about bestselling books of the early 20th century, but I would like this to be real.

castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Last Friday, the 29th of November, was the 20th anniversary of the initial posting of Stephen Ratliff's ST:TNG fanfic "Enterprized", the first in his long series about Marrissa Amber Flores Picard. Spelling and grammar errors, a proper Mary Sue of a main character (forget these modern heroines labeled "Mary Sue" solely because they're unusually competent; Marrissa is the real thing), long-winded introduction scenes, tedious space battles, summarizing of major dramatic events as a dry speech after the fact -- these fics were prime fodder for the denizens of, and to his credit, Mr. Ratliff was a good sport about the whole thing (and actually improved his writing quite a bit over the years, though the ratmm folks still found plenty to have fun with). I'm very grateful to [personal profile] norabombay for bringing the MSTings to my attention many years ago; they've given me much amusement ever since, and I hope Mr. Ratliff is prospering.

2. After watching him roughhouse with other kids last week, Spouse and I think Middle Son has a fine career ahead of him as a professional wrestler -- sports plus drama!

3. Youngest Son is officially a toddler. Eek.

4. I have about half the required word count for my Yuletide fic; I need to claw out some room-of-my-own time to finish it. I'm trying something that I've never done to this extent in a Yuletide fic, and one of the pieces hasn't quite clicked :-P.

5. Dear self: buying yarn is really, really not the same thing as buying knitting/crocheting time. (Corollary: buying fiber is really, really not the same thing as buying spinning time, let alone knitting/crocheting time.)

6. One of the mysteries surrounding my (presumed) paternal grandfather has been solved. Back in January, I'd learned that someone of his name (and right age and birth state) was in federal prison in Oklahoma in 1940. This week, while searching a database of old newspaper articles, I found a couple of articles in the Dallas Morning News that confirmed it was the right man. The crime? Stealing/destroying third-class mail when he was working as a substitute letter carrier in 1936, and then running off to Chicago and hiding out there for three years. (And the best part: his job in Chicago was as a clerk of the criminal court.) He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, three of those suspended, so he might have been finishing up his jail time at the time of the census. Fun with genealogy!
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
My subconscious's latest production: Cabin Pressure with cartoon physics. Memorable for the bit where GERTI was plummeting to the ground and Martin opened a door and pushed against a building's roof with his foot to give the plane some lift while they tried to restart the engines.  (Even in a universe where cartoon physics holds, that seems a bit out of character, especially since he wasn't following any particular regulations on the correct way to use cartoon physics to prevent your plane from crashing....)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1.   You know those decals that parents put in their car's rear window to brag about what school sport their kid plays?  (For readers unfamiliar with this bit of possibly-regional American culture, here's an example.)  Spouse keeps saying he wants to make and sell some with first names of famous dictators.  I now want a set that references Marvel's Avengers -- "Clint" with a bow and arrow, "Thor" with a hammer, "Tony" with a science-club-ish logo, etc.

2.  Tonight's household discussion began with The Cat in the Hat and ended with the idea of William Shatner, Time Lord.  (Yes, there was actually a logical progression.)  (If a Time Lord was a redshirt, would anyone notice that they were regenerating?)

3.  And on that note, is there a Doctor Who fic where Martha Jones says "I'm a doctor, not a TIme Lord"?

4.  Now that we have a PC working well enough to run The Master Genealogist, I've been doing a little bit of genealogy research online, and I've found the marriage licenses for my paternal grandmother's second and third marriages.  (#2 we knew about; #3 we didn't.)  It's very interesting which records list her as widowed (1940 census; marriage license #3 [when there was a license for husband #2 marrying someone else a couple years earlier) and which list her as divorced (marriage license #2, which was after the 1940 census).  (Divorced was almost certainly the correct status, though I've never been able to find any documentation; if the Los Angeles Superior Court's archive & records center is open to the public, some day I want to go there and see what I can find.)

5.  What's especially interesting: When I searched the census index for husband #1, my grandfather (or at least, the person who I get my surname from), who I know was actually alive in 1940 (and for many years afterwards), I did find a person with the right name, age, and birth state...who was an inmate in a federal prison.   While I can't confirm that it's the right guy, if he is, it would certainly explain why my dad and his siblings were told that their father died overseas in WWII when in fact he was alive.

6.  Sadly, everyone who'd know what the heck was really going on with my grandparents is long dead, and they probably wouldn't have been willing to tell the gory truth anyway.

7.  Genealogy is really fun.

castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. One can make the theme to "Bob the Builder" scan to the Hallelujah Chorus.  (And vice versa, with some effort.)

2.  We managed to get all the gifts opened in one day this year.  I've decided that I actually rather like the slow pace and may try to keep doing that in future years -- have the kids open one gift each and let them play with it for a while before going on to another gift.

3. 68F/20C at noon.  38F/3C at 6pm.  Supposed to get below freezing tonight (and with a fire weather warning, because it may be cold but it's also dry and windy).  Our summer weather is predictable; our winter weather is anything but.

4. Ethelbert continues to be a good eater, a decent sleeper, and an excellent excreter, and he holds up well to Middle Son's demonstrations of affection.

5. Note to self: Buying yarn does not mean that I then magically get time to knit/crochet/weave it up.

6. Ditto with books and time to read them.

7. Middle Son picked up Alvin and the Chipmunk's Christmas song after one hearing (the words are a mess, but he's got the tune and tone down).  He's also picked up the barking dogs version of Jingle Bells.  Urk.

8.  Merry Christmas to all who celebrate; happy quiet Tuesday to all who don't.

castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
Dear weather:  Seriously?  You think these are appropriate December temperatures?  Even in Texas, there are limits.  Can we have a few weeks where the temperature never goes above 80F?

Dear Ethelbert: You're going to be the one who decides to hang out until well after his due date, aren't you?  Which inconvenient/annoying date are you holding out for -- the three days next week when Daddy has jury duty, or December 14 so I can get my hopes up about seeing The Hobbit and have them dashed?  (Yeah, I know, you're not even at your due date yet.  But you've outgestated both your brothers and all my sister's kids.)

Dear oldest son: This spitting thing is getting really annoying.  Also, it is weirding me out that you're starting to get a bit of a mustache -- whatever happened to "beardless youth"?  (Though it's rather cool too.  But you're not even high school age yet.)

Dear soon-to-be-middle son: This thing where you say "Why not?" when you actually mean "Why?" -- yeah, you've been doing it for a long time, but 4.5 is old enough to figure out that "Why?" is actually the question you want to ask.  (Oh, well, you're starting to fix other parts of your question syntax, so hopefully this'll straighten out soon too.)  (I will kinda miss "What you doonin?" for "What're you doing?" and the constructions like "Where the movie is?")

Dear spouse:  Huh.  You're right.  The musical Les Miserables would totally work restaged as as zombie apocalypse.

castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
How many English cities/towns/other municipalities founded before 1775 do *not* have a U.S. city/town/other municipality named after them?

(I was originally going to ask about British cities, but I suspect there are a bunch of towns in Wales that do not have American namesakes.)
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
(while younger son is watching Youtube videos of computer-animated car crashes -- he'll actively ask for "Phun car crash 2")

Castiron: Car crashes and the alphabet. A book with the two of those together would be perfect for him.

Spouse: Like the Gashlycrumb Tinies for automobiles?

Castiron: A is for Alfa Romeo, driven off a cliff....

Spouse: Top Gear does Edward Gorey.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. On the Branagh/Thompson Much Ado about Nothing:

Spouse: This music is just completely wrong for this opening sequence. It's too bombastic.

Castiron: Imagine what it'd do to the tone if they'd used the Benny Hill theme instead.

(We have been watching that DVD a lot in the past few days; I was looking for something for adults that could still be watched with a preschooler in the room and settled on this, and preschooler is fascinated by the idea that all these people are voluntarily taking baths in the beginning. He also appreciates Branagh's pratfall with the chair, and I usually stop the movie soon after that because naked people bathing are one thing; Claudio throwing Hero around is another.)

2. Castiron: With all the remakes Hollywood does, why has no one ever remade any of the Marx Brothers movies?

Spouse: Because it'd be impossible. The plots are nearly non-existent, and no one'd sit through it.

Castiron: True, especially if they kept the musical segments.

Spouse (thinks): Now, if they were remade by Bollywood....

(An Indian remake of Duck Soup or Night at the Opera is now the movie I second most want to see come out of Bollywood. Number one is still a Mansfield Park retelling.)

3. I checked out Iron Man from the library and watched it for the first time. There's a scene in the early part of the movie, where a bunch of bad guys are waiting outside a cave and Tony Stark's about to emerge, nice and dramatic....and I paused the DVD because I noticed one of the guys was wearing a really interesting hat, and I wanted to figure out the technique -- knit? crocheted? something else? And then another pause, because another guy was wearing a hat with filet crochet flowers! Cool!

Yes, I paused at a dramatic moment to look at the needlework. Yes, I'm a knitter/crocheter. Besides, the upcoming minute of film is predictable; the regional headgear is pretty flipping cool.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. After several minutes of questioning, I have figured out that when the four-year-old asks for "plane with stripes" and insists that it's on the DVD "13 Cars", he means the Spitfire extra on the Top Gear Season 13 discs. ("# Cars" I'd long since figured out, but "plane with stripes" took some trial and error.)

2. Dear BBC America: This thing where I can't just hit "menu" when the previews come up, but have to fast forward through all of them? It gets old.

3. This is apparently my summer for participating in sports-related fiber events. I met my spinning goal for the Tour de Fleece (a very simple goal, "spin every day", but still, a vast improvement over last year); now I'm going to try to knit/crochet/weave five projects for the Ravellenic Games.

4. I'm convinced that the Fic of Doom is Zeno's Fic; I have what's probably 500-1000 words to go in the last chapter, and it's taking forever to grind through them. (However, I don't feel so bad for how long it's taken to write the fic as a whole, now that it's crossed the 100K words mark.)

5. This week's ruled-out baby names: Faraday Coulomb, Nikola Fourier, Lorentz Tesla, Higgs Cheech, Alcazar Shazam; Wernher Strangelove.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Taxes. Done. Why do spouse and I always wait to start them until nearly the last minute? It's not like we're trying to put off payment until the last minute; we usually get a *refund* (thank you child tax credit), so there's no incentive to wait.

2. Adolescence + autism = sucks. I'm given to understand that regressions during puberty aren't unusual, though, so hopefully once the hormone storm has subsided and older son's no longer growing an inch every month, he'll get back up to speed. (And actually, some of his obsessive motions make absolute sense, given that he's grown six inches in six months; he's relearning how his body moves and getting used to shirts that used to come down past his hips barely hitting his waistband.)

3. I've gotten hooked on Film Critic Hulk. Interesting enough material to be worth the all-caps format (though I suppose I could copy and paste into BBEdit and then sentence-case the puppy).

4. How many times can Younger Son read through "You Can Count on Monsters"? Many.

5. Only 4.5 chapters left to write on the Fic of Doom! (Let's ignore the fact that some of these later chapters are running twice as long as the earlier chapters and will need to be cut in half.) (This happened with my last long fic too, the chapters getting longer as the story progressed. I'll be curious to see whether that pattern continues when I next write a long work.)

6. Things technology makes possible: Younger son took about 50 pictures with my digital camera, mostly terrible (he hasn't clued in about keeping his fingers out from in front of the lens), but a couple tolerable. If it'd been a film camera, I'd never have allowed him to touch it, but with digital, I'm not worried about wasting pixels.
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From the Department of Crossovers We Don't Want to Think About Too Closely:

Mulan Rouge.
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
1. Dear self: You didn't write Friday; you wrote a minimal amount Saturday. So no, even though you have just gotten the notification of a new installment in a favorite fic, you may not read it yet. Write first. (Dear author of fic: Thank you for posting before midnight; it will not be your fault if I decide to stay up way too late reading it this time ;-).)

2. Dear older son: There are times I really wish (even more than usual) that you had communications skills appropriate to your age, because it would be *fascinating* to know what's going on in your head. Also, where did you pick up those Abba songs? I'm guessing school, since we rarely play CDs at home.

3. Dear younger son: There are limits to how many times your parents can tolerate The Love Bug. It is, however, very adorable that you call that red toy Volkswagen Bug "Herbie".

4. Dear both sons: That ball with the LEDs inside that flash when it's bounced off a hard surface? The minute it gives me a headache, it vanishes. (Dear ex: I know you meant well.)

5. Dear spouse: I'm not convinced that The Blues Brothers is appropriate viewing for a three-year-old, but I take your point that at least the swearing is done correctly and in appropriate contexts. And as the one who first decided that Top Gear is perfectly okay for him to watch as long as he doesn't start saying "oh, cock" (by which point the damage will have been done), I don't really have a leg to stand on. And at least we're agreed that either is more appropriate than Barney the Dinosaur.


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