Today's Contest: Food Bowls

Which one of these bowls belongs to the cat?

Very long-time readers have an advantage in this one.

Submission Transmitted

Noted for future tracking. Submitted to the second Dark Faith anthology at Apex Publications.

Return to Norman

It looks like we have some apple crime scene investigators.


Oh, dear, a sad crab.

Wonder what happened.

I wasn't going to bring out the wee toaty explorers on this particular trip because it was so close to the last trip, but I walked past the site on the way to the customer. The crab was gone, but he left his suitcase behind.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

Room with a View: Norman, OK

This time, I'm on the other side of the hotel.

All Aboard!

Well, we finally got some weather up in these parts, and though it only rained down here, I figured there'd be snow up the hill, so we got to finally do something I've wanted to do since we moved here: take a train ride from Colfax through the snow to Reno. It was a lot of fun, and here are a bunch of pictures of the ride. Stick with me to the end to get the little bit of fame that was added to my list on the trip.

Room With a View: Reno, NV

Not a work trip, but I'll stick it in this series anyway because I thought the sky was so lovely this morning.

Intersection Question for the Locals

OK, here's a question: Say you're coming out of that Walgreen's down at the intersection of Sutton and Brunswick and you want to turn right from Sutton onto Brunswick. They put in that new lane and put up a traffic light. Are you allowed to turn right on red there? On the one hand the light is a solid red like the normal light and so one might think a right-on-red is appropriate. On the other hand, the light is obviously just for that lane because there is no opportunity to go forward and the green light is an arrow.

Beeping motorists want to know!

Must Be Nice

So Assemblyman Dan Logue needs to find a place to live so he can be in a district that he wants to represent. He was going to live in his Penn Valley house. But maybe the 3rd Assembly District is more attractive.

"I have 10 houses in the 3rd Assembly District, so I am just going to pick one of the houses that I already own and we will be residing there," Logue said.

(Emphasis mine.) I try not to get too political here on my pinko-commie blog, but geez, that 10 just jumped out at me. Ten houses in one district alone, but that's not all the houses he owns. We've gotten used to our "representatives" being all rich and stuff, but wow.

And, sure, I move around a lot. But I'm having trouble believing that the spirit of the law requiring you to be registered in the district you'd like to represent was about making sure you have a proper mailing address. I've now lived here in Nevada City for two years and I wouldn't claim to understand enough of the community to try and represent even just the city let alone the district.

But I'll have lived in my house longer than that rep will have "lived" in his.

What a world.

Art Elsewhere: Movies from an Alternate Universe

Maybe it's because we just released the Team Movie Retrospective Podcast for the 1960 original Ocean's 11, but I think this project is cool.

So I went forward with this theme; what if movies we were all familiar with were made a different slice of time? Who would be in it? Who would direct it?

Follow the link to see other posters.

A Trip to DisneyLand

A quick trip to Disneyland over the weekend meant an extra set of wee toaty explorers.

Any time you travel with a flock, they tend to get separated.

Click the "Read more" to get an idea where in the park they wound up.

A Long Way from Home - Norman, Oklahoma

Norman, Oklahoma is just outside Oklahoma City.

It's a long way from home for this wee toaty explorer.

I think he wanted to take that left in Albuquerque.

This is another in the continuing series of wee toaty explorers, a project to keep me busy while I'm on the road. A nice summary is here.

A Room with a View: Norman, Oklahoma

Another in my series of pictures taken through my hotel window. I'm looking forward to the days getting long enough that I have time to take a full daylight picture, though I can't say there'd be much of a view no matter the light.

It doesn't help that it's cold enough to put a fog on the window.

Pseudo Science

It should come as no surprise that I'm a fan of pseudonyms in social networks. I blog under a pseudonym, I refuse to facebook under my name, and I comment consistently under the same pseudonym. If I were not operating under a pseudonym, at least half of the material on this blog would not exist (decide on your own whether that's valuable to you or not) and I doubt I'd have left a comment on anybody else's posts anywhere.

There are a lot of reasons to be pseudonymous, but for me the main one is the way in which it encourages honesty and openness. Isn't that weird?

Over at Disqus, they believe they've got the data to show that pseudonyms lead to more and better conversations. What do you think?

found via Flowing Data

Renovations Orphaned

The story I wrote that took place in Nevada City and was accepted for an anthology but then the anthology publisher closed down but then the editor took to another publisher and they started planning has just been orphaned again -- the new publisher got skittish about contracts and now the book will not be published. Still, I think I might call that two acceptances, though not two sales.

I have one other acceptance from last year, so we'll see if it makes it to payment/publishing.

Life is a Highway

Last week, Google Maps started defaulting to different routes for getting down the hill. Used to be, it would suggest going all the way down 49 through Auburn to get to 80 on the way to Sacramento, but this weekend, it told me to go through Colfax.

Today, it's telling me to jig off onto Dog Bar Road to get to Auburn.

Is the construction that bad?

And So Another Birthday Blows By

It turns out I have the same day of birth (though not date of birth) as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She might be better known to you commoners as Kate Middleton. I'm trying to figure out if this means I should go into my lifelong dream of making hats.

I'll spare you that for today. It is time for a quick review of birthday activities.

This year, my birthday tree is bound to befuddle the deer. That's right, I bought a stick and planted it. This poor tree has no branches at all. That has to mean it will fare better than last year's apple, which had branches that were apparently awfully tasty. I hope it does better than the almond tree from two years ago: I planted this walnut tree in its hole.

So, what's a birthday without a little exotic flavor? In this case, it was a strange combination of American and Peruvian: the Waffle Kings/Machu Picchu restaurant down in Sacramento. Is it waffles or is it Peruvian? The answer is YES. But don't mix them. Oh, no. There are two separate menus and you have to ask for the one you want.

Still, it was very good.

After that, we took a drive around and wound up farther down 49 at Jackson. It's a nice little town that looks a lot like Nevada City without so many hills (but plus a huge casino just outside town).

It also had a huge lawn statue store.

Which had weird bears and huge turtles.

And there are creepy little children.

The real gem of Jackson is its used bookstore, Hein & Co.

After the used bookstore, we took a long drive along 88 and into Nevada, up through Carson City to Reno and then back home along I-80. There are some very interesting terrain changes along that route. And the moon was awfully bright.

Meme for Me

Now that last year is done, I can properly do this meme. (Is it a meme any more if it is just some exercise someone thought up four years ago? Do we do memes any more? Remember when one blogger would do some task, call it a meme, and then tag another blogger to do the same? Whatever happened to memes? Is it just that I don't do Facebook and they've all moved over there? Maybe it's that Facebook and Tumblr have made us more likely to copy and link than to do? How many sentences can I put into a parenthetical without taking over the entire post?)

At any rate, the idea here is that we go back through the posts of last year and tie the first sentence of each month's posts to the last sentence in that month. And wa-la we have a magic thing of somethingness.

That's writer talk for go back and put in a good turn of phrase later.

January: I think that tweeting has done something to my brain so that I'm not able to think in long form any more. Lovely morning.

February: I have a bad case of bachelor fridge today. Yeah, I think I'd want to turn the channel, too.

March: Well, we got us a big ole dump of the white stuff, didn't we? But at least that's where you'll see the metal creatures hanging out.

April: (Colfax, Please Explain.) I removed a screw. The hills here, people, are brutal.

May: Well, I'm back in Campbell, almost exactly a year after my last visit. I'll bet this sign is not up today!

June: So there's a Twitter feed over there on the right side of this here blog site. No curry pizza for me this trip.

July: Well, the rain finally stopped, which means this little explorer got a rude awakening. And I feel much better.

August: Where do you have to be sitting to take this picture? I have to say, though, that Spaulding is still my favorite Nevada County lake, if only because Lake Valley Reservoir is over in Placer County!

September: There's a rather nice path in the woods in the county. Nobody know where to get money off the ceiling up on the mountain?

October: OK, I think this is going to be hard, partly because it's moving fast. We'll see what the year looks like 12 months from now.

November: Hey, folks, time for another exciting indiComic (indiToon?). I'd ride it, for sure.

December: Another episode in my current series of taking pictures from my hotel rooms: When I heard the Safeway had some heirloom green tomatoes, I knew there was only one thing I could do.

Where in Nevada County: Blimp

Wizard Extreme

So, a little over a year ago, I had a gig in Germany and the participants very very graciously gave me a game as a gift. I was so touched, but I haven't played it yet because it came with instructions only in German.

I did try to get Google translate to let me know what the rules were by typing in a paragraph at a time. Sadly, a lot of the result looked like this:

And as if predicted of the passes would be not already difficult enough, gives it additionally still the figure of the incalculable Schwarzmagiers. It has the task, the play of the others associates to disturb. Who has the few points of punishing after several play rounds, is winner and to the Magier of the first stage is appointed.

Well, yesterday I finally took some time to sit down and sift through the rough translation and the card deck to see if I couldn't make a better go of the rules. The game has a structure similar to one my family played a lot when I was growing up. It was called Stab or Do Your Wife Dirt. It's a trick-taking game that requires some prediction and also has one player performing a spoiler role. In Stab, it is always the dealer playing the spoiler role. In this case, the role is voluntary. Since my friends are relatively nice, I'm betting we'll not see it played much.

Here are my interpretation of the rules (as first translated from German by Google and refined by me):

Books Read in 2011

Not really in the mood to do the annual review of my activities, but here's a picture of the 52 books I read last year.