chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
As we breathlessly enter Day 2 of the Clinton death watch (careful - don't get any of that sarcasm on your clothes - it doesn't wash out easy) I find that everything I want to say about Mrs. Clinton's health was said here. Money quote:

That said, the Clinton campaign can be faulted for this: if they knew she had pneumonia on Friday, they should probably have admitted that and gotten in front of the story. There is no way for a 68-year-old human being with pneumonia to hide it and power through a packed campaign schedule. As usual with the Clinton camp, it’s not the substance of problems that hurt her, but rather the guarded secrecy with which she and her advisers handle them. It hurts her more than it helps her in the long run, and turns mole hills into mountains.

Regarding arguments, online or otherwise, about the issue:



Sep. 8th, 2016 10:35 am
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
My allergies are in full uproar, and I'm currently in the "cough my lungs up" phase of the attack. Wit and wisdom are currently on hold.

Not Working

Sep. 2nd, 2015 12:47 pm
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
So, I said I bought a variable computer stand for my desk that allows me to work sitting or standing. It's not working, in that I don't stand that much more. I think I'm going to retire it, and just resolve to get up and walk around more often.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Comment #1 - Station Eleven

Amazon delivered unto me a copy of the wonderful new novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy today. Mandel does a great job on her apocalypse, as well as tying Arthur Leander, her Canadian actor who dies in Chapter 1, into all the events that follows. Really well-written. The "station eleven" of the title refers to a graphic novel written by one of the characters. It plays a key role in the end of the book.

Comment #2 - Worldcon travel plans

I've booked my hotels for Worldcon. I'm planning on a weekend in Seattle, a couple of days in Yakima Washington, which will be the base to explore Mt. Rainier, and then on to Spokane.

Comment #3 - Weekend Update

On Saturday, I drove down to Yuppie Central (Damen & North Ave. in Chicago) and attended a author meetup. Tobias Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Tim Akers were all in attendance. I bought a copy of Three Body Problem because both the interpreter and author were on hand and so I got both to sign the book.

Comment #4 - Getting off my butt

Some time ago, I installed a sit-stand desk at work. On Friday, I decided I wasn't getting enough "stand" out of it. So, I loaded a software package called "Big Stretch Reminder" on my PC. It sends a popup on a timed basis to remind me to stand up you lazy slob stretch.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Ebola and Wolves

What bothers me about the current flap over Ebola quarantines is the "boy who cried wolf" effect. Basically, imposing clearly unnecessary quarantines risks setting a trend where people ignore all quarantines, needed or not.


This article appeared the day before SpaceShip Two blew up. It's very prescient writing. Apollo, Ansari and the Hobbling Effects of Giant Leaps. As I said on Facebook, unfortunately building rockets is rocket science.

Plus, A Cool Video

I couldn't embed this, but go watch this video of scientists dropping a bowling ball and a feather in vacuum.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A Friday Thought

My stand-up desk is working, in that I can feel my legs get tired after a while. I knew this would happen, which is why I got a sit-or-stand version. I've been sitting for a decade, so getting used to not sitting will take a while. Although the fact that this is the first 5-day work week I've had in a month may have something to do with things.

Three Links

1) An interesting thought on 9/11 from Talking Points Memo: Perhaps more surprising still is that the only viable explanation for the dearth of attacks is that terrorists motivated to carry out attacks inside the United States do not exist. Yes, we have stopped a few plots, and done some stuff on the margins, but if Al Qaeda had the capabilities that one autistic teen did in Newtown Connecticut, we'd have been hit.

2) The writer Tricia Sullivan, guest-blogging on Charlie Stross's blog, is waxing interesting on the differences between martial arts and real fights.

3) On a lighter note, I have a new review up on Heroines of Fantasy.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Politics and War

I did not watch the President's speech last night, as I was at our regular trivia outing. (We lost.) I did read it this morning.

It seems reasonable to me. The key part I agreed with: American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. I am concerned that, sooner or later, some ISIL fighter will get lucky and shoot down a US plane or capture an American, but better that than a full-on invasion.


I have come to the realization that I sit too much. I do, after all, have a desk job. So, I purchased a sit-stand workstation for work. It's rather bigger and bulkier than I thought, and the assembly was a true pain-in-the-ass (pictures, no words, on the instruction manual, and at least two non-intuitive assembly steps) but it's now a fully-operational Death Star workstation. The beauty is I can stand up for an hour or so, work, and then when I get tired lower it and sit (which I am currently doing). Go me!
chris_gerrib: (Me)
I like ice tea, and have been making "sun tea" for years. Basically, you put the tea bags in water and set the pitcher outside. The sun brews the tea.

Well, for the second time now I've had an allergy flare-up - a flare-up that coincides with me finding "stuff" floating in my ice tea. Google being my friend, I find that sun tea can harbor dangerous bacteria. According to the link, sun tea never gets above 130 degrees, and there's a bacteria in tap water called alcaligenes viscolactis. To kill said bacteria, you need to get the water above 195 degrees.

Now, caffeine inhibits the growth of said bacteria, and like any natural thing, the bacteria take time to grow. So, if you drink your sun tea within a day or so of making it, you'll be fine. I was not - sometimes letting it sit for a week or more.

Looks like it's back to boiling water tea for me.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
Apparently not all generic medicines are the exact equivalents of the regular stuff. For example, I take Prilosec for acid reflux. Now, I migrated to that from Prevacid, and during the migration I noted that, whenever I switched, I had a day of stomach cramps during the cutover.

On Monday, I had another bout of stomach cramps, serious enough that I went home from work early. It wasn't until I got home that I realized the problem - I had switched from brand-name Prilosec to generic! I decided that if the differences were obvious enough to create cramping, the generic might not work as well. "Working" is more important than saving three bucks, so I'm back on the brand-name stuff and feeling better.


Mar. 21st, 2014 10:36 am
chris_gerrib: (Me)
Various updates:


The fundraiser results are in - $17,500 profit from our inaugural Taste of Route 66 and $1600 from our Hoopsmania raffle sale. Go team!


My personal trainer has tossed in aerobic exercise to our sessions. We had a nice five-minute burst of activity at the end of the session last night.


Having developed the plot, or rather, seen the mental movie of my next novel, now comes the hard part - characters. I need to cast some characters to play the key roles in the movie.

Personal Tech

I ordered a Windows 8.1 laptop and docking station from Dell to replace the Windows XP desktop.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
When I first embarked on my "less of me to love, now via EXERCISE!" campaign, I picked Glass Court in Villa Park as my place to go. This gym remains close to my work and was close to my house. But then I moved, and I found the 15 to 20 minute drive to the gym tiresome on weekends. So, when Charter Fitness was running a $10 / month special, I added it to my gym list.

Herewith are some random thoughts on the two gyms:

- Glass Court is an older facility, and is primarily a racquetball place with a pool. Decor is "high school gym circa 1970."
- Charter, on the other hand, is just workout gear, and it's decor is "used to be a grocery store until we tore the linoleum out." Most irritating to me, the locker room is tiny and really intended just as a place to stash your coat.
- Glass Court is more of a family place. They have a lot of kids events in the pool, and the racquetball crowd skews older. Charter is a workout place, and the crowd skews younger, with more "dress to impress" hardbody types.
- My new personal trainer, Brian, has so far been more strength-focused than cardio-focused than Susie, my previous trainer. Don't know if that's a personal style or driven by the gym layout.
chris_gerrib: (Me)

My blood pressure has been creeping up for years. About 2 years ago, when I finally decided to get off of my ass and exercise, we (my doctor and I) were hoping that the weight loss and exercise would lower my blood pressure. It did, marginally, if I took my blood pressure after a workout, but not consistently or nearly enough. We're talking a "normal" BP of 130 / 90 going to a 125 / 85 for a brief period.

So, the doctor put me on metoprolol. I had my 30-day followup, and now my blood pressure is 120 / 77, AKA "flat normal." I also don't get palpitations from coffee (yeah!). The only downside is that the drug makes me sleepy, so I take it in the evening. As my doctor (who's also on blood pressure meds says) "some people just have high blood pressure."


I mentioned that I needed new windows for my new house. The windows are in, mostly. One of the windows arrived and was too small for the hole, and my handyman needs to do various trim and paint work. He also needs to haul away some of the old windows. In short, work progresses, but a bit slower than I'd like.


In writing news, I'm editing the current WIP, and got to the first alien attack. In a previous draft, I had an attack on ships in space, but since my POV character was not in space, I had to create a POV character. But after the initial attack, said character had nothing to do, so I deleted him. Now I need to figure out how (and if I should) show the attack in space. Never a dull moment.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
I think I've developed an intolerance for caffeine.

I used to drink a lot of coffee.  About two or three years ago, I cut back from an average of 2 cups per day to one, largely due to digestive issues.  After my little flutter of last week, I tried an experiment - a day with no coffee, and a day with my usual one cup.

The one-cup-day resulted in noticable "jitters" and general unpleasantness.  Some of that was undoubtedly because I was paying attention to said jitters, but still, there it was.  So, today is another no-coffee day.  Assuming that trend continues, I'll be taking coffee off the menu.

Now, so far, other caffeinated drinks aren't bothering me.  Of course, if you look at the list below (generated from the Mayo Clinic) that makes sense (values in milligrams of caffeine):

Generic coffee  = 100
hot tea = 50
pop = 35
ice tea = 10

So right now I'm going with no coffee, and ice tea for lunch.  We'll see what comes out.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
I did *NOT* have a heart attack yesterday.

I thought I was having one, so I went to the ER (drove myself there at 1 AM). Turns out after many hours and as-yet-untold-but-surely-a-lot of dollars later, that I had "unspecified chest pain" probably caused by a combination of stress, dehydration and a potassium deficiency.

I was released last night having passed a stress test (among other things). Since I got exactly zero sleep (no sleep before and ABSOLUTELY none in the ER / hospital bed) I got some real food and went to bed.

Having been given a clean bill of health, I'm back at work today.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
When I was in the Navy, I would do my exercises in the un-air-conditioned starboard helo hanger of my ship, the USS Jack Williams (FFG-24). This included such times as when we were deployed to the Red Sea in summer. Air temps ran about 110 degrees Fahrenheit and we went weeks without seeing a cloud, so you can imagine what air temps were inside the aluminum box of the helo hanger.

During these exercises, I didn't bring any water with me. I'd hit the drinking fountain for a gulp or two before and after the workout, and then carry on with my day. I didn't notice any ill effects. I got out of the Navy in 1993, the year of my 27th birthday.

On Monday of this week, I attended a workout class at my gym. About halfway through, I got some serious muscle cramps and had to stop the workout and go home. When I got home, the cramps mysteriously ended about halfway into my first glass of water.

Moral of the story - 45-year-olds need to drink some fraking water, idiot before and during workouts!
chris_gerrib: (Me)
I got the lab results back from our early November health day at work. My overall cholesterol is down, my good cholesterol is up, and my blood sugar is down to normal levels (from slightly elevated). In short, it appears that this "exercise" thing helps! ;-)
chris_gerrib: (Default)
Mom was in to have her hip redone. She's in the recovery room now and the doctor, having replaced everything, thinks this hip should hold her.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
A few random thoughts on a dreary Wednesday in Chicago:

The Election: I'm happy Obama won, and especially happy that it's not that close. We'll undoubtedly be hearing about "voter fraud" from The Usual Suspects, but much like the "NASA faked the Moon landing" crowd, only cranks will listen. I'm even more pleased that Tammy Duckworth kicked that asshole Joe Walsh out of Congress. My post-election thoughts closely mirror John Scalzi's.

Health Day: We had our annual health day at work. I got my annual flu shot, and more importantly, when they measured my blood pressure via the manual cuff it was lower than it has been in a while. We'll see what the blood work shows in a few weeks, but perhaps this exercise thing helps! ;-)

Reviews: I have four reviews up on POD People - specifically, the novels Silent Dances (StarBridge #2), There Are Reasons Noah Packed no Clothes, Insurgent (Book 2 of America's Future) and Entities: The Selected Novels of Eric Frank Russell. Reviews and links to purchase are available at the link above.
chris_gerrib: (Default)
I spent the weekend in Williams Bay, WI, on the shores of Lake Geneva. I was a volunteer for my district's RYLA program, a leadership training initiative for high-school kids. The event was held at the Holiday Home Camp near George Williams College, and the leadership training was imparted by the Outdoor Wisconsin Leadership School. It was a fun time, although a bit tiring.

I went up Friday night, carpooling with another volunteer, and spent the day Saturday both observing kids and making various shopping runs. In past years, I would have been too pooped to pop come the evening Reality Store event, but thanks to my exercise program, even though I walked a good 2 miles, I was ready for action. I did sleep rather well that evening, and was a bit stiff the next day.

Yesterday, I was actively involved in moving one of our branch locations to a temporary site for construction. This involved a lot of crawling under desks and running up and down stairs, with a side of schlepping PCs around. Again, in previous years, I would have had to sit down at some point and rest. This year, I didn't have to - I did want to but it wasn't a requirement. Apparently this exercise stuff really helps! ;-)
chris_gerrib: (Default)
Like the label on the tin says:

A) A long but fascinating article by James Fallows, Carter's speechwriter, on Jimmy Carter's faults as President.

B) From John Hemry, an article about how gluten intolerance can make you crazy.

C) Of interest to gun people - pattern of shotgun pellets at self-defense ranges. Birdshot actually penetrated deeper than buckshot at seven yards.

D) Two related articles from Foreign Policy magazine: the practical impact of China's new aircraft carrier and a discussion about aircraft carriers in space.


chris_gerrib: (Default)

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