naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (autumn bountiful harvest)
Congratulations to newlyweds Ben and Kendra! Welcome to the crazy wonderfulness that is we Shakal cousins-by-the-dozens, Kendra!

I now know for certain that various Shakal relatives are reading this blog and never commenting here...

*waves a special cheery hello to the Carmel and Sparks clans* It was wonderful seeing you in person again after all these years!

If there are other random relatives reading this, feel free to comment here or to email me. I'm not scary, I promise, and I'd love to hear from you. My email address is my first name @ my last name .org (because I'm... um... organized. Mostly.)

:-) And yes, I'm still working on the new family tree and discussions website. :-D I have high hopes for December and January.

OK, on to more travel news...

I will be attending the League of Professional System Administrators' training days in Phoenix, AZ, this coming Monday and Tuesday. I'll be learning more about Change Management, Disaster Recovery, Communication for IT, and Developing IT Policies. This makes me very happy.

If any of my sysadmin buddies are also going to be there, let me know, OK? If you want my cell phone number so we can connect easily in Phoenix and you don't already have it, drop me an email.

It is becoming more and more likely that I'll be attending my 15th high school reunion in Indiana near Thanksgiving. If any of the ol' CGHS Science Club or German Club or Academic Superbowl or Decathlon crew are going to be around Greenwood then, drop me an email -- it'd be great to meet for coffee or something if there's time.

I will be regretfully unable to attend the LISA 2006 sysadmin conference in Washington, D.C., during the first week of December. This is slightly depressing, because it's such an amazing conference. But maybe I'll be able to attend next year.

I'm going to be wandering around the downtown Burbank Fine Arts Festival on either November 11th or 12th. The last two times I've done so I had a great time. If anyone from the LA area wants to wander the festival with me, let me know... I'd love to introduce you to my new favorite coffeeshop in Burbank: Romancing The Bean. They make a green tea iced blended thing that's really wonderful.

There's a good site for gem, mineral and bead shows across the US at the Lapidary Journal and another one at that mentions some of the Santa Monica shows... If anyone wants to wander the Santa Monica bead show with me that's on November 18th or 19th, or the one that's on December 2nd and 3rd, let me know. I may attend one of them... but I don't know yet. Mmmm, beads and rocks... :-)
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (autumn bountiful harvest)
The sunrise is really beautiful again this morning. For the past year or more I've been quite the night owl, but over the past few months I've been waking just before dawn, and enjoying the sunrises.

The sky is really, really gorgeous just as the first tinges of orange line the horizon.

Right now I'm sitting near an east-facing window with my laptop and a mug of hot chai... now that I'm at home more I'm experimenting with a few types of chai trying to find one with comforting/addictive properties similar to the sort I used to buy at Broad Cafe every few mornings or so.

I've gradually been importing all of my music CDs into iTunes, and from there to my iPod, so my laptop is currently shuffling through my Battlefield Band tunes.

I adore the Battlefield Band. I have ever since I heard one of their appearances on A Prairie Home Companion when I was in middle school, listening to it on WFYI with my parents. They played a handful of strathspeys and reels and had folks practically dancing in the aisles, and played some mournful ballads, and their sensibilities blended so well with Garrison Keillor's own particular brand of humor... each of the musicians introduced himself, and explained what musical instruments they played... traditional Scottish tin whistles, traditional Scottish drums like the bodhran, traditional Scottish bagpipes, traditional Scottish synthesizers... made from traditional Scottish plastic...

And then they announced that they were going to play a surfing song from the Outer Hebrides.

There was a dramatic pause.

Then, they launched into Bad Moon Rising, on the fiddle and the bagpipes.

I adore it. Dad had made a cassette tape of the broadcast, and I made a copy... I listened to it so much I wore the cassette out. And I made another copy.

I still have it here in my two tubs of cassette tapes. But I also have a large number of their CDs, including On The Rise (Amazon will let you listen to a snippet here if you have Windows Media Player), which has Bad Moon Rising on it, along with After Hours, another of my favorites. Their music is also available direct from Temple Records' online web storefront, which has a bigger selection of their CDs than Amazon, as well as a number of free MP3 downloads.

I've yet to find a Battlefield Band song I dislike. Some are very mellow, others are dancably peppy, others are melancholy to the point where if I'm having a really down day I don't want to listen to them or they'll worsen my mood, but I love them all.

I only wish more of the recordings of their music had Alan Reid's introductions to the songs. He has the most amazing sense of humor...

A dear friend of mine went to extraordinary effort to remind me to attend their recent performance at Beckman Auditorium on November 5th. I'm so grateful, because the joy I found within myself during the performance has rattled around in my head and... I don't know... maybe the echoes are reverberating in my soul. Or something like that.

By the way, the Battlefield Band's website says that they're going to be appearing on A Prairie Home Companion again on November 26th. :-)

Lately I've been... I don't know what the right word is... transforming, awakening, reawakening... and reconnecting with what brings me real joy. Some little things, some big things, some nostalgic things which have been present in my life before and now are returning in a new form, some things which in the past I've known I wanted but for various perfectly reasonable reasons set those insights and desires aside temporarily, and some new things which somehow feel like I'm returning home when I find them.

In some climates, autumn is a time of harvest and endings, of the world going dormant and resting as the temperature drops and the soil rests. The plants and animals conserve their energy for the rough, dark months ahead, or hibernate through the winter. I know those lessons. But here in southern California, in the urban jungle of Los Angeles, the bulbs I've planted in the pots on my porch are just sending up new shoots, and the fiery colors of the gum tree leaves are falling onto the brightening green of new grass.

I've said this before elsewhere, but something about this place, this climate, makes it difficult to note time passing. If the turn of the seasons is as subtle as it is here, and the bright sunshine and seventy-two degree days come one after the other after the other, people's time-sense can become so skewed. Some things from a decade ago feel as though they happened yesterday, and it is so easy to put off large goals until tomorrow because yesterday was so like today.

But watching the stars and planets overhead during the dark nights, far above the twinkling of the city lights and the neverending flow of the freeways... watching the sunrise as day after day the sun springs over the horizon in a slightly different spot, watching the plants and listening to the change in the wind... time speaks differently here, but it is speaking, just as it speaks everywhere.

I'm also starting to experiment with podcasts... one of my favorites is another gem I first found on National Public Radio... Stardate is a short astronomy update. You can now listen to it online or as a podcast, or you can read it daily via an RSS feed (here on LiveJournal it's available via [ profile] stardateorg).

Somehow I'm fitting my song of new beginnings, farewell to endings, and insights into myself and the world into this sunny autumn. The horizon's orange edge has brightened to bright pale blue, and the sun rises, accompanied by fiddles and bagpipes.

Good morning!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
At some point last weekend, I was babbling with a book group about TV show complexities increasing over time...

The article I mentioned was at the NYTimes, which requires free membership,
but there are all sorts of discussions happening about it (and reprints of it) in various blogs. Here are a few:

I'm not sure I buy the idea that increasingly complex television is making people smarter when compared to other entertainment and hobbies, but I do agree that more complex television is almost always more likely to do that than simple television.

The examples Johnson gives of more complex TV shows may be teaching multithreading, but to me it seems they aren't really encouraging in-depth thought or deep analysis, but rather they are encouraging humans to use more virtual RAM in our skulls. Not that that's a bad thing necessarily, I'd just rather see both growing in society rather than one or the other. However, I'd personally still take Cosmos over Hill Street Blues any day.

I think at some point I'm going to have to hit the library and check out Johnson's new book, Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter just to see what else he's trying to say.

This also reminds me of this post I stumbled over while surfing around on LJ lately:
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (skyward)
It's been a while since I've posted any music recommendations here, despite the fact that while I'm at work, I invariably have something set on infinite repeat on my headphones.

Today I'm looping the limited edition two CD set of Black Tie White Noise.

Bowie's music videos for a few of the songs on this set are very stick-with-me-ish, and I sometimes see flashes of them in my mind's eye as I listen. I got the VHS last year, but this expanded edition came with two CDs with 12 tracks each plus a DVD so now I have high-res versions of everything on the VHS... You've Been Around and I Feel Free and Jump They Say and Miracle Goodnight... yeah. Incredible stuff. I love the stuff he does with mirrors and kaleidoscope lenses.

But the music stands on its own. It's just... good.

And Nite Flights really, really reminds me of the Jareth-owl soaring around in the Labyrinth movie. I'm rather amused that it's a song that Bowie didn't write.

The second CD in the set has all sorts of different mixes of some of the songs. In some cases, I'm not sure if I like the original or the mix better; they're just different.

While I'm babbling about Bowie, I should also include links to the most useful Bowie sites I found last year... (yeah, that's the official one)

Back to work... I live in hope of somehow, someday feeling like I'm caught up.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (path less traveled)
OK, let me preface this with a little insight about me... I hate basketball. I hate playing it (in addition to having absolutely no aptitude), I hate watching it, I hate talking about it... and I grew up in Indiana in the '80s. That's the Hoosier state, where and when Bobby Knight reigned supreme and Could Do No Wrong, and where there were basketball hoops on every driveway... well, except ours.

Yeah. That was lot of fun, I can assure you.

That said, I caught part of a WNBA game at a seafood bar last weekend, and found myself drawn in. It was interesting. I actually cared whether or not the ball went through the blasted hoop, actually found myself rooting for the players, no matter which team they were on, and actually laughed out loud when one of the players did a lovely nothing-but-air shot and her teammates congratulated her.

And a friend just sent me this link. Whoa. That's cool. I think I just might not hate basketball, if I could watch someone like Candace Parker play.

naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (reflective)
Best of Bowie

Spanning thirty-odd years of work, this collection of recorded performances and music videos was a real eye-opener for me. I didn't grow up with MTV in the house, and had never seen these.

Make sure to find and watch all of the bonus Easter eggs on these DVDs!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (cascade)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

This is a modern take on the sort of old swashbuckling favorites I've adored for decades. All of the characters are interesting; the female lead takes an active role in making her own destiny, and there are creepy skeleton pirates done marvelously by special digital effects wizardry. Lots of swordplay, adventure on the high seas, and big silly hats. Much fun!

The extras on the DVD are excellent, too.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bright dreams nasa)
One of the Caltech security guards was rolling around on a Segway today, and while interesting, it caused less of a stir than the mechanical elephant that Nate Austin built for Ditch Day back in 2002.

Yesterday I overheard a new grad student talking with some friends about the weather... getting a barometric pressure reading from his watch... in units of hectopascals.

Passing out new email accounts to the inbound undergraduates last weekend, I saw quite a few cool geeky t-shirts, including:
- a lovely full-color photo of Bert and Ernie, with "Math is fun!" (I've now found it online!)
- "I'm smiling because you all have finally driven me insane."
- lots of binary and physics equations, too many to remember...

And even though this entering class were mostly born in 1985, most of them still seem to know that 42 is the answer, and that six times nine is the question, and how many (and which kind) of swallows it takes to fly a coconut to England.

I have hope for the future. *grin*

ETA: Folks looking for fun stuff about Caltech may be interested in these links:
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bright dreams nasa)
Sometimes I really love working at Caltech. I picked up a flyer in the coffee shop this morning, and I just have to share it with you... my Mom highly recommends the book and its author, and the actors... well, you'll recognize the names. *grin*

There was a miniseries made of another of the author's works, which I have on DVD: Longitude, which starred Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon, and Ian Hart (you might recognize him as Professor Quirrel from the first Harry Potter movie). If you get the chance to read any of the author's books, or to watch Longitude, I highly recommend all of them.

A one-time only special performance!

An Evening With Galileo and His Daughter
to benefit The Planetary Society and celebrate the Galileo Mission and its Team

starring John Rhys-Davies & Linda Purl
directed by Robert Picardo
written by Dava Sobel

Monday, September 22, 2003 at 7:30 pm

The Pasadena Playhouse
39 South El Molino Avenue
Pasadena, California

Help honor the Galileo Team

At the reading, Claudia Alexander, John Casani and Torrence Johnson will accept a special award on behalf of the Galileo Team

On September 21, 2003, the Galileo spacecraft will plunge into Jupiter on a targetted trajectory of self-destruction, ending a remarkable voyage of discovery. The Planetary Society will pay tribute to the mission and to the team that made it possible with a special theatrical event - a one time reading based on Dava Sobel's best selling book, Galileo's Daughter.

"An Evening with Galileo and His Daughter" explores the dynamic relationships among science and religion, reason and faith, and father and child. Dava Sobel bases her story of Galileo's scientific discoveries and subsequent battle with the Inquisition in letters written to him by his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, a cloistered nun since the age of 13.

John Rhys-Davies is best known for his roles in the three Lord of the Rings films and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Linda Purl is known for her stage and television roles, including Getting and Spending and Happy Days. Star Trek actor and director Robert Picardo will direct the reading.

Reserve your tickets now!
Tickets for the reading only are $60 for standard seating and $75 for premier seating.
Tickets for the reception only are $100.
Tickets for the reading and reception are $150.

Buy online at or call Barbara Rayworth at (626) 793-5100.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (spring valley)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix sales figures links, as well as photos from around the globe that are just simply amazing.,1,12035,00.html

Anything that gets people reading, especially children, is great... but this sort of volume, all across the globe, of adults, teens, and children... is just absolutely amazing. And this is not a simple, charming little lightweight book, by any measure!

Yes, I bought my copy between midnight and 1:30am in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and I've read it once already. Yes, I loved it. No, I didn't have much clue what to expect from the moment I cracked the cover open, and I won't ruin the surprises, be they good or bad, for anyone else!

If anyone is looking for excellent young readers books to fill the time between the Order of the Phoenix and book six, I've made an Amazon list of some of my favorite books from when I was a pre-teen and young teenager. I also made a list for very young readers.

There are a great number of wonderful books out there for all ages, and the idea that international zeitgeist is leaning more towards reading is really, really wonderful, whether long or short works, fiction or nonfiction.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bright dreams nasa)
I read some news stories a bit ago (from USA Today and from CNN, for instance) about Reading Rainbow being underfunded, having to cut back production and possibly face cancellation.

Frankly, that stinks!

Reading Rainbow is an excellent childrens program which promotes literacy, tolerance, and the pursuit of varied interests. It was one of the staples of my childhood, and has no doubt touched many, many people's lives.

I did a bit of research, and found the official site online. From their informational brochure, I found contact information, and sent the following email:

I hope this is the right place to ask this question; I found your email address at If this is misdirected, please forward it along to the right place... thank you!

Some friends and I heard from recent articles that Reading Rainbow is having funding problems and may be cancelled.

We are in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, and absolutely love the show. Some of us have children, others do not. Many of us are members of our local PBS stations, some of us are not. But all of us want to help keep Reading Rainbow on the air... many of us watched it faithfully as children.

Is there a simple way for you to set up a way for interested individuals to donate money to keep it on the air? So that the donations are specifically for Reading Rainbow and not other projects? Paypal is a wonderful invention...

In any case, thank you very much for a great show.
-- Adele Shakal

Today, I got a response.

Hello Adele:

I apologize for the delay in responding to your Email.

LeVar's comments on the Emmys have generated a large amount of calls and Emails from individuals wanting to support Reading Rainbow. We are also receiving calls from corporations and Foundations exploring how they can support Reading Rainbow. Ann Hudson, individual who normally responds to the Emails is out recovering from heart valve replacement surgery and we are little behind in answering the mail.

Thank you for the efforts to support the continuation of Reading Rainbow. When individuals contact GPN about how to support Reading Rainbow, financially or otherwise, we encourage them to send letter and any contribution to Program Manager at their local PBS Station and send a copy of the letter to PBS -- John Wilson, VP Programming PBS, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314. We make this request for the following reasons. You could also send letters to your Congressional representative so they also know the value you place on the service

A. It is very expensive to produce each episode of Reading Rainbow -- $150,000 per episode. We should be producing between 10 - 13 new episodes each year so "older" episodes can be retired. We feel it not possible to support this large production cost form individual donations alone on a year to year basis.

B. The local PBS Station decides independently whether to continue to broadcast Reading Rainbow. Letters and contributions will let the local Station know how much you value Reading Rainbow. The local PBS Stations will in demand that the national PBS office continue to provide funding for the production of new episodes.

C. Over 50% of the Station's budget comes from viewer support. It is in Reading Rainbows long term interest to help the Stations build that support. The Stations support Reading rainbow and Reading Rainbow supports the local Stations.

Following is the message we are sending people asking about making donation to Reading Rainbow. (See attached file: email reply v2.doc)

We are receiving an amazing number of Email from people in their 20s talking about the impact of the series on their life. These letters are testament to the valuable service provided by the public broadcast system and Reading Rainbow. After twenty years it is great to know we are still having impact.

Please call if you have any questions.


Stephen C. Lenzen, Executive Director
GPN Educational Media
1800 North 33rd Street (68583
PO Box 80669
Lincoln, NE 68501-0669
Phone 1-800-228-4630 or 1-402.472.2007
Fax 1-800-306-2330 or 1-402.472.4076
Web: or

The attached document said:

We appreciate your concern for Reading Rainbow. Many people like you have graciously offered to contribute, and the overwhelming response has touched our hearts.

The most important way you can assure the future of Reading Rainbow is to communicate your passion for the series to your PBS station. Here’s how

1) Send your PBS station program manager a message about why you value Reading Rainbow – they need to hear that you believe the series is important and relevant. [Visit -- look to the left of the page for a box to key in your zip code, then click on the station icon or call letters to get to the station site.]

2) Donate the amount you were intending to give Reading Rainbow to your local station in honor of Reading Rainbow – this will signal the importance of the series, as well as help the station pay their fees for the series.

If you want to go a step further, send a message to PBS’s national program chief specifying why Reading Rainbow is important to you [John Wilson, VP Programming, PBS, 1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria VA 22314].

Your message and donation will impact the continued scheduling of Reading Rainbow at the local level – as will messages & donations from many others. This system-wide support is a very important factor for us as we work with companies and foundations to raise money for this nationally known and loved series.

Thanks again from all of us at Reading Rainbow.

I'll be writing my letters soon.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (spring valley)
Growing up soaking up PBS like a happy little sponge, and fostering an ever-present interest in ancient archaeology, I have a particular soft spot for books and documentaries by Michael Wood.

In Search Of The Trojan War was one of my favorite miniseries growing up, and I've always been disappointed that I somehow managed to miss seeing Legacy: The Origins of Civilization. Many of those shows have companion books, and Michael Wood has written books not associated with his television productions. I have a hardbound copy of this version of Legacy, and there's a paperback version that's still in print. They're both available used online.

I can't seem to find DVD or VHS versions for the home viewing market, but Legacy is available on VHS for public viewing, though that of course makes it expensive, $500. And I see that DVD for public viewing will be available in June 2003... for $300. *sigh*

Another of Wood's recent series is already available on home VHS and in book form: In The Footsteps of Alexander the Great. Unfortunately PBS doesn't seem to be ahead of the curve on offering their shows on DVD. Perhaps I'll get the book and wait for the DVDs to come out...

Why am I blathering about all of this today, you ask, especially at such length? Well, I awoke in the wee hours of the morning and couldn't get ancient Babylon out of my mind. Yes, this is normal; it happens from time to time, though it's sometimes ancient Sumer, Akkadian city-state warfare or mythology, Neo-Babylonian culture, the Hittites... but I've been trying not to think too much about any of this because of recent events in Iraq.

Seriously, that sand is so bloodsoaked that it's difficult to be optimistic about our species sometimes. We've been battling over the same piece of roasted desert for over five thousand years... that's at least a hundred and fifty generations. And that's just since we settled in city-communities from the marshlands of southern Iraq... and much of what is now desert did not used to be so. Civilization, literally meaning the settling of humankind into cities, has always damaged the surrounding environment, and has always included warfare. Until we maintain family-unit dwellings in cities which are net-zero impact on the environment, and until we learn to get along with our neighbors both near and far, those patterns are not going to change.

I also read an article yesterday on Slate that got me thinking... seven ways to reduce ethnic and religious tension in Iraq.

I highly recommend reading Legacy, especially the chapter about Sumer and the chapter about the barbarians of the West. Wood denigrates the idea of sovereign nation-states, which differs from my own opinion, but otherwise the trends he draws attention to in the book are quite profound.

As a side note: I don't trust world-scale government. I feel that government, even representative government, as removed from its constituency as my own California state and US national governments are, is significantly out of touch with reality and this can lead to both dangerous governmental behavior and lack of accountability.

But back to Legacy... I took Western Civ in high school. I took world history in middle school. And I learned some mythology in elementary school. I grew up steeped in Midwest American Protestantism and Catholicism. And still I have the deep-in-the-gut impression that civilization and rationality flowered most brilliantly in my cultural heritage in Classical Greece, or perhaps in the Enlightenment...

*buzzzt* Wrong. Those were important steps along the way, but did not exist in a vacuum. They were firmly tied to their own cultural heritage, and most of that came from outside Europe.

I think I'm going to end up typing a brief history of Western Civilization here in the next few days, just to try to keep everything straight in my mind... because there's a traceable path from Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq through the ancient cultures and ethno-religious traditions of the Middle East and through the Greek and Roman cultures of the Classical period straight through to modern times.

And unless I regularly feed my thirst for ancient history, I tend to forget that those influences exist. For some reason, the idea doesn't stick.

It's far easier, far cleaner, to assume that the flower of Western (yes, you can read that as American if you like, most Americans do) culture has strong stems in Rome, and broad, clean leaves in Classical Greece, with its toga-clad philosophers and playwrights and gleaming architectures... and that our culture's roots are so obscure that either no one knows about them or they are so old that all reliable records have been destroyed or lost to time. We're willing to own up to our Roman, Greek, and even Egyptian interests and influences... check out the Egyptian obelisk Washington Monument, or the Doric temple Lincoln Memorial, or the Greco-Roman Jefferson Memorial.

Our roots aren't that hidden. Our influences go deeper than we want to acknowledge, and we are simply another step along the path humanity is walking. And our school systems need to be teaching that.

Another idea that wouldn't leave me alone this morning is tied in with the nation-state sovereignty issue. The global economy, if free trade is allowed, will self-select for specialization... countries will use their resources (both material and human) to produce and export goods and services if they can do those specific things priced competitively, or they will be forced to import those goods or services. National governments may try to place trade barriers on items going in or coming out, to try to tune what their countries produce and import, and that is both a good and a bad thing (that's probably fodder for a whole separate essay!). The exchange of ideas, however, really does need to be free. Without the free trade of ideas, I personally think we'll all be in big, big trouble.

That said, there's an interesting line in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy about the babel fish... communication without civility or tolerance will also probably lead humanity to disaster.

I've always enjoyed the BBC's production of the book, and have it on DVD.

The Babel Fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it.

The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel Fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel Fish. Meanwhile, the poor Babel Fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

And no, my brain's gears aren't really slowing down much today. That's helped me get work done this morning, and hopefully the trend will continue this afternoon, as I have a bunch of documentation to type up. If it's still churning away tonight I may do that brief history entry tonight... and cling to optimism rather than pessimism about our species and our world.

Don't panic!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (spring dawning)
Wandering toward the cafeteria in search of salad for lunch, I ended up following music drifting on the warm spring breeze.

Bah da buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum bump bump bump!

Sounds kind of familiar...

Bah da buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum bump bump bump!

Hmmm. Slow smile...

Bah da buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum bump bump bump!

Hey, that sounds like orcs! And ringwraiths!

Big grin!

Yep, the Caltech Chamber Music was doing an open air concert, and there was a five-piece brass ensemble that happened to be doing an arrangement of part of the LoTR music just as I was walking to lunch.

My inner Tolkien geek is a very, very happy woman today.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (bright dreams nasa)
I've been a regular reader of WilWheaton.Net for a while now, and in fact attended a con just to meet him. He's a cool fellow, and his writing is awesome, and he's hilarious in person on stage.

Plus, Star Trek will always have a special place in my heart.

I've already pre-ordered Dancing Barefoot at, and look forward to being able to pre-order Just A Geek, his next book. And I'm really, really looking forward to having both of them in my hot little hands!
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (path less traveled)
DVDs are awesome technology. I'm so glad it's caught on and that more studios are including more extra features in their releases. Now, if only all of my favorite classic black and white films were already out on DVD... watching movies in the comfort of one's own home, with a pause button for bathroom breaks and whatever healthy snacks you want to prepare for yourself, well, that's just great.

I always bring little foamy earplugs with me to the movie theater. They block out the most damaging loud noises and make previews much less painful. Mine are noise reduction rating 30. I like seeing epics on the big screen, but I also like my hearing.

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