I think I want to take Sushu's last name instead of vice-versa.
I really hate the last name DiCarlo (which is shared by no-one in my family except my maternal grandmother, long story) and have been looking for a replacement. I also kind of want to change my first name to officially Jono, since that's what everyone calls me anyway. But I only want to go through name-change paperwork once, so I want to make sure I change to a name that I like being stuck with for the rest of my life.
Sushu's last name is 夏. It is pronounced Xia ("shia"), falling tone, and means Summer. If I take that as my name I could be officially "Jono X".
Jono X! I like the sound of that!
Slight drawback: Sushu's brother's name is John Xia, so there would be a lot of potential confusion there.
While we were camping in the Grand Canyon, I asked Sushu to marry me, and she said yes!
Neither of us is religious, so we're not going to do this in a church. We want something simple. It's going to be here in California for two reasons: First, because Sushu's family and friends are all here; and second, because the weather in the summer is much tamer around here than it is in Chicago, so we can do stuff outside without having anybody die of heatstroke.
Afternoon of Friday June 26th: city hall wedding, with just immediate nuke-you-lar families
Saturday June 27th: Everybody has afternoon picnic in the park, then dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant, then karaoke!
Do not buy us presents! We already have all the kitchen gadgets we could possibly use, and I know y'all need to conserve money. Instead of presents, we'd really like it if the people who come could contribute a service of some kind, like taking the pictures, or playing the music, or telling stories, or organizing games, or serving food, or whatever. (We already have two offers to bake the cake.) That way we'll save money too, and instead of random strangers-for-hire doing all this stuff at our wedding we'll have friends and family doing it. Win!
Let's get caught up on this blogging thing.
Here is a list of Blog Posts I've Been Meaning To Write For Like Ever. Maybe listing them out here will get me motivated to actually write some of them. Also, if you see one that you especially want to read, please leave a comment saying so, and I will be more likely to write it sooner.
- Marriage Plans (Done)
- Hairy-footed son-in-law
- Worst of 2008 (Let's not repeat these)
Adventures (with photos)
- The Muir Woods
- Boating and hiking in the Baylands
- Camping in the Big Sur
- Cosmonaut toilet
- The Difference Engine
- The Grand Canyon and the many ways it can kill you
- Why I don't believe in God (Requested by Stephen, like, 2 years ago.)
- What I do believe in, instead of God (or, Atheist Morality)
- Resident Evil five and geek hermeneutics
- Torture is always wrong, period.
- True Stories from the Campaign Trail
- The sad, continuing story of Prop 8
- Good bye and good riddance
- See, I CAN say something good about Bush
- Holding our guy accountable
- The financial crisis for beginners
- Godel, Escher, Bach
- The Trouble with Physics
- The Art of Wargames
- Devil in the White City
Personal Hacking Projects
- A toolbox for online game design
- A programming language for music
- An AJAX MMORPG
Ones that I've put off so long they're probably not worth writing anymore
- My favorite Chicago restaurants
- Don't visit Sweden in December
- Aikido summer camp, 2007
- Many, many more...
Comic strips vs. Comic books, FIGHT
The Watchmen movie got me thinking about this.
In the Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary book, Bill Watterson presented some of his favorite (and least favorite!) strips, with text commentary. It's a great peek into the mind of one of the all-time comics greats.
There's this one strip in there, a color Sunday strip, which parodies the drawing style of a Dark Age superhero comic, emphasis on the bone-crunching violence. At the end you see Calvin, looking up from the comic book, shell-shocked, going to watch TV, and his mother telling him "There's too much violence on TV, why don't you go read something?"
It's a good strip, it makes a good point. But below it was this comment from Bill:
"You can make your hero a psychopath, you can draw gut-splattering violence, and you can call it a 'graphic novel', but comic books are still incredibly stupid."
I read that in 1995. I worshipped Bill Watterson; anything he said was pretty much the Word of God to me. That thing he said about comic books stuck with me. I read comic strips, I read manga, but I wouldn't touch American superhero comics with a ten-foot pole. After all, they're all incredibly stupid; Bill Watterson says so. I didn't end the embargo until around 2005 when I tried reading really old Fantastic Four, and found that I really liked it.
That one sentence in the Calvin and Hobbes collection turned me off to an entire genre for ten years, one I might have enjoyed.
Look, people are constantly underestimating and dismissing the entire comics medium based on stereotypes of its worst examples. Lots of people didn't think newspaper comic strips could be art; they didn't think they were capable of anything beyond poorly-drawn talking-heads and gag-a-day strips. Bill Watterson spent ten years railing against these small-minded people and continuously proving them wrong.
So why did he turn around and make the exact same misjudgment when it came to comic books? Sure 90% of them are crap, but 90% of everything is crap. Why judge an entire genre by its worst examples? I don't understand it.
One Monday, I got a flat tire on my bike on the way to work. I cursed and walked the bike the rest of the way. I had too much stuff to do to fix that day, so I parked it in the office and walked home.
I walked to work for a week before I finally got around to changing the tire. Tire off, replace the inner tube, tire back on, pump up. I started riding home, and... the tire immediately went flat again. A brand-new inner tube! I walked the bike the rest of the way home, severely frustrated and agitated.
Of course I had checked the inside of the tire and the outside of the rim for pointy foreign objects before replacing the inner tube. I'm not dumb, I know you're supposed to do that. So what went wrong? I didn't want to replace the inner tube again just to have it fail again. Hmmm.
Finally I took out the second failed inner tube and tried pumping it up. I didn't even have to put it underwater to find the hole -- the air stream shooting out was very obvious. I checked the first failed inner tube. Yup. Hole in exactly the same place. The same thing killed both tubes!
I found the matching part on the tire and examined it very very closely. There was a tiny shard of glass embedded completely inside the rubber of the tire. Invisible from the outside, and didn't protrude far enough in to be noticed when I checked the inside. Lurking, invisibly. That's why the inner tube was fine when I put it on -- but as soon as I put weight on that part of the tire, it forced the glass shard inward to stab the inner tube.
It was like a puzzle from an adventure game. Or like debugging a physical object.
Long ago the people were dying at the end of the world.
But hope was not yet lost, for Nashira still heard the song of the stars.
And so it was that Nashira and her brother knights were locked in mortal combat with Zubenhakrabi, the Claw of the Scorpion.
On the starlight icy plains, Zubenhakrabi stood menacingly between the Knights and his captives, who he threatened with his huge misshapen claw. Nashira shot an arrow from her starlight bow right between his eyes, but it bounced off harmlessly. Vega warned that they must slay the demon before the baleful light of the evil Day Star crept above the horizon, or he would become too powerful to defeat. Nashira darted across the battlefield, loosing arrow after arrow, each glowing with the color of a different star. Zubenhakrabi's exoskeleton, pierced in many places, exploded. One of its shards pierced Tarazed, gravely wounding him. Garuda, his faithful eagle steed, carried him to safety. And so it was...
But hope was not yet lost, for Merope still heard the song of the stars.
And so it was that upon returning from the battlefield, Merope was confronted by her father and mother, who had discovered her shameful affair with Thabit, a commoner, which had brought shame upon the House of the Bull.
Thabit was to be put to death, but Merope pleaded for his life, and so the House of the Bull granted him a quest to prove his worth: Venture into the waste and slay the Queen of the demon Hive. He accepted this suicide mission. He asked Merope to lend him her Starlight Sword to protect him in the wastes, and she agreed.
Merope was imprisoned in the tower until her punishment could be decided by Taurus, the family patriarch. A stern and legalistic man was he, but one who was not without sympathy for Merope. And so it was...
But hope was not yet lost, for Vega still heard the song of the stars.
And so it was
that Vega spoke before the Senate, assembled to respond to the untimely demise of Regulus, the Knight Justicar. Regulus was found frozen to death: an unimaginable condition for the People, as if you or I should die from breathing too much air.
Vega spoke of foul play, demonic sorcery, and revenge, rousing the Senate's wrath. He begged to be allowed to lead a crusade straight into the heart of the Mistake. He asked to be made the new Knight Justicar, but this the Senate would not grant. Vega began preparations for the crusade at once, though this meant vacating his seat and allowing the Senate to become united under his arch-enemy, senator Antares, of the Redshift faction.
Senator Vega did not love his wife, Andromeda; their marriage was one of political convenience, for show only. Vega visited now his true love, a beautiful young man named Castor. Castor begged Vega not to go upon the morning, for he feared that he would surely die. Vega spoke of the duty of a knight, and of the doom that would befall the city should he fail, bringing a certain end to all love. They shared one last night of passion before he departed on his mission. And so it was...
But hope was not yet lost, for Tarazed still heard the song of the stars.
And so it was
that as Tarazed sped above the icy waste on the back of Garuda, he spied Thabit below crossing the snow on foot. Tarazed saw that Thabit carried a Starlight Sword, which commoners are forbidden to touch. He swooped down to intervene.
As Tarazed confronted Thabit, the demons of the Hive, which had been pursuing Thabit, surrounded them. Beset by foul and gibbering creatures on all sides, the already wounded and weakened Tarazed was struck again. With the last of his strength, he spoke words of power, summoning up the arctic winds and shaping them into a cyclone which blew the demon hordes away, screeching across the ice.
He did not know it, but by using his sorcery of the air in the tainted regions so close to the Mistake, Tarazed gave the demons an opening. The foul offspring of Tarazed's magic and the demonic influence became a Plague Wind, which entered into Thabit's unconscious body. Garuda carried the pair, both of them near death, back towards the safety of Southwatch. And so it was...
But all that happened long ago and now there are none who remember it.