Archive for August, 2011

Texas Smoldering

It’s not sweltering because it’s not Michigan.  I hear there is a fire going on somewhere in the state but it is not here.

But it was 105 today.

Yeah, but it’s a dry heat.

I got up, threw on my jeans and a t-shirt, jumped in the jeep and tore out of the driveway.

Then I turned around, went back home, threw the luggage in the vehicle and woke the kids to say goodbye for a few days.

Ran into work, stopped long enough to throw together one last panicky overnight box and issue a few vague orders and ran out the door there, too.

The airport was interesting.  An absolutely scary lady was heading right towards me and in my state it’s hard for me to change direction rapidly.  It was a collision course in the making.  She had some kind of fake wig, a big old mu-mu, mis-shapen face, five o’clock shadow, large nose, and huge pores… I was freaking out because we were heading right towards each other.  Then, about fifty feet away she veered off.

Yes, painkillers and Red Bull™ are quite a combination to behold.

I might have said something silly earlier about first class accommodations on the flight, complete with footrubs, aromatherapy, chocolate fondue, and all-you-can-eat-ribs.  Seriously, can you see me flying First Class?

The coffee was pretty good though.

Waited 30 minutes outside in sunny Dallas heat, which since it was a dry heat was quite pleasant.

The van ride to the hotel was… interesting… but that is a story for another day.

Cruel Wife says that even though I’d rather be at home, I need to take her out to dinner to treat her after all the good food I’m going to have eaten down here.

I told her that I was going to eat nothing but root vegetables while down here.

I just finished a Rutaburger with turnip fries and a Jerusalem artichoke puree.  Picture of that tomorrow if I can find the USB cable to the camera.

For now, I have to rest.  I’m wiped.

Been watching “Troy” on SyFy (worst damn name for a channel I’ve ever seen).  It’s easily the worst Homerism I’ve seen yet today.  Maybe some people liked it.  I was underwhelmed.  Which is too bad since generally I like Pitt and Bana.

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taobmaetS ooGcM rightly guessed that not all has been well recently.

I’ve been working like a horse to make a project work for months and finally two scientists I work with flew out to make it work – plus a third scientist who we are collaborating with.  I felt some relief that surely with their help we would lick this problem, but at the same time it was with a different small amount of relief that after three days three absolutely brilliant scientists found nothing flawed with my work.  But, that also means that we still didn’t make it work.

I told one of them that I thought that what we have been thinking our diagnostics have been telling us about our laser is incorrect and that meant that no matter what we did we would not get the wee beastie working.  She agreed.  I said I needed to go home because I physically couldn’t do any more.

That (Friday) evening, just two hours later, I got a phone call from one of the other scientists telling me that I could opt to say no, but “Would you go down to Texas to build the instrument that you designed at a different facility?”

What the hell are you supposed to do, say no?

Without missing a beat I said “Yup, I will go.”  When I got surprise on the other end I said “Look, I’ve been killing myself over this and I damn well want to see it work.  I’m not giving up.  If it doesn’t work it won’t be because I didn’t give it everything I’ve got.”

So this week I fly down to Texas to try another group’s laser and equipment – let’s hope it works.

Yes, that has been A problem but not THE problem.  I’ve been over-exerting myself physically and for long enough that my neck has been telling me things were seriously wrong.  Friday last, it really told me.  I was in a vicious pain cycle to the point where I nearly had a co-worker take me to the hospital but managed to get it under control with painkillers before that became necessary.

Saturday was the real problem.  I woke up in the morning pretty bad off and took pretty much everything I could, but after an hour I was even worse.  I asked Cruel Wife to call the pain doc and have him call the ER ahead of us so they knew to not let me sit in agony in the waiting room for three hours like last time (that was a few years back).  Problems with going to the ER are (1) acute embarrassment even though you just want them to make it stop, and (2) there is nothing you can say that will convince them that you truly aren’t a drug-seeker, unless you have a decent doc like I have finally found who managed to pin down three discs that other docs missed.

I was lying there, pretty much writhing on the bed, when Cruel Wife came in and said “here, take these… the doc called in another Rx”.  Time ceases to have any meaning when you feel like that so it had felt like both years and moments since I’d asked her to call the doc.   I took them and within 15-20 minutes I was wrung-out but the pain was receding rapidly, and I was drowsy enough to fall asleep.  I stayed drugged up all weekend, knowing that I had to pack up and fly to Texas for three days and hoping that the rest and meds would allow my body to heal a bit.

I still feel kind of cruddy but better than I have been.

My apologies for not posting – it will be spotty this week, too, but I will be taking all of next week off.


Well, damn.  Can’t say as how I blame him.  Makes you wish you could take the load off his shoulders though.  Through no fault of his own…


People assume weather science can predict anything?  Well, isn’t that true if climate scientists can project global warming and climate change out to 100 years from now?

“People see that and assume we can predict everything,” National Hurricane Center senior forecaster Richard Pasch said.

But when Irene struck, the storm did not stick with the forecast’s predicted major hurricane strength winds.

“It’s frustrating when people take our forecasts verbatim and say, ‘This is where it’s going to be at this time and this is how strong it’s going to be,'” Pasch said. “Because even though the track is good it’s not certain.”

In other news, global warming is causing a rise in mental illness.  Hmmm.   I thought the latter led to the former.

RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.

The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.

Damn, that is choice.


In my school days, getting good or perfect attendance was expected and if you were skipping a lot of days it mean an ass-kicking at home.  Now, apparently, you get an iPod for doing what you should have been doing anyway.


And here I thought Spice was a geriatric drug that gave you blue eyes and allowed you to fold space.  Well, it must do something if so many folks in the military (and elsewhere) are testing positive for it.  People don’t generally test positive for massive ingestion of talcum powder or carnuba wax because they don’t get you high.


Okay.  That’s all I’ve got for now.

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Then Tragedy Struck.

A lady from our church e:mailed me tonight.   Her story has touched my heart.

I’m writing this with tears in my eyes.I made a quick trip to Madrid Spain on a short vacation unfortunately i got mugged at the park of hotel where i stayed,worse of it was that my bags, cash, mobile phone and credit cards were all stolen at GUNPOINT leaving me penniless right now.
It’s was a horrible experience for me and i need help flying back home,the authorities are not being 100%  supportive but the good thing is that i still have my passport.I need some cash to settle my billsand get on flight back home. please let me know if you can help.
I’m freaked out at the moment..
But after that touching story, it gives one a moment to pause and reflect as one reaches for that third hanky.
There are a few things wrong with this… (takes deep breath)… (1) I can’t see this lady with tears in her eyes and e:mailing me,  (2) I’m surprised that she would turn to me since we’re not like best buds or anything and she could at least have bothered with an opening salutation like “Dear Lemur”, (3)  this lady wouldn’t make a quick trip to the store without fanfare and the idea of a trip to Europe without even a little attention-whoring is fishy, (4) she doesn’t do “short vacations”, (5) she uses regular punctuation and used to be a teacher, (6) she violated grammar in an obscene way with the at park of hotel part, so refer to #5 again, please (7)  “worse of it was” is so unusual that I’d expect bestiality charges brought against her before I expected that grammar, (8) nobody in the US says “mobile phone” anymore, (9) she couldn’t have been robbed at gunpoint because all of the European gun control laws have ensured that no firearms-related crime is even possible there, (10) vanishingly few Americans use “penniless” in speech, (11) as much as she likes to talk I think that stating that it was a horrible experience is a waste of breath even for her, (12) you ought to think it over before flying her right home as there’s some positives to leaving her there, (13) the authorities not being 100% supportive doesn’t make sense because after about 30 minutes of listening to her talk would be enough for them to think of the negatives to leaving her there, (14)  that they stole everything but her passport makes no sense unless she carried it stuffed in the crack of her ass, (15)  asking me for the cash to settle her bills neglects to take into account the curdled milk of human kindness, (16) grammar, again, and this time I must wonder if only illiterate people get mugged, (17) it is not clear how I’m supposed to help if all I know is that she’s staying in a hotel, she has no ID, and is being held by unsupportive authorities without a mobile phone, and lastly, (18) her freak level varies between “kindergarten” and “PMS” so I’m not sure any descriptor has much meaning.

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Russian supply rocket blows up after launch.

NASA is counting on Russia as well as Japan and Europe to keep the orbiting outpost stocked, now that the space shuttles are no longer flying. The shuttle program ended in July with the Atlantis mission; a year’s worth of food and other provisions were delivered.

That burning sensation?  Shame.  Pure unalloyed shame.

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Oh, and I ordered Deus Ex: Human Revolution, juuuuust coming in under the wire as a pre-order and getting the tactical pack (nifty weapons and in-game credits unlocks).   So in two days, it will be here.  Yay!  Talk about waiting till the last moment.

May it be a damn sight better than Duke Pukem: Never.


I am inspiration-less.  Be patient with me.  Been a rough week.  Still numb-er than I would like (left hand) and the left arm and neck pain is still there (no, it is not a heart-attack).   Not a lot can be done about it besides piss and moan, so I piss and moan.

The Dude is a rock.  He sent me this gorgeous haute cuisine photograph.  It is just gorgeous.  As in “I could gorge on that”.


My Granddad used to always say, “Lemur, I don’t eat guts.  Don’t eat guts, Lemur.”   He clearly mentioned that our family had a long history of not eating offal/organs from critters when there were so many other tasty parts.

I have diverged from his paths on occasion.  I like liverwurst.  I like menudo.  But generally I try to stay away from guts.

Which is why I never eat placenta.  I just don’t do it.  If it’s human placenta, isn’t that cannibalism?  How about if it is your placenta?  Is it wrong or just really frakkin’ gross?   Really?  Seriously?   The Placenta Cookbook?

Holy sh*t-sucking leeches, Batman…

Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo, is the country’s leading (and quite possibly only) authority on placentophagia, the practice of placenta consumption. He has been researching the phenomenon for twenty years, and concludes that it must offer “a fundamental biological advantage” to all mammals. What this advantage is, he writes in one of his papers, “is still a mystery … in fact, a double mystery. We are not sure either of the immediate causes … nor are we sure of the consequences of the behavior.”

Well, we don’t even know what the advantages are, but it sure seems to make more sense to eat it because it seems like the creepier something is when we eat it the better it ought to be for you, right?

The guy just wanders in and out, though.

According to Kristal, the first recorded placentophagia movement in America began in the seventies, when people residing in communes would cook up a placenta stew and share it among themselves. “It’s a New Age phenomenon,” he explains. “Every ten or twenty years people say, ‘We should do this because it’s natural and animals do it.’ But it’s not based on science. It’s a fad.”

I knew a couple families when I was growing up that were like this.  They wove their own clothes out of hair from their bodies combined with yak-teat fuzz for some of the softest underclothes ever – well, softest ever relative to the hemp burlap they normally recycled into their garments.  These people also made huts out of straw and cow manure, smoked dried moss, and thought urine was a fantastic aphrodisiac.

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The Dude sent me a link to a Steampunk Mr. Potato Head.  Found by him over at Instructables.com

I don’t have a lot to say.  One good thing is that the injection in one of the arthritic joints was…  cautiously, because I don’t want to jinx it… a success.  It just doesn’t hurt like it did.  It friggin’ ached and then some and now it’s a irritant, nothing much more.

The other side of the neck with the disc issues?  Meh.  Left arm numb/pain still there, neck still hurts.  But I’m happy with anything at this point.  One less source of discomfort.



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A photographer saw several high school girls being incredibly abusive to some classmates on FaceBook.  Then…

She took screenshots, sent them to the girl’s parents, said she was not going to take their pictures, and refunded the $200 deposit.

Oh. My.  GOD.

Ms. McKendrick (Jennifer McKendrick), I am willing to drive to Indiana to pay you to photograph my family.

Seriously, that takes real character.  Good for you, ma’am.

I don’t want to photograph them, I don’t want them to be a part of my business image and I don’t want them on my blog. – Jennifer McKendrick


Well, this is sad.  Don’t read if you’re not up for a story that you’re not quite sure will have a happy ending or not.  It’s not over yet.

Someone took a child and neglected her until it snuffed her spirit right out.  Nice.

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