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|Wednesday, December 18th, 2013|
Today was a lot calmer! I even managed to start it with a little lie-in (7:50! Woo hoo!), which meant I woke up just at the right time to see the pretty sunrise:
We had our delayed riding lessons first thing. I think we're going to stick with this instructor. She's twice as expensive as the local competition, but then she's only here every two to tree weeks and she seems to be good.
After lunch, we took the pooch for a tremendously exciting walk to a New Place, where she bounded lots and flushed several pheasants. It was, however, a rather steep and muddy walk, so I'm not sure we'll be doing it often at this time of year.
Here's to a continuation of no animal, medical or structural emergencies....This entry was originally posted at http://flick.dreamwidth.org/922150.html, where it has comment(s). Add comments here or there, if you feel like it.
|When it ain't working, it ain't working.
Which disguises the fact that I reached 7k yesterday and hated it. My main problem has been my failure to be able to "see" my bookshelf in my head. I used to have effortless recall but I think it was related to teaching and I don't do much now. But then I was at Big Green Books yesterday and Tim recommended Who Next...? A Guide to Children's Authors
and it was perfect
in that all it does is name an author and then list six more you might like. It's sort of a book title thesaurus and I recommend it if you have kids to buy for. It tells you almost nothing about the books other than genre* but that's fine because I have read 90% of them, I just couldn't recall the names.
So suddenly, writing that was effortful, is just flowing along. I couldn't be happier. Especially as today was a meeting day and I hadn't expected to write at all.
*Neil Gaiman crops up all over the place which I think is testimony to the diversity of his outputs/.
|This I believe
If your manuscript is in excess of 1000 pages, seriously, seriously consider printing on both sides of the page.
Also posted at Dreamwidth
, where there are
comment(s); comment here or there
|A lot of people would talk about the rats and the existential horror of prevailing
A different interpretation of what happened on Easter Island,
one that includes this interesting bit:
One niggling question: If everybody was eating enough, why did the population decline? Probably, the professors say, from sexually transmitted diseases after Europeans came visiting.
You know what I think? I think the slave raids of the 1860s, in which half the population of the island was carried off, didn't help. Also, and I am just spit-balling here, neither did the introduction of TB and smallpox. But STDs plays into the whole sexy sexy promiscuous islanders trope.
Also a bit puzzled by this:
When Captain James Cook visited there in 1774, his crew counted roughly 700 islanders
The population was about 3000 in the 1860s, which either means the place managed to sustain a 2% population growth for 90 years, Cook missed counting some islanders or some third option.
Also posted at Dreamwidth
, where there are
comment(s); comment here or there
|In defense of Norman Rockwell
From a discussion of the American War! on! Christmas!:
But what she was really doing in the first instance, though, was standing up for America's aggrieved white Christians, a cohort that's watched in frustration as ethnic populations have grown in size and political power, causing Norman Rockwell's America to fade before their eyes.
Now it is true Rockwell's American includes scenes like this:
But not only is that a reference to FDR's Four Freedom's speech, Rockwell's America also included scenes like this:
Also posted at Dreamwidth
, where there are
comment(s); comment here or there
[ daireen ]
I'm curious what the story of Bang & Gil is. She seems protective and friendly - was she hired by Klaus specifically to protect Gil (implied by the Paris flashbacks), or was she already working for Klaus and they just kinda became sort of not quite maybe friends?
And the most important question..
|[cancer] The adventures of Self-Directed Patient Man
Yesterday was very much the far side of nuts.
Let me explain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
While I was in therapy yesterday morning, one of my National Institutes of Health contacts called, a research nurse who’s handling study recruitment. They left me a voicemail saying the Principal Investigator on one of the studies I am interested in would accept a CT scan from from my treating hospital within the last 30 days in lieu of trying to schedule a CT at the NIH facility on my arrival. (Grudgingly so, I gather.)
I knew I had an active CT scan order in the system at my treating hospital. The original intention of this order was for me to have my two-month screen in January — we’d been proactive about getting into the system. So after thinking this through, I called my treating hospital. I found out that my oncologist is on vacation next week. If I wanted the scan done and released to me in order to get a copy to send to NIH, it had to be done right away. Otherwise it would get stuck in my oncologist’s queue during their absence, and be of no use to me in my current timeframe. I wound up talking to Radiology scheduling, who said they could take me immediately if I could get there right away. (As it happened, in the course of this conversation I was driving north on I-5 very near the facility. Yes, I was using a headset.)
I cancelled my already-rescheduled lunch date with Jersey Girl in Portland
and popped by to have the CT scan on a right-then basis. Afterwards, I went upstairs to Oncology and politely asked about having a stat read request put on the scan. I was also trying to figure out how to cue my oncologist to release the scan to me as soon as possible, as they do not have clinic hours on Tuesday. The team at the Oncology unit told me to call back into the triage line an hour or two after lunch and see about getting a message to my doctor.
I then spoke to the NIH nurse, telling them I'd gotten the CT done on-demand and was hoping for the results to be released that same day so I could get a disc from my treating hospital’s Imaging Library and express it to them. A rather hilarious conversation ensued.
NIH Nurse: "My jaw is on my desk. You are the most self-directed patient I've ever dealt with."
Me: :: laughing :: "That's a polite medical term for 'pain in the ass'."
NIH Nurse: “Nooo… That's a compliment."
They also asked me if I could get a brain MRI to check for mets that might have crossed the blood-brain barrier. This is quite rare in my type of cancer, but it is possible. I told them I was dubious about getting that ordered here in Portland, and we agreed they’d schedule the brain MRI at NIH, probably for the afternoon of 12/30.
I got the appropriate NIH shipping address for delivery of the Imaging Library disc, then focused on contacting the clinic about getting my oncologist engaged to review the new CT scan and release it to me ASAP.
As it happens, my oncologist had already seen and released the scan promptly, even before I had reached out about having them read it. They emailed me and asked me why I'd had the scan early, was it for the NIH studies? I replied that it was, and mentioned the brain MRI request. Meanwhile, the Imaging Library was cooperative about releasing a disc to me immediately. They only needed a 45-minute lead time. So Lisa Costello
took me back over to the hospital complex to score the disc.
About then, my oncologist went ahead and ordered the brain MRI. (All of this was happening more or less in realtime at this point, while Lisa drove us back to to the hospital to go up the hill to the Imaging Library.) I got on the phone once more with the schedulers, who actually found me an opening this coming night. It’s awfully hard to get an MRI on demand, as there’s a long waiting list for access. I have a 9:45 pm brain MRI up the hill in the main hospital, which should take about 45 minutes. There is a stat read request on that order as well.
My oncologist has agreed to watch their queue Thursday morning, and release the MRI results to me ASAP. I will then make the request to the Imaging Library and get it back out to my contact at NIH that same day for Friday delivery, if my luck holds.
This should improve the intake process at NIH as they will have everything they need to proceed, or to scrub me from the study if they don't like something in the imaging files.
By the time I got home again yesterday evening, I was so exhausted I physically hurt. I was also having at attack of the chills, which may have been exhaustion, a reaction to the CT dye, a system issue stemming from my advancing cancer, or all of the above.
said, I was blasting through the walls with my ray gun. Not sure I've ever dealt with medicine in realtime on a non-emergency basis.
I want to note, with respect to my recent comments about constant crisis and never being able to hold a schedule, that yesterday was a perfect example. I’ve now had to reschedule Jersey Girl twice due to unexpected medical requirements. I spent most of yesterday on the phone, running around town, or actually in a procedure room, on a day that had no medical activity on my calendar when I woke up other than my therapy appointment. I’d actually thought to have an easy day.
This is how my life works lately.
As for the substance of yesterday, while I feel pretty darned accomplished, I also recognize that all of these victories are fundamentally futile. The CT results were frankly quite depressing. We’re fighting rearguard actions in a war the outcome of which was confirmed last spring. This does not stop me from grabbing every chance I can, wringing what I may from each passing day. But last night when I was in bed shivering under extra blankets and feeling logy and strange, I kept wondering if all this was worth it.
So far the answer is still yes.
|[cancer] Yesterday’s CT scan results
Here’s the radiologist’s summary:
Interval enlargement of nearly all of the pulmonary and hepaJc metastases.
That’s doctor speak for “some of these tumors have almost doubled in size in the last six weeks, and a few of them have grown so much they’re fusing together.”
Nothing whatsoever surprising about this, but it is discouraging as hell.
|so much better than the first one
I just came back from The Desolation of Smaug – well, about an hour ago as I type this – and I just have to say here that I thought it was epic. I thought the first one was pleasant enough, but I enjoyed this one throughout, not the least of which for those little moments of wonder that got to play out briefly, here and there – and at the end, in broad swipes of amazement.
You see, they desperately, desperately needed to sell Smaug in a way that Smaug has never been sold to me, even in the novel. Smaug needed to be convincing, and terrifying, and he was,, and it was beautiful.
Also, I found Tauriel to be a great addition and am thinking about my cosplay options; haters may step off right now. She’s complicated and interesting and yeah, frankly, representation matters, and I’m glad we didn’t have to go through seven hours of fantasy film without one woman.
There’s all sorts of added stuff, not just Tauriel. Mostly – not entirely, but mostly – I found these to be positives. We finally get some motivation for all the combatants in the War of the Five Armies; the dwarves have motivations of people, rather than caricatures; all these character additions are making that whole fight make a lot more sense from a motivation standpoint.
As for these purists out there who whine, “It’s not like the book!” in one variation or another? All I can say is no shit, purists. For one thing, I am going to remind you: Bilbo is an unreliable narrator in canon. He changed his own retelling. Like between the first and second editions of the novel, The Hobbit, where he went from “finding the ring lying about” to “that whole thing with Gollum.”
Kind of important, isn’t that? Wouldn’t really leave that out, would you? That’s the definition of an unreliable narrator. So, knowing that, how much else did he not bother to mention? It is reasonable to guess quite a bit.
There and Back Again is Bilbo telling his version for his people that makes him the total hero of everything. Also, it’s kind of the version for kids. That’s going to leave a lot of bits out. Adding other bits back in – particularly from the appendices – tells more of the story, not less, and doesn’t “get it wrong;” it tells another person’s version of it.
Which gets to my real point:
Tolkein explicitly and specifically wanted this to be a broad, wide-reaching English-language mythos, like the ones the Germanic peoples have. A defining element of myth is that it gets told and retold and changed and reinterpreted and fit to what people need and want when it’s being retold. That’s the whole point of a mythos. Going on about “changing it is wrong!!” is missing the entire point of Mr. Tolkien’s actual stated endeavour.
That’s not an argument for liking this retelling, if you don’t like it. There’s plenty not to like, depending upon your tastes. Yes, the film’s pacing is a little weird (but no less weird than the book), yes, some parallels are a bit too heavy-handed. That’s all fine.
But that it’s added to – and in some cases changed from – the book; that’s not “disrespecting the material.” Not in this case. In this case, it’s the exact opposite. It’s proof of Mr. Tolkien achieving his goal. It’s one of those cases where reinterpretation isn’t just okay; it’s a tribute.
Anna has a long review post, here
Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby
Also posted to ソ-ラ-バ-ド-のおん; comments at Dreamwidth. Current Mood: pleased
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- Tue, 12:21: RT @gcaweir: Good news for Microsoft with another manufacturer signing up to launch Windows Phones http://t.co/U2FKpmyEFw via @neowinfeed
- Tue, 13:03: RT @CITEworld: 2013: The year millions of devices started waking up @sbisson http://t.co/Qg0tQBYtEd
- Tue, 13:04: 2013: The year the things woke up. I look at the Internet of Things and the ubiquitous computing future: http://t.co/9e3KhZOzSR
- Tue, 13:07: Made a Blurb book of some of my bird photographs for a family Christmas gift. Here's the Flickr set I used: http://t.co/L0E7EnR3hl
- Tue, 13:17: Trying to decide what to do before CES. Grand Canyon? Zion? Antelope Canyon? Arrive LAS the 1st, need to be in Vegas the 4th. Suggestions?
- Tue, 14:23: Shintastic. Still loving Simple Song.
- Tue, 14:42: RT @ExploreSpaceKSC: Today marks 110 years of powered flight. The Wright brothers flew the first powered aircraft for 3 short flights. http…
- Tue, 16:27: Wheel of Winter: http://t.co/OP1UPjN03d
- Tue, 16:31: RT @selviano: Exactly 2 years ago today, I debuted @callinoates (including a typo in the #) on Facebook. http://t.co/jKJfsjVOAr
- Tue, 19:35: Up above the world so high, like a tea tray in the sky: http://t.co/rgQwNzQ0Kd
|Tuesday, December 17th, 2013|
|Wednesday, December 18th, 2013|
|Why We Don’t Sail Carnival
It’s not because of the poop cruise.
It’s not because of the Concordia.
Yet it’s indirectly related to both those things.
Here’s an example. Seabourn had two small ships, carrying 112 passengers. Seabourn was sold to Carnival, and those small ships were replaced with three larger ships with more than double the tonnage carrying 208 passengers. That’s not a bad size.
Except those three ships are now being replaced with 32,000 ton ships that carry 450 passengers. So, a periodic doubling of passenger capacity and a concomitant loss of intimacy.
Seabourn’s original two ships are now owned and operated by SeaDream. We love them. Sure, it’d be nice to have something a bit bigger, but their ships are really great, though designed before good wheelchair-friendly designs came out. (As a mobility-impaired person, it’s a bit challenging at times, but I manage just fine.)
When we first arrived on SeaDream, they knew our names, knew I needed gluten-free food, and so on. On our second cruise, most of the crew was the same, and they all remembered us. You can’t get that kind of intimacy on a large ship, and every time Carnival goes through another iteration, it’s to make things bigger.
Another point about gluten-free food and SeaDream: they mark every menu with what is gluten-free and what is not. They are very careful with it; I’ve never gotten sick from food aboard. Their food is truly world class.
Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.
|Tuesday, December 17th, 2013|
|We Are Driven
Despite dropping one of the little tiny drive tray screws for which I do not have a spare on the floor and then having Katie knock it into a normally inaccessible position beneath the drawers on the desk (It was recovered with a thin bit of cardboard that daisy_knotwise
supplied.), the new hard drives are now installed in the NAS and are rebuilding the RAID array.
I am getting a fine collection of failed hard drives which I must find something to do with...
|Loc on Swill 20 (Neil Jamieson-Williams, ed.)
Thank you for the 20th Swill, and congratulations on getting the word out about Swill to the unwashed masses at SFContario 4. Great party, and greetings to Lester! Comments follow, and I hope they make sense.
There are fans of all stripes around, mostly because there are now so many different interests encompassed by the simple term 'fandom'. I think older fans remember a past time, and wonder about all these new people with new interests, and aren't very accepting. I may be guilty of this myself, but I do remember a different time, and wish I could return to it. Traditional fans seems to be a good term to use to describe that older crowd.
I've tried to get friends interested in fanzines, but to no avail. They have their own interests, and I have mine. No renaissance for us, we are a niche interest, and that's the way it will stay, whether we like it or not.
My loc…I have expressed my opinions about fans being trained to be passive consumers, and lots of people have disagreed. They feel that there's plenty of people staging these new conventions, and creating podcasts and blogs. I have to agree with them, and see that they have their own activities. One old fannish phrase is The Happy Deadwood, those fans who did not participate in managing clubs or conventions or other fannish events, but who still put their money down to belong or attend or take part. Their cash is as important as any activity, for they help to make things happen, too. I am finding steampunk zines here and there…The Gatehouse Gazette, now ended, Steampunk Magazine, Exhibition Hall, Aether NZ, and recently, The Concordium. They are mostly if not all electronic zines, but the production values are just amazing.
The job hunt…I did find work at an agency in Etobicoke, but the contract I signed will not be renewed in the new year thanks to a shortage of work, so I must look again. The TCon Society may be staging another Polar Chill with more programming in it. That's what the grapevine tells me right now. We were never formally connected with TCon, but Yvonne was the founder of Toronto Trek Celebration / Toronto Trek / Polaris. Her initial goal was to stage a Trek convention, but to bring in the script writers and book authors. Well, THAT didn't work… Many of the TCon people are right now quite tired. People come up to them with lots of ideas about what should be in the next convention, and from what I've seen online, they are quite tired, and would like to see someone else take over the reins, and run cons.
I'm trying to write as many of these letters as I can before the end of the year so I can get caught up on the pile of zines I have, either electronic or paper. Thank you for this one, and I hope you're working on the next one. Best of Christmas and New Year to all.
Yours, Lloyd Penney.
|Loc on OSFS Statement 415 (Grant Duff, ed.)
Thanks to all of you, and editor Grant Duff, for another Statement, this time issue 415. The weather is cold and snowy, the job hunt is on once again, the time of the year couldn't be worse…and I will relax a little and give myself something else to think about by responding to this issue.
Yvonne won't see this…I think around this time, season 6 of Murdoch Mysteries should be available on DVD. This season contains the episode she was in. This is something I'd be getting her anyway, but now, she's got an official copy of her appearance. We hope to see the second Hobbit movie shortly…the reviews aren't the best, but any return visit to Middle-Earth is a good one.
We were dealers at SFContario 4, and our steampunk handicrafts did fairly well. We have purchased a table at the upcoming CostumeCon in April of 2014, and we will be on-site liaisons to the dealers for the convention committee. We are also looking at a table at Ad Astra, and at the as-yet undated Art-O-Con 2014 in Burlington. I will soon be working on a new convention list, and will get it to you ASAP.
My loc…I did find some employment at the end of October, and it's at an agency just south of where I live, but the contract extension into February they hinted at never materialized. So, I must look again for more employment, and hope that the agency might call me back some time in January. So, the resumes go out again, the employment agencies I am with get calls of renewal, and this cycle goes on yet again.
There may be hints here and there of the revival of the Canadian Conrunners Convention. Smofcon was recently held in Toronto, but many locally-based conrunners found that the convention was Worldcon-centric, and not really all that useful for them. So, I believe Anime North may sponsor this con, and hold this convention for all convention runners, and not just for those involved in the bidding for and staging of Worldcons. More details yet to come.
Anyway, time to wrap it, and send it. Yvonne and I wish you all the best of Christmases and New Year's, and I say this every year, but may the new year be an improvement for everyone. Sometimes, I think it can't get any worse. Take care, and see you all next issue.
Yours, Lloyd Penney.
|The quality of String-Game is not feigned*
I thought Mac had grown bored with String-Game. He used to come to bed every night when I did, back in the old house, just to chase a string across the duvet for ten minutes. It was a very splendid game, and he was mighty.
So I duly laid in suppplies of string when we moved here - and meh, not so much, really. He played in a desultory fashion for a while, and hasn't been seen at bedtime for months now. As I say, I thought he'd grown bored.
Not so! It was the quality of my string that disappointed!
Last week we fetched home a Christmas tree, that was all bound up with string. A length of which has made its way into the house, and - oh, joy! String!
He is so enamoured, he will play by himself, without mortal hand at the other end to tug it. So that's
In more Barry-related news, my closet is snoring.
*(It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the paws beneath.)
|Minnesota Girl, now with added snow tires
We're in the middle of another 4-6 inches of frozen, white, powdery stuff fallng from the sky. I was out and about driving through the stuff most of the afternoon. Until today, I loved snow tires for the way they ease my trip up my driveway in winter. That, and the fact that we had next to no snow at all the first winter I had them. I'd pay $600 every winter for that
benefit. It'd be significantly cheaper than plowing is.
Anyway, this M-state girl drove for decades through Michigan and Minnesota winters without ever having snow tires. I'm of course now wondering why. They're wonderful!
Not only can I get up my driveway with ease before Plow Guy clears it, but the Cardis was utterly wonderful on all 60 miles of crappy, snow'n'ice covered roads this very day.
[ memphismaniac ]
|"The Greater Good" -- A Harry Potter Fan Film
Film festival shorts and fan films do not generally get support by the Hugo nominating community. Here is one that I think is worthy of serious consideration.
, I found out about this short Harry Potter fan film by filmmaker Justin Zagri
. The Greater Good
is a prequel to the J.K. Rowling novels about a pivotal scene between Albus Dumbledore, Aberforth Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald, and Arianna Dumbledore. It relates the falling out between young Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald and the duel that results. The dialogue is top-notch, and the special effects are better than what is usually seen in your typical fan film.
Justin Zagri also recently released a Batman fan film, Riddle of the Mask. It doesn't feature any science fiction or fantasy content, but is a great tension-filled dialogue between Edward Nigma (aka The Riddler) and Helena Bertinelli (aka The Huntress). Beau Marie is scary good as Edward Nigma, and Charissa Saverio (probably better known to the public as DJ Rap) brings a lot of heart to the role of Helena.