Monday, August 31, 2015

Reading and Writing

I just finished a three-volume series of science fiction that I really enjoyed -- except that I didn't like the way the last book ended.  It didn't live up to what I wanted the characters to do, where I wanted them to go.

So, I wrote a paragraph to end the book as I wanted it to end, and I tucked it in, next to the last page. Never did that before, but it felt right!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


By now, a lot of people have heard about the Ashley Madison hack, and have expressed satisfaction, outrage, unbridled glee, or some combination thereof.  So here's my take.  I think that cheating on your spouse is wrong -- but it doesn't deserve getting publicly outed.  I think that its not the business of anyone but the people involved.  Even if the hackers did it with pure intentions -- which I strongly doubt -- its none of their business.


I learned the other day that the son of my cousin had died.  He was in a horrific car accident, survived on life support for about a week, and then died.

I was his godfather, a relationship that had little meaning to me.  I saw him on the day of his christening, and perhaps two or three more times over the course of twenty years.  One time, I asked someone who that Asian-looking kid was, and they said Why, that's your godson!  Oh.

Feels weird.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


I was about to send a note to Eloisa James, author of a remaindered book that I liked (Paris in Love; but, its not actually about that), when I found that a) Eloise James is the pen name of Mary Bly, who teaches at Fordham University, and who has degrees from Oxford, Harvard, and Yale, and b) Mary Bly is a very well known author, both under her pen name for her exceedingly popular historical romances, as well as under her own name for historical research.  Which led me to the conclusion that she certainly does not need my "hey, I liked your book" note.  Might not even notice it.

And for some reason, that irritates me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Say What?

I have no idea if any of this is real == I am guessing not == but I like it.

Google Translate

Using Google Translate reminds me of the old saw about democracy: it's the worst form of government except for all of the others.  GT is an awful translation tool, and its better than all of the others. It can be really useful, until it blips and suddenly you find a word in your sentence that flat-out does not work.  When I first used it to write letters in French, I didn't realize that when I would 'sign' the letter with my name, Bill, it would insert the French word for a bill such as a law -- loiTon ami, Loi. LOI????  LOL!!!!!


It is much easier to say at 10PM that I am going to spend two hours studying French than it is to actually sit down and do it the next day.  Particularly when the studying consists of listening, ten or twenty times, to the same three minute audio, trying to understand, for example, that vohtrahrzhant is in fact votre argent.  And that L'IMF is pronounced lye em eff, not luh eye em eff.  I've emptied the dishwasher.  I've printed a recipe.  And now I've written a blog entry.  But that audio is still waiting....

Monday, August 17, 2015


I was bitching to my wife this morning about how incredibly difficult I'm finding it to improve my ability to understand rapidly spoken French, and how I wish I could stop, when she replied Well, you can, you know.  It's just you, making you do it. 

Oh.  Yeah.  Dammit. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Why not....

ISIS is raping and keeping women as sexual slaves.  Koran, you know.  At least, their Koran.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — She was a cheerleader, an honor student, the daughter of a police officer and a member of the high school homecoming court who wanted to be a doctor.
He was a quiet but easygoing psychology student. His father is a well-known Muslim patriarch here, whose personable air and habit of sharing food with friends and strangers made him seem like a walking advertisement for Islam as a religion of tolerance and peace.
Today, the young woman, Jaelyn Young, 19, and the young man, her fiancé, Muhammad Dakhlalla, 22, are in federal custody, arrested on suspicion of trying to travel from Mississippi to Syria to join the Islamic State.

So what if we just let all these people who want to go to ISIS just - go? Just put them on a plane, let them take their chances. Get raped, get killed?  And keep the aid workers here. Let the whole damn place implode.

It's a delightful image.

But then we wouldn't be the country we say we are, would we?  

Sunday, August 09, 2015


Thinking about getting the Fluenz language learning material, but I noticed that a whole bunch of the questions on their blog aren't answered.  This does not give me a warm and cozy feeling!

Thursday, August 06, 2015


We rented Kingsmen from Redbox last night.  We expected a frothy comedic spy novel, which we got.  We did not expect a movie that kept us glued to our chairs, the whole time -- but we got that, too.

It's really good.


Last week, for one week, I wore a Continuous Glucose Monitor to track what my blood sugars were.  Its a little awkward - the sensor is about the size of three stacked nickels, and is stuck to your skin, while the receiver is about the size of an iPod, and sits in your pocket.  I thought How good can this possibly be?

The answer is Very good.  With, I would swear, almost no changes to how I normally eat and move around, I got a virtually normal week of readings.  The nurse said she wished they all looked like that - she had almost no recommendations.  She suggested that I see if my insurance would cover getting one of those monitors, and I said that even if they didn't, I'd pay the roughly $1700 for one myself.  She pointed out that this is just the basic cost.  After the initial sensors wear out, you have to buy replacements.  You need a new sensor, every week.

This morning, I found that a box of four sensors costs $350.  No quantity discounts.

Well, crap.