Wednesday, October 27, 2010

raining, kittens, and the technological sublime in KindleSpace

It's raining again. I am glad we did not have the extreme fun they had yesterday in the Midwest, but I am also tired of rain.


It's like November but not as cold and with more colored leaves, still hanging on. Yesterday it went up to 67 F and was sticky-hot and I had to turn on the fans.

I think this is a metaphor for how I feel, which varies among 'old, ill, ugly, fat, and doomed,[my God, you can get Pamela Branch again!]' 'stale, flat, and unprofitable,' and 'nasty, poor, brutish, and short.'

We shall not speak of that. There is tea, and downstairs there are kittens. Sarah is nothing but a dirty rotten kitten enabler, although I am standing absolutely firm that they are Doug's kittens (apparently by some unknown mother, poor creature). He is footing the not insubstantial vet's bills. The kittens wandered into the garage of Sarah's former office-manager's sister-in-law. Sarah's former office-manager and her husband picked them up (before the fox that was apparently following them, into the garage), fed them, and mostly defleaed them (warm water and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid). They are both male and were born probably around the end of July, so they are now about 3 months old. We named them Mal and Wash.


They are light-hearted, incredibly limber, happy to see us, affectionate to one another, and would like to be friends with Marten and Willow. Marten hisses and swats, though he will sometimes share the same room with them, and Willow just hisses and runs away.

The older cats are morose (though Willow is still in the amazingly limber class), under a cloud from being such (insert words) to Nigel, and only occasionally interested in people. I would like to tell them I love them just as much. Then Willow brings me another dead bird and I fall back on trying to be just and kind and faithful. Sometimes the older cats are jerks.

I had a great idea to be a Day of the Dead cheerful skeleton for Halloween, and I managed to save the sweatpants from the initial try--freehand, with fabric paint. Maybe next year. My dreams are too grandiose. I want sequins and puff paint and merriment.

I have a fall-back costume that I hope will come to fruition.

What I originally came on to blog about was the amazing stuff you can get free from the Kindle books.YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET A KINDLE.

I am lukewarm about reading them on my computer -- I am happy to get my newspapers on my Mac Laptop, but once I started reading on my tiny iPod Touch I was amazed to find myself hooked. I thought I would hate it. But it's not bad. I don't get eyestrain and I can hold it and turn pages in one hand. No more problems with the page-turning while I'm flossing my teeth.

Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Balzac, Kipling, E. Nesbit, apparently the first hundred years of Punch (which I would like someone else to read and base thereon an amusing steampunky fantasy series with witty people). Mark Twain, Andrew Lang's colored Fairy Tales, Gibbon... enough to do odd things to your style but wow!

YOU DO NOT NEED TO GET A KINDLE. All you need to do is go to the Amazon Search-> Kindle Store -> and put in the author's name.

All kinds of great stuff, and some recent things the publishers are promoting or perhaps making some kind of error on: I got Richard Kadrey's _Sandman Slim_ for free, and sometimes there's Neil Gaiman. There is an RSS feed for top free sellers. At the moment Diana Gabaldon's first Outlander book is there.

At least the free books mitigate some of the instant gratification damage you can do online otherwise.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Trendy design Nerd 1 -- The Stainless Steel Sharpie

Yeah, I gather some people have lives too complex to spend coolhunting the Internet. Some of the rest read NOTCOT, which is a lovely site but has TOO MUCH. I may not have a life but I like to eat at least once a day, maybe wash, you know? There are many other fine blogs and sites conglmerating nifty stuff. Thinkgeek will sell them to you for a mostly reasonable price. But once in a while I find myself the envy of my friends and then I shall pass the word on.

Such a product is the Stainless Steel Sharpie ( is down, or I would have linked there).

I found out they existed because way-cool science fiction writer William Gibson (who ought to be made out of bulletproof nylon and brushed titanium, but who seems to be rather a sweet guy) had a new book come out and one of his fans gave him a stainless steel Sharpie. He tweeted about it. I figured that if he liked his, it was cool enough for Dick the archaeologist.

I hope they will make it in 'ultra fine', which is what most people would call 'normal.' SCRAP uses the ultra-fine on artifact bag tags and the allegedly 'fine' (which is kind of bold) for marking other stuff. For the moment, Dick's image as a frighteningly au courant executive is secure.