luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
In case you may be wondering why I find August 29th a day to be endured rather than enjoyed ... today is the 35th anniversary of my father's death. For those of you who haven't been around me long enough to know the full story, and/or those of you who don't want to touch LiveJournal with a ten-meter pole, I'll put the original LJ entry from Aug. 29, 2003, under a cut.

The sad story here... )

And here's another way I think about my Dad, even today. Heck, you can read more of my past writings by clicking on the "dad" tag on whichever journal you're reading this on.

As far as the rest of today ... it's been a quiet, rainy day, with not much to do except plug away at my freelance writing and keep tabs on the Harvey flooding situation in the Houston area.
luscious_purple: Boston STRONG! (Boston Strong)
Last night's news from Paris was certainly horrific. I changed the photo on the top of my Facebook page to an image of an old-fashioned postcard showing the American and French flags with the slogan "They Wave for Liberty." It looks like something printed up for World War I. I got it from a Facebook group called "French Canadian Descendants" (yes, I am in a whole lotta FB groups, just as I joined a bazillion LJ communities back in the day, even though almost all of them are dead now).

Today I got away from the sad news for a while and did something I've been wanting to do for more than a month: the boy toy and I went to see The Martian at our local multiplex. What a wonderful movie! Not only was it the kind of hard SF I like the best, but it was just so refreshing to watch a science fiction movie that was all about problem-solving instead of blowing up and shooting up "the others." Awesome!!! Now, of course, I really want to read the original book. (I also have a lot of respect for how the author, Andy Weir, crowdsourced the science while he was writing the book. Gotta think about how to do something like that in other contexts.)

(And, of course, I do have a few nits to pick about the plot, but in general it was one of the most "realistic" SF movies I've seen. And I've seen some awful stuff -- see, for example, Spacecamp. Bleah!)

Tonight I munched on homemade popcorn (the movie-theater stuff is way too expensive) while watching an hour-long YouTube video of Andy Weir, Adam Savage, and Chris Hadfield talking about The Martian. Now I'm listening to the Democratic debate while the boy toy watches Doctor Who in the other room. I'm following two live blogging/tweeting websites: Media Nation and Slate. Certainly Bernie Sanders is firing off some zingers....
luscious_purple: Paint Branch UU Chalice (Paint Branch Chalice)
... when I was reminded why the windows in the future educational center in the Very Prestigious Institution (the project that I am working on for the V.P.I.) are blast-proof. Something about high-value targets across the street and all that. Especially high-value on April 15 every year.

Seriously, I am still heartbroken over yesterday's Boston Marathon bombings. Despite 20 years in the Maryland suburbs of DC, I still consider myself a Massachusetts person who happens to be living down here. If you know me in person, you have probably noticed that I tend to get prickly when somebody disses the Bay State in my presence.

So, even though the cynic in me wants to say "gee, every night in American cities at least three people die in drive-by shootings and that does NOT make huge banner headlines," I grieve for the dead and injured and have nothing but disgust for the coward(s) who planted the bombs and (presumably) took off before they exploded.

I still lack Internet at home, so I have to get out of here for the evening, but here are links to a couple of wonderful essays about the deep affection for Marathon Mondays: Dan Kennedy and E.J. Dionne. I too remember standing in Kenmore Square or along Brookline Avenue to cheer on the runners -- first the elite, then the average Joes and Janes who flocked (or staggered) by a couple of hours later. (One summer I also sublet a room in an apartment about a block from the second blast site. Crappy building back then, but tony location.)

Last night after dance/music practice I had mixed feelings while watching CNN: I was proud to see photos from my favorite college newspaper shared on the news network, but saddened at the occasion that brought it about.

Wow...

Nov. 1st, 2012 11:05 am
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
It appears that New Yorkers have discovered slug lines.

Seriously, my heart goes out to everyone affected up there in NY and NJ.

I think we'll be hearing this song on Bruce's next tour, along with something more elegiac.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
First of all, we got the rest of our power back in the wee hours -- was it early Tuesday, maybe? Everything seems to blur together -- all these disasters!

The important thing about the week was that the transmission shop in Old Town Bowie did NOT lose power, or at least the electricity was on by Monday morning. That enabled the workers to finish my car by Tuesday afternoon! On Wednesday morning Maugorn kindly drove me to the bank (which was along the way) and then to the transmission shop, where I handed over my cash and retrieved my pretty purple baby (yes, my Pontiac will always be "my baby," even though she's 15 years old). The front desk in the transmission shop had a basket of small Kit Kat bars for the taking, so I made sure Maugorn got one too.

Since then I've had a couple of occasions to accelerate my purple Pontiac up to highway speed, and the transmission is transmitting power nice and smoothly. So, yay, I've got my wheels back! And I can take myself to Atlantian 30-Year! *happy dance*

A big THANK YOU to all who made it happen, too!

In other words, between all the hurricane-related disruptions, my freelance articles, and general life, I did not post that we just passed the anniversaries of my father's death and birth. For those of you who are new around here, my Dad's birthday was August 31, and he died on August 29. You can look up those dates in my journal archives (more so on LJ than DW) to see what I've written about him in the past. I certainly have been thinking of him these last few days.

Actually ... yesterday (Dad's birthday) brought me over to our Local Friendly Space Agency to interview three scientists (for an article I'm writing, not for a job). I got another tour of the Chambers of (Instrument) Torture, where spacecraft get shaken violently, blasted with 150 dB of sound, freeze-dried, baked in vacuum, and whirled on an eyeball-popping centrifuge, all in preparation for liftoff. Although all these tests are designed for non-living things, I can't help thinking that the torturers of the Inquisition would have loved to get their hands on them....
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
Electricity was out here from 10 p.m. Saturday to 9:50 p.m. Sunday. And even then it wasn't a complete restoration of power -- only two of three phases. So my living room and half the kitchen have electricity. The rest of the condo does not. We have hot water but no A/C.

The boy toy had to manhandle the fridge out of its usual spot so that we could plug it into a live outlet. Of course, now it's blocking the dishwasher. *sigh* Still, I didn't lose all the food I bought on Friday.

This morning we had to drag the DSL router out of my bedroom and set it up in the living room in order to get back on the Internet. Of course that meant unplugging the cordless phone. Now the only working phone is in the kitchen ... also behind the dishwasher. *sigh*

At least it's not too hot outside. The cats have been basking in the open windows.

And at least there is fighter/dance/music practice tonight.
luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
So it turns out that the state (commonwealth) of my birth is going to lose yet another congressional seat. Damnation. I remember that when I first learned about politics, Massachusetts has 12 seats in the U.S. House. After the next redistricting, it will have only nine, for a decrease of 25 percent in my lifetime. It's not as if the Bay State is any smaller, it's just that other parts of the country are bigger.

I wish the law was that states would have one congresscritter for each 500,000 residents, or something like that. Then we would just increase the number of representatives in the House instead of doing this stupid decennial reshuffling. Comments on that thought experiment are welcome (I certainly don't expect to see such radical change in what's left of my lifetime).

Interestingly, according to the map that goes with the previously mentioned story, the congressional losses and gains are all along the old Northeast/Midwest vs. South/West dynamic ... except for Louisiana, which is losing one seat. The head of the Census Bureau "would not speculate on whether the slow growth rate was related to the 2005 hurricanes," but you can draw your own conclusions.
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
This 22-year-old guy is going to ride his bicycle across the U.S. to raise money for my high school classmate's project to build a health clinic in rural Haiti. (In the photo, that's Dr. Mulqueen standing in the distant background behind the cyclist.)

Another photo of the start of the ride in front of a hometown landmark.

Here is the bicyclist's home page -- http://www.jasondefuria.com/ -- he's certainly plugged into social media.

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