Sunday, November 30, 2008

Even Though I Fail Anyway

I don't have much to say, except to recommend a cool program.

Simply called, "NZB", this handy dandy little utility will load an NZB file and download the appropriate files. I had a heck of a time finding a decent NZB newsreader for Windows until I stumbled upon this gem. Maybe somebody else will find this link useful.

Missed!

Dadgummit. I almost made it. It's not that I couldn't post, see -- it's that I forgot.

They say it's a problem when it interferes with your life, right? I'm afraid it's become a problem.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leashed

I told myself, awhile back, that I'd never take a job that required an on-call responsibility. This job, the one I've just recently begun, does. And it's not so bad.

I don't do much on the weekends anyway, for one, and it's a handy way to make a few extra bucks. I suppose if I didn't like what I did, it'd be a different story, but as it stands, I'm perfectly happy with it. I'm covering the holiday, and I only got one call yesterday, and it was in the morning. Today? Half a dozen.

I'm gonna have me a fun time shopping next weekend, methinks. This weekend, I'm neck deep in the development of a new 'toon.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Song For the Bird

I sang a bit of blues for Tom.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part IX

Giles was waiting. Every minute or so, he’d glance at the clock on his desk, then he would look back at the door, anxious in anticipation. She said she’d meet him at eight, and it was eight fifteen already. Had something terrible happened?

Just as he was nearing panic, a knock came from the door. He bolted up, both startled and relieved, and slid the peep hole door open. It was her. He un-chained, unlocked, and opened the door, preparing himself.

The mousy girl at the door lowered her head, her average brown hair falling over her face. “Hey,” she mumbled. “Sorry I’m late.”

“Oh, it’s nothing at all,” said Giles, stepping aside. “Please, come in. Bella, right?” Giles, of course, knew full well her name. He’d committed it to memory when he first ran into her downtown, the helpless girl who shyed away even from him. She was pinned to a wall by one of the newly-arrived vampires (surely about to be dinner), but Giles was able to shoo him off with a wave of his hand and a few loud noises. For being so invulnerable, the new vampires appeared to be terribly skittish.

Bella nodded, stepping through the door and stumbling over the threshold. Giles caught her by the arm. She remembered their first meeting, too – this strange man with a strange accent had passed by her and Edward, but he stopped to wave his arms about and shout “Shoo! Shoo!” as they embraced. This confused her, but Edward just rolled his eyes and ran away. Of course, he knew what Giles thought he saw, and he explained it to Bella later. Giles asked her name, and if she needed anything, and while she thought it a bit creepy, she was obliged to him for his apparent good will. Maybe he was just peculiar. In any case, he was her first contact here, and since she so badly wanted to go home, she figured she could seek his help in returning. She had no idea if he would be at all able to help her, but he at least seemed harmless enough.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Party it up!

The internet says I should have a holiday party, so by golly, I think I'm gonna do it. There will be garland and nogg and a shiny tree and presents. Maybe I'll pipe festive tunes in from the internet and hire a couple dancing elv-- err. Hrm.

Maybe there will just be festive tunes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Almost Missed

I'm exhausted. I nearly missed, but despite crashing at nine this evening, I woke up just in time to post.

What a strange list of priorities, my internal clock follows.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ah, but a goodie.

I spent some time with the grandparents this evening.

Once, quite a long time ago, a man went to an estate sale of a photographer. He bought a roll-top desk, and in it, he found a great number of negatives. This man loaned my grandpa the negatives so he could make prints, and make prints, he did. He's got about fifty of them.

My grandpa, being the technology enthusiast he is, decided to put digital copies of these prints on a DVD as a slide show. In helping, I talked him into sharing.



This photo is of downtown -- it's about two minutes south of my apartment. Apart from the dirt road now being paved and a conspicuous lack of horse-drawn carriages, it looks pretty much exactly the same now as it does in this photo. The only other change is the nearest building on the corner. It was rebuilt after the above picture was taken, and it now looks like this:



This unique historic record is one of the coolest things I've ever encountered. I don't understand the meaning behind a lot of these photos; the school house where my uncle went to kindergarten looks a little like a church, but that's about all I can say about it. Even so, I am quite pleased to have such a thing.

I've got a picture of my grandpa, too, when he was about seventeen. He's on a Whizzer. I look an awful lot like him.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part VIII

Giles sat in a chair at his desk, tapping an open book with his fingers. Books surrounded him – they were stacked two or three deep on his desk, all open to about the middle, and he had a stack next to him on the floor. The coffee table had half a dozen volumes spread open on it where Willow and Xander and Buffy had been researching. Giles, though, wasn’t looking any of the books. He was watching the door.

These new vampires appeared about a week ago, but Giles hadn’t figured out where they came from. He also didn’t know for sure if they were actually vampires – from what he could tell (by Spike’s account, mostly), they were significantly more powerful than the vampires he knew. There was something in their eyes, too, some red inner fire. Rumor also had it they were immune to sunlight and holy water. Immune. This, alone, had Giles thinking they were some creature other than the true vampire. A hybrid, perhaps? He could find nothing in the texts about actual vampires immune to sunlight apart from a few passages alluding to stories from the sixteenth century, and those were unreliable, at best.

On top of their strange physical characteristics, their behavior was also extraordinary. They hunted in very specific areas – normal enough – but instead of killing primarily to feed, it appeared these newcomers were hunting for sport. Some of their victims were hardly drained at all. Only the cruelest vampires of lore would behave like that (Spike had made sure Giles recognized that he, in fact, knew plenty about being a cruel vampire of lore). Beyond that, their hunting areas were moving in a clearly organized fashion from east to west. To top it off, it’s like these demons were made for the hunt. They attracted their prey with uncanny ease, like a neon mosquito light.

He hoped that by spreading books all about, the gang would get the idea he was knee-deep in research and excuse him from odd behavior. He did get a bit odd when he was onto something, he knew. Shooing Buffy and Willow and Xander from the apartment was a bit extreme, but they didn’t seem to question him. As it happened, Giles wasn’t actually knee-deep in research – in fact, he had scoured most of his volumes already, and he had come up utterly dry. There was nothing in there about vampires immune to sunlight or with blood-red eyes or with the ability to run at what appeared to be light speed. He just needed the kids out of the apartment. Perhaps it was rash and irresponsible to send them into danger, but for all he was unable to find in his books, Giles had a lead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time for a Change

After a couple weeks of oatmeal, dry cereal, and PBJ, I'd had quite enough of all three. Tonight, I had steak.

The only "trick" to fried steak is a single malt soak. I'm not sure how popular it is, but since cooking evaporates the alcohol, it leaves the steak with a shade of that rich, almost smoky scotch flavor. I can't imagine doing a steak any other way.



Any excuse to eat mushrooms an' onions is a valid one.



Don't skimp on the olive oil. If you don't have to cover the pan to prevent a splattered kitchen, you probably haven't used enough.



This here is a dinner of fried steak, beans and corn bread, and steamed frozen corn. I ate well tonight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Strung Out

I re-strung today. I wandered around in the music store for about half an hour before I got my strings, plunking on this or that. To my credit, I only left with what I went for -- two sets of guitar strings and a set of ukulele strings.

In stringing, I learned stuff.

If your guitar has a floating bridge and you change string gauges, adjusting the bridge and getting the strings properly in tune is a heck of a trick. Took me the better part of an hour, no joke.

If your strings have been out in the cold, let them warm up inside before you string your guitar with them. Those things whip pretty hard when they break.

Stringing a ukulele is somewhat of an art form. I'd never done it before, and despite getting the strings on backwards the first time, I didn't do too poorly in the end. Those little twisty knots on the bridge are neat looking.

Yes, so I have nothing important to say. It's a day, though, and a day requires a post. There you have it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Butterfly

I fell in love with this Weezer song in sixth grade (read: when they were still cool). My rendition here isn't exactly how it goes, but I figured such a pretty song deserved more colorful chords.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And Now, for Something Completely Different

No, really.

I don't normally do politics, but I must speak this once.

One senator has already been convicted of what amounts to corruption charges (close enough, at least), and he retains his seat. Now, our vice president is indicted on an entirely unrelated charge.

While the charge sounds weak and politically motivated, it illustrates an elemental point -- one which, sadly, is sort of an elephant in the living room by now. I have my doubts about Mr. Change's actual... changiness. To fix a system this broken, I'm afraid we're going to need more help.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part VII

Something rustled again in the woods, and Xander thought he heard a pained groan again. Sure, he thought, I know this game. I’m not so easily fooled.

“I’m sorry,” a timid voice rose from just behind the tree line. “I fell.” A mousy girl of seventeen or eighteen emerged from behind a tree. The simple dress she wore seemed entirely out of place in Sunnydale and not quite loud enough to suit a vampire, but she was pale enough to pass.

Xander, quite sure of the vampire’s ruse at this point, stepped forward now with his fists raised awkwardly in front of his face. “You can’t fool me!” he said, his voice shaking a little.

The girl cowered.

“Xander, stop,” said Willow. “She’s not a vampire.”

Xander stopped where he was, his fists still raised, and he turned back toward Willow. “What do you mean? She’s all pale, and she’s certainly not from—“

There was a flash of shadow from the woods, and before anybody knew what was happening, Xander was pinned to the ground under a bristling vampire – one of the new arrivals. Xander’s face twisted in fear as he stared, paralyzed, into the vampire’s eyes.

“That’s a vampire!” Willow yelled, pointing helpfully.

The girl, on the other hand, didn’t move. She didn’t even react, apart from a mild look of awe on her face.

The vampire, snarling like a feral animal, looked into Xander’s eyes for a moment, then his face softened, and as soon as he had appeared, he was gone. He didn’t get up and leave, no; just like he appeared, he just… vanished.

Xander didn’t get up. A look of utter confusion joined the fear on his face, and he brushed his hands down and across his chest in a panic, like he was trying to rid himself of the memory of the beast on top of him. “What the… but he just… was that a… am I alive?”

“That was Edward. He can tell what you’re thinking,” said the girl. “He must not have seen a threat.”

“You know him?” Xander’s mouth gaped in disbelief. Then, a bit hurt, “What do you mean, he didn’t see a threat?” Then, disbelieving again, “He can read minds?”

“He’s not evil. Well, sort of. He doesn’t eat people, usually,” the girl explained. Then, she added, “He’s just eaten, anyway.”

“What’s going on?” Xander demanded. Willow helped him to his feet.

“Vampires. I was just on my way to—“ The almost surprised look of just having remembered something came to the girl’s face, and with that revealing bit of information, she stumbled back into the forest. By the time Xander decided to follow her, the sound of her crashing through the woods had faded.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Singin'

I start singing, and I can't easily stop. I didn't think to record a video until I was about through, since I was just messing around with Garage Band. This is the last singin' video for awhile, honest.




Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Multimedia

I'm not so good at singing, but dang, it's fun.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Control Freak

So, I have a problem. I'll admit to it, at least -- they do say admitting it is the first step to recovery, right? No, screw recovering. Need WoW. NEED IT.


I may not have self-control, but I can at least think ahead. I know I'm too lazy to log in and change the settings, and it's a good reminder that says "Hey, dude. Enough."

I'm afraid of losing my life, what can I say? Plenty of people devote themselves so deeply to this game (or any game, for that matter), they don't get to experience their own life. The last thing I want to live is a one-dimensional existence, absorbed in this virtual world. It's not a bad place, to be sure -- I love this game -- but it's not the only place, by any means.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part VI

Willow and Xander stopped at the swings on the playground and let themselves down into them. They weren’t doing much good at all, and it showed in their disappointed faces. Giles had sent them away shortly after Buffy left his apartment, and with these frightening new vampires recently arrived, the pair wondered briefly if Giles had gone mad in sending them out in the dark. He had, of course, gone mad in the way one does when consumed by a mystery, and the way Giles was acting about this (he had more books piled about his apartment, opened to seemingly random pages, than Willow or Xander had ever seen – and that said quite a bit, there) left it to no great feat of logic to assume he wasn’t thinking about much else. It was alright, anyway. Buffy was around, somewhere, and there hadn’t been any reports of the new arrivals in this area. They sure seemed to stick to certain areas.

As they swung back and forth idly, Willow kicking the dirt at her feet and Xander staring off at nothing in the woods adjacent to the park, the wind blew dry leaves across the grass. It was peaceful here tonight, despite the “super vampire” threat looming overhead. Willow broke the silence.

“Do you think Giles will find anything?” She continued kicking the dirt around at her feet each time she swung forward.

“I’m sure he will. He’s Giles, right? He’s the book guy! We were probably slowing him down.” Xander smiled wide, assuring himself as much as he tried to assure Willow. He seemed distracted, too.

“Yeah,” Willow replied, drifting back off into her own thoughts.

They sat in silence again for a few minutes, neither having much more to say.

This time, Willow wasn’t the one to break the silence. There was a “CRASH!” in the woods, followed by an “Oof” or an “Ohh.” It was hard to tell which, as startled as Willow and Xander both were.

Xander jumped off his swing and put his arm out in front of Willow, expecting the worst, prepared to fight whatever was out there. “Hey! I know you’re out there,” Xander yelled, trying to sound as assertive as he could. “Come out! Show yourself!” He had balled his free hand into a fist.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part V

“You’re one of them?” Buffy asked.

“I’m from the same place.” Edward’s voice was calm, measured. “I’m not ‘one of them’, though. I’ve made a different… lifestyle choice. Listen, there’s a lot we can talk about. Is there somewhere safe we can go? They’ve just discovered we’re here.”

Buffy, while not completely affected by Edward’s beauty, was still under a bit of his thrall. “… Sure. Giles is probably waiting for me, anyway. I told him I would find out where they’re at, and I figured they’d be here. We can go there.” Buffy seemed to trail off a bit at the end of her sentence, apparently lost in other thoughts. She was staring.

Spike scoffed, stepping forward now. If there’s anything he knew, it was that Buffy was susceptible to pretty vampires. And Spike, well, with Angel out of the picture, he was starting to become more protective. “We’re not going anywhere ‘till you tell us what’s going on. This isn’t right. It’s not right,” he repeated weakly as Edward turned toward him.

“We’re going now. They’re on their way.”

Spike stood, silent. Then he resigned, deflating, and they were off. Edward seemed to disappear into thin air, and Buffy and Spike started towards Giles’.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part IV

Buffy and Spike both turned to see a pale kid of eighteen or twenty leaning up against the roof access door. He had dark circles under his eyes, and despite his eyes being a rich, golden color (the others, Spike noticed the last time he was up close, had a sinister red in their eyes), he was unmistakably one of them.

Buffy raised her fists, and Spike moved out of her swinging radius. He planned to take a flank, and he didn’t fancy getting caught on the dangerous side of Buffy’s attack.

“I can help you,” said the stranger in a subdued, musical tone, looking straight at Buffy. He took a slow step forward and held his hands out from his side, palms forward. There’s no need for alarm.

Buffy lowered her fists almost as soon as he spoke. She saw a sort of pristine beauty in the man, and the rest of the world almost melted away. She stepped toward him, not thinking much of anything.

“Hey! What the…” Spike, sensing an impending disaster, took the matter into his own hands. He charged, arms wide, inflated.

The young stranger lifted his arm in a flash just as Spike dove to tackle him. The impact was audible, and Spike found himself skidding away on his back before he knew what happened. The stranger stood still, as though he hadn’t moved at all, and he didn’t break eye contact with Buffy.

Spike looked up with his head still down, surprised and hot with anger, and he cradled his ribs with his arm. He sneered and rose to his feet, but he didn’t charge again. He remembered the last time he tried to fight.

Buffy recovered immediately, and she raised her hands again and moved in. Every swing met with one of the newcomer's arms, glancing off harmlessly. As Buffy moved forward, the kid stepped back, but apparently of his own accord. He kept Buffy’s frenzied attacks at bay with no apparent effort.

At length, the newcomer jumped to the top of the roof access door, out of Buffy’s reach. “I can help you,” he said again, as coolly as he’d said it the first time.

Buffy wasn’t as affected this time around. She didn’t let down her guard, but she stepped back a couple paces. “Who are you?”

“Edward,” the stranger said from atop the roof. “Edward Cullen.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hooked

I told myself I'd play Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I played my weekend away.

Starting now, I'll play Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

It's Monday.

Sorry, I've got to go. Pressing... business. I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Multi Media

If you have children or small animals who may be frightened of terrible noises, you may want to have them leave the room.



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Doomed



It's been a good year or two. I think I can handle it responsibly. I hope I can handle it responsibly.

At least, when I disappear and fail NaBloPoMo again, you'll know why.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More Media

So, Twilight. There's a movie coming out. As horrible as the book was, I fancy the concept, and I have hope the movie will do a lot more for character development. I can be sure, at least, it'll contain fewer adverbs than the book (... he said, hopefully). I haven't been to a movie at the cinema in ages, but I think it's time.

In other news, I finished Stardust. What a fancy tale! That's two novels I've read by Neil Gaiman so far, and I've not been disappointed by either. I do, being the sap I am, have to admit I liked Stardust better than Neverwhere, but there's no debating the reason. If any man denies liking a wholesome love story, he's probably not telling the truth. At least, I hope he's not telling the truth. Such a man would be sad, indeed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part III

With an inaudible groan, Buffy went on. “What are they doing?” She saw them, too, darting around in the shadows.

“It’s like they’re looking for something,” Spike reported, rising to the opportunity to show his usefulness. “They’ve covered the two blocks east of here so far, and they’re moving west. Buggers are fast… they’ve only been at it for half an hour, at most.”

Buffy watched the new arrivals below in silence.

“What are you doing up here?” Spike hesitated a bit, then added, “I thought you’d be at Giles’, looking through the books and all that.”

“I got restless.”

“Well, have you found anything? My last run-in with these guys wasn’t a romp in the park, you know. We’re going to have to do something about this eventually.”

“I’m aware of that,” Buffy snipped. She’d been following a barren trail for days, and she didn’t need to be reminded of the fruitlessness of their efforts. “They got three more, all the way across town. I think there are more than there were a few days ago,” she said, softening a little.

“Are you sure those weren’t just Sunnydale vamps?” Spike asked. As much as he was in awe of the newcomers, he knew well enough that having more around wasn’t a good thing. They were a threat to him, too.

“I was in the park where they attacked. Whatever these things are, they’re not like the vampires we know. One of them tore clean through the side of a garbage dumpster. I can’t imagine why.”

A low voice came from behind them. “They’re looking for something, indeed.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Brilliant Work

I've started reading Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and I must say, it's absolutely terrific. It's a fantasy with faeries and gnomes and witches, which I quite like, and it's superbly written. It takes magic, indeed, to portray a prince in a fantasy world as emo. It's quotable, too:

"Every lover in his heart is a madman and in his head a minstrel."

Mmm. I love me a good story.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part II

Ever since these new vampires (as far as anybody could tell, they were indeed vampires, although they sure didn’t fit the conventional mold) arrived, Spike had entertained grand fantasies involving his immunity to sunlight and holy water, coupled with unimaginable strength. He could practically taste the freedom this virtual indestructibility would provide. Most immediately, the blasted chip the Initiative put in his brain would be no obstacle at all. He wasn’t sure how he’d get rid of it, given superhum— er, supervampire powers, but he was sure it would be a trivial process. Beyond that, though, the world would be his! He fancied himself the slaughterer of cities, harking back to his glory days in Vienna and Shanghai, except now, he’d be flying solo, unstoppable by anyone. He’d kill Angel first, then he’d come back around to Sunnydale and take care of his business with Buffy. In his inner revelry, he could almost smell her in the breeze, and it made him smile with the delight of his imagination.

“They’re--”

Spike turned in a flash at the first syllable, startled by the voice beside him, and his hand flew up to lock Buffy’s neck in a cold, steel grip. The instant Buffy’s face registered, Spike’s head exploded in white light, blinding him with an awful pain. “Augghh!” He reeled, pressing his hand against the side of his head, staggering backward toward the edge of the roof.

Buffy whipped her arm out and caught Spike by a handful of leather jacket and the front of his shirt, pulling him back to safety, just as he’d started to topple.

“You should be careful sneaking up on a vampire like that,” Spike said, recovering himself and readjusting his jacket. Then, with a self-satisfied smirk, “You might get hurt.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Worlds Collide - Part I

From this perspective, even in the dark, the blurs of shadow were clearly visible, darting through the alleys, disappearing into shadows, then reappearing again, almost instantaneously, from another shadow yards away. There were three, it seemed, although they moved so quickly, it was hard to keep them straight enough to count. It was hard to tell, too, what they were doing in public. They’d last fed only a couple days ago, as far as Willow could find from the news reports, and by the body count, it was quite a feast.

Spike didn’t really have any legitimate reason to watch these new arrivals go about their business, seeing as he ended up in a crumpled mess the last time he tried to fight one, and there really wasn’t any new intel to gain by watching, but his vigilance wasn’t entirely for the “good of mankind,” as he so liked to make his recent allies believe. To Buffy and Giles and the rest of the Scooby gang, Spike’s enthusiasm was a result of his inability to hurt humans, complicated by a keen taste for violence. This was part of it, indeed, as he needed some excuse for a good scrap, but now, looking down unseen from a downtown rooftop, Spike wasn’t thinking of himself as a savior. He fancied what he could do if he were one of them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Slacker

I went to a party last night. It's an exhausting affair, the gathering of dozens of people I barely know with the intent to... mingle. It was a good time, all things considered, but I don't think I'll be up for socializing for another year or so. In the course of the night, the majority of the partygoers consumed copious amounts of alcohol, sang loudly, and made a respectable mess. One lady, included in the "majority of partygoers" mentioned previously, called me pretty. I'll have a large head about that for a couple months, to be sure, but I wonder about the word choice. Despite being quite male, that's not the first time a stranger has directed the same word at me. I'm afraid I may have an unconscious habit of... batting my lashes or something. Odd.

Another day passes with nary a word written of the fic I'd fancied writing this month. Does thinking about it count?

In other news, I'm hooked on a new song. If I get everything together, I may record and post that. That'd make for some amusing content, at least.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It's Time

So, folks, it's that time of year again. NaBloPoMo is back. I'm too wimpy to write a novel, but I may do a bit of fiction.

Fan fiction, that is. If I can find the courage to post. What happens when the Meyerverse (see the horrid "Twilight" series) invades Sunnydale? I can imagine there'll be a bit of mayhem and some hurt feelings.

Hurt... feelings? Man, this could be pretty awful.