To round out a May of Doing All The Things: Eddie Izzard's new comedy show Force Majeure, again at the Palace Theater.

Eddie Izzard

And yes. I was ridiculously close to the stage. Like, six rows back? It was amazing.

I love this guy. Like, I think we could be friends. And it would be awesome.

Eddie Izzard

I'm not sure I remember which part this was, but it could well be preparing the human sacrifice, pastry-chef-style.

There's also doing the math on how many "men" are in the Fellowship of the Ring. Turns out, it's about 3.6 or so.

Eddie Izzard

Though I think my favorite part was "an Indian accent on marijuana results in a Welsh accent. A Welsh accent on cocaine, conversely, sounds like an Indian accent." Go on, think about it. It's totally true.

And instead of all hanging around the stage door for a Q&A session, we got a planned Q&A in the lobby.

Eddie Izzard

Favorite question: "What happened to jam, and what's up with Steve?"
Favorite answer, unrelated: "Right now, I'm a bit obsessed with noises. Hence the recurring chicken theme."

Yes, there was a recurring chicken theme. It had metal legs, and advised Caesar on military strategy, among other things. Which... makes perfect sense in context. I promise.
Everybody watch the butler get wasted :-D

New Mexico is also home to Carlsbad Caverns, probably the lowest national park in the country. There's an elevator that goes down 750 feet (we took that to get back out of there, even with the hour-long wait in line), but really, if you can, take the natural entrance. There are few things quite as cool as walking into a gaping hole in the ground.

IMG_1351

Because it's the National Park Service, it's a pretty easy walk though - just a lot of walking downhill.

IMG_1354

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Once you get past the sunlight, it starts to get really interesting. Also, it's no longer a gazillion degrees. Which is a nice change from September in New Mexico :-)

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Sadly, my camera didn't do very well underground, and I don't have the pictures that mum took yet. So you'll just have to google a few photos :-) Funny story at the end though: there's a revolving door at the entrance to the elevator, and apparently people are in such a hurry to get to the elevator that they almost got stuck in that door every. single. time. Like, people look at the guy in front of them step into the door and then not get out immediately on the other side, but as soon as it's their turn? Exact same thing. All we could think while waiting was "don't get stuck, don't get stuck, don't get stuck..." since the alternative was a mile and a half walk uphill on the other side of the cavern. Luckily, nothing happened. Because that would have sucked.

Part of the fun of Carlsbad Caverns are the bats - you can sort of hear them on the way down, back in an inaccessible area of the cave, but the really cool thing? Bat flight. Sun goes down, thousands of bats swoop out of the cave entrance and take off into the desert to fill up on mosquitoes. It's pretty cool.

It's also a lesson in "people are stupid." Instructions are pretty simple: no cameras, no electronics, and be quiet. It's the last part that seemed incredibly difficult for the people who were hanging out by the entrance with us. I think the ranger was seriously annoyed, as was I. But hey, we saw bats! Lots of bats! It was pretty cool. Also? We got the official t-shirt you can buy only at this particular bit of the event :-) I'd show you a picture, but it's currently lost in the mess that is my post-window-installation bedroom. Maybe later.

And then, to cap off a lovely night, we met some amateur astronomers in the parking lot who had set up a telescope pointed at Saturn. Which I got to look through. Dude. Saturn. With rings. It was pretty much just as awesome as seeing Jupiter plus moons at Witt. Astronomy is SO COOL.
Once we figured out how to drive the car, we drove to Roswell, NM, because when you're that close to Roswell, you kind of have to go :-) It's a really pretty drive from Albuquerque - New Mexico is definitely desert, but still green-ish, and not as desert-y as Texas or Arizona.

IMG_1322

We spent the night in Roswell, in a lovely little Best Western (which always seem to be awesome west of the Mississippi, although breakfast was terrible), and then threw ourselves into conspiracy theories and alien encounters.

Ok, not really. We tried, but really, Roswell is just a main street full of shops with terrible t-shirts and cheesy alien masks (with some art museums that all seemed to be closed). We did check out the International UFO Museum & Research Center though. That was highly entertaining.

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I want this as a coffee table.

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Apparently the Roswell aliens were related to the Borg.

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This newspaper is everywhere.

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On mugs, on plates, available as prints, and also on a horse.

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That one was actually kind of pretty, though a bit excessively glittery. Funny thing is, it was not the most random thing in the building. That honor went to a huge wood carving replica of... something out of Indiana Jones? I guess.

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Aliens everywhere! Or at least anywhere you can make a buck off of the idea. Nice gift shop though ;-)
Well, leaving if the weather cooperates. My flight from Columbus to New Mexico was going through Chicago, and for some reason, Midway hates me. Last time, the wind almost blew us off the runway during landing (that felt weird), this time they actually closed the airport periodically for thunderstorms. So we sat in Columbus because the plane from Chicago was delayed, and then we sat in Chicago because they wouldn't let us leave.

We did make it with minimal delays though - is there such a thing as speeding on a plane? - and the weather in Albuquerque was nice enough to cooperate with landing. Mum picked me up at baggage claim, where my bag must have seriously been the last thing to come off the airplane. I don't think I've waited that long for my stuff in quite a while. But, everything was there, which was the important part. Yay! Time to start the vacation, right?

Wrong.

Went to the car rental place, got checked in, walked out to where you pick up the car. Which was not where you pick up the car, apparently - that was two rows over, with the rival company. Mum had reserved a "small SUV," since we've been known to go sort of off-roading in rental cars. They... weren't quite sure they had a small SUV. Guy then points at a car a little bit away and goes "you can take that one." We nod, sort of apprehensively, and walk towards the car... which seems to be getting bigger. Turns out the guy's definition of "small SUV" can be applied to a Ford Explorer (or possibly Chevy Suburban, I don't remember) with three rows of seating and a trunk I could have slept in.

Yeah, no dice. We go back, point at another car, ask if we can have that one. Guy says yes, keys are inside. Which is great, except for the part where the keys are apparently locked inside, and we can't get to them. We wave, guy is confused, checks with his boss... "I can't rent that to you, it has hail damage." Sigh.

Guy: "I'll go clean a car for you. It'll take a few minutes. Is that ok?"
Us: "DEAR GOD YES JUST GET US A DECENT CAR SO WE CAN GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE. I mean, yeah, sure, no problem."

Best choice ever. Hyundai Tucson, 4000 miles on it, clean as a whistle. We grin, say thank you, and run away.

Or, well, we try to. Mum is driving, and almost immediately goes "I think it's broken." We keep driving, the car revvs more and more, never seems to shift... huh. It's an automatic, so what on earth? We turn around, start going back to the rental place, when I look at the gearbox again and go "try shifting up towards that plus sign." Yes, somebody made an automatic car with a gearshift. You have to shift up yourself, but then it shifts down whenever it needs to (mostly when you stop completely).

Crisis averted, we keep going. Later on, we'll actually find out that there's another setting for people who just want to drive a freaking automatic car without the bells and whistles, but that takes another day. I mean, really. Who makes an automatic stickshift car?

Apparently Hyundai does.
Mum found me THE perfect Christmas card. It's amazing.



"I didn't know what to get you for Christmas. So I used the time machine to check what I got you."
"Socks and a paradox! Thank you."

I love my mummy :-)
I was all excited, because today I thought I'd have some cool pictures to show you, and some awesome stories to tell. We went to the Gasometer in Oberhausen, which is basically a museum and exhibition hall in an old industrial building. It was pretty cool - they had a photo exhibit of beautiful places around the world, including a number I've been to before, lots of geology stuff, and a huge sculpture of a rainforest tree. The visuals were awesome, and I even remembered my camera.

Too bad I left the memory card at home.

Yeah, bad blogger. Here, have some pictures from the website instead.

Then we wanted to go climbing for a bit, on a high ropes course type thing right next to the exhibit. Except it was crowded, and way too expensive for as little time as we had (we had to go back and feed horses eventually). We also tried to go to the aquarium, but the signs just seemed to lead back to the mall, and we got annoyed :-P

So we went shopping instead, or at least tried to - I tried on three dresses that all made me look like I was either five years old or an extra for Little House on the Prairie. In the end, we bought tea, and I got one of those mug-with-a-lid-and-a-loose-tea-infuser-combos. It has dragons on it :-)

Oh, speaking of the mall, funny story. You know how Hollister in the US has attractive teenagers in white clothes standing outside the store, most likely to discourage people of insufficient attractiveness from entering? Well, today's Hollister had muscular young guys. Topless. In board shorts. Wearing zinc sunscreen on their noses. Greeting customers with "hey, whassup?"

Yes, I almost died. It was hilarious.

(click for bigger)

Because handwashing is just so overrated.
I love Glee :-)

Probably the most knitting-productive month I've had so far, thanks to the HP group on Ravelry. I finished four classes, a bunch of stuff for Quidditch (charity knitting for points this term), and 33% of my OWL in time to turn in for progress points on Thursday or Friday.

Pictures!

Defense Against the Dark Arts - "what I fought this summer" essay, complete with Doctor Who theme. I know one person got it, hopefully people got a chuckle out of the random "attack of the cybermats" story. I absolutely adore this hat - yes, it's all mine :-)



Potions - make something to keep someone warm. Merry Christmas to, well, someone ;-)



Herbology - something made from at least 50% plant fiber. Of course, I chose 100% cotton because it's what I had laying around. I think I'll send this off to Suz and Howard for the new baby.



Care of Magical Creatures - taking care of Nifflers, which like shiny objects (who doesn't?). I mostly wrote a story about the earrings, but also made stitchmarkers for various people.



Quidditch - as a team, make things for charities of your choice. Our team chose "orphans" as the overall charity theme, so we're making things for Warm Woolies, Project Linus, a local animal shelter, etc. I finished a blanket and a hat, and am working on some seriously awesome mittens.





Owl - Transfigurations. Use up at least 1200 yards of yarn to make whatever you want. 33% completion required by the end of October. I finished 33% by the end of September :-)







Next up: October! No idea what assignments will be, but I'm hoping they'll continue to fit Christmas present ideas :-D

From [livejournal.com profile] knives42ljk  via Facebook:

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How many have you read?

How do your reading habits stack up?

Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and bold those you have read.

Tag other book nerds

1 Pride and Prejudice
2 The Lord of the Rings
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurie
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables — Victor Hugo

30 out of 100... clearly I need to read some Dickens :)

Dear Car

Jun. 5th, 2009 10:33 am

Please don't hate me for the schedule below?

Sara's graduation: while I can walk to the ceremony, I also was invited to the dinner, which is in Parkersburg. Not that that's a bad thing :) 75.8 miles

World-Wide Knit in Public Day event: the closest one is in Powell. I've been looking for a closer one, but this seems to be it. 185.2 miles

Ysolda Teague: at Wonderknit in Columbus. It's pretty much the closest a Scottish designer will ever be to my current location - I have no excuse not to go :) 160.2 miles

Amy Singer: speaking at Knitters Connection. Pretty much a ditto on my chances to meet her again. 152.2 miles

Knitters Connection Market: potentially combine-able with Amy Singer's talk. Has minor potential to be cut from the schedule. 152.2 miles

Red White & Boom: I've been wanting to go, but this is the first time I've had someone to come with me. At least it's two weeks after the rest of this stuff. 152 miles

Total potential mileage: 877.6 miles
(OUCH. Adding that up was a bad idea.)

I'm torn about some of these, simply because it is A LOT of driving in a very short amount of time. At the same time, I've been complaining about having nothing to do down here, and here's a bunch of cool experiences that don't require a plane or overnight stay. If I don't go, I have no right to complain anymore. Argh!

I'll end up going to most of these. I know I will. That just means not doing anything random (like random trips to Parkersburg, which I haven't done in a long time) for a couple of weeks. But, gas prices? No more going up. It's generally annoying.

Finally an excuse to spend more time at the bead store :P



Stitch markers, for knitting. Which also means I can now make earrings. Oh, the possibilities :)


No really, spoilers. Lots of them. Deal with it or go away :)

Overall I liked the movie a lot, but I didn't absolutely love it. Of course I think the only real reason for that was that I already "knew" most of the characters and had to deal with different portrayals of them. But I think the whole movie did a really good job of taking inspiration from the old movies and not trying to BE the old movies and characters. It was definitely Star Trek for a new audience, but with A LOT of references to the classic series. Green chick in bed with Kirk was especially amusing :)

Zachary Quinto was awesome. Sarcastic Spock :) He was fantastic, and eerily attractive at the same time. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole Spock/Uhura thing though - maybe with more backstory, but as it was, definitely didn't work. Funny though, especially other people's reaction to it.

I heart Simon Pegg. How did I actually not like him before? The man's hilarious. And a really fun Scotty. He just didn't show up early enough, so I'm hoping they'll make at least one more of these movies.

Karl Urban as McCoy - given how much I read "he's going to suck," I was kind of afraid, but he was amazing. Probably the one who was closest to the classic character, but it worked. Very very well. "Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"

The other cast choices were, if not totally surprising, definitely interesting - but it was good to see that the kid from a couple of stoner movies could actually act :) And I swear I've seen the kid who plays Chekov in something else... help? Anyone? Chris Pine, who plays Kirk, is kind of too pretty for his own good, but he gets beat up pretty quickly, so it's ok. Actually, he spends most of the movie with cuts and bruises... poor Kirk. Then again, he asks for it most of the time :) Of course he tends to win... sometimes prequels suck because the tension goes out of a fight scene. You really know who's going to survive the fight on the narrow walkway over the gaping chasm :)

The visual effects were awesome, especially the shots of the Romulan ship being sucked into the black holes. For some reason it always reminded me of scenes from *Pirates*, where the Kraken takes down a ship, all tentacle-y and creepy. But that likely was the point. Sadly, none of the ships had beepy light-up consoles... they were relatively slick, although the engine room was ridiculously old-school. And huge. I don't remember engineering ever being that big. Or that yellow.

I think what bugged me most was Eric Bana... why does he keep getting hired for action flicks? I don't believe any emotions he portrays, and when revenge on an entire planet is the primary motivator for the villain, I kind of have to believe he actually has emotions. I just don't get it, but maybe I'm still jaded from the disaster that was the first Hulk movie. This was... well, this was another green guy with an anger management problem. We all know how that worked out ;)

I'm still totally excited about Leonard Nimoy being in the movie, and not just as a cameo :) He seemed to be really happy about being there too, and I heard somewhere that he was really nice to everyone, and especially helpful to Quinto. Probably one of the reasons why that performance was so brilliant.

I'll have to see the movie again, definitely - right now I'm only absorbing half of it, I feel like. But that's ok, I had loads of fun :)

PS Greg Grunberg was in the movie. I only figured that out during the end credits. But it was a funny touch too - had to have more than one *Heroes* cast member apparently :P

ETA: Red space suits are the new red shirts. But they still die a horrible death.

From notalwaysright.com

This…Is…Spyware!

Electronics Store | Texas, USA

Customer: “Hi, my son says that I have spartans on my laptop and I should bring it to you guys.”
Me: “…Ma’am? Spartans?”
Customer: “Yes, I called my son at school and told him that screens keep popping up all the time, and he said that I have spartans.”
Me: “Oh! You mean trojans! That’s a possibility; let me run this analyzer on your laptop real quick and we’ll see what’s going on.”
Customer: “Young man, my son is in college and he says it has spartans. You just stand here in a little uniform and make minimum wage. I think my son knows what he is talking about.”
Me: “You’re right ma’am. I was hoping to run a diagnostic and find out that it wasn’t spartans, but just by looking at the login screen, I can tell that you probably have about 300 of the little guys running around.”
Customer: “300?! Is that bad?”
Me: “It’s horrible. They cram themselves into a bottleneck and kill wave after wave of data, until there is a wall of dead programs blocking any more traffic through your computer.”
Customer: “Oh, that just figures. I’m going to go buy a new computer.”
Me: “Ok, ma’am, I think that would be best.”

Warning: Reading the site linked above will make you lose your last shred of faith in humanity. Also, you may realize just how not funny and witty you really are. I sure did.


...now RAPTORS!

I love hackers :)

... but I still have an awesome Christmas tree!



This one is probably my favorite ornament on the tree this year - I got it last weekend when I went Christmas decor shopping with Jess.



I think the holidays have officially arrived :)

So much fun... so much fiber... so many memories! Because things like these are best told in pictures, let's have some! A good number of these are courtesy of Carrie.

It was a really pretty day - warm, but still great for being outside.



We all got to hold angora bunnies. They were amazingly soft, really nice, and I was sorely tempted to take one home :)



Laura bought half a sheep



and we all drooled over the walls of yarn and fiber in the Creatively Dyed Yarns booth



Impressively enough, we all stayed within our budgets while buying some really cool fibers.

Saturday night was spent eating Chinese food and watching movies in the hotel room - it was pretty much college all over again, just with better beds :)

Sunday we went to visit Witt before I went home and the twins went to lunch with Dr. Fleisch. I really miss campus... I think for me college was that experience other people have in high school. Totally awesome, and pretty unforgettable!

How weird is it that we never realized there was a giant tree in front of Recitation Hall?



This was home for a year - Woodlawn Hall, substance-free at the time, now I think it's the honors dorm.



There totally used to be really ugly buildings here - now it's much better-looking :)



The Science Building atrium, where I spent many a day doing some sort of homework and drinking massive amounts of coffee.



We saw the Observatory, probably one of the coolest buildings on campus...



... and we did sort of mock Wally by imitating him for a photo op :)



Good times... good times :)

Hellmouth!

Jun. 23rd, 2008 05:34 pm
Courtesy of Neil Gaiman's blog. This is freaky, but very very awesome. I kind of want to go :)

The Door to Hell
 
Check the comments for an awesome video of the same place, courtesy of [personal profile] ikoand YouTube. It even makes the noises :)  

HAT!

Jul. 6th, 2007 07:35 am
I finished my pink hat last night - now I just need to learn to look at the camera when I take self-portraits!

No really, it's a hat this time... )
And here is the virus email I got at work this morning...

"Hi. Worshipper has sent you an ecard. See your card as often as you wish during the next 15 days."

Yeah.

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