Monday, March 31, 2008

Pondering Amazon Kindle

I was reading up about Amazon's portable reader, Kindle, which is currently unavailable due to high demand, though they promise they are making them as fast as their elves can tinker. It's an intriguing idea: One small paper-back-sized device that can hold roughly 200 novels or their equivalent in newspapers, magazines, technical manuals, spreadsheets or textbooks. (Textbooks! Wow! That has possibilities.) NYT Bestsellers for $9.99 or less, downloaded immediately. Lying on a beach somewhere, keeping up with one's RSS feeds. Kindle doesn't mildew. Kindle doesn't get its spine broken when someone drops it behind the headboard. And if you're reading your Kindle in the bathtub and you drop it in the bath water, aside from the electrocution risk, you just lose your Kindle; the books it contained are all backed up for you on Amazon's servers, ready to be re-downloaded when you shell out another $400 for a replacement Kindle. (I assume that Kindle can only use the proprietary file format from Amazon. I have a bunch of books on PDF that I'd like to read easily but I don't think they could convert to a Kindle.)

On the other hand, how can you replace the feel of real books? The smell of real books? The weight of them in your hands, the way the pages soften over the years to velvet? A well-read ex-library book from 40 years ago has pages like rose petals. What about a 40-year-old Kindle? Will it have the same charm? Will a Kindle book automatically fall open to your favorite parts? (Well, maybe it will, if you add a bookmark.) What about the beauty of a wall of bookshelves packed floor to ceiling with well-cared-for hardcovers? How can you replace the snobbery of owning an early edition of a favorite author? Will bragging about being one of the first thousand people to download a Kindle of that book be as good? And what about author autographs? Do you have your favorite writer sign your Kindle? An electronic signature sure wouldn't do the trick.

What can possibly replace the total sensory experience of actual, physical, paper books?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Haiku for Early Spring

Courtesy of
I’ve had just about
Enough of this winter crap
You know what I mean?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ground-Breaking Conjoined Peep Quadruplet Separation Surgery

From the Peep Research Institute:

Click on the picture to see details of this delicate surgery.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Oh dear. I'm so white.

Today's item for Stuff White People Like hit a bit close to home. It was T shirts.

I love tee-shirts! I love weird ones. I like them to mean something to a select few people, so that when I see that flicker of recognition in someone's eyes, I know I have met a kindred soul. I like my hilarious (to me) Spoilt tee from (This one cracks me up every time I look at it.)

And my various Firefly tees, some from the now defunct Blue Sun Shirts, shut down by an Alliance-like Universal Marketing Division (left below), and some from Blue Moon Stuff (right below) and my plain one from Hot Topic which they don't seem to carry anymore:

But my favorites are from I have all these:

Glow-in-the-dark lightning bugs, Angry Day (love the squirrel!) and One.

Plus three more that I got in a Random Shirt pack, plus Anatomy Lesson, which I got for Barry for Father's Day and which he hasn't seen yet:

Tee shirts are a cheap source of joy in a mostly un-fun world.

All I Want for My Birthday

My birthday and Mother's Day are pretty close together and we're usually broke at about that time of year, so usually I tell the family at my birthday, "Don't get me anything, save it for Mother's Day," and when Mother's Day comes around I say, "Don't worry about it, I just had my birthday." Not this year.

This year I told everybody that what I want for my birthday is one day to do nothing but sew, nobody asking me to do anything else. It may be spent making Miss B's prom dress, but if I manage to finish that early then maybe I can quilt.

And what I want for Mother's Day is to go see this:


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I bet MY lunch is better than YOUR lunch.

For lunch, I am enjoying leftover pecan-crusted swordfish steaks with mustard cream sauce on a bed of curry rice with pine nuts. The fish recipe was stolen from Vicki's Turkey Feathers blog - she used red snapper and chopped walnuts, neither of which I had, but the pecans were wonderful with the swordfish. And the curry rice was left over from another meal.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Migrators returning

Around 10:00 p.m., I gradually became aware that the sound I was hearing was honking! Quacking, actually, I think - I think it was ducks. They're already returning. I am a little worried, as I don't know if they will find any open water down in the wetlands, everything is still frozen.

But spring is coming. Now we know for sure.

P.S. In looking back a year, it was March 9th of 2007 that I marked this occasion, with the same concerns, so it appears our spring is about a week ahead of schedule this year.

P.P.S. This gave me the idea to start this ==> Northeast Iowa Mini-Almanac to keep track of this sort of thing on an anecdotal basis year to year.

A stupid rant by a woman who has actually had babies.

Why, oh why, on TV, when a woman is having a baby, does she throw her head back to push? Hasn't anybody who directs these things ever actually been in the delivery room and seen how it works? You have to tuck your chin in to get any leverage.


(Barry is watching EMERGENCY on