Thursday, June 26, 2008

Argh, or: L'il Orphan Ellie: the saga begins.

So Shallow Man is flying out tomorrow morning for Lima, where he'll be for the next two months. I get to go down on Aug. 8, but that's still six weeks that he'll be gone without me. Which is not really that big of a deal, I know, but when you take into account the fact that during the four years we've been married we've only spent one night apart, it seems like a long time. Grrr!

At least Lady Type and my Margot are going to come and stay with me for awhile during the summer, but I'm still going to miss my boy. *sniff*

Well, off to finish with packing, errands, etc. At least we found a theater with a midnight showing of Wall-E so we can see it together before he goes. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quote of the day: Professor Higgins

Okay, okay, okay. For those with tender sensibilities, and due to circumstances beyond our control, this post will henceforward be performed by....

sock puppets? One moment, folks...

Hey, Merv, where's Rex Harrison? No, really, why is there not a copy of Rex Harrison's real version anywhere on the internet? This was the best we could get? Okay, whatever...

Ladies and gentlemen, Professor Higgins. Sort of.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HALLELUJAH! (insert full Handel choir here)

The AC is working again.

And it wasn't the compressor.

It was the cheap option.

Sing with me now.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Again I say, say what?

So first I have to express my impatience with the fact that the So You Think You Can Dance results show airs at 8:00 instead of 7:00. The performance show airs at 7:00. Why the difference in times? Is it so vitally important that Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader air right at 7:00? Why can't they put SYTYCD first and THEN air the 5th-grader at 8:00? Good grief, Fox. Good. Grief.

But I digress.

While watching TV in hopeful anticipation of my show, blissfully unaware that I was to be denied for another hour, I saw a commercial for the new Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Someone there has apparently had the bright idea to team up with The Dark Knight for movie tie-ins and they will therefore be releasing -- get it -- BAT-SHAPED REESE'S CUPS. As in, less Reese's because they've cut the cup into the shape of a bat. Say what? They dang well better cut the price accordingly.

Because as "cool" as a bat gimmick is, when I buy a Reese's, I want my full allotment of chocolatey peanut butter goodness.

Good grief, Reese's.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The IAUWGPSN; or, Democracy in Action?

And now, bringing you the latest update on a subject dear to our collective heart:

Pluto is now called a plutoid. Plutoids, for those of you who don't know, are
"[...] celestial bodies in orbit around the sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape, and that have not cleared the neighborhood around their orbit." In short: small round things beyond Neptune that orbit the sun and have lots of rocky neighbors.

I can tell you, I'm certainly breathing a sigh of relief here. Back in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union cruelly stripped Pluto of its planetary status, I was worried that Pluto would remain unclassified forever, wandering around its uncleared orbit forever just wondering what it was and where it came from. Now it only has to wonder where it came from. However,

it remains to be seen whether astronomers will use the new term.

"My guess is that no one is going to much use this term, though perhaps I'm wrong," said Caltech astronomer Mike Brown, who has led the discovery of several objects in the outer solar system, including Eris. "But I don't think that this will be because it is controversial, just not particularly necessary."

Brown was unaware of the new definition until the IAU announced it today.

"Back when the term 'pluton' was nixed they said they would come up with another one," Brown said. "So I guess they finally did."

Who do we have to thank for this amazing act of astronomical confidence boosting? Who is the new superhero in the galaxy, bringing justice and handles to abandoned ex-planetoids everywhere? Who ya gonna call?

The International Astronomical Union Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature, of course!

Say what?

Okay, okay, okay. It was really proposed by the IAUCSBN (International Astronomical Union Committee on Small Body Nomenclature). The IAUWGPSN only accepted it. Then the IAU Executive Committee approved it.

Say what?

You mean not only does it take them 2 years to come up with something "better" than "pluton", but they also have not one, not two, but three whole committees that it has to go through? Two of which appear to exist solely for the purpose of coming up with names for planet-type stuff? And "plutoid" is what they give us?


I guess they're only members of the IAU because they couldn't get an honest job as a real astronomer. You know it's bad when the people you're supposed to represent say outright that they're not going to pay attention to you anymore. At least the IAU has a good attitude about it, though.
"The IAU is a democratic organization, thus open to comments and criticism of any kind," IAU General Secretary Karel A. van der Hucht told by email today. "Given the history of the issue, we will probably never reach a complete consensus."

I think they've got that right. I don't see them agreeing with me anytime soon that they've messed this affair up from the get-go.

For a more scientific opinion, click here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I. Am. Totally. Awesome.

In the interest of getting a happier post up...

So it's Lady Type's birthday tomorrow. I just want to take this opportunity to say that she is going to love what I'm giving her. I will officially be the coolest sister ever. That is all.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Okay, this seriously stinks.

So along with every other load of bricks that got dropped on us, metaphorically speaking, at the beginning of the summer break, our air conditioning broke. (Yup, two weeks after the home warranty expired.) Which hasn't been tooooo much of a problem yet because the weather here in Provo seems to be convinced that it's, say, March or October instead of May and June. So we've been all right while we're waiting until we can scrape up enough money to fix it as long as we leave some windows open.

Until now.

Our little townhouse faces west onto a fence, on the other side of which is a trainyard. So lots of trains going past and making a fair amount of noise, so we try to leave the windows on the front of the house closed. This is fine because downstairs we have a big kitchen window in the back which lets in a lot of fresh air, as well as two big office windows in the back upstairs. These three windows have been doing a good job of controlling the lack-of-AC situation, with help from the fan in our bedroom.

Until my next-door neighbor started sitting on the back step and smoking a few days ago. Since these are townhouses, their back step is approximately 7 feet away from our back step. We of course have a fence separating the backyards, but it doesn't keep smoke out of our backyard. Or, by extension, out of our back windows. Or, by further extension, out of my house and out of my lungs.

Our house is an end unit so we also have two large south-facing windows downstairs, but we try to leave these closed because 1) the air on that side is much warmer and doesn't help the cooling off so much and 2) a road runs right past them which also doesn't help as much with the noise. Aside from these, we have one other tiny window in the upstairs bathroom -- and I mean tiny -- which we keep open all the time but which can't do the job all by itself.

So now I'm faced with several unappealing options:

1. Keep the back windows open and poison my already-gimpy lungs with second-hand smoke.
2. Close the back windows, open the front ones and go deaf from passing train screeching.
3. Open the side windows and fry while letting in car noise and exhaust (best of both worlds, I guess).
4. Leave all windows closed and die in the ensuing stifling heat.

Unfortunately, 5. Fix the stinking AC is not an option at the moment unless some long-lost rich uncle dies and leaves us a lot of cash. (Thanks to the law school for making all the students not work during the school year, then do unpaid internships during the summer and then not providing us with access to any sort of financial aid. Also thanks to the stupid AC for procrastinating and missing that warranty deadline. Oh, and let's not forget the car breaking down, the mortgage company making unauthorized withdrawals from our account, or having our one source of income start bouncing the checks they send us.)

Murphy, you stink.