new york style

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:53 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Today I went to Eddie's Napoli for lunch. I had a garden salad (dry) and two slices of cheese pizza. I sat at the counter. A television program in Spanish told stories of the Mexican earthquake. My pizza tasted great. This evening I walked in Bob Woodruff Park. I liked the Bluebird in the tree.

I am following the New Zealand election. My wife just got word in the past few weeks that her last surviving uncle died in New Zealand a few weeks ago. His daughter had moved him from Pennsylvania to New Zealand to have him nearby. I never met my wife's Uncle Wally, but I liked to hear about him. I hope Jacinda Ardern wins the election.

We watched a program raising funds for Texas hurricane victims.  Matthew McConnaughey was one of the speakers. I wanted him to say "alright, alright, alright" to make things more all right. They had Bonnie Raitt sing a song, but not play her guitar. I thought that odd.

Edie Brickell and Paul Simon sang an Ernest Tubb song. I remember seeing Edie perform with a very early incarnation of the New Bohemians in 1984 or 1985. She had stage presence even before she had quite figured it all out. She has stage presence still.

The President of the United States and the Supreme Leader of North Korea trade trash-talking tweets and quips about nuclear warfare. A school official at Baylor University reportedly decided to criticize the victims of sexual assault. I want to get outdoors tomorrow.

Kix and skim milk
2 slices pizza, a roll, garden salad
broccoli beef, mushroom chicken, mixed vegetables

over Uber

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:50 am
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Last night we had 4 volunteers and dozens of clients at the Garland free legal clinic. We still finished by 9.15 p.m. The weather remains a bit hot. I find myself with plenty to do. Today I will wish my younger brother a happy birthday. We are 13 months apart. He's a good guy.

I saw Uber just got banned in London for its various unsavory practices. Though the idea of Uber appeals to me a little, I've never used it and been fairly resistant to its Kool-Aid. Our Texas legislature passed a law to circumvent an Austin city ordinance requiring background checks for its drivers, after Uber's multi-million dollar campaign to overturn  it ended. Our legislature is not immune to lobbyists. To give Uber fair play, Uber did help out during the recent storms, and apparently donated some space for a homeless shelter in Austin.On the other hand, Uber used software to elude would-be critics seeking a ride (with a "grayball" approach). Not my cup of tea.

Thursday breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
Thursday lunch: roast beef sandwich on wheat and lays bbq baked chips
Thursday dinner: fried chicken breast and 2 legs, green beans and part of a biscuit


noticing things

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:17 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
I got up very early this morning. I caught a train to downtown Dallas. I finished my business in mid-morning. I took the train back north. At my office, I got some things done. In the afternoon, I rode with a colleague back to downtown Dallas. When our business finished in the late afternoon, I rode the train back to Garland. I finished some work, then headed home. When I got home,  I found that my wife accidentally locked Beatrice outside in our fenced  yard. This was non-ideal, but Beatrice seemed happy as a clam. 

My wife and I walked in Glendover Park. We ate soft tacos.

This week I notice lots of things. Natural disasters in Mexico, Florida, south Texas, numerous Carribean islands and Sri Lanka. A friend from when I was a small child who is now a professor at SMU got a national honor as a teacher. A musician in Germany wrote a weblog post about, after her parents lived in East Germany, being the first generation in her family able to speak freely on political matters. On the train, the transit rail police tried to catch a minor transgressor. I got shaving cream at Sprouts, and feel relieved that it is not derived from organic rye oatmeal bits.

Our niece learned this week that she is flying down to see us in October. She thinks that's grand.

Breakfast: Kix Cereal and skim milk
Lunch: none
Dinner: soft chicken tacos

should be free

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:44 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Today I walked in the shopping center in which my office building sits. I heard a story on the radio about a couple in Arkansas who needed relaxed underwriting standards to buy a house in light of $ 100,000 in student debt. The primary cause of this debt was not a decade in a Ph.D. program, but a simple library science master's. This bolstered my feeling that post-secondary public education should be free or reduced-cost.

Tomorrow I must rise early and go to downtown Dallas. I am usually pretty good at early rising. Our weather is a bit warm for the season.

breakfast: kix cereal
lunch: t-k-y sandwich, vegetable soup and baked chips
dinner pork chops, sweet potato and cabbage slaw

People Wonder Why...

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:25 pm
malinaldarose: (Default)
[personal profile] malinaldarose
I'm sure people wonder why I don't ask for help with my household woes. Here's how those conversations go:

Them: I'll be glad to help you any time. All you have to do is ask.
Me: Great! I need some help, please.
Them: *crickets*

While I was walking Jack this afternoon, I went into the vacant lot behind my fence to see what was going on with the sumac tree. It doesn't look like it has actually collapsed on my fence. It looks like a shoot of it (now a large trunk) started out growing across the ground toward my fence, and then bits of it grew upward, so that now it really looks like it's collasped across the fence. I think the fence has actually collapsed under the weight of the grape vines.

I don't suppose I should be cutting any trees on property that doesn't belong to me, but it's a vacant lot, and the people who own it don't do any more than mow it every couple of weeks. I can at least cut the portions that are threatening my fence, I suppose. It's not like it's an oak or a maple that someone planted; it's a sumac, so it's basically an enthusiastic weed. Were HTWIWM here, the thing never would've gotten beyond sapling stage, as he used to keep the fence-line tidied up.

In any case, I will ask my mother if she will allow my father Dad could help me clean up back there and replace the fence. Otherwise I guess I'll have to obtain a chainsaw and learn how to use it.

Today was an absolutely miserable excuse for a day. It started poorly with the dog yarking his morning pills, continued poorly with my left foot feeling as though I were constantly walking on rocks, and just sort of petered out. I had intended to mow the lawn, now that the grass is growing again, and the leaves are falling, but didn't want to aggravate the foot which is hurting less, but is still Not Right. Oh, and I broke my watch strap. Not the tattered one, either. This was one of the good ones. It's the second watch strap in a week -- the strap on the celestial watch broke, too. Well, technically, the pin popped out, but I was outdoors at the time and couldn't find it, so it counts as broken.

On the plus side, Zulily had a sale on Wonder Woman merchandise, so I bought part of BFT's Christmas present.

Oh, and I got a couple of Halloween photo props: a miniature Rider-Waite tarot deck, and an even smaller RW deck. Yes, it's TeenyTinyTarot! (It's so cute!)

Rats and Books

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:21 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
We've been hearing noises in the wall between our house and the garage for a while, and got confirmation today that it was rats. Apparently they chewed their way in through a hole at the end of a rain gutter and got in the garage attic, then got in and have been hanging out under the bathtub. So, not fun. But someone at the university recommended a wildlife removal company that specializes in rodents, and I think that's exactly what we need. (We're also infested with geckos, but that's actually a good thing.) Anyway, it's going to be expensive, but not nearly as bad as I thought.

***

Fireside Fiction has set up an ebook Hurricane Relief Bookstore. 100% of the profits go to hurricane relief funds in Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean. My book Wheel of the Infinite is available there, with lots of other cool SF/F novels, magazines, and anthologies:

http://www.hurricanebookstore.com/

Today's Forgotten English Word

Sep. 18th, 2017 02:35 pm
malinaldarose: (delenn_word)
[personal profile] malinaldarose
scragglings: Undersized apples left on the tree as worthless. The little apples are often very sweet and palatable, however. From this term comes the adjective "scriggly, small and shrivelled, as a "scriggly bit o' meat," that small portion of a joint where it is dried up or over-roasted. It is likely that the word is connected with shrivel. Gloucestershire (scriggles), Upton-on-Severn (scriggling), and West Worcestershire (scrogglings). [g. F. Northall's Warwickshire Word-Book, 1896]

And Sometimes....

Sep. 18th, 2017 02:22 pm
malinaldarose: (Default)
[personal profile] malinaldarose
I was getting worried because the garage didn't call -- and they usually call me quite early. Turns out that they couldn't, of course, replicate the problems I had. They did go ahead and replace the radiator cap and a cracked tube (also related to the radiator, I think). The mechanic still thinks the water problem (and we're pretty sure it's water, now) is from the exhaust. I'm still pretty sure that that's rather too much water to be coming from the exhaust. But he did say that he thinks the overheating problem is probably the a/c fan, and that's a dealer part, so he recommended that I make an appointment with the dealer across town to have it tested. He also says that as long as I don't use the a/c, it can wait until spring. And so it probably will.

Shortly after he called, I realized it was just after 1:00 -- which is why my sister takes her lunch, so I asked if she'd come get me and drive me up to the garage as it's rather muggy and there's no shade between here and there. She did, and so I'm home with the van. I may load Jack up in a little bit and take him to see Grama. And I may take a nap.

I did take him outside a bit ago, and wandered to the back of the yard to check out the grapes...and discovered that a huge span of the back fence is collapsed down to about waist height. I can't decide from inside the yard whether a deer did it or whether a sumac in the vacant yard collapsed on it. It may be a little of both. In any case, I'm going to need help to fix it, and preferably help with a chain saw. Well, it's about time to replace the fencing, anyway; it's been in place for seventeen and a half years and it's really only glorified chicken wire. I could probably do it all by myself if it weren't for the sumac. I'm going to have to look from the other side of the fence, but not today. The last time I went through it, I zip-tied the gate shut, and I don't feel like messing with it. Plus, there's nothing I can do without help.

Sometimes I just want to cry.

After being baked by the August sun, the grass in the lawn has started to grow again. I just mowed on...when was it? Tuesday? Anyway, the yard is getting shaggy again. I should really go out there this afternoon and take care of it...and I'm really not going to.
marthawells: (Atlantis)
[personal profile] marthawells



Now that the cover (by Jaime Jones) has been revealed, more preorder links are available. (I really, really appreciate preorders, wherever you shop, not just the links here.)


Note: Artificial Condition is a novella, around 160 pages. It's a direct sequel to All Systems Red and begins not long after that novella ends.


Description: It has a dark past -- one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself "Murderbot." But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don't want to know what the "A" stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks...

Available at:
Barnes & Noble, Amazon US and all other Amazons, Mysterious Galaxy, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and from a local independent bookseller through Indiebound.

ebook (DRM-free): Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Spain, and all other Kindle retailers.




Excerpt:


SECUNITS DON'T CARE ABOUT the news. Even after I hacked my governor module and got access to the feeds, I never paid much attention to it. Partly because downloading the entertainment media was less likely to trigger any alarms that might be set up on satellite and station networks; political and economic news was carried on different levels, closer to the protected data exchanges. But mostly because the news was boring and I didn't care what humans were doing to each other as long as I didn't have to a) stop it or b) clean up after it.

more )

Lazarus and eggs

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:33 am
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Sunday morning I walked on the Chisholm Trail in Plano. I went to Weight Watchers at 9.30, where I was up 2/10ths of a pound. I drove home. My wife and I went to the 11 a.m. The Way service at First United Methodist Church of Allen. The Way is being re-launched as a service for seminary students to practice preaching. The first Sunday their professor, Alyce McKenzie of the Perkins School of Theology, gave the sermon. Her topic was the story of Lazarus, and the idea that eternal life starts today. She is a gifted speaker. After the service, I worked on my voluntary duty--I put away the chairs.

We ate lunch at Two Rows in Allen. We had not been in years, but perhaps we should have been going all along. We had a very good breakfast buffet. I ate scrambled eggs and fruit and managed to control my biscuit intake to one biscuit.

In the afternoon, I watched sports on television, but managed to get in a walk in Green Park during an intermission caused by storms in Denver. In the evening I watched The Orville, which has the potential to be a good television science fiction comedic show. I woked up at 1 a.m., watched a little of the movie Serenity, but cut it off before the massive wave of violence near the end of the movie.

This morning I slept until nearly 7 a.m., I put out birdseed.

Sunday breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk
Sunday lunch: scrambled eggs, a biscuit, potatoes, pineapple, cantaloupe
Sunday dinner: skirt steak, salad
Monday breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk

Monday Again

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:49 am
malinaldarose: (Default)
[personal profile] malinaldarose
So, it is Monday, and I have taken the day off. The van is at the garage to see if they can figure out what the heck is up with it. And I just remembered to turn the ringer back on on the phone -- though I'll probably spend at least the morning in my office working on eBay listings. Or maybe shopping; I have had a few thoughts about Christmas, and there's little point in waiting -- I won't have more money for shopping later than I do now, so....

Oh. My. God. Jack just farted. Wow.

I have the house opened up because after a week of fall, we're back to summer, with temps in the high 70s or low 80s, and it's a bit stuffy in here. It's supposed to be 80° again today, so I need to cool the house back down. It won't take long, and I won't have to shut things up again until midmorning when the fog burns off.

I should totally go do the dishes while it's still cool, and while it's still too early to listen for the phone.

There is apparently not a great deal to report here. I took BFT out to lunch on Saturday -- it was the first time she'd been out of the house since her surgery the previous Friday, and she was going a little stir-crazy. We stopped at Joann's on the way home and bought Halloween decorations. She's setting up a little Halloween display in her kitchen window, and I'm buying props for some still life photos I have in mind. Which reminds me that I have to go down to the basement and dig out my Rider-Waite deck. I used to have a teensy one with cards only about an inch or two big, but I don't think I'll be able to find those. Probably lost in some move or other. Or maybe I dreamed them, though I don't think so. I think I got rid of my Ouija board, too. Still, I probably have enough stuff around here to use as props.

Yesterday...I noodled around the house. Cleaned my desk off so that I'd have room to work on the eBay stuff, vacuumed the house (up and down), snipped the stems of the flowers I bought last week and re-vased them, and dropped the van off at the garage. (Walked home, of course.) Last evening, I had a fire in the firepit (after raking the downed leaves away from where I usually set it up). I burned four more envelopes full of cancelled checks and other financial paperwork, thus doing my part to save HTWIWM from identity theft. I do like watching those papers burn; whether it's the ink or the paper, the flames are green. It's so cool. (Well. Technically, it's quite hot, but you get the idea.) I think there are four envelopes left. When I found these papers, I had no experience with burning things to dispose of them, and I thought stuffing all of these checks and bank and credit card statements into business-size envelopes and burning them like logs would work out with no problem. Yeah, then I learned about burning papers. Individual papers will take off like...well, like a house afire, but compacted papers? Not so much. So I have to keep stirring them. Which is one of the reasons I don't have a fire if it's windy, because I don't want burning paper flying all over the place.

In any case, I think I'm nearly done with HIS papers, and can move on to my own, as I recently found a file box full of decade-old financial paperwork. Not much point in stressing the shredder, though I suppose I could gradually sneak them into the shredding bin at work and have done.

I found that little refund check on my desk yesterday afternoon. I still can't quite make up my mind what to do about it. It's for 79 cents. The utterly correct thing to do -- and also the utterly bitchy thing -- would be to stuff it into another envelope and mail it to some friends to have them pass it on to him. On the other hand, it's for 79 cents, so it might just as well go into the shredding.

Eh, I'll think on it some more. Probably it'll end up in the shredding.

OTW Chat

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:59 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
Here's the transcript for the Organization for Transformative Works 10th Anniversary chat: https://www.transformativeworks.org/transcript-for-otw-10th-anniversary-chat-with-seanan-mcguire-martha-wells/
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells



* Excerpt: http://www.marthawells.com/murderbot2.htm


* Interview on The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/16315474/science-fiction-author-martha-wells-murderbot-robots-interview


* And we're coming up on the time for the OTW Chat: Today 9/17 noon to 2 EST, me and Seanan Mcguire will do a guest chat for the Organization For Transformative Works 10th Anniversary https://www.transformativeworks.org/today-is-the-otws-10th-anniversary/

Finding Lemon

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:42 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
First thing this morning I took Beatrice for a walk in the park. All the other dogs in the park, like Beatrice, sported darker fur. It was a bit like the story "the Red-Headed League" except nobody was paying the dogs for their dark fur and no robbery was being planned. Even the crows had dark feathers.

At 9 I headed out for a bicycle ride. I rode on the Watters Branch Trail to the Urban Center Loop Trail.  Then I rode to the Cottonwood Creek Trail to Allen Station Park. I pedaled by a house with a Black Vulture perched on it, staring at the trail. I do not know if the vulture had a presentiment about a hiker or biker having issues.

At Noon my wife and I headed to Elke's, the good lunch place in town. Then we went to the Allen Antiques Mall, which recently relocated to the east side of Greenville Avenue at McDermott.  We did not buy anything. We also went to Dirt Cheap, a new chain store across the street. This place picks up liquidation sale stuff and sells it deeply discounted AS IS. Sign warned us to inspect things carefully because ALL SALES ARE FINAL. I liked this odd store, and resolved to stop in and dig in its various scattered wares some day when I have more patience.

In the afternoon I rested and watched television.  We went for dinner at Firewater Grill. As we turned into the alleyway in our neighborhood, a happy young hound ran up, off its leash.  We stopped, and my wife scooped up the sweet young dog. Then she called the service listed on its ID tag. Soon she was taking the dog to its owner, down the street.  I stayed home with young Beatrice.  It turned out this charming little hound, some kind of beagle, I believe, was named Lemon. I am pro-Lemon. Apparently, Lemon got out when careless HVAC workers left the back fence open. Lemon is safely at home now, with Lemon's caring owner.

I found an article which explained the relative percentiles of LSAT scores for years including 1980, when i took it. This helped me understand how my ancient LSAT score would scale in today's scoring system.  The point is irrelevant in my life. Yet when I read on twitter as kids say they need to score x, I wanted to understand the context a bit better as it connected to how things were in "my day". I found that my score is analogous to a score a goodish bit above average but short of great--which was as true then as it is now. At the time I understood that while I could not get into a top-tier law school, I could get into a law school with a bit more prestige than my local state law school. I chose the local state law school, though, and it turned out to be a great fit for me. 

One thing that changed a lot is the cost of the education.  In today's dollars, I paid roughly $ 3,300 a semester in tuition. Now the fees and tuition are closer to $ 15,000 per year at my alma mater. So the cost in 2017 dollars is a bit more than twice as expensive. Yet the law school I attended is one of the least expensive law schools in the country. I think that education should be more affordable for post-secondary education, including professional school.  I see the tuition increase as one more manifestation of the divide between people who grow up with economic advantages and those who do not.  If I were in the charge of the world, this would change.



breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: turkey sandwich on ciabatta and a cup of pork tamale soup
dinner: 6 oz. sirloin, vegetables and salad



marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells
The cover reveal for The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition, plus an interview with me, is on The Verge:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/16315474/science-fiction-author-martha-wells-murderbot-robots-interview

I see hawk people

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:57 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
The ending of the movie "The Sixth Sense" is playing on television. The weather is warmer again. Tonight I picked up bird seed and small milk bones. I saw five Red-Tailed Hawks in Oak Point Park this evening. I want to get a good night's sleep so I can get an early start tomorrow.

breakfast Kix cereal and skim milk
lunch: panda express string bean chicken, broccoli beef, mixed vegetables and a fortune cookie.
dinner: chicken enchiladas verde, refried beans and salad

Couple of Things

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:00 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
* On Sunday, September 17, Seanan McGuire and I will be doing a guest chat for the Organization for Transformative Works 10th Anniversary. The topic is "fandom and fantasy."

https://www.transformativeworks.org/today-is-the-otws-10th-anniversary/


* I have a story out in a new anthology: Mech: Age of Steel Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

My story is "Birthright" and it's set in the Three Worlds, about the crew of the wind-ship Escarpment.


Angelo Ardern

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:20 pm
gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
I read this evening about San Angelo. I like that city, about five hours' drive from here. I have been there a few times on business. It's got a west Texas feel to it--stark and open.

I got an email from a former  law partner I need to answer.  Golden Chick had a new $ 5 special, but it did not make sense for me. I managed to run the bill up with an extra piece order anyway.

I walked tonight in Crowley Park in Richardson. I read about a friend from university days. She went to Harvard Law and became a solicitor in London as well as a U.S. lawyer and who practices international tax law at a large law firm. When she was young, she raised Welsh ponies.

I'm intrigued by the New Zealand politician Jacinda Ardern. The weather today returned to "hot Summer". I charged the battery on my camera tonight, after it died during my walk.

Breakfast: kix cereal and skim milk
Lunch: roast chicken breast and leg, green beans and roll
Dinner: chicken breast, sliced raw carrots



gurdonark: (Default)
[personal profile] gurdonark
Yesterday I got something in the mail I had meant to get into the mail for some months. I also received something in the mail payable to a client that I was pleased to receive in the mail. I got an email from a colleague who used to work for a client. I was very pleased to hear from that colleague.

After work, I walked in Oak Point Park. Huge Red-Tailed Hawks were on the tall metal high-tension wire pylons. As I sit here, I remember a scientists' organization asking to please have donors stop funding research into whether these huge electrical lines are bad for health--because they are not.

Lately I browse used cars at the Enterprise Car Sales site, but I do not want to buy a used car. It's just a kind of virtual window shopping. My car only has 113,000 miles on it. Barring the unforeseen, I should get a few more years from it.

I watched a little of a special on the spacecraft Cassini.  My wife went to a new gym by the fellow who for years has led an exercise class she attends twice weekly.  I hope that his gym works out well. It is in beta now. Apparently, gyms, like software, have beta releases. The fellow who leads her class is named Adam.  During the Summer, as he set up his new venture, all the folks in his class had to exercise in less formal settings. They still got together, a bit ,though, as if it were class.  I refer to this process as "attending fake Adam". My wife reports that she liked the new venture which is Real Adam, Mach II: Beta Version.

The new iPhone is reputed to be priced around 1000 dollars. I suppose it is understandable that smartphones, which matter more to kids of a certain age than houses or cars, would become luxury items. But it's odd to me that when technology creates a smartphones that do more for less money, Apple manages to increase the price.  This is one of many reasons I use Android.  I wish I had a good open source alternative. Of the current crop of contenders, I think Plasma Mobile looks the most interesting. But we'll see if the death of Ubuntu Touch halts effective development by KDE of its clone Plasma Mobile. I was rooting for FirefoxOS,but Mozilla stopped development prematurely.  I think that
if one of these could get a credible hardware with its software installed easily available, it would over time gain enough market share to work. there are lots of phones in this world--a tiny market share could still be money-making

I see the US has moved to end use of Kaspersky Labs, which is thought to have connections with Russian intelligence. Meanwhile, my twitter feed is rather full of nativist tweets using a hashtag #amnestydon.  These tweets seek to excoriate Mr. Trump because Mr. Trump has not committed enough wrong thinking on immigration issues yet. Apparently, wrong thinking, like gymnastics, requires lots of contorted positions on the uneven bars.  I am no fan of Mr. Trump, nor of those odd twitter users.

I hope to find historical archival material of my grandfather's work for the Civilian Conservation Corps.




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