Nature

E. J. Sharp

I hate outliving friends.

I'd only seen him once since he'd moved away from Ypsi, and the last time we'd exchanged email was about a year and a half ago. Recently when I tried to call I was routed to a full voice-mail-box. I knew there were medical issues, but I hadn't heard about the more recent and worse ones. I spent con last weekend grieving for a different friend, who had died on the same day, not knowing how much more grief was imminent.

I don't know the permissions on the original facebook post which his daughter made today, so I didn't try to share it -- but here is a link to the obituary:

http://www.anderson-funeral.com/obituaries/Elmer-Sharp/#!/Obituary

Crossposting: fb, g+, lj.
theatre

Impermanence

My mind is very "black and white". I want for there to be ONE answer to a question.

When I think about plays, I think about the things that have been on Broadway for about a zillion years, that have been remade perhaps into a movie, and perhaps into something every high school can put on, and those that have cast albums; things that have entered the American (at least) mindset. Things that are so vast in Popular Culture that even I have heard of them.

And I think about a play a friend of mine wrote - that I went to Texas to see performed.

And I think about a play that I was in during my pre-teen years - a small number that the drama sector of our summer school put on. I still remember the rough premise and one of my lines, but I would like to find it so I can read it through again, because I rather dislike half-memories. Yeaaaaah, good luck with that!

And for this reason and that, I've been thinking rather a lot of the play "Gravity" which we saw at the lamented Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor a few years ago. It was SO good, I thought, that it had to have gone beyond that. Went looking today, and ... well, _you_ try googling on "Play Gravity" and see if you find anything useful. When I start adding other keywords they overwhelmed both of the ones that I cared about.

I want ALL plays to be as easily researched, reviewed, and revisited as, say "Hair", "Man of La Mancha", or "Little Shop of Horrors". At least the ones I care about. Even that silly play that I don't remember the name of from my pre HS days.
time, clock

Lessons Learned, 20140628

Lessons learned today:

Whichever way I turn onto Hines will turn out to be the wrong way, and if you don't know how the engineer planned things, it may be impossible to get OFF of Hines. (I figured out I was going the wrong way at Merriman. I finally figured out how to exit at Telegraph.)

While I couldn't run a half marathon to save my life, I can walk over 13.1 miles just doing my daily stuff, checking out a few war memorials, walking most of the river-walk in Windsor (twice, out & back), meandering around Greenfield Village, and then walking around the neighborhood & out to a nearby park with the spouse. (Up at 8:00 am, Home for good 22:00)

Wearing a hat won't keep your arms from burning

Just because you roll your socks down before you start the day doesn't mean your legs where the socks would have been clear up to nearly the knee won't develop a beastly heat-rash.

If you leave a partially-full-of-water straw-included adult sippy-cup in the car while you spend 3 hours walking around Windsor (starting just after noon), even if you put a reflective thingy in your front window, if you get back into the car and open it up in order to have a refreshing sip of water, you will instead unleash a hot geyser of water all over your face and shirt.

If, at 15:45, you realize simultaneously that you're somewhat hungry and that you have a Vanilla Cream filled doughnut which you bought at 9:00 this morning (which had been sitting in the same car as the sippy-cup) you should not count on the decorum inherent in the position of waiting for the border guard to finish with all the cars in front of you to keep said doughnut from, once you bite into it, squirting white liquid all over your face and shirt.

I think that's enough for one day.
Joy

Today's Adventure

I spent much of the day (once I got up) fighting with the computer in one manner or another. Unfortunately, that same time was spent snacking, and once I realized I had consumed half again what MFP thinks my daily goal should be entirely in snacks & lunch, I decided to go for a walk.

A couple of my friends live in a Maze of Twisty Passages All Alike (occasionally called a "subdivision") just across the busy road from where I live. Our subs open onto the same busy road, but not at the same place.

Attempting to exit my sub, I found a lot of "wet" that caused me to take to the streets. When that diminished, I returned to the sidewalks, where I found a lot of "shiny" -- some of which jerked me around a bit, but none of which caused me to completely lose my footing. I achieved the Busy Road & crossed it. I followed in the footsteps of someone else to get over the Huge Mound of snow on the other side. Those footsteps, though, went off through the tiny bit of forest that remembers what the subdivision used to be a dozen years ago. I didn't.

I turned to walk... either on or parallel to the sidewalk, who can tell. For about 2/3 of the path, I was the first person to have done this through the current snow. And this is how, before my Adventure had truly begun, my boots were filled with snow. I expected that on my return home I would discover bruises along the area of my calves above the top of my (7.25" on the inside) boots where the crisp, crunchy, and actually rather hard (but altogether too brittle) top of the snow encountered them. Repeatedly. With each step.

After about 2/3 of the path, someone else's footsteps appeared in the snow. It had melted sufficiently that I couldn't tell left from right footprints, but for the purposes of putting my feet into them it really didn't matter. Those of you who have walked with me may be as amazed and shocked as I to discover that these footsteps indicated a stride nearly twice mine, which is usually between 2.5' and 3'. (Later in my walk, true story, I discovered a discarded pogo stick. Coincidence?)

Finally arrived at the entrance to the MoTPAA. (In my daily life I am ... directionally challenged. If the road I'm on turns, my internal compass still thinks I'm going in the same direction I started out in. If I make a significant but not 90 degree turn, I think I've turned 90 degrees. After getting lost many times in the MoTPAA, I finally figured that from the one entrance to the other (on the same busy road) I need to turn left 6 times at the first opportunity and I will wind up at the other exit. I started walking along this path. At some point, walking on sidewalks that had not been shoveled (but which did not have me sinking beyond my boot-tops in the stuff) I saw what I thought would be a nice picture... and realized that I'd left my phone behind. (oops. I was expecting the spouse's return -- and subsequent phone call. I have been known to "phone a friend" and indicate what corners in the MoTPAA I am at and receive navigation. I have been known to use the GPS in the phone when there is sufficient battery.) Between 2 of my 8" or more deep holes made by my boots (they're 9" on the outside) there was a small maple leaf that had fallen. Probably due to absorbing and releasing heat over the course of a week or so, it had managed to melt itself a 2 or 3 inch hole that it was settling into. I made what I thought was the correct turn, which would, incidentally, have me walking past my friends' house. Today I must have missed a turn, though, or lost count. I never remember the number or the street name (and I don't have my phone which remembers that for me) but none of these houses that look remarkably alike really looked right. When I got to the end of that street though, it looked correct, and I turned. After travelling a short while, though, I realized that I couldn't possibly be where I thought I was. I half-joke that I'm usually 90 degrees out, except when I'm 180. This time I was only 90 degrees out, and while looking for a street to turn onto, I discovered that I WAS on the street I was looking for. *whew*.

My half hour up, and civilization reacquired, I started walking for home. Spouse had found my note and met me at the mouth of the park. We walked a but further out then turned around. Was very happy to take my wet socks off. Was less happy to see the shape of my feet. One heel was pretty well torn up. I rejoiced that it wasn't bleeding (although I had half-lost many layers of skin). Then I went to look for the anticipated bruises, and discovered that there I was bleeding. Not badly, and my jeans seem to be intact.

Calorie wise? That burnt off not quite half of one of my snacks.
Enjoy

Books read

The last time I posted a "Books finished" here it was February 2012.
Yeah, obsessive as I am I will try to enumerate what I've read since then.

Unfortunately these days I read so slowly that what I say is, "I can read 10 books a year as long as 8 of them are YA, and the other two are by J. D. Robb. I think part of the reason that I read more than that is because Spouse & I did several trips, LONG trips, some of them, where I read out loud while he drove.

Between March 2012 and January 2014 (in no order at all):

Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire. (October Daye #6)
The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff (2nd book in the DoubleLetter Gale Girls series)
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (I fear this may be the last on in this series.)
Outward Bound by Juanita Coulson (Children of the Stars book 2)
Legacy of Earth by Juanita Coulson (Children of the Stars book 3)
Gilded Latten Bones by Glen Cook (A Garrett, P.I. Novel)
Wicked Bronze Ambition by Glen Cook (A Garrett, P.I. Novel, One I fear may be the last)
The Chick is in the Mail edited by Esther Friesner. I know I read some of this before, maybe all of it. One story included is one I've been LOOKING for in order to read again, but nobody had any idea what I was talking about. It is _Looking for Rhonda Honda_ by Wiliam Sanders.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.
The Retroactive Time Machine by Ted Reynolds. He takes the story of The Time Machine and tweaks it very little, and presents a completely different, joyous, surprising, world. One I find I like quite a bit more than Wells' world. Maybe because I'm more cynical now? More sophisticated? But moments of "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" trade off with chills of "Wow -- I never thought of it THAT way". While I enjoy perusing it with my eyes on the screen, I do so look forward to holding this finally-progressing book in my hands and recommending it to everyone.
Driven to Distraction (Recognizing and coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood).
Blackout by Mira Grant.
New York to Dallas by JDRobb.
Celebrity in Death by JDRobb.
Delusion in Death by JDRobb.
Calculated in Death by JDRobb.
Short Story by Ted Reynolds: Two Passions
Short Story by Ted Reynolds: The Seven Sorrows of Mary
Short Story by Ted Reynolds: Not for Women's eyes
Short book of Poetry by Ted Reynolds: Tangents of Love
The Goblin Master's Grimoire by Jim C. Hines (My only disappointments with this book were finding 3 errors (of the typo/grammar sort) in the introduction, and a few more in the actual stories.)
How I spent the Apocalypse by Selina Rosen. This author never fails to provide a fine romp... but I gave up counting the typo/grammar/Malapropism errors I found. The first was on page 8. The second on page 9.
(And now come the YA sorts of books)
The Book of the Night by Pearl North (the 3rd book in the Libyrinth series)
Silence by Michelle Sagara. Heard her read a chapter or so from it, and loved what I heard. Bought it hardcover. Have bought the sequel hardcover as well.
Basajaun by Rosemary Van Deuren. Author is a friend of my favorite barista, and just happened to appear at PenguiCon just after I learned of it. Enjoyed the book
Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
A Wrinkle in Time (50th anniversary edition) by Madeleine L'Engle
The Hobbit (ebook) by J. R. R. Tolkien. Twice. Following each of the movies.
Sword of Lies by Mike Vasich
(Graphic Novels)
Digger by Ursula Vernon. I'm. In. Love.
Clockwork Game by Jane Irwin. I'd read the portions of this that were put up to the web a while back, so when she did a kickstarter to do the whole thing and do it right, I jumped all over that. An amazing, complex, and beautiful story with artwork to match.
Loki: Nine Naughty Tales of the Trickster by Mike Vasich

Still reading:
The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner. I started reading it near the start of June, 2011. That's embarrassing. The con where I borrowed it is no longer going on. At least I have my loaner's e-mail...
Unprotected Texts by Jennifer Wright Knust. I learned about this on Fred Pohl's blog, http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/. Read at it in many places. Don't currently know where it is.
Turn Left To Tomorrow by Robin Wayne Bailey
Black Dogs by Ursula Vernon
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (InCryptid book 1) -- It's gone missing and I'm not done yet!!!
Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella (eBook)
So Recently Rent a World by Andrei Codrescu


Sequels I Want to read: Philip Pullman: The Subtle Knife. Own in paperback.
Philip Pullman: The Amber Spyglass Own in paperback.
Touch by Michelle Sagara. Sequel to Silence. Have bought it in Hard Cover.
T-Shirt

(no subject)

"Media Monkey" was recommended to handle some of my music, story, and etc. files.

I will give the recommender the benefit of the doubt that perhaps it has changed since he recommended it.

This product does what it does fairly well, but it insinuates itself into everything. When I want to click on a CD and have WMP (yeah, I'm a weirdo that likes WMP) just play it rather than doing the several-minute launch of MM, even when I right-click and try to choose something other than the 3 or 4 MM options, it usually launches MM.

When MM launches, it requests permission to update my drive. If I say no, it asks again. I have not found a limit to the number of times that this will happen.

Really, I would like to leave it on my system, in case I ever really want to use it, just keep it from being a default in anything (/everything?) but I no longer know how to modify (short of going into the registry) the tasks that will be considered on a click. And it seems to be everywhere. And in the places where I have said "make something else the default action", it seems that that is never "sticky"; the next time I try it I have to fight with MM again.

Having just spent about 3 hours fighting to get my computer rebooted and functioning again after the last time I got into a MM fight (you see, the only options I have are to say 'fine -- update the HD', and to go to task manager and manage to click on and kill the application between the times that it's "asking" me) I'm going to rip it out by its toenails. And hope that makes it go away.
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Joy

Things coming together after a long time

I like it when things come together.

Many MANY years ago I was still active on M-Net -- (Guess it was '88 or '89 based on what follows) a fellow there asked me to dinner and a movie. I don't know if he thought it was a date, but I thought it going for food and entertainment with an acquaintance.

We (he) had settled on "Twins". (I didn't get out much, didn't watch TV, hadn't seen any trailers.) The theater tried to convince us otherwise. There were 2 movies starting at the exact same time, in about the same location, except the door to one of the theaters was hidden. We went through the door we'd seen.

Near the start of the movie, I remember the voice-over, which I thought said "If you build it, they will come". I remember him saying "we're in the wrong place", and us ducking out to find the other hidden theater in the same location. I remember seeing Twins, although other than the 2 primary actors, I don't remember anything about it.

Fast forward to this morning. I'd finished reading "The Hobbit" on my Nook the other day, and decided I was going to take a bath & read a bit on the next book. It was one I'd gotten free with the Nook, or with a dictionary I'd bought, or something. Not one I chose, but it's a book, and I was going to have a few minutes stationary time.

"If you build it he will come." I wondered if the book was riffing off of the movie. (Published '82. Not likely. I didn't find M-Net until after then.) I wondered if the movie had stolen the voice-over from the book (despite being about something completely different). When I got downstairs, though, google revealed that there was a third possibility that I hadn't even counted upon, and it turns out I had completely misheard the quote at the start of the movie. *sigh*

I guess I would rather be correct than right, and now I know. Field of Dreams the movie was based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, and what I had actually heard was, "If you build it, he will come."
Bad food

my thumb, it must be black and gross

This past year I stumbled across a "Topsy Turvy" tomato planter in a dollar store and couldn't resist.
Bought a dingus to hang it from, some more planters to balance said dingus, an Earth Box, a lot of good soil, a green-house thingy with growing peat pills in which to sprout seeds, and some seeds.

Babied them. Did everything I was supposed to. Well, Instead of just throwing away the weakest sprouts in the pill I tried to get them to live elsewhere, but I did remove them.

Started a bit too late in the year. Killed about 4 sprouts (my best) figuring out how to use the Topsy Turvy and what my problem was. Finally got one to take. The Earth Box suggested that for tomatoes I only plant 2 plants, but I cheated and planted 3. 2 died almost immediately. I put two more in those spots and they died almost immediately. I said, "One is good". I dug up four old large pots, and some crappy dirt from old dead plants and planted the remaining sprouts in them. I babied them. I watered them often. I researched on the web. Finally I got some flowers. And eventually some tiny green tomatoes. Two of them on the Topsy Turvy. About a half dozen other flowers on that plant never turned into fruit. (Web says that the flowers contain both sexes and do not need to be artificially fertilized.) I was amused that my crappy-dirt tomatoes grew taller first, and produced fruit first. My surviving Earth Box tomato, though, had a thicker stem and looked more hardy.

Went away for WorldCon. They looked fine when I got back. (Someone was looking in on the houses and plants.) Went away for the weekend. Had a BUSY week, and only just yesterday was home before dark and got to look at them. Since it was chilly this morning (they had been talking frost, but I don't believe it did get that cold) I figured I'd bring them inside to the enclosed-but-not-heated porch. Brought my topsy turvy in. It has 2 small green tomatoes on it. Brought one of the crappy-dirt plants in (after removing 2 slugs from the pot). It has one not-great-looking, slightly less green tomato. Brought the other 3 crappy-dirt plants and the earth box near to the house. One was completely infested with ants, so I'll not bring it inside. 4 or 5 tomatoes had fallen off. They were rotten and something that looks a bit like a skinny pill bug was living in them. I picked up the husks, and they dove out the holes and to the ground. Most of the tomatoes still on the vines have ugly patches. I'm suspecting that something has laid eggs in them. Some are downright rotten although not yet ripe. Some are smaller than a shooter and browning. The best looking small green tomato (2 inch diameter) fell off while I was carrying the pot (with the tomato cage attached -- they all have cages except for the Topsy Turvy and the Earth Box. I've put it on the windowsill to see what it will do. What's the worst that can happen? It will decompose and its juices will destroy that entire wall and whatever is living in it will infest the house? Sort of an "Invasion of the Alien House Snatchers"?

I didn't expect to make my money back in tomatoes, but dangit, I expected about a dozen. And now it looks like I might not even get one.

Having the opportunity to feed the slugs, the ants, and other creepie-crawlies is scant consolation after the money, and especially time, I spent.
T-Shirt

Another one bites the dust

I'm dreadfully behind in reading LJ -- truly almost 2 years -- but I will catch up.
I've been busy enough that I've not been able to read any of the comics I used to enjoy (Helen, Girl Genius, Sluggy, Freefall, Kevin & Kell, User Friendly... and many more) but I will, eventually, catch up.

About 2 years ago I was looking for an inexpensive item and a friend mentioned Tanga.com. Cool beans. Bought the item, visited occasionally, and discovered their "daily fun" page. Don't much like that name, but there were puzzles published daily -- Rebus-like puzzles many of them, with answers from one word to 27 words long sometimes. I started showing up when the puzzles were released (10pm in Eastern time) and actually eventually became a contender, kind of. Broke the "top 100" barrier eventually. Now I usually do. Sometimes even make the top 10. On the rare occasion I've solved it first. They had a backlog -- going back to 9/14/2006. And I like a good challenge, so I've been working my way through it. Some more difficult than others. Some, early on, I gave up on (Renfurdson's Cleopatra comes to mind) and had the answer displayed. Then there were a few where I asked for the answer and it took away all the points I could have gotten for solving it, but did not tell me the answer, so I had to struggle to really solve it. Some of the early ones didn't have the conversation attached that had contained clues when they were originally solved.

Some of the puzzles were awful for someone as media-non-savvy as I: Identifying 15 celebrities (most of whom I've never heard of) who have their tongue stuck out. Some required knowledge of the rules of football or shuffleboard or bowling. Or state capitals, morse code, and various encryption techniques I'd not been familiar with. All in all I enjoyed it a lot.

I've done all of them since I started doing the puzzles (looks like 1/1/2012), and I've done all of the puzzles up to, at this point, March 29, 2009, as well as many random ones between . Right now there are 10165 puzzles published, and I figure I've done something over half of them.

I figured I would finish them -- to get the message when I say "show me a random one I've not solved" that there were no more. A few months ago there was rumbling that something called "Thought Lobster" would replace "Daily Fun", and I figured that while I wasn't keen on change, as long as they kept the history and the points (I still haven't broken the top 100 of all time puzzlers) "by any other name" and all that.

Tanga was more than an intellectual challenge, it was a community. And it was one that an introvert like me could deal with. 5 minutes spent competing against folks, 10 minutes spent helping someone. A spat of exchanged e-mails over a weekend. They had their own vocabulary -- salt & FMHG. And it was something I looked forward to every evening plus Saturday morning. Yeah, it caused stress when my computer chose 10pm as its time to pitch a tantrum, but overall it was good.

I learned yesterday that as of 9/30/2013, it is going away. It is not going to Thought Lobster. The archives, the conversations, the proposal-in-the-form-of-a-puzzle, the infamous Cleopatra. Just gone. And I don't have the time, know-how, or equipment to offer to take it over.

I would be less impacted if you told me that the GPS satellites were going away tomorrow.

Whimper.
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