How I Met George R. R. Martin
First watch, 1 bell (8:38 pm)

Today at Sasquan (Worldcon 73) I had just finished getting some books signed by Joe Haldeman (his Forever War is a must-read classic!) and talking briefly with his wife. I then went off to the side to in a chair and go through my book bag. George R. R. Martin walked up to the autograph table and chatted with the Haldemans (Haldemen?), then was walking past me when I said "I loved Wild Cards!". He stopped, turned, and thanked me. He had an assistant and another couple people that recognized him standing around. He asked me a question (I've already forgotten what it was) and I told him that I didn't know the answer, that this was my first Worldcon. Then he stuck his hand out for me to shake and welcomed me.

He then proceeded to take a few of us around the Hugo table and tell us all kinds of trivia about the different years' awards. It was a pretty awesome experience.

About an hour later I was running the sound board in the room he did his reading from the next A Song of Ice and Fire book.

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Don’t Forget Gilgamesh
Afternoon watch, 4 bells (2:26 pm)

I really dig this video.

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A Quick Cleaning
Last dog watch, 3 bells (7:36 pm)

A few weeks ago I was looking at my glass showed door and lamenting how much soap scum and minerals had created an ugly film on the door. The last time I noticed it I nearly scrubbed my shoulder off working on clearing it all up. Then I had the crazy idea to use a Scotch Brite pad attached to an orbital sander to save myself the scrubbing.

A quick Googling proves I'm far from the first person to think of this, but I'll be darned if it didn't work great. I cleaned the whole door in about three minutes. I wouldn't try this on something other than a glass door (such as the fiberglass shower stall itself for instance), but it doesn't appear to be tough enough to scratch the glass.

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Lunar Eclipse Tonight
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:31 pm)

If you live in North America tonight you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to witness a total lunar eclipse!

Time	Description
9:53pm	Moon enters penumbra (pale part of Earth's shadow)
10:39	Penumbral shadow appears
10:58	Moon enters umbra (Earth's dark shadow)
11:49	75% coverage
12:01	Near totality – this is where you really want to pay attention
12:06	Total eclipse begins – once this happens, the rest is the same but backwards
12:46	Middle of totality
1:24	Total eclipse ends
1:41	75% coverage
2:33	Moon leaves umbra
2:53	Penumbra shadow fades
3:37	Moon leaves penumbra

Here is an album from a total eclipse in 2008. I took those pictures with a digital camera through my old telescope.

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Not Cut Short!
Forenoon watch, 4 bells (10:18 am)

I talked to Lorien last night and she just got news that she won't have to cut her trip short after all! Time to breathe a sigh of relief, I was bummed that she took the time to go so far and some stupid smoke would force her to come home early but it sounds like things are a little clearer now. Right now she is in Thailand with Arwen's family on their spring break.

Middle watch, 1 bell (12:39 am)

Where do the years go? Since Lorien left for Sumatra on Monday to spend time with her sister Arwen I decided to drive down to Portland and spend my birthday with the biggest concentration of my family in one place.

The drive was normal, six hours plus or minus about 5 minutes door-to-door. I've done this drive quite a few times and have it down pat. Today I left home at 9:17am and arrived at mom's place at 3:19pm, with one refuel stop and one bathroom pit stop. I used to stop in Hood River since that's where I grew up, but I haven't lately. I suppose if I was actually likely to see someone I knew I'd be more likely to stop there more often, but the chances are quite low since I don't really talk to anyone that lives there anymore. For those that don't know, I moved in 1989 so it's been a while.

My youngest brother Wes and I went out to get a bite to eat at Cartlandia, a foodcart stop. I got Pad Thai noodles and they were delicious. Then we drove to Beaverton, to Powell's at Cedar Hill's Crossing to attend a 7pm book signing by Brandon Sanderson. He's a popular author, so it took about four hours to get my book signed. I texted my sister-in-law Cami to ask if she had the new book yet since the store announced they were closing the registers in about 15 minutes. I didn't hear back from her (turns out her phone had died) and she was bummed that she missed the opportunity. Fortunately for her I'm a pretty awesome guy and went ahead and bought the second copy just before they closed so I could get it signed, just in case she wanted it. I thought if she didn't, then I'd give it to someone as a gift. An hour or so later when she got back to me I got to surprise her and let her know she would be getting a copy anyway. I have to admit, that felt pretty awesome, it was a good call. Eventually my place in line came up and I got to talk about WorldCon 2014 in Spokane. Brandon gave some great advice about attending. I also just beat the night's record for longest distance driven: a couple drove from Pullman (about 350 miles). I got to one-up them since I drove 375 miles. Not much, but I won 🙂

We wrapped up just after 11pm and drove back, talking about how bad most of the drivers are in Portland. Now my evening is winding down, I'm checking social media and responding to the "happy birthday" wishes that started coming in. I guess some people feel like wishing others a happy birthday when their social media platform of choice reminds them is hokey, but I think it's endearing and always try to make a point of personally responding to each wish since they took the time to write me.

I'm only about 35 minutes into my birthday, but I'm pretty tired. I'll probably blog more tomorrow since I don't have much else going on. Maybe a visit to Bob's Red Mill and lunch at Otto's Sausage Kitchen will be in order…

PS Happy International Women's Day!

Google Glass
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:13 pm)

Holy cow Google Glass is cool. There are few things I wouldn't do to get my hands on one of these many months before everyone else. And now you can with Google's early user contest. Hurry, the #ifihadglass contest ends next week. Or better yet, don't enter, it decreases my chances of getting in.

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Going to See the Dubs
Last dog watch, 2 bells (7:01 pm)

The Young Dubliners are playing in the Knitting Factory in Spokane on Thursday night. You should be there, because they're great and I will be there, too.

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Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:55 pm)

I was lucky enough to see Jonathan Coulton and They Might Be Giants play in Spokane WA last Sunday. On their way to Seattle, they offered to have JoCo answer questions, and mine got answered:

Jonathan Coulton question answered

Band Interaction
Afternoon watch, 8 bells (4:02 pm)

This happened a while ago but I haven't gotten around to bragging about it. I love how much more "in touch" we are with everyone these days. People we've lost touch with, and new people we've never met but would like to nick a few things from their house next time they go on vacation.

They Might Be Giants said I won. Sorry, Jodie!


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(Bruce) Campbell’s Soup
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:00 pm)

(Bruce) Campbell's Soup

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LED Throwie Rat
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:22 pm)

I like the idea of LED throwies: a small battery, magnet, and an LED taped together. The light is on until the battery runs down (takes a while with an LED), and the magnet lets it stick to something so you can throw it up high.

But the LED Throwie Rat takes the cake! It uses the same principles, but instead of tape to hold everything together it uses a taxidermied rat!

I can't get a picture out of my head of someone trying to figure out how to take one down from an overhead freeway sign.

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Altered Art
Afternoon watch, 6 bells (3:18 pm)

Altered thrift-store art is too awesome to not post about! It makes me wish I had artistic talent!

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High Def
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:42 pm)

I saw my first Blu-ray movie this weekend. I didn't think it'd be such a big deal, but really, it's a whole new world of clarity. Lorien had Meet the Robinsons on Blu-ray, and Costco has a Sony Blu-ray player for $70 off ($109 at checkout), so we put the two together (with our spiffy new TV) and I must say—it's pretty amazing.

The only regret I have is that now I'll want to buy everything on Blu-ray, and I already have so many DVDs…

8-bit Christmas Carols
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:15 am)

Frank, one of my cow-orkers, introduced me to this site. At only $4, buy it for the children: 8-bit Christmas, Christmas songs with old-school video game feeling.

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