Fashions from Hogwarts

I’m not entirely certain how, but somehow I’ve found myself on the mailing list for the Ralph Lauren factory outlet. I got a mailing from them a couple days about an upcoming sale, just in time for Back-to-School.
It probably has something to do with what I’ve been reading lately. In reality, the crest in this photo is the Ralph Lauren logo. But I can’t help thinking this is meant to be an example of what the well-dressed Hogwarts student is wearing this fall.
The well-dressed Hogwarts student.

There's More Than One Kind of Bunny

During past Shore Leave conventions, I’ve occasionally been asked to introduce one of the guests at the start of a Q&A session. I get a bit self-conscious in front of an audience, but I get by. (Shore Leave is one of the weekends every year when I pretend to be comfortable in that sort of situation.) This year, in addition to two introductions, I was also asked to present some of the thank you gifts.
At the end of Claudia Christian’s Q&A session, I walked onto the stage where she was standing. The first item I handed her was a plush Shore Leave bunny. She hugged the bunny to her chest while I explained that the convention is named for the Shore Leave episode of the original Star Trek. In that episode, one of the first things you see is The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and that’s become the convention’s mascot.
Like I said, I sometimes get a bit self-conscious in front of an audience. I don’t turn as red as a few years ago, but I undoubtedly changed colors when Claudia quipped, “I thought it was because I was in Playboy.”

Ben Hur

I’ve added Ben Hur to the list of the AFI Top 100 films that I’ve seen.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Sometimes I’ve wound up enjoying “The Classics”. Harvey, Casablanca and Forbidden Planet are fantastic movies, worth seeing more than once. On the other hand, A Streetcar Named Desire was horrible — I turned it off halfway through. All I knew about Ben Hur was that it somehow involved a chariot race.
It definitely belongs in the list of “Classics I’ve enjoyed.” It tells the story of a man growing up in the time of Christ and in fact “bumping shoulders” with him on several occasions, including right at the time of the crucification.
Sadly, I don’t think Hollywood can make movies like that anymore. They’d want to trim the cast down to just a few main characters and make the whole thing fit into less than two hours — instead of the crucification, it would probably end with the death of Messala. You’d never find out anything about Judah’s mother and sister, much less their miraculous healing.
So I’m pleasantly surprised. Where I’d been dreading something boring, I would up being quite entertained. Maybe even uplifted.
You don’t get that with many films today.

Party Girls Gone Wild

I don’t generally follow (or even care about) what’s going on with the celebrity crowd. People I actually know, such as AJ, Squish, John or even Z, are far more important to me. (That being said, would someone please give Jennifer Aniston my phone number?) Despite this lack of interest on my part, sometimes the celebrity news is hard to avoid.
Take for instance the recent case of Lindsay Lohan. She was arrested for DUI over Memorial Day weekend and checked into rehab. Two weeks after getting out of rehab, she was pulled over again. This time along with DUI, she was also charged with driving on a suspended license and possession of cocaine.
In California, a second offense so close to the first means automatic jail time, so despite a police video tape showing her jumping out of the driver’s door and attempting to flee the scene, her lawyers have taken the tack of claiming that it wasn’t her driving.
Silly policeman. It must have been Paris Hilton.

iPhone Sighting

Last weekend, during Shore Leave, I had my first-ever “in the wild” (i.e. not an ad or a store) sighting of an iDontCare iPhone. The guy it belonged to (a friend’s husband) somewhat ruefully admitted to waiting in line for seven hours for it.
I do have to admit, the user interface is pretty slick. If you were using it on a PDA. And then, mainly for viewing photos. The device’s owner agreed though, aside from the Apple cachet, the phone had no significant functionality that mine didn’t.
Note to Apple execs: I still stand by my offer, to let you persuade me of the phone’s merits.

Voldemort is a Sled!

The new (notice I didn’t say “final”) Harry Potter book is coming out tonight at midnight. Just for the heck of it, I’ve decided to be one of the people who’s in line at the book store at one minute after midnight. The notion of seeing people lining up for a book instead of a video game console is just too good to pass up.
Of course, I already know what’s in this book: lots of pages!
As for plot points, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether these are genuine spoilers:

Shore Leave Highlights

This year was my first time as co-chair for Shore Leave (or any other convention). All in all, it was a great weekend with no major problems that I had to deal with. (There were a few minor glitches, but nothing huge.) This is also going to be my last time chairing a convention for the foreseeable future, but that’s more to do with setting some priorities for my time rather than any particular hassles.
One of the highlights of the weekend involved attending my first ever “Klingon Banquet.” Having no desire to dress up in any other sort of costume (let alone the incredibly warm and heavy Klingon garb), I opted to dress as my usual self. To my surprise, I wound up seated next to Gwynyth Walsh – the guest of honor – and during the course of the evening, several people somehow reached the conclusion that I was her spouse. I’m not entirely certain how that happened, though I didn’t particularly object. My only request was that they not tell her husband!
Blair and Gwynyth
Continue reading Shore Leave Highlights

Back to the Daily Grind

Tuesday was my first day back to work after Shore Leave. One of the standard post vacation questions is, “How was your vacation?” and my completely honest typical response is “Too short.” Today though, instead of the usual laughter, The Mad Russian explained that my vacation had been long enough. In fact, she wouldn’t have minded if I’d come back early.
It seems that the day after I left, several systems that had been working perfectly suddenly started to have problems communicating with the database. All she and MC did for two days was troubleshoot problems they were certain I could have figured out in no time.
I see no reason to tell them otherwise. It’s nice to feel needed. 🙂

Amy's Dashboard

Within a few weeks of arriving in Louisiana, Amy has discovered that her car has attributes in common with solar ovens.
The first experiment, involving crayons in the glove box, got a little messy, but was otherwise quite spectacular. The fact that she essentially created her own waxed paper is interesting too, though it does demonstrate a need to use better protective shielding during future experiments.
For her next experiment, I think she should try using the car to bake some chocolate chip cookies. That way, no matter what the outcome — even if it rains and the dough stays raw — at least there will be some snacks. 🙂