Friday, September 29, 2006

hack one up for the gipper

This is a pretty fun puzzle brought to my attention by Sister-san. Don't give up until you're sure it's finished!


Monday, September 25, 2006

great things about my weekend

There was nothing extraordinary about my weekend, yet everything was great. To wit:

  • Got a phone message from Sister Amy Sunshine announcing the birth of her and Jazret’s long-awaited son Zayne. Woo hoo! Can’t wait to see pictures! I’m heading to the post office at lunchtime today to mail him a gift.
  • Enjoyed good martial arts classes, both teaching and learning.
  • Received an invitation to lunch with friends. I couldn’t join them, but it’s always nice to be asked.
  • Caught another Star Trek episode on TV. It’s a regular thing, apparently: Saturdays at 6:00 on channel 45.
  • Completed a 5-star sudoku with no mistakes. I’m a genius!
  • Stopped at a neighbor’s garage sale, met the neighbor — after living across the street for 6 years, I figured it was about time I introduced myself — scored 8 CDs for $8. Handel, Glenn Miller, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.
  • Made the first chili of the season and did some other cooking.
  • Mowed the lawn after 3 weeks of watching the grass grow taller and taller in the rain.
  • Cleaned house. I don’t really enjoy the cleaning, but I like the results.
  • Caught up on podcasts and videos.
  • Read good books.
  • Held happy cats.
  • Dreamed about Rockapella in drag. Details available if you really want them.

By and large, it’s the simple things that put a smile on my face. Judging from the list above, I’m rich.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's a boy!

British Columbia just became even more beautiful. How?

Sister Amy Sunshine and Jazret welcomed their son Zayne on Sunday morning at 6:30!

After a lengthy and difficult labor, Zayne was delivered via Cesarean section. He was 20 inches long and weighed 6 lbs, 10 oz. Mother and baby are both doing well.


Chocolate cigars are on me!

Friday, September 22, 2006

the bea(s)t goes on

As I was leaving the T'ai Chi studio building last night, I heard, as I often do, enticing rhythms booming from the Women's Drum Center in the basement. I've been meaning to go down there and check it out for several years now (I know, I know), so last night I finally did. Long story short, they gave me candy and I signed up for Intro to Hand Drumming on Oct. 1.

I've always dug percussion, and in fact have wanted to be a drummer since way back when. My school system started kids in band in 5th grade, and my parents dutifully took me in to register. When asked what instrument I wanted to play, I said, "Drums!" with great certainty and enthusiasm.

"No, honey," the band director said, "the boys are playing the drums. With your lips, why don't you try . . . the flute."

And so it came to pass that I played the flute, and later the oboe, until I graduated from high school. I liked those instruments just fine and loved being in the band, but in the back of my mind I always envied the drummers.

Pisser? Yeah. I was too cowed and ignorant to protest when I was 10. But I'm 37 now, much harder to intimidate, and I'm going to play some rockin' drums! Can't wait!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

the adventure continues

Move over, sliced bread. Star Trek: New Voyages has arrived.

ST:NV is fanfic on steroids. It’s nothing less than a TV series written, directed, produced, constructed, costumed, acted, edited, special-effected, and financed by fans — and broadcast via the internet rather than the airwaves. You want to see the future? This is it.

ST:NV continues the Starship Enterprise’s five-year mission, of which we saw the first three years as a groundbreaking television series begun 40 years ago. Nonprofessional actors portray the characters we know and love, from Kirk and Spock down through the ranks to Rand and DeSalle. Actors from the original series are making guest appearances, and writers long associated with official Trek are contributing scripts. Because the fan-producers are making no profit from the show, Trek license owner Paramount Pictures has taken an attitude of tolerance.

I’ve only downloaded and watched one episode (“In Harm’s Way”) once through, but let me tell you, ST:NV is outstanding. Every aspect of the production is top-quality, equaling or surpassing the original. The script is action-packed but still true to the series, down to a last-minute deflector dish modification and a couple clichéd lines of dialogue you can see coming light-years away. Actor James Cawley, as Kirk, throws in just enough Shatneresque delivery to stay on the right side of the line between character and caricature.

The special effects are particularly impressive, taking full advantage of digital technology — and a little help from longtime Trek effects pro Ron B. Moore. And the sets? Amazingly detailed labors of love. “In Harm’s Way” features starships from several eras of Trek history (time travel, doncha know), each distinct and period-perfect. The soundtrack and score are smooth and professional-sounding.

This is real Star Trek.

And that’s not even the coolest part.

The coolest part is that when I was scrolling through the news archives at www.newvoyages.com, I saw a familiar face: actor Christian Malmin has been cast as Sarek, Spock’s father. (And it’s worth noting that his IMDB page actually lists his ST:NV credit, just as if it’s a legit production. Because it is.)

I’ve made out with this guy!

Chris Malmin was a classmate of mine at the University of South Dakota back in the late 80s. We were in a small theater production together, Act Three, Scene Five, which was about students mounting a production of Romeo and Juliet. Chris and I were playing the title roles, my character trying to seduce his for real, and we had a kissing scene in which I smeared my lipstick all over his face.

So, I’ve locked lips with Sarek. Geek spaz! I’m already working on the fan mail I’m going to send.

Anyway. Personal connection aside, I’m hugely impressed with Star Trek: New Voyages so far. Current fans should watch it and fall in love with Trek all over again. Newcomers should watch it to find out what the 40-year fuss is been about. Fanboys and -girls of all stripes should watch it for inspiration in making their own new-episode dreams come true. Everyone should watch it to see what the future looks like. It looks like fun.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Congratulations to Senor Editor — he's now Senor Executive Director!

That's right, Senor is now the executive director of a motorcycle club and its magazine. He's the perfect man for the job, too, possessing a combination of editorial experience and firsthand subject matter knowledge few can match. This is a much deserved promotion, so let me be the first to say


Monday, September 18, 2006

Swiss Army life

On my personal Groove Radar today:

  • My consort Jeff Thacher referred to Rockapella as "the Swiss Army Knife of music" in a recent interview. That dude has a way with words.
  • I've heard an as-yet-unsubstantiated rumor that the Swiss Army Knife of Music may deploy to Oregon, WI, in December. Hey, Anna! Kt! Let's talk!
  • Mom sent me Happy First Snow pictures from her trip into the Black Hills yesterday. OY! Accumulating snow on September 17. And it's about 52 degrees here right now. Brr! Blame El Nino?
  • I'm going to Phoenix for Thanksgiving.
  • Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrrrrre you parrrrticipating?


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Trek check

Yesterday, for the first time in about 25 years, channel surfing brought me face to face with Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. A classic Star Trek episode airing on local TV? It was a miracle. I watched the remaining minutes of the show raptly.

Seeing Captain Kirk on the small screen — Season 1 Kirk, fit, dashing, arrogant — was like traveling back in time. (Slingshot method? Wormhole? Guardian of Forever? Take your pick.) I fell in love with Star Trek when I was 10 years old, and although the ferocity of my passion has waned over time, I've remained a fan all this time. It's a simple explanation for why I am the way I am.

I'm a sci-fi fan because of Star Trek. I'd always thought planets and stars were fascinating, so when I came across people who traveled among them, my imagination took off and never came back. From Trek I branched out into the boundless possibilities of science fiction and fantasy books, TV shows and movies in an agape fandom covering everything from H.G. Wells to J.K. Rowling, from Twin Peaks to The X-Files to Men in Black. And I just got back from bonding with fellow fans at Dragon*Con.

I'm liberal-minded because of Star Trek. Though I grew up in a conservative area, my mind was full of images of the multiracial crew of the Enterprise working together to make sure beings of all kinds got a fair shake. Some of the alien civilizations Kirk encountered were led by strong, powerful women, and some of them had strange customs and beliefs, and I thought that was all terrific. Accepting the alienness of others always made more sense to me than condemning it.

Maybe I'm even sane because of Star Trek. My hometown, my college town and my grad school town did not offer a whole lot of entertainment options that didn't involve alcohol. It would have been easy to move from boredom to despair or risky behavior. Luckily, I always had somewhere to go, in my mind at least, and responsible friends to hang out with when I got there.

True, Star Trek turned me into a big geek as well. On Star Trek, it was cool to be smart, so I embraced my inner science officer and kissed traditional teenage popularity good-bye. I may not have been hip to the latest fashions or the hottest bands, but I knew that arms races were destructive, that too much of a good thing isn't necessarily a good thing, and that you can't outrun your problems even at warp speed. It seemed like a fair trade.

After nearly three decades of being a Trekker (not a Trekkie; there's a difference), I'm still boldly going. I visit new places, meet new people, try new things. I'm captain of my ship, responsible for the trail it blazes and the trail it leaves. I know there's much more to life than just what we see here. And I'm curious: What's out there?

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

one for the road

Summer, like a good Minnesotan, has begun to say her long good-bye. She began edging toward the door a week or so ago, wrapping us in warm hugs and blowing cool air kisses across our cheeks. She stepped out onto the porch, down a stair or two, but has come back up for a bit more gossip.

In another week she'll start down the walk to her car and start the motor, then turn the ignition back off when we lean in for just one more story. Eventually, in October, she'll shift into reverse, we'll wave from the end of the driveway, and by November she'll pull out of sight around the corner at the end of the block.

Summer is not an entirely gracious guest. She never arrives when she says she will, then bursts in without warning one day in May and unpacks all her green baggage before we have a chance to tune up the mower or get the picnic table and chairs out of storage. It's great for a while — haven't seen you in so long! So much to catch up on! — but by late July we're getting on each other's nerves and she turns the lawn brown out of spite.

We get over our spat, though, as we always do with the end of her visit in sight. We linger over lemonade on the deck through August and watch with regret as she begins packing to leave. She puts the humidity in her bag first, and to be honest we don't miss it, but its absence means other changes are in store as well. Box elder bugs will come to feast on the crumbs under her chair, the sun will get lazy, the blanket will find its way back to the foot of the bed.

As she's leaving, we begin to notice what she's left behind: lush grass and burgeoning gardens, a litter of dried leaves piled against the fence, fat rabbits and restless birds, bleached hair and sunshiny vacation photos. We've had a great time, but the party is drawing to a close. She drains her glass, stands, stretches, says well, it's getting late . . .

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Happy 2nd birthday to the Cutest Niece Ever!

Auntie loves you!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

yeah, so . . .

Yeah, so I brought home more than t-shirts and photos from Dragon*Con: I brought a dandy cold virus, too. Thursday night I went to bed at 7:30 and slept off the worst of it, but I'm now in full-on "icky substances to the exits please" mode. TMI. Sorry. I feel OK, but I sound terrible, and Kleenex usage is up about 1000%.

In other news, Season 2 of The 4400 arrived via Netflix this week. It's still interesting. Didn't somebody else mention liking it?

Also, everyone who said Hookslide was a dandy a cappella group? You were right. I spent about an hour and an unintended $10 arm wrestling their album Bump It Up out of acaTunes last night. acaTunes is still not all that user-friendly, but fortunately for their complaint box, Hookslide is. Me likey.

Work has been crazy busy this past week. Big projects, big deadlines, etc. We seem to be getting a grip on most of it, though. And a team meeting at an English pub with rooftop lawn bowling didn't hurt, either.

The weather is turning autumnal, which I love. Time to cuddle a kitty.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dragon*Con photos!

Here are links to my Dragon*Con photos. NERDVANA!

Click on any of the photos to enlarge it —
and if you can identify any of the costumes on which I drew a blank, please let me know.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3


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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Jedi Academy Class of 2006

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Geek classique

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Green Lantern, Superman, Phantom

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Random superhero

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Babylon 5

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Hulk pose!

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Stargate, I think

Some costumed groups stage scenes for the Geek Prom photo orgy before the formal masquerade.

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Assorted creatures

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Some like it Hutt

Every con needs a landmark. Meet you at Jabba at4:30!

Bonus: When the stormtrooper gets bored, he breaks into song and dance.

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Leather Viking Knights of the Pointy Table

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Booty hunter vs. Bounty hunter

Captain Jack Sparrow squares off with Boba Fett. Why? Because he can.

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Stormtrooper with Jedi cloak and light saber hanging out with a Cylon. Why? Because they can.

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Logo a-go-go

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Star sighting #1

George Takei -- Sulu!

Ah, that golden voice.

Sorry about the blurriness. George is on the move.

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My steenkin' badge

Ahoy! Con badges must be worn at all times! Arrr!

Wait. Pirates are sci-fi . . . How? Oh, who cares?

Not everyone gets her own self-portrait on her badge, but obviously I did.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Great school nickname?

My friend Kelly is an assistant principal at Chattahoochee High. The real team name is the Cougars, but Hooch gets a lot of play, too.

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