Nice list on io9: 25 classic science fiction movies that everyone must watch.

I’ve seen them all but the first and last.  In general, this is a surprisingly great list.   Some aren’t my favorites, but as far as movies you have a watch, yep.  However,

I’d omit:

  • District 9
  • The Incredibles
  • Terminator 2

And add:

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Brainstorm
  • Contact

Maybe I’ll discuss this more later.  To provide, you know, reasoning.

Recently read this fascinating but sort of traumatic article on worldwide traffic problems.  Here’s a picture of Moscow at its worst:

Moscow traffic

I love the guy roughly in the middle (circled) changing lanes. Yeah, that'll help.

This is pretty much my nightmare.  I will drive an hour out of my way to avoid congestion.  My house is under 15 minutes from work and sometimes it still feels like I’m wasting too much time and effort commuting.  I can never ever accept any job that requires a serious (like, 30+ minute) commute.

So I was mowing my lawn, sweating profusely in the humid, 90-degree south that I for some reason decided to buy a house and mow a lawn in, when I realized I was surrounded by swarming, angry insects.

Two weeks previous, I had endured a moderately painful horsefly bite whilst performing the same chore and was therefore alerted to the possibility of having it happen again.  I assumed the insects at hand were indeed horseflies and I futilely attempted swatting them away.  Then I noticed there were lots of them and they had found my exposed calf flesh and were attacking.  With zeal.  Two got me on the legs at the same time and I probably either cursed in a very manly bear-like way or squealed like a sad kitten, not certain in the haze of combat, but I retreated into the safety of the house.

Underground wasp nest

This is where wasps emerge to sting me when provoked by the lawnmower.

But safe it was not!  I heard them buzzing around me still and I managed to swat one down with my hat.  Examining the corpse I realized I was not battling horseflies, but wasps!  Wait, was I getting stung instead of bitten?  Youch! Another right in the gut.  I got my shirt off and found another ambling around my chest, ostensibly patrolling for tender nexuses of nerves in which to inflict more damage.  I got this one off and found another in my hat before the furious swatting and cursing and stinging battle was ended.   Three casualties on the wasp side, three stings for me.  All throbbing and making me not happy.

What happened?  What had I done to deserve this attack?  After a spell of whining to the sympathetic K, I headed back to the scene of my ambush, coated with insect repellent and armed with a can of wasp killer.  I could find no hives or nests.  Were these just rogue yellowjackets looking for some thrills?  I finished mowing the lawn in fear and anger, keeping the wasp poison in one ready hand.

Eventually I noticed a small hole in the ground buzzing with more wasps.  I had been wondering about these.  I’d seen a few of them in the yard before.  They look like some innocuous hole in the yard. I’d gone right over it with the mower.  No wonder they were angry.  Although I don’t see why I should have been blamed instead of the actual mower.  I guess wasps know to ignore machines in favor of their insidious masters.

Anyway, into this hole I emptied most of a bottle of chemical wasp death.

Before this incident I had been stung by bees, wasps, or hornets I think twice ever.  Now I had three just in this one shot.  Thank you, nature!

Hey, look what I found in my basement!

Snake skin pieces, next to a padlock for scale

Snake skin pieces, next to a padlock for scale

Gosh, that’s right, it’s a snake skin! In my house! Which is just where I want snakes to be!

I haven’t seen its owner. I think Artie has. He’s been acting weird for days and sitting downstairs near where I found the skin as if waiting for its return. This is in the room where we keep the litter boxes. I wonder if he sauntered in there aiming to hit the box and AHHHH!!!!!1!

Seems unlikely that it’s still around. I have no idea what snakes that small would eat. If it’s bugs, the basement will keep him alive indefinitely, but it could also just leave the house for more balanced diet than the trickle of tiny centipedes that have been appearing inside lately. There’s a small (but large enough for a little snake) gap under the door it could have gone out as easily as it presumably came in.