January 23rd, 2015


It's Friday, So It Must Be Novel Report Time

Despite being unnecessarily busy working on a grievance form with our insurance regarding a dozen PT sessions which should have been covered during May-September 2014, and my first visit of the year to my office to let OUEST get its update fever out of the way... I managed to get a lot of writing done. Maybe not the most in terms in number of words, but several major holes in three different books of the YA five-book trilogy now have significant progress. Yes, as I've mentioned, I have chapters which are nothing more than Microsoft Word's automatic number field and a title. We all do. Unless you're one of those people who ridiculously plot outlines for every detail before you even write.

Not knowing where the bulk of the story is going to go, but letting time and the characters do their thing, is so very much more fun. (big-happy-grin)

And the plastic toilet flush arm almost broke today, but you can manually flush the main toilet for now. A simple fix once parts are here. At least with plastic parts we shouldn't have to deal with rust seized nuts.

Researches this week have included: Old Norse name Dagmær, derived from the elements dagr "day" and mær "maid". History of Bitcoin hacks. In 2015, the Arctic Circle lies at latitude 66°33'46"N. While the equator and geographic North Pole are fixed, the Arctic and Antarctic Circles and the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn drift ±2° over a 41,000 year cycle. Currently the Arctic Circle is moving north at 15 meter/year or about a second of arc every 2 or 3 years, by my calculation. The Somewhere in Time Weekend at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island is 16-18 October 2015 -- presumably similar in 2018. No tipping in the Grand Hotel. Weekend stays vary considerably by about a factor of seven between off-season and big weekends. The Main Dining Room serves a five-course dinner. Menus online. "Evening wear is required in all areas of the hotel after 6:30 p.m.: Dress, skirt and blouse or pantsuit for ladies, and coat, necktie and dress pants for gentlemen. No denim please." The 31st biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference will be held in September 2015 on Mackinac Island, Michigan -- also the 32nd in 2017. Andrew Zimmern of Bizzare Foods on Travel Channel goes home to native Minnesota. Lake Superior roe is salted and mainly sold in Scandinavia. Lake herring is more like whitefish than the usual pickled herring one sees in the states. And the Minnesota State Fair has serious caloric food. A Goober Burger – big patty with like half a cup of peanut butter on it, placed on the grill, then put in the bun with a big dollop of mayonnaise. As opposed to Redamack's in New Buffalo MI by the Indiana border, whose "Legendary" burger is available with Velveeta. Michigan's Vernors is the oldest surviving ginger ale sold in the United States, but not the first. Spring Break at Northwestern is 21-30 March 2020, alas, two weeks before Easter on 9 April 2020. European citizens can use an Interrail pass instead of a Eurail pass. Interrail includes more countries, including Poland -- useful if one is making a pilgrimage to Auschwitz near Krakow. Dachau is near Munich. Convertible bed seats on Chicago-Frankfurt Lufthansa 747-830 (center seats 3D/G are the only double seats in First Class) and the Frankfurt-Toronto leg of Rome-Chicago in Air Canada 777-300ER business class (alternating rows of 2-2-2 and 1-2-1, with seats 5A/C in the former). The FRO-FRA-YYZ-ORD Lufthansa/Air Canada flight is currently the only midday flight connections that would allow you to attend 9am Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica and still make it to Monday morning classes at NU.

And a little humor:
Q: What does the Kingdom of Eisbergen look like?
A: As usual, we go to the Interwebs for the answer – in this case XKCD:

http://xkcd.com/1472/ This would be looking south, of course. (sn*cker)
Actually, this was hilarious when I first saw it, because it's just like my map, except for the volcano... and the desert... and the mesa... and the glacier... and the river delta...

Meanwhile the shiny counters are up to:
The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.07 (01-23-15 Fr)

The Lost Kingdom Fourth-Fifth Novels Version 1.07

The second file looks so anemic, but that's because I just decided to split it into two books, so the target word count got doubled in the last report. Not bothering to do the individual book counters this week.

Onward. Ever onward...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

Michigan Finally Has Something To Worry About

Remember 2014? Remember the awful invasion of deadly Ebola On Our Very Shores!? (Or is it ?!, I can never remember the order of precedence when writing in panic voice.) This despite the known game plan of How To Get Ebola, which pretty much negates the possibility of infection of the majority of Americans.

No matter.

We need an Ebola vaccine! We need an Ebola cure! Shoot the people coming in from Africa because they might have Ebola! Solve the problem by just ignoring the real cases in Africa and hope they die before they hop on a plane and come here.

Meanwhile, a real live airborne virus has raised its ugly head, years after it was declared gone -- measles. And in an outrageous set of ironies, the self-inflicted wounds originated with The Magic Kingdom and fueled by the anti-vaccination crowd.

The hallmarks of a good vaccine are "safe and effective". The MMR vaccine has certainly proved to be effective, eliminating measles as a problem. The safety part was tainted not by real safety issues, but a groundless and now discredited report.

No matter.

But the anti-science mood in parts of this country means that millions of parents can ride their fears and perpetuate a junk report, over anything real scientists and real data can show.

Yes, there are some people who cannot be given the MMR vaccine -- they need herd protection, being surrounded by people who should shield them. This is defeated when you take science in your own hands.


And also in the news, the first childhood flu fatality in Michigan. Here's where the vaccine business runs into some shoal water -- the flu shots we got in the fall seem to have missed the mark. The vaccine usually uses two strains from the last flu season, plus the best guess. Alas, between the time the vaccine was locked down and actual flu cases, the one strain -- H1N3? -- mutated. So the flu vaccine is only 15% effective, rather than 30%+.

But we're more interested in crying about Ebola. And, alas, the failure of the vaccine this year will encourage any antivaxxers who might have wavered in the face of the measles outbreak.

When I was little I had both measles and German measles. The latter came on a bright and sunny winter day, we stopped at the drugstore in the little town I grew up in after church, and I was complaining about how bright it was. Somehow I ended up with a new pair of sunglasses, and my mother got suspicious because after we left the store I seemed quiet and happy and no longer complaining. At home I had a fever of 102°F or 103°F.

I also got chicken pox. I got my shots. I have a little funny scar on my arm from the smallpox vaccination. I've had colds and flu, but no flu since we started getting flu shots twenty years ago.

You don't want to screw around with some of this shit.

Go look up the number of deaths from the great flu pandemic on the heels of WW I. Which killed millions.

Americans are REALLY unlikely to get Ebola. The flu? Measles? They've hit Michigan. They're real. The flu is unavoidable as you can only make a best guess for the next year. I'll be curious to see if a midyear vaccine -- I'd take it. And the measles outbreak, totally manmade.

But you better believe that that there Obama feller is bringing in Ebola to kill Americans.

Or something.

Everything, but science.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal