Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ya Think?

I'm researching amusement parks for this week's column and I found this gem - the Sooperdooperlooper at Hershey's Park was the first looping rollercoaster on the East Coast. But bad news for parents who can't find babysitters, the site specifically says no handheld infants on this ride.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Photophobia and Me

I learned something interesting today. Dr. Rismond0, my neuro-ophthalmologist, said that the reason I have photophobia is because the covering of my brain is irritated and inflamed. She said if I get a shunt it should fix that. Which means I should be able to do film work again. A couple of years ago I was doing a TV pilot and I sat at a bar on a stool and when the lights came on and hit me in the eyes I fell off the stool. Sub-optimal as we say in my office.

So maybe this thing could be fixed. Of course a shunt is still dang scary but you never know.

And she said that the MRI I had recently showed that I have a big empty Sella but it was essentially the same as last time so not worry. I don't know, last time they said a partial empty Sella but whatever. The veins on the left side of my brain are still croggled but no more croggled than two years ago so I guess all is well.

Cullen is supposed to start eating more salt and get a 12 lead EKG - I think I mentioned he fainted in the shower yesterday? I called the number to get him in for the exam and got the cardiac catheter lab which was a tad daunting...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Giving Away Large Sums of Money

We had a rough day today. Cam IMed me to say that one of the dogs traveling on his trip with him bit him and another girl, hard enough to draw blood, and tried to bite the 80+ year old woman who is also on the trip. He wasn't clear on whether this dog has had its shots. This is not the first time this dog has bitten him hard enough to make him bleed and I can only wonder and worry about what the rest of this long trip will be like with three adults, two children and two dogs all crammed together for weeks. Hopefully they won't all be biting each other when the journey is over.

Cullen fainted in the shower, hitting his head. We're not sure what was going on with that, he's had a fever the last few days and I'm hoping it is something simple like dehydration from a virus. Still worrying and he goes to the doctor tomorrow afternoon.

My vision is worse, with large black holes appearing and vanishing. I go to the optho-neurologist tomorrow.

So it's all rather worrying.

But I was extremely pleased to read this article about Warren Buffet giving a ginormous amount of money away. I particularly liked these quotes which seem both sensible and the way rich people should think:

"We agreed with Andrew Carnegie, who said that huge fortunes that flow in large part from society should in large part be returned to society"

"But I would argue that when your kids have all the advantages anyway, in terms of how they grow up and the opportunities they have for education, including what they learn at home -- I would say it's neither right nor rational to be flooding them with money."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Insurance Gecko

If you happened to find the insurance gecko trespassing on your property what would you do with it? I've gotten some interesting answers to this question. I would be tempted to get the insurance company pay some sort of ransom to get the annoying beast back. Chris says he would eat it. Cullen says he would release it into the wild, in say Madagascar. That would be hilarious. He could do all the fasttalking in the world but in the end he's going to end up as a snack. Ah, sweet, sweet justice.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Things that make me scream and faint

An excerpt from my media feed from Wednesday (I'm terribly behind in my emails again) regarding the publisher of our local newspaper, who vanished off his boat.

Publisher Merrill Apparently Shot Himself On the Bay (WaPo)
Philip Merrill, the prominent publisher and former diplomat whose body was found on Monday in Chesapeake Bay, suffered from a heart condition and apparently took his own life, his family said last night. Merrill was found with a shotgun wound to the head and a small anchor tied around one or both ankles.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, that's horrible. I can't even comment much because I get so dizzy when I think about it. See I have a visual imagination so I can see this guy tying the anchor to his ankles, either under the pressure of his depression or the pressure of someone holding a gun to his head or whatever, and it's so sad and terrible I can't bear it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Best Dentist Ever

You know how good our new dentist is? She's good enough that I fell asleep while she was drilling my tooth yesterday. Okay, she was helped along by a judicious application of laughing gas but seriously, she's so gentle and soothing that fear seems like a silly reaction to have, so you don't.

Unfortunately my jaw is super sore today but considering that I numb up slowly (like Chris) and had to have a few shots of numbing stuff it's not so bad.

I was really sick before I went in for my appointment but then the laughing gas made me feel so great! It was amazing. All nausea, headache, twingey brain feeling, pounding sound in ears, all of it went away. If only I could wander around breathing this stuff all the time...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Intimate Strangers

Cullen and I are watching a French film about a woman who goes to see a psychiatrist but ends up in the tax attorney's office instead. It's quite interesting and I particularly like how all the actors are sort of ordinary looking instead of being these shiny Hollywood beauty types.

Let's see, this week I read my friend James' play, extremely good, funny and morbid.

I read Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett - also very good and written on many levels with some excellent subtle commentary on the first Gulf war.

Then Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, very funny and touching, the ending made me cry.

I read quite a few graphic novels, some so so and one that was good called the Yellow Jar. The graphics are in the style of Japanese woodcuts.

Cameron left to go on a trip with his dad, he'll be back towards the beginning of August. Seven weeks in a motor home with his dad, his dad's girlfriend, his dad's girlfriend's mother, his dad's girlfriend's grandniece and two dogs. Sounds like heaven on earth doesn't it? They'll be visiting NC, FL, AL, NM, WA and Alaska. I'm hoping they plan to travel through some other states along the way, I'm just saying.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

True story, I swear

Cullen was in here looking at a post by Miss Snark when he suddenly recoiled, yelling "gross." He was trying to put his hand in his pocket but there was something icky in there. He was baffled and I started guessing what was in there; my end choice was a popsicle because recently one of my kids had TWO popsicles in his pants, he'd been to the ice cream man and stored them there, forgetting about them until they started to drip.

Cullen finally pulled out - wait for it - an entire stick of butter.

He'd been making grilled cheese sandwiches earlier and lost his stick of butter. He eventually decided he'd put it back and got a fresh stick. He has absolutely no idea why he put it in his pocket. I laughed a lot more than he did, I'm just saying.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Followup on lightning strike

It appears as though the lightning came through the cable, taking out various pieces of equipment along the way. The cable modem is burnt up. That leads to the Linksys router, which is working in weird ways. The internet port and port four are burnt up. Port four was what was connecting to Cullen's computer. Cullen's computer is fried, whether that means the motherboard or just the power supply switch thingy we don't really know.

Oddly the cable TV box is fine but we have a splitter and it looks like the electricity ignored the TV side of the splitter and went for the equipment that was actually running. This storm came up awful quick, I can't stress that enough.

And I can't really describe how odd it was to be in a room full of electricity, the whole place was humming and felt alive and my head felt clearer than it had in years. Downside is I got a headache shortly after that has yet to go away and has been ranging into the oh please shoot me and put me out of my misery pain levels. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

Meanwhile Cullen is watching a fair amount of Star Trek NG as we try and figure out how to get him back online. (Today Spot turned into an iguana and Picard was on his way to becoming a lemur or a pygmy marmoset. Good times.)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Possible Change in Blogging Schedule

The biggest change is that I will try to have a schedule at all. Mostly I've just posted when I have something to say, a concept that works pretty well for me. I have read blogs by people who say they are going to post something every day no matter what and it shows.

I've been thinking a lot (not unusual for me, I've always been the kind of kid who lived in her head) and I think I am going to do a thing a week project like the brilliant Jonathan Coulton does. But don't worry, it's not going to be music, or at least it won't be music very often. It is really going to be a thing a week; it could be just about anything so long as I can look at it and say "I made this!" Worst case you get my column for the week. Best case you get something else.

This is partly inspired by my terrible memory, I often write something that should be the beginning of a larger project, put it down, find it later and have absolutely no idea where I was going with it. But weirdly these things sometimes stand on their own as flash fiction. Week one will likely be a piece like that, if I can remember where I put it of course.

The other reason I'm going to do this is because it's very, very hard for me to get any fiction writing done. I've got my column, this blog, other blogs I post on, the Grapevine to run, agentoasis to nurture and neurological deficits to fight against. The end result is I run out of energy (mental and physical) well before I can start doing any serious work on my fiction projects. It's especially difficult because I have a project called Carnal Fear that I started a century ago that is extremely difficult for me to write. It deals with some intensely personal, painful issues and it hurts to write it. Last year Will Shetterly said that he and Emma both thought I should take my hardest project and finish that first, although he later got worried about my mental state and told me not to do it if it was, you know, ruing my life or anything. (My choice of words, not his.) But I do want to finish it, I don't want it hanging over my head any more and I want it done before I die. I've gotten a tremendous response from a few women who have looked at what I have so far, with most of them saying they wish they had read it years ago because it makes them feel better about their own trauma. So, Carnal Fear it is, and hopefully it won't kill me.

So how does adding yet another project a week get me to finish my book? Isn't this yet another form of cat vacuuming? Good question. Perhaps it is but I'm hoping that since I work well under deadline instead it will act as an impetus for me to finish some things. The thing of the week may be a scene from my book. It may be a knitting pattern (I've designed some cool ones in my day) or it may be a poem or it may be a thing I want to write about the basics of using your keyboard shortcuts (honestly you would not believe the number of people who have never heard of control f) or it could be a couple of pages from a script. The one thing I will strive for is interesting. If we hit that and four pages a day then I will be extremely happy.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thought for the week

If you're going to be a monkey then act and dress like one.

So is there a word for being affected by not actually struck by lightning? Last night an electrical storm blew very quickly; the first thing I know of it is George the cat leaping out of the window and skittering across the room. I call to the boys to shut off the computer downstairs, unplug the laptop and Chris starts to shut down the computer right here in my room. He goes downstairs and wham, it looked and felt like the lightning came right in through the still open window. There was this tremendous burst of light and energy and there was a pop from somewhere and all the pressure in my head eased up and I got a bad pain in my leg (which looks fine so I don't know what happened.)

The whole room had that strange buzzing/humming feel you get when you're around a lot of electricity. Cul was in the other room and he felt it but had trouble describing it.

So we started checking things out and the cable modem was fried and so is Cullen's computer. Maybe the router, it's not working but that could be from something else.

Of course I was on deadline for my column last night and I had to get the BrokerWire newsletter ready to go because I was taking this morning off to go to Cameron's special award program for the graduating 8th graders. It was quite the stressful evening.