…nearly 48 years old and I’m starting a Tumblr page:

Whether or not anything is done with it remains to be seen. But hey! It’s something new! That’s got to be exciting, right?

Yeah, yeah, whatever.

Also, I’ll be making changes to a few things on this site. All of my “Writing” pages are currently password protected. If you want to read something there, email me at funfair[@]gmail[.]com and I’ll send you the password. Probably. But remember to remove the brackets in the email address or it’ll bounce back!

like an old friend in a new (to me) dress…

Much as I love listening to music while working out, sometimes I can get a wee bit bored of it. This morning I tried something new: listening to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I had never heard the radio series before. I’m so glad I am now.

While I am very familiar with the novel, I’ve played the the video game and I was one of maybe three people who enjoyed the movie (it was my first real exposure to Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell and Bill Nighy — all of whom I adore, so I can never really diss it), it’s so wonderful to hear where it all began.

If you love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and you haven’t heard the genesis of Douglas Adams’ brilliant series, I highly recommend that you pick it up. You will not be sorry.

we’re NASA and we know it…

Looking at the unfinished entries sitting in my Drafts and wondering why the hell I never finished this one back in August:

Damn right, we’re NASA and we know it!

a moment of science…

Last week a gorgeous comic was making the rounds of the interwebs: Welcome to Science. It’s the type of thing that makes me completely and utterly happy. Today the author of the speech upon which the comic is based – Phil Plait (aka The Bad Astronomer) – asked, “What was your moment of science?” I was moved to comment:

I’m not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV, but I’ve always been fascinated by space and the universe. I loved reading from the very moment I picked up a book and was able to make sense of the characters that made up words and sentences and paragraphs. During this very formative time, I read everything I could. Luckily my parents had a series of very simple books that were about the sciences – I was drawn to the one about astronomy. While I read all of those books repeatedly, “Astronomy” was the one that I could never get enough of, no matter how many times I read it. From there I went on to devour everything I could about the space program – it was a truly magical time for me.

Here it is, 40 years later, and I’m working as a staff assistant in the Astronomy and Physics Directorate at JPL, supporting the people who work on all those cool things that help us to discover the universe. It was a long and very circuitous route that brought me here – one that wound through entertainment and politics and furniture manufacturing – but I feel as if I’ve come full circle. Once again, I’m living in a magical time – the magic of science, which is all the magic I need.

So, dear readers, I have to know: What was your moment of science?

not again?!

Yes again. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since my last update. Whoops! Just keeping busy as usual, as I am wont to do: working, spending time with friends, taking photos, going on long ass weekend walks (Sarriah and I have gone on two 8+ mile walks in the last month), attending my new writing group and dating guys. After first dates with four men since August – all perfectly nice and intelligent, all wanting to go out with me again – one has pulled out way in the lead, to the point where we’re going on Date #5 tonight. And I’ve changed my online dating profile to read, “Seeing Someone.”

It’s still very early yet and I realize that my endorphins are running riot at the moment (oh those lovely, maddening endorphins!). But I really like this new guy – a politically liberal astrophysicist with Caltech working on a program that I’m very familiar with – and I’d like to see where we end up.

Now I have to come up with an appropriate nickname for him for the blog. CuteSpaceNerd comes to mind, but it is a little predictable coming from me – he deals with space, he’s very cute and he’s most definitely a nerd (oh, baby, talk science to me – rowr! I’ll purr for you, baby!). I’ll mull it over and see if I can be more creative.

a world of possibilities…

Being a single childless borderline crazy cat lady (though I’m down to one cat now – during my down time on the blog BJ died very unexpectedly [in October 2010] and Matisse had to be put to sleep due to a cancerous bladder [in April of this year – two weeks after I moved into the new place]), I’m not up on the latest and greatest in Nerf technology.

So imagine my surprise when reading the comment section of this Basic Instructions webcomic and discovering the existence of this magnificent product:

Nerf N-Force Shadow Fury
Nerf N-Force Shadow Fury

Nerf swords exist? I vowed right then and there – both to myself and to the fine commenters on that page – that I would procure a Nerf sword.

But wait! The majestic Nerf sword was not alone in the Nerf arsenal. For lo and behold, the comments revealed to me another wonder:

Nerf N-Force Battlemaster Mace Axe
Nerf N-Force Battlemaster Mace Axe

A Nerf mace as well? Again, I swore to obtain this Nerf mace. Indeed, two Nerf swords and two Nerf maces will be brought into my home and hung above my mantle, ready for any impugning of my honor.

Yet the discoveries were not over, for upon Amazon there were an entire host of Nerf battle weapons which I newly coveted.

I am done. And I shall be ready for all who dare to dispute me or my wisdom!

Alas, Nerf may prove to be my undoing.

being a nerd….

…is a good thing. And if anyone tells you it isn’t, just break these out:

(H/T to Wil Wheaton on Google +)

(Courtesy of Ashleigh - click on image to go to her Tumblr.)

I’m more of a geek than a nerd, but these hold equally true for geeks. And geeks and nerds are Good Things in the Book of Carol.

hey, nice rocket…

The awesome Kate Baker!This weekend has been quite the busy weekend (photos to be posted soon), so I didn’t spend much time on the innerwebs. But I did pop on long enough to find out that the astoundingly awesome Kate Baker – my friend and fellow UCFer – won a Hugo Award for her stellar work as director for the Clarkesworld magazine podcast (video of the Hugo Awards can be seen here). W00t!

Congratulations, Kate! I’m so happy and so proud, I could burst my seams!

“i’m gonna pop your cherry.”

When I first heard that Fright Night was being remade, I had definite reservations. I’ve always enjoyed the original, with Chris Sarandon as the handsome vampire next door and the inimitable Roddy McDowell as the horror show host Peter Vincent (named in honor of Peter Cushing and Vincent Price). Then I heard that David Tennant was cast as Peter Vincent. Wha-? And the character was being changed into a magician.


Don’t get me wrong. I love me some David Tennant. They say you never forget your first Doctor and, as I stumbled upon the series very late, David Tennant was mine. And, quite frankly, the main reason I was drawn into it (I’ve now seen all the Christopher Eccleston episodes and am avidly following the Matt Smith episodes). He’s a talented actor, seems to be quite down to earth and just a lot of fun in interviews. Not to mention that he IS a very nice piece of eye candy.

But Peter Vincent as a magician? And, as I would much later find out, one in the mold of Criss Angel (who just doesn’t appeal to me)? So very wrong. Having Peter Vincent as a horror show host was a stroke of genius, but they are a long gone breed and I just couldn’t imagine how they could rewrite the character to be appealing.

Now I know. And, thanks to these three scenes, I may have no choice but to watch this new incarnation.

Oh, David Tennant, you are a yummy treat indeed.

feelin’ the peer pressure…

So, there’s this here list being passed around these here interwebs: NPR’s Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books. I voted in the original survey, surprised that I had read as many books as I had – as much as I love science fiction, I’ve read precious little of it. And once I cast my votes, I thought that my duty was done.

But then the final list came out and all my UCF friends started posting their selections on their blogs, with Michelle doing the instigation, as she does. So now I’m feeling the pressure, the invisible Afterchool Special, “C’mon, do it! All the cool kids are posting their selections on their blogs! If you don’t do it, you won’t be cool and we’ll all sneer at you and laugh at you and tell the other cool kids that you still wet your bed.”

Well, I can’t have that. I mean, I haven’t wet my bed in years and I don’t even have to wear Depends any more. I can’t have all that hard work dashed!

So here is NPR’s top 100 list, with my notations marked thusly:
bold for books I’ve read
italicized for my personal top ten
(Unlike Michelle and a few others, I won’t be marking books I’ve started and abandoned, mainly because I have a thing against abandoning books – I will finish even some of the crappiest books, such as Wild Animus or The Architects of Hyperspace. Even if I haven’t gotten around to finishing a book just yet, I will eventually pick it up again, else it will nag on my conscience until it’s done.)

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
(Note: Douglas Adams. I love the entire series. If I could have his British snarky, off-the-wall baby, I would. ‘Nuff said.)

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin

6. 1984, by George Orwell
(Note: this was the first book to genuinely blow my mind. I graduated from high school in 1984 and was curious about all the hubbub surrounding the book, so I picked up in my senior year. Once I finished it, I sat staring at a wall for a good fifteen minutes, going over what I had just read. I try to reread it every few years.)

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
(Note: I’m not a fantasy fan, but I was already a huge fan of the movie. I love the book almost as much.)

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
(Note: As soon as I finished 1984, I immediately checked Animal Farm out of the library and devoured it in one day. An amazing book.)

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
(Note: My first Vonnegut book. Instantly I became a devout fan.)

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
(Note: This barely missed my top ten list. Love the book. Plus it’s just a seminal piece of work.)

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
(Note: I read the first book, but didn’t continue the series. Just not my cup of tea.)

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
(Note: I also love this book, but it just missed being on my top ten list.)

25. The Stand, by Stephen King

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
(Note: Wonderful, icky, creepy and disturbing as hell. There’s no way I could not love this book, even if I didn’t exactly enjoy it.)

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
(Note: Another book that barely missed out on my top ten list. So sad and disturbing, but so very wonderful.)

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
(Note: Heartbreaking and wonderful.)

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
(Note: This sat in my bookshelf for many years before I finally read it. So happy I finally did.)

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God’s Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
(Note: My first hard science fiction book. Wow. Die-hard Niven/Pournelle fan ever since.)

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke

77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson

96. Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
(Note: This one hits close to home, as the building in which I work was destroyed in the book. Still a wonderful book.)

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

20/100. Not great, but still better than I thought. I have read other SF books, but they didn’t make the list. Needs more Philip K. Dick, for instance. And the little Heinlein that I have read (Job and
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag
) didn’t make it. However, I now have a list of books to read…right after I read the many books that I currently own and haven’t read.

My SF book list pushers: