Cubewide Pants

When I was buying these pants I’m wearing for the New Job, the salesman kept going on and on about how they were fluid resistant.

“It just beads up! Rolls right off!”

I nodded and smiled and tried to look impressed, but all the time I thought, okay already, just ring me up. I honestly don’t care about the pants advanced features. I resent having to wear them, because they are not jeans. But the new job is not jeans-friendly, so here I am.

But you know… it really does bead up. There should be a fairly substantial fluid stain in my lap area right now from this Coke I’ve just spilled, but it’s as dry as a bone. Wiped right off.

Huh. How do I get my jeans to do that?

cutting the bloody cord

Okay parents and other interested parties…

Storing cord blood for the stem cells. What I have learned:

$2000 for initial collection, plus $125/year, for a total cost at age 21 of around $4600 (assuming the yearly fee remains fixed).

Estimated 1 in 2,700 chance of being useful to the child in the treatment of some illness, 1 in 1,400 chance of being useful to a family member. Even if it were useful, it is not assured that there wouldn’t be other treatments available that are just as effective. American Academy of Pediatrics cites these statistics, and says it can’t recommend storing cord blood.

Embryonic stem cells are more versatile in their use, but cord blood stem cells are less likely to be rejected by the host.

There’s a long list of diseases that are currently treatable with cord blood stem cells, though I don’t know that our family has a history of any of them.



I watched the move Primer a couple nights ago.

As said, it was a movie custom-made for me. Time travel, stock trading, engineering… if one of the characters had done comedy improv on the side, I would have had to assume I wrote it and just forgot.

But I will admit, I was mostly lost by the end of the film. I had a vague sense of what had happened, but I was totally confused on the details. And it pains me to say it, because I consider myself fairly adept at following time travel stories. I ran the movie back and rewatched it from the point I got lost, and still couldn’t piece together exactly what was happening.

Thankfully, wikipedia came to the rescue where someone had worked out what had happened, and explained it fairly clearly.

They used my favorite time-travel convention, which is that the act of going back in time creates a new time branch splitting at the moment the time traveler from the future appears. This resolves a lot of paradox issues, and you can successfully kill yourself without dying. The writer also created a few other conventions that make for a plausible and dramatic story.

The engineering dialog was extremely good as well. It was all gobbledygook, but it was written such that they didn’t use a term in a way that didn’t make sense, or make up any words. They give you snippets of plausible technical dialog that in themselves are reasonable, but adding them all up gives you nothing but the impression that they’re really working on something real.

Back to the Future failed on both of the above accounts (fading pictures? “flux capacitor”?), and and I spent too much time really smashing those films apart several years ago, in the days before IM. Back to the Future created dramatic situations, but only by sacrificing good time travel conventions and creating plot holes large enough to drive several Deloreans through. Honestly, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure did better on the conventions, and they weren’t really even trying.

Anyway, if you enjoyed Memento, I think you’d enjoy Primer.


For some reason, Ro likes to eat his ice cream and ice cream cone separately. By which I mean, put the ice cream in a bowl, eat it, then get a cone and eat it.


On an unrelated note, why are the people who created The Land Before Time animated dinosaur movies allowed to live? Just wondering.

The 8 Ball Knows

A friend suggested I consult the Magic 8-Ball to help decide on a name.

So, let it be known, my daughter will be named Very Doubtful Lucas.

Which is moderately better than Don’t Count On It Lucas, but not as good as Yes! Lucas.

Come to think of it, Yes! is not a bad name1. Talk about a positive outlook.

1 When I was growing up, the next town over changed it’s name to Hamilton!, Ohio (as can attest). In answer, we liked to call our town Fairfield?, Ohio.

This Day In LJ History Meme

swiped from :

Look through your LJ calender and post an entry from this day (or thenearest day with an entry) for all the years you’ve had a livejournal. If all your entries that day are dull, I give you license to look at 2 days either side.

August 19th, 2004

Too long to cut and paste, plus, it’s friends-only.

August 7, 2005

Friday Night

Went to see The Cherry Orchard with [info]glenn5 at Georgia Shakespeare. Bleah.

Whichis not to say the Company Formerly Known As The Festival didn’t do a fine job with it. It’s just that Russian comedies just ain’t my thing,apparently. Stacey says it’s just dripping with historical literary significance, but I’d rather just read a blurb about it in a history of theater textbook.


Stacey let me sleep inuntil 8:30ish. Then, it was a fairly routine Saturday with household chores, contract work, storytime, naps, grocery shopping, then off tothe pool sans potatoes. Stacey had to go to work for a short while that evening, and when she got back (after Roan’s bedtime), we watched the first couple episodes of The West Wing from Netflix. Oh, how I do like that show.


We met my high school friend Sarah and her partner Amy for breakfast at the Thumbs Up Diner. It was nice to catch up on the last 14 years. Old friends are good things to have around. And we managed to get through the visit without Stacey asking about the way I used to dress in high school. I probably won’t get that lucky next time; In advance, I’ll say that turquoise was very in then. Really.

With every intention of working on my contract work some more, Stacey and I crashed for a nap the same time Roan did. We woke up to a rainy afternoon, and so it was decided that Stacey would throw some cookies in the oven while I popped in The Incredibles. It held Roan’s attention for most of it, though he kept asking for the dancing spider to come back.

Stacey headed off to work the closing night of Streetcar around 6. Roan and I read some books, blew some bubbles, had some bath,and went to some sleep. I did some contract work until just a few minutes ago, and now I’m off to bed.

September 1, 2005

Not having LiveJournal access at work sucks.

I’m just saying.

Not as much as New Orleans being obliterated from the face of the earth.

If my alma mater, Tulane, is under water, is it still accredited?


Color Me Violet

Roan and I just discovered an interview with Sarah Vowell on The Incredibles extras DVD.

There’s a really funny segment where they show a test animation they did using some of her audio from the This American Life episode where she fires off a homemade cannon with her dad. They turn it into a segment where Violet accidentally shoots a blaster gun. High-larious.

I less-than-three Sarah Vowell.

The Speed of Read

inspired me to find out how fast I read.

I did a quick google search and tried this site for a trial:

It checks how far you get into a passage during a minute of reading.

My first test was John F. Kennedy’s inaugaral address:

You read between 350 – 400 words per minute. Well above average reading level. (The average rate is between 200 – 250 words per minute.) It is assumed that you did not skim the words nor fail to understand the meaning of what was read.

I did it again, with The Professor’s House, by Willa Cather:

You read between 350 – 400 words per minute. Well above average reading level. (The average rate is between 200 – 250 words per minute.) It is assumed that you did not skim the words nor fail to understand the meaning of what was read.

So, pretty consistent.

I also tried this site, which tests comprehension as well:

That clocked me at 366 wpm, and 82% comprehension, which makes me (according to them) a “good reader.”

From that site:

Typical reading results

Measurements of speed and comprehension depend upon the text contents and upon a set of questions. Results in the table do not correspond to a specific test but give a general idea of reading efficiencies.
Screen Paper Comprehension Reader profile
100 wpm 110 wpm 50%   Insufficient
200 wpm 240 wpm 60%  Average reader
300 wpm 400 wpm 80%  Good reader
700 wpm 1000 wpm 85%  Excellent, accomplished reader

Research shows that reading is around 25% slower from a computer screen than from paper. This difference generally increases with increasing reading speed. Thus you may slightly increase your results to find your speed when readingfrom paper.

Reader profiles

  • 110 wpm, slow reader, but you have many possibilities for improvement. FReader will provide rapid comprehension and speed increases. You will soon realize that reading can be a pleasure. FReader will give you hours of instructions and training so that you keep improving up to top level reading performances.

  • 240 wpm, oral reader. You may rapidly and significantly progress by suppressing subvocalization. FReader software is perfect for you.

  • 400 wpm, auditory reader. FReader provides several speed reading modes to pace your reading beyond this sound barrier of 400 wpm.

  • 1000 wpm, visual reader. Your reading speed is the gem of your CV. You don’t need FReader but it could certainly be useful to members of your family, who are not such accomplished readers.

Book Log – The Speed of Dark

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

It took me a while to realize this was a science fiction novel. Largely because it’s not one of those SciFi novels where the Sci drives the Fi, but rather the reverse.

Told mostly from the POV of an autistic person (as was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time), I was once again struck with the feeling of being autistic after reading it. The pattern and the rhythm of the words sink into my brain, and I have to fight off talking or thinking similarly. I can’t help but think I’m a few bad neurons away. Of course, that’s part of the theme of the book, so perhaps mission accomplished on Elizabeth Moon’s part.

There are four classifications of (fictional) books for me.

1) Books I actively search out time to continue reading because I feel a certain amount of psychic pain at being separated from the storyline1.
2) Books I read when time is available and enjoy, but don’t go out of my way to make the time.
3) Books I want to have read, but don’t necessarily look forward to reading.
4) Sucky books. May they die, die, die!

This book fell comfortably into category 1, though I thought the antagonists were a bit cartoonish at times.

I wonder if it is easier to write a book with an autistic narrator, since you don’t have to avoid stilted language. Perhaps, though, it is more difficult to make stilted language readable.

Regardless, I’m definitely off to buy some underwear at KMart. Definitely.

Next on the Reading list: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

1 Note that this is not necessarily a sign of superior quality; I experienced psychic pain from having to leave in the middle of watching School of Rock.