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Do Thy Research

Musings, pontifications, and opinions about my interests and obsessions, which include languages, literature, linguistics, translation, travel, movies, Macs, Christianity, and the importance of doing one's research.

Last Build Date: Sun, 20 May 2012 20:18:37 +0000


It's always fun to make fun of Microsoft

Wed, 15 Apr 2009 19:27:00 +0000

see more Political Pictures


Mon, 13 Apr 2009 01:31:00 +0000

"Persons with Delicate Musical Sensibilities Strongly Cautioned."  Heh.  I love Dr. Boli's sense of humor.

Happy Easter

Sun, 12 Apr 2009 13:31:00 +0000

He is risen indeed!

Baby's first bookshelf

Thu, 09 Apr 2009 06:14:00 +0000

We received so many books at our baby shower that we quickly decided that the baby needed a bookshelf exclusively for baby books.  These are the books that we got at the shower; we have been given a few more since then.  Some are in English, some are in Spanish, and a few are bilingual.  I am, as you might imagine, thrilled that my friends and family have made it so that my child will be born owning a stack of books taller than he or she is long and dearly hope that the baby grows up to love reading like I do.  Books: best toys ever.  


Wed, 01 Apr 2009 05:56:00 +0000

Normally, I think that pretty much everything over at is hilarious (for example, I love the calendar that I got for Christmas), but the new kleptocracy t-shirts inspired by the current political/economic situation are more depressing than funny.


Sat, 21 Mar 2009 06:13:00 +0000

Farewell, Battlestar Galactica.  You were a great show, I'm quite happy with how you ended, and I will miss you a lot now that you're over for good.  Especially your music.  Bear McCreary did a wonderful job as Battlestar's composer, and henceforth I shall follow his career — and his blog — with interest.

Cities to live in

Wed, 04 Mar 2009 21:19:00 +0000

Via Sedenion, I saw this simple, eight-question quiz that purports to identify which cities would be ideal for the quiz taker to live in.  Out of curiosity, partly because I'm anticipating moving soon, I took the quiz.  Here are my results, which I found hilarious for a variety of reasons, including the fact that this quiz did a very good job of identifying several places I'd really like to live.  The list contains somewhere I have lived and at least one city to which I have an actual chance of moving later this year...Based on your answers, the top city for you isColorado Springs, COOther high-ranking cities:2) Boise City-Nampa, ID3) Salt Lake City, UT4) Albuquerque, NM5) Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ[...]

March Madness

Wed, 04 Mar 2009 21:08:00 +0000

I don't pay much attention to the NCAA basketball tournament (or college sports in general), but there are two other March Madness tournaments that I will be following this year: those at Deceiver and Go Fug Yourself, two very entertaining websites.  I think that Deceiver's bracket — for the purpose of identifying the hypocrite of the year — is particularly great.  

A new favorite blog

Sun, 01 Mar 2009 04:52:00 +0000

I recently was introduced to the blog Geekdad by a friend, and I have really enjoyed reading it, especially as my baby's due date gets very close.  Here is one of my all time favorite blog entries of theirs: Nerding up the nursery.  Funnily enough, I had already been planning to do several of the things that they suggest to decorate the baby's room (when the baby gets his or her own room in a few months) before I ever read that post!  Also, the same friend who introduced me to Geekdad gave us the same "stuffed animal" that is pictured at that link as a baby gift!  My husband and I were delighted.  

On Soda

Thu, 29 Jan 2009 06:04:00 +0000

My vote for best soda ever goes to Thomas Kemper's Root Beer, with which I became acquainted over the course of my honeymoon last June.  It is sweet, extremely foamy, and all around wonderful: the best of all possible Root Beers.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to get it locally, although through the magic of the internet I may be able to discover if any place nearby sells it or if it can be obtained inexpensively online.  

My husband, on the other hand, casts his vote for best soda ever for the original Dublin Dr. Pepper, which is, admittedly, a worthy drink as well.  Unlike most sodas these days, both are made with cane sugar rather than corn syrup.  The cane sugar really does make a difference in the flavor.


Wed, 14 Jan 2009 03:19:00 +0000

I just finished reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.  This book is a fantastic read, and I liked it so much that it now is on my list of my favorite five works of fiction ever.  It's a story partly set during the second world war and partly in the late 1990's, with action, adventure, intrigue, cryptography, cryptanalysis, Bletchley Park, Enigma, Tolkien references, languages, and many other wonderful things.  Like treasure hunting.  And mathematicians.  Honestly, it's like Neal Stephenson sat down and wrote a novel especially for me.  How could I not love this book?

Around the apartment, or how I spent my evening

Tue, 30 Dec 2008 06:57:00 +0000

Cooking dinner (paprika chicken with egg noodles, green beans, french bread, and fruit salad). 

Playing games (mathematical strategy games Hex and Nim) with my husband, using the hex map I got him for Christmas as the board for the former.  I really like Hex, possibly more than I like Go, another fun game of strategy that I've learned to play in the last few months.  A side benefit of marrying a mathematician is exposure to all sorts of games, especially strategy games, that I had never played before.  

Convincing my husband to take a break from Nim to teach me how to understand binary so I could compute how to optimally play that particular game from any given starting position (by using binary to take the xor of the nimber).  Concluding that binary is great.  Taking the next logical step (logical for me, anyway) and learning how ASCII works and how to write ASCII out in binary (and figure out the binary forms faster by looking at the octal in an ASCII table) and proceeding to write numbers and words out in binary for fun.  My husband is, at present, very amused by the discovery that I mentally categorize ASCII as some sort of system of runes.  Hey, it's an alternate form of written notation!  Just like Tolkien's Tengwar script is.

Talking to my mom (about baby things) and brother #1 (about baby stuff, how much more I'm enjoying the second trimester of pregnancy than the first trimester, marriage in general, and the end of the Broncos' 2008 season) on the phone.  

Deciding that I wanted to make tapioca pudding, cooking it, and consuming it.  

It was an excellent evening.

Merry Christmas!

Fri, 26 Dec 2008 03:57:00 +0000

Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!

Assorted Interesting Links

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 06:00:00 +0000

My links list in the sidebar is long enough that it is starting to annoy me, so I'm going to move all of them from the sidebar to this post (and add an occasional description) and link to this post from the sidebar.  It will simplify things immensely around here.  So, without further ado:After AbortionAlagaësia — The official website for Christopher Paolini's Inheritance CycleAlthouseAnthony Horowitz — The official website of the author-screenwriter BarcepunditBarcepundit in EnglishThe Bleat — A website of James Lileks, who is a very funny manCCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)CliopatriaConfessions of a Community College DeanCooking for EngineersThe Cranky Professor — One of my absolute favoritesDarth MojoDay By DayDid we do anything important today?Dr. Boli's Celebrated MagazineFIRE — A non-profit civil liberties organizationFirst ThingsGarth Nix — The author's official websiteGeoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog — Sporadically updated and hilariousThe Harry Potter LexiconHistorianessiCal ShareInstaPunditISAE (Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals)J.K. Rowling — Her official websiteJane Espenson — Official website of the BSG screenwriterJim Butcher — The internet authority on the author of The Dresden FilesLe Sabot Post-ModerneThe Leaky CauldronThe Little ProfessorManolo's Shoe Blog MuggleNetNarnia FansNew Kid on the HallwayNoIndoctrination.orgNormblogOpen BookOrson Scott Card — The official website of one of science fiction's greatsOut Of The Woods Now — A thoughtful blog by a fellow lit enthusiastPeeve FarmPiled Higher and Deeper — A webcomic about grad schoolProject GutenbergThe Roving TheologianScrappleFaceSedenion — A mathematician blogs about sundry topics Shur'tugal — A fansite for Christopher Paolini's oeuvreA Small Fish in a Big PondSteven D. Krause's Official BlogTalk of Summertime — One of my most favorite blogsTightly WoundTulip GirlUmbrae CanarumVaculaVodkaPunditWhatever — A blog by author John ScalziWhedonesqueThe Wonder Cabinet — James A. Owen, author-illustrator par excellenceWormtalk and Slugspeak — An Anglo-Saxonist and Tolkien enthusiastXKCD — A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language[...]

The snowier it gets, the happier I apparently am

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 05:45:00 +0000

Seeing the phrase "Winter Storm Warning" in yellow or, better yet, bright red letters when I refresh my local weather forecast online brings joy into my heart.  It makes me even happier when it pops up multiple times within a two week span.  I am particularly happy about this latest winter storm warning because the storm that should hit tomorrow looks to involve well over half a foot of fluffy snow.  I don't care if I have to go knock snow off my car or scrape ice off it later; I love this kind of weather.  Unless the winter storm comes with a -20F wind chill during the day, that is, but it won't come with one of those this week. 

Must read

Thu, 18 Dec 2008 05:33:00 +0000

Dr. Boli is so funny, words fail me.  Take a look at this advertisement of Dr. Boli's about ridding yourself of your excess carbon credits to see him at the top of his game.  I was in hysterics even before I made it to the phrase "program of calculated arson."

A unique perspective on finals

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 06:26:00 +0000

The Little Professor imagines what Vulcans would make of it all.  Her vision of Spock and two others accidentally being beamed into the middle of a college campus during exam week is quite amusing.

An observation

Fri, 05 Dec 2008 06:23:00 +0000

It's so much more satisfying to spend several hours reading books than to spend the equivalent number of hours reading about things related to politics and football on the internet.  I have decided to make a concerted effort to do the former a whole lot more than I do the latter.  Recently, I've noticed that I am (a) much happier and (b) considerably less pessimistic about the future of human civilization after reading a good book, especially when said book is a novel, than I am subsequent to several hours browsing websites, however interesting and informative those websites may be. 

So, I have decided to spend less time surfing the web on My Precious and more time with the contents of my bookshelves.  This sounds like a good plan.

Ender Wiggin Happiness

Sun, 23 Nov 2008 08:49:00 +0000

Today, I finished the long-awaited Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card.  I absolutely loved it.  I had a huge smile on my face as I was reading the very last chapters, even though some of them almost made me cry.  I know there are a lot of OSC fans among the readers of my blog, and those people desperately need to go read this book if they have yet to do so!  (Note to friends who live nearby: yes, you may borrow my copy, and you should borrow A War of Gifts and First Meetings from me while you're at it.) Why do I think that people should run, not walk, to the bookstore (or library) to pick up a copy of this book NOW?  One reason, among many, is that Ender in Exile resolves several plot threads that were left dangling at the conclusion of Shadow of the Giant and have been torturing readers for the past three years.  Their resolution, I think, will make you very happy.  

A final note: although the book centers around Ender, not Bean, Ender in Exile belongs more to the Shadow series than it does to the Ender's Game-Speaker for the Dead-Xenocide-Children of the Mind Quartet.  I would recommend reading it after one has finished the Shadow books.

Okay, another note: I dearly love Ender.  I have seriously thought about naming a child Andrew.  One of several reasons for doing so would be so that I could nickname him Ender.  (Yes, my husband is aware of this.  And no, for those who are wondering, that's not what we're planning to call the baby, if I have a boy.  Not this time, anyway.)  I have also seriously thought about naming a child Julian, after another rather important and beloved OSC character, but that is less likely to occur even though as far as the Battleschoolers go, I have a slight preference for Julian Delphiki over Ender Wiggin.  

General merriment

Thu, 30 Oct 2008 21:57:00 +0000

A blog that has been amusing me immensely ever since my husband directed me to it about a week ago is Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine.  I recommend it.  Click here to learn about the enigmatic Dr. Boli.

An Art Quiz

Sat, 25 Oct 2008 20:19:00 +0000

Here is how one quiz interprets my selections of pictures I most prefer. Here's the setup for that quiz: I was given a series of selections of three pictures and told to select the one from each group of three that I liked best. There weren't all that many rounds of pictures, and they represented a few types of paintings heavily and others hardly or not at all.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual

14 Renaissance, 13 Islamic, 2 Ukiyo-e, -29 Cubist, -22 Abstract and 10 Impressionist!


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life.  Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art.  They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion.  Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature.  Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.

People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging.  They tend to have a high emotional stability.  They also tend to be more concientious then average.  They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do.  They enjoy life and enjoy living.  They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present.  They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered.  These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive.  They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife.  They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature.  They are open to new aesthetic experiences. 

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Assorted thoughts/ranting about The Lord of the Rings

Fri, 17 Oct 2008 05:40:00 +0000

As you might or might not have noticed from the All Consuming widget (or whatever it is) in the sidebar, I have been listening to The Lord of the Rings on audiobook, as read by Rob Inglis.  It had been far too long since I had reread the series in its entirety, and I had already found Inglis's adaptation of The Hobbit quite enjoyable, so I borrowed the set of audiobooks* from the library and started listening.  I am a little over half of the way through The Two Towers at present and enjoying the narration immensely.  Sam has just overheard Sméagol having conversations with himself as Frodo, Sam, and their prisoner-guide get close to Mordor.  As I listen, I am consistently struck with the thought, "This is so much better and more dramatic than what Peter Jackson did in the movies!"  I read the books for the first time before the movies came out, and while I love the movies, there are a few things in his adaptation of Fellowship that annoy me, more than several in The Two Towers, and many in The Return of the King.  For those who have read the books, the following list summarizes the greatest of my grievances: Glorfindel, the Theoden/Éomer storyline early in The Two Towers, Old Man Willow making an appearance in Fangorn, anything involving Faramir and the ring, anything involving Frodo in Osgiliath, Haldir at Helm's Deep, Aragorn hallucinating or having flashbacks about Arwen, Legolas performing ridiculous stunts, Gimli being relegated to mere comic relief, the manner of the demise of Saruman and Wormtongue, anything involving Aragorn and the palantir, Legolas and Gimli's drinking game in Edoras, Denethor as incompetent steward, Gondor being almost wholly unprepared for war with Mordor, Faramir's suicidal charge toward Osgiliath, the lack of resolution in the Éowyn storyline (theatrical cut), anything remotely involving Arwen and the Grey Havens, Arwen's life force being "tied to the ring," the sword Andúril being reforged two books too late, the occasion of the delivery of Andúril to Aragorn, the one ring not being destroyed the instant it meets the lava, and Hobbiton being all pristine and unscoured when the four hobbits get back to the Shire.  What Peter Jackson did to Faramir and Denethor alone... for that, we wants to stick him with the pointy end of swordses, precious, and then, oh yes, my precious, order him tied with nassty elven rope and dropped unconscious among starving, stinking Mordor orcses.  That list turned out much longer than I expected.  Moreover, I'm sure I'll think of more to add to it later.  (UPDATE: I can't believe that I forgot to add the Frodo/Sam argument on the stairs of Cirith Ungol.  I was especially unhappy about that departure from the books.)Anyway, the recording is great.  I like how Inglis puts the poetry to music.  His Gollum voice is pretty good, too.  *Yes, the recordings are unabridged.  I have this to say to any publisher who might dare to try to abridge The Lord of the Rings: burning at the stake is a far, far better end than the one that you deserve for committing such an atrocity.[...]

Exciting book news

Fri, 17 Oct 2008 04:51:00 +0000

The third volume of The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica comes out on October 21, and that occasion will cause much rejoicing chez moi.  I love author-illustrator James A. Owen's quirky, biblophilic fantasy series,* and I can't wait to get my hands on The Indigo King.  Here's a little video "book trailer" for it.I just discovered that Jason Elam and Steve Yohn (authors of Monday Night Jihad, a really entertaining sports/counterterrorism thriller) are going to publish book two in that series on January 1, 2009.  The new book is titled Blown Coverage.  Excellent!  Jason Elam, who is a former kicker for the Denver Broncos, the current kicker for the Atlanta Falcons, and the co-holder of the NFL record for longest field goal, is my favorite active player in the National Football League.  He's held that distinction for a really long time; at the very least as long as Ed McCaffrey has been retired.  As of this week, there is a new Dresden Files title out — it's called The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle.  If you've read anything by Jim Butcher, trust me, you'll like this.  To make matters better, Jim is selling well enough as an author that a lot of public libraries have ordered this title, if the library system in my state is any indication.  Don't let the fact that it's a graphic novel scare you away!  If you have a bias against graphic novels, just think of it as a novella with many, many illustrations!  Welcome to the Jungle is a prequel, taking place not too long before Storm Front (book 1), and it's very well done.  Additionally, the Dresden Files are set in Chicago, and as one might expect with a title involving the word "jungle" and that city, there are several references in it to Upton Sinclair.In other Butcher news, the second-to-last Codex Alera, Princeps' Fury, comes out in late November, a couple of weeks after Orson Scott Card's Ender in Exile.  Yay!  It has been a great summer and fall for most of my most favorite living authors.  Many of these have produced or are soon to publish a new title for me to read and cherish: Butcher, Owen, Card, Elam & Yohn, Garth Nix, Eoin Colfer, John Scalzi, Christopher Paolini, Anthony Horowitz, John Flanagan, and others.  Now, if only George R. R. Martin would get with the program and finish the next, long-overdue book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series already... same goes for Tamora Pierce and that Tortall book that was originally supposed to be published back in 2007.  *If you've read so much as a chapter in one of them, you know why I'm using the word bibliophilic.  I seriously suspect that Mr. Owen has read every good book that could remotely be called fantasy that has ever been published.  Interested parties: check out The Wonder Cabinet, Mr. Owen's blog.[...]

A brief review of the new Inheritance book

Wed, 01 Oct 2008 03:21:00 +0000

I finished Brisingr a few days ago, and here are my first impressions.  I had re-read the first two books in the series right before delving into Brisingr, since I wanted them to be fresh in my mind as I devoured the new one.Brisingr is definitely better than it's predecessor, Eldest, and probably better than the first book, Eragon.  Christopher Paolini is maturing as a writer, and his protagonist has, in my mind, stopped coming off as pretentious and arrogant from time to time, something that got a little irksome toward the end of Eragon and in several parts of Eldest.  Eragon has matured — he's less of a boy and more of a man.  Finally.The plot twist involving Eragon's family history?  It was well executed, although I saw it coming.  Reading between the lines, there was way too much ambiguity in certain statements by the red dragon's rider and the blue dragon toward the end of book 2 for things to have been the way Eragon assumed they were.  (Side note: I love how fantasy books tend to reward close reading and re-reading!)The development involving the objects called Eldunarí was great.  Paolini dropped tantalizing hints all the way through the book but never revealed what was going on with them until close to the end.  The payoff with that was quite satisfying.  Speaking of hints dropped, I really want to know what the soldier Eragon overheard meant when he referenced Murtagh as publicly saying something that really incensed King Galbatorix in the chapter "Escape and Evasion."  Quoth the soldier Derwood, "You heard what Morzan's spawn said well as I did."  We never discover exactly what was said, even though Eragon wonders what it was repeatedly.  Knowing Paolini, this will be hugely important in the fourth and final book in the Inheritance cycle.In sum, I thought that this book was a satisfying read that still left many interesting plot threads open for resolution in the series's final installment.  I give Brisingr five stars out of five.  By the way, once you get to the end of the book, the title (the word for "fire" in the ancient language) makes sense on many levels.  A final note: I loved the shout-out to Doctor Who that appears about a fourth of a way through the book.  Paolini admits the reference in the acknowledgements, so no, I'm not making this up! And because I am nothing if not helpful with book trivia, you can find the line in question in the middle of the chapter "Shadows of the Past" (on page 204 of the first edition American hardcover).  Moreover, I shall quote it for you:Arya signed a stop to the sentence she had been writing on the ground.  Bending over, Eragon read, Adrift upon the sea of time, the lonely god wanders from shore to distant shore, upholding the laws of the stars above.[...]

Bibliophilic happiness

Sat, 20 Sep 2008 04:54:00 +0000

Tomorrow, at long last, I will have a new Inheritance cycle book to read!  It's been over three years since the last book in the series came out, and I am extremely excited for Brisingr.  I predict that Christopher Paolini closes the book with a torturously climactic cliffhanger and plural important character deaths.  It's the third book of a four book cycle, and given some of the twists he's thrown at us in the past, I figure this is pretty much inevitable.