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Suckage for today...

Ray Bradbury has passed away at the age of 91. While he's not my favorite author, and while I disagreed with his stance on digital media (that it would destroy books and such rather than actually expand sales and such), I do appreciate everything he did for the science fiction community, and I did enjoy The Martian Chronicles. I applauded him for taking a stand to filmmaker and critic Michael Moore for ripping off his Fahrenheit 451 title with his 9/11 expose, and it sucks that that whole issue remains unresolved... He was snubbed by Moore, then went to sue, then got an acknowledgment from Moore and a promise to talk things over, and last I heard, Bradbury was still waiting for Moore to make good on his promise.

Another thing I have to like Bradbury for: his support of libraries. Supposedly, he wrote his first published manuscript in the basement of his college's library. He has thus always been a strong proponent of libraries.

Then, the Trolololo guy passed away...



And Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, apparently "won" his recall election. I use the quotation marks because there's already hints of voter fraud as well as using the ill-conceived corporate personhood for him to hold on to his governorship. In short, he's still in office because he cheated in a corrupt system that already gave him an edge, and even then, it was a close thing. It's making me lose faith in our supposedly democratic system...

And yeah, I and the furkids are still mourning TomTom. Rocky and YoYo are perhaps the most upset. TomTom and YoYo were good buddies. And TomTom was the only one who gave Rocky the time of day and worked with him and mentored him. I mean, that was the kind of cat TomTom was... Very accepting. Within reason, of course. He wouldn't hesitate to thwap you if you crossed a line. But he'd greet visitors and expect pettins. Of course, he'd also go through whatever they brought in with better, more effective scrutiny than TSA. But while he and Rocky never flopped on each other, they did lie side-by-side or facing each other on the koosh pillows, or play "parachute" together when I was trying to make the bed, or "help" me fold my laundry and so on. They'd sit on either side of me like gargoyles while watching TV with Yoda. Though TomTom was the only one who ever seemed interested in watching the nightly news. Still... TomTom was a companion for Rocky, and I'm worried that the other cats won't befriend him. Though, you never know... With TomTom gone, the hierarchy is a complete mess right now, and that might open some doors. Literally as well as figuratively. You never know.

In the meantime, Rocky's been half-plastered to my side when I'm at home. He and I sat on the bed for a little bit last night when I got home from work and again this morning before I left for work, just talking. Rocky's always been a vocal cat, but he's been a bit more vocal lately. I'm hoping he's getting the attention he needs from me right now, and he's consequently helping me through the grieving process, too. TomTom, I think, had enough of an influence on Rocky where Rocky will be an awesome cat as well.

You know, it's a damn shame these critters, so full of unconditional love and acceptance, have such short lifespans. It's like some sort of fucked-up balance control of the universe: great creatures are short-lived, and long-lived creatures - humans - are bastards.

This whole experience has taught me a few things... I learned that I can still drive well despite being incredibly upset, that I can maintain a certain driving decorum when I am transporting a sick pet. I also learned that I can soak a cat's coat with my tears. And I learned that TomTom was awesome right up until the end.

I don't think it was any accident that he went into his carrier on his own when we left the house for the last time. He didn't want to die at home. And the last time I was with him, he barely had the strength to headbutt me or lick my tears, yet when I was making that final decision - to euthanize or to give him one more chance to turn the corner with fluids and more aggressive meds - he stood up and took a few steps like nothing was wrong, which cinched my decision to try the fluids. The furry little monster knew I was torn, and he made it so I didn't have to actually decide to euthanize. He went on his own terms and in his own way.

Awesomeness to the bitter end.

This weekend...anyone so much as says, "It was just a cat" or anything, I'm leaving. Heading back to the hotel. Curling up with a book or the Kindle. Better company that way.

In other news... The Library received Vice-President Biden's Senatorial papers today. I was actually on the special invite-list to be there for the shrink-wrap cutting ceremony and be in the background for the media coverage and cheer like an idiot for their arrival... Were I not grieving, I probably would have gone. But right now, I'm finding it hard to summon the amount of care required for much of anything.

Comics )
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HAPPY BIRFDAY[personal profile] angelamermaid!!



High-speed, low-budget entry...

Happy Pi Day!!

Had to take the day off and spent most of it sleeping after a kidney stone incident this morning. Grrr.

Oh, and the dental trip yesterday wasn't too bad. Except I have another cavity they need to fill (besides the one between my ears), so, I have to go back next week. At least it's just one this time.

Another good article by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Partisan Politics Tainting NASA.

In the more bizarre and otherworldly, Wil Wheaton puts way too much time into validating spam mail he received. And...combined with the idea of Wesley Crusher: Teenage Fuck Machine... Yeah, I need to pick up some brain bleach now...

The Onion reports on Alien World to Help Out Syria Since This One Refuses To.

Tall stack o' comics )
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Yeah, I kept the blog "dark" in support of protests for SOPA and censorship.

I mean, seriously, can we really prevent widespread piracy? Or content-sharing? What would be next? Having to pay a fee and apply for permission to sing "Happy Birthday"? Being fined for quoting movies? As is, I'm kind of surprised the RIAA hasn't shut down karaoke bars. I mean, they've damn near come close to shutting down gyms and dance studios. I never advertised myself as a DJ for hire because technically I can't just go somewhere and play music without risking getting into a hell of a lot of trouble. I can do so at TTL and such because they're already raped up the ass without lube charged exorbitant fees to...provide music for us dancers to, you know, dance to.

And in another venue, something SOPA could put a crushing end to is fan fic. (Yes, SOPA could end far more things than fan fic, but, I'm going with more personal things to kind of narrow down my example machine.) Okay, so, those of us writing fan fic could still do so and just not share it on the internet. But there are whole groups who write and read each others' fan fic, and this has been greatly facilitated, and would then be greatly crippled, by SOPA.

Hell, even here on LJ and DW, how many icon groups are there? And why do we use a pop cult icon with a witty saying? Because it expresses something we're feeling or want to share. Fan vids, fan fic, icons, LOL cats, movie quotes, music lyrics, karaoke... They are all artistic manifestations of the human need to express. Indeed, it also emphasizes the importance of and need for art in general in society.

Dorkgasm has this post about sharing leading to interest. I share this link because, well, it's relevant. In fact, it even mentions Nine Inch Nails, which I became interested in after seeing a BSG fan vid with Baltar and Six. There have been several songs and bands I became interested in after seeing a fan vid set to their music.

Geeks are Sexy has a wonderfully comprehensive vid about PIPA and SOPA and the threat they present.

And then there's this cute parody...



In other news, The Mary Sue has an article about George Lucas retiring as a filmmaker. Well, he'll still do smaller projects. My take? Yes, I wish he'd stop screwing around with the original trilogy. Some of the improved effects were cool, but most? I don't think they're an improvement. If they could release a DVD or Blu-Ray where at the menu, you can select which version of effects and added or redone scenes you want, and create your own version, I'd be all over that. For example, in A New Hope, I'd have the scene with Jabba the Hutt, have the dewbacks, but have Han Shot First.

Unlike so many others, I don't think the prequel movies were an abomination. I liked Jango Fett, Qui Gon, and Mace Windu. Granted, this was more in the novelizations of the prequel trilogy, but Palpatine's rise to power, eroding of civil liberties in the name of security, and seducing Anakin to the Dark Side is actually pretty deep and has scores of social commentary on current events. Lucas' flaw, in my own opinion, is that he's a perfectionist and he's got enough clout to give in to his own version of OCD. I can criticize only so much because I have experienced this with my own writing. It's hard, but you have to know when something is done and learn to walk away from it, and still love it in spite of all the flaws you may see.

On a tangent to that, I have to tip my hat to so many authors... Michael Martin and Andy Mangels, James Luceno, Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, Dayton Ward, Geoffrey Thorne, Peter David, J.M. Dillard, Vonda McIntyre, and many more, who have either written novelizations of movies or used (shitty) material from movies of certain franchises and used them for compelling storytelling. I mean, Nemesis sucked, but the Titan novels and the Destiny trilogy and the Typhon Pact books have used Data's death, Romulan politics, and the Next Gen crew going their separate ways to launch some superb storytelling including some serious thought and visceral scenes. Joel Schumacker created the travesty of Batman Forever, but Peter David's novelization of that film thoroughly redeemed that story. Oh, and he did the same thing for Fantastic 4.

And I still say Ward and Dilmore and Mack have created a far more interesting Original Series-era saga with Vanguard than what J.J. Abrams could ever hope to achieve with his Trek reboot. If done right, the movie version of Vanguard would easily blow the Trek reboot out of the water. Unfortunately, the track record of making books into movies is not all that great. I mean, hell, Asimov's The End of Eternity was, actually, an excellent story as well as a compelling argument as to why we shouldn't let our space program stagnate, not to mention a very good twist on the old story of needing to take risks in order to achieve great things, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with a director and actors to do the book justice.

Moving along...

Yes, this post is in the clear. I figure that with the whole censorship thing, I should make this one available to the masses.

Anyway, took Mom to get her pain shots today. She's okay now, but the procedure took more than twice as long as usual.

TomTom does this caterwauling thing, usually at about this time of the night. Well this afternoon, he did it right behind me, and I actually got to watch him. I had always wondered why he did it... Vocalizing his status as the alpha? Mourning the missing people? In pain? Well, when I finally saw him, his face and stance was what I've observed of people when they're singing karaoke. In short, I have a cat who sings.

I think Tom's going to need the same thyroid surgery as YoYo. Fortunately, it's not critical at this juncture, which gives me time to save up money for it. The vet said they're okay as long as they get enough to eat. YoYo is kind of sedate, but TomTom was chasing me through the house when I was taking care of the cat boxes earlier. Not bad for a 15-year-old fuzzball. I think he yells at the birds - and kids - to get the frack off the lawn when we're not home...

Wednesday's Comics )
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Yup, it's been 10 years. It's interesting to see some of what's out there... Some people decry the wars being fought, some decry the loss of liberties for perceived security, some think that the event brought us closer together. Well, the tragedy did bring us together for all of a month or so, and now, we see this nation being more fractured than it's been since the Civil War. And yet, there are people like me that still hold out hope that we'll eventually pull our shit together.

I've already blogged about 9-11, the 10th anniversary, and so on. As for the observances themselves... There's a line, and a rather fine one at that, between tasteful remembrance and acknowledgment versus politicization, polarization, and just plain taking advantage of the victims.

Fact is, it happened, and there are some who would rather stick their heads in the sand and pretend it didn't. Others are obsessed with fear, rage, or both. One of the books I'm reading right now, The Legacy of Heorot, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes. In an attempt to set up the passage quickly, the novel takes place in the future when Earth first starts colonizing. 200 colonists are in cryosleep for a journey lasting about 100 years, and they set up a colony on a planet they named Avalon. The colonists are mostly scientists and engineers, and Cadmann Weyland is the only military person among them. The island they settle on seems peaceful, and Weyland is the only one who isn't ready to let his guard down. After all, the colony is less than a full Avalonian year old. And when some of the livestock is carried off and eaten, Weyland wants to tighten up security. Some of the colonists, however, accuse him of manufacturing a crisis just so he would be useful again. It isn't until Cadmann sets up his own stake-out and nearly loses his life that he begins to confirm that there's a dangerous predator on the island, and the colonists still refuse to take precautions, until the predator attacks the colony, killing several people, injuring dozens more, and destroying several buildings. The colony leader, Zack, hadn't dismissed Cadmann out of hand, but certainly didn't support him or even his calls for volunteers to investigate the livestock disappearances...

If a camp vote had been taken the day after the disaster, Zack would have been ousted and Cadmann elected to the post in a moment. Take the vote soon enough after the disaster, and Zack himself might have led the electoral parade. Not now. Now he'd fight.
"We're surviving," he said. "We're going to keep surviving. We've paid our price for this goddamned planet. It's all we're going to pay... What happened just shouldn't have happened." There was absolutely nothing of the old Zack in his tone.

I mention all of this because it's a good illustration of how people's passions can shift after a disaster, how trauma can change people, and how it's all a part of being human. Incidentally, the book was written in 1987.

The Onion had posted an article about God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule. I should probably send this to some of my more Evangelical friends who right after the attack and even today advocate various forms of genocide. And people wonder why I walked away from organized religion...

Kudos to the two following comics for adequately commemorating the tragedy...

Baby Blues


Zits


More Comics )
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