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Burn Notice [12 Sep 2013|10:04pm]
A very nice finale.  I post only to brag that I'd called the final line over a month in advance (though not who said it).  The other couple of call-backs were a little bit glaringly obvious, but still nice fan service.
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Triple Entendre?? [19 Jul 2013|05:00pm]
I found this YouTube clip from wootstock to be really funny.  And then (when trying to explain to my boss why I'd been laughing) I realized that the humor in it actually relies on several  inter-related fandom references and I felt a little superior for recognizing them all.  Especially since I don't consider myself to be in that "fandom" to begin with.

If you know anything about Game of Thrones (preferably the literary side of things) you will almost certainly laugh.  And if you don't, I'd be happy to explain it to you without being smug. :-P

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Blindsided [02 Jul 2013|10:20pm]
So someone on Tor.com posted a quote from "Paladin of Souls"

"Your father calls you to his court. You need not pack. You go garbed in glory as you stand. He waits eagerly by his palace doors to welcome you, and has prepared a place at the high table, by his side, in the company of the great-souled, honored, and best-beloved."

And then I started reading the latest Anita Blake novel in which our hero visits the hospital bedside of (one of) her boyfriend's dying father.

...just when you think you're starting to feel normal again:

WHAM!

(and the sad thing is, I _really_ want to read the rest of the book but I'm not entirely sure how well I'm going to handle it.  Especially if there's more dying father and less flesh-eating zombie.)
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Adding insult to injury [22 May 2013|07:54pm]
In re: my last post; the cover story for this month's edition of Popular Mechanics is titled: "127 Things My Dad Taught Me."

Talk about your sucker-punch at the mailbox.  Really, you've got to laugh (bitterly) or else you'd scream.
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Goodbye [20 May 2013|11:57pm]
My dad died at home, early Friday morning.  He'd been getting better, somewhat, and then he started getting worse again and then he...stopped.  By the end he was completely non-responsive, but it was still a miracle month that let us say goodbye.  The first coma in April was almost like a dress rehersal.

I'm not really sure how I feel, right now.  I love my Dad, but mostly it just feels like he's gone somewhere else...not metaphysically, but geographically.  He managed one last trip to Spring Training in March.  It's like that, like he's just not in town at present.  And I'm pretty fine with that.  It mostly felt the same way in college when my Grandmother passed away.  But then there are those moments when something inside wells up and my heart just wrenches and I just don't know how I'm supposed to do this.  I'm not ready.  I haven't learned enough.  You know; we never actually got around to changing a tire together.  How am I supposed to learn now, if not from him?  So many things left undone, so many ways I feel like I let him down...even though everyone maintains how proud he was of me (and, I must grudgingly admit, my brother).

For the past week or two, I've found myself eulogizing in my head, which seemed so wrong when he wasn't even gone yet.  It looks like the funeral on Saturday will be short and sweet, but I finally figured out what I might have said, so I'll say it here now:

When my Dad worked in the yard, he worked in the yard 100% until everything was done (and usually paid for it the next day).  And when my Dad watched sports, he watched them 100% until all the sports were done (usually while paying for the day before).  And when he was having fun with his friends, he was having Fun with his Friends.  Full stop.

Dad lived in the moment, whatever the moment, better than anyone else I have ever known.  I can sometimes match that level of "nowness" when a book gets really good, but usually my mind is a hamster-wheel ricocheting between future and past.  I'm going to miss my Dad's calm present presence and I really hope I can someday learn to be as fully invested in the current moment as he could.
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Current events [12 Apr 2013|09:01pm]
So, brief reminder: just over 6 years ago, my Father was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.  The prognosis was not great, but medical science was improving.  He's been doing ok (with ups and downs) until just recently.  A year after a stem-cell transplant, his cancer came back with a vengeance.  The doctor believed that a mutant, more virulent strain had survived the nuke&pave of the bone marrow transplant and was spreading through his body unchecked.  He managed to break his collar bone while reaching for cereal and actually had a mild heart-attack in December induced by low red-blood cell count.

However, the next generation of chemo drugs was just about to come onto the market (I believe it'll be the 3rd generation released since he started...possibly the fourth).  He started on it and his cancer numbers went _right_ down.  Hard.  You want the M-protein count below 1.0.  He'd been at 9.  After 2 weeks, he was already down to 3.  Saved in the nick of time.

Except, then his body just started shutting down.  First there was a calcium spike that took control from his limbs and his speech.  The doctors didn't know why.  They treated it and after a week he bounced back to normal (normal these days still being pretty week).  Then a week ago Thursday he collapsed at home with an extremely low blood pressure.  His calcium dropped...though not as hard; again, for reasons unknown.  He became progressively non-responsive.  Then he stopped being able to suck from a straw.  Then the doctors finally noticed that he'd been having small seizures for days (way to be on the ball, people: we'd all wondered why he was so twitchy).  Still no answers, since his blood panels were mostly normal.  The final diagnosis we got was "failure to thrive."  Tuesday, we brought him home with hospice care to await the end.  It's been devastating.

But wait...

Being the stubborn cuss that he is, my father has strode up to the Door the Other Side, tapped on it, and is now sauntering vaguely back in the other direction. Four days ago he was incoherent and incontinent (note to self: people who can actually deal with the bodily needs of others are saints.  I'm not one of them). Now he's demanding popsicles, taking fluids by _himself_ and holding (short) lucid conversations with everyone. I honestly don't know _what_ to think. We'd all pretty much resigned ourselves to a quiet passing with no hope of reprieve. How much hope do we take back?

Oh, and because we needed a nice little cherry on top of things, Monday was the day my grandfather was served with conservatorship papers because no one could convince him _not_ to keep giving money to some guy in Spain who tell him he's won the Spanish lottery.  Extremely near-death experiences have a way of putting things like this in perspective, but it's still not a great time for my Mom to be estranged from her father.

P.S. For all of you waiting on tenterhooks from my last post: my eyes went back to normal in a week.  Still no clue what happened.  Yay, medicine!
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Don't it always seem to go... [04 Mar 2013|05:13pm]
So, woke up this morning, rolled into clothing and rolled out to the car...where I discovered that, contrary to my initial belief, I didn't have excess sleep in my eyes, I _just_couldn't_see_.  Seriously, it's like I was looking through binoculars and someone had yanked the focus knob about 80 degrees of true.  No longer able to distinguish the letters on the license plate in front of me.

Commute was fun.  Work in front of a computer: also really fun.

Went and had my eyes checked ASAP, as the brain immediately went to "it's probably a tumor!"  Long and short of it: it's not in my head.  I'm 1.25 to 1.5 near-sighted units more near-sighted than I was yesterday.

Good news: not a tumor. Not excess fluid in the eyeballs, not bleeding or damage from the retina, etc. etc. etc.  Still correctable with additional lenses, so worst case: I get a new pair of glasses (which is covered by insurance).

Bad news: It's probably corneal swelling or overstrain...except my corneas aren't actually swelling and it happened after 8 hours of shut-eye.  So the optometrist doesn't actually have a clue why it happened...just that it ought to go away in 1-2 days (unless it's something else).

I was given eye-drops, assured that I was still above the legal threshold for driving, and shown on my way with orders to check in with them tomorrow.

After several more hours of eyestrain at my blurry work-computer, I discovered that slipping my computer glasses on _over_ my normal glasses actually snaps everything back into focus (hello world!) with only minor complications.

People love to talk about how TV crime dramas has given the public an over-hyped sense of what modern criminology is capable of.  While-you-wait DNA?  Sure.  Cleaning up survelliance footage in real-time?  Why not!  But medical dramas do the same thing.  Maybe they can treat it, and maybe they can't and maybe the patient won't even survive, but at least medical practitioners on TV _always_ figure out what the cause is.  Maybe not soon (House), but they do get there.  A couple years ago, the doctor never managed to explain why I suddenly started getting asthma when I lay down at night.  And how the optometrist can't tell me why my eyes have given up on me.  It makes you think.

...Or, in more petualant terms:

Uncertainty SUCKS!
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Medical discovery [29 Jan 2013|10:07am]
Gotta love shifting medical paradigms.

Move over faecal transplants!  The stomach's main purpose may not be digestion, but ensuring that bad bacteria don't make it to the gut in the first place!  Older people have less stomach acid and more "bad" bacteria in their intestines.  Older people with dementia have practically nothing _but_ bad bacteria.  Imagine keeping sane by regulating your intestinal ecosystem! ('m summarizing a lot)  Very thought-provoking stuff and likely to enter convention medicine in our lifetimes.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/01/29/the-sieve-hypothesis-clever-study-suggests-an-alternate-explanation-for-the-function-of-the-human-stomach/
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Physics Fun [28 Jan 2013|11:09am]
I forget, sometimes, how much I enjoy doing science...not just reading about it.  Case in point:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/510286/how-to-build-a-supersonic-ping-pong-gun/

That's right: a ping-pong ball gun that fires the ball at 1.2 mach.  Very impressive.

So I got to thinking: could you do that demo in, say, a high school science classroom?  What sort of backstop would you need?  That's when I broke out the math.

KE = 1/2m * v^2

Mass is 2.5 grams, velocity is roughly 400 m/s

KE = 2000 Joules

That's a lot of joules, but it doesn't tell me much by itself as a "real world" number.  So I did another equation (and yes, I coverted all of the listed measurements to a single metric standard before converting back to "real world" terms):

2000 Joules = 1/2m * 60mph ^2

M = 12 pounds.

Basically: if you were driving down the road and gentle tossed a frozen turkey out the window, it would hit with the same kinetic energy as a super-sonic ping-pong ball (give or take).  Granted that the material properties of the ping-pong ball would likely case it to disintegrate rather than demolish, I _still_ don't think that'd be a very safe demo to perform in front of a classroom.  Maybe on the football field or in the gym.

And yes: I actually figured this out for fun.
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The Hobbit [15 Dec 2012|11:58pm]
[ mood | happy ]

This was the first third of a prequel...and I am totally fine with that.  It was gorgeous and fun and nostalgic and I'm deeply impressed by the way they attempt to weave it into the larger tapestry of history and foreshadowing.  I can see watching it again immediately before movie 2 (and probably before that as well) and then again (with movie two) just before movie three...and then having a two-day festival of The Hobbit (in three parts) and the Extended Lord of the Rings cut.

It's a lot more light-hearted than the original trilogy, which is not surprising and I was quite taken by the running fight within the goblin mountain.  Just a delightful action set-piece.

Spoiler about the ending:

Spoiler about the ending:Collapse )

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Avengers [05 May 2012|06:41pm]
Short review: That move had ALL THE AWESOME!!! 

Slightly longer review: We love Joss Whedon, but sometimes fear he's over-hyped based on older material...then he comes out with THE AWESOME.  The Hulk stole the show, Black Widow had character, Loki wouldn't stop grinning.  Best quotes: "He's adopted" and "I'm angry all the time."  These are not spoilers because the context was everything.

Shortest review: AWESOME!!!!!

...but they never used the word "assembled."

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17th Precinct [29 Dec 2011|06:33pm]
So there was going to be a new Ron Moore show this year where Magic took the place of Science but everything else was relatively normal modern day.  It was a police procedural with magical forensics, where technology ran on plant-energy ("power plants") and Medical Examiners were actually necromancers who could talk to the dead (not that the dead are apparently all that forthcoming.).

This show never happened.

But!  The unreleased rough-cut of the pilot has finally shown up on the Intarwebz and it is _great_!  Fresh, novel, well-relized & with some hints of a seaonal plot-arc thrown in to boot.  By the time it was over I really wished it had gotten off the ground.  Stockard Channing as a curmudgeonly old detective was worth the price of admission by itself.  When I heard about the show in production, it all sounded rather cheesy, but they pull it off very convincingly.

Who knows how long it'll still be up, but if you've got 40 minutes to kill, I'd definitely reccomend this as an entertaining "what might have been."

http://io9.com/5872010/watch-ron-moores-fantasy-cop-show-17th-precinct-and-see-what-we-missed-out-on
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Latest bug [05 Dec 2011|08:56am]
After the DoS attack, I've stopped getting anything from a syndicated feed.  This happening to anyone else?  My F-list just got a lot smaller. :-P
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Early Christmas Present [29 Nov 2011|11:40am]
I think it's probably worth mentioning that the creator of "The Middleman" has just written a Middleman/Doctor Who cross-over:

http://themiddleblog.livejournal.com/46586.html

That is all.
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Bad Things [28 Oct 2011|02:54pm]
Well, the penny has finally dropped.  After long illness, my wife was been let go from work.  Couple this with my Octegenarian grandfather getting thoracic surgery next Thursday and my father being scheduled shortly for a stem-cell transplant for his Multiple Myeloma, I'm pretty sure we've hit the karmic trifecta.  I can only hope the rest of the winter proceeds more quietly as I am Done.

In brighter news, if you do not watch 'The Big Bang Theory' consider starting.  We were actually turned onto it by my grandmother (and we're still wondering how much she actually 'gets'), but it is seriously funny stuff.  I can't remember the last 30-minute sitcom I actually followed, but I'm glad I'm watching this one.  It doesn't hurt that it's just gone into syndication either, so some times, I can watch 3-4 hours of it straight.  A good panacea for the world's troubles.

And finally, thank you to everyone who writes and posts interesting things on a regular basis.  I continually wish I could/did the same.  My friends list is always full of funny, thoughtful or fannish things to distract & entertain.
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Dreamwidth invites [26 May 2011|10:21am]
On the off chance someone interested in crossing over (or just setting up a backup) hasn't already done so, leave me a note.  I've just got 10 of them.  Comments will be screened.
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Castle: To Love and Die in L.A. [03 May 2011|03:13pm]
The police-work got rather thin and wobbly, relationship-wise, this was an excellent episode; showing that the writers really do believe they can beat the curse of Moonlighting.

I'm not talking about the increased ramp-up of UST and will-they/won't-they between Castle and Beckett...that's just par for the course (if at an elevated level).  I'm talking about Esposito and Laney.  Two secondary characters, in a romatic relationship, still handling the plot as normal.  They kissed, flirted and had absolutely no angst or cross-signals or drama of any other kind.  It was just a short scene, but if the writers can do that for those two consistently (which they have), I believe they can do it for the leads as well.  Consider Esposito/Laney a test-run for the real deal.
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[19 Apr 2011|03:57pm]

"Pain and loss define us as much as happiness or love. Whether it’s a world or a relationship…
Everything has its time and everything ends."

Sarah Jane Smith - Doctor Who: Series 2 - School Reunion

R.I.P. Elisabeth Sladen

There are worse eulogies.

The really sad thing: there's no one at my office who has the first clue who she was.
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Dreamwidth [07 Apr 2011|02:55pm]
I feel very out-of-it for not knowing the recent outages were DDoS attacks out of Russia.  I'm certainly glad they're quieting down.

Nonetheless, I've finally made the jump to Dreamwidth (same user name) as an emergency backup should LJ ever implode catastrophically.


Anyone else who's already done so, please let me know...I'd love to set thing up as smoothly and seamlessly as possible.  Thanks!

I'm still figuring out things like invite-codes, but if you'd like them, let me know that too...once I have any (or have found them) I'd be more than happy to pass one along.
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Synchronicity [30 Mar 2011|10:40am]

On March 8th, 1941, two bombs fell on the Cafe de Paris in London killing 80 people including jazz musician Ken 'Snakehips' Johnson.

I learned of this incident while reading "Soho Moon"  this weekend.  It's the sequel to "Midnight Riot" by Ben Aaronovitch (see previous rave).

Imagine my surprise when I run into the Cafe De Paris bombing a second time this morning while reading "The Attenbury Emeralds", the latest Peter Whimsey book by Jill Patton Walsh (so far, it's not bad.  It's not Sayers, but it's at least 'A' quality fanfic*).

It's not the first time I've run into a name or event in two unrelated books read sequentially, but it always strikes me as incredibly odd.



* The only truly jarring part, for me, was when, as an aside, Harriet protests that she shouldn't be compared to such mystery novelists as Sir Arthur Conan Dolye, Agatha Christie or...Dorothy Sayers.  Since Sayers is best known (mystery-wise) for Lord Peter, it all gets a bit recursive and distracting.


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