Thursday 13: 0709.06

Thirteen Things about MISSMELISS
13 Things that Begin With Q

  1. Q: One of the most delightful characters in science fiction. I refer here to the Q from Star Trek not from Bond, as played by John de Lancie. Pure mischief.
  2. Quadrille:

    “Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail.
    “There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
    See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
    They are waiting on the shingle – will you come and join the dance?
    Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance?
    Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you join the dance?

    — Lewis Carroll

  3. Quail: My mother had two pewter quail on the table or the window sill as long as I can remember. Now they’re mine. Quail and pheasant are the same bird, by the way.
  4. Quake: I lived in California long enough to become jaded by earthquakes. After you’ve been through a few they are no longer alarming, and you only wake up long enough to identify the reason the room is shaking. “Are we being attacked?” “No. It’s just an earthquake.” “Oh, okay.”
  5. Quartet: I’ve played in string quartets but I much prefer to listen to professionals. My favorites are the Guarneri quartet, and a group called Bond.
  6. Quartz: When I was five finding a lump of translucent white “quartz crystal” was really cool. The word brings back memories.
  7. Quay: Like “strand” it’s one of those beachy, shippy words that are just romantic to me.
  8. Questions: If you don’t ask questions, you can’t learn anything.
  9. Quiet: There are times when I desperately need, not silence, but quiet. Silence is the absence of sound, but quiet is just the muffling of it, so it’s softer and more peaceful.
  10. Quills: Whether it’s a stray sea gull feather worked into art, or an actual quill pen, I have a thing for quills. They’re just so magical.
  11. Quilts: I’m still learning how to quilt, but that doesn’t diminish my appreciation for the art one iota. I love the way they’re colorful, and I love the lore associated with them – how certain kinds were used to signal stops on the underground railroad, for example. Fiber arts are so much more than just “things.”
  12. Quiz: A quiz is somehow less daunting than a test. It’s such a feisty little word, too. Plus, major points in Scrabble.
  13. Quotations: I’m fine with using my own words, but sometimes borrowing someone else’s (as above) are a better way to make a point.

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Roman Holiday

Last weekend, I spent a happy couple of hours reading the descriptions of apartments in Paris. This evening, I relocated (virtually) to Rome, and spent some time surfing at, this great site for finding accommodations in Rome, as well as general information on life i n the city, and links to guided tours.

I’ve learned that when staying in Europe for any length of time, renting an apartment or house ends up being far less expensive than staying in a hotel, and also gives you room to spread out. You get to cook your own meals, hang out on a sofa in just a t-shirt, if you want to, and really experience living in a foreign city, instead of merely visiting one.

Most of the Rome apartments listed on are upscale, and steps away from one or more tourist attraction or points of interest. The fees listed include utilities and a formal cleaning service after you check out, but not daily cleaning – but that’s really the point. Fees are listed in Euros, but there are various sites where you can convert that to Dollars if you need to – I’ve always found that it’s easier not to convert. If I’m in Mexico I think in Pesos; in Europe, it’s easier just to think in Euros. It’s the conversion that makes you insane.

Aside from apartments, also offers information on hotels and Bed&Breakfasts.

My parents are planning a trip to Italy next spring. I’ve made it a point to tell them about this site, so they’ll know where to look for their Rome accommodation.

Morning Thunder

If you came here looking for this week’s Wordless Wednesday post, it’s here.

It’s a bit before six in the morning, and I should be sleeping. In fact, I was tired before one, but lingered online until Fuzzy came to bed around two, chatting with a friend. It’s been raining – a slow, gentle, soaking rain – pretty much constantly since about five yesterday afternoon, and since the temperature was in the mid seventies, I actually turned off the a/c, opened up the house, and let in the moist air and the sizzling sound of the rain falling into the pool, combined with the thicker, wetter sound of raindrops against leaves, cement, and wood.

We slept under fresh-from-the-dryer sheets until Zorro woke me up around four, asking to go out. It was still raining, and he doesn’t like to get his feet wet, but I knew if he had to pee badly enough, he’d deal with the wet. Apparently, this wasn’t a bladder emergency, because I tossed him gently outside, closed the door so he wouldn’t bolt right back in, and proceeded to watch him stare pointedly at the point where the sliding door meets the wall for five minutes, in that very focused chihuahua way of his.

I gave up, and let him back in, rubbed him down with a towel, and told him he was an impossible little dog, but I loved him anyway. I don’t know if he understands the words – dogs, like people, are capable of selective listening, and will respond to ‘treat’ and ‘walk’ in the same day they pretend not to understand the word ‘no.’

Walking back to the bedroom, I decided the house was stuffy, so I clicked the a/c back on. (Amazingly, our electric bill for August, the hottest month of 2007, so far, was almost $100 lower than usual. Because of this, I do not feel guilty about having the a/c set to my version of cool, instead of Fuzzy’s, though lately I’ve been really sensitive to cold. I wonder if that’s an unwritten side effect of alli.) I closed the bedroom window, took my own elimination break, and then crawled into bed.

At that point I realized there was actual thunder and lighting outside – of the sort that is not at all ominous, but rather like the weather is murmuring comforting thoughts. “Let your creativity shine,” the lightning says, in pale flickers, and the thunder adds, “and don’t worry so much if about what people like. Write what you like.” In my head, Michael “Worf” Dorn is the voice of the thunder.

I like to watch and listen to storms, and I was kind of awake at that point, and hungry, so I’ve been sitting up in bed since then, visiting Wordless Wednesday participants, and trying to use words and water to kill the hungry feeling, so I can snatch a couple more hours of sleep.

And on that note, I shall close the lid on the computer, snuggle up with Fuzzy, Zorro, and Miss Cleo, and see if there might not be time for another dream or two before I have to get up for real.

Web Hosting Unleashed: A Host of Hosts

If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, you will, at some point, consider changing – or choosing – a hosting company for your website or blog. If you’re like me, you begin this process by polling your friends.

But what if you aren’t blessed with geeky friends? Or what if you’re turn between two of their recommendations? What do you do then? The answer is simple. You go to, and use their newly re-tooled site to do some objective research.

Web Hosting Unleashed features a searchable database of web hosts – a host of Hosts – if you will. You can search by type (vps vs. reseller accounts, for example), or alphabetically, and even better than mere searching, you can also compare several hosts, to see how their features differ.

User opinion is a big part of this site, and I spent a good half-hour reading reviews of my own hosting company before I sat down to write this post, to see if what was posted meshed with my own experiences. By and large, it did, and I was happy to see that negative posts are represented, because it tells me Web Hosting Unleashed is about real information, and providing good service.

As I said, I’m not in the market to change web hosts – and I am blessed with a bunch of friends who are at least as geeky as me – but I’d recommend Web Hosting Unleashed to anyone seeking honest comparisons, and ease of use.

(WordlessWednesday is the next post down.)