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Heart Surgery (index and intro)   
01:11am 12/07/2013
  I've been a little slow about thinking about friends on LiveJournal and Google+ who don't have Facebook accounts; honestly, so much of my social life in Austin happens around Facebook-planned events that I forget that in other parts of the country it isn't necessarily the norm.  When a friend I haven't talked to in a quite a while, who most certainly doesn't have a Facebook account, got in touch again today, I realized that I should catch everybody else up.

So, the quick story is this: I'll be having open heart surgery on July 31st to replace a bicuspid aortic valve (which should have been tricuspid, it's a heart defect we've known about for my entire life) and the ascending aorta (which has an aneurysm due to the aforementioned valve defect).  I have a large community of friends in Austin who are coordinating support (some before, but mostly postoperative) via a Facebook group, "Team Cactus."  Recovery will take about 6 months, I am told, but the first month will be the one where the support will be crucial.

For many more details, here are copies of the Facebook posts I made, backdated on Livejournal to the dates of their original posts on Facebook:

06/06/13: Heart Surgery (Pt. 1 of 3)
06/26/13: Heart Surgery (Pt. 2 of 3)
06/28/13: Heart Surgery (Pt. 3 of 3)

I'm sorry forgetting about these other places; I haven't been active on LJ or Google+ recently, and all I can say is that I've been a little preoccupied and they're not really part of my day-to-day life.  If you're on Facebook and we're not friends there, give me a yell there:
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Heart Surgery (Pt. 3 of 3 as of July 12)   
10:52am 28/06/2013
  [This is a repost of a post I made on Facebook on June 28th. I am reposting it here, backdated to June 28th, because I realized that I have friends who will not create Facebook accounts, and Livejournal posts can be made to require no authentication.]

So, a quick update: I am fine to do anything except extreme heavy weight-lifting between now and the surgery, including SCUBA to recreational (but not technical) depths.

The surgery is now scheduled for July 31, and the surgeon says to expect to be able to drive in about a month (with his clearance). The biggest decision still needing to be made is the type of valve: mechanical seems to be the most likely decision, but that means blood thinners for the rest of my life.

I really, really like my surgeon. If you have heard me enthuse about my PCP, Dr. Putney, he reminds me a lot of him - he does not talk down to me and is willing to exchange information very fast but with good humor.

[The blood thinner will be coumadin at first, until an existing better option is approved for people in my class - which my cardiologist expects in 1-3 years]

[And in a reply to a friend, I also wrote:
I don't know that there is much to do the day of, though - I will go in and they'll crack my chest and stop my heart, putting me on the heart/lung machine. The surgery will be about 4 hours (hopefully), and then I will be in ICU - for about the first 6 hours they will be getting my heart to take back over. I think I'll be in ICU for 2-3 days, and in the hospital for about a week, plus or minus a couple of days.]
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Heart Surgery (Pt. 2 of 3 as of July 12)   
01:25pm 26/06/2013
  [This is a repost of a post I made on Facebook on June 26th. I am reposting it here, backdated to June 26th, because I realized that I have friends who will not create Facebook accounts, and Livejournal posts can be made to require no authentication.]

Well, that's an instant change to my world.

I just got a call from my cardiothoracic surgeon's nurse. The surgeon will be able to see me this Friday morning, instead of July 8th.

I can't describe what a huge win this is. The wait has been driving me crazy; not knowing anything specific about this surgery that's looming over my head, and feeling disconnected from life around me, knowing that it's all something that I am only going to be in for the next couple/few weeks.

But it also makes a lot of what had been more abstract and remote suddenly very near. It still might be a while before the surgery happens, but the next step, and also a lot of answers, is approaching quickly in the rearview mirror. For me, the unknown is always a much bigger source of anxiety than the known, so this will help a lot.

A number of people - way many more than I would have predicted - have offered to help out during this whole ordeal, and I can't tell you how touched and flattered I feel. As mostly-an-introvert, I tend to nurture a smaller number of close relationships than most people do, and really focus on those relationships. The wonderful people who live here in my late-found home, Austin, have helped me to come out of my shell a lot more, and I am amazed at how many people have expressed a willingness to give of themselves to help me. That means a lot to me, and I'm trying to work to include more people in my life - I'm not used to having such an embarrassment of riches in terms of awesome people around me.

We've set up a Facebook group for coordinating help, "Team Cactus," that Becca will be running - she'll probably be issuing invitations some time today to people who have expressed interest. So please post here if you would like to be added. I imagine that some of it will be just hanging out while I can't move very much after the surgery.

It's very difficult for me to ask for anything - and especially help - but more than anything right now I'm realizing that what I really need before the surgery is connection. This is a much scarier time than I had anticipated, and that's hard on those few relationships that I tend to focus all of my time and energy on - my loved ones are stressed out by this turn of affairs nearly as much as I am. And I'm feeling disconnected from the people and the world around me in general, as I realize that some time soon I'm going to be sitting everything out for quite a while (months, to one degree or another).

The numbers on this surgery are great, this is largely routine and people have it day in, day out, with a very low complication rate. But at the bottom line, they're going to open my chest and cut out and replace parts of my heart and the arteries going into it. At the best of times I don't naturally reach out to the people who are my friends, and this makes doing so feel both more urgent but also so much more difficult and contrived. Just writing and posting this is difficult, but I know it's the best thing that I can do for myself right now.

I typically have a couple of nights a week free (often one or two free up at the last minute), and am making an effort to get out for lunches (mostly but not all vegan right now) more. Please give me a ping if you'd like to get together some time soon, and also if you might be available on short notice.

And... thank you all. Love to all of you. ♥
Heart Surgery (Pt. 1 of 3 as of July 12)   
04:53pm 06/06/2013
  [This is a repost of a post I made on Facebook on June 6th.  I am reposting it here, backdated to June 6th, because I realized that I have friends who will not create Facebook accounts, and Livejournal posts can be made to require no authentication.]

There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just say it. It appears that I need heart surgery, but it appears to be fairly routine as such things go. Since birth I have had a bicuspid (I have two flaps instead of three, since two of the flaps never separated) aortic valve, which causes all sorts of fluid dynamic problems in the heart, and has left me with a circulatory system with deteriorating efficiency across the decades. My primary care physician had commented on my EKG recently, "you must feel tired all the time." I guess that's not normal.

With such a deteriorating system, eventually the (small) risk of surgery is exceeded by the risk of not doing anything. An aortic aneurysm (of 5.8 cm) that they detected in a recent CT scan and informed me of today puts me past the threshold (of 5.5 cm) of that risk.

So some time in the coming weeks they're gonna crack me open, fix the aorta, and replace the valve. It sounds like they'll install some sort of manifold, too. The best bet right now is that I'll be a chimera instead of bionic; I'm likely to have an animal tissue valve instead of a mechanical one (which is good, because a mechanical one necessitates blood thinners for the rest of your life, but is bad because the animal tissue valves last "decades," so I'll likely need to get it replaced down the road - but with FutureTech, which is a cool prospect).

I'll probably have a chest scar/seam, which might be a cool opportunity for various tattoo ideas.

The biggest downside (aside from the risk of walking into a hospital, having someone open your chest up, rearrange the insides, and close you up again) is that after I have the surgery, I'll be in a reduced physical condition for some portion of about six months.

The big upside, aside from the reduction of the chance of instant bad stuff at any time in my life, is that above I said some portion of six months, because at the end of six months it sounds like I should have, for the first time in my life, a fully functioning heart.

I wonder what that's like.

I've always dreaded diagnostics more than treatments. This is just a Thing That Has To Be Done, and the path is pretty well understood. Since we know what is needed now, It'll get done, and I'll endure it, probably sometimes with less grace than I would like, and that'll be that.

Anyway, I am talking about this here because I'm not looking for a lot of drama about it but want to get the basic gist of it out. I regret the extra amounts I'll have to lean on those close to me, and I regret that I probably won't be able to follow through in the near future on some social wheels that I had started to put in motion. I am uncomfortable with the thought of causing too much hand-wringing about it, it's a Thing That Must Be Done, and it'll get done, and walking across the street has risks, too. By all means feel free to express your own feelings, but I'm not looking for sympathy - I am lucky to live in a time when this sort of procedure is routine, but unlucky that it isn't yet an outpatient procedure, or a matter of pressing a button on FutureTech, or fixed in the womb with a simple pill. Hugs are welcome because hugs are *always* welcome.

[I have a bunch of friends with various degrees of medical training, and I ask you all; please don't take this as an opportunity to engage me on medical issues on, or diagnose me over, Facebook. If you want to talk to me about details, please do so in private, and I might or might respond quickly - I am still absorbing this news and figuring out what it will mean in concrete terms and I almost certainly have gotten at least some important details wrong or sloppy. I have met with my cardiologist, but not yet the thoracic surgeon.]

Appended in another post:

I really wish I could add an edit to my prior post, in the form of a statement that my gratitude and love goes out to the incredibly awesome women in my immediate life, Rebecca, Casey, and of course, my mother Jean, for all of the love and support they have given me and the support they show every sign of offering in the future.

There's a large degree, I think, to which this will be the end of a specific decades-long horrific anxiety on my mother's part.
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RIP Roger Ebert   
03:33pm 05/04/2013
  I've been thinking about why Roger Ebert's death affected me so much (and it did); I am sure that on one hand, it's catalyzed by the very recent death of my gradmother and the anniversary of my father's death - there's a  lot of stuff churning around in my head looking for expression.

But there's a lot more to it, too.  Ebert was an excellent writer; he had a style that made me feel like I *got* him.  More, that I knew him, and that if we lived near each other that we'd be friends.  He was thoughtful, compassionate, human, and humane.  He was wrong about a number of things - he doubted whether video games can be art, for one, and did not recognize the quality of Terry Gilliam's Brazil - but he always expressed himself clearly enough and without rancor that I had to respect his position.

I never met him and he never knew that I existed, but I still feel like I lost a valued friend.  I think in my head, he joins my personal pantheon of saints, with Jim Henson, Buckminster Fuller, and Frank Zappa.
Happy Rumi Day to all   
04:10am 14/02/2012
"Suddenly the drunken sweetheart appeared out of my door.
She drank a cup of ruby wine and sat by my side.
Seeing and holding the lockets of her hair
My face became all eyes, and my eyes all hands."

"This is a gathering of Lovers.
In this gathering
there is no high, no low,
no smart, no ignorant,
no special assembly,
no grand discourse,
no proper schooling required.
There is no master,
no disciple.
This gathering is more like a drunken party,
full of tricksters, fools,
mad men and mad women.
This is a gathering of Lovers."

"Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be."

- Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī
The Tell-Tale Drummer Boy   
03:25am 12/12/2011
mood: annoyed
The officers were satisfied. My MANNER had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a drumming in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. 

"Pa rum pum pum pum."

The drumming became more distinct : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness -- until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears.

"Pa rum pum pum pum."

No doubt I now grew VERY pale; but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased -- and what could I do? It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND -- MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN ENVELOPED IN COTTON. I gasped for breath, and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly, more vehemently but the noise steadily increased.

"Pa rum pum pum pum."

I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why WOULD they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. O God! what COULD I do? I foamed -- I raved -- I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder -- louder -- louder! 

"Pa rum pum pum pum."

And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! -- no, no? They heard! -- they suspected! -- they KNEW! -- they were making a mockery of my horror! -- this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! -- and now -- again -- hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER! --

"Pa rum pum pum pum, 
 Rum pum pum pum,
 Rum pum pum pum." 

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! -- tear up the planks! -- here, here! -- it is the beating of his hideous drum!"

[With apologies to Edgar Allan Poe, and none to Katherine K. Davis]
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Austin, the Stormy Has Landed   
10:32pm 18/11/2011
Stormy"s First ConquestStormy's First Conquest
Stormy takes possession of his rightful domain.  And cuddles.Stormy takes possession of his rightful domain. And cuddles.

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Cute bomb!   
05:21pm 17/11/2011
  Stormy's on the top.  The other puppy is Kovu (for now), his brother.  

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The Storm(ageddon) approaches   
07:14pm 08/11/2011
mood: excited
This is mostly a summary for friends who don't follow me on Facebook.  I'm still working out how to use LiveJournal in light of the blow-by-blow updates that Facebook facilitates.

I haven't posted publicly here in a while - in part because the one post I've been working on for months (about the Temple of Transition at Burning Man) hasn't yet come together completely, and in part because I try to limit my dwelling on tragedy - and it's been a super sucky year to date.  Not that nothing good has happened, but that quite a few seriously bad things have.  But that's not what this is about, with one exception (Bear).

Becca and I have decided that it's finally time to get another dog.  Losing Bear was a serious blow - with dogs, I lower my defenses in a way that I almost never do with humans, I bond really solidly with them, we're pack, and Bear and I were really close.   And Becca... she had Bear since he actually did fit in the palm of her hand, so she has been devastated. And that, after all, is the downside of the bargain when we love - the price that we pay for the joy they bring to our lives is that we will eventually lose them.

But I'd managed to mostly put that aside, except on the occasions where Bear was directly being talked about, or when the house has been especially quiet late at night, or ... well, anyway, most of the time.  But at this point it isn't a constant pain, and I don't see the exceptions going away quickly on their own.  The hole that Bear left in our lives has finally scarred at the edges, and the remaining space is room for a new canine companion.
And we've found an awesome one here: ... (which doesn't do him justice: see our phone camera photos linked to from the photo above).  We met him and played with him last night, submitted the application last night, and we will go to the adoption interview tomorrow.  He's awesome - gentle, smart, a little bit reserved, but once he's comfortable he pulls out all the stops and puppies hard.  He's part German Shepherd, so that intelligence is probably going to develop into the same kind of canny loyalty that Bear had. 

We're going to name him "Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All" after this Doctor Who clip:

We're really excited.  We're feeling Bear's loss a bit more right now, as all of those feelings have been stirred up by actively searching for a new dog, but once we get Stormy home we're going to be really happy with him.

By the way: looking up Stormageddon on Urban Dictionary tells us, "Demons run when Stormageddon smiles."
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End o' the tunnel   
09:21pm 17/07/2011
  After a month or two (or more) of emotional turmoil (after way more sources of chaos that I have had to deal with at once, for years), I think that some time over the last few days I hit a mix between an exhaustion wall and boredom with the turmoil.

I think that's probably a good thing. And I think for me, overload hypersensitivity - immediately followed by boredom - is a twofer late stage of grief. My own version of "acceptance," I guess - "can't change it, stop sweating it already."

Once I hit the boredom stage with my own shit I can get perspective, put stuff behind me, and finally start looking at my life in a more casual, more long-term and less panicked frame of mind.

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06:35am 03/06/2011
mood: Grieving
(I haven't written something like this in a long while. I try to limit my completely self-absorbed Livejournal postings to no more than one a year - this is that one. It's more an attempt to process than anything else, some expression to help lead me to where I am trying so hard not to go.

Sorry. Grieving is kind of a self-centered process.)

Huddled in the safety of a pseudo silk kimono
Wearing bracelets of smoke,
Naked of understanding
Nicotine smears, long, long dried tears,
Invisible tears

Safe in my own words,
Learning from my own words
Cruel joke, cruel joke

I don't deal with grief very well. I don't suppose that anybody does, but we're all dysfunctional in our own, special ways. Or so, at least, we like to tell ourselves.

I try to distract myself from those overwhelming feelings. I don't suppose that this is rare, humans are very good at coming up with a variety of avoidance strategies. There are many ways to avoid grief, but this way is mine.

The way I react to this kind of overwhelming grief is to focus on intellectual approaches to everything around those feelings. It's not a conscious decision, I have more of a fight-or-flight feeling around it - applying intellect instinctively seems prudent: avoid feeling too much, focus on identifying threats and challenges, and then formulate strategies for overcoming or averting them. Or at the very least, cut them into manageable pieces.

Yeah, be analytical. That'll keep the old noggin' busy.

Huddled in the safety of a pseudo silk kimono
A morning mare rides,
In the starless shutters of my eyes
The spirit of a misplaced childhood is rising to speak his mind

To this orphan of heartbreak,
Disillusioned and scarred
A refugee, refugee.

So instead of processing the feelings in their own right, I focus on how to either lessen the grief of the people around me, or how to anticipate and avoid problems related to that grief (whether realistic or not). Or even try to analyze how I deal (or don't) with grief.

This often does not translate well to other people, who might see me as cold, or as having some other motivation. 16 years ago, when my father was suddenly killed - my entire family was in shock. As his eldest child, It felt like I had a sudden responsibility to try to navigate this horrifying, completely alien situation. I had a conversation with my brother where, for good or ill, I had it in my head that fights over inheritance can tear families apart, so I proposed something simple that seemed to give me the much lesser part. I didn't care, so long as this looming threat to our family was disposed of - get the issue in the past. To this day, he thinks I had some petty motivation - and any time he accuses me of having only cared about material inheritance, I can only say it's not true before I am just overwhelmed with despair over the whole thing.

So that adds another layer of emotion to my attempt to react intellectually to emotion. Now, I also worry about whether my excuse for a coping mechanism is going to alienate the people around me. Which makes me try to anticipate problems around that and ... you get the idea.

The sweet smell of a great sorrow lies over the land
Plumes of smoke rise and merge into the leaden sky:
A man lies and dreams of green fields and rivers,
But awakes to a morning with no reason for waking

He's haunted by the memory of a lost paradise
In his youth or a dream, he can't be precise
He's chained forever to a world that's departed
It's not enough, it's not enough

So now I have thrown myself into supporting Becca - who knew Bear much longer than I did, from a tiny hand-sized puppy, even though it now feels like he'd always been part of my life. While he was declining, I tried to keep everybody up to date on his status, so she didn't have to. I tried to do anything I could to take the burden of his decline from her, and give her some breathing room. And now, she dreads having to face Bear's bed, and toys, and all of the other accoutrements of our life with Bear... so I try to get all of those things gathered up so she doesn't have to face them.

All of it because it's easier for me to face her grief than to face my own. And I worry that maybe everybody would be better off if I could just sit still and mourn.

It's not super-rational, but it's what I've got. It's how I delay grieving, hoping that somehow buying just a little more distance in time, or space, or events, will somehow make coping more manageable, somehow less overwhelming. Or maybe simply delay it so long that I become bored, even jaded with myself on the topic.

I suppose it's a kind of disassociation. And perhaps it's also an attempt to assert power in a situation where I am fundamentally powerless. Even writing this is an attempt to package up my feelings into a nice little package that I can stamp, "handled."

This can only work for so long, until the Hour of the Wolf - when all of our fears come snarling and howling to our doors.

The roses in the window box
Have tilted to one side,
Everything about this house
Was born to grow and die.

Now, Bear is gone. I know that we did everything we could to give him as much joy as possible in the life he had left, and that he loved being spoiled rotten. We only ended his life when it was clear that there was little joy, and only pain and profound discomfort left for him. And I know that we do not now grieve for him - his pain is over, his story ended. We grieve for our loss, the gaping wound in our lives that he leaves behind.

This is a muddled post, not helped by the pain medication for the migraine that hit me tonight, triggered by stress, the inability to eat for most of the day, and by lack of sleep from our vigil downstairs with Bear last night, because he was too weak to go up the stairs.

Bear - the most fantastic, loving, dedicated animal companion I've known in my adult life, our companion, our guardian, our ward, our fixed and consequent brother - is gone, well before his time, struck down by an emerging disease that veterinarians don't yet understand. And there's not a goddamned thing that anybody could do about it. It was a lingering, random death and he deserved so much better.

All that's left is coping - and one day, when it can do more than remind us of the chasm we now have in our lives, we can remember what a joy, a pleasure, and a privilege it was to share our lives with him.

(FIrst two lyrics blocks: Marillion, "Pseudo Silk Kimono," from Misplaced Childhood. Third: Pink Floyd, "Sorrow," from Delicate Sound of Thunder. Fourth: Elton John, "Funeral for a Friend / Love Lies Bleeding," from Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.)
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Friends list maintenance.    
01:02pm 29/05/2011
  I've just unfriended a number of folks who didn't have me listed as a friend, without a whole bunch of discretion exercised. So if you're wondering, that's why. If I was unfriended by accident, just refriend me and I'll catch up with it.  
Candidate Doctor Who Episodes for Old BBC Night   
04:23pm 13/05/2011
mood: nerdy
[This note is now orphaned - Facebook fixed the problem with my note hosted there, which is a better place for me to maintain it.  If you read this and have any suggestions regarding 1st and 2nd Doctor stories for an audience that is looking to hit the highlights, please speak up!]

This note is a persistent location for notes about candidate Doctor Who episodes for Old BBC Night at Casa sin Nombre. I will keep it updated with my notes and suggestions for options (This Livejournal post is a temporary measure, until Facebook stops telling me that a note with the same content is too spammy to post to my own event).

William Hartnell
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1964, 6 parts, story #10) - The final appearance of the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan Foreman. The second appearance of the Daleks. Also an extremely ambitious story that was way past the capabilities of their special effects. It's one of the more action-oriented 1st Doctor stories, so might not be so ponderous. This was later remade into a feature film starring Peter Cushing as a human scientist named "Dr. Who." ( ) - I have this DVD, btw.
Patrick Troughton

Most of the early Troughton stories are lost.
  • The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967, 4 parts, #37) - This is the first Troughton story we have that is not a reconstruction, and his first Cybermen episode (and the 2nd overall). (The Doctor is 450 years old here, btw). It builds a lot of the details that become important about (old) Cybermen later, and is not a bad place to get a taste of Troughton's Doctor.
  • The Ice Warriors - (1967, 6 parts, #39) - This is when we first meet the real Martians. They were relatively important in early Doctor Who, and there are rumors that they will be back soon in current Doctor Who. Downside: eps 2 and 3 are reconstructions.
  • The Dominators (1968, 5 parts, #44) - This is a curiosity, in that it introduced a race known as the Quarks, who were stand-ins for the Daleks in the BBC's merchandizing plans. They came back a lot in the tie-in books and audio plays, but not in televised Doctor Who.
  • The Mind Robber (1968, #45) - Another curiosity. There's a character named The Master, but he's not the Time Lord "The Master." The story is basically pure fantasy, taking place in a pocket universe.
  • The Invasion (1968, 8 parts, #46) - Important Cyberman serial, but sadly 2 parts are reconstructions. Uses UNIT and (Colonel?) Lethbridge-Stewart.
  • The Seeds of Death (1969, 6 parts, #48) - The Second appearance of the Ice Warriors (Martians), and also the first time we see the teleportation technology called Transmat (called something else in earlier eps, but Transmat sticks for many years, through at least Tom Baker).
  • The War Games (1969, 10 parts, #50) - A very important story, but also very long; we would have to break it up into 2 parts. This is the last of the Patrick Troughton stories, he is regenerated into Jon Pertwee at the end. It is the first time we saw the Time Lords as a species and a culture. Neil Gaiman also said that his upcoming (this Saturday) story features something that we haven't seen since this story.
Already Viewed:
  • The 10th Planet - This is the last William Hartnell (1st Doctor) story, and is the first appearance of the Cybermen. Definitely slow, and the last episode, the reconstructed one, didn't work very well.
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WTF? Slacker.   
02:11am 29/07/2010
  I fajl at Livejournal.

I am mostly posting knee-jerk thoughts, musings, and other reactions on Facebook these days,

I have a couple of thoughts that might turn into longer essays here at some point, but this LJ porch light is only barely on.

My Facebook, by the way:
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02:06am 20/08/2009
  Heya Pittsburghish friends! Um, which of you are still in Pittsburgh? beccane and I are taking a break from the triple-digit temperatures of Texas in the 'burgh this week and would love to see lots of you! Post here or mail me, but let me know!  
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05:24pm 19/04/2009
  So what the CIA calls all of its, "we're trying to get as close to torture as we legally can" techniques (and what the Gestapo called "verschärfte vernehmung")1.

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques


1 - Godwin's law doesn't apply when you're discussing techniques that actually appear in Gestapo interrogation manuals.
06:02am 13/04/2009
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Hello? Are those things on?   
05:52am 04/04/2009
  I really would have expected to see somebody on my LJ friends list crowing about the Iowa decision by now. Mark? Regis? Surely Tom would!

But no. Maybe you all thought it was an April Fools' thing.

So... big yay. Equal protection under the law for homosexual people seeking marriage in Iowa in 21 days, with no chance of amendment until 2012, and very unlikely even that soon. Whodathunkit?

In the past few months, it's like the United States suddenly realized that it's okay to act like grown-ups. I swear, it's like I don't even know this country any more.

[EDIT: Maybe this is a good thing - that as good as this news is, it's not considered the shout-from-the-treetops kind of surprising news unless someone is personally affected. The future history of this thing is pretty clear to most people at this point.]

[EDIT2: My bad, Liz mentioned it. I read my LJs in a fairly haphazard way, person by person at intervals not necessarily related to one another.]
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Fun with Closed Captioning   
05:56pm 23/01/2009
  Sometimes when you have the TV on with closed captioning, you see changes between the script

This is sometimes particularly interesting in news casts.

Last night's FOX News' _Special Report with Bret Baier_ ended one segment with, "Next segment:Is it fair for the federal government to try to balance the health budget on the backs, or the stomachs of, fat people?"

Thing is, the closed captioning read, "...on the backs of smokers."

Interesting editorial decision there.