Champagne for real friends…

536 days after we met, Kat and I are getting married on October 31st. We’re happy to share this time of our lives with each of you, and anyone who is in San Angelo (or wants to trek here) is invited to share in some sort of shindig that our good friend Dora is throwing for us on the afternoon of November 15th. Dora rocks.

We’re leaving town as soon as we can, heading for a great cruise of the Caribbean.  We’ll be zip-lining through the trees in Jamaica, swimming with turtles and sting rays in the Cayman Islands, and touring the ruins of Tulum near Cozumel.

If you don’t feel you can attend the shindig, just know that all of you are in our hearts.  Many of you had to tolerate our dating from afar stage, some people graciously helped Kat escape Lubbock and move to what is now our cozy home.  We have wonderful friends all over the States and you are welcome to share in our joy.  No gifts necessary, just come to raise a toast.

Love to all, Gary and Kat

Anathem – Read it

I still haven’t quite gotten through the last of the Baroque Cycle (I’m around page 2000), but I breezed through Anathem‘s 900+ pages in just a few days. Stephenson’s latest novel shows that he is capable of writing an ending, and he even dialed back the rampant exposition a bit. He added a few appendices to address that, but at least it didn’t interrupt the flow. The story of a non-religious “concent” (convent) that is filled with men and women who take themselves out of mainstream society for years to study science and philosophy…well, it’s a bit convoluted, isn’t it? Anyway, it ends up a good adventure involving all sorts of complicated cosmology and cosmogony and philosophy and even a little math and tiling problems. Very cool book. If you enjoyed Cryptonomicon or Snow Crash or any of Stephenson’s earlier novels, get it and read it. If you haven’t read Stephenson, understand that he’s long-winded and this book even includes a couple of extra languages. See below:

Words words words

GOP spends $150,000 for Palin’s wardrobe

Once again, we are shown how easily the McCain/Palin campaign can relate to the average American voter. Yep. Obama is such an elitist, with his one house and paying for his own clothing.

The Republican National Committee spent about $150,000 on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other “campaign accessories” in September for the McCain campaign after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined the ticket as his running mate.

More detail
You’d think this sort of thing would be illegal. Thanks to the campaign finance reform laws backed by Senator McCain over the years, it is illegal for the campaign to spend this sort of money on personal services for a candidate. Fortunately for the campaign, McCain’s bills never included a mention of the National Committee being prohibited from spending that money. Good for them.

They Grow Up So Fast

He’s nine?  How the heck did that happen?

First of all, I love this squirrel:
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That little critter is the only mammal at the Nature Center that tries to escape through the roof of its cage. We start humming the Mission Impossible theme music whenever we see him.

Alex’s love of all things military continues, so even though he asked for a birthday party with lots of animals, he still got this cake:
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He loved wearing the snake and was great with the tarantula:
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More photos in the gallery, as usual.

Kat coerced three other Nature Center folks to help with the party (a task which is usually relegated to just Kat), so the kids got to see over a dozen animals, and everyone was able to touch and hold them. A few animals were brought out that have never been brought to a party or event before – Kat rocks.

Alex has had a pretty good year, with his trips to several Eastern states, a trip to ride nearly every roller coaster at Fiesta Texas, Schlitterbahn, lots of toys, games, and just a lucky time for the boy. Fortunately, he’s also a great kid. Every time I have other children his age over for dinner, I’m reminded again how well Alex’s mother and I have done in instilling a modicum of manners and not instilling a distrust of vegetables and “weird” food.  He loves to try new things, and although I may want to strangle him some days, I’m very happy that he’s in my life.  Happy Birthday, boy.

OPSEC Much?

According to this ABC report, a Reserve linguist is blabbing about some NSA program that targeted Americans.  I sure hope that she is being covered by some sort of Congressional exemption, cuz otherwise she’s kind of violating one of those NDAs like the one I signed this morning (probably the twentieth or more identical form I’ve signed over the years).  Strange that there’s no specific statement that the “whistleblower” is protected that way, but I guess journalists don’t have the same focus as intel geeks.

VP Debate

It’s too bad there’s only one VP debate this year.  I figure a drinking game would be a great addition to any rematch.  Every time Biden quotes a McCain vote that contradicts McCain’s rhetoric, drink.  Every time Palin drops the trailing “g” on any “ing” word, drink.  Every time Palin says “maverick” – shot!  Any time either candidate fully answers the question posed without wandering into completely unrelated territory – everyone drinks!  Fortunately, there’s not much chance of that last one…

Has there been an actual debate, as we would know the event from high school or college debating teams, in the history of televised Presidential debates?  You know, where there are rules that the debaters can violate, such as “not answering the question posed?”  Without procedural rules and the voting from a group of disinterested people, the term “debate” becomes a bit silly.  Both sides can claim to win, and depending on how low we set the bar, we can all agree that both sides “won” a contest that has no score.  *sigh*