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Mon, Nov. 30th, 2015, 04:09 pm
The View From Up Here

I am sitting up in this wheelchair thing as I write this, but not for long. It's getting uncomfortable. In fact, I'm off.

The limiting factor is the Kiwi brace on my stump. Really need to have it on, but I can't tolerate it long. I've been pain free for the last few days. Neurontin alone seems to hold me. I haven't had any Norco -- I thought this was oxycontin plus Tylenol, but it's hydrocodone and Tylenol -- either way I want to be using it sparingly. Indeed, the pain with the Kiwi wasn't as bad as sometimes, and it faded quickly -- no Norco needed.

But this was a first. I've sat up at the edge of the bed successfully, with support. But today they got a chair and used the Hoyer lift to lift me like cargo on an old ship, and have me sit it in a chair.

From there I could be pushed down to the PT gym. Ah, my old friend -- all the old challenges must be reconquered. Standing up. The parallel bars. The walk across the width of the gym. The walk across the length of the gym. The shallow stairs. The steeper stairs. The hallways...

Fortunately I am starting from a much stronger core and far less leg atrophy, since it wasn't six weeks of flat-on-the-back this time. They also told me to have Mrs. Dr. Phil bring in my walker. Whee! And away we go.

And this was the first real day here in rehab, you might say. After a holiday weekend where all the schedules get bollixed up.

So... progress.

Dr. Phil

Sun, Nov. 29th, 2015, 12:54 am
Friday the Blackening

For ten years and probably more, the relationship between Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas season. Decorations and good will has turned into hard core shopping.

Thanksgiving/November 2015 started off auspiciously, with several retailers reversing recent trends and stating that Thanksgiving was for friends and family. No hours on Thanksgiving.

Next up were places deciding to offer Black Friday sale prices all month. No, not extending the Christmas shopping season guys! Also color me skeptical that month long prices will rival the ridiculous specials which sell out in seconds.

But it sounds like Black Friday had something of a soft landing this year. Sure, everyone is still doing the Black Friday, Black Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday... but it's not novel. And all the ad campaigns are stretching the dates.

So maybe this is the year where we break with the feeding frenzy and maybe go back somewhat to the "good old days". Not that I have ever gone to shark chummed crowd assaults. Even stuck myself in the hospital to stay away. (grin)

Although... my new complaint is the number of Christmas ads clearly aimed at people buying things for myself.

Dr. Phil

Tue, Nov. 24th, 2015, 03:44 pm
Cut Off This Foot Which Offended Me

I've been surfacing on Facebook the last few days, so sorry for the lack of blogging.

2½ years with the heel wound and because of compressed nerves and no feeling, I was never on pain meds. Fortunately now that I am on pain meds they work, but auto correct on the Kindle Fire HD has been a nightmare.

Once we got the MRI result, the heel bone all lit up with infection, we knew the war was lost. No food or water after midnight Saturday -- I had two turkey sandwiches with mayo and mustard at 11:30 -- I was scheduled to be third with my surgeon. First procedure went short, the second long, so they came to get me at 3pm. No, this bed was assembled in the room, you can't use it for transport. Gurney at three-thirty. I had signed the consent form the other day. They were going to leave it so I could think about it, but as I've said, this has been on the table from the start. We were both surprisingly all right with this. But I realized overhearing from across the way at OR Prep 29, we needed to sign off on the anesthesiologist.

OR1. Stryker power tools. The anesthesiologist suggested I might now want to look over there -- nope, I was fascinated.

The actual amputation surgery took about four hours. The edema made it a wet mess, but my surgeon was pleased with the result. I'd worried about whether there'd be enough good skin to make a below the knee flap -- they ended up doing a "fishmouth" procedure.

Back in room by 8:30pm. Now I had pain. Norco and morphine to start. We're off the IV morphine now, and have added a nerve drug to deal with the phantom pains. It's 4pm. Time to call in for another Norco. It's interesting that they're more worried about the dose of Tylenol in these pills than the oxycontin. Don't want to burn out the liver and kidneys.

You never know the schedule around here. I figured I'd move back to my home at the Fuller fifth floor subacute rehab facility Tuesday or Wednesday. I assumed Wednesday, and it looks like I am right. The Kiwi brace should be fitted in the morning, move in the afternoon.

The bandage is secure and not leaking. I am off all antibiotics. Funny, I had tolerated IV vancomycin for six weeks last summer, but in the last nine days I've been through six IV sets in both arms. The sixth hasn't been used for anything. The others got inflamed, stopped working or leaked. What the hell?

Oh wait, the previous vanco runs were through a PIC line. I guess vancomycin is really hard on regular IVs. (Although jamming Vancouver through an IV isn't recommended either. grin)

Anyway, I am in good shape. Need to learn how to walk with one leg. Go home. Months from now I will be fitted for a prosthetic. Hopefully I will end up with more mobility than before.

See you from rehab...

Dr. Phil

Wed, Nov. 18th, 2015, 04:43 pm
Ugh 3, The Battle is Lost

Wednesday started with such promise -- the cultures came in. The blood culture was negative, so nothing systemic. And the wound culture has two strains, neither of them staph. So I still hoped we could save the foot.

Alas, the MRI showed almost "no discernable heel bone". The infection had eaten into the infection site, I guess.

Probably lose the foot on Friday.

This is not a huge shock. We've had amputation on the table for 2½ years. Hoped that in ten years they would learn what to do with a diseased heel bone.

Time just ran out.

Dr. Phil

Mon, Nov. 16th, 2015, 08:37 pm
Ugh 2 -- Well, Old Friend, We Meet Again

Well, this weekend was a sad one to miss by being sick. The weather was gorgeous. Northwestern even won. Again.

After this "cold" began to create a fever Thursday, and the weather forecast suggested I really didn't feel like dealing with it, I did what I've very seldom done in 23 years -- called in sick.

Did run out and get the blood work done for Infectious Diseases -- the lab said the results by 1pm. But they weren't showing up in the MyHealth app. Finally the app mentioned that clinical results wouldn't be available Thursday or Friday. So I called Infectious Diseases and they'd gotten the results. White blood cell count normal. Only marker which was off was the one for inflammation, and the leg was swollen. Decision -- wait and see.

Saturday my fever went up to 103°F, then came down. And we started seeing bleeding from the heel wound. Hmm...

Sunday the peaks were more like 102°F, but I started making phone calls. The PA from Infectious Diseases agreed she'd order the blood cultures we figured we didn't need from Thursday's labs. Two phone calls to the Wound Clinic, but they never responded to the pages.

6:30 and time to change the heel bandage. It was a mess, blood flowing. No longer a question of which of the four doctors to get an appointment with on Monday first. We were beyond home heath care. So after I was rebandaged, I called my GP's service -- the PA called back in two minutes. Carl said I needed to be admitted into the hospital -- I told him that's why I called, so the ER would have the order before we got there.

Drove on in. Beautiful orange slice moon setting at 8:03 as we left home.

Wheelchair. ER room. Vitals. Fever. The blood culture needs two samples from two places. Got one, then nothin. IV set was good, but couldn't draw. Two people worked for an hour -- no joy. Apparently I really was dehydrated.

By about ten my room was ready. Turned out to be the same one I had in May 2014. The magic word to get a private room is "potential MRSA". New phlebotemist got the blood draw. I'd had one unit of saline in the ER.

I had skipped dinner, so after Mrs. Dr. Phil left, I had them make a couple of the microwave Mac and cheeses. First thing I'd felt like eating all day. By 2am, they'd started the vanco IV. And the MRI had been ordered by the ward's doctor. So, when? Um, the MRI is busy. Twenty hours later, still waiting.

Monday. 8am a PA from the foot surgeon is there. He says there is pus freely flowing from my heel. Wonderful. That's new. This PA actually works for the other surgeons in the practice not mine. He remembers me from May 2014. Still, it's good to hear from the amputation camp and not the Save The Foot camp. At this point it's too early.

9am, one of the PAs I see across the street in the Wound Clinic shows up. She wants to know if a wound culture has been done. I said no one mentioned it, but then they could've in the ER and I'd never feel it. Ordered. She didn't know why one of the doctors didn't return the pages on Sunday. New dressing uses Dakens solution -- which is bleach. Have had that before. Smells clean.

10am. "Dr. Phil, what are you doing here?" It's my Infectious Diseases doctor. She's really the point of my care team -- but we don't know anything yet. So we covered options.

The rest of the day was waiting for things to happen. The bariatric bed was delivered. It was hoped I could get the MRI and they could move beds while I was gone. But the wards don't have their own gurnies, they had to depend on a twenty year veteran aid, who managed to do one those puzzles with one pieces missing, and I got transferred.

Twenty-two hours waiting for the MRI...

Hey, I've been here before.

We'll see.

Will NOT be teaching PHYS-3090 Modern Physics in the spring.

Dr. Phil

Thu, Nov. 12th, 2015, 04:28 pm

I feel awful.

I haven't felt terrific fine for some time. First, it was the nasty cold that was going around, which took over three weeks to mostly go away. Then I had a flu shot on the second, a week ago Monday. This round of flu shots seems to create some mild fever and aches and pains. It happens. Then my bad leg is swelling more than usual, which it does, but that sometimes morphs into something else unexplained.

And that's where we seem to be today.

Yesterday my aches and pains had aches and pains. Checked my temp after midnight last night -- 101.0°F. Wonderful. I figured it was time to make an executive decision and send an email to my chair and tell him I was not going to be in on Thursday.

It's not just being sick, but we're in the middle of a storm system tearing up the Great Lakes, about on par with the one which swamped the Edmund Fitzgerald forty years ago just the other day. Rain, flooding, 35 mph winds with gusts to 50-60 mph. Power outages forecast, etc. Driving a Blazer on US-131 with winds like that takes concentration, and I was already spent. Plus I've got to keep my foot bandage dry.

I was able to send lecture notes for both classes, if they could find someone to take them. Then I went to bed. When I'm sick, there are several little things which drive me nuts and force me out to try sleeping in a living room chair. Usually it's nose clogging or, worse, whistling. Last night it was another of my horrors -- hearing my pulse in my ear against the pillow, also caused by congestion.

Wednesday I wanted to leave early, 3pm, so I'd get to the Campustowne lab in time to get blood drawn for the standing order of blood tests Infectious Diseases wanted. But there was a problem with my updated webpages not loading correctly. I got out by 3:36. Made it to the lab at 4:58. Locked. Sigh. So I went at 9am, picking an interval where the rain was light. Labs were going out at 10:30am, should have results at 1pm.

Of course that didn't quite work that way. Spectrum's My Health is supposed to allow you to see labs as soon as they're posted. But... nothing. The second time I logged in, there was a note that clinical data was down for maintenance Thursday and Friday. So I called Infectious Diseases -- they had the results. White blood cell count was good. The CRP marker for inflammation was high, but we knew the leg was swollen.

Fever peaked at 1pm, 101.8°F. Down lower now. I've done very little today, but I might be feeling a little better.

My 10am class got canceled -- it'll be covered tomorrow. My 1pm class had subs today and tomorrow. So, we're good as much as we can be. I don't think anyone will ever complain about me needed a sick day -- I rarely stay home.

One of the odd things about this has to do with feeling my foot. Now, this all started when I got a compressed nerve in my left leg from an arthritic hip. So all through my adventures with my foot, I've had no direct feeling -- never needed any pain meds for wound debridement. But I am aware of my foot -- there's some deep tissue feeling in places. And sometimes I experience phantom pain -- I know it's not real because when I touch the area, there's nothing. If I was going to regrow the leg nerve, it takes several years. Last night I started feeling sharp pains in my foot. Oh lord, I do NOT want to have to take painkillers -- I might have to stop driving if this got serious. But, I think it's all part of the reaction of the inflammation and not that I'm feeling the injured sites. More disconcerting than anything, and is much less than it was last night.

But I am tired and sick. I suppose I'm lucky to have typed this much on the laptop -- the autocorrect on the Kindle Fire HD has been a nightmare. (grin)

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Sun, Nov. 8th, 2015, 01:31 am
All The Bond Movies At Once

After days with highs on one K-zoo electronic sign of 77, 79 and 77 this week, a cold front has moved through. The temp dropped below freezing after we got home from the movies. We had decided to hit another evening movie, instead of our usual Saturday afternoon. Not only did it mean we could have the day to do things, but the 6:50pm showing of Spectre was the first of only two shows in the comfy recliners of Theatre #5 at the Holland 7. We are definitely spoiled. Of course, besides popcorn and a bonus package of the new Butterfinger peanut butter cups -- though how is it a Butterfinger if it doesn't wedge material in between your teeth -- and cheese & salami sandwiches smuggled in.

Still having fun playing on the new M-231 highway, even if it only has three entry points. Tonight we drove out from Warner to Lincoln -- realized that the Stop signs at Lincoln and 120th Avenue are now on 120th, rather than Lincoln -- and hopped on to M-231. That means only one traffic light at M-45, rather than two.

It's been three years since Skyfall (DW) came out. Judi Dench's swansong. The new Bond film does not ignore what happened in the last one.

Spectre [PG-13]
Holland 7 Theatre 5, 6:50pm, 2×$9.25

Bond. James Bond. How can we skip a Daniel Craig .007 movie? It's a huge franchise and even the bad ones feature big budget action sequences. Like Star Wars, nothing else quite fits like Bond. I'd heard a certain amount of buzz on NPR and print and Internet -- more than the usual run-ups -- and a lot of them complained about a lackluster story.

Look, here's the thing. Movie scripts are closer to short stories and novellas, than novels. And the thing about a short story, we are constantly being told, is that the main protagonist isn't just have a bad day, they are having The Worst Day Of Their Life™. And boy, does James Bond's life suck by that metric.

We expect the cars, the tuxedos (black and white), the drinks, the exotic locales -- and the women and the far out there opening credits. And this time we get homages to many earlier films. Of particular note, was the early Connery From Russian With Love, which featured good old-fashioned spycraft and a wonderful game of cat-and-mouse on a train. More than one commenter had noticed this feature and more than one has mused that maybe Sam Mendes spent too much time on nostalgia and not enough on a script.

To some extent, who cares? The opening in Mexico City features massive street parades for the Day of the Dead and much of it is filmed in one continuous tracking shot. Carnivale has been featured in more than one Bond outing.

The 800-lb. gorilla in the room is obviously keyed on the title. SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) is well-known from early Bond films in the 60s and 70s. But, despite having seen someone say what the acronym stands for in one of the early trailers, in this film I don't recall hearing anyone bring it up. Indeed, SPECTRE is largely unknown to the British secret service, and is hardly mentioned by name at all. That said, the dastardly criminal super-enterprise has many bits of iconic details for us. Including the one where they just simply fail to shoot Bond the moment they capture him, instead of explaining the whole plot to them. (grin)

The funny thing about the Double-Oh agents, is kind of like Treadstone and Jason Bourne, they seem to work alone. We rarely see any other Double-Oh agents -- and usually when they're dead or jumped to the dark side. The thing is, the other agents always seem off... .007 is cool, calm, collected and -- despite having a luxe wardrobe -- is capable of being the taciturn Everyman and blend in. The other guys always seem to have Personalities™, like humor. Though we don't see .009, what we learn about him/her doesn't seem inspiring. (grin)

There's a great cast. Ben Whishaw is the new young Q from Skyfall. And the new Moneypenny -- though you can be forgiven if, given some of the hype I've seen, that she doesn't have as substantial role as I expected. Also the suspicious characters -- given their previous films, you can never trust a Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz or Andrew Scott.

Then there's Bond's backstory. Have you ever noticed that as an ensemble cast in a TV series continues, we learn "new" things which should've been obvious earlier -- if they'd been written, that is. You know, how Character B is revealed in Season 3 to be an orphan, and in Season 5 to have been abused as a child, but in Season 6 is revealed his parents were pedophiles and so B killed them at age eight. All of which makes no sense because B is the happy-go-lucky one of the ensemble. Well, I keep getting the nagging feeling they're doing that to James. I suppose it makes sense -- the man is a cipher after all and we really know very little about him. In fact, I had a theory for decades that Commander James Bond, RN, was actually a job description and not a person, which is why we had a succession of Bonds -- Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan and now Craig. Alas, they seemed to doom that theory in Skyfall, which kind of pissed me off.

Well, at 24 films, the Bond series is practically a TV series in length. And so they're still mucking up and inventing new things about Bond's history. Sigh. Save us, O Lord, from people who want to muck up and make their mark on iconic characters.

Transportation always figures heavily in Bond films. Cars, of course, but also boats, planes, helicopters, etc. There's a North African train which struck me for two reasons. Beautifully kitted out in First Class, the train geek in me also noticed a very modern, long and very powerful new diesel locomotive. Certainly not the broken down African trains used in a lot of other movies. Even if the roadbed ends up buried in sand in some places. (grin) But then there's the sumptious interior. Every train I've been in has had sturdy interiors. Trains are high stress and high vibration systems. No way would walls be tissue paper thin, even in a fight. And where the hell did the crew go, let alone the passengers?

I will say two other things about transportation: (1) the threat and deed of collateral damage, which almost puts Bond in the superhero category and (2) a plane sequence which starts out good, but ultimately descends in what I can only hope was a campy homage to some of the excess of the Roger Moore era.

The movie runs a full two-and-a-half hours. It still leaves some questions unanswered, leading me to wonder what was left on the cutting room floor -- or whether writers simply never thought it out.

Is this the best Bond film ever? Well, at around $300 million, it sounds like it's the most expensive. But no. On the other hand, it's not the stupidest -- Moonraker I'm looking at you.

And although the octopus symbolism from Octopussy is used for this incarnation of Spectre, I think that a hydra might be a better example. The ending invites a whole lotta possibilities for the next flick, to say nothing after over fifty years of having a huge iconic 25th movie. Craig has one more to go in his contract, but isn't sure if he has it in him. I hope he does, because given where the plot needs to go after Skyfall and Spectre, I think the trilogy would not be the same with a new Bond. It just wouldn't.

[Edited to add:] Oh, and though I don't drink, even I know if you order a dirty martini, it shouldn't be clear. My father was a formulations chemist, and I learned about cloud points as a kid.

RECOMMENDED For The Bond Fans -- You Know Who You Are

Trailers: In The Heart Of The Sea -- this trailer actually shows a wrapper story with Mr. Melville interviewing an old salt while researching Moby Dick. Ron Howard movie opens 12/11. 13 Hours -- January, a notorious month for either general release of Oscar fodder from December, art house films or movies that suck, brings us "the True Story you were never told..." about Benghazi -- as told by that noted history and realism movie artiste, Michael Bay. Concussion -- previous trailer of Will Smith movie about football injuries. Ride Along 2 -- Huh, a sequel that opens the same weekend as Benghazi. Atlanta drug cops, with a side character played by a Rizzoli & Isles Boston cop, which takes place in Miami. A buddy cop movie with an impending wedding. What could possibly go wrong? Didn't see the first one -- we don't do most comedies. Secret In Their Eyes -- Great cast with Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Revenge for a daughter's murder? Will wait for the reviews, probably catch it on Netflix if it's good. Opens in two weeks. We'll be at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II that weekend...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Sat, Nov. 7th, 2015, 03:28 pm
When East-West Isn't

Wow. It was back on 12 September 2015 -- 56 days ago -- that I posted my last big writing update (DW) (LJ) on the YA series. So much for weekly reports.

It's a week into November, which means a number of people I know are getting into NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing in a Month -- which sets a 50,000 word "novel" goal. That's low, but it does inspire some writers, even pros, to put in the Sit In Chair time and churn out some kinds of words. As I say every year, I don't participate in NaNoWriMo because November is a tough academic month, even though last year I actually managed 53,035 words (DW) in the month of November. It wasn't NaNoWriMo, because I don't do NaNoWriMo -- I was just trying to create my YA Lost Kingdom series.

After being off from Christmas to Labor Day, it's been a little rough this semester. Three weeks of a lingering cold also sapped time and energy. Writing has slowed, but that's pretty reasonable. I'm working on editing Book 1 and finishing Book 2 here and there. A typical writing day is 500-1000 words, but that's not every day. Still... forward progress is progress!

Today's little detour involved a simple set of observations in the beginning of A Princess of a Lost Kingdom. Walking along a dirt road near sunset on Thursday 15 September 2016, just above the Arctic Circle, I had to actually calculate two things.

First, I needed to figure out when the sun would drop behind the mountains in the west. The mountains of Eisbergen aren't very tall -- 600 to 900 feet -- though as is typical for Norway, they are quite steep. If you're standing in Summer Home at the roots of the mountains, they look plenty big. But what's the angle for a 900 foot mountain seven miles away? It's arctan (y/x), of course, but damn... the calculator next to me is a business calculator. No trig functions. And the HP-48G in the drawer I haven't used in years? It came on, sort of, but needs new batteries. So I used the Windows 7 Calculator in Scientific mode:

There's a very nice website I've been using at timeanddate.com which has calculators for sunrise, sunset, twilight and moonrise, moonset for places all around the world and years into the future. Obviously, Summer Home or Nunuuvit aren't in their database -- it's a secret kingdom, after all -- so I chose Bodø, Norway, which is a bit north of the kingdom. Click on an individual day and you can slide the moon or sun along and find its position and elevation in the sky:

When does the sun disappear behind the mountains along the walk from Old Fields Halt?
15 September 2016 for Bodø – 6pm 8° , 6:50pm 3°, 7pm 1-2° . Sunset 7:32pm 279°W. (All times in CEST -- Central European Summer Time.)

Second, I originally wrote that the farm road headed "due west". But due to the coastline trends along Norway, I tilted my map of Eisbergen, so that "due left" isn't "due west". And then the farm road itself, isn't horizontal on the map:

So I pulled a compass rosette off of Wikipedia and superimposed the North reference from my map, along with a line that follows the farm road. Yeah, the sun is NOT going to be straight in your eyes at sunset. (edit-edit-edit...)

Version 1.16, the latest published Map of Eisbergen, is here.

All very cool. And I haven't even commented on the Syrian refugees spreading across Europe in this post, but I've incorporated that, too.

New Researches: The Armenian Genocide. Armenians -- The largest Armenian populations today exist in Russia, the United States, France, Georgia, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. With the exceptions of Iran and the former Soviet states, the present-day Armenian diaspora was formed mainly as a result of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest national church. Liturgically speaking, the Church has much in common both with the Latin Rite in its externals, especially as it was at the time of separation, as well as with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Mo i Rana, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden, 1000 km via the E4. Hotel Kungsträdgården - The King´s Garden Hotel, Stockholm. Brasserie Makalös (Peerless) is a French brasserie located in the Hotel Royal Garden in the heart of Stockholm. "We are a cashless restaurant." The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet). A soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for All Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day to commemorate the dead in the Christian tradition. A precursor to Trick-or-Treat, children and adults would go "souling" and sing for cakes. In 1963, the American folk group Peter, Paul and Mary recorded this as "A' Soalin", including all the verses as well as parts of "Hey, Ho, Nobody Home" and "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" (which are traditionally associated with Christmas).

The Shiny Counters for the first two books stand at:
Book 1 (103,663 words)

Book 2 (83,015 words)

A Princess of a Lost Kingdom is still top heavy, but amazingly I am still under 105,000 words, so there is still hope. (grin) I am in the Edit Pass 6 complete read through, en route to producing the Book 1 Beta 2 reader books, as well as Beta 1 Service Pack 1, which incorporates the main chapter changes from Beta 1, so Beta 1 readers don't have to wade through a whole book if they don't want to. Need to watch out for version fatigue. (you're-welcome)

The Loneliness of a Lost Kingdom is in Edit Pass 2, with two chapters added recently. As soon as I have those finished or roughed in sufficiently, I'll start reading Book 2 all the way through for names, continuity, story flow -- then tackle the niggling issues of overused words, etc. Book 2 Beta 1 is coming!


Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Fri, Nov. 6th, 2015, 12:11 am
You Will Be Assimilated

The WinTen We're Taking Over Your Computer Whether You Like It Or Not campaign by Microsoft continues, unabated.

I thought I had posted these Important Messages Upon Bootup back on 14 and 18 October, but I guess I hadn't. This first one is based on the theory that 110,000,000 people who don't know how to say NO, NOT YET, can't be wrong:

But only Millions love Windows 10? That's what, a few percent of the 110,000,000 who upgraded?

Microsoft also increased the threats, by announcing that (a) Windows 10 will be rolled into the Recommended Windows Update lists and (b) Windows 10 will become a Required Windows Update at some point. Wait -- how the hell can you reconcile a Required update with still providing support for Windows 7 and 8 and 8.1 up to their Drop Dead Dates?

Then there's today missive:

Am I the only one who's thinking of the movie Scrooged and the network's tag line, "Yule Love It!" ?

And more to the point, given it's mighty decline in recent years, from James Earl Jones "This is CNN" and the "You Give Us Half an Hour, We'll Give You the World" of Headline News -- is anyone seriously thinking that CNN is a good recommendation for ANYTHING, including which operating system you're running?

This ad campaign by Microsoft is so lame, no wonder it's running in little blue boxes on my computer desktop. They couldn't even find a bad ad agency to run these in print/TV/cable/media anywhere. Microsoft, you are still not inspiring confidence in this upgrade. (Although to be fair, the TV spots are pretty lame, too. Microsoft just can't run ads which tell you what the fuck they do. Instead, they talk about children born today into the blessed light of Windows 10 and love and happiness. Does ANYONE think that a child born today will be using Windows 10 when they're five years old in 2020? Ten in 2025? Fifteen in 2030? Windows 10 MIGHT settle down into a great product, I don't know, but I don't think it's the Microsoft version of Men In Black's "The last suit you'll ever own.")

As I have said before, I am not totally opposed to the concept of Windows 10. But the messages have been very bullying and I know some people who've had some real software and driver issues after upgrading to Windows 10 -- and the promised version rollback to their last working Windows system FAILED. That does not inspire confidence either.

I have a lot of legacy software and legacy files I need to use to get my work done. The upgrades from PC DOS (2.10/3.1/3.21/3.30/5.00/2000) to Windows 95/98SE/NT4 to 98Me/2000 to Vista/XP/7/8.x already have cost me access to some of the programs I use and make it difficult sometimes to read older files. After a year of struggling, I am happy enough with Word 2010 under Windows 7 -- I currently hate Word 2013 and have no experience with Office 365, though as I pointed out the other day (DW) (LJ), that one I am going to probably have to eat in 2016 as the University decides to sell its soul to Outlook.

Someday I'll probably buy a clean native Windows 10 machine -- but I don't want to waste my valuable time to run an upgrade to WinTen just because Microsoft says so. Not until WinTen gets some Service Packs under its belt. That's been my rules going way back to Windows NT 4 Workstation. Me and a whole lot of IT professionals.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Wed, Nov. 4th, 2015, 12:35 pm
No Vote

No Vote Yet?

Yesterday was the first Tuesday in November, the traditional major fall election day. With the furious campaigning for President of These United States in the weeks and months leading up to Tuesday 3 November 2015... Oh. Wait.

It's just the off-year election after the mid-term election. We've still got a WHOLE YEAR of Presidential campaigning left.


No Vote?

So with election day rolling in, I couldn't remember hardly seeing ANY campaign signs anywhere, especially in Allendale, nor could I remember any Ottawa County or Michigan ballot proposals. So Monday night I checked, Googling "allendale mi ballot". The first hit was an Ottawa County site with several townships and other jurisdictions in the county -- but no mention for Allendale Twp. The Allendale Township site had a page for announcements -- and it was blank. Another website showed nothing for Allendale.

Would it kill the county or the township to put up a notice that there was NO Allendale Township election this round?

I did go down 84th Avenue in the morning and braved turning onto the M-45 traffic without benefit of a traffic light, so I could drive by the big church complex where elections are held -- no sign at the road saying VOTE TODAY.

Okay. Well, that's easy.

No! Vote

I don't normally delve into politics on this blog... but this hit the national news.

Back in September, I wrote about Cindy Gamrat (R) and Todd Courser (R) (DW) (LJ) and their shabby attempt to get back into the Michigan legislature:
In case you need context, Cindy Gamrat (R) and Todd Courser (R), managed to merge their offices in Lansing "to save money". Actually, though both married to other people, they used their shiny new combined office to cover their affair. It was eventually exposed, in part because the staff members refused to be part of the coverup. Courser thought he could put the dogs off the scent by producing a fake email smear campaign, outing him as gay -- apparently a fate worth than death or adultery.

In case you think this is only about the sex, remember they spent government money in order to conduct their affair. It was, apparently, a "mistake".

Rather than resign and let the State Legislature work on stuff like a third Real Try at funding desperately needed road repairs, they insisted on staying put until weeks of investigations and hand wringing and a vote late into the night resulted in... Gamrat being expelled from the State House and her brave suiter, Courser, bravely deciding to resign just before he was voted out as well.

Then this past week, Gamrat decided that since the voters hadn't weighed in on this, she was going to run for her seat in the special election. It is apparently legal to do so. But previously the Allegan County Republican Party had expelled her as well. Then Courser announced he was going to do the same -- run in the special election -- after getting approval (this time) from his wife.
Well, the results are in and neither Courser nor his girlfriend-not-his-wife will be going back to the legislature:

Gamrat came in third of eight candidates for the Republican special election primary, netting 9% of the vote. And in an 11 horse Kentucky Derby, Courser came in sixth with 4% of the vote. Thank goodness.

I was very peeved at both of these idiots, first for trying to use a "joint legislative office" to cover for their affair, second for Courser's idiotic plan to try to accuse himself of being gay, which he figured could be disproved, so when the rumors of the affair spread, no one would believe him. Third for not resigning when this all first blew up, because as God fearing good people and hardcore Tea Party Republicans, they couldn't imagine they did anything wrong. Thus forcing weeks of investigations, hearings and finally a long into the night vote, where the legislature expelled Gamrat and then Courser bravely let his girlfriend swing in the wind alone and resigned before he could be expelled, too. Which finally resulted in the two deciding that they should let their voters decide whether they should go back to their elected jobs as if nothing happened.

At her concession announcement at her home, Gamrat had her family on video call... from Florida. Right...

The special election itself will take place early in 2016.

Dr. Phil
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