Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety Per­cent Of Every­thing Is Crap

Derived from a quote by sci­ence fic­tion author Theodore Stur­geon, who once said, “Sure, 90% of sci­ence fic­tion is crud. That’s because 90% of every­thing is crud.” Oddly, when Sturgeon’s Law is cited, the final word is almost invari­ably changed to ‘crap’.

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A Decade Ago

  • 08-01-2004 No articles on this date.


Reconstituted Dinosaurs



Sonata or Miata

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Ask Brian

Kindle & Me

Last week­end when we went to Florida I still had a cou­ple hun­dred pages of “Out­lander” to read, so I took the book along, not fig­ur­ing I would fin­ish it. Well, by mid morn­ing Sat­ur­day I had. Fac­ing the all day drive home on Sun­day (half of which would be spent in the pas­sen­ger seat) with­out any­thing to read, I asked if they had a used book­store nearby. BIL Paul said, “You like sci­ence fic­tion, right?” “Sure”, I said. “You can bor­row one of my Kin­dles, I have plenty of books on it.”

Every since Kin­dles arrived on the scene 5 or 6 years ago I have been curi­ous to see what the read­ing expe­ri­ence would be like as com­pared to a phys­i­cal book. And actu­ally, in the inter­ven­ing years at birth­day or Christ­mas time when Donna would ask what I’d like as a gift, the thought of buy­ing one would pop up, but I never pulled the trig­ger though, as I saw no real need.

Up until now my book read­ing needs have been taken care of by weekly (or so) vis­its to the local used book store, an occa­sional visit to the Book Ware­house in Savan­nah to get last year’s off-lease library hard­cover books and the rare cur­rent best­seller picked up at Books-A-Million or Barnes & Noble.

That local used book store recently closed down, so the $1.99 and deeply dis­counted eBooks avail­able for the Kin­dle could pos­si­bly replace that, but own­ing one of those things would never be able to totally replace the sec­ond two of those spots because there is some­thing about hold­ing a phys­i­cal book and vis­it­ing their phys­i­cal stores that can­not be repli­cated dig­i­tally. Best I can describe it; to me it is like the dif­fer­ence of dri­ving the auto­matic trans­mis­sioned Sonata com­pared to the Miata’s man­ual trans­mis­sion with a clutch, there is more of a connection.

The avail­abil­ity of all the free books out there for the Kin­dle are no inter­est to me, as most of them con­sist of the “clas­sics”, or bet­ter known as the books they tried unsuc­cess­fully to get me to read and appre­ci­ate in high school. There is one place where they do have free eBooks that I might be inter­ested in…the library. The Aiken Regional library loans ‘em out. This is cool for a cou­ple rea­sons, you never have to worry about los­ing a book (you may lose the Kin­dle, but the book isn’t really in there) and no late fees (you can’t for­get to return it; they just elec­tron­i­cally yank it back.)

Paul’s sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Kin­dle with the leather cover gives a pretty good approx­i­ma­tion weight-wise of hold­ing a nice hard cover book and the smaller than a page screen size means there is more page “turn­ing”, but the but­tons to accom­plish that fall easy to your fin­gers while hold­ing the “book.” While I didn’t think I’d hate using a Kin­dle, I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do. My birth­day is next month and when Donna asks this time, I’ll more than likely buy one.

A Thousand Gross Miles

There really are no gross miles in a Miata, but when I parked the Emperor in the garage tonight after get­ting home from work there were exactly 144,000 miles on the odome­ter. Twelve dozen is a gross, so a gross is 144 and that means a 1,000 gross is 144,000.

Speak­ing of gross, here is an update on the FRS’s pen­nant push. The Ori­oles since the break are play­ing slightly bet­ter ball, going 8–4. If they con­tinue on to the end of the sea­son play­ing like they have played so far, they will fin­ish with a won/loss record of 92–70 or 2 games bet­ter that pre­vi­ously noted. Mean­while the Red Sox have gone 5–8 in the same stretch and they are now 13 games out of first place. To get to 93 wins and end up ahead of the Bal­ti­more club they only have to win 43 of their last 56 or roughly 77% of those games. While not math­e­mat­i­cally elim­i­nated, the chances of that hap­pen­ing are sta­tis­ti­cally impossible.

If the FRS con­tinue play­ing as they have so far this sea­son, I fig­ure they will give me the gift of divi­sional elim­i­na­tion on my birth­day the 27th of Sep­tem­ber way before Donna’s birth­day in late August.

Are You A Member Of Our Loyalty Club?

Even though we did the weekly gro­cery shop­ping on the way home from Florida yes­ter­day, we didn’t get the a menu plan­ning done for tonight. When we couldn’t agree on what we wanted to fix, we opted to do the easy thing and go get some­thing to eat.

Donna has been on a soup kick recently, so she sug­gested a trip to Atlanta Bread Com­pany just down the street where they do a pretty good French Onion. I agreed, but sug­gested get­ting it to go, so we could pre­tend we weren’t eat­ing out. She ordered a cup of the French Onion soup and a half a cubano panini. I selected a whole NY Hot Pas­trami sandwich.

When the cashier asked, “Are you a mem­ber of our Loy­alty Club?” I said, “Sure.” and gave her our home phone num­ber. She scrunched her nose up and said, “It’s not com­ing up.” We tried the num­ber again with the same results. So I gave the 9 dig­its to her again. “That’s funny,you are not show­ing up.” I say, “That can’t be, we just used it last Thurs­day night in States­boro, GA.” Donna chimes in with, “That was a Pan­era Bread.”

Nice job, that’s like try­ing to use a your CVS loy­alty card at Walgreen’s or your My Lowes card at Home Depot.

45,000 Cars A Hour

About 15 miles south of Jesup, GA the Pur­ple Whale hit the 45,000 mile mark.

We were trav­el­ing north on US 301/GA 23 and if I would have taken a pic­ture through the wind­shield, with the rear view mir­ror in the frame, it would have shown almost a mile of two lane road total, with zero other cars on any of it. As we trav­eled the 45 mile stretch between Folk­ston and Jesup (a few miles out­side the city lim­its of both towns) we prob­a­bly saw 2 other cars. Using totally made up cal­cu­lus, I fig­ure that works out to forty-five thou­sand cars travel on that road that way a month.

I prob­a­bly would have taken that photo if I had though to take one using the same fram­ing while Donna was dri­ving on I-75 just north of Ocala, FL. All 6 lanes of the Inter­state (3 in each direc­tion) were stuffed with cars with usu­ally noth­ing more than a car length between them. If you could have stood in the median so you could watch both flows of traf­fic and could count really, really fast I bet it would come out to be about 45,000 cars an hour.



We pulled off I-95 at Exit 278 in Florida just so I could drive one mile east, then turn around to go back towards I-95 South and on the way, take this picture.

Some­time in the last week while search­ing Mr. Miata Dot Net for some­thing or other I came across the post about hit­ting this lit­tle land­mark while in the Emperor. Because I’d taken a photo then and I knew we were approach­ing it in the Pur­ple Whale, I had the cam­era at hand.

Stay tuned for a pic­ture of the Emperor’s odome­ter soon, as I think it is get­ting close to the 144,000 mark which means that 144,444 can’t be too far behind.

Not Triskaidekaphobic

Triskaideka­pho­bia (from Greek tris mean­ing “3”, kai mean­ing “and”, deka mean­ing “10” and pho­bos mean­ing “fear” or “mor­bid fear”) is fear of the num­ber 13 and avoid­ance to use it.

When we checked into the Hamp­ton Inn & Suites in Brunswick, GA this evening we were given the room 313. After unload­ing the car and we were walk­ing through the lobby I remarked to Donna,“It is a good thing we are not triskaidekaphobic.”

When we got off the ele­va­tor on the third floor we took one look at the out­side of the room and went right back down to the front desk to change our room. We aren’t afraid of the num­ber 13, but we are afraid of the room right next to the ele­va­tor and its pal the ice machine.

The asso­ciate at the desk said, “No prob­lem, we’ll get you a dif­fer­ent room.” She re-magnetized the keys and wrote our new num­ber on the sleeve — 410. When we got off the ele­va­tor on the fourth floor instead of imme­di­ately turn­ing left to door num­ber thir­teen we turned right and went 2 doors down. Wow, thanks.


This started almost as a quid pro quo with a co-worker that I got to watch Orphan Black, but now I’m kind of wait­ing impa­tiently to see this.

In our con­ver­sa­tions of TV shows to watch she men­tions that she is excited to see that one of her favorite book series is finally com­ing to the screen. Starz is pro­duc­ing a TV series of the Out­lander books writ­ten by Diana Gabal­don. She tells me it is about an Eng­lish Army nurse from WWII who gets trans­ported back to the mid-1700’s Scotland.

I’m a sucker for time travel, books or movies, so I’m inter­ested. I check out the trailer(s) and now I’m intrigued. I read a bit of the blog that the author writes and I like her style and sense of humor, so now I think, maybe I should read the book. Jamie has a copy of the book on her Kin­dle, but can’t seem to find her, you know, ink on paper with a glued bind­ing, circa some­time last cen­tury ver­sion, so I will have to see if I can find a copy of a book that was pub­lished in 1991.

Turns out it was pretty easy. My local super­mar­ket has a paper­back copy on their book aisle because book No. 8 of the series is just out in hard­back and the paper­back was re-issued because of the upcom­ing TV series (even has the two main actors, in char­ac­ter, on the cover.

Now my favorite book series will always be Robert B. Parker’s Spenser nov­els, tough guy private-eye with his own moral code that always gets his man, usu­ally in a one on one vio­lent con­fronta­tion. The writ­ing is direct with short sen­tences in short chap­ters, dou­ble spaced on pages with large mar­gins. A cou­ple hun­dred pages of the lit­er­ary equiv­a­lent of a can of sour cream & onion fla­vored Pringles.

Out­lander is the polar oppo­site. There are densely packed pages filled with minute, detailed descrip­tions of the sur­round­ings and stuffed with per­sonal obser­va­tions, sort of the lit­er­ary equiv­a­lent of a Martha Stew­art Poppy Seed Grape­fruit Torte. Think Stephen King length, this baby is 850 pages. I’m not a big fan of period pieces, but I’m still with this one at the 500 page mark. I think I rec­og­nize the seed in all the flow­ery, descrip­tive text as the writ­ing I liked in her blog. Still, I’m not sure I’ll read any more of the books, but if the TV series turns out as good as it looks in the trail­ers, I’ll be watching.