Archive for the 'General' Category

Dear Amazon: What Do You Have Against Cleams, Anyway?

Earlier this week, I purchased some rechargeable batteries from Amazon. These batteries, in fact.

They arrived today.

Do you pay much attention to the packaging your merchandise comes in? I do.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on March 15th, 2012 | 2 Comments »

Cats Are People, Too

Normally I try to avoid blogging about cats, in the interest of preserving what tiny amount of self-respect I have. Today, though, well… meh. Screw it.

We have a cat. He just showed up one day, a couple of years ago. At the time, we already had a cat, though she’s no longer with us.

Well, we’ve got two cats again, now. My partner had been complaining about missing having two cats around the place, and wanting a kitten. It turns out the universe gives you the cat you need, not necessarily the cat you want, y’know?
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', General | on March 11th, 2012 | No Comments »

Of Strangers, Relatives, and… Rice

Growing up as a kid, we didn’t eat rice very much. In fact, I’m pretty sure there were only three ways of using the stuff, for us: In a stuffed-pepper hotdish, and in two dubious concoctions one of my older siblings dreamed up: Chicken Noodle and Rice soup (made by adding a handful of instant rice to a can of soup) and Tomato Soup with Rice (made by adding as much instant rice as possible to a can of tomato soup).

Yes, yes. We were a very sad slice of middle America.

Well, in the last couple of decades, rice has become a major staple of my household’s diet. Gone is the bland and tasteless instant rice; here in its stead is the delicious and aromatic long-grain jasmine rice. Oh, sometimes there’s sushi rice, or an even shorter-grained glutinous rice, but we pretty much use jasmine rice for everything, these days.

Recently, I was over at the Hmong Village, which I’ve written about before here. It’s an enormous Hmong bazaar and produce market, complete with a very sizable food court. (It may actually be the largest food court in Saint Paul itself, physically, come to think of it.) I’m usually there one or two times a week, buying produce. I’ll stop for lunch once a month, maybe twice. This was one of those times.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on February 26th, 2012 | No Comments »

ISBN Theft: A Crime Most Improbable

Can you steal a number?

Arguably, yes. A safe combination, a gift-card number… Those would, theoretically, get you access to something of value, and thus could be said to have worth of their own, in some senses.

But can a number have intrinsic value?

ISBNs can. $10 a pop, in the United States, in small quantities. More, possibly, in some other countries. (And, conversely, less or none in many others.)

As far as theft goes, it seems improbable, nearly pointless, at first glance. Why’d you want to steal an ISBN? Think about it for a few moments, and I suspect you’ll come up with a few reasons.

All of that ignores the big, obvious question – can you even steal an ISBN, in the first place?

Yep.
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on January 26th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

Commissioning and Licensing Images on deviantART: A Guide. Of Sorts.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve licensed and commissioned art from a number of people on deviantART, for various purposes. (Most notably, arguably, the cover of my first novel was licensed there.) It can be a fairly painless and rewarding process for everyone involved, if you know what you’re doing. Because the average novelist knows slightly less about image licensing than they do about fluid dynamics (apologies to any physicist-writers, diatribes on postcards to the usual address…), I thought I’d try to cover the basics of what to know, what to do, and what to expect, so you can benefit from my experience.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on January 12th, 2012 | No Comments »