Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Hasn't Someone Else Done This Already?

A first in what may become a series, except I can't remember what the second thought was.  I want to focus an idea that I had, which when it finally gelled into focus made me say, "Why isn't someone doing that!?!"  I'm sure in 99.9% of the cases the answer will be "money" and "5 year planning goals", both of which are personal irritants for me (have I discussed my personal feelings on money here?).

This particular thought occurred to me while I was clearing the ash in my fireplace and prepping a new fire.  We use a freestanding wood stove for most of our winter heat.  I live in the cold, where snow used to be common (really it never seems to really arrive anymore, but whatever).  For some reason I was thinking about energy, electricity, alternative energy (a thought hobby for me, remind me to write up my micro-wind power idea sometime), regulation, and a documentary I watched 4 years or so ago about California and their alternative energy goals.  I'm sure the knowledge that solar panel plants started and failed in the last 4 years was in there as well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentines day to you all!

I know this day is way over marketed, as a way to sell chocolates, flowers, and skimpy unmentionables. Of course it serves a purpose, some people need to be reminded that if you love someone, you should let them know the other 364.24 days of the year, not just on this day. A reminder never hurts. I am also not one to turn down a holiday and if you have been reading this blog for very long, you know that we love to celebrate.

Geeks often get a bad rap for being overly analytical or anti-social. I can tell you that the analytical part might be true (sometimes), the anti-social thing is something else entirely and isn't unique to geeks. Geeks do have an advantage as a group though, when we love something, we love it passionately and obsessively. Two people who share interests, especially geeky ones, can talk for hours passionately and to an outside observer this looks like the cutest kind of love. Before I married my wife, in fact, before I was even dating her, (actually, in full disclosure, she wasn't interested in me at all and was engaged to someone else) we were good friends. We often had these kinds of deep, passionate, geeky discussions about anything and everything and I think it confused more than a few people. People often thought we were dating and I don't doubt it had a lot to do with why no one else seemed interested in dating me. They might not have been all wrong though, because here we are, together.

The point is when geeks love something, they love it a lot. As any actor in a Scifi show can tell you, this can be very scary at cons and there is another dark side to it. If you have ever heard of a WoW Widow or more recently a Skyrim Widow, you know that these passions for things (anything really) can turn into addictions and loved ones get pushed aside. This is especially harmful in relationships where a spouse doesn't share those same geeky interests. This is the same thing you see among car people, movie fanatics, and even sports fans. If you don't balance your passions, even if your spouse is included in them, you are pushing away people you love.

So this is a reminder to my friends and family (yes, even you Internet only ones). Take time to step back and tell the people you love and who love you that they are the most important things in your life. That's what Valentine's day should be celebrating and despite being turned away from the holiday due to the rampant commercialism, we geeks especially can use this day to remember to do that. Just try to remember the other 364.24 days too.

Credit for this awesome picture goes to this geeky artist.

Love passionately and obsessively, but try to direct that to the people in your life. If an object or a thing or an idea in your life becomes your precious, it's time to rethink priorities.

One more thing. What else do geeks do? Like Gollum up there, we make geeky jokes out of everything we love and reapply it to everything else society holds dear. Like these Valentine's Day cards.... Enjoy.  

Doctor Who Cards

LOTR Cards

Star Trek Cards

I could find dozens more. Star Wars was intentionally left off of this list, too many bad Luke-Leia jokes.

(Oh, and darling, with all the mess from re-arranging our daughter's bedroom and getting their obligatory school valentines and parties ready... I didn't get you any flowers, chocolates, or skimpy unmentionables.

So... Happy Valentine's Day! I got you a blog post. You can also read every one of those cards I linked above as if they are from me. Remember when we used to give each other virtual flower bouquets? They got cooler.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stripped and Alone

While Orcrist was away on his eye opening adventure to the American Midwest, my secondhand laptop, Hermes, decided it was time to emphasize just how much attention it needed.  The noise from the dying fan became unbearable and even the kids were complaining it was giving them a headache.  About halfway through the week, I simply gave up and turned off my personal connection to the rest of the world.  I still had my husband's laptop, since he opted to take his iphone, ipad, and a netbook instead, but using beautiful shiny laptop, with all of his tabs in his browsers was not the same.

You know how it is when your car is in the shop for a long time and you borrow your friend, or worse, your Mom's car.  It has a different feel, it doesn't park the same.  The steering wheel has a different texture that just not quite the same.  Not to mention, while you could reset the radio stations, you generally just set it to your favorite station, or worse, try to find one of their presets you can tolerate for the duration.  It was the same with borrowing my husband's laptop.  And worse, I couldn't be logged into my work/personal gmail account and blogger at the same time!  This is a problem I tried to ask the blogger G+ group about, but they didn't get it.  They couldn't fathom why I would want my blog on a different email from my work stuff.  Oh well.  I'm back now!

I have so much I've been wanting to write, I know I already lost one of my crazy ideas - the other is still hanging in there, so when I get time I'll try to at least draft it out so I can post it someday.  It feels so good to be back on my giant screen with my familiar keyboard with the shiny smooth keys and the "N" key completely rubbed off.  Oh and I have new bifocals now so the whole world looks different anyway.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cherie's Law

This is just a bit of fun. I have been reading a fair number of Steampunk themed blogs and discussions lately and made a realization.

The Steampunk community has their own version of Godwin's law. You know the slightly tongue-in-cheek rule about Internet forums?

From Wiki:
"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably criticizes some point made in the discussion by comparing it to beliefs held by Hitler and the Nazis.

(It's true, it really is.)

Within the Steampunk community though, there is seemingly another law in effect. There are of course no "online discussions or arguments," but Steampunks do indeed have "passionate civil discussions". It seems that anyone who wants to prove that their ideas or arguments are correct will likely call upon a quote (or misquote) and attribute it to Cherie Priest, the popular Steampunk genre novelist. This seems to hold true even if Ms. Priest wasn't the person who said the quote ("I remember someone said or wrote this, I think it was Cherie Priest."). This is to say nothing of blog posts, essays, and book reviews. It might be a lack of a specific creative tome or celebrity to point to within the community of pseudo-equals. But I digress, without further distraction...

I give you Cheries's Law:
As an online Steampunk discourse grows longer, the probability that the name Cherie Priest will be invoked, quoted, or misquoted approaches 1.  

Have fun poking holes in that, but I am pretty sure it will stand true, I mean it has to. The law itself invokes the name of Cherie Priest. So the idea stands true on it's own.

There are other truisms in the Steampunk community as well. If you have any thoughts on this, feel free to post them below.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Musings on Minor Cultural Differences

Every time I travel I am amazed how small differences make such a huge impact on the culture of a place. You get a reflection of the people, philosophies and businesses that make an area unique. Now I admit, these are small things that someone from a foreign country might not notice at all, but traveling within my own country, I seem to be more open to the minutiae and I find that it is always interesting.

I recently traveled to the Midwest to visit family and see my grandmother who was in the hospital. I had a good time seeing all of my family and these comments aren't meant in any way to be condescending, but to provide an interesting reflection on how many small things and regional things can make a place feel so foreign. Part of this might be my fault for expecting things to be similar to home and finding that I have changed and so has the region where I used to spend time every summer growing up. When I visit the "Deep South" I know a lot of what is different and what to expect. This trip caught me off-guard.

The things that made me feel out of place seem to fall into two categories: food and technology.

(I could make a third category for politics, but I think I'll leave that out because it just isn't particularly interesting or relevant to this blog.)

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