Sitting here, looking up

I’m sitting here at sub-desk one, working on the Air and looking up at the wall (not precisely in that order, perhaps). I see two crooked pictures on the wall … and now I know the answer to the question, “Why earthquakes?”

Of course, it’s to piss off all the people with OCD.

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JoCo released his new album an hour ago. I’d link to it, but he announced the event on Twatter, and killed his own secure server with the crush of traffic. HO HO, JoCo! To help with the joyeous crash and burn, I did retwat the announcement myself. After all, maybe ONE of the 70 or so folks who stalk me on Twatter don’t also follow Jonathan Coulton. One can never tell.

A is for Appropriate

I would have said awesome, but the ‘A’ that I got for each class this summer was more tiring than awesome. Survival of challenging course work is harder at this age, and with a full work load besides. On the flip side, I’m certainly better organized, more motivated, and purposely successful than I ever was as a student previously. On the gripping hand, since I started at this last death march to finish a BS, I’ve accumulated 16 straight ‘A’s. Only eight more to completion (unless I calculate the courses wrong, and end up having to take one or two more… Don’t make me tempt fate!)

 

Kandahar Blues

Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

  • 1st Lt. Timothy J. Steele, 25, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, died Aug. 23 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Andrew R. Tobin, 24, of Jacksonville, Illinois, died Aug. 24 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms fire.
  • Pfc. Brandon S. Mullins, 21, of Owensboro, Kentucky, died Aug. 25 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Pfc. Jesse W. Dietrich, 20, of Venus, Texas, died Aug. 25 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
  • Spc. Michael C. Roberts, 23, of Watauga, Texas, died Aug. 27 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

 

Rainageddon

Rain: an inch and a half since 11 AM, and lots more on the way. The sump pump is firing out about 2 gallons US every thirty seconds or so (2′ diameter sump, about 6″ at a time). We’re going to get a fair bit more rain, and if we’re unlucky lose power … but that’s about it unless Irene changes course drastically to the west. Right now we’re outside the projected pattern for even tropical storm winds.

I’ve been up the ladder once, unclogging one downspout. I also neglected to consider the angle of attack for this storm – wind-driven rain from the east/northeast. I just now swapped out the screen insert for the glass insert on our back storm door – it was driving rain through the screen and making a pool between the doors. So it was leaking in, of course.

More later if anything interesting happens. Ciao!

Incoming!

Or another starts-with-an-`I`, like Irene (and a bit like another `I`-storm: Isabel of 2003) … regionally, we’re sure taking it on the chin. Earthquakes (okay, a tiny one by left coast standards, but still), now hurricanes. Plague of locusts, anyone?

School-wise, I’m still waiting for the second grade to drop, the instructor promises tomorrow afternoon. Next class starts on or about 12 September: a class on Gerontology. It’s one of a few that fulfill a specific general education requirement I’m lacking. Later in the Fall session, I’ll be taking a class on Java programming. That should be fun.

I think I’ll walk the dog and collapse. It’s been a long week. Ciao!

Condolences, belated…

I don’t know what got into me (or out of me) – Sunday was a total wipeout, and the last two days at work have been busy. Not an excuse, I just have hardly been in my home office in days.

Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

  • 2nd Lt. Joe L. Cunningham, 27, of Kingston, Oklahoma, died Aug. 13 at Laghman province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident.
  • Master Sgt. Charles L. Price III, 40, of Milam, Texas, died Aug. 12 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Matthew A. Harmon, 29, of Bagley, Minnesota, died Aug. 14 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, while conducting vehicle recovery operations, and encountered a secondary explosion while dismounted.
  • Spc. Joseph A. VanDreumel, 32, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, died Aug. 14 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, while conducting vehicle recovery operations, and encountered a secondary explosion while dismounted.
  • 1st Lt. Damon T. Leehan, 30, of Edmond, Oklahoma, died Aug. 14 in Laghman province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Dennis G. Jensen, 21, of Vermillion, South Dakota, died Aug. 16 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Spc. Joshua M. Seals, 21, of Porter, Oklahoma, died Aug. 16 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Lance Cpl. Travis M. Nelson, 19, of Pace, Florida, died Aug. 18 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Pfc. Douglas L. Cordo, 20, of Kingston, New York, died Aug. 19 in Zabul, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

Productivity

Well, that’s summer session done. By noon this morning, I’d taken both finals, come back home and mowed the lawns front and back. Then I replaced Marcia’s broken fan/light in the sewing area. A productive day. I should have grades in a few days, but I think I did well enough to get the A in both courses. Eight more classes and I’ll be done (unless I’ve counted/calculated wrong – hard to know until I file for graduation in late Fall, 2012).

Anyway, slept badly last night (pre-test jitters, weird), and busy today: very tired now. Ciao!

Culture Shock

Left over from yesterday: A bit of link-love for MIT’s OpenCourseware. ‘Cause they’re totally worth it. I was told that using my Xoom to watch MIT Chemistry courses while working out on the elliptical was a bit … nerdy. SRSLY? Oh, yeah, and bonus link for people wondering how homeopathy works: http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/. I promise that’s no Rick-roll.

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So, Culture shock. How, you ask? More specifically (since the topic even needs disambiguation at Wikipedia), I’m talking about The Culture – the pre-Sublimation galaxy-spanning “civilization” spawned from the mind of Iain M. Banks. I’ve read eight books from the Culture series, from Consider Phlebas through Surface Detail. I finished the latter last night.  I enjoyed some of the books more than others, but taken as a body of work, I’m deeply impressed.

I love the depth of detail in all of the books. I especially love that I can’t always see what’s coming, but once I’m there, it’s been an obvious possible outcome all along. Mostly I’m used to authors telegraphing their moves so far ahead that all I can do is see what color the bride wears to the wedding, because that’s all the mystery that’s left.

Banks’ blend of intelligent hedonistic humanity and the post-AI Mindsof the culture surprised me at many turns, and left me thoughtful often as not. They’re in dead tree format, and they’re on the keeper shelf – I’ll be reading them again one day. There are too many books to say that about many of them. Thanks, Iain!

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Next up from the TBR stack? Some pTerry. I’ve got A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight all queued up.

Another use for the Xoom

Motorola Xoom + MIT OpenCourseware + NordicTrack mashup

Motorola Xoom + MIT OpenCourseware + NordicTrack mashup

It turns out that the Xoom fits right nicely in the book-holder slot on the elliptical machine. But I really can’t read while I’m exercising … and I’ve never gotten the knack of listening to audio books. But hey! There’s a lot of video lectures out of MIT and elsewhere. That’s one of my biggest problems with exercise – I get bored. This has possibilities! No, there’s no woman with improbably blue contacts and a glass of some liquid fiber product lurking just outside of the frame. Multi-tasking has its advantages, though.