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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Because together we are powerful

Ok, people. I need your help.

I love science fiction. I love it so much that I think I would die if someone made this genre illegal. I dream science and SF the way I dream poetry. As a result, there are some stories that are simply a part of who I am. Stories that have actually changed the way I think or the way that I interpret the world around me. After all, that is the goal of good science fiction, and always has been. 

Anyhoo... I have been trying for what seems like forever to find one of these fantastic stories. The problem is, that I can't figure out what this story is called or who wrote it. As a result, I have been unable to find it again. It was in a science fiction short story anthology I read once. That's ALL I know.

I am hoping that someone, somewhere also read this story and can tell me what it is.

Here's a synopsis.

Two astronauts/explorers encounter the remnants of a once grand civilization on a distant planet. In the remains of a city are a couple of locals who travel by jet packs or some sort of hover/flight equivalent.

The explorers want to replicate the technology and desperately plead with the locals to explain how the packs work. (perhaps even how all of the technology they see around them works) The locals are unable to answer. One of the explorers believes that the locals are purposefully refusing to answer the questions, that they are unwilling to share the knowledge. He becomes increasingly agitated and angry.

The second explorer has a moment of insight at the end of the story where he asks the first to explain how a match works.

The first says, "You take it out of the box and strike it to ignite."

The second then repeats the question. "No. Not 'How do you use one?' I meant, 'How do they work? What's on the match stick? What's on the strike strip? How do you make a match?' "

The first stares at him, dumbstruck, realizing they will never understand the technology because the locals' culture had advanced beyond the point where they knew how to create what they used.

Any ideas? I read this story probably 20 years ago. It is one of my very favorite moments in reading, but I cannot recall what the story is called....

You will be my hero forever if you know what story this is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

-- Ahem -- Sorry about that

I'm so glad you have a sense of humor.  :)



Perhaps you'll like this one I wrote in college a little better?

Moss

A fuzz of furry softness -
shining - green and gold
A forest, unseen, below

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A bad haiku, just for you

Fall in VA

Puff of fur and meat:
mostly inside out, poor thing.
Should have looked both ways.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Change on the wind

Ah, Change.

I always wonder why things can't just be stable with my health, but as many of us with auto-immune disorders know, that's not always the case.

In a frustrating turn of events, I've started to feel pretty lousy again, and my doctor put me on a new fast to rule out another food-driven issue. I am now restricted to eating only

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • meat
  • fish
No dairy, no grains, no potatoes or corn (because I eat them both almost daily).

Good news: I've already lost 5 pounds.
Bad news: I have no idea how to cook...

So....  THE POINT of this little story is to reach out to those of you who may be vegetarians or who eat a wide variety of vegetable dishes. I like vegetables, I really do. But...
  • I need carbs. I can't really function well or keep my blood sugar as stable as I like without them.
  • I need variety. There's only so many salads I can handle.
  • I need to stay away from soy and dairy. 
  • I need to do this for at least 2 weeks.
  • I need ideas. How do you keep variety and interest in what you eat? How do you keep your nutrition balanced?
Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  If you have a favorite reference, cookbook, website, or recipe you can share, that would be awesome.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So, I had this really great idea....

But I have no idea now what it was!

- le sigh -

My brain's on summer break, for sure. Instead of an interesting, original post, please enjoy some nonsense, on me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I had to put my fish in time out

A few years ago, I got a fish tank (with all the accessories, of course!) for my birthday. I did some research, and decided to purchase Cichlids. They're pretty much the closest looking to tropical fish that you can get in freshwater fish. They're also somewhat aggressive. They did great for a while, and then - without warning - they all ate each other.

I was so upset that I left the tank untended for about a year. Maybe longer.

I've repopulated it now with Mollies. Here's a shot of them for you. I call it "Mollies in Motion."

In honor of Matt

Yeah, it's pretty much impossible for me to photograph them, so I made some videos for you.

This first video shows the creamsicle molly, mickey mouse platy, and swordtail platy.

video

The second video shows the rainbow shark, balloon molly, the other fish, and - in the back - a dalmatian molly named Perdie.

video


So what's the problem, you ask? This is the problem:

Pongo

Pongo, the other dalmatian molly, is in time out. Several fish have died recently, been replaced, and died again. I couldn't figure out why. The water was fine, the food was fine. The snail population healthy. The algae count low. Today, one of the balloon mollies finally stood up to him, and I realized what the problem is. It's him.

Mean, mean, MEAN little Pongo.

Perdie misses him, but if he's going to insist on being a brute, he's gonna have to continue to sit in his time-out jar in the corner of the tank. I just hope he learns his lesson.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cactus Update

Happy summer, everybody!

I came today to post a silly story I'd written, but my comment moderator was FULL of cactus questions! FULL, I say! 

I find this excellent for two reasons:
  1. People are still reading my old posts
  2. I just bought new cacti!


See my coral cactus? It's the large one in the pot on the right.
The others are some little friends I bought for it to hang out with.

My paternal grandmother always had a window full of cactus, and I remember spending a lot of time trying to figure out which ones I could safely poke. :) I loved how she had so many different kinds, and Lowe's had little bitty cacti on sale for pretty cheap, sooo.... 

Cactus Day!  Huzzah!

Let me introduce you:
1. You all remember the coral cactus, right?
Well, it's grown quite a bit, and I moved it out of the polka dot pot and in with some little bitty flowering cacti.

2. Pink Crown cacti are the whiter appearing two around the coral's base.
 They're actually a dark green, but there are so many bristles that you can barely see it. They put out very pretty little pink flowers all over the top of the cactus bulb. If you look very closely, you can see that there are two types of bristles: the straight white ones and slightly curved reddish ones. The curved ones are just like velcro. They stick to everything, even skin, at the slightest touch. (Guess how I know.)

3. The next little guy is a Rebutia Miniscula. It buds out from the base as seen below.
 BUT -- It also flowers, and also in a dark pink. So pretty!

4. This next one might be my new favorite. It's nicknamed the Devil's Tongue barrel cactus.
Lookit those spines!  You don't want to mess with this guy. It was quite challenging to get this one out of his store pot and into the coral's old pot.
 Take a close look at the spines: they're ridged, curved, and very hard. You can actually drag your finger down one and hear the spines - that's how tough they are.

 That brings us to the last pot.
On a side note: I was very fortunate to find these shallow pots for the cacti. I didn't want them in deep pots or plastic pots, and I was just about to give up on getting more cacti when I found these shallow ones.
 There are four different cacti in the pot. I'll keep them here for as long as they're healthy, butI'm not sure how long they can stay together. And that's because....

5. The Pilosocereus Gounellii shown below grows to a mature size of TEN FEET. 
I couldn't say no to it, though. It was too awesome.

 6. This is the appropriately named Christmas Tree cactus. I luv Christmas!

7. This fluffy guy is a golden ball cactus.
It's the other one in the running for new favorite. The description reads "harmless bristles" (It lies - I'm still picking them out of my hands). The golden ball cactus is definitely golden, but it's not a barrel cactus, exactly. If you look at the base, you'll see that it looks a bit squished. The golden ball cacti are more like squished pillars than balls. As this one grows, the ripples at the bottom will become more pronounced.

 8. Finally, the last cactus!  This is a Clothed Opuntia.
It really IS harmless to the touch, unless you grab on to it very firmly. The white fuzz is very soft, almost felt-like. It is blooming right now - the shiny green "spikes" are the blossoms. There's two pictures of it here, so you can see its interesting growth patterns.


I'll always be grateful that Grandma got me interested in cacti when I was a kid. I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to get some of my own. I hope you like the cactus as much as I do, and for those of you who are still reading - Thanks for hanging out and being so patient with me!

I hope to write more often for you now that summer's here again.
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