Friday, December 12, 2008, posted by Q6 at 6:14 AM
There was a very short narrative I read in high school that came back into mind the other day. (I don't remember the title; I could look it up, but it's not that important.) In this narrative, the planet Earth is viewed by first-time visiting aliens and they are describing the life forms here: round, metallic, and fast. It's the cars. They're describing the cars.

In other parts of the country, cars are merely functional; in still others, they're altogether unecessary; here in Southern California, your car helps to define you as a person. People would rather drive their cars (than carpool or use public transportation) because those cars make a statement.

Last month we voted here on what was called Proposition 1A. It was a public transportation bill that would increase light rail construction. It wasn't all that great of a bill, and it won't really accomplish a whole lot. I voted for it, though, because I feel that something must be done. My vote was more in favor of public transportationas an idea than it was for this specific proposal. If we have more public transportation, perhaps we'll get more people out of their cars.

Of course, the Catch-22 is that unless people stop identifying with their cars, we won't get any more (or better) public transportation. (Anybody remember the PeopleMover at Disneyland? There's a system being used in Virginia--and being proposed in areas in and around New York--just like that. Check this link for it.)

The pollution will not decrease, the highways will not decongest, and the oil prices will continue to matter to us (no matter how low they go) until WE decide to do something. Until we decide to make progress as a collective group, I'm gonna have to go and find some solution of my own.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008, posted by Q6 at 10:08 AM
During this holiday season, when the economy is an issue, I'm behind on my gift shopping, and really have no idea what to get people this year anyway, it's nice to be reminded of what's truly important.

And if this video clip from doesn't do it for you -- particularly the end of the video -- I don't know what will.

I promise to get my shopping done, and to give thoughtfully -- I don't think I'll be able to compete with that, though.
Monday, December 08, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:21 AM
Among the wedding gifts from this summer were a blender and a breadmaker. I am in heaven.

For the last several weeks I've been making my own white bread (and attempting wheat bread). I now make my own pizza dough, and for Thanksgiving I brought the Parmesan-Garlic Rolls. I'm looking at a half dozen other recipies for flavored breads and doughs. My life will be filled with tasty carbs from now on!

The blender is more complicated than I thought (the recipies, not the operation). I've had to learn the finer differences between cubed and crushed ice, what vanilla extract actually does to a potion, yogurt-to-juice ratios, and the half-life of beaten egg whites. The egg white thing paid off, though--I found a recipe for the old Orange Julius drinks I used to get at the mall. Delicious!

My wife is now starting to use the new stand mixer as well, so soon my life will be filled with cookies!

Yep . . . there's some technology I can get behind.
Saturday, December 06, 2008, posted by Q6 at 5:42 AM
I didn't get to 50,000 words. I didn't even get close. But at least I tried.

Last month was National Novel Writing Month -- NaNoWriMo to those in the know (you can find their website here). I've got three novels and six or seven short stories just dying to get out of me, and they've been stuck in the dark recesses of my mind for quite a while now. I'd love to post the 5,000 or so words I did complete, but that total spans two completely different titles, one of them sucks in its current form, and I'd like to keep both out of the public domain until I can get them finished and published. I'm not trying to be defeatist or unrealistic when I say this, but I know that getting this personal goal accomplished is going to take some time. Years, most likely. Which is fine, really--I'm closer to realizing this goal right now than I ever have before: I've got a more relaxed professional life, an incredibly supportive wife, and the drive to keep at this, if only a few words at a time.

Next November, though, watch out: I'm gonna pull it off next time.