Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I'm reading a book right now - 'American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century' about a series of bombings that took place in the good old days of 1910, when you could buy a stick of dynamite at the grocery store.

I've read a lot about history, watched many years of programming on The History Channel, and surprisingly, I had no idea any of these goings on had - er, gone on.

The thing that impressed me most is how the detectives go about their investigation, mostly by going door to door and talking to people, and piecing together a description of the bombers. I mean, think about this for a minute - they do not have a photo.

Imagine walking into a bar, ambling up to the barkeep and saying "Good evening, my good sir! I am searching for a cadre of mad bombers. Our prime suspect is a white male in his early 30's. He wears a black suit of clothes, wears a black derby, has mutton chops and a manly mustache. Have you seen this man?"

The barkeep blinks at the detective, then runs his fingers through his manly mustache, his mutton chops aquiver with laughter. "Every time I look in the mirror!" He spins in place, laughing. "Watch out, boys! I'm a mad bomber!"

The bar full of white, mustacheoed, mutton-chopped, 30'ish men wearing black suits and black derbys laugh uproariously.

It's easy to forget how much easier our modern investigative teams have it, in comparison. When you can pull DNA out of used chewing gum and match it against thousands of known suspects in a matter of hours, it changes the game quite a bit.

The book is slow-paced but interesting - a good library read, I'd say.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Real Life Conversation #51

You know what I've been wanting since we went to see 'Shutter Island'?

Um. No...

Another coke/cherry Icee!

Huh. My slurpee fetish was quashed during the two weeks I worked at 7-11. Wait, ask me that question again.

Ok. You know what I've been wanting since we went to see 'Shutter Island'?

A refund? Ha ha ha!

Come on, it wasn't that bad...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tilt to Live!

A few days ago, I downloaded a fun new iPhone game called 'Tilt to Live'.

(Click the link above to watch the trailer)

I'm enjoying the simple clean design of the game as well as the layout of the menu's.

Instead of being flat, the options appear to be set at an angle, giving the menu more 'pop'.

The loading screen (which lasts only about ten seconds at the very beginning) does not tell you that it is loading, instead it gives you a variety of different instructions to distract you for a moment.

The loading screen messages I've seen;

A Test of Rage - Become infuriated at the spinning icon to advance.

A Test of Geography - Recite the names of all 7 continents alphabetically to advance.

A Test of Debate - Compel the spinning icon to stop using sound logic.

A Test of Tranquility - Relive a happy memory from your childhood to advance.

Gameplay is very simple; little red bacteria-like enemies appear and swarm toward your little white triangular ship. A variety of weapons spawn in at random, which you trigger by running into them. The music is a catchy-folksy-French tune that sounds like it belongs in the movie Amelie.

There are no on-screen controls (which is a problem in many iPhone games, where your finger is covering up important onscreen real estate). Instead, you simply tilt the phone to move your ship.

I appreciate game designers that don't take themselves too seriously - even the weapons have quirky names. This is a good game, well worth the $1.99 price tag.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


They’ve probably been on the market a good twenty years, but I just ‘discovered’ floss picks.

I like the small form factor, but the fact that they’re disposable troubled me - why not make the handle out of some heavy duty ceramic and the ‘floss’ out of some very fine and durable metal wire? Then you only need one per person, and they last forever!

Apparently you are to use a new pick each time to minimize reintroduction of bacteria into your mouth, but how about a copper wire? Copper has natural antimicrobial properties!

I was merrily flossing away with one of these picks, imagining that I was using one of my own sturdy design…When I got the little bastard stuck!

No matter what I did, I could not work the floss free – only a careful snip of our kitchen cut-all scissors (ick) allowed me to escape. So in the end, I’m glad it wasn’t metal floss after all – I don’t want wire cutters anywhere near my mouth.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mmn Vicodin

I recently lost a tooth - an old root canal and crown - to some sneaky decay. Since it was a root canal, I didn’t have any discomfort while the decay was working its sinister way into the root. Since it had been 2 years since I’d been to the dentist, it wasn’t caught in time and had to be pulled on Friday – two stitches, ouchie!

I spend a lot of my time at work giving hour-long software training sessions, sometimes up to four hours a day for sessions, with additional support calls on top of this. Thanks to all this talking my throat gets sore, so I often have a Cepacol throat lozenge in my mouth.

I realized today that I usually have a lozenge tucked in the back left of my cheek, directly against the tooth I just lost. I’ve had this job for the past two and a half years, and I’m almost certain the throat lozenges are the culprit.

Of course, no one made me use the lozenges, no one made me skip regular dental visits, no one forced me to avoid better dental hygiene – it’s all my own fault.

Let my poor lil tooth be a lesson to you all – if you have a sore throat from speaking too much; try to speak less, speak more softly, and avoid bad habits like popping lozenges as a daily crutch.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

Despite my bitterness for the way Battlestar Gallactica ended a great series with a sadly lacking final season, I find myself drawn to Caprica, the new series by the same writer/producer, Ronald D. Moore.

Will I never learn that a series will rarely meet my expectations in the end? At least I never bothered with Lost after my frustrations with Alias. Maybe the ride is more important than the destination.

I'll be light on the Caprica details, since I don’t want to spoil anything.

Caprica takes place 58 years before Battlestar Gallactica and occupies a world probably fifty years ahead of our technology in 2010. Basic AI is in use, with advanced robotics just around the corner. Virtual reality is commonplace on Caprica, though since it’s a new technology the majority of its users are teens. There’s an interesting crossover taking place between robotics and the VR world which I think is pretty inspired – I don’t know that Moore came up with the idea… In Sci-Fi it’s very hard to be the first to conceive any concept.

I was finding it difficult to really connect with any of the characters, finally settling on Lacy Rand (yum) and Tamara Adama – I suppose I like them because they are outsiders, trying to navigate a difficult world on their own. What does that say about me - do I feel like an outsider? Not really.

The juxtaposition of the highly technical Greystone family and the highly cultural, family-oriented Adama household definitely makes me want to side with the Adama’s, even though I’m a technology lover. I don’t have much family culture (we’re very close-knit, but lack traditions) so maybe traditions are something I’m craving. Cindy and I have talked about creating our own traditions, but this idea seems so false - did the early humans feel this way?

The series has been somewhat slow to gain momentum, but they’re working to get a number of different threads going so the pace is understandable.

Only seven episodes have aired, to date – so it’s not too late for you folks to get into it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nom Nom Nom

In our quest to devour less cholesterol, we’ve switched from normal eggs to egg whites in a carton. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that these eggs are just as tasty as real eggs (since they are real eggs).

The only caveat is that since the white goo has no yolk (as was the plan) that the end results (scrambled eggs, french toast) are so anemic they don’t look like real eggs. A few drops of yellow food coloring has solved this problem very nicely!

For some reason, I had to learn the hard way that egg white goo will not work for ‘eggs in a basket’, since this dish is all about the yolk. Duh.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Floss Bot!

There should be a teeny flossing remote control toy (I'm picturing something sperm-like in design) that you could use to floss your teeth. It's motors would run on the acidity of your saliva, and need only a very short range for transmitting and receiving.

Think of the nifty iPhone app you could use to control it!

It would fun to tilt the phone around or use the handy on-screen touchpad to navigate your gums and teeth, obliterating the evil plaquoids. The app could overlay animated baddies that you would chase, the end result would be a thorough flossing of the entire mouth.

You could have levels, boss battles, and cleaner teeth! What would make this a killer app would be kick ass theme music - we should call the guy who did the Tetris theme.

Of course, the floss-bot could simply follow a pre-programmed path for a thorough clean, but where's the fun in that?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Hospital Snaps

Always remember 2! (sniffle!)

The fact that the 'Labyrinth' plate uses a different font and different arrows than the other plates troubles me more than it should...

Cardiologist Appt Today

The appointment went well, we asked a long list of questions. I audio recorded the whole thing, because you can never jot notes as quickly as you'd like.

Most importantly, they won’t know if Cindy needs any implanted devices or invasive procedures until they’ve had three months of monitoring on her current medications – they will reassess at that point. They signed a form which gives her the next few months off from work (luckily she will get full pay from her company during this time).

We found out she can and should have light exercise, that we should feel no pressure to move from our second floor apartment to a first floor one (we might move anyway… Lake view? Patio? Vaulted ceilings?). Thanks to my Army brat upbringing, I’m ready to move every two years and it’s been four years. I'm itching to move, even if to a different apartment in the same complex.

I mentioned my frustration with the blood pressure monitors, and they suggested that if I bought a manual cuff, they will teach me to use it at the next appointment, which will be in April – so that’s cool.

All in all, good information, good appointment – many questions were answered.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I worked today - ugh - because the girl who was supposed to work ran over her own dog (and for this I am the one punished?).

It's not clear yet if the dog was run over with a car, golf cart, or lawn mower, but I'm assuming it's one of the first two. That's why you don't own a little rat dog.

I do not include dachshunds in the 'rat dog' category, never fear oh friends and family.

Friday, March 05, 2010


The hardest part of Cindy's condition is not knowing exactly what the condition means for her, for me, and our lives together.

They discharged her with two or three pieces of paper, not the five DVD's full of PDF's I was hoping for.

I have a million questions - what is a person's life expectancy when they have CHF? Should she be exercising at all? Should we forget about having kids? Should I buy her a wheelchair? A Segway? Should she plan to keep her job? Look for less stressful work? Plan to end her work career now and spend the rest of her life on disability? What should she be eating - low sodium, obviously but beyond that?

I can find many answers online, but I'm no doctor and how would I know if an answer is applicable to her exact condition? We have an appt on Monday morning - I hope for his sake the doctor has booked us out for a few hours.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

oh yeah the blog thing

Things are busy busy, I'm giving the house an all-over purge and cleanse since we need an apartment inspection before we can move to a first floor apartment. Busy days, long dreamless nights.

Cindy is doing pretty well, all things considered - she's only had one bad day in a week, which I think is great.

I've purchased two different blood pressure cuffs for her, both fit fine, but neither one will give a reading on a consistent basis, five times out of six will simply error out rather than give a reading (they work every time for me...) so I'll be buying our third blood pressure monitor today.