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The fitness center in my apartment complex is maybe 100 or 200 yards from my door. It's a short and usually uneventful walk across the manicured grounds - though a bit dark at night, as one of the lamps is out. I made this trek a few minutes ago, dressed comfortably and with my customary black beret perched atop my head.

About halfway across the green, out of nowhere, I felt a sudden swoosh, and my hat was suddenly gone. I looked around in the dark to see if a freak gust of wind had somehow knocked it to the ground - implausible, since the weather was calm - and then peered around warily for some human prankster. But there wasn't a soul in sight.

I went back to my apartment, put a knit cap on my head, and proceeded to the gym for a little exercise. This time I brought a flashlight with me. On the way back - again without warning - whoosh! and my cap was gone.

With the aid of the flashlight, I identified the likely culprit as a big owl, now sitting defiantly in the tree and staring back at me with a distinct look of "Yeah, it was me. What ya gonna do about it?"

So that is my obligatory Halloween story. I was relieved of my hat, not once but twice, by an audacious owl, and I guess I'm lucky that's all the critter took, or I might be wandering the trails of Hillsdale like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

White Horse

Dec. 1st, 2012 11:09 pm
asher553: (asher63)
Via the indispensable Friends-of-Friends page, a 1971 whiskey ad. Words fail me.


May. 23rd, 2012 08:41 pm
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Pakistan Jails Doctor Who
[read the rest of the headline at the link]
Not to make light of a very serious and sad situation - but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who did that double-take. (HT ithildyn.)

Spam goes steampunk. (HT mosellegreen.)
See previous:


Feel it.
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Dumt & Farligt have way more fun than Mythbusters. This is the "Don't try this at home" video to end all don't-try-this-at-home videos.

Zounds! Lolcats!

Previews of the "Hereville 2" cover, by my friend Barry Deutsch.

Don't judge me.

T-Mobil girl gets a makeover.  Will she end up like Erin?
asher553: (Default)
How do you figure that it brightens my day to learn that "5 connections changed jobs so far"?

Also, I know it actually says "titles", but I first misread the message as "Click here to view their new titties." Please be careful with the Comic Sans.
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I found myself pondering the subject of unisex or androgynous names - I'm talking about fairly common or traditional names that are, or have been, given to both boys and girls. (Of course, nicknames like "Chris" that are short for names with separate feminine and masculine forms don't count.) After a little brainstorming, I wrote down a few and checked them out on Name Voyager.

Leslie tops the list.
Looks like there've always been a few girls named Leslie, but it went from predominantly masculine to predominantly feminine in the 1950s. Now it's almost exclusively a girls' name.

Kelly was about evenly split for boys and girls in the 1950s, but again, the girls took over after that.
In our preschool co-op, though, there's a mom named Kelly and a dad named Kelly.

People have always been naming boys Taylor, but around the 1970s it caught on big - and was an even bigger hit for girls.

Lynn: same story, but earlier.

A steady trickle of boy Ashleys was suddenly engulfed in a tidal wave of girl Ashleys in the seventies.
I had it in my head that Ashley was fairly common for men in bygone days - perhaps because of the references to Miss Emily's mythical beau Ashley Longworth in "The Waltons". But apparently it only ranked 693 in the 1890s.

"You can't call a boy Winnie" but you can call him Robin (with or without the Christopher).
You can call a girl Robin too, and from the 1940s on, lots of people did.

Ethel isn't exactly the hippest name these days, but up until about 1900 it was quite the rage for girls - and there were a few boy Ethels too.

The craze for naming girls Lindsay hit in the 1970s.

Dylan really caught on for boys in the 1980s, and brought in a few girls after the 90s. For some reason I expected to see more girl Dylans, but no, that one is still mainly boys' territory.

Despite ending in an A, the name Asa (after the King of Judah) doesn't seem to have ever been popular as a girls' name. It's pretty obscure as a boys' name too, but seems to be on its way back after falling off the chart completely in the mid-20th century. Asa was very big in the 19th century though. Every Stumptowner knows the name Asa Lovejoy, who founded Portland, Oregon, but missed out on the chance to name it Boston after losing that famous coin toss to Pettygrove.

ETA: And of course there's Shirley (see below). And Madison and Morgan, and Courtney and Whitney, and Lee and Dee. Kerry is about evenly split.
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For those who celebrate. And especially for those who don't.
asher553: (Default)
1. Hi.
2. I'm now on the cusp of two months in San Francisco.
3. TNG is great. His report card leaves room for improvement, but we can work on that. It's fun being with him.
4. The WOMD (Woman Of My Dreams) is great. Her parents are visiting from the East Coast and running her ragged (together with the baby) but she's holding up well.
5. I have a stye in my left eye. It's on the mend but still somewhat uncomfortable. Until today I didn't know what a "stye" was, until I googled 'sore spot eyelid' and voila, there was a detail-perfect description of the painful little zit that's been lodged on my lower left eyelid for the past few days. Live and learn.
6. Market Street is a great place to run in the earlyish morning: flat, long blocks, wide sidewalks.
7. Happy birthday [personal profile] lloli!
8. Marine Corps Birthday, Veterans' Day, [profile] heldc's birthday! It is a mystical synchronicity.
9. Hooboy ... [personal profile] melograna's mention of "a huge slice of angel food cake with peaches and strawberries" is giving me major pavlovs.
10. Just got the family clock and some of my grandmother's dishes out of storage.
11. Against my better judgment, I have allowed myself to be sucked into the social networking system whose name translates as "front part of the head + printed work containing numerous pages". * sigh *
12. I do not play zombies and vampires.
13. Or werewolves.
14. Family clock just chimed. I thought the noise of its ticking and chiming would keep me up now that I'm living in a studio, but no, I slept just fine last night and I actually find it relaxing.
15. Bought candles for the Sabbath. Not really the right kind, but they'll do. This is the first time in a long time.
16. Muni still sucks.
17. Muni has actually improved quite a bit over how bad it was a few years ago.
18. But Muni still sucks.
19. I did not go to the Castro Street Fair.
20. Or the Castro Street Halloween.
21. I was a BlackBerry owner for exactly one week.
22. The hard drives on both of my PowerBooks decided to die within six weeks of each other. Got 'em both replaced.
23. Finally bit the bullet and sent my Toshiba in for repairs too. It needs new capacitors in the power supply.
24. I've started reading one of those Teach Yourself UNIX books. I now know just enough to be very, very dangerous to my computer.
25. The temp-to-hire job wasn't. The agency had got it wrong, it was only a six-week temp assignment, no permanent-hire option. So I'm between gigs.
26. But I've got a possible gig starting soon, maybe this Friday.
27. My new iPod works a lot better than the old one did. Makes it more enjoyable to go out running now.
28. That plus the big sidewalks on Market Street means I don't have any more excuses not to run. So I'm doing 20-40 minutes on an almost daily basis now. That's better than I've done in a long time.
29. Halfway there!
30. The Harvest market down the street sells these cool ready-to-eat meals from India. They come in three brands - Koh-i-Noor, Tasty Bite, and Sanskriti - and numerous vegetarian flavors. They're awesome! It's Indian food in an MRE.
31. G's parents fly out on Thursday. Yay!
32. If you want me to friend you on MyFace, or whatever it's called, let me know.
33. Why do they call it a "wall", anyway?
34. I used to get in trouble for writing on the walls in high school. (Maybe that's the idea, it makes it sound more rebellious and fun.)
35. Fifty-seven looks like it ought to be a prime number, but it isn't; it's nineteen times three. (Math check: three twenties make 60; take one away from each of them and you've got three nineteens - 60 less three.) Fifty-nine is prime though.
34. I do not eat ketchup.
35. TNG still has some catching-up to do on his math, but he is rapidly closing the gap, I'm pleased to report.
36. I don't know if he likes ketchup. But he has developed a taste for mustard, which he didn't used to like.
37. And yes, "didn't used to" is perfectly good English, dammit.
38. I believe with perfect faith in the return of dot.Mac. And even if it be delayed, I will await it.
39. Even if it's another three frakkin' weeks.
40. Michael's in Las Vegas. Then he's going to Fallujah.
41. I am going to boycott Daylight Savings Time. Maybe I'll just set all my clocks to GMT.
42. I've never actually done that before; the most I've ever had is two or three clocks on GMT.
43. I spent about an hour this evening creating numerical tables in a hexadecimal number system I designed.
44. "The Queen's Courtesan" is now 40 chapters long.
45. That's probably at least 39 chapters too long.
46. On item 40, I was tempted to add, "Some folks get all the luck." And I do envy Michael for being able to travel in the Middle East, but really, when I look at my life now, with TNG and G and little Sophie, I think I'm pretty damn lucky.
47. I do miss Portland, though.
48. "Linden" by Jeanette Alexander and "Sargasso Sea" by Suzanne Cianni are two absolutely heart-rendingly beautiful pieces of music. Easily my two favorite instrumentals of recent memory.
49. I'm also actively developing a long-latent interest in classical music. Getting to be a big fan of Bach, Handel, and Tchaikovsky especially.
50. I have no immediate plans to upgrade to Vista or Leopard. I am a late adopter.
51. The building under construction next door was testing its alarm system very noisily at 7:30am last Saturday morning. (OK, the building itself wasn't doing anything, the people working on it did the testing.) I walked around the block, took down the name of the construction company and the project, found the company's website, and submitted a complaint by webmail. Don't know if that did the trick, but I haven't heard that fire alarm lately.
52. I haven't done any photography in a while and I miss it. Maybe I'll take my camera out for a walk around the neighborhood tomorrow.
53. The building I'm living in is as ugly as two or three sins on the outside, and it's not in the best neighborhood. But they've done a fairly decent job with the interior, and the courtyard (with swimming pool) goes quite a ways to compensate for the building's many faults.
54. I've finally learned the derivatives of the inverse trigonometric functions. Just in case I ever get around to enrolling in Calculus again.
55. G used to go to the St. Francis Fountain with Stephanie. We've been there together a few times and it's awesome. Hopefully we can get down there this weekend.
56. Maybe I'll take TNG there for a meet-up.
57. It's time for bed.
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There's a woman in our IT department who is a dead ringer for President Laura Roslyn.

* hearts *
asher553: (Default)
What an exciting morning I had. Apparently the last edition of Windows Update contained a bug that prevents Windows Updater from working properly. * eye roll *

And don't even get me started on Mac Mail.

But it's all good, everything, in fact, is good. Life is good.

Why? Oh, I don't know. I'm just in a good mood.
asher553: (Default)
It's three years today since my LiveJournal account went online. I haven't been posting continuously for that long; in fact there was a period of over a year when I didn't post at all. I began posting regularly about one year ago.

It's been quite a weekend. There is some good news, but that will have to wait for another post. Also, I saw Grindhouse last night, and ... wow! That movie might get its own post too. The soundtrack for both segments - "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof" - is phenomenal. Robert Rodriguez composed the pounding PT theme himself, proving once again that a Latino with a guitar can be very dangerous indeed.

(Side note: Angelo Badalamenti, who composed the score for "Mulholland Drive" - one of my all-time favorite films - also appeared in MD, as one of the Castigliani brothers.)

Passover is almost past and over, yay! Back to croissants with my coffee and beer with my ... er, beer, soon.
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Okay, look, people. "Earn over $900,000 more during your lifetime with a college degree" isn't a "FACT". It isn't even a declarative sentence.

asher553: (Default)
... at least for now.

My main gripe against Yahoo (and, by extension, its subsidiary Flickr) was their intrusive sign-in process. Well, for whatever reason, they seem to have eased up on that. I can sign in at Yahoo and they don't bug me again. Which was the whole point, right?

So - for now - I'm going to stop bad-mouthing Yahoo.

But they'd better behave themselves.

P.S. Oh did I mention? Here's my Flickr page -
asher553: (Default)
Don't look now, but I have another date. This weekend. This will make four dates in four consecutive weekends with this lady - no, make that FIVE dates in four weekends, because we saw each other last Friday night and again on Saturday afternoon, when I dragged her around Washington Park and got us lost. Incredibly, she is still speaking to me. More on this to follow.

In other news: I own more computers than is really decent. My new PC laptop is now up and running and fully loaded with goodies, after I figured out how to network it with my G5 and successfully imported my whole iPhoto collection (about 1000 images). Also got the PC's copy of Photoshop running glitchlessly after I figured out what was throwing it out of whack (it kept giving me an error message saying "Your computer's configuration has been changed ..."): It was that ten-key numeric keypad I bought a while back, which (I learned from my PC tech) uses a now-obsolete USB-1 connector instead of the current USB-2. (Color me confused, but wasn't the whole point of the USB thing to get *away* from these compatibility problems? I would ask, "When is a Universal Standard Bus not universal or standard?" but I think you get the point.)

Despite my best efforts, I have failed to get myself fired from Hotel California and I am still slaving away at my document scanner 8+ hours a day for the meager pittance they deign to pay me. Hey, it's all good. It's a job, and it'll look good on my résumé. Actually the work is not bad and the people are nice. (Well, most of them are nice, and the rest are interesting.) Anyway, HoCal is officially hiring me away from the staffing agency at the end of this month; I'm also taking a few days off from work around that time, so when I go back to work I'll be an official HoCal employee.
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"What in the hell are those gals up to?" Chapter 30 of TQC is *finally* finished and posted on the Space Lesbians site. It'll appear here in just a few minutes. [EDIT: It's up. Next post.]

Don't look now, but I may actually have a dating life.

I had a sore throat this morning, which I was able to convince myself was a sign of an onset of the flu; consequently, I called in sick today. (In plain English: I've been playing hookey.) My first sick day on the job, and dammit I think I've earned it.

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