Sunday, December 31, 2006

Oshogatsu greetings...

Just wishing everyone a happy new year, and a very geeky Otakushogatsu.

Here's my card.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's Multiple Myeloma.

The diagnosis is in. Richie's got Multiple Myeloma, which is a cancer of the bone marrow. It sounds super-scary at first but it actually is a fairly slow-moving disease that can be managed with both a current generation of drugs and a new generation that is being rolled out. It's not great news but it isn't a death sentence either.

My family is rallying around us, and so is what's left of Richie's family. We should be OK.

Thanks to all who have been thinking good thoughts, meditating, praying, and whatever else. It is appreciated. Please keep it going.

And the doctors, nurses, orderlies, respiratory therapists, counselors, case managers and so forth at Mission Community Hospital have been wonderful. Small hospital, big heart, good people.

I'll keep everyone posted about updates, unless TMI is involved.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I feel (not so) good.

It is going to be a fucking drag to break the news to Richie that James Brown is dead.

I can't keep this news from him. Regardless of what he's feeling like right now. I have to. It's my duty as his eyes and ears. He's sworn off TV and the Radio as part of his healing strategy, but I get him the paper every day. And it's going to be in there, of course.

As far as Richie's condition, things are actually better, believe it or not. There is now a theory of why Richie's experiencing what he's experiencing, and it is a curable, and also thankfully not fatal condition. It's called Hyperparathyroidism and basically results from the Parathyroid glands going out of control and leeching calcium from the bones and putting it into the bloodstream.

Hopefully if that is the explanation things will resolve well. If Borat would say, "not so much."

Update: the other possibility is Multiple Myeloma. As cancers go, it's not horrible, but it's not great. You can die of it, but you can also linger for years and years and maybe even do OK. My Great Aunt Charlotte had it, but it wasn't what killed her. What usually kills people with Multiple Myeloma is infections (it suppresses the immune system) and the consequences of thinning brittle bones.

We find out about the bone marrow biopsy tomorrow. We hope.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The official grades...and bad news...

Here's the official grades:

Meanwhile, Richie is going through a major health crisis. He's in the hospital now. The doctors are either not sure yet what is going on with him or they are keeping their cards very close to their vests. The uncertainty is driving both of us crazy. Even though Richie is strongly urging me to continue with my studies, he's going to need lots of help and so will I if this turns out to be something other than a temporary, immediately curable problem.

Needless to say, this is a really crummy holiday season. Since the death of my father on Christmas Eve Day in 1975 I've been in the "holiday blues" category. No, this isn't my freaking holiday, but the cultural, non-religious aspects of the holidays are still a big part of American life so I've been at least ambivalent about them for most of my life.

But this tops it all. Richie and I have had, rarity of rarities, a really good marriage for almost 20 years. I used to think I'd kill myself if I lost him but I think I have enough of a sense of mission in my life to want to carry on without him, no matter how difficult life will be. I want him to survive this, most importantly. However, if surviving means heroic measures, horribly poisonous chemo, punishing radiation treatments or other "cure is worse than the disease" treatments, he has said he will refuse them. I have to support him on this regardless of how I feel. And to be honest, after seeing what my mom went through, I would likely make the same decision.

I am not a happy camper. But I have to be strong now, for both our sakes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Grades time...

As you recall, it's been already established that I have an A in Stats. Now then. I now know what my grades are for Fall 2006 semester.

Psychology of Gender 3 units B+ 3.33
Personality 3 units A 4.00
Stats for Behavioral Sci 1 4 units A 4.00
Influence and Persuasion 3 units A- 3.66

Total for S2006 3.77 GPA
Total GPA 3.73 GPA

GPA is just about unchanged if you keep the significant digits at two.

The Stats grade isn't officially posted -- Prof. Allevado is being a sweetie and holding the grades to let one straggler student bring his paper in -- but I already knew what he was going to post.

Of course, it's not as good as straight As, but it's still pretty impressive. I am on track to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Woodbury. 3.66 F2005, 3.80 S2006, 3.77 F2006. Woodbury doesn't make a big deal about the Dean's List like LAVC did, but I've been on it every semester since arriving there.

The project I started in Social Psych and continued in Stats 1 will continue into the future. We're going to put the survey on the web so that I can get more respondents. I'm going to have to figure out how to get people interested in the survey, though. Maybe giving away a Wii might be a good move. That costs, though. Time to learn the arcane art of grant proposals.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I'm now on Blogger:TNG for all my blogs, past, present and future

OK, now everything has moved over. I'm happy. There are still bugs in the New Blogger, but the Googleplex is pretty good at smashing 'em as they pop up. Spiffy, spiffy, spiffy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

One the course I wasn't expecting to get one...

I'm now finding out what my likely grades are for this semester...well at least on one class, anyway.

Would you believe...STATS 1????!?!????

SPSS test went off with no hitches, the "statistics concepts test" was way easier than I thought, and even though I need to do a rewrite on my paper the current paper was graded an A. So I am likely to have an A. Amazing. Freaking amazing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Three presentations down, one more to go.

Today was the day for my presentation about my Stats 1 project. This time I hit it out of the park. Very proud of myself, especially when I consider that the first two presentations was, although trouble free, not up to my high standards.

The project looks like it will continue after Stats 1 is over. This is the one on video games and desensitization to violence. I know the subject matter is going to yank some friends of mine's chains, but it's like this: there is something going on in this data and I want to find out the truth. I don't have an agenda. I would rather be the one to prove all the social scientists wrong about a link between video games and desensitization to violence. But I'm determined to see it through to whatever conclusion the data takes me.

I also have four term papers, two "wrap up the journal" papers that are a lot shorter than the term papers, and one short final exam to take.

I'd better get a move on and quit screwing around blogging....

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just when I thought I wouldn't blog something for a while...

...they pull me right back in! (apologies to Al Pacino)

Anyway, I just got finished trying to get people to participate in not one, but TWO surveys for Stats I, and I just heard about this grad student who's trying to get bloggers to link to this post as part of an experiment in spreading a meme. He's doing this for a paper he will actually be presenting to the MLA.

Maybe if I do this I'll generate such good karma that I will be able to get all the participants I need for my next research project. And no doubt there will be more next semester.

Update time...

1.) My DSL linespeed is finally up to where I'm happy with it. I was getting something like 500-650 down, but since I'm paying for 768/128 I really, really wanted a scoch more bandwidth. Now I apparently have it. Yay! My upstream speed has always been hovering around a little above 128.

2.) Life with the new lappie has been just lovely. It's way faster than anything I have owned, ever. And when Leopard comes out either in Q1 or Q2 2007 it should be absolutely SSSMOKIN'. And I'm not talking about the heat factor either. The Core 2 Duo is a 64-bit chip. Once more of the system becomes 64-bit native, and there wasn't 64-bit native code up until Tiger, things will only get faster. The big hangup is with the two apps that have to run PPC-to-Intel translated through Rosetta: Office 2004 and Photoshop Elements 4. Everything that's native Universal Binary code tears along happily. As far as heat goes, again, if it has to go through the Rosetta emulator things get warm quickly. If it doesn't, it's surprisingly cool considering the reports about Core Duo (Yonah) in the past. Merom (Core 2 Duo) uses less current draw than the original recipe Core Duo does.

3.) School has been absolutely nucking futz these past few days and it'll only get worse. It's going to be a bumpy ride for the next few days, and Tom Reed's visit down here is not likely to provide a respite.

4.) I will be taking a breather on Saturday for a few items: Apple Store for some helpful podcast hints, Jo-Ann's for $1 Simplicity Patterns (limit 10). Next Saturday it will be patterns from McCall's and Butterick that will be on sale: $2/pattern (limits unknown). That will also be when Tom will be down so who knows when we'll get to those. However, I will need to keep plugging away up until then and after. The first big priority is the Excel spreadsheet for Stats 1. I will be at school all day tonight, so I'm bringing the Happy Lappie with me to finish the job. Maybe I'll even input the 48 cases I need to input on my personal project. Wouldn't that rock?

I will likely observe Internet silence during this crazy period. See you later.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Back up again, and in transition...

Wow...lots and lots and lots of transition.

1.) My Great Uncle died. It hit me like a ton of bricks...Uncle Chuck was a guy who could make even the most depressed person smile. When my dad died he was the only one who could make me laugh. It wasn't unexpected...he was on his way out from Alzheimer's...but you can't prepare for the death of someone like that. He's got one last gift for me...a MacBook. I get it sometime in the not-too-distant future.

2.) MsGeek.Com is up again, but it's going to be on the move soon. However, Dotster is proving to be SNAFU central as well. I'm not budging it unless Dotster gets their act together. Don't count on it being there for anything crucial. Use my Gmail or my DSLExtreme email to contact me if you need to. This is giving me a headache.

3.) Things are getting nutty at school. We don't have many more weeks to go, I've got papers up the ying-yang, and all this stress...I'm feeling burnt out. I have all my classes for Spring 2007 including the one I thought might require I stay an extra semester to get all the prerequisites for it.

4.) Tom from Cartoon Geeks might be coming down to visit. It's not quite solid yet but I'm hoping.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 knocked off the air AGAIN...

The reason why you see lots and lots and lots of broken icons on this website is that my fucking webhost has apparently gone down hard. I can't contact them via phone, their email is bouncing, and both my husband and I have lost access to all our online stuff except for those things not hosted on my space there.

I fear that I will *LOSE* Msgeek.Com as a domain name. I will have both Msgeek.Org and Msgeek.Net still, but Msgeek.Com is tied up with them. I wish I had moved my nameservice on that name to Dotster but up until yesterday everything was working still and the last time my host had an outage I really didn't notice it.

I'm very upset. This should be a happy time for me. After all, the Dems took Congress back. I should be ecstatic. Take care...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A scary Halloween bedtime story...

If you're in California, and you can't bear to vote for any other person on the ballot, please, please vote for Debra Bowen. This is important. Watch this for a spine-tingling picture of why it's so important.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

3,000 commas + 655,000 commas = ?

We're going to help the Iraqi people. Remember, 12 million of them voted in elections last December. That probably seems like a decade ago to you, but when the history is finally written, it will be just a comma.
-- George W. Bush

It might be "just a comma" to Dubya, but it's 3,000 brave servicemen and women dead. There's a comma in that figure because we write out figures that way. However, there are a hell of a lot more commas in Iraq when you take accepted scientific statistical practices and apply them to civilian deaths in Iraq since we walked in there and took over. The figure that the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the British medical journal The Lancet came up with comes from a survey of Iraqi families done by a group of brave doctors, and statistical extrapolations after that, the same kind that is used in almost any kind of statistical analysis. The figure they came up with of civilian deaths since 2003: 655,000 souls.

If we sum the two together, there have been 658,000 deaths in Iraq since "Shock and Awe." That's almost 2/3 of a MILLION people. This has ceased to be just a war in the third world and has become a genocide. Not quite yet in the ballpark of Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot, but closer to the Tutsi body count in Rwanda.

Do we really want all this on our consciences? Maybe we don't want it, but it's there in spite of our wishes. And we are continuing to add onto the body count with every day we stay in the country once thought of as the "cradle of civilization."

Think about it. This won't be a comma in the history books, it will be a big black blot.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tomorrow I get "Rejuvenile" with Christopher Noxon

Tomorrow, at High Noon, I meet up with Christopher Noxon, author of Rejuvenile, for a discussion about a very familiar subject to me. Adults that simply won't put away their childish things. Seriously: I build lightsabres, I write about comics, cartoons and toys, I cosplay, I go to geek cons, and I am back in College 20+ years behind the usual socially expected time frame. Most of my friends are younger than me at this point.

Anyway, we're meeting at Castle Park in Sherman Oaks. Richie will be my camera guy and I'll also be recording audio. A future Cartoon Geeks podcast will feature our conversation.

I grew up in the Valley and actually saw this landmark being built. Chris is also someone who has childhood memories of the place. This should be fun.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The day the music died, 2006-stylee

Lost in time, like tears in rain...

The bell has tolled for Tower Records. I remember taking long trips on the bus from the Valley to pay the Tower on Sunset a visit...the one in Sherman Oaks was within walking distance, but it wasn't the same. The Tower Records on the Sunset Strip was a place of pilgrimage. This was the store the stars shopped at. It was a few blocks from the Whisky and the Roxy and a few blocks in the other direction from the Continental Riot House and the Chateau Marmont. For a rock-crazy kid who grew up in the 1970s this was Jerusalem, Al'Makkah and The Vatican all wrapped up in one.

Unfortunately the place was doomed. It's all au courant to blame the accelerating demise of the record store on the iPod, but there's a whole lot of blame to go around. Overpriced CDs, the reprehensible antics of the RIAA, revelations about just how screwed musicians get by the major (and some indie) labels, the rise of mega eCommerce sites like Amazon, the rise of evil big box brick-and-mortar stores, etc...there is so much that is utterly fuxored about the music industry all I can do is just throw up my hands and give up. And stop buying my music new.

Stick a fork in it, Tower Records is done. The whole chain has been sold to a liquidator. I suspect that for old times sake I'll do some holiday shopping there. Tower Records won't be benefitting...the liquidators will. Oh well.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


This is the scariest freaking article you are ever going to read. Why? Because it shows exactly how much Dubya and the Neocon brain trust played right into the Jihadis hands. And it shows exactly why even if we brought Osama bin'Laden and all his lieutenants into the dock at Den Haag we would never nip the Jihadi movement in the bud. It is out there, it is fiercer and more implacable than ANYONE has any idea of, and they can't be fought. Period.

We stirred up a big ass hornet's nest in the period just after WWI when the Victorious Powers carved up the Middle East like a turkey and dangled Palestine before the Zionist movement like a wishbone. The wheels of Jihad were set in motion before Osama bin'Laden was born into privilege in Saudi Arabia, and they will not stop until they get the entire historic Islamic Empire under a new Caliphate and proceed from there to refight the Crusades.

Folks...we are FUBAR. And for some reason, every move the crew that pull Dubya's strings has made since 9/11, and even BEFORE 9/11, has been exactly what the Jihadis want. What team are these mo-fos playing on, anyway?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A stray bullet kills in my childhood neighborhood.

I live in a part of the Valley that supposedly is a "bad part" of town. I actually grew up in a "good part" of the Valley: Sherman Oaks.

The purple dot (you can click the pic so you can see it better) is where I grew up. The red star is where a guy died last night after being hit by a stray bullet.

A stray bullet. In Sherman Oaks.



I can see this happening in my current neighborhood. But Sherman Oaks is unbelievable. To quote a song from my youth:

Walkin' down the street, smoggy-eyed
Looking at the sky, starry-eyed
Searchin' for the place, weary-eyed
Crying in the night, teary-eyed

Don't you know that it's true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

What a way to launch this new version of MsGeek.Org. Sheesh...