Friday, March 30, 2007

Suggestion for those who are suffering from kidney stones

It looks like Cullen has kidney stones. We spent a large part of the day at doctor and radiology offices trying to get at the cause of his awful left flank pain. His pediatrician says the worst is yet to come as the stones move from the kidneys out.

I suggested that rather than suffer through that pain he just go ahead and donate the kidney and make it someone else's problem.

Chris found this picture, which is of a large staghorn kidney stone. Doesn't it look horrifying?


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why is there no b in numskull?

I see someone is going on a hunger strike until Sanjaya gets kicked off of American Idol. That is fucking hilarious. Someone needs a hobby...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Some news

I finished the Gabriel book today. No title yet. I'm not even exited about it, just exhausted and sick.

I had a CT scan to look for the source of "intractable nausea and vomiting and right upper quadrant pain." The barium solution is foul and I needed about 1200mls. Blech.

My root canal has been bumped up to tomorrow at 2:30, which is good news. Remember, root canals don't cause pain, they remove it. We'll find out if that is true tomorrow.

Then I have to write my column. No idea what about and the chances of getting out to see a film are pretty much zilch...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Abscessed tooth

My number 18 is abscessed. I've been in some pretty rotten pain since Friday. I went to see my wonderful dentist this morning and she says I need a root canal and a crown.

She referred me to an endodontist but I can't get in until next Tuesday so I have to take some pretty weird antibiotics (take every six hours with 8 ounces of water and don't lay down for half an hour after you take it) and some painkillers until I can get the root canal. I dread the next few weeks of my existence.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Something sounds fishy to me

This story about a couple who "fell" off a cruise ship - he was nude when found five hours later - sounds awfully suspicious to me. Their friends conveniently heard them scream as they fell from their cabin balcony.

I'm reminded of the story that ran in either Alfred Hitchcock's or Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine about the man who wants to win the ship's pool, which is based on arrival time. He jumps over the side of the ship in front of a woman so that the ship will stop and find him, slowing it down, but it turns out she's dotty and her keeper doesn't believe her. Lovely story.

So maybe these people really did fall off and their friends really did hear them and they're all very lucky and I'm just jaded from reading one too many pieces of fiction...


Friday, March 23, 2007

40 Signs of Rain

Last fall I picked up a few books by Kim Stanley Robinson to help prepare for Capclave. I tried to read 40 Signs of Rain several times and got bogged down every time. Nothing really happens in most of the book, it's mainly descriptions of how science works and how scientists think and descriptions of things. It doesn't really work as a story.

I finally managed to get through it this week - man that was a chore and a half. There are some lovely passages but then back to explaining what an algorithm is or whatever. FInally some stuff happens and then the book just stops. There is no ending, just no more book and the first little bit of the next book to entire you to buy that one. As if!!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Vacation plans

Tired of going to the beach? How about the mountains? The Carpathian Mountains...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What I see vs what America sees

When I see Phil Stacey on American Idol I see Yellow Bastard from Sin City. That's quite an obstacle.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Getting near the end

I spent most of the weekend sleeping and working on the book. I'm getting very near the end and am having trouble worrying about whether or not I can wrap up all my loose ends. I have such a bad memory I should probably have made little statues of my characters so I could move them around in the enormous diorama I should have made of Heaven's Foothills, the place where most of them live. Doesn't it sound like a horrible gated community?


Friday, March 16, 2007

Things to do with my body after I die

Donate it to a casting agent so I can continue to do extra work forever.

Donate it to an activist group so they can prop it up with signs at protests.

Give to someone who has trouble keeping the neighbors out of their parking spot. They can lay it in the spot while they're at work as a place holder.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

The newest character in my Gabriel book

He's a microraptor. Cosh, the blackjack terrier, has been dying to rassle a raptor through the entire book so he sent a telegram to dinosaur heaven asking one to come and fight him. This is one of the two fellows who showed up.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Prison sentence for eBay fraud

Here's an interesting press release up at the FBI site.


What exactly did he do?

According to information presented to the court by Assistant United States Attorney Dennis P. Kissane, Semulka, from on or about August 14, 2001, to on or about January 22, 2002, engaged in a wire fraud scheme using the internet auction services known as eBay Auctions. Semulka offered various high-priced items for sale on those services, including RCA DSS satellite dish receivers, but, after receiving payment from would-be buyers, failed to deliver the merchandise.

Good news for anyone who's been stiffed by an fraudulent seller.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My first edit at Wikipedia

Someone joined the Grapevine tonight with a name that was vaguely familiar to me so I looked it up at Wikipedia and found this at the top of the entry.

[[Image:Phine my name is chris i want men call 8363638

So I edited it out. My very first edit! It was actually a lot easier than fixing some of the mistakes I've made at work...


Sunday, March 11, 2007

This is some seriously weird shit

Blood Money: Life, Death, and Plasma on the Las Vegas Strip published in Electronic Journal of Sociology 1999 is seriously bizarre. The beginning is very dry but once you get into the meat of the actual visit to the plasma center the tone changes and becomes surreal and overblown. It's still an interesting read, if you're in the right mood.

Perhaps it says something about me that the parts I found most disturbing was the insistence that Dante's Inferno was published in 1980...

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Question of the day; what's worse?

Snakes on a plane or zombies on a plane? Zombies can't get into small spaces like the air vents but snakes don't turn their victims into more snakes. As I've mentioned before zombie snakes would be pretty awful...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Do all dogs go to heaven?

That's the question in my book today. Cosh, the blackjack terrier, thinks they do. Gabriel, the angel but not the Gabriel, is not so sure. He's wondering what happens to the dogs that eat little children. I'm thinking specifically of an attack by three dogs on a woman walking with her daughter. When the pack attacked she put her daughter up on her shoulders but the dogs mauled both of them. Do those dogs deserve to go to heaven?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Interesting but terrifying article at Wikipedia

We're watching Poseidon Adventure and I looked up rogue wave to see if it was real or not. It is.

A particularly worrisome quote, sure to strike home if you've ever seen the QEII and realize how big she is:

* RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (North Atlantic, 1995), 29 meters, during bad weather in the North Atlantic.

The Master said it "came out of the darkness" and "looked like the White Cliffs of Dover." [4] (PDF) Newspaper reports at the time described the cruise liner as attempting to "surf" the near-vertical wave in order not to be sunk.

And this one, I mean if a wave could sink an airplane, what an image that is.

It has also been suggested that these types of waves may be responible (sic) for the loss of several low-flying aircraft, namely U.S. Coast Guard helicopters on Search and Rescue missions.

When the first version of this film came out my sister Hilary was so frightened by it that she had to leave and sit in the lobby. I think she was seven or eight so I would have nine or so. This one isn't scary to me but these statistics are!


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Most disturbing use of song in a commercial

Would it be Blister in the Sun for the Wendy's commercial or American Pie for the Chevy commercial? Very touch choice.

Exhausted and brain dead from the book. Need a vacation.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lakisha Jones

This year marks the first time we've watched American Idol. Lakisha Jones is our favorite but we've got another reason to be pulling for her. She works at the bank in the grocery store where we shop. Cam's met her and many of the kids in his class know her from the store. Apparently she's just as sweet in person as she appears on the show.

Here's hoping she goes all the way to the top.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I don't usually talk about TV here but House was really good tonight. Watching House play the opening music from I Don't Like Mondays was really special and exciting for me.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Startlingly condescending article called How to Get Your Girlfriend to Play Video Games

Google is featuring a how to called How to Get Your Girlfriend to Play Video Games. Sadly it's both cliched and condescending. I will give the author(s) some credit for trying but trying isn't always enough.

Some girls may prefer the cute, brightly colored, all ages games like Katamari Damacy, Bust A Move, Lego Star Wars, The Sims, or just about any Mario game. But remember that your girlfriend is an individual, and could just as well go for Halo, Resident Evil, or Grand Theft Auto.

I like Bust A Move but not because it's "cute," "brightly colored" or "all ages," it's because I happen to excel at puzzle games. I could play a first person shooter but usually they bore me. I like something that makes me think fast, ie if I remove this ball then this will happen but if I remove this one then something different will happen which could cause a chain reaction or all hell could break loose. I don't get that kind of stimulation from playing Doom.

Don't get games that involve things like strippers, prostitutes, and sex. Unless she has a really good sense of humor about such things, she probably won't like it.

No comment. Or too many to list, take your pick.

Be understanding and supportive. When she first starts out, tell her that it's easy, and that she will catch on. Make her feel like this is something that she can do. Let her win. Try not to show any signs of being annoyed that she can't pass the 1st water zone for the 76th time in a row. As she keeps playing, she will get better and may enjoy the game itself.

Now this could be good advice for any beginner, basically be encouraging. But let her win? I call bullshit. Letting someone win is disrespectful. (Unless yanno (tm) they're like three or something.) Maybe don't play a game where someone wins if you think it's going to be a problem. Plenty of games have non competitive modes.

As for the try not to get annoyed thing, if you're going to get annoyed because a beginner can't play like a pro then maybe you need to work on that. Would you get annoyed with someone stalling the car when you're trying to teach them how to drive a stick shift? New thought patterns and physical actions take time for the brain to pick up. You should be able to handle that if you're going to be a teacher, even a temp teacher who only cares about one subject. I'd say treat her like any other n00b with whom you have a relationship you want to sustain. In other words be yourself but maybe don't pin her down and fart in her face when you win. I'm just sayin'

Next time you and your girlfriend are in a game shop, casually walk by the video game section and ask her if there is anything that catches her eye. She will probably say no at first without looking at any game, but coax her into it.

That's a vaguely creepy paragraph. Like someone lifted it from Penthouse and did a find and replace on the words "porno movie."

Recognize that she probably doesn't want to play for 8 hours at a time.

Maybe you should recognize that a lot of people don't want to do anything for 8 hours at a time. Besides yanno (tm) sleep.

If you are playing an MMORPG, let her create a character on your account. Allow her to choose the look, style of dress, everything. This will let her feel as though she is playing with something she created herself.

Could that be because, oh I don't know, she did create it herself?

Even if she's only playing easy games, your girlfriend may get stuck and frustrated.

Skipping past the easy part because after all something is only easy if you know how to do it or are good at it, do you think your girlfriend might get stuck and frustrated because those are human conditions? Have you yourself ever gotten stuck and frustrated?

And under warnings we find this:

If you try to get your girlfriend into something you're into that she's not, she may feel justified in doing the same with you--attempting to show you the glory of shoe-shopping, for example. If she's a good sport, you should be, too.

So be warned, if someone does something for you they might want you to do something for them. This is an amazing and novel thought that I am sure never occurs to anyone. It seems to me though if someone is trying to share an interest like gaming for the sake of enriching a relationship they're not going to drag you out to shoe shopping in response. More likely the next time they want to watch a movie in a genre you don't care for they'll ask you to give it a try. And that's fair, right? Who knows, maybe more than one person in a couple can learn new tricks.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

New slogan for motivational speakers

You are the difference between pissant and puissant!

Word autocorrect changed pissant to puissant in my book, which was really annoying because there is a world of difference between the two words but of course only one letter.


Happy Burpday Kit Funtastik

May your day be as wondrous and fun as you yourself are!!

Awesome balloons available from

Fucking awesome dream

Last night I had this dream where Neil was either making a movie or GOH at a convention and he needed some rats but he was afraid of them. (which is silly because Neil is a rat) So I went into the parking garage (the same one that figures in a lot of my dreams and had Jesus fish sculpture made out of tools) and made friends with some rats.

I have sadly forgotten their names but I ended up with ten of them that wanted to be in Neil's project. One was a small black/brown one that was very smart and about the size of a mouse. but very insistent they are in fact a rat. A white one that was just really friendly and motherly. A big musclebound stupid black one. The Prince of Rats, a black one with a cape imbedded with jewels. And some of other colors, including fawn, that just wanted to hang around and have fun with Neil. Good times.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Spiderman as a zombie

I think this is a great idea but I wouldn't want to actually read it. There's no way it could live up to my imagination.


Bragging on Christopher

Chris earned a 3.8 GPA his first semester at Pratt and is on the President's List (hopefully that's not the infamous list)

We're all very proud of him.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bragging on Cameron

Cameron auditioned for vocal ensemble and got in. He is one of only two going to be sophomores chosen.

Today he went to county competition for singing and got the second best score (2) on the hardest possible song (6). He sang I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General. He didn't move up to states but he did extremely well, esp for a freshman.

We're all very proud of him.

Bragging on Cullen

A week or so ago Cullen was honored by the Chamber of Commerce for being a Merit Scholar commended student. Today he was chosen as the "Engish" (sic) Renaissance student of the month at his high school. You're only supposed to get that award once but this is his second time. The other time was in the sciences. We're all very proud.

The question of the day (and possible answer) raised in the Gabriel novel is:

"Have we got a loony bin for mad angels?"
"I think it's called Hell," said Cosh helpfully.

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