Monthly Archives: December 2001


So far I had a leftover taco for breakfast, and leftover ham and bean casserole for lunch. Leftovers are neat, if I can convince myself to leave some of the food over. Had some decaf coffee this morning and cherry lemonade for lunch.

Spent a few more hours on wanking with Veritas, giving myself a crash course in freeing up tapes and all. Looks like backups are working again, and a second crisis has been averted.

Not sure what else I want to do today. Perhaps I should wake up Michelle at some point. I have been up since 10 so it’s safe to assume she has been sleeping for at least 5 hours. (I think she went to sleep at 4:30 because she woke me up at that time, but she was reading and I’m not sure when she went to sleep.)

I’m not yet sure what we are doing for New Year’s…

Earlier this week

Thursday: I went to work, things were slow but there were still some loose ends to tie up. I brought home food from By Th’ Bucket, a nice Italian place near my house. Not sure what else I did this day.

Friday: Work again, even slower. I left early so I could go by the Humane Society (see separate entry). I didn’t really want to get restaurant food again, so I made green bean casserole (french-cut green beans, cream of chicken soup, French’s fried onions, milk and pepper) and served this with honey ham (which is already cooked, so I whacked off some slices and nuked them).


Got up and went for a walk, about an hour long, went to Walgreens and picked up a snack. I enjoy a nice walk, especially with headphones and CD player, though the headphones are nicer if I’m walking on back streets with fewer fast/noisy cars.

D called to ask if we want to go to a movie. I said no – M wasn’t up yet and I didn’t want to go by myself. I still want to see LOTR, so hopefully I can do so soon.

C and I went shopping and made plans for dinner next week. We also picked up a juicer so that we could dispatch the lemons given to us by my grandparents. We got a LOT of food, and we also took some food out of the cabinets that has been sitting there a long time and donated it to the food bin at Safeway (mostly canned food none of us like, some jello and koolaid mixes, some powdered sauce mixes and soup mixes).

At home I made soft tacos with ground beef (therefore using up the last seasoning packet) and we also had chips with salsa and cheese dip. I made guacamole for chips and tacos, but forgot that it was in the fridge (doh!)

After dinner I fired up the new juicer and dispatched 19 lemons, which made about 48 oz. of juice. From that I made 2 qts cherry lemonade (2 qt water, 3/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup grenadine) and froze the rest of the lemon juice in the ice cube trays. After this we had another round of tortilla chips (this time remembering the guacamole, though I think I’m the only one who likes it). Finally got to bed around 2 am.

I am quite enjoying having C around, and we have been having fun doing domestic things. She does dishes a lot, and she likes to cook, which is nice for all of us because M still has a hurt back and hasn’t wanted to do much lately. We have some ideas for what other foods to make this week, so I will have to wait and see how they turn out.


Pyramids! by Terry Pratchett

(This is the 7th in the series. This means I have read books 3, 8, 1, 2, and 7. 4, 5, and 6 are on the way to me.)

The Assassins’ Guild and its associated Academy (in Ahnk-Morpork) are the setting for the first part of this story. It looks like the Assassins’ Guild is the most fun and stylish of the Guilds, and its Academy is a bit like boot camp. So, into this environment we throw Teppic, a spoiled young adult from a royal family from a far-off River Kingdom with lots of pyramids and not much else but sand. You have a nice coming-of-age story mixed with a nice view of the “colorful night life” of our familiar but smelly city.

About the time he gets his passing grade, Teppic is summoned back home, as someone died and made him King. He is sort of pulled along by fate after this, and is mostly just a pawn at first, but starts to get some spine after a while. There are some Interesting Times after that.

This is another great work, and a great lot of fun to read. My only criticism is that I would have liked to have seen more of the Assassins in action – perhaps there will be some more in later installments. After the racing around the city, the tromping about in the desert (with a huge royal Palace but no Plumbing) got a bit boring, but then the Interesting Times happened and the pace picked up again. I always suspected there was something funny about camels…

I didn’t recognize any of the familiar characters from 1/2/3/8 so I would imagine it didn’t lose much from being read out of order.

Did I mention that Terry Pratchett is clever, as well as being funny? Here are some footnotes I enjoyed:

… he demanded, in a camel whisper.*
* Hoarse whispers are not suitable for a desert environment.

* Like many river valley cultures the Kingdom has no truck with such trivia as summer, springtime and winter, and bases its calendar squarely on the great heartbeat of the Djel; hence the three seasons. Seedtime, Inundation, and Sog. This is logical, straightforward and practical, and only disapproved of by barbershop quartets.**
** Because you feel an idiot singing “In the Good Old Inundation,” that’s why.

* This is of course a loose translation, since Ptaclusp did not know the words for “ice,” “windscreens” or “hotel bedrooms”; interestingly, however, Squiggle Eagle Eagle Vase Wavyline Duck translates directly as “a press for barbarian leg coverings.”

Of course, any attempt, any overt move which missed would atttract immediate failure and loss of privileges.*
* Breathing, for a start.


This year, Michelle and I decided to give to charity this year, instead of our normal gift-giving of the season. We selected the Humane Society of Santa Clara as our preferred charity this year.

Today I went there to give them a check. It’s probably better if I don’t say how much, here on the Internet, but let’s just say the guy at the Humane Society said “Wow” and had to shake my hand twice.

So, if you were hoping to get something from us, and didn’t, now you know why. It’s not because we don’t love you, it’s because we wanted to give something back to the community.

I’m not sure if we will do the same next year. We will probably split our holiday fund between friends and family and worthy charities, probably 50/50 makes sense.

My only regret this year is that we didn’t get it together in time to send cards to everyone, so they would know we were thinking about them. I will try to do better on that next year.

Four book reviews

I haven’t done a lot of reading since the convention trip, but here are some reviews for the stuff that I did read during the trip:

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is an extremely witty writer, and his work is a pleasure to read. The Discworld is about a magical world quite different from our own — it is in fact pizza-shaped and floats through space on the back of a giant tortoise. Despite the “unlikely” nature of the world, it is in fact quite well-imagined and it has its own set of natural laws. Sort of like “Xanth for grown-ups”.

(This is actually the third book in the Discworld series, but I read it first, due to sparse availability.) Equal Rites starts off with the birth of the young girl who inherits a Wizard’s magical power, which is fine except that men are supposed to have Wizardly powers, not women. Hilarity ensues, as people’s beliefs about traditional roles are challenged.

It seems like this book is a case where the “main character” or “hero” is not the “point of view” person. In this story, the person whose thoughts and feelings the reader is focused on most of the time is Esmerelda (Granny Weatherwax) and not Esk (the girl/hero)… though we do get Esk’s viewpoint sometimes, when the two are separated.

The story flows quite well and is extremely addictive. I especially like the way Pratchett uses the language in clever ways, but is not obtrusive about it. (One example is when you struggle to lift or move something big and awkward, this is called “manhandling” but when performed by ants, Pratchett calls it “anthandling” without skipping a beat). The clever use of language here and there is funny, but not noticeable enough to be annoying. There are plenty of other funny parts that don’t beat up the language. The descriptions of places and people are quite detailed, suggesting that the story and setting were imagined in great detail and then condensed to just the right length for our reading pleasure.

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

(This is actually the eighth book in the series, but I read it second, due to limited supplies on hand.) The main character here is a human, but he is raised to near-adulthood by dwarves, and he is sent out into the world to seek his fortune (and because he literally outgrew his family home). He joins the City Watch, which is pretty near obsolete and useless, since most crimes have been legalized by the creation of a Thieves’ Guild. Well, it’s a good thing they have a City Watch, as the city is soon besieged by a Dragon (the huge kind, thought to be extinct).

I won’t give away too much of the plot, though if you like spoilers, most of the reviews on the above-linked Amazon page describe this book quite well. For my own experience, I found this book exciting and rich, and in my view it is the best of the four described on this page.

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

This is the first book in the Discworld series, and because it is the first, the reader needs to be introduced to the world quickly and efficiently. Well, what better way to see the world than through the eyes of a tourist? The main characters are Twoflower, a tourist from a place nobody’s heard of on the other side of the Disc, and Rincewind, a flunked-out Wizard who gets drafted to be his guide. Due to the ridiculous exchange rate, Twoflower has come to town with enough money to buy half the town, but doesn’t quite realize it. He ends up selling the tavern owner an “inn-sewer-ants” policy (which is kind of like gambling, you pay a little money up-front on a bet with extremely long odds that your store will burn down) and strangely enough, the tavern burns down that very night, taking half the town with it. Rincewind and Twoflower flee the city and get to see a lot of the Discworld by getting in and out of trouble.

The action moves pretty fast, almost too fast at times. The ending is a real cliff-hanger (quite literally) so have The Light Fantastic on hand if you’re getting near the end and enjoying yourself.

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

This is a logical conclusion to the first book, The Colour of Magic, and though it would probably stand on its own, it’s best to read the previous one first to get a feeling for the characters. The action here is not as fast-paced and I found myself skimming through parts of it, though for the most part it is quite enjoyable and shows even more of the well-imagined world and its characters.

Breaking radio silence

I haven’t written in a long time, probably because I have been tired and lethargic for the past month or so. I haven’t really done much of anything exciting. I’ve mostly been filling in the time with watching TV more than usual, staying up late, downloading stuff from the Internet. I’m not feeling very creative or even productive lately.

Oh, here’s one thing I did do: Michelle and I went to Shane Company to get new wedding rings. My old ring is nice, but I can’t really wear it much because it’s a bit too small and the style of it makes my finger irritated after a bit. So we both got new ones, in preparation for our 10th anniversary (coming up next June). Mine is a white gold band with some diamonds channel-set, and Michelle’s is a mix of diamonds and rubies with a ruby center stone. Nice!

Instant messenger services

I have too many instant messenger services and not enough contacts to talk to. If you know me (or even if you don’t, I guess) and you use any of these services, send me a message so I know who you are.

AOL/Netscape messenger: Nekodojo
MSN Messenger:
ICQ: 18362803

I will probably ditch one or more of these services, because right now I only have two contacts in each. It looks like MSN Messenger is the best for voice, but they’re all about the same for text messaging. Your comments welcome…