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October 1st, 2016
07:33 am


Health news
Saw my primary care doctor last Friday (9/23) and all looks pretty good. She drew a full panel of bloodwork, and the key for me is this: my A1c, which was 14 when I was admitted to the hospital on May 18, is down to 6 -- which is basically normal. I'm stoked about this.

Still having some issues with the fourth toe on the right foot (which got rubbed raw by my shoe as a result of the lack of small toe. I have a line on a place in the neighborhood that has diabetic shoes (and a script for them), and will see about acquiring a pair so that when the doctor tells me I should wear them, I can. With luck, they will preclude more incidents like this one.

Next step: losing weight

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September 16th, 2016
11:17 am


Just home from an unscheduled visit to the podiatrist.

You see, when I took my shoes off before bed yesterday, there was blood on the right sock over the fourth toe. When the sock came off, there was an area rubbed raw on top. (My theory is that because there is no fifth toe, the shoe, even with a relatively wide toe box, rubbed the fourth toe that it normally wouldn't have, especially since my feet swell when sitting at a desk for ten hours.)

This is Not Good. But since I was exhausted, I cleaned it, applied topical antibiotic cream, and bandaged it. Went to work last night with the post-op shoe on because it has an open toe, and there's no pressure on that spot. Then finished work at 7 AM and hiked from 42nd St/6 Ave to the office at 40th St/Lexington Ave, and was fortunate that the doctor (not the one I've been being treated by, who's on vacation, but the other doctor, whom I'd seen before this one) was free at 9 AM.

Short form: there's no infection in the bone, per the office X-rays. I'm to dress it twice daily with a prescription topical, and to take oral antibiotics (amoxycillin), and to wear the post-op shoe until I go back next week.

Ugh. But it could have been lots worse.

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September 12th, 2016
01:00 am


Four months
That's approximately how long I have been out from work on disability due to my infected, then surgically repaired, foot and recovery. Along the way I have learned to take my diabetes seriously after basically blowing it off for ten years, lost a bit of my right foot, lost a bit (but not as much as I had hoped) of weight, screened essentially all of Star Trek from every live action TV series, and watched my fantasy baseball team fall into last place, then make a terrific comeback to where I can at least reasonably hope to be competing for fifth place (of sixteen; more importantly, that's in the money, for 5% of the total pot).

Tomorrow night (Monday 12 September) I return to work. I have my work ID, my doctor's release stating that I'm fit to work, and assorted stuff that needs to go back into my work bag. Must do some thinking about what food I'm going to bring, and when, to work. Meal planning has become critical, since working both overnight and in a region with a paucity of actual supermarkets (and even lacking the elsewhere ubiquitous 24/7 fruit stands of NYC) means that I need to bring what I plan to eat, on the subway. I'm walking, but for any real distance (say, a block or more) I still need the cane, and my stamina is still depleted, though far better than it was two weeks ago.

The very last reminder of my hospital experiences (over both Memorial Day and Independence Day) are the warning bracelets on my wrists: left hand, Fall Risk and Allergy; right hand, Limb Alert. The latter stems from when I had the PICC line in and no other operations, such as blood draws or, later, Lantus (insulin) injections, were permitted in that arm. Looking forward to removing them tomorrow, and rejoining the working world. (I can already hear my supervisor, a huge NY Giants fan, disagreeing with me about how poorly they played today. He'll be right on some points, but dead wrong on others. That's what makes for a discussion.)

That was my summer. How about yours?

Current Music: Ben, The Jackson 5, 1973-04-22

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May 27th, 2016
08:36 pm


Home from hospital
I've been keeping folks updated on Facebook, but not here. So a quick and dirty version of why I just spent ten days in Beth Israel.

I'm a Type II diabetic, but had been terrible about monitoring and controlling my disease. My feet are mostly numb from diabetic neuropathy. As a consequence, when something poked through the sole of my right show and into my foot, I didn't notice. Until it got infected, of course, and my feeble attempts to solve the infection with six antibiotic pills left over from a prior course was inadequate.

Went to the podiatrist; as expected, he had me admitted. It was the right call. Long story short, I've spent ten days having my blood sugar and pressure worked on, getting IV antibiotics, and having surgery to clean out the wound.

Sadly, something grew in the bone culture. Had it come back negative (indicating a solely soft tissue infection), I would have been seen off with oral antibiotics alone (on top of the diabetes and blood pressure and cholesterol drugs). Unfortunately, a positive result (we don't know WHAT until the pathology report comes back, which takes longer) means that they had to put in a midline, or IV catheter, in my left arm.

Imma say right now, that for a guy who at ten years old ran four orderlies around an ER because he was scared of the antihistamine they wanted to give me, this is scary and I hate it.

Let me be clear. I really hate it.

But now going to eat better, take my meds, and do what it takes to get healthy. I lost my brother to complications of diabetes, and don't plan to join him.

Life won't be quite as much fun. But it's going to be longer than it would have been.

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April 2nd, 2016
10:36 pm


So, the results of this year's fantasy baseball auction are in, and my snap verdict is that I could have done worse. Not enough base stealing speed, and several players were kept or taken knowing that they'd be unavailable at the start of the season (minimum two weeks); also, the starting pitching needs depth, which can be addressed in free agency. But a good place to start the season. Here's the roster, absent contractsCollapse )

C Kyle Schwarber
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adrian Gonzalez 1B | LAD
3B Nolan Arenado
CR CJ Cron
2B Starlin Castro
SS Jung Ho Kang
MI Francisco Lindor
OF Michael Conforto
OF Gregory Polanco
OF Alex Gordon
OF Brett Gardner
OF Kevin Kiermaier
DH Evan Gattis
P Gerrit Cole
P Justin Verlander
P Taijuan Walker
P Yu Darvish
P Aaron Sanchez
P Adam Conley
P JJ Hoover
P Glen Perkins
P Aroldis Chapman
2B Devon Travis
OF Scott Schebler
OF Jake Marisnick
SS Jorge Mateo
OF Nomar Mazara
P Jose de Leon
P Sean Newcomb


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November 22nd, 2015
10:10 pm


Mock Trial of The Winter Soldier at San Diego Comic Con
Do I know (or does anyone out there know) any current law students who will or can be at SDCC and might be interested in participating in the mock trial of the Winter Soldier? Or attorney coaches for same? See this post and the sign up forms in it, if so.

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November 11th, 2015
09:01 am


Fantasy Sports
I play fantasy baseball (Rotisserie style) and have for thirty years. I make no secret of it, nor of the fact that we play for money.

In light of NYS AG Eric Schneiderman shutting down DraftKings and FanDuel in NY because he has determined that they are in fact wagering, rather than games of skill, I thought I'd note something I've thought about for a while.

One major difference between what I do and what the sites do is that I play for a full season, while they run games that last one day for baseball, or one week for football. It seems to me that while there is skill involved, the longer stretch allows it to be exercised, while shorter spans emphasize luck. It's the difference between a 100-game tournament of Scrabble or backgammon and a single game. Luck can and will and does permit poorer players to win single games (or even short runs), but in the long term, skill will win out. (Side note: Those are the sorts of games I prefer, as opposed to games with no element of luck at all, such as chess, or games that are all luck, like many dice games.)

I think the AG has it right, and until regulations are put in place that ensure fairness and as much honesty as there ever is in gambling, I support him

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November 9th, 2015
04:35 pm


Doctor Who and the Bubblegum Monsters review
Best episode in years (since The Doctor's Wife). Very glad it was Capaldi, not Matt Smith, who had the speech that pretty much defines the modern Doctor and links him to the past.

AND it had Osgood, our favorite Mary Sue ever.

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September 18th, 2015
09:59 am


Some thoughts on cancelled shows
(cloned entry from FB)

Having recently rewatched two classic SF TV series each of which was cancelled after one season, I think that if I could go back in time and set things up so one was not cancelled, I would pick Alien Nation over Firefly. True, it had movies that followed on from the show, but the development was clearly stunted. There's SO much potential there that it overtops Cap'n Mal and the gang, who themselves had room for a great amount of growth (and the answers to two questions: (1) where are all the ethnically Asian folks in the universe where Chinese is widely spoken, and (2) can we get an astronomer here to give us some exposition on the system we're in (since there's no apparent FTL available)?)

Besides, I would love to see what would have happened had the Tenctonese still been in first-run when the Minbari, their clear cousins, hit the airwaves.

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August 7th, 2015
04:54 pm


So, for the past several months, it's been obvious that M needed a hip replacement, and, while our initial goal was to do it at year-end (since she'd already burned through her FSA on dental work), it became obvious that it needed doing sooner rather than later.

The detailsCollapse )
I recently accompanied her to a pre-op class, so we knew what to expect. The hospital would call on the day before the procedure to tell us when to be there. She was not to eat or drink after midnight on the day of the procedure. Paperwork. Do these things, bring these things, don't bring those.

The call came yesterday, and she was the first scheduled patient for her doctor today. Which meant that we had to be AT Beth Israel (at 16th St/1st Ave in Manhattan) at 5 AM, and she was scheduled for 7 AM.

Which is why I am beat, having wakened at 3:15 AM to get there on time, INCLUDING the fact that we took a black car, as being the most reliable service at that hour. Which it was, and I highly recommend Mexicana Limousine in Jackson Heights.

Summarizing the rest of the day, including prep starting at 5:30 for M, and final prep at 6:30 (last I saw her before the procedure), the procedure, a ten-minute (standard) visit in post-op at 10:30, and her move from post-op to her actual room just prior to the 12:30 timeslot for post-op visitation, all is well. The procedure went well, per her doctor. She's not in significant pain. The nurses on the floor are competent and attentive. She has a black and white cookie, several packages of Double Chocolate Milano cookies, and Diet Coke. She has a plugged-in charger for her phone (I did have to get the extension cord, which we didn't bring any of, when I made the DC run), some magazines to read, and was last seen knitting.

She's spoken with her mom, and all the folks who needed notifying (from both work and the Bryn Mawr connection) have gotten the news. Rehab begins tomorrow, and release is probably Monday, though it could be a day earlier or later.

I'm going to try to reset my schedule to diurnal with a short nap then a short evening. See all y'all soon.

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April 4th, 2015
07:01 pm


On the Kerfuffle Over the Hugos
I'm not a member of Worldcon this year, which is kind of a shame because I'd like to vote against the slate nominations (both Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies), even in the instances where I might otherwise have considered a nominee (e.g., Toni Weisskopf for Editor, Long Form; Guardians of the Galaxy, Dramatic Presentation, Long Form; or Skin Game by Jim Butcher, Best Novel -- though I likely wouldn't have voted for it, at least it's not a bad nom). I've been reading the holy gods long and occasionally rancorous discussions about the noms at Making Light (if you somehow aren't aware, that's the blog run by Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Tor Books, and several other highly knowledgeable fans and pros, and which has a commenting community that is both widely read and intelligent, partly the result of strong moderation), and think that I agree with the folks who won't vote for a slate nominee even if they think it's a worthy nomination, since slate nomination/voting distorts the spirit and tradition of the Hugo Awards (and pushes it more toward the political model, with limited choices, that we tend to see, rather than the open field that we've mostly had since they were established).

I know that other people think differently, and feel that a nominee is a nominee, and if one is worthy, then they'll vote for it. That's a valid POV, and I see where they're coming from, even if I disagree.

Some people think that the only way to counter "bad" slates is with "good" slates, and the idea scares me. I don't want to see the awards become a battleground of ideology (any more than they have been in the past).

Here are some references, with background and information. First, a post that indicates which 2015 Hugo nominees come from which slate, or none (info from a Making Light commenter): http://file770.com/?p=21708

Then the three Making Light threads on the topic, in chronological order:

[Caution: these three threads currently have a total of >1600 comments, and the last one is growing fast]

I ask that any discussion here remain civil; I know this is a heated topic, and I would prefer not to (but will) bring the Vorpal Croquet Mallet Of Doom-Doom-Doooooom into play.

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February 27th, 2015
07:42 pm


RIP Leonard Nimoy
As with so many other people, I celebrate the life and grieve for the death of Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Mr. Spock.

I never met him; by all reports, he was a mensch. For example, this piece he wrote in 1968 for a girl who was of the two worlds that seemed irreconcilable in the US at that time. And Spock, too, was a mensch, who worked hard to be excellent, and wound up being both excellent at what he did, and excellent to his friends.

There's no higher praise I can give, but to admit, freely and proudly, that my ST role-play, from the first time I saw the series in the 1960s, was about Spock, and not Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, etc. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with the other characters; I just thought -- and think -- Spock was the epitome of motherfscking awesomeness.

May Bilbo Baggins sing you to the West, sir. You have well earned it.

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January 3rd, 2015
03:34 pm


New Year's Intentions
Posted this at FB, and realized it should be here as well.

I have never been very good about keeping resolutions, so here are several intentions for the new year.

I intend to get to the gym at least three times per week (probably M/W/F/ mornings). The sessions certainly won't be long to begin with -- I need to ramp them up, given my current terrible shape -- but they should be consistent, and build up.

I intend to get back to making music. At least five days weekly, at least one hour each, whether on guitar, mandolin, violin, or other strings, while rebuilding the callouses and muscle memories I have lost in not playing for so long.

I intend to continue to get the house in order, to the point where, I hope, in the second half of the year, we have space to entertain guests again.

I intend to continue to do my artwork, at least once weekly, and to clear the last few WIPs while beginning anything new that occurs to me.

I intend to forgive myself when I inevitably miss one of these goals, and NOT allow it to be an excuse to give up. Dammit, it's time to get back on the horse.

Quick note: all of this to start on Monday, January 5; I've been on vacation at year-end and don't mind starting this when I am no longer vacated.

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September 8th, 2014
09:11 am


A Quick Political Note
Tomorrow is the NY primary, which will largely determine who the candidates are for state office. I recommend that anyone in NY who's registered with a party (NY's primaries are strictly per party, unlike many other states) get out and vote.

Of course, I recommend that Democrats vote the same way as me, i.e., for Zephyr Teachout and Louis Tim Wu. It's pretty telling that while the NYTimes didn't endorse Teachout, neither did they endorse the incumbent, Andrew Cuomo. Considering the possible shenanigans he pulled with the committee intended to investigate corruption, in which he apparently directed it not to investigate his people, that's a very strong statement for the Times. Moreover, they DID endorse Wu over conservadem Kathy Hochul, who looks like another triangulating Rockefeller Republican, rather than the modern progressive Democrat NY needs.

If Cuomo and Hochul win, I'll hold my nose and vote for them as by far the lesser evil in November, but I really hope not to have to.

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September 1st, 2014
11:26 am


Doctor Who, Series 8
No spoilers, though skirting the edge.

I have a love/hate relationship with Clara, especially after her utterly shallow reaction to the Doctor's regeneration at the beginning of Series 8.

Kind of saw where this ep was going early on, when I wondered why they didn't deal with what turned out to be the solution when it was clearly the key to the episode the first time they encountered it.

Fascinated by the Doctor's refusal to bring Journey Blue along because she's a soldier. We keep running up against violence vs non-violent solutions as a major theme this series, and we're only two eps in.

And, of course, who's Missy? (I see five possibilities: (1) The Master, reincarnated female (others have already noted "Missy"<--"Mistrress"); (2) The Rani (less likely, I think); (3) The Valeyard (possible but not as likely even as the Rani); (4) an embittered, empowered Clara (so far what she's done is consistent with the powers of, say Souffle Girl); (5) something else. We DO know that she has some way of keeping track of the Doctor, and some way of retrieving his victims from oblivion (I suspect a transmat just prior to death in the case of the human; rebuilding the robot is a far less difficult matter).

Okay. Enough for now.

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10:51 am


Books That Have Stayed With Me
All the Kool Ckids are doing it, and it got me thinking, which is the whole point. So nu, here are ten-plus books that have stayed with me throughout the years. They're in no particular order (except that some of them are associated in my head with others), and I reserve the right to could-have-had-a-V8 and add to the list:

The Butterfly Kid - Chester Anderson
Black and Blue Magic - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff
Illusions - Richard Bach
Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Glory Road - Robert Heinlein
The Forbidden Tower - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Moving Pictures/Rock Music (the entire Discworld series, really, but if I have to choose...) - Terry Pratchett
The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything - John D Macdonald
Brave New World/1984 (These are inextricably linked in my mind) - Aldous Huxley/George Orwell

[Note: Yes, it's been a while. I'm mostly on FB these days, and really should return here for more long-form blogging and the other things -- like the people -- that LJ is better at.]

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January 28th, 2014
09:01 am


National Day of Mourning, 28 January
As everyone, their mother, and their cats have noted today, musical and actiivist icon Pete Seeger passed away early this morning of natural causes at age 94. It's not a tragedy, because of the rich legacy he leaves in both music and conscience, a higher ideal than many of us can aspire to reach (though an excellent one to aim for).

Add that to the fact that this date is also the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, and it would be a good day for a National Day of Mourning in the US (and elsewhere).

Here's a song that's triply appropriate, as being Pete making music (though not a song he wrote) with an environmental theme, and about space.

Cut to save bandwidth or data on metered connectionsCollapse )

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December 28th, 2013
03:38 pm


Making Excuses for Science Fiction in Locus
One of the best explanations of the genre I've read, by Kameron Hurley.

Pull quote: "When I looked at what I’d call ‘‘breakout’’ books – books that everybody I know is reading, not just my trusted SF/F circle of buddies – I started to notice a common thread. No one ever tried to sell me on Carrie by say­ing, ‘‘You really need to have a solid understanding of telekinesis.’’ Not a single Hunger Games fan said, ‘‘You’ll only get it if you’ve already read Battle Royale.’’ Instead, they talked plainly about the stories – the bullied high school girl who gets revenge. The older sister who volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in a fight-to-the-death lottery. They sold me on impossible situations and impossible choices. They sold me on stories."

Yep. It's about the people, and their stories. The technology (or magic, or both) is a useful way of shining lights and holding up mirrors, but it's all about the human experience.

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December 19th, 2013
06:13 pm


Paging browngirl
Have you heard this song yet? (It won't embed without me logging into Vimeo, which I don't want to do. Besides. the information is about the song on that page.)

ETA: NOT casting aspersions on your baking; this is about other folks' concoctions and prejudices and cliches. But you are associated with this baking in my mind, and thought you'd want to hear it. And maybe filk it for competent baking :-)


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December 9th, 2013
07:55 am


Vote for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame!
If you've ever wanted a voice in the MLB Hall of Fame election, you're in luck! The website Deadspin has persuaded (read: purchased) a BBWAA voter to vote the way the site's readers tell him to. There are numerous reasons each of them has done this, though the one they go on about is "to make a mockery and farce of the increasingly solemn and absurd election process, and to take some power from the duly appointed custodians of the game's history and turn it over to the public."

Whether you agree or not that the ballot should be mocked (and there are lots of reasons to do so, starting with the fact that many eligible voters no longer actually cover the game), here's your chance to vote for the Deadspin ballot, which (along with its voter) will be revealed only AFTER the results of the HoF election are announced.

If you need lifetime stats for anyone, you can find them at Baseball-Reference or The Baseball Cube.

FWIW, here's my ballot:

Tim Raines
Alan Trammell
Mike Piazza
Greg Maddux
Tom Glavine
Jack Morris
Mike Mussina
Frank Thomas
Jeff Bagwell
Craig Biggio

Explicitly NOT voting for admitted PED users. (Suspected is a different story. Show me the evidence and I might change my mind.) So no Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, or Mark McGwire.

In another year, I might have voted for Lee Smith or Edgar Martinez. But Frank Thomas is, IMO, a better DH than Martinez -- despite Edgar's also being deserving -- and Smith is probably a borderline yes in a year that doesn't have a dozen or fifteen legitimate candidates. (Personally, I dislike the ten person limit, but it's in place, so there.)

Anyway, go vote.

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