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Thanksgiving [Nov. 30th, 2016|10:47 pm]
We had double Thanksgiving this year: first we hung out with bears for the afternoon, then we went over to the Nevilles' for dinner. I roasted a bunch of veggies and Jerry made an excellent pumpkin mochi cake. Hooray for chosen family!

I had a good time visiting with people despite a weird and very persistent headache. It had started on Wednesday and was still going on Friday morning, so I didn't get as much done as I had hoped, and instead went to the doctor that afternoon. There was nothing out of the ordinary, and I had some muscle aches to go along with the headache, so the doctor concluded I was probably just fighting off a virus. (Maybe even a very weak version of the flu, since I got my flu shot a while back.) It finally cleared up Sunday evening, and the aches went with it, so I think that's what it was.

On Saturday, Mel and Kate and Nick came over for Descent. I enjoyed playing the first half, but then got tuckered out and took a nap for most of the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday morning we met Bats & Sarah for dim sum at Star Kitchen, which was tasty as always. And then more napping. It was my second cheat day on the diet over the course of the long weekend (because Thanksgiving, duh), and I was debating whether I could afford two, but I looked around and frankly, if you're doing low-carb, there are not a lot of options when it comes to brunch. So I just had dim sum anyway.

I had been planning to go visit Grandma over the weekend, but had no gumption due to the headache (and it would've been a bad idea to possibly expose her to a virus anyway), so since I was ahead on my hours, I took Monday morning off and went to visit her after we got done taking the cat to the vet. I took her flowers, as usual, and we had a nice chat. I got warned to beware of Texans. :) (She grew up farming in Oklahoma shortly before the Great Depression, so...)

I have been coding like mad this week while everyone else is out of the office at a meeting in DC, and today I finally got the normalization routines all working satisfactorily. I even figured out a tweak that make the log-scaling work better, but I don't understand why it works, which is mildly unsettling. But it works well enough without it that I can put off figuring that out until later.
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Kitty Healthcare [Nov. 29th, 2016|12:10 am]
We took Miss Mimsabel in to get her stitches taken out this morning, so hopefully she will be done going to the vet for a while!

A few weeks ago, Jerry noticed that she had a bit of a lump under the skin on her belly, so we thought "yup, better get that checked out." (Spoiler: everything turns out okay.)

We took her in two weeks ago on Saturday, and the vet took a couple x-rays, and said "yeah, that should come out." It turns out that it's not uncommon for female cats to get breast cancer. And it increases the risk if they don't get spayed before their first heat. We're not sure exactly how old Mimsy is, but probably that's the case for her.

The x-rays showed a lump, but no signs of it having spread, so two weeks ago today she went in and got a regional mastectomy. She is now down to 5 out of 8 boobs. (It was kinda surprising to me how quickly they scheduled the surgery, but it makes sense if you think about it. Cats don't need to evaluate a bunch of treatment options, or rearrange their plans to accommodate recover time, and the point at which something is noticeable as a potential problem is much further along for cats than for humans. So there's no reason not to proceed as immediately as possible.)

She had a big ugly incision along her belly, but it's just the skin, not into the body cavity, so recovery was fairly quick. Twice a day we had to catch her and burrito her up in a towel so that we could squirt a little syringe of painkiller and a bigger syringe of antibiotic into her mouth. Fortunately for us, she is a pretty cooperative patient. If you can get a hand on her she mostly stays still, and once you start draping the towel over her to wrap her up she kinda gives in. And it seems like she didn't find the antibiotic particularly unpalatable.

They sent a little onesie and an e-collar home with us to keep her from licking her stitches. We got the onesie on her twice. It is apparently the Heaviest Thing In The World, and is made of lead and hatred. Both times, she dragged herself under the couch and then managed to escape from it in less than five minutes. And we didn't want to traumatize her with a Cone of Shame if we didn't have to, so we just kept an eye on her, and happily she left the incision alone. (Fingers crossed that she continues to do so now that the sutures have been removed.)

We finally heard back from the lab this last Friday that the lump was non-malignant. Yay! It was apparent not actually cancer, but a "milk duct ectasia". Which is benign, but progressive, and will often turn cancerous if left untreated. So we're definitely glad we caught it early.

She has been healing well, and seems to be feeling pretty much back to normal now. Hooray! Hopefully it also won't take her long to get over being skittish because she thinks we're going to bundle her up when we reach out to pet her...
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How Many Holes In A Pair of Pants [Nov. 23rd, 2016|08:00 pm]
On this MIT alumni mailing-list I'm on, somebody asked:
"How many holes does a pair of pants have?"

Much discussion ensued. Here is my response.

If we mean "hole" in the topological sense, the answer is clearly TWO. If you have an excess of fabric and no fashion sense, you can make a gigantic pair of uncomfortable harem pants by cutting two holes in a very large circle of fabric and then sewing an enormous drawstring along the circumference. You'll probably also want to gather up the fabric between your legs with some kind of loincloth arrangement or maybe a bunch of creative ruching, and let's be honest, you're going to end up with a kind of diaper-like effect that is both awkward and fugly, but the point is, you only have to make two cuts in the fabric to do it.

If we're talking about holes in the sense of an opening into a separated space, then there are plainly THREE: the waist hole and two ankle holes. If you were to put stretchable rubber pants on someone and inflate them with air to comical effect, or if you wanted to engage in the time-hallowed sport of ferret-legging, those are the three places where air/ferrets may be introduced to the inter-trouseral space, and also the places that you must ensure are snugly fitted so as to prevent their escape.

If we take the word hole to mean a void that tunnels all the way through an object, then the answer is obviously ONE POINT SEVEN EIGHT. Suppose you wanted to make a pair of pants out of a giant block of foam rubber. Why? I don't know; perhaps after your misadventures with the harem pants and the ferrets you decided to learn something about fashion and have become a haute couture designer. Who am I to criticize? You're the one who cares about pants. For whatever reason, you've decided on foam rubber pants. So be it! You start by boring a hole from the top of the block down through to the bottom. Make it slant a little. Now widen out the top into a general Pelvic Containment Zone. That's one hole. Now you bore another hole up from the bottom, but only partway through, just to the point where it connects up with the first hole at the edge of the PCZ. So that's part of a second hole. How much of a hole is it? Well, the typical supermodel's inseam is about 36", and most trousers have a regular rise of about 10", and 10 / (10+36) = 0.22, so that's about 78% of a hole. Now your fashion creation is almost finished, you just have to make a cut partway up the middle, and Bob's your uncle: you've made PANTS! Let's hope your uncle, despite being a supermodel, is also a bit uncool, because then you can put the pants on him and now you have SquareBob SpongePants. How delightful for your children.

Finally, if by hole we mean a place where there is something missing, where properly there ought to be something but instead there is nothing, then the answer is undoubtedly ZERO. We're talking about idealized pants here. They consist only and exactly of what they ought, no more and no less, perfect and flawless in their abstraction. By this definition, they CAN'T have holes.

So, how many holes does a pair of pants have? (2 + 3 + 1.78 + 0) / 4 = 1.695, which we can round up to the much funnier value of ONE POINT SEVEN.

Of course, that's for idealized pants. For *actual* pants, the number is more variable.

First, most pants have a buttonhole at the fly. Some slacks have a little tab thing instead, and of course there are elastic- and drawstring-waist pants that have no buttons, but there are also button-fly jeans. For simplicity, I'm going to assume that they cancel out, leaving us with a net +1 hole by definitions 1 and 3.

Then there's beltloops. Those are holes only in the topological sense, but there are a lot of them. For pants that have them, I think the average number is between 5 and 6. Most pants have beltloops, but there's a fair fraction that don't, so that probably brings the expected value back down to, oh, around 4?

And then, of course, actual pants get holes as they wear out. This is a much harder number to estimate. I'd say most pairs of pants only get a couple-few holes in them before they get thrown out. I have no idea what the respective dwell times are for new, worn, and discarded clothing, other than that pants don't stop being pants just because no-one is wearing them, and textiles take a very long time to decay in a landfill. And then of course there are pants that start out with holes in them, sometimes quite a lot of holes, because fashion is ridiculous. Let's just be arbitrary and call it 2.2.

So that's an additional 2/4 + ~4/4 + 2.2 = THREE POINT SEVEN extra holes for actual pants as opposed to notional pants.

(This isn't even getting into the issue of what happens to the question if you ask it in British English instead of American English and end up asking about underwear.)

Point being: I think people tend to invest a lot of unnecessary effort into arguing about questions like this because they falsely assume that there is a single correct answer. Words usually mean more than one thing. They're not point-like and precise, they're fuzzy little clouds of meaning. It's not just denotation; context and connotation exist and matter. So if you actually want to get anywhere in your discussions, it pays to keep the question "so what do you mean by that?" at the ready, and to seek clarification when you perceive a disagreement, rather than operating under the assumption that disagreement necessarily indicates that somebody is wrong.
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Amherst & Boston [Nov. 17th, 2016|07:42 am]
I had a two-day work meeting in Amherst two weeks ago. From Denver, it's easier to fly into Boston (direct flights at better times) and drive there than it is to fly to anyplace closer like Hartford, so three of us from work flew in on Monday (Halloween) and carpooled together.

We stayed at a hotel right on campus, which made for an easy walk to the meeting. It was also attached to the student center, which had a big food court with a lot of variety, so that was nice for lunches. Not much to report on the meeting itself; just a lot of discussion and presentations to sort out who's doing what for the project.

My big takeaway from the meeting is that eduroam is great. It made the wifi just magically work for both my laptop and my phone without having to fuss with anything.

On Thursday, we drove back to Boston. Linda & Rachel flew home, while Melissa & I had both opted to stay over the weekend, so I dropped her at her AirBnB then met Jerry at the airport.

We stayed at the Marriott right behind the Boston Public Library, which is a good location, just a block from Copley Square. It turned out to be a nice hotel in a neat old building built in the late 1800s. Thursday evening We did a little looking at architecture in Copley Square and along Newbury Street, then got dinner at B.Good.

Friday we wandered around the BPL & looked at the amazing art (including the gallery with all the John Singer Sargent paintings on the 3rd floor). Then we met up with Kevbot & hung out for a while, which was lovely & delightful. He had to run off mid-afternoon, so then we went to the Mapparium. For dinner we went over to Cambridge & met Pete (quirkstreet) & his hubby Alan for dinner at Mary Chung's. Peking Ravs & excellent company, yay!

On Saturday I showed Jerry all my old haunts. We visited Tep & I gave him a haus tour. It was before noon on a weekend, so there was a lot of unconsciousness going on and we didn't get to see everything (e.g., 32, 33, or 42), but we saw most of the haus. Many things are different, and many things are just the same as they ever were.

After that, we walked over the Harvard Bridge saw some of the 'Tvte. Killian Court, Lobby 7, the MIT chapel, etc. Then we walked up Mass Ave & met Charles (tirinian) for ice cream at Tosci's.

Amusingly, we ran into one of my co-workers (Nate H.) there. He was in town for a salsa dancing event of some kind, and we'd already run into him at the baggage claim on Thursday because he was on the same flight as Jerry. And then of course we ran into him again on Monday because he was on the same flight home as us.

We stopped by the MIT Museum on the way back, because it's free for alumni. Saw some neat art. Then we made our way back across campus to Kendall Square, looking at weird MIT architecture along the way, and took the T back home.

It was a lovely day for walking around; it was sunny and clear, though fairly cold. (I always forget how penetrating the thick damp air is in coastal places. But layers and a good hoodie were sufficient to be comfortable.) The funny thing about wandering MIT campus is that I was reminding of lots of things, but it didn't really take me back to those days. I didn't have any problem sets due or any exams to study for, and I think without that, nothing is going to take me back to feeling like I did as an undergrad.

Had dinner at Luke's Lobster, which was right across from the hotel and a good way to get the requisite seafood consumption in. I was pleased with it; it's a chain, but they did good lobster rolls & the like, and I think I was more pleased than I would have been with expensive fish at Legal Seafood.

Sunday morning after a nice long sleep (hooray for the end of daylight savings!) we went to Bats & Sarah's, as they were kind enough to host a Coffee Hour for us. Many folks showed up: Omri & Emily, Morton & Sarah, and Big Bird & Jen, all with their kids; plus T-Stop and Amie (both solo). We hung out and had a good time and around 4 we said "well, if we're meeting people at Brezhnev's like we said we would, we should probably go do that." It's at a new location (a proper storefront in Chinatown) rather than the old converted gas station, and has a new name, but still serves the same food. Morton & Sarah met us there, as did Stinkee & his wife & kid. We had scallion pancakes, and shanghai chow mein with szechuan pickles ("worms"), and ling gao ("slugs"), and a bunch of other things and it was all as good as I remembered it.We had made plans to go visit T-Stop & Jessie & Violet afterwards, but found ourselves too pooped to do any more socializing, so we headed back to the hotel and spent the evening packing and getting downtime.

We flew home Monday. It was a smooth trip, and we got home by about 3:30 to kitties who were aloof for all of five minutes before cuddling up in our laps. We were tired, but since 6:30 was too early to go to bed, we went and saw Dr. Strange. In 3-D, and I have to say it's one of the very few movies I've seen where that was a significant plus. I enjoyed it quite a bit. There are a lot of amazing visuals, and it's really worth seeing with maximum spectacle.

It was a great trip, but it's nice to be home.
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Not Much To Say [Nov. 11th, 2016|08:33 pm]
I don't really have anything to say about the election that hasn't been said by everyone else. It's horrible and depressing and it makes me worry and I hate that. I took a mental health day on Wednesday and persuaded Jerry to stay home and keep me company; I was coping alright, but I just didn't have it in me to cope with other people's emotions.

I have a whole post about the trip to Boston that just needs editing, and maybe another one brewing, but tonight we are disengaging and watching happy escapist fluff, so that's all I got right now.
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Zoom zoom [Oct. 30th, 2016|11:18 pm]
I'm off to Boston* tomorrow, so here's some stuffy that's happened recently before I forget it. Because life has been busy.

*Well, flying to Boston, then driving to Amherst for a 2-day meeting, but then back to Boston, where I will be through the weekend. With the Monkey. Yay!

We voted! I dropped our ballots in the box last Tuesday, which means I have given myself permission to completely disengage form the election until it's done. I feel much better now.

We went and saw Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children with Douglas. I went in knowing nothing and quite enjoyed it. I've heard a number of people who've read the book say there were changes they disliked, but it works well on its own. Eva Green is a wonderful actress and needs to be in more things. I paid Grandma a visit afterwards.

We went to birthday dinner for Rose, and afterwards the group of us were wandering in search of a coffee shop or the like. Jerry and Rose were talking about perfume (scented beard oil vs her perfume) when a mildly drunk fellow from the bar we were passing latched onto our group and said "can I smell too?" Like, kinda sorta hitting on Rose a little bit, but mostly just being friendly drunk. So Jerry offered him up his beard to sniff. Which was not really what he was hoping for, but we egged him on a little, so he did. His reaction? "Oh my god, that smells really good!" So yay for scented beard oil :)

The other big event was on Friday night, when we met up downtown with Chris N. (shirtlifterbear), who is in town for a conference. He still needed dinner, so (after an aborted attempt to find good Mexican late, sabotaged by a deceptive Yelp listing for a place that doesn't exist yet) we hung out for quite a while at one of those restaurants with eighty bajillion beers on tap. And then we went back to the hotel and hung out more, and ended up staying up much later than we should have. He is a charming fellow and an excellent storyteller, full of verve and elan, and we had a lovely and delightful time meeting him. Yay for meeting long-time internet friends in person!
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Voting Systems [Oct. 23rd, 2016|12:50 am]
Three thoughts:

1) I didn't realize it until just recently, but as of 2013, Colorado mails ballots to every registered voter for every election. Which is a fantastic idea; you can fill your ballot out at home, at your leisure, doing however much research you want, and then either mail it in or drop it off at a ballot box. It makes all the issues about lines at polling places and how late they're open and poll watching and so on largely moot. It's maximally convenient and empowers voters at the same time. And apparently, it even saves a whole lot of money, because it cuts down on provisional ballots, which are expensive. It's pretty keen, so if you live elsewhere and see any efforts to implement something similar, you should definitely support them.

2) We have a bunch of initiatives on the ballot this year. There was some lunchtime conversation about one of them, and somebody asked "can I vote for it to fail but by a very slim margin?" Because there's the problem of supporting the general idea behind an initiative, but not in that specific form, and wanting to encourage another try at it while not wanting it to pass as-is So I think we need to add a couple more options for ballot issues. In addition to "yes" and "no", it would be nice to have "almost", for the aforementioned case, and "whatever", for "I don't care about this issue one way or the other, so just leave me out when you're trying to figure out how much support there is for and against it."

3) So everybody knows that the system we currently use when voting for candidates for office (vote for one, whoever gets the most votes wins, aka first-past-the-post) is like, one of the worst possible ways of doing it, right? Among its many problems, it's a major factor in the lock-in of the two-party system everyone's so unhappy about lately. Innyhoo, while there are a lot of alternatives for how to tally up the ballots and pick a winner, there are only a few ways to actually fill them out: an approval ballot is like a regular ballot -- you vote for candidates you want -- but you can vote for as many as you like, picking all the candidates you find acceptable. On a scored ballot, you have to give each candidate a score, say, 1-5. And on a ranked ballot, you have to order all the candidates by preference. I figure a major hurdle to voting reform is getting the electorate to feel comfortable with doing things differently, so I'm curious in people's opinions: regardless of what fancy method is used to pick the winner, how do you feel about those different ways of voting? Do any of them feel more or less like proper voting?
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Is Cereal A Soup? [Oct. 18th, 2016|11:57 pm]
Here's some stuff I wrote in a discussion over email about whether breakfast cereal is soup, and whether hotdogs are sandwiches. You may well have already heard me talk about this kind of thing, but I felt that this came out well and was worth preserving. Also, there are a couple good links near the end.

Italics are quotes from other people (someone different in each case); plain text is me.

Is cereal a soup? Is a hotdog a sandwich?

No and no.

No to the first because cereal is prototypically a cold sweet breakfast food, while soup is a warm savory dinner food.

And no to the second because sandwiches are prototypically characterized by horizontal layering of fillings between slices of bread, while the hotdog is self-contained and nestles vertically within a bun.

But what about GAZPACHO?

Gazpacho is cold. So is vichyssoise. But they're both still savory and traditionally served for dinner. Plus, they're vegetable-based rather than grain-based, and prepared by a cook not poured from a box, and so on and so forth. Thus, despite the atypical temperature, they still possess more characteristics matching the mental prototype for "soup" than they do for "cereal" and are categorized accordingly.

Similarly, although the hamburger has horizontal structure, it's a self-contained meat unit in a bun, rather than layers of filling between bread, and therefore it feels like it doesn't quite match the mental prototype for "sandwich". It has a lot in common with the hot dog, but the shape is all wrong, so it doesn't match well there, either. If we were from a different culture where these weren't common foods with strong prototypes, we'd probably be comfortable lumping it in with one or the other, but since we have a strong sense of the hamburger as being a specific thing, we end up forming a new prototype for "burger".

Which works beautifully until somebody swaps out the ground beef patty for a grilled chicken breast and you have to decide what to call something that falls perfectly into the overlap between "sandwich" and "burger"...

Except for all the signs from the 1920's forward advertising for a "hamburger sandwich"

Yes, and that was when hamburgers were new and our culture didn't yet have a sense of them as being a distinct thing warranting a prototype of its own. The past is a foreign country, after all.

The usage of "hamburger sandwich" starts dropping after 1940, while just plain "hamburger" continues to grow. It's overtaken by "burger" around 1970, which I think is indicative of the development of a new prototype that can accommodate variations like "turkey burger" and "veggie burger", both of which start showing up with some frequency not long after.

I don't think sweetness or temperature should be used as a deciding factor in whether something is a soup. The important quality of soup is that it is mostly a liquid essence (french onion, tomato, chicken, etc with broth) that may or may not have chunks. Milk is not an essence and can't be used to make soup unless combined with an essence. I don't know much about gazpacho but it is majority liquid essence. Cereal, oatmeal, porridge, aren't soups, but they are a category very similar that uses milk instead of an essence.

Sandwiches are a free-standing, not-stuck filling contained in bread for easy handling. Hot dogs are sandwiches. Hamburgers are sandwiches. They are special classes of sandwiches that are never referred to as such. Two slices of pizza is not a sandwich, tacos don't use bread. Open-face sandwiches, wraps, and other bread conformations contain the free-standing filling in bread. If I hollow out bread and fill it with something not a liquid essence (like porridge), that's a porridge sandwich.

I hold that there is no deciding factor. The way that our brains work is that we perceive objects as having a collection of associated features, some more central than others. We decide whether an object is a member of some abstract class by comparing its features to the feature cloud of an imaginary mental prototype; if the barycenter is close enough to the prototype, we say, yeah, that's an X.

For soup, "liquid" is one of the most central terms, so it's hard to do without it. Unless you have, say, frozen soup. Or dehydrated soup. Which are both still soup! Or you're at a fancy molecular gastronomy restaurant and they turn the soup into foam or gel or bubbles so that it IS soup and yet is also not-soup, both at the same time, whoa, crazy!

Prototype-based categories are fuzzy contextual clouds that rarely have sharp boundaries between them. Often they are nested. A BLT and a veggie burger are both "food", and both would fall within the cloud of "sandwich" if the only other categories on the menu are "salad" and "soup", but if you've also got a section for "burgers", that's clearly where the veggie burger belongs.

If you fold a piece of pizza in half, you have moved it away from the prototype for "pizza" and towards the prototype for "sandwich"; whether that warrants calling it a sandwich is context-dependent. Tacos don't use bread... unless that's all you have in the house and it's Taco Tuesday and it's been a rough day and you promised the kids tacos, in which case those are 7-grain taco shells, dammit. I wouldn't normally call a hollowed-out boule of sourdough filled with artichoke dip a sandwich, but if you want to put the lid back on it and eat it with both hands, sure, that's sufficiently sandwich-y treatment to push it back over the edge.

Prototypes are also subjective. They tend to match up well from person to person within a society, but they vary culturally and regionally and even personally. That's what makes cross-cultural questions (like "is pho porridge?"*) difficult to answer. And sometimes the differences in prototypes can be quite surprising, especially if you weren't expecting there to be any:

Separated By A Common Language: Prototypical Soup
Separated By A Common Language: Sandwiches, Particularly Bacon

[* A question that came up in a thread that branched to the discussion of whether oatmeal was soup or cereal: since pho is a warm and savory breakfast food, does that make it a very wet porridge?]
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Shin Godzilla [Oct. 16th, 2016|11:32 pm]
Friday night we saw the new Godzilla movie with David V!

It's the real deal, from Toho. Every so often they decide "okay, we're done with Godzilla now," and then Hollywood makes a Godzilla movie, and Toho has to do one last one to show how to do it properly.

It was at the Alamo Drafthouse, which is way down in Littleton, but it wasn't until 9:30, so it wasn't a chore to get down there in time for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I did not get a tasty burger, because diet, but it did have a tasty salad.

The movie was good, and I recommend it! (Although it was subtitled and the dialogue flew fast and furious, so be prepared for a LOT of reading.)

It's got a hefty dose of satire about Japanese government and politics, which even as an ignorant foreigner I was able to pick up on the humor in. And once Godzilla shows up, it actually manages make him genuinely scary, and to convey the wrenching distress of a large-scale disaster.

I thought the cinematography was really interesting. In the same way that manga has a much higher percentage of environmental mood-establishing panels, the movie had many more non-action shots than you'd see in a western film. There were also a bunch of Hollywood tropes that were refreshingly absent.

Go see it in the theaters if you get a chance, or wherever you can if not.
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Star Trek Beyond, Marianne, Doom Patrol, Stuff [Oct. 6th, 2016|11:57 pm]
So let's see, since last week:

I went and saw Star Trek: Beyond and enjoyed it. Best thing ever? No, but definitely solid. It sort of cracks the hermetic seal of total disconnection from modern pop culture, and I expect that rubs some fans the wrong way, but I didn't mind. And it's amazing how good all the new actors are at channeling the original actors rather than imitating or caricaturing them.

I finally drove down to Parker on Saturday to visit my step-mother while she was in town. She was here watching Joel's & Coryn's kids while they took their first vacation in years - a trip to Jamaica. I brought a bag of games, which the nephews love, and played some games with them and caught up on family news and suchlike with her.

We ended our D&D hiatus on Sunday and finished off the second tower/dungeon in the campaign. We'll probably finish the campaign in a few months and are likely to hit 20th level by the end of it, so that'll be fairly epic.

Jerry got the first two books of Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol, and we both spent a good chunk of the last week reading them. (Third book is on order.) I read some of them back in college, when somebody (Bats, I think) was collecting them as they came out. They're really good. Tremendously bizarre, of course, but one of the big things that I like is that there's none of that '90s grim-n-gritty™ tone. I mean, traumatic and disturbing things happen all over the place, and the heroes fail as often as they succeed, but it's still an entertaining story, not a slog through cynical angst. (I ordered a bunch of good stuff from Amazon, too, but I haven't had a chance to read any of it. I've just been listening to the new CHVRCHES album, which is excellent.)

Douglas came over for dinner & socialization on Tuesday evening. It has cooled off considerably and today it rained, though the forecast says it'll be back into the high '70s next week. Work stuff, lots of ticking of items on my far too many TO-DO lists. Dumped a decent amount of effort into a couple philosophical/political discussion threads on FB & eit; I sort of thought about copying some bits here, but then I remembered how quickly I run out of patience for such topics and lose the will to engage with them. Online, at least; in person it's much easier to keep things moving at an interest-sustaining pace.

I think that's about it. Y'know. Stuff. As usual.
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