jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
Confession time: I've never read The Once and Future King. I adored the Disney Sword in the Stone when I was young, and watched Excalibur before I had any real sense of what was going on it in. Those and a general cultural osmosis formed most of my Arthurian background. I read Lawhead's Pendragon trilogy in junior high, and found it increasingly unreadable from Taliesin through Merlin through Arthur, and don't think I ever got through the tacked-on fourth volume.

But I like reading aloud, and Erin evidently likes being read to and is exceedingly fond of Sword in the Stone, so I've dug up a cheap ebook copy of OFK. It's exactly the kind of ... Edwardian? Early-twentieth-century English prose style, anyway, that I'm partial to, the same as one gets from Milne or Beatrix Potter ("And when Mr. John Dormouse was complained to, he stayed in bed, and would say nothing but ‘very snug;’ which is not the way to carry on a retail business."), or apparently Wodehouse. Very very dry and reserved, but with gorgeous language, and with a sense of such solid /joy/ just underneath. (I am told that the rest of OFK is much less joyful and more bitter.)

This particular copy of OFK consists of five volumes: The Sword in the Stone, The Witch in the Wood, The Ill-Made Knight, The Candle in the Wind, and The Book of Merlyn. Poking around, it looks like the last was published posthumously, but complete, and always intended as a final volume. So I'm happy to have that.

It's The Witch in the Wood that's got me a little confused. According to Wiki, The Witch in the Wood is an earlier and much longer version of the 'standard' second volume, The Queen of Air and Darkness. I'm generally all for Author's Preferred Edition, but in this case it seems more like two completely different books.

Anyone out there read both and have an opinion?
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Sometime between 1983 and 1986 (aka "while we were in DC the first time") my parents bought a sleeper sofa, armchair, and ottoman from Cargo. Or possibly This End Up. They're made out of nicely finished pine lumber, mostly 2x4s and 1x6s, sanded and stained and with the corners rounded. Within a few years of the turn of the millennium they had the Least Comfortable Sofabed Ever taken out and replaced with a flat panel, and they got the cushions replaced (twice) as well.

When I moved into my own place in mid-2006, I took a bunch of furniture that had been in Pop Shackelford's house until November 2005, and also the Cargo set. I've been hauling them around ever since. I like them a lot: they're reasonably comfortable, they're sturdy, and they look rather nice.

They're also literally the only examples of this style of Cargo furniture I've seen in the wild.

Most Cargo furniture has solid slat sides and narrow armrests, as currently sold by This End Up as the 'Classic' collection. A somewhat less common variant is available as the 'Artisan' collection, with vertical rails and proper armrests. What we've got aren't either of those. Our furniture has the flat 2x4 armrests of the Artisans, but with a single 1x6 as a horizontal side rail. This old craigslist-esque ad is the only photo of the chair and ottoman I've found online. Note that the couch in that photo is wrong; only the chair matches our set.

When [personal profile] uilos moved into her own place in 2005 she acquired a gigantic blue two-piece Ikea sofa, and we've been hauling that around as well. It's a really nice sofa, perfect for stretching out on... but apartment living does not really call for three sofas, two of which are Large. And we both like the Cargo set better than the giant blue thing. So we've been halfheartedly looking in thrift stores and used furniture stores, hoping to come up with a chair or couch that matches the ones we've already got.

There are a couple of places in Vancouver (well, Burnaby. same difference. unless you're in Vancouver. or Burnaby, I guess) that will make custom furniture. We're at the point where calling one of those places and saying "Make us a chair and/or sofa like the one we've got" is beginning to seem like a reasonable plan.

But before we do that, I figure I may as well toss this out to the wider internet and see if anyone else is any better at tracking down obscure and possibly nonexistent 1980s furniture.

jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #7:
What is your favorite community on Dreamwidth?

[community profile] endings, because it is awesome. It is, in fact, so awesome that I'm going to go post there now.

Problem: the W key is right next to the Q key, which makes for severe annoyances when I hit Cmd+Q instead of Cmd+W and close the entirety of Firefox instead of the tab I'm on.

Obvious yet nonworkable solution: turn on "Warn me when I'm closing multiple tabs" in Firefox's preferences. I don't know why it won't warn me when I Cmd+Q, but it won't. (Maybe I have something else set, maybe Cmd+Q is a system "quit this program" command that overrides Firefox's individual preferences.)

jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
Help me, internets. You're my only hope.

I have this very vague memory of a (SF/fantasy) book in which the (main?) viewpoint character somehow has access to a source of very powerful outside emotions from other characters. When this happens, he(?) has to "step aside" and allow himself "only a taste" of the emotion, otherwise he(?)'ll lose himself in it.

Sound at all familiar to anyone?


Feb. 7th, 2011 09:34 am
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
I have a vague desire to drown myself in television. Which of these, o lazyweb, would you recommend? (ETA: I've seen none of these except the BSG pilot)
  • Babylon 5
  • Farscape
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Something else entirely
(No poll because I'm more interested in the Whys.)

Not that this will be happening anytime soon: the next four months or so are kinda busy. But once we get settled I may do something like 'i made my wordcount for the week so i get another episode of X.'
jazzfish: Windows error message "Error 255: Too many errors." (Too many errors)
I've been considering a number of lifestyleish changes for awhile now. I blame the hat. I've never thought of myself as a guy who wears a hat, and yet now I have one. (A black paper/straw trilby. I'm told it looks pretty decent.) The concept of wearing a hat is starting to grow on me.

Anyway, once I got a hat, other things started popping into my head. Some of them I'd been considering for awhile, some of them are brand-new. One was kind of shocking, honestly:

I'm thinking of going Mac.

Hear me out. There are a lot of things about Windows systems that I like but they mostly boil down to "I know how to get things done on Windows." My fingers know the keyboard shortcuts intuitively. When something goes wrong, I can find what I need to do to fix it; when something needs tweaking, I have a pretty good idea of where to look to tweak. Like with QWERTY, I accept that there's some inherent inefficiency in the system, but I'm not willing to switch because learning to overcome that inefficiency will take more time than the inefficiency itself.

But my next computer (coming in probably another year) is likely to be running Windows 7, with its ridiculous ribbon bars and general revamping of the user interface. Now, I've not actually used Win7, or Vista, for any length of time: just long enough to grumble at not being able to do things with the speed and finesse I'm used to. So I don't really know how much additional learning time there'll be, but there will definitely be some.

I don't game much anymore. Every so often I get inspired to pick up something oldish (Moonbase Commander is currently taunting me again), but mostly I satisfy my gaming urges elsewhere. For me the computer's for netsurfing and writing, in that order.

I know for a fact there are things that will minorly irritate me ("War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Backspace is delete.") and things that will irk me no end (learning the difference between option and apple, trying to right-click on things for a context menu). I understand that the interface, once you fully grok it, is an aesthetic triumph of form/function melding.

So tell me, o converts, and you who never knew another system: is this way for me? Or will it end in me throwing a thousand-dollar laptop through a window and rooting through sketchy websites for a copy of Windows XP?

(Things I am specifically not looking for: lengthy paeans to the awesomeness of the Way of Mac; diatribes about the horribilitude of Apple or Windows; exhortations to try Linux or any other OS.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The morning light seemed a little less light than usual when I woke up but I figured it was just that I'd not noticed the days getting shorter. O, no. I stepped out the door and nearly cried with relief. Clouds and a fine mist and chill air and finally, finally, some relief from the interminable heat of summer.

If, gord forbid, I am still here this time next year, I'm going to have to see about being elsewhere for at least some of July and August.

The Key West trip is going to involve snorkeling. Somehow it didn't occur to me until this weekend that that's going to be a bit more difficult for me now than it was, um, eighteen (!) years ago. Thankfully [livejournal.com profile] ancientsong noted that most places will rent goggles that do some amount of vision correction, so I probably won't be restricted to seeing "coral in front of my face" and "brightly-colored maybe-fish-shaped blur five feet away."

I've had corrected vision since I was in first grade. I'm told that my parents started suspecting I needed glasses when they realised I was sitting about three feet from the television. I /do/ remember being really mad that after wearing my glasses for a week I could no longer see much of anything without them.

Sometime in Fayetteville I succumbed to the magical thinking of "if i didn't wear glasses then everyone would stop thinking i was such a nerd," and contact lenses became a holy grail of sorts. I finally got them in January 1991, and had a few months of glasses-free junior high before moving back to DC for high school. (I did have a much better time of things for those few months. It's anyone's guess as to whether this was due to the Dumbo's feather effect, or knowing that I'd be in a better place soon, or what.)

(A couple years into high school I read an article in the opthalmologist's office on this new thing called "radial keratotomy." I asked him about it and he said "Eh, maybe, but I'd wait another couple years until your eyes stop changing." Hasn't happened yet, and I'm getting towards the point where I'll likely need reading glasses anyway in a few years. Oh well.)

I wore contacts for a good many years. It was just so neat to have peripheral vision, or to see things in the shower. Not to mention not having to worry about keeping them clean, or having them fall off my face at an inopportune time. (Losing contact lenses has never been a problem for me.) Eventually, though, the price started to wear on me. One of my eyes is exceptionally nearsighted with a moderate astigmatism, and the other has a severe astigmatism and is moderately nearsighted. So not only do I have to have specially-made contacts, but at times each lens has had to come from a different vendor. None of this "off-the-shelf disposable" nonsense for me.

Finally in winter 2003-04, when money was exceptionally tight for a variety of reasons, I gave up on them altogether. I've been wearing glasses constantly since then. I can't say I miss the maintenance of having to take them out every night and lug around a bottle of saline solution every time I travel. I do sort of miss the other things about them, though, and this snorkeling issue has reminded me of that.

Plus, my father has just gotten contacts again, after twenty years of wearing glasses (he stopped originally because nine months in the desert with contacts seemed like a bad plan), and... he looks twenty years younger. It's kind of startling.

So, I'm curious, and also prone to occasional fits of vanity (because I don't think I can separate contacts from "appearance"): for those of you who have some idea what I look like, what do you think? I've so far heard from one person who prefers me in glasses, but a sample size of one isn't all that rigorous.

(And those of you who don't know what I look like, this is the internet! Never let something as trivial as a lack of knowledge stand in the way of making your opinion known!)

ow ow ow

Aug. 9th, 2010 10:34 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Incandescent light bulbs are warm. Sitting directly under a 60watt bulb for several hours, with a laptop on my legs, is a recipe for broiled jazzfish. [livejournal.com profile] uilos picked up a compact fluorescent for me a few days ago. It's a lot less warm and makes me a lot less uncomfortable, temperature-wise. I spent much of yesterday afternoon on the couch with the laptop and felt perfectly fine from about the cheekbones down.

My eyeballs, though, felt like Andre the Giant had been using them for strength-training his hands. They're still sore this morning.

I'd been assuming this was due to the thing where monitors running at a 60hz refresh rate cause eyestrain, particularly under fluorescent lights (since those /also/ flicker at 60hz)... but poking around online it seems that the 60hz refresh rate shouldn't be a problem with an LCD screen. So, I'm at a bit of a loss. I suppose the thing to do is to camp out under the light with a (paper) book for a few hours and see if that causes the same hurting.


o, books

Apr. 21st, 2010 11:44 pm
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
So I finished rereading the Hitchhiker's trilogy, for the first time in, oh, probably fifteen years. (Side note: holy cow is Mostly Harmless ever a depressing book. It's really good-- it may be the best novel of the lot-- but, yow.) And now I find myself with an embarrassment of riches.

In Vancouver I picked up a copy of Anathem, which I am told is a Neal Stephenson book with an ending. Thing is, it's Big, and bulky, and kind of annoying to carry around. It's much easier to carry Heat of Fusion, and I've been meaning to get back to that for awhile, prompted by a reread of "Chromatic Aberration" for a sadly moribund discussion forum. But I've also been meaning to reread Wolfe's Long Sun and Short Sun series, so I can pick up on some of what I missed the first time through. (devouring The Sorcerer's House last week did not help matters here.)

Or I could go with my original plan and reread the Dirk Gently books. I worry that that'll be too much DNA all at once. I did pick up a copy of King Rat at Stone Ridge last weekend, I could always finally read some of Mieville's stuff. And of course there's Ratio, a book about cooking, which I got from [livejournal.com profile] uilos last year and have been slowly wending my way through.

And then I remembered, I have a paid account for just such an eventuality!

[Poll #1554467]
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)

For the last couple days I've had in my head the voice of an elderly man, who speaks with the slightest of accents, saying, "Well. So far, so. . . far."

I'm almost dead certain this is from some movie fairy-tale but I have no idea, and it's driving me insane.


jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
A couple months ago I went and saw Coraline, with some lovely people. At the end there was a secret word of some kind.

That night I was poking around on the movie website, and found a place that seemed to want a secret word of some kind. So I went ahead and entered it, and answered a question about the film, and found myself entered to win a really neat pair of shoes.

"Sure, why not," I said, gave them my info (including shoe size), and thought no more about it.

Until I checked my email in Vancouver after getting lunch with [livejournal.com profile] uilos and Cynthia, and saw a subject line of "Congratulations - You have been selected as a winner in the Coraline Nike Dunks Giveaway."

I think I said "Huh!" Followed by "But I don't even wear shoes!"

They got here today. They're rather nice as size 10 shoes go. They're also too narrow for my 9.5EEEE feet: I could wear them, but they'd get stretched around my toes. (Same problem all normal shoes have.)

So. . . what do I do? The going rate on eBay seems to be on the order of $200. I'd feel really weird just selling them. . . but I also feel like someone else would appreciate them a lot more than I do. I'd wear them, but then they'd fall apart relatively quickly.

I'm definitely wearing them to work tomorrow, because I told my coworkers I would. I think they may collectively die of shock to see me in shoes.

Any thoughts?
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
Thanks to United overbooking a Denver-O'Hare flight nearly a year ago, I've got a free trip anywhere in the continental US. Its intended use is sadly not going to come to pass before it expires (2008-04-09), so I'll be traveling somewhere more or less at random.

I'm looking at probably evening on April 4 (Friday) through evening on April 6 (Sunday), but I can take an extra day on either side of that if it'd be particularly cool.

I'm interested in doing things that don't require much money: I'm willing to spring for a hotel and a car if necessary but that's about it. (I'm also considering flying somewhere just for Satyrday, getting in too early in the morning and leaving too late at night.)

So . . . where should I go?

book book

Jan. 29th, 2008 11:18 am
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
I've got a 40% off coupon at Borders, but there's not really anything I want. (Well, other than Dust, but the coupon's only good with a $20 purchase, and Dust is in paperback.)

I'm thinking about wandering over anyway after work today or tomorrow and maybe picking up In Defense of Food. Thing is, I already read Pollan's "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" article from this time last year, so I'm not convinced I'll be getting much out of the book.

Suggestions? Note that the Tysons Borders tends to have a moderately crummy selection.
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
This weekend I ordered a laptop and bought a PS2.

So tell me, o lazyweb, what cheap PS2 games should I be acquiring post-haste? Note that I don't do CRPGs (I have no patience for an endless stream of nigh-identical random battles, nor do I believe that pressing a button to slowly read through dialogue counts as "gameplay"). I'm partial to "action-adventure" games, and non-twitchy puzzle games if such things exist. I already own Frequency, am on the lookout for Amplitude, and am contemplating Gitarzan (or, as the rest of the world refers to it, "Guitar Hero"), and that will probably tide me over for rhythm games.


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tucker McKinnon


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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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