Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fun things you find without meaning to

I was looking for the name of a lake where Cam swam over the summer. When he got out his party was told they weren't supposed to swim because there was something dangerous in the water. Since he's been throwing up since he got home from Alaska I was thinking I should do a little research and find out what was in the water and get him tested for whatever it is. But he can't remember the name of the lake or any nearby towns so I Googled this search string "lake Alaska swimming warning" and I found this:

1995 WhaleNet Archive: Info: Paper on Ocra Rescue, Barnes Lake, AK

Other whales were still swimming in the lake. ... On Tuesday, October 4, no effort was made to enter the lake due to a tsunami warning. ... - 25k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Some orcas got stuck in a lake and then there was a tsunami warning. If only there had been a zombie and a velicoraptor, it would be the perfect film.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This is funny

Someone is looking for a pet. But not just any pet. Let's examine their ad.

Wanted Small Pocket Pet

Looking for a parakeet or hampster to love and keep me company. Any color/type ok.

Who keeps a parakeet in their pocket? And what does the pocket look like at the end of the day? Or the parakeet? It boggles the mind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I got a call today from my hematologist's office to ask me if I was having any unexplained bleeding. Or how about bruising? Turns out my PT/INR which should be around 2.5 - 3 is 6.8, which is crazily high.

I've been feeling rotten and every time they change the dressing on my PICC line there is blood so it was almost a relief to hear it's hight because that kind of makes sense. It's better than well, we gave you iron and you still feel like crap. Oh well.

Instead I'm kind of wondering if the new iron will be wasted with all this bruising I have. I'd really like to get ahead of the curve for a little bit.

It will take four or so weeks to see if the iron infusion did its job. Meanwhile I'm stuck with the horribly itchy PICC line. Blah.

I ran out of books to read so I've been reading older XKCD comics. I love them.

Spoiler Alert.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Stupidest Angel

I finally got around to reading The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore. It was one of the many books I gave Cullen for Christmas last year. (I walked into the bookstore and bought him every Christopher Moore book on the shelf. This was a reaction to reading A Dirty Job.)

I started it this morning before I got out of bed and finished it before I got out of bed. That's how good it is. I kept thinking well one more chapter... Of course it helped that I was the only one home and the rats and cats were fed. I didn't have any responsibilities other than to myself.

It's extremely funny and the characters are great, a retired actress who starts thinking she's Kendra the Warrior Babe of the Outland, a pot smoking constable, a pilot who has a talking fruit bat named Roberto and a slew of others.

Weirdly the angel looks a lot like Gabriel, my angel from this series I'm writing. Are all angels blond and do they all wear black trenchcoats? It's a puzzle to be sure.

Hopefully tomorrow will be my last infusion of iron and I'll be able to get the PICC line out. Not that I'm looking forward to its actual removal - last time I had one the nurse said look to your right and take a deep breath then she yanked it out and it had stuff stuck to it. Gruesome. I get dizzy thinking about it. I still think you should be allowed to have out of body experiences for this type of thing. And dental work. You should be able to float around and check things out and come back nicely refreshed. I'm just saying.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Back in 2001 I wrote a script with the working title of Drunk Terry Flunk. It was the story of a boy who wants to make a million dollars by his 18th birthday. He's an inventor and through the course the story you see him pitching his ideas to various people who go from upscale to pretty low rent.

I'm watching Firewall with Cam and Harrison Ford uses one Terry's inventions to try and find his family. It's a GPS device on the collar of the dog. I got the idea of it because we had a retired greyhound that could open our back door and would run away every few months, causing a great deal of worry.

So I guess it was a good idea...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Does it really need to be interpreted?

Here's an interesting piece that ran in the New York Times about the value of a good annotation. The author starts with Hardy and moves on to Austen and touches on a few other authors.

I don't normally like annotations, unless Terry Pratchett is making them, because I usually feel the notes are interrupting the story flow to tell me something I already know. But the author of this piece makes me want to buy at least one of the books he mentions, the Austen annotation that is so thorough.

But he loses me at the end of the article when he says:

Readers who complete “The Annotated Pride and Prejudice” have a leg up when tackling “So You Think You Know Jane Austen?” This challenging quiz book, intended for professional-grade Austen readers only, arranges questions, in four ascending levels of difficulty for each novel. Some questions are short, factual and to the point, like “How old is Darcy?” (The answer is 28.) Others require interpretation. Why, for instance, does Wickham elope with Lydia, since he is a mercenary cad and she has no fortune? The authors, John Sutherland and Deirdre Le Faye, need more than a page to answer this one.
I thought it was pretty obvious why Wickham elopes with Lydia. He doesn't. She may think they're going to get married but Wickham is out to ruin her, whether because he is a pleasure loving rake who's a bit of a sociopath, not caring how many damaged girls he leaves in his path, or because he wants to try and hurt Darcy indirectly or a combination of the two is debatable. Either way he has no plans for marriage and the only thing that changes his mind is the huge sum of money Darcy gives him to do the right thing. At the moment they run away together it doesn't matter that Lydia hasn't a feather to fly with because Wickham isn't out for money. It's sex, pure and simple.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

See this nice picture?

It's got a nice happy dog and a dude who doesn't look so bad. But according to this site it's a man showing his bubo that indicates he's got bubonic plague. I suppose we return later to find the dog eating the guy.

I'm back to doing some more research on the black death for the Tesla project I'm working on.

I got my second iron infusion today. It's not too bad really. It's kind of a tossup as to which is worse, the horrible taste of iron in the back of my throat or the horrible itching from where the PICC line goes into my arm.

There were three of us in the chemo suite today. A nice lady with a central line sticking out next to her collar bone, me with my PICC line and a very thin man with a rubber tube going into his belly. I keep thinking it must be awfully odd to work in that office and constantly change the dressings surrounding this queer implants.

Cam has developed a food allergy, we don't know what it is yet, and missed nearly a week of school with hives and vomiting. He's got to carry an epi-pen now and we're working on ways to help him remember to carry it. It's going to be harder for him to have his than for me to have mine because it's more socially acceptable for me to drag around a purse. People might look at him funny if he takes to carrying one.

Monday, September 17, 2007

afghans for Afghans

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Film sites fined for fraud

Interesting article from Variety about some vile sites that stuck software on user's computers then forced them to pay to have it removed. I'm wondering why the owners weren't charged with the same sorts of crimes that people who release viruses are charged with since the end result is pretty much the same.

Instead they've been fined about half a million dollars, although that number isn't set in stone and could go up to nearly two million.

According to court papers the FTC filed a year ago, operators of, and surreptitiously downloaded onto consumers' computers "software that repeatedly disrupted computer use with a sequence of large pop-ups, accompanied by music that lasted nearly a minute and could not be closed or minimized."

The pop-ups "demanded that consumers pay the (operators) as much as $99.00 to end the recurring pop-up cycle, claiming that consumers had signed up for a three-day 'free trial' to use the (operators') Internet download services and had not cancelled their 'license' before the trial period ended," the FTC charged.

When computer owners tried to remove or uninstall the pop-ups, they were automatically directed to a website informing them that they had to pay a fee in order to stop the pop-ups. Some people paid the fee out of frustration; others paid a computer technician to remove the software.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Man Who Sold the Moon

Remember Heinlein's novella, The Man Who Sold the Moon? I reread it a while ago and became convinced that Google's business plan used the story as a template. The reason they're making so much money is so that we can finally start a space program that gets things done. (When I was a girl I was sure I'd be living on a frontier planet by now.)

So this article in today's WaPo caught my attention and made me smile.

Google Backs Moon Challenge
Millions Are Offered for Privately Funded Lunar Probes
Oh yes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Looking for a pet

This little fellow is looking for a new home. Currently stationed at the Millersville Animal Control here is his description:

Wilbur the pot belly pig is approximately 275 to 300 pounds, he is a adult male, black, and is a stray.

Stray pig!! Whoop!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Looking for a good cause?

If you haven't filled your charitable donation quota yet you could do worse than chip in to help defray Joey Ackerman's medical expenses. Speaking as a former medical claims examiner they've got to be frighteningly hight.

He is a wrestler at Old Mill High, Cam's current school and Cullen's former school. He was in a terrible accident over the summer (a lawn mower blew up is what I heard) and is the burn unit at Johns Hopkins where he is expected to be for 10 to 12 months. His website is here. The community had a fundraiser for him but with these kinds of injuries I'm sure they can always use more.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Search and Rescue for those who don't get around so well

Amazon's Mechanical Turk sent me an email this morning asking if I wanted to take part in the search for Steve Fossett, the missing aviator. He's believed to be in Nevada but I could help here in Maryland by looking at satellite images of the area where he might be. If I see anything I mark it and experts look at it.

I spent a few hours looking at images and mostly saw trees. At one point I saw some snow and two houses and three cars but mostly just trees.

I read an article this afternoon that said that the people who are actually flying around looking are having false hopes dashed because so many old plane crash sites are being discovered and that the discovery of these older planes shows how much better the technology in the S and R planes is than in previous efforts. But I wonder if it is technology on the planes or if it's technology on thousands of computers around the world with thousands of volunteers poring over streaming satellite images.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Itchy itchy itchy

Every time I move my arm it itches like mad. Someone at the hospital gave me this awful thing like an elastic bandage to wear over my whole arm but it won't stay in place and with no air and 91 degree temps it's far too hot wear it. So I took it off and threw it in with my socks and stuff, which means I keep seeing the big bloody mass that is the dressing out of the corner of my eye. Not very pretty. And it itches and burns. Fun.

I'm thinking about knitting a new cover, something interesting and in a more breathable fabric.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this so I'm getting the iron in three doses one week apart. The first one is Monday.

Grrah, just had to pause and throw up from too much coughing. Between ragweed and our neighbor's new cigar under my window habit I'm coughing myself half to death.

I'm reading Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. I'm a big fan of his work but this one doesn't seem as funny as his others. Maybe it's me. I'm just amazingly sick. And tired of being sick, which I guess is pretty natural.

Still haven't finished the first draft of the Tesla project. I thought I only had three scenes left and that was maybe ten scenes ago. Still about the same amount to go but I ended up moving some character development around a little.

I want to go see Shoot em Up, Maybe if I'm feeling better tomorrow.

Friday, September 07, 2007

They don't care if you're a pig, they just care if you're a fag

I'm watching The Birdcage tonight, partly so Cam can see Nathan Lane in another terrific performance (he loves him in The Producers). This is the first time I've seen it since it came out and I'm noticing completely different things. For instance I now think that if the son is able to tell his father and "mother" that they aren't good enough for his potential in laws AND he can't tell Albert his plan then he's not mature enough to be getting married.

And on another topic I'm one degree from this film because I was in the Replacements with Gene Hackman.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Poisoned, bruised and bloody

I had my PICC line put in this morning. I parked in the wrong parking lot and by the time we walked through the heat and humidity to the right place I was so out of breath that they stuck me in a wheelchair. (My friend who also had to get iron infusions said the same thing would happen to him and when my numbers get up to 40 or so this will get better.)

Then the PICC went into the wrong spot, sort of more down and to the right, so that needed fixing. My arm is bruised up and there's a fair amount of blood under the dressing, with more still seeping out. Fun.

Then we ordered Chinese food for supper for the first time in a long time and I got vegetable spring rolls except they weren't, they had shrimp in them. I only took one bite but still started itching all over. I've now swallowed two Benadryl and am hoping that will do the trick. I've got the two epi-pens but who wants to go that far? Not I.

It's really annoying because I'm so careful to stay away from the things that will kill me if I eat them or if they kill me. Grrrr.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


When I took biology about a million years ago our teacher talked about neoteny and how we're programmed to find the young of most species cute. Big eyes, big ears, big heads - essentially anime figures.

So it's interesting to me to look at the losingest kitties at

Notice how they all have the same shape of head? Instead of round they're long and distorted looking and they clearly don't trigger the aww effect the way the other kitties do. Isn't that interesting?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Interesting article about a possible class action suit against the RIAA

From Variety. I think it does a nice job laying out the facts and possible outcomes.

RIAA faces serious piracy lawsuit
Music org's stern policy in jeopardy

A lawsuit recently filed against the Recording Industry Assn. of America could ultimately force the org to drop or dramatically change the way it uses its principal weapon in the fight against online piracy, according to experts and observers.

The case -- filed in Oregon and asserting claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act -- details the RIAA's alleged use of "illegal and flawed" methods when investigating people for downloading or swapping copyrighted songs without paying for them.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Google Talk

We use Google Talk in a lot of different ways. Not just to IM but also just to keep track of each other and to make suggestions, ie "Who wants to go see Stardust this week? Let's get a big group together" or to share links or emotions, like I might be complaining about why writing is suddenly so damn hard*.

Because I have my screen set for poor vision - everything as large as possible - I see smaller bits of messages when I look to see who is online and what they're doing. So last night when I took a look at my list I saw a friend's message which read "Eating a shitload of cotton" to which I thought What? It turns out it actually said Eating a shitload of cottoncandy and went on from there but for a moment I was even more confused than usual.

*And it is. After writing at least a thousand words a day since the beginning of last November (except for during Balticon when I dropped down to about 200) suddenly I don't want to write at all. I want to read and rest instead. Could be the iron defiency, I don't know. The most annoying part is I need only like THREE more scenes to finish the Destiny Experiment (as of yesterday afternoon when I finished the big explosive problem solving scene) but I don't even want to open the file. And let's not even talk about the Clive book. I'm spending more time staring at it than I am writing it, which hasn't been my style for a long time.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What I learned this week

A percentage of the world's chocolate is from beans picked by child slaves. From what I've read chocolate beans are purchased in bulk in such a way that you can't be sure that your batch of chocolate is completely slave free. Sadly my response is going to be giving up my good friend chocolate.

I'm also trying to switch over to a vegan diet - this is day four. Meat is easy for me to give up but dairy is much harder. I have quite a fondness for dairy products but not so much just plain milk.

Annoyingly I've now forgotten everything else I was going to say.

I'm going to read Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson next.

I'm in the middle of two books about food, diet and health by Dr. Neil Barnard that are pretty fascinating in an oh my god, that's awful sort of way. The things these associations get up are appalling. I read an article in WaPo yesterday about the formula dudes and how they pressured the government over a series of encouraging breast feeding ads. And increased their ad spending by 20 million dollars while the go breast feeding campaign was running. I could just puke.

Just finished I Only Have Fangs for You which was sort of blah and predictable but at least readable.

Read Anthem in the middle of that. Cam is going to study it for school this semester. What's funny is how his English teacher encourages parents to read the same books their children are reading and discuss them with the kids but then then when they turn into freshmen at college we're supposed to back off and not talk to them for the first six weeks - advice I heard at the UMBC orientation. Really, how are you supposed to go from being an "involved" parent to an "I don't want to hear about it" parent over the space of one summer? No wonder we're all so confused.

Urban legend comes to life?

I could have sworn I'd read this before, either in an urban legend book or a story.

A 54 year old man was driving drunk when he hit and killed a motorcyclist, who was thrown into the car and the driver did not notice until he got home.

A horrible story and a tragedy but it's so familiar. Surely we've encountered it before? And I'm pretty sure I'm not thinking of Creep Show two - "Hey lady, thanks for the ride!"