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Saturday, November 8th, 2014
7:13 am - SoCar
So, on the off chance anyone noticed my decrease in online presence over the last several days, I was in Columbia and Charleston (South Carolina) all week[1], helping with prep work for our two newest retail locations.

The cats apparently missed me enough that I was only shunned for about 45 minutes after getting home, and all four were on the bed five minutes after I got there myself.

Tiny was described as "hateful" in the text message K sent in response to my midweek query about how her caretaking visit went; I laughed. Dent has submitted to snuggles, but Wald* has discovered a love of being underneath furniture and difficult to lay a hand on. They are, of course, ready to be adopted out to anyone who might like two very cute black kittens, as they'll be 12 weeks old come Monday.

Columbia seems like a nice town, the small parts of it that I saw around UofSC. Kind of a smaller-town Little Five Points vibe with slightly less alt flagging in the neighborhood where the hotel and our "downtownish" location are. Charleston's locations seemed like pretty much every 90's exurb south of the Mason-Dixon line I've ever seen east of the Mississippi - retail plazas and subdivisions screened from primary surface roads by tree-topped berms, an easy-to-see line of inspiration for Stephenson's Snow Crash-flavor of contempt-doused burbclave world, with less tech and gunfire.

The food was almost uniformly good, if the service was occasionally about twice as Southern-speed as I'd have liked. The best thing to go into my mouth was a raw oyster and jalapeno shooter, which contained just about what you'd expect - those, some cocktail sauce, and probably vodka & spicy bloody mary mix. The hotel's breakfast bar was an unlimited buffet of blandness, but the coffee was good, and I got my Raisin Bran fix.

What this trip also meant is I've probably reacquired a hint of a drawl, rekindled my facepalming dismissal of birthers, and soaked up a shitton of overtime (haven't filled in my time sheet yet, but travel days were just fucking ridiculous - Tuesday was 5a-8p and Friday was 630a to 10p, albeit with lunch breaks). It was nice to see the locations in person to try and differentiate them when people call on the phone, and to put handshakes and faces to people... of course, walking in and announcing my arrival as predicated on changing everyone's passwords may have spooked some folks. ;-)

I voted last Friday, but the less said about the results of that, the better - as far as I can tell, I only got my pony on two of three state constitutional amendments (one of them a "Fuck you, no") and the unopposed Representative for my district.

[1] I don't advertize my travel schedule until after the fact, for reasons. *shrug*

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
6:28 am - geeking, out.
a scaling-back of identification with things that used to be highly applicable has resulted in a layered reaction to these labels on my part. Having grown up a scrawny, bookish, soccer-playing, slightly-musical, and, when everyone hit the stage where "interest in exploring strange new urges with attractive others" began to be a thing, becoming essentially invisible for a few years[1]... I definitely considered myself nerdy and geeky, though neither the nerdiest or the geekiest.

as mainstream acceptance and enjoyment of many of these things has waxed, it's been a boon - more people to share in conversation about things! (also, for anyone who haven't seen yet, ob. pointer to Chris Kluwe's diatribe on this aspect of things, with a heavy leavening of how "gamer gatekeepers vis a vis gamergate are right to die the fuck off" - https://medium.com/the-cauldron/why-gamergaters-piss-me-the-f-off-a7e4c7f6d8a6)

My own constellation of tastes is far from a 1:1 map on what's popular - superhero/comic book movies generally leave me cold, and the reboots/series continuations of beloved franchises from my younger days are annoying, problematic, lame, or any/all of the above - but some remain somewhat more marginal. all of which is fine; we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to vaguely geeky popular culture consumables.

the only thing i'd go so far as to self-identify as a geek/nerd about these days is frigging weightlifting, which is about as diametrically opposed to polyhedrons and mechanical pencils as one gets, starting from conventional stereotypes.

(nb: my working definitions of the terms boil down to, essentially, "knowing a lot about something isn't fundamentally that geeky or nerdy; being passionate about it is what hits the tipping point (which usually leads to learning and subsequently knowing a lot about the topic)"... i know a shitload about what i do for a living, but am not nearly the computer hardware geek i was ten or fifteen years ago when it was a topic of constant recreational study.)

[1] for those manchildren who continue to inhabit this space and blame women for it, I have empathy but no sympathy.

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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
4:12 pm - with my shield, and on it
so, finally, the pump-and-run 5k event happened this past sunday morning (which was its own challenge, as i had a 930 puck drop the night before[1])

there's a training maxim that you never want to be the strongest/fastest/best athlete at your gym - it's no surprise that i often am in the vicinity - so it was an entertaining endeavor to be, due to a clerical fuckup DEAD FUCKING LAST in my age group.... and without the fuckup, i'd have only improved my standing by two or three places (out of about a dozen). i passed approximately nobody, of either gender, over the course of the race, and finished with a good hundred yards of empty air both ahead of and behind me, in 26:15 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imIWmRHhZwc) .... subtracting the :15 seconds per bench press rep (90% bodyweight for guys in their 40's meant I was using 170#)... 18 reps knocked off four and a half minutes, putting me at 21:15. the winner hit the 30 rep cap and his adjusted time was something like 14 minutes. *laughs*

The Late Kittens - Walda the Grey and Dentarthur (both female) are three weeks old, just a scosh under a pound each, and increasingly mobile and wiggly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG4kcbF5JHI

[1] i did manage to draw the penalty that gave us a five-on-three power play, and score what turned out to be the winning goal 30 seconds later - CS even got it on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmkaO06FMqU

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Monday, August 18th, 2014
6:36 am - A wizard arrives precisely when he means to.
We have the Late Kittens - Walder and Dentarthur - and, sadly, one stillborn littermate.

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Saturday, August 16th, 2014
6:45 am - satyrday
Tiny's water appears to have broken overnight (so it's convenient that she prefers to hunker in the bathtub), and thus it seems that kittens are imminent. I am obscurely pleased that my estimation for the delivery posted to FB on Monday was spot on; not that Tiny can read a calendar, but this is looking like the second consecutive litter to arrive on a Saturday - the grubs were a late-afternoon batch.

so, you know, it's about to be just about all kittens, all the time around my parts of the internet again. try to contain yourselves. ;-)

[a block over, where Mayday has taken up residence since getting fixed, there is a litter that matches the catgrubs i have retained - about the same size, one tabby, one black, so that was cool to see]

Unrelatedly, we had a department bowling outing yesterday, and it was enjoyable despite doing something unfortunate to my right hand - middle of the first game, something went POP at the base of my right middle finger as I was delivering the ball, followed by some mild discomfort. Woke up this morning to slight swelling and stiffness, so I'm applying NSAID/aspirin and a cold pack on and off to knock that down. No loss of range of motion, probable compromise in grip for the time being. GODDAMMIT, BODY.

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Monday, August 11th, 2014
11:17 am - fail
so, from a physical performance standpoint, this weekend more or less sucked.

friday's chest and shoulder session was "barely get the prescribed stuff, and fail spectacularly at any of the stretch goals."

saturday's hockey game for the consolation bracket championship started well, but we lost on a last-minute goal, and there was a nontrivial amount of perceived bias in the officiating (most games, there are three or four penalties; in this one, we got six to the other squad's single one; i got taken out on a breakaway without a call being made, and some very "wait, what?" whistles were blown to send our guys to the sin bin)

having pregamed with an energy drink (10pm puck drops, delayed by the previous game having a prolonged trophy and photography ceremony, are not my friend), i didn't get to bed until damn near 2am, sore and exhausted and wired, and thus sunday's workout was so failtastic i couldn't even get to the third warmup set, and ended up taking a couple of post-massage naps to give everything a chance to recover, so yesterday's workout is trading places with today's programmed day off.

there was also a fairly acute but short-lived depressive bout on friday and saturday, which both contributed to and was exacerbated by the lousy athletic performance. not a feedback loop i particularly enjoy, that.

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Saturday, August 9th, 2014
10:02 am - [review] REDSHIRTS - John Scalzi
I enjoyed it - in turns touching and funny - but it didn't wow me.

My initial thought - "This book doesn't so much break the fourth wall as lean over your shoulder and point at it, giggling" - got to be somewhat less true as the book went on, and that bummed me out, because I like Scalzi's sense of the absurd, and when that evaporated somewhat from the proceedings - not that there wasn't plenty of ridiculousness and wit remaining, but something essential and effervescent was abundant early and absent late.

Especially glaring was one character who got outed for their meta-Maguffinism and then entirely omitted from any followup to it; the structure of the book made that the elephant in the coda unless my obvious assumption was considered to be so obvious that it never warranted the subsequent explanation.

Three expendably anonymous crewmembers out of five.

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Monday, August 4th, 2014
12:46 pm - My own tentative DragonCon schedule
While I am not exactly a celebrity guest or attraction, I will be volunteering at DragonCon in my usual capacity as line-wrangler, geek-herder, and brute squad for the Video Game track, as well as doing the same duties for the Men in Kilts with Leafblower* event (which is, as it stands, the only time I anticipate doing any kind of cosplay for the weekend, while I’m on stage getting… blown).

Thursday: Arrive and do administrative Staff Stuff (boring and not open to the public anyway; go get your drink on at the Hyatt and I’ll probably meet you there after dinner)

Friday: 1430-1900 - Hilton Grand Salon E

Saturday: 1000-1430 - Hilton Grand Salon E / Probably also appearing at the Heroes & Villains Ball (Sheraton Grand Ballroom beginning at 2200)

Sunday: 1900-2030 - Hilton Grand Salon E

Monday: 1130-1430 - Hilton Grand Salon E

Tuesday: Dragging my tired ass home after checking out

* MiKw/Lb is, IIRC, from 2300 Saturday to 0100 Sunday, but check the program/app; it may be at 0100 to 0230 Sunday; get there early, since we were over capacity in the room it was booked for last year.

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
12:08 pm
So, for anyone who wants to get on board with offering others the benefit of your healthy bodies, I’d like to encourage folks to register with BeTheMatch.org (or whatever the similar organization on your country happens to be) to possibly be bone marrow donors. You can save someone’s life, more or less directly, in the face of serious conditions like cancer and leukemia. Because fuck cancer.

I donated bone marrow myself earlier this week, after being a registered donor for almost nine years (this was the second time I’d been contacted about being a potential donor; the first time, nothing came of it).

It’s not nearly as intimidating as many people think – gone are the days where it was done under anaesthetic via a big needle inserted into the iliac crest (the back of the pelvis); 75% of the time, it’s more akin to a protracted blood donation (the process is called apheresis – drawing blood off, filtering out the good parts, and returning the rest to you)… just with a lot more paperwork.

It’s more like being on a long airplane ride with your own flight attendant (the nurse) while hooked up to an IV rather than undergoing a complex medical procedure. I even got a really bland tuna fish sandwich for lunch halfway through. Hospital food is still hospital food.

Step 1: Register at BeTheMatch.org, the national bone marrow registry coordination service

Step 2: Get an email ping from them if you might be a donation candidate

Step 3: Answer a health questionnaire that’s basically a more thorough version of the one you answer to give blood

Step 4: Go in for a blood draw, where they will test for both donor/recipient compatibility, as well as perform a more comprehensive health screening

Step 5: Another blood draw, and an in-person physical

Step 6: Get a series of injections to stimulate your bone marrow to kick into overdrive in the days leading up to the donation, flooding your system with healthy and active white blood cells and bone marrow stem cells

Step 7: Get hooked up to the donation equipment and… be very, very bored, because it takes about six hours for the whole donation process, and you can’t get up or do much of anything… not even move your hands around enough to read a magazine. BRING AN E-BOOK! J

Some folks will still be asked to undergo the more old-fashioned donation with the needle and whatnot, but that’s becoming less common, since the apheresis donation is less trouble for both the donor and often gives a better outcome for the recipient.

Q: Does it hurt?

A: You’ll be a bit of a pincushion, with all the blood samples and the injections (which are all done with tiny needles) and the IV lines that draw off and return your blood (which are less tiny needles, but not much bigger than blood donation ones). Some folks will have uncomfortable side effects from the marrow-stimulation drugs, usually showing up as hip or low back pain or a general achiness. Fewer folks may feel queasy – this is because the spleen is trying to collect and hold onto all the extra white blood cells, and is going, “Whoah, dude, I can’t hold this much” – which is the point, since they need to be in your bloodstream in order to be collected.

Q: Okay, it may or may not hurt, but does anything about it feel weird?

A: The anti-coagulants that allow your blood to be returned to you can deplete the calcium levels in your bloodstream, so you’ll want to have a bottle of antacids on hand; not for any heartburn, but as an easy way to get your calcium. Your lips might tingle a little bit, and, in my case, I felt a kind of buzzing sensation in the middle of my back, like one of my cats was curled up for a nap and purring vigorously.

Q: Do you get paid?

A: No. You’ll receive a mileage reimbursement, travel expenses (airfare, hotel, and a per diem for meals), but no direct compensation.

Q: Will you know who the recipient is?

A: Only if you are donating to a member of your family. This goes for the transplant recipient as well; they won’t know who you are, other than a generous soul who gave them a chance to fight a life-threatening medical condition.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014
7:25 pm - and, done
Bone marrow donation complete. I am apparently a model patient as far as having a metric fuckton of free white blood cells and whatnot to harvest, good veins, and enough bedside sass to keep the nursing staff entertained.

It is, in a word, boring as fuck. You spend about six hours or so unable to do a goddamn thing because of the needles. The book pictured was only functioning as a small lap pillow, because I couldn't even hold it or turn pages.



there will be a 'cool details' followup to come, once i've eaten and slept. the thing that's most notable to me at the moment is that they basically drew off and returned about the equivalent of 4x the blood in my entire body over the course of the day (22.015 liters)

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Friday, July 25th, 2014
5:50 pm - quick hit: STELES OF THE SKY, by Elizabeth Bear
the final installment of the trilogy (SHATTERED PILLARS / RANGE OF GHOSTS)

Wonderful. i was bummed it ended. it will get re-read.

as i said on tumblr, when the matociquala made this post:

"If Peter Jackson wants to top what he did with the Battle of Helms Deep and the Battle of Gondor, slap both of those together, add more wizards and magic and a triple feint climax and you get somewhere in the general vicinity of what this series led up to holy shit PETER JACKSON TO THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE AND BRING GUILLERMO DEL TORO WITH YOU."

a more nuanced (and, with profound gratitude to e.bear, less heinously off-base) review will be coming, but I finished the book about ten minutes ago and want to ruminate on it a bit first.

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7:01 am - filgrastim - first day
as expected, much sitting around and filling out of paperwork, so i was at the med center [read: doc in a box in a suburban plaza] for about two hours; subsequent sessions are expected to be about twenty minutes - show up, fill out the 'how are you feeling' checklist, and get the shots.

the shots themselves are not bad - half of each day's three-bottle dose goes into each tricep, and i'd rate the discomfort a 2/10. i am fortunate enough so far to not have had any of the listed side effects - maybe a touch less appetite, but no rash, nausea, or unexplained aches (my foot hurts where i smacked it with the bucket of kitty litter when i tripped over a cat toy last night; duct tape and gauze to the rescue for the half a square inch of skin i tore off with that little trick)... i presume that an inflamed spleen would make itself known via some kind of weird bloaty ache or something. *laugh*

didn't really impact last night's workout - i missed my last lift because i was tired and the weight was heavy and i just didn't have it in me to get it back off my chest - then again, i was running on two straight hours of increasing frustration - work annoyances, the cat injury, the cats deciding to dig into the tupperware that houses the outside cat chow (twice), a hose that split and sprayed me when i went to water some plants, and the other sorts of 'death of a thousand cuts' that only seem to gang up on you when you're having an annoying time of it already.

I AM NOT MERELY A TROLL ON THE INTERNET, I AM IN A MEDICALLY-INDUCED CASE OF BEING FILLED WITH SPLEEN AND BILE! :-D


============

ETA: 2nd Filgrastim treatment didn't go off without a hitch - I was doing too good about calming myself when they took my blood pressure, so my diastolic was out of range - 52, when it needed to be above 55. So I walked around a bit and had it re-tested.

Four hours post-dose today, I think the expected aches are finally showing up - knuckles and a bit of stiffness in my jaw, neck and hips. probably a 2/10 at the worst.

my appetite has diminished somewhat, but i'm still eating normally, and making sure to get plenty of water. thrilling stuff.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014
7:08 am


First day of the Filgrastim injections (yep, three of those tiny vials each day, 1.5 into each arm is how I understand it will be administered) to stimulate my bone marrow into kicking into overdrive so there will be free-floating WBCs and marrow stem cells to harvest through apheresis.

Expect a nontrivial amount of medical observation and subjective reaction posts over the next week as I go through the donation, both because it is new and interesting, and because I want to dispel some of the misconceptions about bone marrow donation and encourage everyone who's a viable donor to consider registering to do so at http://www.bethematch.org (overseas folks, please consult your local marrow donation organization).

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Thursday, July 17th, 2014
8:18 am
Wednesday, July 16
#1: Type: Strength
Description: Heavy upper.

Notation is always weight x reps x sets

Close grip strict OHP- index fingers on smooth part, elbows tucked.
bar x 8 x 2
135 x 6
145 x 3
Football/swiss bar-
Work to a max effort 3 x 3 set - 145# 3x3

Z-press:
125 x failure x 3 - had to back off to 115, wrists were shite
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9178PfbOhdE

Barbell bench press:
bar x 10
135 x 6
185 x 4
225 x 2
Paused:
225 x 2 x 2, 1 second pause on chest.

Football bar (hammer grip) barbell skullcrushers, supine:
Find a good 8 x 3 work weight (65#)

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Friday, July 11th, 2014
8:58 am - oof
Thursday, July 10
#1: Type: Strength
Deadlifts:
135 x 10
225 x 6
315 x 2
335 x 1
365 x 1
405 x 1
405 x 2 x 4

Wide stance arched back good mornings:
185 x 5 x 4

Power clean to push press:
155 x 6 x 4, FAST repetitions. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO. Did 0 reps of 155, 3 of 135, and the rx'd number at 115. UGH.

Every minute on the minute for 10:00 (11 total sets):

KB swings: ~55# x 5- FAST
Deadlifts: 185 x 5

The KB swings prime the hips for speed and momentum, which you then leverage in the deadlift.

Let me know how these loads feel. THE LOAD IS FINE, BUT MY CONDITIONING IS SHIT.

Out for an EASY 1.5 mile recovery paced run (15:35)

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Monday, July 7th, 2014
7:08 pm - Reassessing
So, I have retained the services of a new strength and conditioning coach (Alex Viada) on the recommendation of a friend, as well as his own objective merits (he is both substantially stronger and faster than I am).

Thus, the last couple of days have been me doing various assessment exercises to see where I fall in terms of things my workout logbook may not show (and entailed a comedy-of-errors-offset-by-good-customer-service procurement of a heart/workout monitor doodad)

- go as far as possible in one hour without getting my heart rate over 145. HAHAHAH. that falls into a sinkhole in my conditioning - a manhattan-speed walk is 137, a slow jog is 151. so, i vacillated between the two for a not-that-impressive-to-me 5.2 miles (i also knocked out a 1.25 mile race-pace push in 100* heat index in 10:03)
- 30 second intervals of increasing speed on the treadmill until i couldn't - managed to make it through the 7 minute mile interval, but not the 6:30
- approach a 1 rep max back squat (365#) and then do a rep every ten seconds at 185# until failure; i got 31 reps before my back said 'you think maybe you should rack that more often than every eighth rep, you fucking jackass?'

so, we'll see how things go. it feels good to have direction, and not knowing what the next workout entails until the morning of is kind of a nice change of pace, but i don't know if that's going to be SOP or not once things get rolling.

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Friday, July 4th, 2014
7:19 am
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
4:32 pm - We are a go for suck
So, my pre-donation physical exam and Q&A session for the bone marrow donation was today, and, honestly, the hardest part was staying awake on the drive home (perhaps the triple berry TGI Friday's smoothie was a carb grenade too far).

Leisurely two-hour drive up, register with the nursing staff, make enjoyable smalltalk while having ten vials of blood drawn, chill out with a book, pee in a cup, chill with a book, answer some questions, chill with a book, have a nurse check my lymph nodes and breathing with a stethoscope, chill with a book, get an echocardiogram[1], finish reading my book, talk to the attending physician and fill out more paperwork, talk to the apheresis phlebotomist, and leave.

All looks to be a go for my donation in a few weeks; my pre-donation guidance is "stop taking creatine to give your kidneys a breather, and buy a bottle of Tums to start taking four or five a day when you start getting the marrow stimulation drug, so that when we hook you up to the apheresis machine, the anti-coagulants don't leach the calcium from your blood and make your fingers and lips tingle."

[1] This is possibly the most trivially disappointing-vs-expectations diagnostic procedure from a patient's perspective ever; it is literally "put these stickers on, clip wires to them, sit still for 30 seconds, remove stickers." The drama was the nurse musing whether or not we'd need to prune small spots of my pelt or not (we didn't; I mowed it down recently)

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Friday, June 6th, 2014
8:22 am - Chalk Talk
Quick survey: If you wanted me to talk about any (worksafe) topic for five minutes or so (I get to do a public speaking exercise at the office next week.), what would it be?

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014
7:06 am - This aging thing sucks
Strained/sprained/slightly popped my right Medial Collateral Ligament in some manner playing hockey last Saturday. Feels like a level 2: http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/knee-pain/mcl-sprain

Yay. Not.

That happened, of course, days after I signed up for a 5k race where you can offset your running time by doing bench press reps (and got a whole passel of the folks who exert themselves for run at the office to sign up, too). I may or may not try and do the "practice run" they have scheduled for this Saturday morning (knee brace is due for delivery today), but I have the nagging suspicion that the A/C techs are coming out for a leak check followup ... and yep, that's what my service ticket says, so, no go on the official test run; I can always self-test on my weight bench and my 5k loop to see how I fare (at the moment, not well, as far as my standards go).

The kittens remain kittenish, and cute. Nymph has super-soft fur, which is nice. Spawn enjoys sitting on my laptop pretty much whenever he can get away with it.



There was more, but litter boxes had to be scooped for trash day. THE GLAMOUR.

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Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
11:45 am - Valar* Douchebaeggis
I've been ruminating on this for the last week and a half, since becoming aware of the Isla Vista/UCSB shooting.

The short version is, "Fuck that guy and the culture of misogyny, racism, and entitlement he exemplified."

There would be a long version, but it's been said well by just about everyone else already.

And anyone defending his words and actions, blaming women for not fucking this unfuckable fuck, or suggest that he only did this because of psychological issues is un-cordially invited to depart, post-haste, because you're part of the problem.

* "Not All Men!" *eyeroll*

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Friday, May 23rd, 2014
9:22 am - E.T., Bone Home
Content not nearly as lewd as that subject would suggest)

I got a couple of emails yesterday from the National Marrow Donor Program, "Be the Match," because I signed up for it about a decade ago; it seems that there might be someone out there who would benefit from slurping the delicious cells from within my bones.

Over the course of the interview and health questionnaire, fun was had.

Q: "Have you, in the last five years, had sex with someone in exchange for payment?"
A: "I made tea afterwards, but that's correlation, not causation."

Q: "Have you ever donated organ or tissue samples?"
A: "Not to my knowledge, but that whole weekend in Vegas is kind of hazy."
Q: "Did you wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a note?"
A: "No, it was Jell-O."

Q: "Have you ever had [long list of cardiopulmonary illnesses]?"
A: "I don't actually have a heart."

So, I go in for blood tests in a week and a half, and, sometime in the next three to six months, if I'm selected to donate, that happens in one of two ways.
- 75% of the time, donors go on a course of medication that will cause the marrow to go into cell-production overdrive, and after they're full and flooding the bloodstream with the overflow, donors get hooked up to an apheresis machine for a few hours to draw the blood out, filter out the marrowy goodness, and put the blood back in. Apparently, the production of marrow causes, literally, a bone-deep ache, but it's only for the five day course of medication.
- 25% of the time, the marrow is extracted directly from the iliac crest via big honking needle and shop vac under general anaesthetic as an outpatient procedure that doesn't even result in needing stitches.

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Monday, May 19th, 2014
9:04 am
Stiff and sore of hip and ankle from double-shifting at the hockey game saturday evening (wherein we got off to a terrible start; the other team was up 5-0 by the midway point, but we finished better and it ended 6-2, with a bunch of near misses that, unfortunately, were not missed by the other team early on), but still sticking with Doing Stuff - groceries and errands and adopting Grub out to a coworker's brother Friday evening.

spawn and nymph are doing well; active and playful and getting used to being handled and stuff, and learning the ins and outs of breakfast deployment (they also went to town on the chicken trimmings i put down; spawn especially, which is good).

spent some time yesterday telling people they were wrong on the internet, interspersed with cat pictures. tumblr is useful for such things. less helpful is the fact that i dreamed i was naked in some kind of Avengers movie and trying to run away from police in an urban railway setting after getting caught deploying a UV beacon with Black Widow & Hawkeye on a dare, and watching a bunch of naval ships get blown the fuck up by unspecified things. i... have no fuckin' idea. I've never even watched the movies (five minutes of the first THOR movie was all I could take, so all my exposure to them is via gifsets and assorted fan headcanon/au stuff)

Am going to be doing T-Nation's "Built for Bad" workouts for the next six weeks - I took if for a test drive the last half of last week, and I like it - heavy, intense, but over relatively quickly - even though I fucked up by having my printed workout sheet flip over, so instead of doing week 1, workout 1 & 2, i did week 1 workout 1 and week *4* workout 2, which are... essentially the same thing. ATTENTIVENESS --.

Made a slow cooker full of chicken with barbecue sauce & sesame ginger marinade yesterday; the first pieces out (after seven hours on low heat) are best summarized as, "lovely flavor, just not enough of it."

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Sunday, May 11th, 2014
11:13 am - Things wot I done this weekend
- Cleaned two rooms, in anticipation of three different people[1] coming over (none of whom have)
- gone grocery and pharmaceutical shopping, because I have also
- produced about a quart of snot in lieu of speaking, breathing, or getting quality sleep

(I also had a hockey game last night, to which I contributed nothing more than some grey hairs for the opposing goaltender, and I've brainlessly poked through the campaign mode of BattleField 4, mostly to unlock whatever achievements, and to see if I can beat mighty_man's score... to which the answers are yes, and yes.)

(for the maybe three people who will see this post adjacent to matociquala's, the icon choice is intentional)

[1] K, to pick up a mis-delivered package and possibly meet the catgrubs; C from work, who wants to buy some of my unused weight equipment; and the a/c maintenance guy, who had to reschedule for because his dog had a medical emergency

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Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
6:35 am
Interesting middle-of-the-night discovery - Spawn was apparently trying to nurse from Kirk (and she was letting him). I don't know if he was having any luck, though. Apparently, *nobody* likes the tiny-cuts style moist cat food, they're all pate-preferrers. The ferals getting the leftovers don't give a shit.

Woke up this morning to the racket from them pulling my cablemodem off the shelf, followed shortly thereafter by Grub adamantly climbing over the pile of obstacles I'd placed and peeing on the puppy pad I put down in the corner where I caught all three of them doing so yesterday... so the disposable litterbox is in that corner now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImaAVYmr5VE (video of them rampaging around the love seat and other assorted wrestling)

Coffee, early-morning kitty litter & post office run, work, workout, hockey, and unspecified.... nice to know my whole day is laid out as soon as I woke up. :-/

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Friday, May 2nd, 2014
5:32 pm - [Review] "Range of Ghosts," by Elizabeth Bear
"Range of Ghosts," by Elizabeth Bear (Ms. matociquala, if you're nasty) is the first book in a trilogy of central Asian high fantasy - there is magic, and wizarding, and fantastic creatures, and a changeable sky that reflects who rules the land where it's seen, and it's all handled with the deft, sure-footed, and subversive touch that Bear brings to, uh, bear, on any trope she feels like fucking with.

We have a handful of POV characters, who each get thrown into the fracas of a continent-spanning internecine scuffle, and ultimately wind up together. There are enough hinted-at machinations, and a few subtle (and not-so-subtle) nods to contemporaries in the slightly-skewed world of "the new weird," notably a humanoid tiger race that I recall meeting brethren and sistren of in Jay Lake's "Kalimpura" books.

The action builds slowly, stirred and stewing, bubbling up occasionally with a gout of steam and spice, rather than at the chaotic, slapdash pace of many; there is a steady hand on the tiller, mixing in menace and loss and romance and horror and frustration... it's easy to see why this is a trilogy, rather than a single, prodigious, Stephensonian doorstop (which isn't to say I would have minded a single, massive sheaf pages).

I'm looking forward to the second and third installments, and not merely because I glibly told Ms. Bear "This is a love note to horses and endurance athletics" (which are two things I am, respectively, indifferent to and avoidant of *laugh*).

Bear has her own amusing names for the world as she was creating it, but I called it "Nongolia," because of course I would. I spent a good bit of time navigating the world backwards, thinking east was west and vice versa, not through any fault of the narrative, but because it's a fluid enough space that coming unmoored is neither a boon nor a hindrance, and it was a savory, dreamlike escape from my workday for very pleasant lunch reading.

Four point two mis-matched moons (out of an original thirty-seven) out of five.

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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
10:03 am
So, apparently the fuckdog with Firefox and LJ is the HTTPS Everywhere plugin.

Because... really stupid reasons.

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
6:53 am - More FireFux
Firefox's latest trick is to shit the bed whenever I try to reply to a post here, whether it's on my own post or someone else. FUCKING GRAND, GUYS.

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Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
6:52 pm - That's that (in two parts)
So, I'm done needing to see the chiropractor for a while.

Physical Therapist: "We're all getting older, you know."
Me: "There's no call for that kind of language, lady."
PT: "We're all stronger today than we will be tomorrow, and weaker today than we were ten years ago, unless you were a couch potato."
Me: "As a matter of fact, I was, and I have every intention of being stronger next year than I am right now."


Chiropractor: "You might be the strongest person I've ever had on that machine[1]. Keep doing what you're doing, you've had about the best results of anyone in my practice."
Me: "Taking it easy? Uh, no thank you. I want to get back to work."
Him: "Well, you're going on maintenance. Come back in a month unless something happens."


* * * *


It took exactly one day to litter-train the catgrubs, at 37 days old. They were wetting on the towel/puppy pad combo for the last few days, and pooped on the puppy pad yesterday; I put a box with a small amount of litter in it today, they used it for everything, as far as I can tell. They may or may not be inheriting Tiny's, uh, vigorous burial technique (she flings litter *everywhere* which is why the box she uses is in the bathtub), but I can hope they'll be more measured.


* * * *

[1] Isometric back extension, at twelve-degree increments, from 72 degrees of flexion to none whatsoever; I managed 517 lb-feet of torque at maximal flexion (up from 486 on 3/27), and about 350 at full extension - both are about double the standard deviation above average (which is apparently a more or less straight line from max flexion to max extension, with the latter being about half of the former; mine is shaped like the back of a horse - more or less flat from 24 to 48 degrees, with a spike upwards at 60 and 72 degrees of flexion and a slight (relative) drop-off at max extension).

Hilarity ensued while I tried to break the machine conducting the test:

PT: "You're stronger than half the pro football players we have in here, even Mike Alstott."
Me: "Good. But I want to be stronger than all of them."

Coworker (C___) was in the testing room, warming up on the exercise bike, and got curious: "So, what would that look like with my graph on there (comparison between my current and previous test plots vs average guys my age/size +/- 1std dev)?"
PT: "Oh, honey, you don't want to do that." (Polite way of saying, "HIPA says, 'go fuck yourself'.")
Me: "I spend all day making you look bad at the office; you don't want to see how much worse I make you look here."

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Monday, April 21st, 2014
8:20 am - Fifteen minutes of catgrubs
(not fame)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hc9he4oGPU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuD0m_b-g8U

In other diminutive feline news, Ten had a litter of five on Monday; sadly, only one remains (first-time queen, and they were all very, very small - to the point where, at a week old, the survivor is only almost as big as the catgubs were when they were born)

My subconscious has been throwing surreal work situations at me: sheltering in the convention center, all the members of our outward-facing service department were clad in variegated costume Snuggies. WHAT.

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Monday, April 14th, 2014
9:35 am - [Review] "Deadline" and "Blackout" by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)
Previously, my review of Feed, the opening book in this series.

From that review: "Back on the subject of context for a moment, because the author was kind enough to reply to a ping about the timeline of the book's composition. Written during 2005-2006, it's as much a disaster-survival response to Hurricane Katrina as it is a reaction to and exegesis on the distrust in mainstream media that many folks of our generation underwent as we watched the nation convulse in the wake of 9/11 and the drumbeat to the wars of choice built on political lies parroted by the conventional media outlets; the protagonists of Feed are homesteaders on the frontier of Fourth Estate."

This becomes increasingly the case as the series progresses and reaches its climax and denouement (Tropical Storm Fiona figures prominently as a problem along the Gulf coast), and the government conspiracy/coverup/hostility towards the citizenry are likewise of increasing amplitude, along with the mental stresses inflicted on the members of the ensemble.

Death doesn't always stop the dead, and that works in the protagonists' favor a bit as well (though not nearly as much as it totally fucks them over, because seanan_mcguire is a horrible mean meaniehead to her characters and the readers who care about them).

I have volunteered to portray one of the supporting cast members, if it ever reaches video production, because I can be charming and die quickly, and can't cromulently remember too many lines. ;-)

Four point seven zombie moose out of five.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
9:35 am
Catgrub Wrestling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed9QSTh0A3w

Nothing much else (thrilling) to report. Had a low key weekend, been wrapping up back-and-forth edits with AJ for her upcoming novel. Put together burger makings, only to kick over a plastic bin next to my grill to discover an unexpected ant nest, which I wasn't going to stand in barefoot to cook dinner last night.

The neck lump is just a cyst, to be treated with hydration, anti-inflammatories, and, if it doesn't go down sufficiently in an arbitrary time frame, I can call to set up an outpatient surgical appointment for a slice-and-scoop. The back/nerve thing is almost pain-free now, but moved into "why the fuck does my foot feel like it's partially asleep?" yesterday and this morning, apparently due to my work shoes or how I stand at the office.

The two active students in my fito class are both going to be moving on to other things, and I don't know if any others have signed up for the ongoing version yet; I have mixed feelings about it (mostly good, because they both made a lot of progress in our eight weeks)

Bought new glasses over the weekend, to pick up in a week hence. In the interim, I need to talk to my vision insurance folks about reimbursement, because, for some reason, I haven't had the insurance card for them for two years, since it was separated from my general health insurance stuff.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
6:16 am - A collection of things
A veritable hodgepodge of things.

- I have committed fannishness as it pertains to seanan_mcguire's tumblr. Behold, eleven minutes of my recitation of THE BIRTHDAY UNENDING: http://t.co/iNVuaRnOnq

- The catgrubs have been named. The striped boys are Grub and Spawn, and the black girl is Nymph. At sixteen days, they're just about ready to start exploring, once their muscle development catches up with their bones - they're still a bit lizard-legged (which is a good sign, it means they're growing quickly and well, though it does suggest the boys, especially Grub, are apt to be beeeeeeeeeg kitties). Tiny has been a flake, squirreling them away behind the litterbox after I put down puppy pads in advance of their beginning to excrete but not yet learning litterbox etiquette in another week or two, but once they're more mobile, I expect them to be all over the place in the spare bathroom. I should lay in more paper towels and wipes, because, lousy though the linoleum in there is, I still don't want to step in kittenshit. :)

This is them Saturday morning, hours before being two weeks old:


And this is video of Spawn getting his mouthy squirm on this morning:
http://youtu.be/DbUuaRfpY_k

- For them what missed it over the weekend, open-ended signups for my online personal training via Fitocracy has begun: http://www.fitocracy.com/knowledge/rage-box-training-with-rafe-brox/ (Yesterday, silentq set a deadlift PR!)

- I basically tested-out of needing to do much in the way of physical therapy for my back; the isometric extension machine says I'm basically two standard deviations above normal as far as strength goes (so that was nice)

- The first-pass edits on AJ's latest novel manuscript are complete, so now we get to play ping-pong with it before we're both satisfied enough to pass it to the publisher in about a month. Publication details will be available once they're known.

- In the wake of losing my cool at work, the upshot is that I've had a series of very fruitful conversations with my chain of command, the gist of which is, while I fucked up, it called attention to exactly how overtaxed my team is (and, having assembled the first quarter's numbers, I was able to extend honest kudos to both of the guys on my team for upping their game - in C's case, by a hundred percent over last year)... so we got the managerial command to ALWAYS TAKE OUR LUNCH BREAKS. Because we've been handling ever-increasing loads, the strain of working at near-max capacity was being essentially masked by our sacrifices, so we get to ease off on the throttle with management's blessing to make the case via service delivery performance *declining* that headcount is justified (and I was reassured that, three levels up my food chain, every budget conversation includes this request; we just haven't been squeaking loud enough to get the grease)

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Saturday, March 29th, 2014
2:13 pm - Personal Training (redux)
Apologies for the reposting, but I'm trying to make a fresh start with this, and, if all goes swimmingly, perhaps move towards what the cool old folks call an "encore career" doing so...

Fitocracy is changing the way group fitness classes work - they're no longer for X weeks, boom, over; they're open-ended for as long as you want to keep playing. To that end, anyone who wants to partake of my workout stylings, now is an excellent time to join in the festivities: http://www.fitocracy.com/knowledge/rage-box-training-with-rafe-brox/

I keep things simple but not easy.

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Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
6:56 am - Catgrubs and crunching
Today's morning dose of the Catgrubs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAgyHvd7bQM&list=UUmhxoB_Fu0XVkIzZ-ewd97Q

Had a very good adjustment at the chiro yesterday - something deep in my back in the vicinity of the injury site went "crrun-unch" in a manner the doc described as "knocking the rust off." Since my pain levels have been steadily decreasing (mostly isolated to the outside of my left calf with occasional butt twinges), I'll take it. I get my strength and ROM tested thursday (my ego is kind of invested in this, despite my only having been able to squat 265x6 and deadlift 385 for a single last week).

One more day's worth of the clindamycin remains; unfortunately, so does the lump, though it is slightly diminished in extent and tenderness/warmth to the touch. I suspect, at this point, that my consult with the ENT next Thursday will entail a fourth round of antibiotics; I may inquire as to the possibility of another needle-drain or direct shot of antibiotics to the infection site itself to speed things along, because six weeks of this has been quite enough.

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