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Showing posts from 2013

The Captain Kirk Problem: How Doctor Who Betrayed Matt Smith

Lots of good pulls in this Atlantic article, but some highlights:
The entirety of Season Six is when Moffat’s fascination for plot twists and open-ended mysteries (in our house, we describe this unfortunate tendency as “plotty-wotty”) took over the show, and the whole product suffered.

...

As Moffat checked off the boxes, ... all I could think of was The Eight Deadly Words that doom all forms of storytelling: I don’t care what happens to these people.

...

If only the problems with this show had anything to do with the cast.
I've said it so much on Twitter it should be embarrassing, but Moffat has to go. Who do I write at the BBC? Someone has to be keeping tabs on this kind of criticism, yes?

The struggle of an indexed life

I live online. That's a statement means different things to different people.

To people before my generation, that may mean I've made a choice disconnect from "real life" and spend it staring at a series of LCD screens.

To those within my generation (or neighboring it), it may mean that I've adopted the position that my job and life nearly require me to be tethered to a mobile device (phone, laptop, tablet) for pretty much every waking hour--standard exceptions for family events, medical moments, and Federally-imposed dead zones (airplanes). Sleep is not an excuse.

But, increasingly, being "online" is a default. A recent survey from the Institute for the Future asked participants "How many hours per week do you spend online?" Increasingly, the response to that question is: I don't understand the question. We are moving more to a culture where everything you do is online. The default is no longer "I choose to be online," it's &qu…

Why I Quit Watching The Walking Dead

I was a big fan until this season. And then, after the second episode, I just gave up. I think the inherit conflict in the show's structure finally got to me. It's not that the show doesn't give fans what they want; everyone wants something different that can't be met.

But what is central to the show are two things that I think are in direct conflict with maintaining long-term engagement:

The show is, at it's heart, largely about character development and interpersonal relationships. The characters have more or less found ways to survive (although more on that later). What they haven't figured out, and what the show constantly explores, is how or if you rebuild society in the face of certain doom.
The show is also brutal about the realities of life after the apocalypse. Hope is a dangerous thing, often repaid in crushing disappointment or death. In fact it relishes the moments when destruction visits the group, spending considerable time on the setup and execution…

Windows 8 Sound Randomly Drops Out (Solution)

You, like me, have a Windows 8 machine which has the sounds randomly drop out. Your drivers look fine, everything is up to date, but this annoying thing keeps happening. Fear not, there is a solution, courtesy of Tech Support Forum. For Windows 8, search for and open Sound, click the Communications tab, select "Do nothing", and click Apply.



Why this is not the default setting is beyond me.

A Breakdown of Guns and Ammo's Response to a Reasonable Editorial

Recently, a [former] editor at Guns and Ammo published what most rational citizens would consider a measured and logical approach to gun control. For that, he was fired, disowned, and earned an official response from the remaining editorial staff. Below is that response, editorialized by me, a current non-crazy gun person (which apparently is now something we have to designate ourselves as). Since Guns and Ammo is such a Constitutionally-minded organization, they clearly understand my First Amendment rights (one better than Second!) in editorializing  their rebuttal.



From Jim Bequette, editor, “Guns & Ammo” Magazine:

As editor of “Guns & Ammo,” I owe each and every reader a personal apology.
If it's for the following message, yes. Yes you do.
No excuses, no backtracking.
What follows is a metric shit-ton of everything elses. Mostly ignoring the original editorial and begging for you to return to your previous mental patterns.
Dick Metcalf’s “Backstop” column in the December issu…

Disabling a Stubborn Field Test Mode

Some time ago, I turned on Field Test Mode on my iPhone 4. I then dutifully backed up that phone for ages, restoring that backup to my new iPhone 5 when I got it last year.

Then I tried turning off Field Test Mode, which came over in the backup. And it wouldn't stay turned off.

After much searching I found a solution that, for now, appears to have solved the issue: enter the number into Notes and then paste the number into dialer, instead of typing in the number (from this helpful Apple support thread).

Breaking Bad

Perfect.

So much digital ink will be spilled on Monday about this show, I'll hold my insufficient words. But I think one thing felt so right about the show, and it only works in the context of that Universe.

Walt. Wins.

And that's the only way the show could have ended.

Breaking Bad, for all the nit-picky things people will detail over the next few days, is a perfect show. Long, in-depth character studies. Creative uses of long-cliched tropes. A story that works for one-time viewers and obsessives alike. But the tone, the humanity of the show; it's an amazing combination of writing, acting, music, and self-awareness.

It was a fantastic run, a memorable experience, and--what other word is there--perfect ending. I suspect, someday, a show will be better than Breaking Bad. I can't imaging how that will be and I hope I live to watch it, but for now Breaking Bad is, without a doubt, the best television in a generation.

Site moving, new URL

After years of neglect, this site and blog will be moving to Blogger. The youknowwhatpart.com URL will expire or be sold and all posts have been migrated to http://youknowwhatpart.blogspot.com/. Please update your bookmarks, RSS feeds, carrier pigeons and indentured servants^H^H^H unpaid interns.



Update: Nevermind

Goodbye, Froggie

Goodbye, my friend. We miss you so much already.

The Storm - Part 2

So, it's still cancer. It's also very, very advanced. An ultrasound and additional X-rays show an advanced lesion on the liver, several lesions on the spleen, and aggressive metastasis in the lungs. Effectively, any treatment at this point is palliative; there's no cure beyond miraculous responses to off-label drugs. The oncologist couched Froggie's remaining time as a month.

So, we'll lose him before my birthday in late August. He'll get to stay in his house until the end and not have to deal with selling this house and moving. But he's 8 and his passing is way, way too soon. Here's The Dude through the years:



The Storm

So, it's cancer.

In typically-clinical language, the radiologist's report stated "CONCLUSIONS: severe generalized reticulo-nodular miliary lung pattern is concerning for diffuse pulmonary metastatic disease from unknown primary tumor."

Basically, cancer has spread to the entirety of both lungs from an unknown source. There's a mass in one lung that may be the source, but is likely a confluence of smaller masses into one larger mass. Strangely, his blood work is, medically, unremarkable. In the absence of imaging, he's healthy. He's not particularly struggling either, but he's 'off', as they say.

So, now, we're going to MSU's Veterinary Oncology Center for a consultation. If they can find the original mass, that may provide some options for treatment. But, I think at this point, we're really looking at pain management, barring an extremely fortuitous diagnosis.

Sidenote: based on imaging, there's an extremely small chance this i…

The Best Photo I Ever Took (Biased Edition)

The Calm Before the Storm

About four feet behind me, a dog named Froggie lies in his crate, door ajar, struggling to breathe. He's on a hundred milligrams of one drug and more of another. The X-ray of his rib cage looked like, quoting our veterinarian here, "popcorn". Basically, it's cancer. Tomorrow we'll get a call from her, while she's travelling, to either confirm that diagnosis or not.

Last night as we were cleaning up after painting our dining and living room (we know how to take vacations), he coughed up a Cup of phlegm-mixed-with-blood. It was shocking to say the least. He seemed off most of the day, but he spent it outside away from paint and fumes. We took him to the ER; he had some inflammation, but ate alright and seemed ok. We took home benadryl so he could sleep figuring he'd eaten a wasp or bee (he loves to snap at them).

About six weeks ago, he'd gone to the ER vet after becoming lethargic and simply not moving on his own. We were on a three-day trip to see my …

In Memoriam: Marlene Vis

Marlene Vis, my aunt, passed away this past Saturday, aged 63, loosing a prolonged battle with cancer. I know it's trite to say that cancer patients "fight" their disease, but if anyone had, she did. Sent to hospice twice, she beat the odds to live more than a year longer than the most optimistic projections. She was--is--one of the strongest people I've ever met.

Marlene is survived by her mother, her husband, her two children, four grandchildren, and hard-to-count numbers of nieces, nephews, great-level relations, and friends. To say she had a wide-reaching impact on the community would be an understatement; I think a large swath of Byron Center shut down for her funeral.

Of my relations, Marlene was special. She was friends with my mother for more than five decades. My cousins were near the age of me and my brother and more than friends for years. In the small area in which we grew up, they were secondary family in significant ways.

My fondest memory of her is a Tige…