Good Omens on Radio

The BBC's radio adaptation of Gaiman & Pratchett's humorous fantasy novel GOOD OMENS can now be listened to online at the BBC website. Available for four weeks, until January 24th.


The Arm: Two Years On

December 10, 2012 was the morning I took a hard fall onto a harder sidewalk at work, badly breaking the upper arm bone and messing up a lot of the shoulder, and ending up with an artificial joint and lasting after-effects. I've written about the accident and the recovery (such as it's been) over a series of posts.

So how I'm doing, two years later?

I had an exam and evaluation by an independent (i.e., picked by Workman's Comp) orthopedic surgeon several months ago, and got the results about a month ago. I've been put into a "stable without full recovery" status, which lets WC put my case into an Inactive category, and the doctor rated my right arm as 40% disabled.

That sounds about right. The range of motion, the strength, and the stamina of that arm are all compromised significantly, and look to be for the rest of my life. The good news is that the pain, so long as I remember to take my aspirin/tylenol tablets regularly, is (most of the time) down to a mild ache.

Besides the actual physical limitations of that arm, I find myself continually annoyed by a sense of trepidation in using it. If I want to do something that requires use at the outside of the arm's new parameters, I find myself hesitating and asking myself: Will I be able to do this? Will I need to ask for help? Will it hurt? How much will it hurt? How long will it hurt afterwards?

Annoyance and frustration on an every-damned-day basis. The possibility's been raised of doing a revision of the joint replacement, replacing the standard-model arthroscopy with a "reverse-shoulder arthroscopy". But there's no guarantee of improvement, and a possibility the new joint would be less useful and more painful.  I can continue to live with the current status quo, even if I'm not pleased about it.

I'm fortunate in that I'm still able to perform my current job's work tasks within those new limitations. If I was still working my old job as a letter carrier, involving reaching and stretching and lifting that arm thousands of times per day, I would be completely screwed; for that job, the disability would be 100%.

So that's where I'm at, and where I'll probably be for the foreseeable future.

(Hmmph, this sure is a grumpy post to make a few days before Christmas.)


Assorted Stuff of Interest

Playboy has a big honking list, ranking all episodes of all Star Trek series ever: "Clues", my episode, is #115 out of almost 700. Not too shabby a number.

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Speaking of big lists, among the plethora/tsunami of "Best Books of 2014" lists, the 250-title list from National Public Radio is pretty impressive. The full list can be filtered by various categories for more manageable results.

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ASU's "jetpack" may be the jetpack we'll get, not the jetpack we want.

This is more of a "jet-assist" invention, being developed to let troops move more quickly in combat situations while carrying a shitload of weaponry and gear.

Any true believer, though, knows that a real jetpack will allow you to fly, dammit!

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David Laferierre, an illustrator from Massachusetts, has been drawing on his kids' sandwich bags for their lunchboxes since 2008, and posting photos on Flickr.  One of his common subjects is rocketships. Here are a few:

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And, to finish off this post, South Africa's MUTI (I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a name or a company) has designed an impressive poster for Jules Verne's fantastic fictions, Voyages Extraordinaires, incorporating numerous icons for a variety of separate works.  The full poster, and separate renditions of the icons, are on display at behance.net. Below is the icon for From The Earth To The Moon:


My Day In Court

Spent today downtown at Superior Court for a jury summons. There were about 44 people in the jurors pool for the particular trial in question; I was #16, so I actually got to sit in one of the the jury box seats (pretty comfy, actually) while the judge asked everyone if they had any problems or conflicts about being a juror. 

I mentioned a few things like my graveyard-shift work schedule and being Hilde's primary caregiver, but what probably got me eliminated from the pool was my having worked as a legal secretary for a year, way back when in 1977. Attorneys really hate having jurors who've worked in the legal profession, even that long ago.  (That year working in law offices left me with what I hope is a healthy cynicism about the legal profession.) After a jurors' break during which the judge and attorneys privately discussed our responses, I and a number of others were told we wouldn't be needed, and we could go home.

So I got back to the juror parking garage about 4:15, then had to wait until 5:40 for AAA to arrive and change the flat tire on the car. *sigh*

I feel a mingled relief (it would have been a major hassle to try and juggle what was expected to be about a week's trial AND still try to carry as many hours at work as possible AND give Hilde as much time as possible AND get as much sleep as possible; I suspect all of those would have come up short in the end) and disappointment. I've always kind of wanted to serve on a jury; this was about the fifth time I've been called over the years, and about the closest I've actually come to being impaneled. 

("The Jury" illustration by Charles Dana Gibson, 1894, via the NYPL Digital Gallery)


No Nano For You!

I thought about taking part in Nanowrimo this year, but this cat kept hogging the keyboard.

No, it's not a weak excuse. Tyr weighs 18 pounds, and has an attitude. Nothing weak about that excuse at all.

(Among the Rules of Life, one of the most important is: Blame Society. If you can't blame Society, Blame The Cat.)


A Few Quotes About Books

I habitually browse the book giveaway listings on Goodreads. Sometimes you can tell if a book's worth entering a giveaway for by how well-written is the blurb for it.  If the blurb's well-written, the odds of the book being well-written increase.  If the blurb's kinda sucky, the book is likely to be sucky too.

And then you occasionally get something like this, where an author quoted part of a review for his book:
"...like the best of Tolkien crossed with a great Dean Koontz thriller."
The idea of which put an expression on my face something like this:

"What the... I can't even...."
Really, I can't imagine how anyone could put Tolkien and Koontz together in the same sentence. One an obsessive academician who spent many years building a detailed world with a deep history, even its own languages, and the other a writer of rush-and-rumble thrillers who drives his keyboard fast and loose, sometimes too fast and too loose.  That's not a combination I find appetizing.

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Here's a different quote I liked a lot better.  I've been reading Matthew Hughes' To Hell And Back trilogy, and came across this slightly tongue-in-cheek, but perceptive, description of too many popular best-sellers:
"He began a new career as an author of fat-spined novels in which men and women of power intrigued against each other's interests and interfered with each other's bodies. His characters had unending appetites for sexual encounters and a predisposition to solve disputes with unrestrained violence, His books were hugely popular, and sold by the truckload through Wal-Mart and discount stores." -- Matthew Hughes, Costume Not Included
Yeah-h-h-h, that  may have come out of a work of fiction, but it's a shoe that fits quite a lot of popular writers.

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(photo via The Commons on Flickr)