Pulling The Puzzles Apart

I was just guessing at numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart
Questions of science, science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart...
Thu, Feb 11th, 2016 -- 09:07 am
Today's Specials:

It's been a long week, and it's only Thursday. And I had Monday off. But I did manage to win the weekly "best of Tuesday" award at work, which means I have custody of the trophy for the week, and it's nice to see it gleaming at me from the garden in my cubicle.

I am also coming down with something, potentially strep throat (given my history) but more likely just a chest cold; we'll see how that shakes out.

In the meantime, all the origami in my calendar lately is heart-themed: today was a Note Holding Heart.

The diagram for folding this one is kind of terrible – the final step, the really IMPORTANT part is folding up the little triangle in the middle to “lock” the heart’s curves – but it’s pretty fun. It doesn’t hold a “note” so much as a slip of paper about the size of a fortune cookie, but I like the idea of Fortune Hearts.

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Tue, Feb 9th, 2016 -- 02:10 pm
Today's Specials:

Oh my god today kicked my ass. I forgot we're in February, and February is HARD.

But I made time for origami! I made "Swan Love".

Well...some days are better than others.

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Mon, Feb 8th, 2016 -- 09:02 am
Today's Specials:

Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

I had no new entries for RFM this week, or at least none came up, so I'm reposting the standing entry. If you DID send me a blurb for this week's RFM, please let me know, because either this computer doesn't want me to have them or there's something wrong with the google form.

Ways to Give:

You all know about editrx, whose fundraiser I've been promoting for a few months; on top of her struggles to keep her indy bookstore afloat, she's now been the subject of a violent assault by her housemate (who is fortunately in jail). She's had to rekey her locks at home and at the bookstore, and she's dealing with mounting medical bills and trauma from the assault. She doesn't have a new fundraising site yet, but funds from her ongoing YouCaring fundraiser will reach her, as will income from the Starcat Books online etailer. She also has jewelry for sale on Etsy. (Obviously if you're shopping her etail or etsy there may be a delay in delivery.) She could really use the help these next few weeks.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

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Sat, Feb 6th, 2016 -- 12:06 pm
Today's Specials:

I don't think I mentioned this, between the madness of travel yesterday and the madness of using this tiny broken computer that can barely load websites, but I heard back from the job I was interviewing for in Austin. They decided to offer it to someone else, which is always a bit of an ego blow, but on the other hand by the time I was done with the second interview I knew I didn't want it -- and I didn't want to have to decide between Austin and Chicago.

So I'm actually really happy they didn't offer it to me, and I think my folks are happy too. They'd like to have me in Austin, but Mum says if I'm coming home to help them in their old age I should wait another five to ten years, so I think she gets it.

In other news, I wanted to get my host something special for the party she's throwing, and she expressed an interest in Baiju, which is a kind of Asian liquor made from grains -- in much the same way that Terry Pratchett's "scrapple" drink was made from apples.

So I went to Chicago's Chinatown, to a liquor store where I was told I could reliably acquire it, but of course a lot of the signage and labels are in Chinese. So I approached the cashier, who was this older Chinese dude who clearly either owns the store or runs it, and I said, "I'm looking for some Baiju. It's a gift for lunar new year."

His face LIT UP for some reason and he got super excited, and he said, "Oh, you don't want normal baiju. For toasting! You want violent baiju!"

And what else can you say when someone suggests violent liquor to you? YOU SAY YES. So I said "Yes, show me the violent baiju!"

So I bought some Red Star Guo Tou Jiu, which is fifty six percent alcohol by volume. For reference, most vodka is 40%.

I cannot wait to TASTE THE VIOLENCE.

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Sat, Feb 6th, 2016 -- 09:45 am
Today's Specials:

Last night, my host sat down with a pile of books in her hands and said “By the way, I do a little origami” and busted out like, A BUNCH OF GREAT ORIGAMI and some awesome books, and proceeded to show me the highlights so I could choose from among them.

I happen to have two decks of Captain America cards, and I had brought one with me because it’s always nice to have a deck of playing cards when you travel, and when I saw the “Playing Card Box” I knew…I had to make A CAPTAIN AMERICA CARD BOX.

I’m super duper pleased with how it came out. I’m going to make at least one more out of the deck I have with me. I have a collection of playing cards at home that I never quite know what to do with, so I might break into those as well when I get back.

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Fri, Feb 5th, 2016 -- 09:54 am
Today's Specials:

So I am traveling this week, but I brought my origami paper with me! (I brought the quirky origami paper that folds weird 'cause it's paper-backed foil.) Today I made a golden Penguin And Child.

I do love the way the foil looks in the final figure, even if the corners are a bit sloppy. THE GOLDEN PENGUIN -- it sounds like a spy novel.

Otherwise today I have mostly hung out with people and played Avengers Academy on my phone. Although I did also eat fried cheese curds. Fried cheese curds sit at the parallel apexes of "food that is bad for you" and "the best thing I've ever put in my mouth".

I wake up most morning at 4 to go running, and this morning I woke up at 4 per usual, not because my alarm went off but because a cat was standing on me. And for a split second I thought, oh, the cat wants to go running with me this morning! He's waiting for me to put on my running shoes!

But then I realized that was nonsense, and I went back to sleep. NO RUNNING TODAY, CAT.

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Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016 -- 08:15 am
Today's Specials:

Yesterday was what one might call a Really Hard Day so I didn’t get to do any origami (I mean, I had the time, but I was busy holding my mental health together by my fingertips) so today, when I am doing much better, I did two! A red swan and a white swan.

That white swan has some attitude, man.

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Mon, Feb 1st, 2016 -- 07:47 am
Today's Specials:

Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

You all know about editrx, whose fundraiser I've been promoting for a few months; on top of her struggles to keep her indy bookstore afloat, she's now been the subject of a violent assault by her housemate (who is fortunately in jail). She's had to rekey her locks at home and at the bookstore, and she's dealing with mounting medical bills and trauma from the assault. She doesn't have a new fundraising site yet, but funds from her ongoing YouCaring fundraiser will reach her, as will income from the Starcat Books online etailer. She also has jewelry for sale on Etsy. (Obviously if you're shopping her etail or etsy there may be a delay in delivery.) She could really use the help these next few weeks.

[tumblr.com profile] sadbhyl linked to Hero, a budding chef with an opportunity to study international cuisine and the hospitality industry behind the scenes at Disney World; she's crowdsourcing the funds for the trip in March. This looks like a fascinating program and she is offering perks for certain donation levels; you can read more and support her studies here.

[personal profile] apollymi and [personal profile] katsuko from last week raised enough money to get moved, but are still facing February rent with very little funds. They have a new fundraiser up here for those who can help out.

Zhera linked to the Ali Forney Center in NYC, which helps homeless LGBT kids; the Center is trying to buy the building of Atlah Church in Harlem, a homophobic organization which is being forced to auction the church due to over a million dollars in unpaid bills. You can read more and give to the campaign here, and there's a rebloggable post here.

[tumblr.com profile] archangelsanonymous's cat, Rose, is very sick and she's getting her treatment on a limited budget; she's raising money to cover vet bills for Rose. You can read more and give to help Rose here.

Help For Free:

jennielf is moving from Florida to Colorado Springs around the end of February, relocating for a job and bringing along two small children. She's looking for tips for the area, good places for gaming/fannish stuff, neighborhood and childcare recommendations, that kind of thing. You can contact her at jennielf2016 at gmail.com.

[tumblr.com profile] amara1783 linked to an activism site for Portland sex workers fighting HB4082, which is altering an existing law to make it much more harmful to sex workers. You can read more and engage in activism to fight the bill here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to Netivot, a Boston-based group for LGBTQ Jews engaged with traditional Judaism. They've just launched Netivot Network to connect people and are looking for interested people to join: "Netivot Network connects you to other Netivot members to foster one-on-one connections, such as a chavruta, someone to talk to about queer/Jewish things, or just a new friend." You can read more about Netivot and its associated events here and sign up for the Network here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

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Sat, Jan 30th, 2016 -- 02:11 pm
Today's Specials:

 I have cooked so many things. So many! All the things. 

Except yogurt, because I forgot how effing long yogurt takes to cook, so it's going to be simmering in the Instant Pot for another, like, four hours. Hot damn I hope the starter I used was still alive, otherwise I'm gonna have spent eight hours waiting for a bowl of hot milk. 

On the plus I now have probably about three weeks' worth of food in the freezer. Casserole party at Sam's house! 

Today's origami is the Blue Whale, a fold so nice I did it twice. Instructions are here (click on the images to embiggen). 

*whale noises* three-dimensional origami is hard to photograph well. Especially when the paper is shiny. 

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Fri, Jan 29th, 2016 -- 07:33 am
Today's Specials:

Oh man you guys tomorrow my groceries arrive and I'm gonna cook ALL THE THINGS. I have all this food that I can't quite cook because I'm missing one or two ingredients, and they all will be delivered by peapod tomorrow.


  • Greek Yogurt -- testing out the yogurt function of the Instant Pot
  • Whey powder -- so you have to strain all this whey out of the yogurt...it's gotta be good for something...
  • Roasted Garlic -- I'm roasting ALL THE GARLIC to stash in my freezer
  • Mustard Quiche -- testing a new recipe, using up some odds and ends of mustard jars
  • Macaroni and Cheese -- testing a new recipe with cheese powder I had in my cupboard
  • Beef Stroganoff -- using up a can of cream of mushroom soup
  • Date-Almond Balls -- this is just something I make every week for snacking upon
  • Enchiladas -- I HAD A CRAVING
  • Greek Yogurt Egg Bread -- guess what I need before making this? Yeah, the yogurt.
  • Meatballs -- I love me a meatball sandwich, and the pressure cooker makes them awesome
It looks kind of like more than it is -- basically I'm just doing my usual weekly-meal prep plus cooking two pasta dishes and a casserole. Plus I have like no food in my freezer, so this is food for a month. My vacuum-sealer and tupperware are gonna get a workout.

Meanwhile, I made a flower that is definitely not a spaceship.

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Thu, Jan 28th, 2016 -- 11:38 am
Today's Specials:

This fox is putting his best foot forward, clearly.

I have such nostalgia for this guy, who I remember making last time I did a year of origami.

I was in meetings all day yesterday and then got home exhausted, so I didn't get to do any. But I did learn a lot about certain aspects of my company. Perhaps not entirely relevant aspects, but...aspects.

Saturday cannot come soon enough. It's the weekend, it'll be post-payday, and I have a food delivery coming. I am going to cook ALL THE THINGS.

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Tue, Jan 26th, 2016 -- 11:47 am
Today's Specials:

Why do I even make or eat soup? I swear to God. It's so disagreeable just trying to get it into your mouth.

This post brought to you by the stain on my shirt collar from the soup I had for lunch.

Today’s origami calendar was a fold suggested by an 11-year-old, so I chose to do a fold suggested by one of my LJ readers, tinyplasticmeat, instead.

You can view the video and make your own here -- it’s a lot easier and honestly, I think prettier, than the other heart box I did a few days ago.

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Mon, Jan 25th, 2016 -- 12:36 pm
Today's Specials:

Today I bought stocks (the money finally went through; I now proudly own five shares of five different companies) and folded a bow.

Today’s calendar is still trying to teach me base folds, so I went with a recommendation from Tumblr. There's a bit more cutting involved than usual, but also some really unusual folds you don't see very often, so it was a nice challenge. And I don’t mind most of the seam cuts they make, though trimming the hanging ends into vees seems like VANITY. :D

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Mon, Jan 25th, 2016 -- 08:55 am
Today's Specials:

Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] dapperanachronism's brother's furnace died this week in the middle of the coldest part of winter, and they've had to leave their home and room with family; they don't qualify for public assistance because they are in debt repayment, and are raising funds to purchase and install a new furnace. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[personal profile] apollymi and [personal profile] katsuko have been evicted from their home. They have a new place to live, but are still very short on funds to complete the move, which is scheduled for Wednesday. You can read more and help their fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] amara1783 linked to a fundraiser for Sophia, a trans woman who is raising money for Facial Feminization surgery in order to diminish the discrimination she faces in her field. You can read more and support her fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] yohjideranged's cat, Hermen, has been diagnosed with a bladder stone, and due to recent unemployment issues they don't have the funds for treatment. You can read more and support the fundraiser here (plus check out cute pics of a kitty).

editrx has been struggling a lot lately, and is facing a lot of bills, a lien on her house, and overdue rent on her independent bookstore. She's currently raising funds to pay back rent to keep from being evicted; you can read more here and help out here; you can also shop online at Starcat Books. She also has jewelry for sale on Etsy.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

Ahughes is raising money to help a friend escape an abusive relationship and obtain a lawyer to get at least partial custody of their two children. As of now they don't have an official fundraising page, but all purchases from their Etsy shop will go to help the fundraiser. The Etsy shop's got some pretty cool note cards in it!

[tumblr.com profile] wandererriha is between jobs and is trying to earn a little money to cover bills, selling art/fanart and simple knitting and sewing commissions. You can find art and commission information at her DevArt and sewing and knitting information at her Etsy.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

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Sun, Jan 24th, 2016 -- 12:04 pm
Today's Specials:

I ran a 5K this morning!

Not like, an official 5K. I just ran 5K on the treadmill. I am still counting it, however. I've been charting my progress and given that I failed to run for like, half of December and a good portion of January, I think the fact I managed to shave two minutes off my time (which is still a somewhat depressing 42 minutes) is not too shabby.

About a year ago I came across an awesome post where someone had done an origami Discworld, and I've kind of had it in the back of my mind to try folding one myself ever since.

I did a lot of mods, however. I know I've already posted a bunch of photos of this in progress but I wanted to do one full post of all the designs and photos in one place, so people can see how it went.

For the turtle, it’s a beautiful turtle but I didn’t care for the video (it was very hard to follow) so instead I used the Origami Club’s turtle here



I did use the recommended elephant figure with video by Leyla Torres; I think it’s one of the more adorable elephant figures out there. It’s not easy to fold but I had a really good time folding it anyway. 


The elephants are also remarkably stable, which is good because cramming them onto A’Tuin took some doing. No wonder the fifth one fell off. 


The original post recommends a modified version of the Red Blood Cell figure for the Discworld; they were playing with coloring and paper so I get why they’d choose it. I love that figure, it’s an interesting combination of complexity and simplicity and it’s really satisfying to fold. But for this purpose I found it a little too uniform; I wanted more texture for the surface of the Disc. 

So I went back to Origami Club and dug up the Ferris Wheel, which had the additional advantage of a blue rim for the oceans with a white center for the landmass, and central tips that could be folded up to create the mountain ranges at the Disc’s hub. 


With that many layers it gets a little tough to photograph convincingly, but I’m very pleased with how it came out and I had fun improvising around the original. I think Pterry would be pleased. :)

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Sat, Jan 23rd, 2016 -- 12:20 pm
Today's Specials:

Today is a day of cooking and emptying out my to-do list. I'm trying to keep to a grocery budget, which means no new groceries until next month, and THAT means I'm improvising with what I have. I have a lot of food but it's a lot of random food, so it's like, hey, let's make brownies using no eggs or melted chocolate! It'll be fun!

Actually those came out really good. But anyway, today I cooked the last of the bacon (it's Trader Joe's "bacon scraps" so you can't cook it in strips but it makes great bacon bits) and made Lipton boxed chicken soup, and now I'm improvising a bread pudding with my ONE LAST EGG, the last of the thawed milk (there's more in the freezer), the last of the agave syrup, and some very, very stale gingerbread chunks from Christkindlmarket. I'm hoping that pressure-cooking the pudding will force the liquid more fully into the gingerbread, because I'm not sure how well it's all going to absorb, but we'll see.

Today is part two of the Discworld Origami Project. ELEPHANTS ON PARADE!

The elephants are from a Leyla Torres origami video here. I folded the gold first, then re-played the video a single time and folded the other three along with it. Something went desperately wrong with the purple one momentarily, but I like to think the remnants of it are a scar from some celestial battle when the Disc was yet to be formed. Maybe he’s the one who kicked the fifth elephant off.

Folding the elephants with foil-backed paper was interesting; it holds a crease in a way that ordinary paper doesn’t, but it also doesn’t respond to creasing in quite the same way -- it’s easy to re-fold next to a crease, rather than on it, because the foil is malleable. It’s almost more like folding wet paper.

And re-folding is very difficult indeed. On the other hand, for a figure like this with a lot of fiddly tiny folds, the foil holds its shape excellently and doesn’t accidentally unfold itself.

I know like half the country is trapped indoors this weekend due to the blizzard, so on your behalf I will be going out tomorrow to the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, which are having free days. HURRAH FOR MUSEUMS. It's my consolation prize for Chicago NOT getting a storm. If it's going to be this cold I think we ought to at least get a storm to make up for it.

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Fri, Jan 22nd, 2016 -- 06:03 pm
Today's Specials:

I stayed home from work today because I wasn't feeling well, and then proceeded to probably get more done this morning than I have all week. Admittedly most of what I got done was interspersed with napping.

Today’s origami was a turtle from Origami Club, which contained only a slight cheat (you have to make a cut to make the front legs work properly).

This weekend I’m working on building an Origami Discworld, partially from an old tumblr post that’s circulating -- I’ll link that post when mine is complete, though I’m deviating from it in a couple of ways.

Most notably, I chose to do this turtle instead of the one linked, not because the one linked seemed especially complex but because the video demo was....not great, making it difficult to follow even though the figure itself wasn’t that hard. The person doing the demo used a piece of plain white paper which is not great for visibility purposes, kept rotating the figure which made it hard to work out which part should go “up”, and at least a few times let the paper drift partially out of frame while demonstrating a fold.

I mean, the last video I linked was slow, but I gained a new appreciation for it after today. I’d rather have slow than illegible.

Anyhow, tomorrow I make some elephants, and Sunday I’ll do the Disc itself. \o/

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Thu, Jan 21st, 2016 -- 09:27 am
Today's Specials:

Today's origami figure is meant to be a “heart box”, but it’s a little more difficult to execute than the photos on the instructions site make it seem. Possibly part of it is that I’m using thick calendar paper when really this is the kind of thing tant paper was made for.

This particular origami blog makes me a little crazy sometimes because I hate video instructions for origami – either diagram it or fold faster, I don’t need to hear you talk about the fold first – but I can’t deny the patterns come out pretty nice.

I've been working on my financial literacy lately, which includes hitting up wealthier friends for wealth management tips. So today I signed up for Robin Hood, which is a free stock-investment website. I don't really have much to invest at this point, so I'm feeling my way very cautiously, but it is after all the information age and I might as well start figuring this shit out now. We'll see if fifty dollars can get me very far or if I'll just have a fifty dollar lesson in how not to play the stock market. :D

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Wed, Jan 20th, 2016 -- 07:46 am
Today's Specials:

Today’s calendar origami continues to try and teach me folds I already know, so I went to origami club and procured a cat on a mat.

Mind the ears, they’re tricky.

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Tue, Jan 19th, 2016 -- 01:03 pm
Today's Specials:

See? Regularly scheduled origami!

Today's diagram was the Simple Penguin, but look at that face.

He's not simple. He's nefarious.

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Sam's Journal
Sam's Original Work
Other People Can Smell You: A Book About College
A Small Town Story
Charitable Getting:
A Novel Deduction
The Dead Isle:
A Steampunk Adventure
Dr. King's Lucky Book:
An Almanac Gone Mad
A Story Of Magic
Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.
-- Daniel Burnham

The Egotists' Club is one of the most genial places in London. It is a place to which you may go when you want to tell that odd dream you had last night, or to announce what a good dentist you have discovered. You must not mention golf or fish, however...as Lord Peter Wimsey said when the matter was mooted the other day in the smoking-room, those are things you can talk about anywhere.
-- Dorothy Sayers, The Man With The Copper Fingers

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all, I know that just to be alive is a grand thing."
-- Agatha Christie

The line between actually very serious and actually very funny is actually very thin.
-- Anon

All over Hollywood, they are continually advising me 'Oh, you mustn't say that. That will get you in a lot of trouble' when I remark that some picture or writer or director or producer is no good. I don't get it. If he isn't any good, why can't you say so? If more people would mention it, pretty soon it might start having some effect.
-- Humphrey Bogart

"At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid."
-— Friedrich Nietzsche

Abby: Is that a guess, or do you actually know where I'm going with this?
Gibbs: What do you think?
Abby: Well, I don't know. That's why I ask you.
Gibbs: Why don't you just tell me?
Abby: So, you don't know!
Gibbs: I want to make sure you know.
Abby: Hmm.
Gibbs: Hmm.
Abby: We should play poker sometime.
Gibbs: Yeah we should!
-- NCIS 1.14, "The Good Samaritan"

I am as idle as idle can be: one of the causes you have hit on, viz irresolution, the other being made fully aware that my noddle is not capacious enough to retain or comprehend Mathematics. Beetle hunting & such things I grieve to say is my proper sphere.
-- Charles Darwin

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.
-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound Of The Baskervilles

Can I read books? Yes. Have I visited every star in the universe? No.
-- Stephen Fry

'I'm sure we can pull together, sir.'
Lord Vetinari raised his eyebrows. 'Oh, I do hope not, I really do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions.'
-- Terry Pratchett, The Truth

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
-- HG Wells

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. You are like a pebble thrown into water; you become wet on the surface, but are never part of the water.
-- James Michener

It always seemed to me that those who claim to know that others are going to hell must already be very familiar with the way to get there.
--Mark Landers

I come in peace, I depart in gratitude.
-- Garrison Keillor

Information is the currency of democracy.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Up to the age of 40, I don't think there was a science-fiction book I hadn't read. I love them because they're a marvelous way — and a safe way, I might add — of saying nasty things about our own society.
-- Sydney Newman

You must believe in it and play it for real. If you don't do that how can you expect anyone else to?
-- Verity Lambert

You need more than a key to get into my ship. You need knowledge.
-- The Doctor

Maintaining integrity as a private detective is difficult; to preserve it for the hundred thousand words of a book would be impossible for me, as it has been for so many others. Nothing corrupts a man so deeply as writing a book; the myriad temptations are overpowering.
-- Rex Stout, The Mother Hunt

Chicago is not the most corrupt American city. It's the most theatrically corrupt.
-- Studs Terkel

I feel good when I am doing it and better than when I am not.
-- John Steinbeck, in response to the question "Why do you write?"

I dunno, this is a really hard job, I gotta come up with five opinions a week.
-- Cheers