Archive for: November, 2007

Passing the halfway point, and I'm ahead!

Nov 16 2007 Published by under Fiction

Well, yesterday marked the halfway point of November, and I managed to make and pass my NaNoWriMo goal of 25,000 words total by the end of the day, and even go past it.  I was a little behind during the week, but rallied well.  Amusingly, I misread the date on Monday and assumed I needed to write much more than I actually did, which meant that I actually caught myself up to the appropriate point on Tuesday.

The writing is finally getting easier, as the characters are starting to practically tell their own stories.  I'm pretty confident that I'll finish the 50,000 words by the end of the month, though of course things could change at any moment...

4 responses so far

Ghost cat!

Nov 15 2007 Published by under Animals, Horror

Can I combine catblogging and horror blogging?  I'm going to try!

The past couple of nights, I've sensed a restless presence in my home.  I've heard strange sounds and seen motion out of the corner of my eye.  At last, I got a picture of the phenomenon:

Is my apartment haunted?  Is a restless spirit stalking the corridors?

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Optics basics: What is a wave? Part II: Interference

Nov 15 2007 Published by under Optics, Optics basics

In the first part of my series on 'What is a wave?', I attempted to give a broad definition of a wave, so that we can identify them when we see them. In this part, I will address two of the most important behaviors of waves: interference and diffraction. Interference may be loosely described as the interaction of a wave with itself, or a wave with another wave, while diffraction may be loosely described as the interaction of a wave with other objects.

We will discuss interference in this post, and consider again the wave on a string discussed in part I of this post. A pair of waves are sent down the string to a fixed end, where they are reflected and return to their point of origin. What happens when the waves pass each other? An animation of such an event is displayed below:

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Richard Matheson: The horrors next door

Nov 12 2007 Published by under Horror, Horror Masters

On December 15, a new action/horror film starring Will Smith will hit theatres: I Am Legend. The movie is based on a novella of the same name, written by the most famous horror author you've never heard of. This 'Masters of Horror' post is about that author: Richard Matheson.

American-born Richard Matheson has been a prolific author since his first published story in the 1950s, Born of Man and Woman. This story was an instant classic and catapulted Matheson to fame -- at least among those who knew his work. He has written numerous stories and novels in horror, science fiction, fantasy, and some more conventional drama.

Why do I call him the most famous author you've never heard of? Because I guarantee that even if you've never heard his name, you've seen his work. He has written so many classic novels, short stories, and screenplays that you're certain to know at least one of them.

Continue Reading »

8 responses so far

Monday catblogging... Zoe's eyes!

Nov 12 2007 Published by under Animals

Well, our new family addition seems to be doing well. Zoe is just a real charmer! I brought Zoe to my girlfriend's place over the weekend to introduce Zoe to her two bad kitties, and for the most part things went quite well. Everybody kept their distance, and the worst thing that happened was an occasional hiss when somebody got too close to somebody else. We were even able to leave them all alone and go out for a few hours without any serious trauma. When we returned, all three cats were resting peacefully in their own places.

Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Subtle, unsettling horror: Picnic at Hanging Rock (updated)

Nov 09 2007 Published by under Entertainment, Horror

I'm constantly amazed at how many really good films exist, even in a relatively narrow genre like horror, that I'm completely unaware of. A few months ago I stumbled across a description of Peter Weir's 1975 film Picnic at Hanging Rock, bought it, and last night finally sat down to watch it.

The story, set in 1900 at the end of the Victorian era, concerns an outing to the ominous, looming Hanging Rock by a number of students and teachers from Appleyard College, an exclusively women's institution. While there, four students go exploring the labyrinthine mountain, followed soon after by one of their teachers, and only one returns, in hysterics. (This isn't a spoiler, as a text introduction describes the disappearances at the very beginning of the film.) The teacher and the three students have disappeared without a trace, and most of them will never be heard from again.

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Democratic profiles in courage: the Mukasey confirmation

Nov 09 2007 Published by under [Politics]

Sarcasm doesn't translate well to text, so let me say it right out: I'm being sarcastic.  Michael Mukasey, the controversial attorney general candidate who refused to classify waterboarding as torture, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday.  Let's allow Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer explain in his own words why this is okay (taken from C&L):

 When Judge Mukasey came before the Senate judiciary committee last month he refused to state waterboarding as torture. That was unsatisfactory, that was wrong. That will be a blemish on judge Mukasey’s distinguished career for as long as he lives. But he has made it clear that if Congress passed further legislation in this area, the President would have no legal authority to ignore it…

This has to be one of the saddest, most pathetic statements I've ever heard, and that's saying a lot.  So, if Congress writes a new law that unequivocally states that waterboarding is torture, and if it gains majorities in both houses, and if it survives a Republican filibuster, and if Bush doesn't veto it, and if Bush doesn't just write a signing statement saying he's going to ignore the law anyway, then our new attorney general will agree that pretending to drown someone to get information out of them isn't really acceptable.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Freedom: It doesn't mean what Bush thinks it means

Nov 08 2007 Published by under [Politics]

Okay, this is simply a bit of a rant, but I can't help myself.  Yesterday, Bush held a press conference with the French president.  On being asked about the situation in Iraq, and a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops, Bush responded:

I don’t — you know quagmire is an interesting word. If you lived in Iraq and had lived under a tyranny, you’d be saying: God, I love freedom, because that’s what’s happened.

And there are killers and radicals and murderers who kill the innocent to stop the advance of freedom. But freedom’s happening in Iraq. And we’re making progress.

When I read this, I immediately thought of the immortal words of Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means."

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Optics basics: What is a wave? Part I (updated)

Nov 07 2007 Published by under Optics, Optics basics

As I've mentioned a number of times before, my optics specialty is physical optics, which is the study of the wave properties of light. In order to understand those wave properties, however, it is important to understand what a 'wave' is and what it can do. This article is an attempt to answer these questions in a non-technical way for the layperson.

This is not as easy to do as one might think. Most of us are aware of numerous wave phenomena: waves on a string (such as a guitar string), water waves, sound waves (acoustical waves), seismic waves (earthquakes), 'The Wave' at football games. There are also many less familiar examples: light waves, particle waves (quantum mechanics), gravitational waves (caused by collapsing stars, for instance). It is quite difficult, however, to explain what these phenomena have in common. Furthermore, as we will see, any definition of a 'wave' that we come up with will have exceptions. I suspect most physicists would give a definition of a wave that's similar to the Potter Stewart definition of hard-core pornography: "I know it when I see it." We will do the best we can, though, and note those exceptions as they arise.

Continue Reading »

No responses yet

Monday catblogging... 'cause I just got the cat!

Nov 05 2007 Published by under Animals

Well, I broke down and adopted a kitty this weekend!  Not the one hanging out on my doorstep, who disappeared for a number of days and reappeared being fed by one of the neighbors (but who reappeared at my doorstep last night, just as I brought the new kitty home).

My girlfriend sneakily convinced me to visit the local animal shelter, knowing full well that I wouldn't be able to leave without bringing home one of those poor, sweet cats.  We looked at a few kittens, but then a 1 year old female caught our eye.  When we took her into the interaction room, she curled up happily on each of our laps, and my heart broke.  A bit over an hour later, I was taking her home.

Continue Reading »

8 responses so far

« Newer posts Older posts »