Eternal Vigilance

I spent most of the last few days in my parents' garden. Which, considering the very nice weather and my recent lack of reading, was very nice indeed.

As always I was amazed at the fact that all you need is a tiny oasis like this to meet not only birds, but lizards, frogs, toads and newts. There's one frog that seems to have taken up permanent residence at the pond. Every single time a plane crosses it starts croaking. We're guessing it's trying to chase them away. Quite successfully too - so far not one of them has dared landing. Helicopters, however, do not seem to be considered a threat. Strange that.

The One That Just Had To Go Without A Clever Title

I trust you all remember Brokeback Babylon?

Last FedCon, almost a year ago, it was played before Peter Jurasik (Londo that is, I've been told there are people who only know the characters' names *g*) got on stage for his panel. Which made him comment on it. Thanks to
Starstuff I now can give you (and me, for that matter) the exact quote instead of my somewhat incoherent summary:

"There are many, many reasons why I wish Andreas Katsulas was alive, but that is one of them. He would love that, that’s so funny. I’ve seen that before, it’s great, isn’t it? Brokeback Babylon. I wish he was here."

Now, just so you know, I dig any and all feedback I'm getting. The audience you get is one of the things that are so great about the internet. Also, applause (not to mention laughter) from a live audience is quite nice, too. But feedback like that from someone I made something about? And not just anyone, but Jurasik? Saying that Katsulas, of all people, would have liked it? Doesn't get better than that.

Thanks again to trulla and robse (and whoever else may have been there without me knowing) for screaming in time to stop Marc from forgetting about it!

Beauty. In the Light.

I so wish I'd have had a camera with my on my way home today.

Thanks to both the very nice spring weather we're having and daylight saving time I finally get to ride my bike in sunlight again. Some time around seven I was approaching the Frankfurter Tor (de) heading westwards. When I had to stop at some traffic lights, the sun shone right through the glass part on the top of the left tower. It looked just like a lighthouse. With the sky around it already starting to turn orange, it was amazingly beautiful. Of course, the photo below can't hope to even begin to get across the impression. Well, at least I did get to appreciate it :)

RIP (7): Andy Hallett

Note to self: if you neglect posting long enough, sooner or later your reentry is going to be something like this :(

August 4, 1975 – March 29, 2009

While I have yet to watch Angel I did meet Andy at a convention. Appearantly he died because of a tooth infection leading to chronic heart disease some five years ago.

"Life's a bitch and then you die."

BSG (6): Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2

I just finished rewatching Galactica's first season. Which is awesome, even more so than I remembered. Granted it is not as planned out as B5, but the characters are just amazing. And that cliffhanger still is one of the best I've ever seen. And don't even get me started on the score...

Also, if the last thing you've seen before that was what's out of S4 yet, especially 4x12, especially that final scene - the whole thing tends to veer off a bit to the funny side of things every now and then, inspite of all the tension. Yes, I do appreciate irony :)

QuotesЯUs (10)

From the already praised Fahrenheit 451, one of many:

It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books. [...] The same infinite detail and awareness could also be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not. No, no, it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.
Well, stitching the patches of the universe toghether is plenty of magic if you ask me...

Portable Magic (9)

Anne Rice: Interview With The Vampire

I have never seen the movie, so I was completely clueless as to what to expect. I liked it a lot, especially the dark mood. I will check out some of the other books of the series, I'm pretty sure of that.


Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon

When someone on my reading list tells me
his updating frequency is going to suffer because he's busy reading some author's latest book, that author's just begging to be checked out. So I did, and I'm glad I have.

I absolutely love Stephenson's use of language and narrative technique. I love his sense humor and I especially dig his quirky, nerdy digressions. His vocabulary is pretty outstanding, too. The story itself got a little too conventional for my liking, especially near the end, but I still enjoyed myself a lot. He's another one I'll come back to, probably a lot sooner than Rice, too.


That's it for 2008, some 80 books in total. Not quite the 100 I originally aimed for (GTA's to blame...), but quite decent nevertheless, I believe. On for 2009 then:

Alan Weisman: Die Welt ohne uns (The World Without Us)

What would happen if mankind were to vanish all of a sudden? How would Earth recover, how long would it take... not really an uplifting experience and not because of the premise either. Boy, we really are good at creating long term problems *sigh*


Susan Kay: Das Phantom (Phantom)

The book expands on the original, Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, and aims to make Eric (the Phantom) a more complex character by telling his backstory. It was very much recommended in an online board, and I did like it. Still, I couldn't quite understand the raving reviews at Amazon and the like, which is probably to blame on me failing to read the original first... well, that's bound to happen every once in a while when you prefer just plunging into books instead of doing some research first. Leroux's also on that list of mine now, no harm done :)


Jason Lutes: Berlin. Steinerne Stadt (Berlin. City of Stones)

The first part of a trilogy of graphic novels set in the final, turbulent years of the Weimar Republic. Very political, very personal all the same - very much recommended.

(Wikipedia on the author)

Ray Bradbury:
Fahrenheit 451


One of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. It totally blew me away. Most people probably know that it's about a dystopian society where books have been outlawed and are being burnt - that's what I knew.

It is so much more though. It's a thrilling tale, the journey of a character and it contains some wonderful philosophical tangents regarding books, society, people, truth, fear... you name it. The book was first published in 1953, which is both amazing and terrifying as a lot of it rings so very true with what's going on right now. At the same time, it manages to spread optimism even in the face of one of the more gruesome ending's I've read.

The 50 year anniversary edition I read contains an afterword and a coda by as well as an interview with Bradbury, born at different points during those 50 years and reflecting on certain aspects of the book and what has happened since then - a truly great addition.

Can't recommend it enough!!


J.K. Rowling: Die Märchen von Beedle dem Barden (The Tales of Beedle the Bard)

Far too short, but still very enjoyable, especially because of "Dumbledore's" annotations. Very nice addition to the Potterverse. Plus, it's for charity. (Btw. I absolutely loved Rowling's way of saying thank you with the handmade editions...)


Current read is Dan Ariely: Denken hilft zwar, nützt aber nichts (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions).

Eureka (9): WhatTheFont?!

I just did some fiddling in Photoshop to make a gift coupon for Christmas. (It's not as lame as it sounds. In fact, I think it's pretty darn cool. But, thanks to Murphy, if I spill, this is going to be the one time the receiver is going to read this blog. Ergo, spilling has been suspended until further notice.)

Anyway, I wanted to match a given font, so I needed to identify it first. I already knew there was a site that asked you questions about a font and then tried to find out which one it was: 
Identifont. However, while looking for it, I found another one. And this one lets you load up an image and then identifies the font: WhatTheFont?!. No guarantee as to the reliability, but the one I tried worked like a charm. Sweet.

Sitrep (7)

I'm home for Christmas. And I am determined to enjoy every minute of it.

Contrary to what my second to last entry said, my new job wasn't actually ahead but pretty much upon me. The day after I made that entry I got a call: "Um, could you get to work sooner. There's this thing we need to get done..." - "Sure, how about tomorrow?" - "Really?! That would be just great!" So, I turned up, got shown around a bit and then sent right to work. And pulled 45 hours in 7.5 days. Which, for someone who hasn't been working for quite a while and also tends to need eight to ten hours sleep a night, turned out to be quite a change... Even though that work almost got obliterated within a few minutes, everything turned out well in the end. We'll get to see whether we did good enough some time in February or March. And, just now, I've discovered I have been paid already. Which is a very good thing indeed as I've already spent some of that money during Christmas shopping.

Now, what else to do with my newly discovered riches?

I have finally ordered my ticket for next year's FedCon. Everything's gonna be OK, I get to be there :D

Also, I'm currently weighing my need for a new notebook against my need to go on vacation. It's really not so much the 'not working' part that makes the latter for me, but the going somewhere part. And I haven't had that in more than two years. Which, for me, is breathtakingly long. So, I'm kinda in favor of just tormenting my current notebook some more and go to Corsica to do the GR 20 first. It's supposed to be the most beautiful long range hiking trail in Europe. Appearantly, since the last time I was considering this, the situation concerning provisions on the way has much improved. If you avoid the main season - which you should do anyway because of the heat - it's also quite feasible to not take a tent. Also, the trail is perfectly waymarked - given my less than stellar sense of orientation that's quite important. As there are quite a few people there at any given time (in context of mountain trails, that is) I was actually thinking of just doing this one on my own. Turns out my mother would like to go with me. Which would be really nice. Anyway, I've already bought a guide, we'll work that one through during the holidays and then we'll see. If it's a go - whether with or without my mom - I'll have to do some training till June.

Last but not least, happy holidays to everyone. Or just happy days, if you're not the Christmas type :)