It’s only teeeenaaage Wastelaaaaand!

So I just sent Pete Townsend back in time to the point in the seventiers where I’d plucked him from earlier. Time travel is easy if you’ve got the … time… to study it.

Anyway, Pete was immensely pleased. Giddy as a schoolgirl, I think is the phrase. I’d just shown him a youtube video of various people at Thinkgeek playing a rendition of Baba Oreilly on a variety of geeky electronic objects. They’re no rock stars, granted, but they put out a reasonably recognizable rendition. (twelve syllable alliteration for the win!)

I wanted to get Mr. Townsend’s reaction to it as I figured he’d find it interesting. Unfortunately the current Mr. Townsend is damn near deaf, the speakers on my laptop aren’t very loud, and I don’t have any headphones handy. So instead I fired up the time plucker and plucked him out just before some concert in 1973. He was, understandably, a bit freaked, but once I explained that he was in no personal danger nor at any risk of being late for his concert he relaxed and agreed to watch the video.

Then I had to explain to him what he was seeing… youtube, the internet, personal computers, the whole thing… and he got boggle drunk gleefull. He just couldn’t stop laughing and saying things like “Wow!”, “You’re kidding!”, “That’s amazing!”, and other gushy stuff like that. By the time we got through the whole video he was nearly overwhelmed with enthusiasm and hope for the future.

I didn’t tell him about going deaf. There’s no easy way to tell someone from the past about the problems they’ll face in the future. Best tactic is to just avoid the topic entirely.

Of course I had to wipe his memory of the whole thing… protecting the past from paradoxes and all that… and he was more or less okay with it. He figured he’d probably just chalk it up to another drug trip anyway.

One thing you can’t erase, though, is emotion. There are just too many chemicals involved and short of some heavy counteracting medication, which would even more questions when they wake up in the past, you just can’t counteract them.

So he’ll wake up confused and inexplicably happy. That should be a lesson to all of you. If you suddenly find yourself inexplicably happy for no practical reason there’s a distinct chance you’ve just returned from a trip to the future where everything was uber cool.

Eye wear my son glasses at night

Yep, itll have to come out.

Yep, it'll have to come out.

Went to the optometrist today. Received both some reassuring and disturbing news.

As I’d mentioned before when my mother was my age she was changing eyeglass prescriptions more and more frequently. By her late forties she was getting new lenses every six months or so. At the time I’d attributed it to her work, retouching film negatives with brushes as small as a single hair in size.

Well, my eyesight has been bothering me in increasing amounts over the past couple of years. I’ve gone through a couple of different eyeglass prescriptions already, and this after my prescription hadn’t changed in over twenty years. I started to worry that I’d wind up with my vision degrading as fast as my mother’s did.

I found out last year that I have a cataract on the lens of my left eye. My optometrist strongly suggested I get a physical in case this was indicative of something more. I followed her suggestion and, thankfully, found myself to be still fat but otherwise healthy. (and with cholesterol still lower than Ronya’s, a fact that continues to driver her nuts)

Today I found out that my right eye is also developing a cataract. Up until recently my right eye had been compensating for the blur in the left, but that’s no longer the case. Now, unfortunately, it’s time for surgery.

On the one hand I’m nervous because someone is going to be cutting into my eye. On the other hand I’m reassured that it’s an incredibly simple procedure these days and even the elderly that go through it recover easily. It takes about 15 minutes and some local anesthetic. They replace the cloudy lens with an artificial one and, presto, your vision is clear.

Which I’m eager to get, quite honestly. Right now any light source I look at has a foggy corona around it, something that makes driving at night just that much more difficult. I’m thinking I’m going to let Ronya drive at night until I get this fixed.

The downside is that the artificial lens, while clear, isn’t as pliable as the natural lens. This means I will definitely need reading glasses after the surgery is done. Which I’m more or less okay with because I’d kind of like to have reading glasses *now*. I’m already having to pull books away an extra foot or so to be able to read them clearly. Some of that is the cataract but a fair amount of that is simply my aging lenses getting more and more rigid on their own. Replacing them won’t be much of a loss.

The other slight downside is that it *is* a simple procedure done with local anesthetic. If someone is going to operate on my eye part of me would much rather be unconscious for the whole thing. If I’m awake and aware of everything going on I’m going to develop nightmares, I’m sure of it.

So now I have to wait for a specialist to contact me for an appointment, which I’m told will take a month or two, and then we will schedule the surgery, which I’m told could take as much as a year. I’m not in dire need (I’m annoyed but I can still see and function) so others will take precedence.

I’d rather wait the extra time under our current coverage than be able to have ready access to a procedure I can’t afford. At least this way I’ll get it done *eventually*.

In related news, Josh Silver’s self adjustable eyeglasses (which I wrote about here last year) are being talked about again, this time at TED.

New term"to Amazon Rank"

Amazon Rank

amazon rank
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): amazon ranked

1. To censor and exclude on the basis of adult content in literature (except for Playboy, Penthouse, dogfighting and graphic novels depicting incest orgies).
2. To make changes based on inconsistent applications of standards, logic and common sense.

Etymology: from 12 April 2009 removal of sales rank figures from books on containing sexual, erotic, romantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or queer content, rendering them impossible to find through basic search functions at the top of’s website. Titles stripped of their sales rankings include “Bastard Out of Carolina,” “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” prominent romance novels, GLBTQ fiction novels, YA books, and narratives about gay people.

Example of usage: “I tried to do a report on Lady Chatterley’s Lover for English Lit, but my teacher amazon ranked me and I got an F on grounds that it was obscene.”

Alternate usage: “My girlfriend wanted to preserve her virginity, and I was happy to respect that, then she amazon ranked and decided anal sex was okay.”

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A newer, scarier book ban

Children’s books burn, courtesy of the federal government.

It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute.

And suddenly I’m even happier to be living in Canada, where our kids grow strong with the lead in their books. I wonder how diligent they’ll be in enforcing this law?

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Best. Bike. Ever!

Mission Motors may be my new heroes in motorcycle construction. This beauty, The Mission One, is the electric bike of my dreams:

No Clutch, 100 lb-ft of torque off the line, 100 lb-ft of torque up to 60 mph, 100 lb-ft of torque for all speeds in between. ONE HUNDRED FOOT POUNDS OF TORQUE! We were jaw-drop impressed with the Buell’s 80 lb-ft of torque last month.

Top speed of 150 mph, which translates into 240 kph! I would never, ever ride it that fast, but it’s cool to know it can. Okay, maybe I’d try it once. On a very straight, very flat road… or maybe on the Salt Flats of Utah.

Range of 150 miles, which translates into a range of 240 kilometers, which is 40 kilometers longer than our smaller Suzuki 550 and about 60 or so kilometers longer than our bigger Yamaha XJ1100. It would take 2.5 hours to charge from a 220V outlet, 8 hours from a standard 110V, so this probably wouldn’t be ideal for touring, but within the city I have yet to go farther than 100 kilometers in a single day. In theory I could use this for two or three days without needing another charge.

And last but not least, almost entirely silent. The only noise is the slight whine of the electric motor and the roll (possibly the squeal?) of the tires on the road. No longer would bike gangs be rumbling noisy mobs, instead they would be super fast stealthy ninja clans.

The other interesting feature? The bike is wireless enabled, allowing you to download trip data to your laptop to analyze performance, presumably to tune the recharging brakes that turn stopping torque back into battery charging electricity. You can track such ride data as speed, location, lean angle, motor current, battery voltage and efficiency, etc. Truly a high tech bike for nerds.

The one drawback? Currently only available for $70k, and not ready until 2010. I’m sure that price would come down over time, though, and god knows if I had the spare money for it I’d definitely pony up for one.

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