Saturday, January 31, 2009

How does that work?

I'm watching last week's episode of Fringe (I like Walter, the mad scientist. He's absentminded like me.) and as far as I can tell the annoying FBI dude told the blonde FBI chick to torture some kid to find out where the kid's father is. Since when do children know where their parents are? Especially when their parents are divorced? Not understanding the concept...


Thursday, January 29, 2009


Here's a story I really like from Saki, who is one of my favourite authors. Esme is quite sly and starts Clovis, a character that I love.

"All hunting stories are the same," said Clovis; "just as all Turf stories are the same, and all--"
"My hunting story isn't a bit like any you've ever heard," said the Baroness. "It happened quite a while ago, when I was about twenty-three. I wasn't living apart from my husband then; you see, neither of us could afford to make the other a separate allowance. In spite of everything that proverbs may say, poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up. But we always hunted with different packs. All this has nothing to do with the story."
"We haven't arrived at the meet yet. I suppose there was a meet," said Clovis.
"Of course there was a meet," said the Baroness; "all the usual crowd were there, especially Constance Broddle. Constance is one of those strapping florid girls that go so well with autumn scenery or Christmas decorations in church. 'I feel a presentiment that something dreadful is going to happen,' she said to me; 'am I looking pale?'
"She was looking about as pale as a beetroot that has suddenly heard bad news.
" 'You're looking nicer than usual,' I said, 'but that's so easy for you.' Before she had got the right bearings of this remark we had settled down to business; hounds had found a fox lying out in some gorse-bushes."
"I knew it," said Clovis; "in every fox-hunting story that I've ever heard there's been a fox and some gorse-bushes."
"Constance and I were well mounted," continued the Baroness serenely, "and we had no difficulty in keeping ourselves in the first flight, though it was a fairly stiff run. Towards the finish, however, we must have held rather too independent a line, for we lost the hounds, and found ourselves plodding aimlessly along miles away from anywhere. It was fairly exasperating, and my temper was beginning to let itself go by inches, when on pushing our way through an accommodating hedge we were gladdened by the sight of hounds in full cry in a hollow just beneath us.
" 'There they go,' cried Constance, and then added in a gasp, 'In Heaven's name, what are they hunting?'
"It was certainly no mortal fox. It stood more than twice as high, had a short, ugly head, and an enormous thick neck.

Read the rest here:

Be warned - you may think you know what's going to happen but unless you've read the story before you're almost certainly wrong.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I canna polish her anymore Captain!

I spent about an hour helping the pre-med student I mentor with an essay he needs to write to apply for a grant for next year. Like many who go into medicine he's a bit of a perfectionist so sometimes we spend quite a lot of time one one sentence trying to fix it up. Today was difficult because I had a giant headache which made thinking of the right word hard. He had to guess what I was trying to say. He's good at it and has a lot of patience. When he finished he said something like this is a really shiny piece of crap!

In other news Cullen is watching anime and there is an actor with the last name of Clinkenbeard, which I think would make an awesome ice dwarf name...

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Go James Taylor!

Here's a fawesome story about James Taylor offering to replace a fan's iPod. A fan tried to pay her cab fare but her credit card was decline. A police officer was summoned, who told her to give the cab driver her MP3 instead.

She was later interviewed by the NY Post and said she was a James Taylor fan. When the singer read the story he said he was going to replace her player. That's mighty sweet of him.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

SAG Awards Auction

Items are up for sale for the SAG Award auction, to benefit the SAG Foundation, which promotes literacy and provides emergency assistance to SAG members. (I always donate to the SAG Foundation when I pay my union dues, despite being chronically strapped for cash.)

Items include a visit to the set of Mad Men (only 35 dollars at the time of this posting), Weeds DVD Seasons 1-3, Autographed Cast Photo, Tshirt, Talking Darth Vader Helmet signed by James Earl Jones and a passel of other interesting goods or services. Check it out!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coraline trailer

I'll be seeing this opening weekend. I can hardly wait!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Very far behind

Guess how many unread emails I have in my gmail account? At this moment 3040. Most of them are newsletters or knitting patterns or book suggestions or other things that don't need to be read right away but I am sure there are some other emails I should have answered long before now.

I've decided to start at the oldest and work my way to the front. I'm reading July's mail now, which means you may not get a response to a new email until July again, assuming I keep up the six month lag, that is.

Anyway, if you see me commenting on a lot of old news stories, that's why. And with that in mind, here's an extremely interesting article about the nature of addiction memoirs and why many of them are annoying to the author, a former addict. The comments are also interesting, although some of them seem to be written by people who maybe skimmed the article, instead of reading carefully.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Open letter to Senator Pipkin

(And yes, I did email it to him.)

Dear Senator Pipkin,

I was very surprised to hear your comments regarding refurbishment of Medevac helicopters on WBFF today. I don't understand how refurbishing 20-year-old helicopters is an option when you state you are concerned about safety. When equipment is so old and worn that it causes deaths is refurbishing really a rational choice? Doesn't replacement make more sense?

I realize that times are tough all over but my very best friend's life was saved when he had a heart attack and was taken by helicopter to a renowned cardiac hospital.

I would be more than happy to pay my fair share of the forty million dollar price tag. I see that about five and a half million people were living in Maryland in 2006. There are three people living in our household so our portion should come out to about twenty-five dollars. I would be delighted to send a check to the helicopter fund to ensure that this much needed sector of the fantastic medical care Maryland offers continues to function.

While it is extremely sad that four people died in the crash last year I think we also need to focus on the thousands of lives that have been saved by the Medevac system, and the gratitude their friends and families feel. Can we really put a price on that?


Georgiana Lee

First veggie garden?

Here's a nice article about why the White House should have a vegetable garden. I'm not so sure about the bees. With all the traffic in and out of the White House I would be worried about people who are allergic.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A few thoughts

Did I mention Cam has whooping cough? Yes, he got his DPT when he was a kid, but the immunity only lasts for ten years or so. There are loads of teenagers getting it, enough that Cam's pediatrician's office is now giving boosters to teens. My doctor also saw an adult that she suspected of having it last week, so if you have a cough that is absent, then makes you cough until you throw up, or makes your throat completely close up, possibly to the point where you faint, you might want to talk to your doctor about the possibility of whooping cough.

Tim Roth has a new show that started today. I haven't seen it yet. I recorded it but I was thinking about how much I loved him in Dark Water. I would love to see a film just about that attorney character. He was so interesting.

I just started reading Three Cups of Tea. It's been awhile but I used to read quite a few books about mountain climbing. In fact I read so many I started having nightmares about trying to summit Everest...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I just noticed that House lives at 221b, which of course is Sherlock Holmes' address, specifically 221b Baker Street for Sherlock Holmes. I guess that makes Wilson House's Dr. Watson? Makes sense to me.


Jack vs Chunk


Monday, January 19, 2009

Shoddy, sloppy journalism

This kind of story infuriates me. The headline is "Winslet: I'm confusing DiCaprio with my husband" - the kind of thing I usually ignore because it's so dumb, but because I like Kate Winslet quite a lot (she was hilarious in Extras and v. touching when she won two Golden Globes last week) I wanted to see what she actually said. And what she actually said is "feels more like my husband than my real husband, I have to say. I'm talking about him so much!"

That's completely different from confusing him with her husband.

Years ago, way back when I only had one child, so at least twenty years ago, I played Mrs. Frederick Douglass. Our final scene was his death on New Year's, where he came home from a suffragettes meeting and died in my arms. The gentleman who played Mr. Douglass was a favorite actor of mine and the whole experience was fantastic. So fantastic that whenever anyone mentions Frederick Douglass my first thought is, oh yes, my poor dear husband who died so tragically and suddenly. And I'm perfectly aware that he wasn't really, and that he never really died in my arms. It's part of my acting method to do a lot of research on the other characters in any part and spend a lot of time thinking about our lives together.

At no time have I ever confused Mr. Douglass with my actual ex-husband. That would be ridiculous.

Badly done, author of the article, badly done.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

You Say That She's Been Messin' With a Friend of Mine

I watched this show faithfully as a young teen. Years later, when I was making my start in theater and playing roles in Jesus Christ Superstar, Arsenic and Old Lace, Angel Street, Bell Book and Candle, etc., I named my cat Desdemona.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Rereading old favorites

I read The Monkey's Paw when I was young teen, maybe even when I was eleven or twelve. I remember being horrified by the details of the poor son's experiences. Today I read the story to Cam and was shocked to discover how few details are in the story. The rest was apparently all in my head. If you haven't reading it awhile you might want to take it for another spin.

"I wish for two hundred pounds," said the old man distinctly.

A fine crash from the piano greeted the words, interrupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife and son ran toward him.

"It moved," he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on the floor. "As I wished, it twisted in my hand like a snake."

"Well, I don't see the money," said his son, as he picked it up and placed it on the table, "and I bet I never shall.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Really? Really?

I'm watching President Bush's farewell address and I'm stunned. He says the greatest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. One of today's headlines at National Mortgage News was about the foreclosure numbers for 2008. 3.2 million foreclosures were filed in 2008. There was an 81 percent increase in the number of filings. That number was more than 200 percent increase from 2006. How in the world is the threat of a terrorist attack more serious than millions of people who are losing their homes? What about the economic chaos that those numbers represent? I'm baffled. Just baffled.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The silicon chip inside his head

A couple of years ago I wrote a column comparing Dexter from Dexter to House, from House, MD. I was pointing out their similarities and how much of House's behavior could be classified as sociopathic. (I got some angry email from readers who said I just didn't understand him and that he was a deeply caring man.)

With that in mind I find it particularly odd that Fox is using the Boomtown Rats' song I Don't Like Mondays in the new House ad campaign. Do they assume most viewers aren't familiar with the song or the incident that the song is about? It's hard for me to imagine any TV network using a song about the Columbine massacre as part of a campaign. I just don't get it.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weirdly creepy postcard

This is weird and creepy. What is she holding up? A hankie? Someone's underwear? Idk.

Courtesy of Christopher.


Monday, January 12, 2009

He gets all his mousey mates

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feeling much better than yesterday

Still sick, sore and coughing but feeling much better than yesterday.

I'm trying to get ready for the SAG awards, so I watched the Dark Knight again last night, with Cam this time who hadn't seen it, and was completely blown away by Heath Ledger's performance again.

Once again we're going to have some very tough choices to make, with House, Dexter and Mad Men all going up against each other. I've got about a week to make up my mind and catch a few more movies. I'd better hurry up and get completely well...

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Quite miserable

I couldn't sleep last night. Annoyingly I also couldn't read or watch TV or play video games or any of the other things I normally do when I'm sleepless. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain from my surgery and I couldn't concentrate on anything.

I think I finally fell asleep around six and woke up a couple of times as my kids came and went, finally waking up for the day around 2:30, to discover I was in a shocking amount of pain. Not from the surgical site, which had been hurting yesterday, that is weirdly pretty much pain free, but from just about everywhere else. The sore throat from yesterday is worse, and I feel as though I've been strangled (yes, I've been strangled into unconsciousness by a crazy relative more than once so I do know what it's like). Thank God I'm now throwing up any more, I can only imagine what that would be like.

My neck is dreadfully sore, as are my arms, thighs, shoulders, back and ribs. I'm thinking some of that is from coughing so much but some of it is just mysterious. Now I'm quite dehydrated becacuse it hurts so much to swallow. Woe is me.

On the bright side Warner Bros was kind enough to send a copy of The Dark Knight for my consideration so Cam is brewing up a pot of tea and I'm going to try and drink that and watch the Joker and hopefully feel a little better.


My favourite scary teeth video


Friday, January 09, 2009

History of lemonade

Here's an interesting piece about the history of lemonade.

The trade in lemon juice was quite considerable by 1104. We know from documents in the Cairo Geniza--records of the medieval Jewish community in Cairo from the tenth through thirteenth centuries--that bottles of lemon juice, qatarmizat, were made with lots of sugar and consumed locally and exported.

I tend to look up every little thing when I'm writing because I don't trust my brain. I would hate to write something and then find out that lemons were secretly developed by a lime grower in Florida in 1864...

In other words I had my surgery today and it went well. I'm in some pain and my throat is sore and irritated from throwing up a lot and having a tube down it but other than that so far so good. More details later.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Music to Wii Fit to


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bad day yesterday

Last night Delirium, our fawn hooded rat, who has had some tumors for a couple of months now, started hemorrhaging. We had to take her to the vet and have her put to sleep. My own vet is about an hour away so I couldn't get her there before they closed so I called someone close by and took her there. She saw Dr. Smith at the Bay Country Veterinary Hospital, who was very kind and gentle. Dr. Smith gave her some gas before the shot so that she didn't feel any pain.

I was very impressed with everyone at the hospital, especially since we weren't planning on coming there again and we were there for the most depressing visit a pet can have. The doctor and her staff were extremely nice and efficient.

Their address is in case you're looking for someone in the Crownsville, MD area.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Annoying news

I had some blood drawn at my preop last week and got the results today. My PT/INR is still too high, despite lowering my coumadin dose. It's 4.3. So I'm going to come off it completely and stay off until Saturday, which will maybe get me ready for my surgery. We'll see. It's all a bit hit or miss.

It's nice that medicine is so scientific, isn't it?


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Asthma post

Just in case you didn't hear, you should know there's been a change in the propellants used in albuterol inhalers, also sometimes called rescue inhalers. My family doctor, who is fantastic and always up at Hopkins for continuing ed, I mean like every week, reports that the old propellant has been replaced with something new.

You may have noticed that your albuterol doesn't come out with such a strong burst anymore. What you may not know is that when you first use the inhaler you need to spray it into the air four times. (Not once like the old ones.)

If a month goes by without having to use it, which it should if your asthma is under control, you need to spray it four times before using also.

A friend of a friend of Christopher's just died after an asthma attack. So did Dr. Haas of the Hartford County school system, following an asthma attack in her home. This disease can be lethal even when being treated.

It's difficult enough dealing with asthma without missing key information. Check your inhaler and make sure you're using it properly.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Who is Matt Smith?

I'm disappointed by today's announcement that the new Dr. Who is an actor called Matt Smith. I had high hopes that Paterson Joseph, who was fantastic as the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere. As far as I know I've only seen Matt Smith in one role, as Tim in Secret Diary of Call Girl, a role that didn't stick in my mind.

Once we move past my initial too bad Paterson Joseph didn't get the part feelings, I have some concern because when I look him up online I see a lot of people comparing him to Daniel Craig. I can't stand Daniel Craig, who is extremely creepy and has made the part of Bond unwatchable. I'll be sad if I have to give watching Dr. Who. Le sigh.


I completely forgot to mention that Steven Moffat, who used to write Coupling and has been writing Dr. Who and will move up to take over for Russell Davies, obviously must have faith in Matt Smith. I suppose I should too.

Stupid change! Why does it torment me so?


A little taste of Slumdog Millionaire


Friday, January 02, 2009

Come in from the cold

Cam woke up this morning because one of the cats kept walking on him. The cat was stalking something, which turned out to be a small brown bird. Why was there a bird in Cam's room in the beginning of January? How did it get in? We don't know.

If it had been a mouse or a snake I guess I wouldn't be so confused. They always seem to find their way in but a bird seems mysterious when you don't have the windows open.

This one took four hours to figure out how to fly back outside. Meanwhile the house got very, very cold. I still haven't warmed up.

I'm watching an episode of the Twilight Zone where a poor lady has something invade her home. It's a flying saucer with two freakish robot/staypuft marshmallow men in it. They're terribly mean, going after her with knives and zappy guns. A little bird is nothing compared to that.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happymaking news

This is old news, from November, but new to me. Many wild horses and burros have been in danger of being euthanized because the Bureau of Land Management says they don't have the resources to manage the horses. (For some reason they have the right to dispose of animals older than ten without any of the protection that the rest of these fantastic animals have, which is really weird to me as horses only improve past the age of ten. If you're looking for a steady mount for a child or a beginner you want a horse that has matured and is no longer flighty and silly. I personally have had wonderful experiences with horses in their mid teens and older, but I digress.)

Good news from the articles:

Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. Lifelong animal lovers, the Pickenses just a few years ago led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States.

Madeleine Pickens is looking for land in the West that would be an appropriate home for the horses.

It takes a pretty special person to adopt that many equines. How fantastic for the horses and burros that have been living in pens after running wild all their lives. Some of them are left in the pens for years. Just think how they'll feel when they go back to what they know and love. Bravo!