Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A name I noticed on someone's name tag


There it was, right there on his name tag. That guy I saw working the register at the gas station is named, apparently, Guru.

I know that name tags can be ordered with just about any name (or close approximation). All you need is a boss whose willing to play along with the joke and absorb the cost of one name tag. But wouldn't it be cool if that wasn't a joke, if he really is a "Guru"? If he really is the guru of the gas station?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One thing I hate

The Wilhelm scream.

It's no longer clever. It's annoying. It sticks out like a massive, swollen thumb. And it makes an otherwise good movie slightly less good, in my book.

I wish I would never hear it in another movie again.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My toolbox knife

Just over a week ago, Alan at Blognomicon found a Buck Juno knife while going about his daily rounds. I mentioned at the time that that knife would make a pretty good toolbox knife if he could clean it up a bit. Clean it up, he did, and now he says it could be an everyday carry knife.

While doing some chores today, I ended up using my toolbox knife. Remembering Alan's Buck Juno, I got to wondering where I got the knife that I keep in my toolbox. And, after thinking nice and hard for a little while, I just couldn't remember.

Here it is:

It's a Rigid RG49, and it's a brand of knife that I've never heard of. I did a search on the internet and found only one mention of this knife anywhere! And it was some guy trying to sell the one he had.

Holy cow! I think I found this thing, and I use it in my toolbox, but apparently it's so rare that there is only one other guy out there that owns one and is willing to talk about it. (I'm sure there are more mentions of this knife, somewhere. I simply didn't find them.) I don't think the knife is actually worth much, but it doesn't seem to be too common.

It's a pretty good knife, though. I don't care much for the fully-serrated blade, but it's a solid knife with no play in the blade and a smooth open. I've been using it for many years and have been happy with its performance.

I just hope it's not a collector's item. Because I sure haven't been treating it like I was a collector.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I just finished reading

Larry Niven

I first read this book several years ago, and though I found it very enjoyable at the time it was a little difficult to get my head wrapped around it at first. The story is loaded with fantastical aliens, technological wonders, and gargantuan concepts, and Larry Niven's writing style is full of subtlety. (Just when you've unraveled an elaborate description of an alien form and gotten a mental image of what it's supposed to look like, you've already read over a character's head nod or grunting comprehension of something that happened a few pages back. And many times, just to make sure you know what's going on, you have to back up and re-read a paragraph or ten.)

I did a lot of re-reading the first time around.

This time, though, I already knew the story line, and I was already familiar with the characters and their quirks, so I could relax and enjoy the story itself.

And it's a great read. Niven's subtleties are wonderful once you know what's happening, and I was able to grasp much more without having to go back over what I had already read.

If you've never heard of this book -- or never read it -- here's a brief synopsis:

It's many years in the future, and humanity has made contact and established relationships with several sentient and sapient species. Louis Wu is a man of advanced age (still healthy because of boosterspice) who grows bored with the world and travels space from time to time. He's approached by an alien of odd appearance from a species called the Pierson's Puppeteers. These beings are highly advanced, but they value cowardice above all other traits. Louis is convinced by this Puppeteer (named Nessus) to embark upon an exploration trip with a young human woman and an alien named Speaker to Animals, a member of a savage, warlike species called the Kzin (picture Klingons as giant, humanoid cats).

Louis, the woman (named Teela Brown), Nessus, and Speaker travel to explore the Ringworld, a massive structure discovered by the Puppeteers. It is an artificial world encircling a star at about the distance of a planet's orbit. It rotates around the sun, providing artificial gravity to anything on its surface.

It's huge. Very, very huge.

In the course of their exploration, the team's ship suffers a failure and crash-lands on the surface of the Ringworld, damaged so badly they cannot take off again.

Adventures ensue.

This is the first in a series of four books, and I've read them all. It's a very good story cycle, though a bit bizarre at times with subtle humor and understated terror. I plan on reading the next book, The Ringworld Engineers, very soon now. If and when I do, I will let you know my impression of that one the second time around.

Now that I know what's going on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I'm back!

OK, I never really went anywhere, I just got busy. But the busy-ness has seemed to abated somewhat, and I think I can get back to doing a little hanging out here and there on the internet again.