Friday, December 30, 2011

Why I Hurt My Baby

Little Sharon was lying on the crinkly paper covered exam table. She'd stoically endured pokes, and prods, and cold stethoscope intrusions, and even swallowed the oral vaccine without complaint. But then it was time for the shots. I hadn't been there for the first round of them, so I didn't know what to expect. I held her little hands as the doctor stuck the three tiny needles into her thighs. I will never forget the red-faced wailing of my darling girl, or the look of utter anguish and hurt on her face. I squeezed her hands, fought back my instinct to grab her and flee, or fight off her assailant, and tried my best to reassure her that it would be all right. The shots were given quickly, and in a few seconds I was holding my crying baby in my arms, rocking her and trying to soothe her. I tried to comfort myself with the knowledge that she will almost certainly not remember anything about this day, though I know that I will almost certainly never forget. The rest of the day she was grumpy and uncomfortable; made all the worse by the nasty cold she has. Last night neither my wife nor I got much sleep as Sharon slept fitfully, noisily, and woke frequently due to her stuffed up nose. But, in two months when it's time for her next round of shots I'll willingly, if not exactly gladly, do it all again. I know that with the exception of this relatively small amount of pain and discomfort I am protecting my little girl from rotavirus, hepatitis b, haemophilus influenzae, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Any of these can be fatal or crippling, and I will continue to do everything I can to protect my darling baby from the ravages of easily preventable diseases. And if you are on the fence about vaccinating your kids I urge you to do your homework. Look at the volumes of data compiled over nearly a century that vouch for the safety and efficacy of vaccines. I also urge you to ignore celebrities who have no medical credentials whatsoever, yet choose to spread falsehoods and bad science. Vaccines are safe, effective, and vital to the survival of our children.

I will now put the soapbox away.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And Now Your Moment of Zen

I'm posting this on because it worked for me today.

A Dr. on TV said to have inner peace we should always finish things we start & we all could use more calm in our lives.

I looked around my house to find things I'd started & hadn't finished, so I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun prscriptuns, an a box a chocletz.

Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now.

Sned this to all who need inner piss. An telum u luvem.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Cat is a Sloppy Drunk

If Artemis could meow 'I love you, motherfucker. No, really, I mean it, man.' she would. It's nearly Christmas, and since we've decided to go down to South Florida so my dad and some others can meet Sharon, Artemis is having her annual urinary tract infection. So we found a vet nearby and I put the poor dear in the carrier and paid the good doctor a visit. After the normal prodding, and squeezing, and listening, and, now that I think about it, no thermometer work, the doctor suggested something no one else had. Apparently some cats have a thing called lower urinary tract disease, which acts an awful lot like a UTI, but without bacteria involved. And given Artemis's history of frequent flare ups she is a likely candidate, so rather than antibiotics we have her on painkillers to ease the symptoms and see if it runs its course and subsides on its own. The side effect to the narcotic pain killers is that my cat is stoned out of her tiny kitty mind. When she's not sleeping she's even more affectionate than ever, and she is a very loving kitty, and there have been a lot of kitty kisses and hand grabbing. It's quite amusing, actually. When asked what can trigger such flare ups, the doctor said stress, usually. And what can stress a cat out? Stuff like a new baby in the house. D'oh!

Other than that all is quiet. I'm done for the semester, so I'm on full-time-daddy duty. Sharon has finally mastered blowing raspberries, much to my amusement and my wife's dismay, and the little imp now realizes how much it amuses me, and pthbthbthbthbs whenever she sees me. It's freaking adorable!!

Almost as adorable as this:



Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I know I said that I would post an entry every time flurrious did, and some of you might have noticed that she did so just last week, but I did not, but she posted again this week, and it's part 2 of last week's post, so I'm still good, right? Right? *le sigh*

Anyway, the real reason I haven't posted anything is that I'm trying to not be that obnoxious new dad who only ever talks about The Baby(insert golden light from above and a heavenly choir here) You know that guy. Has a wallet full of photos that are all nearly identical, brags about the latest bowel movement stats like her diaper is an NBA court, already knows what college she'll attend, etc. The truth is I AM that guy, but I've been subjected to enough of that over the years that I'm actively fighting it...and mostly succeeding. But, and I hope you'll forgive me this one indulgence, ain't she cute?

Anyway, I have a theory about the latest spate of Republican nutjobs competing for the GOP nomination for 2012. They all seem irredeemably insane, and this has puzzled me for a while, because even at his back-woodsy nuttiest, George W. Bush never acted as batshit crazy as this bunch. But I think I have it figured out. Unseating an incumbent president is historically difficult, and the GOP doesn't seem to have a truly viable candidate right now, so what if they're trotting out the lunatic fringe that keeps begging to sit at the adult's table so that when they inevitably get trounced by Obama then they can legitimately tell them next time that they had their chance, and they need to slink back into the basement while the grownups handle the real work of sucking corporate, funding.

Either that or the whole party is just a bunch of whack jobs.

Either way it's entertaining as hell, but I will miss Herman Cain.

Peace, y'all.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Someone (else) Think of the Children!!

I've been in the parenting biz for nearly a decade now, not that this makes me an expert by any stretch, but there is one thing I've noticed. Lots of people constantly bemoan that this world is too dangerous for 'the children'. As a newly minted 'daddy' I certainly can understand the inclination to view the world through the prism of how everything will affect my daughter, but I also temper that with the very real fact that it is MY job to protect and teach her. Now I will grant you that there are some things that have been enacted to protect children that I 100% support: fire resistance regulations, paint lead content maximums, and car seat legislation all work to protect children from unscrupulous corporations, or idiot parents. I also agree with some governmental oversight of public schools...note that I said 'some'. But lately it seems that any and everything that could possibly be harmful, or even mildly inconvenient for children must be wrapped in foam, or covered in warnings, or hidden behind a plain brown wrapper, or not put on the air until 2:15am. Speaking as a parent I say KNOCK IT OFF!!!! For every wailing mother on the TV who cries out 'Won't someone think of the children?!' I put in the missing word...'else'. Won't someone else think of my children so I don't have to. And even when someone else does do everything reasonably possible to protect their little snowflakes it's still not enough. Video game companies bent over backwards to rate games so that parents could see at a glance if they were appropriate for their darling, impressionable little cupcakes, yet when my wife worked at K-Mart she frequently sold Grand Theft Auto to parents who then turned around and handed it to their 8 year old, even after being verbally warned by my wife that it probably wasn't age appropriate. And, of course, after watching Ghandi, Jr. cap a hooker and then run over a priest, the fault was laid squarely on the store for selling the game in the first place. It's just sad.

I try my best to keep my children's lives as innocent as possible for as long as possible, but I don't expect the government to do that for me. Everyone screams that they want less government interference in their lives, at least until they have to actually get off their fat asses and show a little parental responsibility, then it's all 'the government didn't do enough to prevent little Johnny from seeing a nipple for 3 milliseconds during a football game'. Yet these are the same yahoos who will haul their toddlers to see The Guts and Boobs Killer XVIII in 3D Gore-Around(tm) without a second thought. This shit used to bug me when I was single, now it just totally pisses me off. And I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but at least I'm getting it off my chest, and getting another blog post out there, so win/win, no?

Anyway, I have some bottles to wash while Sharon is asleep for a bit. Ciao, y'all!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

And So This Is Chrisgiving...wait, what?!

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here and bitch a bit about all the Christmas stuff being dragged out before Thanksgiving. This is nothing more than a shallow, transparent marketing ploy, much like tomorrow's Black Friday nonsense, that seeks to capitalize on the American public's easily manipulated nature. I'll admit it seems to be working brilliantly, so I'm tempted to say more power to them. I mean if people are dumb enough to let the retailers dictate their lives who am I to complain? But I realized as I heard my first radio ad to the tune of Jingle Bells yesterday that I hate, Hate, HATE advertisements set to Christmas song tunes, and when they start playing that shit a week before Thanksgiving, well it just pisses me off.

However, this is not supposed to be a rant. Instead I'd like to say that I am thankful for so much in my life. No, things are not where I'd like them to be, but I have wonderful friends, a great job that at least pays the bills, a roof over my head, and the most amazingly amazing little baby daughter any man could wish for. My family loves me, and I them, my students at least pretend to like me ( ;-) ) and my cats adore me. I have a turkey breast in the Crock Pot, and two pies in the fridge, and this:

I'm out of beer, but I have a bottle of mead, and the Dolphins are playing in two hours. I have a wildly successful podcast, and my car still runs even after driving the equivalent of a trip to the moon with her. I have two phasers, a communicator, and a tricorder, and I know how to use them all. So all in all life is pretty damned good. Thank you to all of you who still come around my cobweb festooned corner of the interwebs, and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving...even if you're not in the US since we could all use a bit more gratefulness in our lives.

Hugs to all,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Randomness Revisited

Well, gentle, patient, and probably absent readers, I am going to make a concerted effort to rise up above the piles of Pampers, rubber nipples, and spit-up stained shirts to blog atcha once again. The wonderful, talented, and slightly scary flurrious has, through no fault of her own, become my goad. Whenever she posts a blog, I shall do likewise. I might even try to do so more often, but at the very least when the meerkats cry, so shall I.

So what's up? I've noticed something strange about being a new parent. Most parents I know go nuts with pictures and stories about their little bundles of joy for most of the first year of baby's life, but after a while things start to blur together. I took tons of pics of little Sharon, even sharing some with you wonderful folks, but I started to notice that her repertoire of activities is pretty much limited to laying down, being carried, and sleeping. Yes I got some shots of her smiling, which just melts my jaded old daddy-heart, but even that got rather repetitious. So this is my pledge to you...I shall not barrage you with shot after shot of Sharon doing...well...not much, really. When she does something particularly cute, such as this:

...then shall I share it. But otherwise, and henceforth in this post I shall try to avoid the constant baby-babble that is the hallmark of the new parent.

Part of the problem with being a new parent, however, is that you find your world narrows in focus to the dimensions of your house, and maybe the car seat. When we're home most of our activities revolve around either getting the baby to sleep, or not waking her up. It's very strange. This has had the effect of cutting me off from the outside world so that I have very little to say about current events. The Occupy Whereever movement seems to be losing its momentum, since people are very good at getting used to annoyances when they last long enough, and I'm sure the gold plated assholes who are the targets of the protests couldn't care less if a thousand unwashed people are yelling at them from across the street. I know the press is trying to play up the police actions of kicking the protesters out of parks and such, but that's their job. No one is telling them they can't protest, but if I wanted to set up a tent in the local park I'd be told to go home too. Free speech is free speech, but if a public park does not allow camping, and you are camping there, and the local constabulary asks you to leave, you're not being're breaking the law. Anyway I can sympathize with the protests, at least with the ones who are being rational. I have no problem with wealthy people being wealthy, and I don't support the enforced redistribution of wealth, but when the banks accepted our money to save their sorry asses, and then shit on us from the gold plated windows of their mansions, then fuck them! But I don't suppose that would look too good on a picket sign.

The state of Florida killed a murderer yesterday. He'd only been on death row since 1989 for killing a woman and her two teenaged daughters, so yay for swift justice. I'm no fan of the death penalty in principal, but I have to wonder if knowing that you'll get at least 20 years before the sentence is carried doesn't lessen the deterrent effect just a tiny bit.

The holiday season looms anon. I don't know how I feel about that just yet. The years since my mom died have been lackluster at best at Christmas time, but maybe the baby will help rekindle the yule log in my soul.

Ok, that's all for now. Go visit flurrious and tell her how much you like her blog...and you will, trust me...and encourage her to post more oftenly so I can. :-)

Peace out, y'all,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Of Injections and Baby Stats

So Sharon is two months old now. She had her first round of vaccinations yesterday, and while I see no evidence of her gaining any super powers, neither does she seem to be any the worse for wear, so we'll call it a wash. Coincidentally I got a flu shot yesterday, and I also cannot perform any superhuman stunts. Sad, I know. As for Sharon's current stats, she is 10.8 pounds, and 21 inches long. She eats like a horse, and can already scoot all around her crib at night while she's sleeping. We finally bit the bullet and invested in a motion monitor that goes under her mattress so she can sleep on her tummy and we'll know immediately if she stops breathing. It has allowed all of us to actually get some sleep, although still not enough. Today she woke up at 2:30am, then at 4am, then made enough noise at 5am that I thought she was waking up, and so I got up, made her a bottle, and when I went to get her she was sound asleep. Methinks once she's mobile we'll have quite a little handful.(and I kind of pity the cats)

She can be quite grumpy sometimes, but then she turns on her crippling cuteness rays, and all is rainbows and puppies. Here, allow me to demonstrate:

Mrs. Marius is in her first week back to work, and I think she's glad to be doing something other than transporting and feeding our little darling. I have a show opening in two weeks, but the build is going well, so the stress level isn't too bad. I could just use a little more sleep. :-)

Peace out, y'all.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

More Babyness

Things I've learned in the past 6 weeks:

When people learn you're having a baby they all say 'well, guess you won't be sleeping much' or words to that effect, but what they don't tell you is that you will get plenty of sleep, just in 45 minute increments...which is far more mind-crushing than just staying up all night.

I used to think that people who took their babies out in public with only a diaper on were lazy parents. Now, after changing diapers on the average of every 25-45 minutes I wonder why we ever bother to put clothes on her. And wouldn't Velcro make more sense in the diaper region of onesies than snaps?

"Shhh, you'll wake the baby!" Carries more weight in my world now than "Run, the missiles are coming" would.

When Sharon smiled at her mother for the first time yesterday, and I mean a real, "Hey, I know you and I like you" smile, my heart nearly exploded with joy. And when she gave me a smile this morning, I almost wept.

Until she is more aware of her environment, which is happening very gradually, we can't plan to do anything. Even typing on the computer is contingent on her either being asleep, like now, or being with Mrs. Marius.

We took many precautions to make sure the cats didn't bother the baby, but they are either indifferent to her so far, or actively afraid, so it hasn't been an issue.

I never could have anticipated my feelings for Sharon. Even at her most frustrating I can't imagine life without her anymore. When I'm at work, while part of me is relieved at having both arms free and not being damp with regurgitated formula, I miss her every minute, and can't wait to get home to her.

Oh, and for you statisticians, she's just under 10 pounds, and probably about 21-21" or so now.

And now I'm going to make a mad dash for the bathroom before she wakes up again.

Love y'all!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Starbaby Update

So, it's quiet. The living room is dark and the TV off for the first time in weeks it seems. My Mother-In-Law, who came down a week before Sharon was born, just left to go back to Mississississississippi (sorry, I never know when to stop with the i-s-ses) and I took first shift with the baby and sent Mrs. Marius to bed. We're trying to get Sharon to sleep on her back and not on one of us, and we have had some modicum of success. She still won't go to sleep on her own, but if we time it right and put her in the play pen after she's asleep we can sometimes get her to stay there. But for most of her three weeks of life she's been in someone's arms, with the TV and at least one light on. So now it's dark, quiet, and aside from a few squeaks and grunts over the baby monitor it's been about 45 minutes without any complaint. I don't dare hope for an all night snooze, but if she'll sleep for at least another hour I know the missus will appreciate it.

Otherwise it's been a fairly normal few weeks. Work is going well, and my class seems to be a good bunch so far. My brother stopped by last week to meet his new niece and took me to lunch, and we haven't invaded any more sovereign nations lately, so I'll call it a win for now.

And now I'm going to watch some more of the Wild Wild West DVD that's in my disc drive, but let me leave you with some more pics of my world's most adorable baby. :-)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Baby Sharon Is Born

So here's what happened. Last Saturday, August 27th, 2011, began like most other days. I got up, had coffee, cut the grass, etc. My mother-in-law was here to help Mrs. Marius in the last weeks of her pregnancy, and nothing seemed amiss. Around three in the afternoon my wife mentioned that she was having strong, regular contractions, and so we began timing and monitoring, and this time not freaking out. Finally, around five, it became clear that this was really, really labor, and we went to the hospital. By six we were in the labor/delivery room. Imagine a large hotel room, only with a linoleum floor, and medical instruments built into the furniture. For the first couple of hours it was just my wife, me, and an occasional visit by the nurse. Eventually the doctor came in, who was very nice and reminded me of the stock 'female Asian doctor' on just about every medical show I've ever seen with a little bit of Hoshi Sato mixed in, and she examined my wife. Mrs. M was dilated to 7cm, which is close but not quite to the needed 10cm, so we waited a bit more. The contractions were painful, but not too severe, and I did my best to keep her breathing and comfortable. Eventually the doctor decided to speed things up a bit and broke my wife's water. Contrary to popular myth most women's water never breaks until delivery, but sometimes the doctor will make just a tiny hole in the amniotic sac with what looks like a plastic crochet hook and allow the fluid to come out. This usually triggers active labor, and boy howdy did it ever! Within minutes my wife was in full labor, crying out in pain, and ready to get that baby out. Maybe half an hour later things shifted into overdrive. Several nurses and the doctor swooped in and began doing all kinds of things. A tray of scary looking instruments was uncovered, and the sound of latex gloves snapping drifted over my wife's sounds of pain. I stroked her head and murmured encouragement, but my ability to assist anyone at that point was essentially nil. The nurses took over coaching, and soon my wife was pushing, and crying, and straining. We didn't opt for the mirror since neither of us really felt the need for a front row seat, but it wasn't long before I saw the top of the baby's head poking out. Two more pushes and suddenly a squidgy, bloody, slimy, crying creature was pulled from my wife's body. The team swiftly and expertly cleaned her off and within two or three minutes Sharon Elizabeth was laying on her mommy's chest. I confess that more than a tear or two rolled down my face at the sight of our daughter. Mrs. M became very calm and relaxed as soon as Sharon was there, but the work wasn't quite over. If you've never been through childbirth you may not realize that the placenta does not come out when the baby does, and it takes a few minutes before it is delivered, but I didn't even notice when that happened, and I'm not sure my wife did, either. There there was a bit of stitching up to do since there was a little bit of damage during the birth, and then almost as suddenly as it started, the whirlwind of activity was done, and it was just us and one nurse again. They let Sharon nurse for the first time before weighing and measuring her, and then we gathered up our stuff, and our baby, and went to the recovery room. All told I think we were in the delivery room for about four or five hours.

The recovery rooms in this hospital are even more like hotel rooms. The bed is, of course, a hospital bed, but the room is smaller, with comfy chairs, a pull-out sofa, softer lighting, and a wide-screen tv. We settled in and the nurses brought my wife crackers and juice, and then started taking vitals for both mommy and baby, and we began to get to know our new arrival. That night we didn't sleep much, but not because of Sharon. The baby was very quiet, but about every hour or two someone would come in to take a reading, or measurement, or check something, or get something signed, etc. Hospitals are not conducive to resting, but we both managed to grab a couple of hours of sleep anyway.

The next morning my mother-in-law came over to meet her new granddaughter, and our 13-year-old got to meet her half-sister. Everybody loves the baby, though my wife was getting quite sore as Sharon was demanding to eat nearly hourly. Eventually I went home and my mother-in-law stayed with Mrs. M and Sharon for the second night. Monday morning I ran some errands and then went to the hospital. It took some time to get all the paperwork sorted, but by about 1pm the discharge papers were done, and we took our baby home for the first time. She did fine in the car, and since she can't really see much beside blurry light and blurry dark the surroundings didn't really affect her. She sleeps, she eats, she poops, she generally waits til we have her diaper off and then pees. All normal stuff for a newborn. She squeaks, and grunts, and burps, and farts, and cries, and burbles, and is the most beautiful, amazing, gorgeous creature I've ever seen. I didn't expect to be so moved by her presence, after all I've been relatively indifferent to children most of my adult life, but I know that if an army of orcs were coming after her, and all I had was a plastic spork and a single shoelace, there would be a twenty foot high wall of dead orcs around me before any of them laid so much as a finger on her. I freely admit that I am in full-on first time parent mode, worrying about everything that might hurt or even inconvenience her, but I don't care. This tiny, helpless human needs me to be ever vigilant, and even though I rationally know that I can't protect her from every possible threat, I'll do my damndest to try. As for my wife, she is recovering quite well, and while we don't exactly fight over who gets to hold the baby 'this time', I know we both consider it to be the greatest thing in the world to do. Of course, since she is the baby's food dispenser, she has quite the edge on me. :-)

That's all for now. You can be assured, or warned, that there will be numerous posts in the future about Sharon and her growth. After all, it is highly doubtful there will be another baby in this house, and I'm going to make sure we all get the most out of this experience as possible, including, and especially Sharon.

Peace out, y'all.

Daddy Marius the Incredibly Proud and Lucky

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sit Rep

It's 7:09am on a Saturday. The fans are all desperately trying to make the house less than oven-like, and the cicadas outside sound like a hundred-thousand toy phasers all wearing their batteries out. Mrs. Marius, her mother, and the COA* are all asleep, and the KOA** have been fed and have ceased to pester me for more. I take this brief respite in the insanity to sit back as assess. We like this house, despite the lack of central a/c, and I, at least, seem to be acclimating to being hotter. At first we ran the window units a lot, but I quickly learned that cooling one room to a comfortable temperature meant moving to another room was like stepping into Hell's foyer. Now we mostly use them in the bedrooms at night. Otherwise the rooms are big, and the tile floors silent. This is a big deal since my wife and I have such different hours. I can creep across the bedroom in the dark and not worry about creaks and moans...other than from my knees...waking her up. The cats love the huge screened-in porch, and the front yard is big enough for the COA to play in, but only takes about thirty minutes to mow. We're mostly unpacked, though my office is still the repository of many unpacked, or at least uncategorized items that we haven't quite figured out where to put. The baby's room is nearly done. I have some curtains to install today, and the a/c unit for her room will come out of layaway soon. Of course she won't really be using her room for a while, so we still have some time on that front.

And speaking of the bun in the oven, there really isn't anything to say yet. There have been no more false labor alarms, and life has returned to something resembling normalcy...whateverthehell that means. Hopefully the dress rehearsal we had on Monday will create more of a sense of calm competency when the real moment arrives.

Work is still in the pre-production phase, but the students will be returning all next week, and classes start up again on the 5th. I'm looking forward to seeing my kids again, although I already miss those that graduated back in May. Ah well, that's the blessing and curse of teaching in college. You forge real friendships with your students, then release them into the world, in all likelihood never seeing them in person again. But I wouldn't trade this gig for the world.

And I hear someone puttering about in the kitchen, thus the magic quiet time ends. Have a groovy weekend, dear readers. See you soon.


*Child-O-The Apocalypse
**Kitties-O-The Apocalypse

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Starbaby Update

So on Monday I got home from work around 5ish, which is usual, and wanted nothing more than to get my shoes off and have a beer. I had picked up some groceries, and was heading into the kitchen to put them away when my mother-in-law, who has come to stay with us for the duration of the pregnancy, said, "Em's bag is packed and by the door." Being as yet in the dark I spake, "Why?" "She's been having contractions for about an hour now" quoth she. Now we have had classes about this very situation, and have discussed how and what to do and when, but as soon as I heard the above words I ceased being the calm voice of reason in a crisis, and turned into Rob Petrie.
(Google him, kids) All the knowledge and training went right out the window and I started bouncing off walls, throwing things into my bag, and generally doing everything but boil towels. We tried to time the contractions, but when the next one came in less than five minutes we called the doctor, the hospital, and then departed. Whilst on the way to the hospital, about a 30 minute drive, I called my family to let them know that 'this is it'. Upon our arrival at the hospital I dropped my wife off at the front door, and went to park. I eventually rejoined her, laden like the pack mule I was, and we were ushered back to triage. Forms were filled out, and biometrics read, and thence on to the examination room. Ere long a nurse arrived, put sensors around my wife's belly, and the baby's rapid heartbeat and whooshy squirmings filled the room. But, something wasn't quite right. My wife was on 1/10th as dilated as she should be were this really labor. The doctor advised we wait for a couple of hours and then check again. We did, and they did, and nothing. They call it Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor. Everyone assured us that this happens all the time, and we shouldn't be embarrassed, but the baby was not ready to join us outside just yet. So, four hours later, we arrived back home. My wife was in decent spirits, but I was a little bit broken. I'd been unconsciously gearing myself up for the moment when I could spring into action, and then be the pillar of support for my wife, and then all that tension just sputtered. I've been something of an emotional Pachinko game all week as a result, with anxiety and anger vying for dominance, but I'm finally settling down. Pregnancy, it turns out, is not just a trial for the mom, although I would in no way compare my travails to hers, but there is a very real emotional drain on me as the father that I did not expect. It is safe to say that we are all very, very ready for little Sharon to breathe the air, and see the sun, and let us begin being her mommy and daddy.

Oh, and that's also why I haven't been posting or podcasting. But I'll be back soon, and hopefully with pics of a squirmy, noisy, hungry little she-creature.

Be groovy, folks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 13: Favourite Female Character In A Book

Sorry, folks. This challenge is getting annoying. Not because of the subject matter, but it just seems to go in circles. This may be my last entry on this subject, who knows? Anyway, I was trying to decide who my favorite literary female is, and a couple of characters leapt to mind. Nicole DesJardins from the Rendezvous with Rama sequels by Arthur C. Clark and Friday from the book of the same name by Robert Heinlein immediately began vying for my attention, but they are pretty much the same as most of the ladies I've mentioned already. Beautiful, heroic, strong, etc. So I tried thinking beyond this pattern and one character rose to the surface. Many of you know how fond I am of the Dune series, by Frank Herbert, and also by his son Brian. There is one character in those books who, to me, stands out above all the rest. No, it's not Chani, or Countess Fenring, or even Lady's The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. She is the first to suspect that Paul Atreides is the Kwisatz Haderach, as well as being truthsayer to the Padisha Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, and she represents the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the first two books Dune and Dune:Messiah. But in the prequels, penned by Brian Herbert and based on Frank Herbert's copious notes, it is seen that she is one of the main driving forces behind the events that shake a galactic empire to its foundations, and bring the status quo to its knees. I won't spoil, since I highly recommend the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson books, but she is far more than the silver-toothed crone depicted in that abominable David Lynch movie, or those laughable SyFy mini-series. She has a strength that borders on monomania, yet even she feels. Especially when she must commit atrocities in the name of furthering the Bene Gesserit breeding program. She is not a sympathetic character, nor a particularly likeable person, but her character is amazing in the depths of emotion and drive, and is the unnoticed linchpin of the entire Dune story. She is also one of the best written female characters I've ever read, since she is not there to be comic relief or a convenient sex toy...although there is a very interesting coupling that occurs between her and a prominent figure...but I say too much already. So if you're a Dune fan read the prequels and then tell me if I chose poorly. And if you haven't read Dune yet, let me know and I'll send you my copy. It's a book everyone with even a passing interest in Science Fiction should read.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 12: Favourite Female Character In A Movie

Sorry I'm late on this one, folks. Been a bit busy, and I've been grappling with the repetition monster again. My favorite female character in a movie is Ellen Ripley, but since I've already spoken of her I'll move one notch down the ladder to a relative newcomer...Penny in Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. Penny is the ingenue of the Whedon brothers' internet experiment that features Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day as Penny. The story follows the exploits of Dr. Horrible, a super villain wannabe, played by Harris, and his struggle with Captain Hammer, played by Fillion. And between these two opposites is Penny, an innocent helper of the poor who gets caught in the crossfire. This was the first time I'd seen Felicia Day in anything, and I was immediately smitten. She's attractive, but not classically beautiful. She nerdy, and flighty, and totally adorable, but plays the character with real depth and truth. Plus she's good at the comedy. I've since seen her in her web series, The Guild, and Eureka, as well as a SyFy movie called Red:Werewolf Hunter. To be honest I'd have never made it to the end of Red if she weren't in it, but crap movie that it is she did a great job. So, anyway, if you haven't seen Dr. Horrible, check it out. It's only 42 minutes long or so, has some great songs, and also has my second favorite female character in a movie.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 11: Favourite Female Character In A Children’s Show

Sorry I missed yesterday, folks. My favorite female character in a children's show has got to be Velma from Scooby Doo. I've always liked the nerdy, smart girls, and if certain areas of recent pop culture are to be believed, I'm not alone. (and no, I'm not talking about the Scooby Doo porn parody)(and yes, there is a Scooby Doo porn parody...and no I'm not going to link to it) Velma has, over the past few years, gotten a makeover and become not just a myopic, latex mask yoinking bookworm, but a sexy myopic, latex mask yoinking bookworm, and I could not be happier. Yes, this is piggy me shining through, but Daphne and Ginger have held the hotness spotlight long enough! It's time for Velma, and Mary Anne, and Sabrina to get the hot-blooded, libidinous oogling they deserve!

Um...ahem...sorry, I seem to have lost control a bit here. So, yeah, I've, um, always been a fan of Velma...and I think I should just say good night here.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 10: Favourite Female Character In A Scifi / Supernatural Show

This may come as something of a shock, but this entry won't be from Star Trek. Sadly one of Trek's largest failings is the paucity of well-written female characters. I think I may also have played my Kaylee hand too soon, but rather than repeat I'll go with my first runner up: Zoe Washburn from Firefly. She is the second-in-command aboard Serenity, and has been Mal's right hand person since long before the events of the series. She is beautifully played by Gina Torres who can do no wrong in my 'verse, and while she may not be the biggest person on Serenity, she is the one I'd least like to piss off. You may have noticed a bit of repetition in my descriptions of the characters in this list, and that is because I am drawn to depth and dichotomy in the characters I like the most. Torres played Zoe with a near-perfect balance of femininity and grit, all wrapped up in a big ball of honesty that left you wondering why such an amazing person was caught up with a scruffy looking nerf herder like Reynolds. Yet her loyalty to Mal is only slightly superseded by her loyalty to her husband, and when those two loyalties came into conflict was when she shone brightest. Again, if you haven't seen Firefly yet, get thee to Netflix.

That is all.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 9: Favourite Female Character In A Drama Show

Emily Deschanel's character Temperance 'Bones' Brennan on the show Bones. She's like a gorgeous, female Spock. It seems the only type of show more prevalent on the networks than reality shows are the procedurals; the CSINCISSVULGBTQ's and such. Bones is one such show, although I'd argue that it is more Science Fiction given the level of technology they use. But that's beside the point. Deschanel's performance as the forensic genius could have been a carbon copy of Nimoy's iconic Vulcan...hell, even some of her lines sound like they were ripped right out of a Star Trek script, but she expertly plays the subtextural warmth under the cold clinical shell of Brennan so well that it's almost as much fun to watch for moments when the person shines out from under the mask as it is to watch the crew solve crimes. If you like your crime scene investigation shows, and haven't seen Bones, I highly recommend it...but be warned. Unless you have a strong stomach, don't watch the show while eating. It could be...unpleasant.

See ya tomorrow,

Friday, August 12, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 8: Favourite Female Character In A Comedy Show

This is another toughie as there are so many to chose from, but when I think about the character that always grabs my attention on screen I have to go with Donna Pinciotti, played by Laura Prepon, on That 70's Show. Physical attractiveness aside, Prepon brought a depth and strength to Donna that belied the stoner sensibilities of the show. She knew just how far to let the boys go before snapping them back into reality, but when the time came for vulnerability and true emotion she handled that with subtlety and true talent. It took a little while for The 70's Show to grow on me, but Prepon was one of the main reasons I didn't turn away. I'd always thought that she would be the break-out star of the show, and looking at her IMDB page I see that she has been working steadily since it went off the air, but I earnestly hope that there are bigger things ahead for her.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Could You Choose?

This is an explanation of why there was no entry yesterday.

Imagine this scenario: You are in your 70's, you have been a heavy smoker all your life, and have had an aortic aneurism repaired a decade ago. You have tried to stop smoking, but every attempt has failed and you now have severe emphysema. While being checked for a lung infection it is discovered that you have a new aortic aneurism that could kill you at any time, plus there appear to be shadows on your lungs that are quite probably cancer. Your choices are:
1. Have the aneurism fixed, and die slowly over the next three years from the emphysema and/or cancer.

2. Do nothing, and know that most people with aneurisms like this last a year at the outside, but it could also go in the next thirty seconds, but when it does there will be no pain, just some dizziness and then unconsciousness.

Could you make that choice?

I just got home yesterday from visiting one of my oldest and dearest friends. She has been Mom to me since I was 16 years old. She has been my Dungeon Master, my counselor, my mentor, and my friend. She was one of the only people who could recognize when I was in trouble with the heat whilst fighting in tournaments, and was always there with a hug, a smile, and a gentle word of admonishment when necessary. I love her dearly, and fortunately she knows it. And the choice above is one she has had to make. She has chosen to let nature take its course, and will not have surgery. She has let everyone who is important to her know about the decision, and is making her peace with the world. The good part is she lives just far enough away that it needs to be an overnight visit, so I kept putting off going up, and this lit a fire under my ass. It was a very nice visit. My wife and I went, so she got to spend some time with Mom, and they talked pregnancy and children and such. We took her to breakfast, and though we did discuss her situation frankly and dispassionately, we didn't dwell on it. She is taking it as easy as she can, and we have promised to bring the baby up there for her to meet as soon as is possible, and then we came home. The odd thing was I didn't start to feel strange until about half way home. Last night I was glum, and irritable, but not in any 'God Damn You, Universe!' kind of way. I think it's more a 'helpless and useless' kind of way. I spoke with my brother last night and told him. He hasn't seen her in years and years, but he's actually the one who introduced me to her, and then we recorded a podcast, which always cheers me up.

Our time with anyone is always limited, but it's a very different feeling when you know just how limited the time with a specific person will be. And I can only imagine what she's going through, but this has also brought people back to her who might have waited too long and not had a chance to say 'I love you' one more time, and that has to be a good thing.

I'll be back with 30 days thing tomorrow. Now go give someone you've been taking for granted a big hug and tell them you love them.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 7: A Female Character That Needs More Screen Time

Captain Rachel Garrett, commanding officer of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-C. She only appeared briefly in the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the episode Yesterday's Enterprise. This was one of my favorite Star Trek episodes largely due to Tricia O'Neil's portrayal as Capt. Garrett. She was intense, poised, and not afraid of a fight, but she did not come off as a 'man with breasts' as is often the case with strong female characters in Star Trek. She didn't get much time to flesh out her character, but what time she had was used to perfection. I have always wished that there could have been more episodes, or even a series featuring Capt. Garrett and the Enterprise-C, but, of course even if that happened now they'd have to find someone else to play her. But if the performance were good, and the writing solid, I'd watch. Oh, who am I kidding? If any new Trek happened I'd watch. ;-) Anyway, Captain Rachel Garrett, you are the character I wish got more screen time.


I also agree with Suzie Plakson that we should have gotten to see the fight between Duras and K'Ehleyr.

Monday, August 08, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness: Day 6: Favourite Female Driven Show

Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It's the story of a normal, everyday cheerleader named Buffy who discovers that she has special abilities and strengths that enable her to find, and destroy vampires and other demons. If you've not heard of this show then let me welcome you to Earth. For the rest of you homo sapiens I'm sure you have at least an understanding about the show. The titular character, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, my look like your average teen, but she played Buffy with a seriousness and solemnity, and sometimes whimsy, that made the show the raging success it was. Added to that the stellar portrayal of Willow, played by Allison Hannigan, whose journey from ordinary bookworm to powerful witch helped make the show so much more than a weekly stake-fest. I'd say this is a female driven show, because the many of the main characters are female, but it's less about gender and more about just people. Joss Whedon, the show's creator, did a magnificent job showing teenagers dealing with all the normal angst and hassles of high school life, while also having to fight off hordes of the undead, demons, demigods, and various other manifestations of evil, as well as romance, loss, homosexuality, death, rebirth, etc. In Buffy's seven seasons they skillfully portrayed just about every twist and turn a teen's life can face and kept the characters real and believable in the face of the unreal, and unbelievable. If you've never seen it, I urge you to give it a watch. And if, like me, you haven't seen it since it first aired, give it another go. It's well worth the time.

Hasta manana!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness:Favourite Female Character On A Male Driven Show

I'm going to go with Kaley Cuaco's character on The Big Bang Theory, Penny. One of the reasons I was so reluctant to watch TBBT was because Penny seemed to be a two-dimensional sitcom cliche character. Attractive, stupid, blonde-next-door whose sole purpose was to bring in the 18-24 horny male demographic. But once I finally started watching the show I found Penny to be much more than a pair of tits and a nice ass. She's a well rounded, for a sitcom anyway, character with nuance, and occasional subtlety. And her relationship with Leonard, rather than being a distraction, is one of the main engines for driving the plot of the series. I certainly won't deny that Ms. Cuaco is also a knock-out, but that is even used to drive the story as opposed to just having her around to be ogled, and as an actor Cuaco does a beautiful job, especially when the time comes for some good, old-fashioned raw emotion. So if, like me, you have stayed away from The Big Bang Theory partly due to the appearance of trite bimboism from Penny, let me assure you that she is much, much more.

See ya tomorrow,

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Fatass In Repose

I think Starbuck has gotten used to the new place, don't you?

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 4: A Female Character You Relate To

I'm going to have to go with Ellen Ripley for this one. If you don't know who she is, Ripley was the Warrant Officer on board the space tug Nostromo, the unlucky ship that discovered the Alien, and spawned a series of films, books, and comics. At least in Alien and Aliens I completely got Ripley. With the possible exception of going back for the cat in Alien all of her actions, from not letting Kane back aboard to the ultimate destruction of the Nostromo made perfect sense to me. I felt like I would have reacted in exactly the same way she did...although she did have an unfortunate tendency to warn the bad guys that she was going to expose them, with near fatal consequences. Of course Alien 3 threw all of that out of the airlock, and Alien 4 I'd just as soon not think about, but for the first two films I really liked, respected, and related to Ripley.

Friday, August 05, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness: Day 3: Favourite Female Character In A Canon You Gave Up On

This one turned my brain into a bit of a pretzel, then the clouds parted and clarity was restored, in spite of horrifically mixed metaphors. Gwen Cooper, played by Eve Myles, one of the only surviving regulars of the Doctor Who spin off, Torchwood. Gwen is an ex-cop who is drawn into the reality-bending universe of the show by the immortal, and impossibly good looking, Captain Jack Harkness. Gwen is a strong, gorgeous, and capable character who is trying to juggle fighting aliens and interdimensional forces and having a family. Myles does a fantastic job as an actor, but I just don't care about the show. One of the hallmarks of Torchwood is that you can't really get attached to any of the main characters because...and this is a wee spoiler...all but the aforementioned Jack and Gwen have been killed during the shows three and a half seasons. Added to that this latest season is only playing on the STARZ network here in the states, which would require me to add $16/month to my cable package. Sadly as much as I admire Eve Myles, and like the character of Gwen Cooper, the show just isn't worth nearly $200. But there have been some good things in Torchwood in its previous seasons, and if you like Doctor Who but wish it was darker, give it a watch. Plus, if you like accents as much as I do, Eve's lovely Welsh accent will leave you a puddle on the sofa.

See y'all tomorrow.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness: Day 2: Favourite Supporting Female Character

Kaylee Frye, engineer/mechanic on board the privateer starship Serenity. If you haven't seen Firefly, and you call yourself a Science Fiction fan, WHAT THE HELL'S WRONG WITH YOU?!!! ...ahem...sorry. Anyway, Firefly was a fantastic series created by Joss Whedon in 2002 that ran on Fox for one season, and then got the axe. Like Star Trek before it Firefly was a show that was unappreciated during its run, but found great support after being cancelled. Enough support that Whedon was able to make a feature film, called Serenity, which tied up the loose ends. The crew are diverse and interesting, but Kaylee, the female mechanic, played by the ever wonderful Jewel Stait, was one of the most interesting. In addition to being a woman in a traditionally male role, she was both dainty and lusty, which are, again, not a usual combination in a TV show. She was never vulgar, but was no shrinking flower either, and kept the ship held together better than anyone. Imagine Jim Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Scarlett O'Hara mixed together and you get Kaylee. She was my favorite Firefly character, and my favorite female supporting character.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A New '30 Days' Challenge...Female Awesomeness

Let it be said that I like women. Not in the usual piggy male way, although I cannot claim to be completely without the testosterone fueled, lizard-brain lustthink, but I've just always preferred the company of women. I prefer to have a mostly female crew in my shop because they tend to be less flighty, more detail oriented, and less likely to come in with a concussion because the previous night's drunken parkour session landed them face-down in the parking lot. Most of my closest friends are women, and I have always related better to women than to men. Maybe it's because my mom was a single mom for a lot of my formative years, maybe it's because I am not into most traditional guy things like cars and sports, or maybe it's just because I have an acute sense of smell, and boys are stinky. Whatever, I like women. So without further preamble, the next month's worth of posts shall be thus:

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness

Day 1: Favourite Lead Female Character.
Day 2: Favourite Supporting Female Character.
Day 3: Favourite Female Character In A Canon You Gave Up On
Day 4: A Female Character You Relate To
Day 5: Favourite Female Character On A Male Driven Show
Day 6: Favourite Female Driven Show
Day 7: A Female Character That Needs More Screen Time
Day 8: Favourite Female Character In A Comedy Show
Day 9: Favourite Female Character In A Drama Show
Day 10: Favourite Female Character In A Scifi / Supernatural Show
Day 11: Favourite Female Character In A Children’s Show
Day 12: Favourite Female Character In A Movie
Day 13: Favourite Female Character In A Book
Day 14: Favourite Older Female Character
Day 15: Favorite Female Character Growth Arc
Day 16: Favourite Mother Character
Day 17: Favourite Warrior Female Character
Day 18: Favourite Non Warrior Female Character
Day 19: Favourite Non Human Female Character
Day 20: Favourite Female Antagonist
Day 21: Favourite Female Character Screwed Over By Canon
Day 22: Favourite Female Character You Love But Everyone Else Hates
Day 23: Favourite Female Platonic Relationship
Day 24: Favourite Female Romantic Relationship
Day 25: Favorite Mother / Daughter And / Or Sister Relationship
Day 26: Favourite Classical Female Character ( From Pre 20th Century Literature Or Mythology Or The Like )
Day 27: A Female Character You Have Extensive Personal Canon For
Day 28: Favourite Female Writer ( Television, Books, Movies, etc. )
Day 29: A Female Centric Fic Rec
Day 30: Whatever You’d like!

Day 1: Favourite* Lead Female Character.

This is a toughie because there are so many from which to choose, but I think I'll keep it simple here at the beginning and go with Princess Leia from Star Wars. Not only was she smart, strong, and beautiful, but her no-nonsense attitude set her apart from the usual 'convenient hostage' type of female protagonist of the time. She was my first cinematic crush, and was one of the main reasons that I saw Star Wars at least twenty times before it finally left the cinema. Now here's something I've never told anyone before. I never really cared for her in the slave girl outfit in Return of the Jedi. Yes, Carrie Fischer was smoking hot in the costume, but I felt every ounce of Princess Leia's embarrassment and shame at being put in such a position, so that rather than being a titillating scene, it was just uncomfortable for me.

So that's my favorite lead female. Who is yours?


*I cut and pasted this from a friend's blog in the UK, and I can't be bothered to change the spelling.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

Here's a snippet of the script of Cowboys and Aliens*.

Harrison Ford: MumblegrumblemumblegrumbleYELLgrumblemumble. (translation: I'm rich and angry)

Daniel Craig: GrumblemumblegrowlmumblegrumbleSCREAMmumblegrumble. (translation: I don't know who I am, but I'm angry too)

Olivia Wilde: Sizzle!

Ok, so aside from the dueling growlers, Cowboys and Aliens was a fun way to kill a couple of hours on a Tuesday morning. I'd say that this review won't have any spoilers, but to be honest there really aren't much in the way of plot twists to spoil. Jon Favreau is obviously a fan of the Clint Eastwood school of Westerns, and hits just about every cliche:

Small town in the middle of nowhere...check.
One rich guys runs the town with an iron fist...check.
Rich guy's son is a spoiled prick...check.
Craggy faced men who never get their teeth more than two millimeters apart when speaking...check.
Magical Indian tribe...check.
Clancy Brown as the town's preacher and Sam Rockwell as the barkeep...che-Wait, what?!

You read right, folks. This movie has an amazing cast including two of my favorite, yet underrated actors. I'd have never recognized Clancy Brown if I didn't see his name in the credits, but Sam Rockwell is unmistakable in his role as the town nerd forced to pick up a gun. Actually everyone does a passable job in their roles, though to be honest I doubt anyone's acting muscles were overly strained. There isn't too much to tell about Cowboys and Aliens. It's a pretty standard Western about a failing town struggling under the boot heel of the one man with any money, until the amnesiac Craig shows up and suddenly flying machines start blowing the town up and capturing the inhabitants. Of course, you've seen the trailers, Craig has an alien superweapon stuck on his arm, and when he gets angry, he turns green and begins tearing out of his, wait, wrong story...the thing activates and lets him blow up stuff with equal abandon. This movie is equal parts The Bourne Identity, Predator, and The Magnificent Seven, with a lot of Harrison Ford angrily chewing the shit out of the scenery. If anything in this movie surprises you then you are either twelve, or don't get out much, but what it does it does well. The effects are mostly well done, and the dialogue, while trite, suits the film. There are lots of 'splosions, very little gore, and only one very tame bit of nudity (sorry, boys) so this would be a good flick for the tweens, but it's probably a bit too much for young children. To be honest you could wait for the DVD or your preferred streaming video provider of choice, but as a cheap matinee you could do far worse. I'd give it 2.5 out of 5.

Friday, July 22, 2011

These Are the Voyages...

Ok, y'all know that if I could live at the Kennedy Space Center I would, so guess where I was on Thursday? As mentioned previously I missed the launch of Atlantis, so Unkk graciously invited me over to view the landing. Since Atlantis was coming home in the wee small hours of Thursday morning I drove over Wednesday night. Unkkhouse is one of the most welcoming places in the known universe, and I had a great time with Unkkwife, Unkkchild, and the man himself. Something I don't know if I've mentioned about Daniel previously, but he, and his family, are the most generous and giving people you will ever meet. I hadn't been there an hour before he was bestowing upon me NASA tee shirts for every member of my family, and something incredible. Every shuttle has a flag designed for it...well, every shuttle except one. The Enterprise never got a flag since she never went into space. Never, that is, until now. Only 420 of them were made, and Unkk gave me one!

I was, to say the least, floored. The flag now hangs on the wall to my left:

I will treasure this flag always.

Shortly thereafter Unkkwife 'threw together' a delicious dinner, and great nomming was had. Finally around 1:40am she mentioned that we might want to get some sleep as we had to be up in a few hours. She is wise, and we retired. At 4:15 I was awakened and we watched the deorbit burn on the NASA Internet feed, then came to the realization that there was no point in going over to the space center as Atlantis would be touching down just after 5am, and sunrise wouldn't be for another hour, and unlike in movies spaceships don't light themselves. So we watched the landing on TV, and heard the twin sonic booms as they shook the house (which was freaking AWESOME!). We pondered going to breakfast until the Visitor Center opened, but decided that, being the old men we are, more sleep would not be unwelcome, so we went back to bed.

Around 10ish we sallied forth, hit up the BK lounge for some grub, and went to the Kennedy Space Center. It wasn't too crowded, since it was a Thursday morning, and we bee-lined it straight for Star Trek: The Exhibition. This is a touring museum of Star Trek props, costumes, and a full size mock up of the original Enterprise bridge. In between the exhibit and the entrance, however, is a motion-simulator ride where you are on a Starfleet shuttlecraft and have to fight the Borg. Of course we had to go on.

Sadly it was pretty weak sauce, with lame graphics, and no air conditioning to speak of, but it was free so we didn't complain too much. Thence we made our way to the TOS(The Original Series) display. The first thing you see when you enter is a full scale reproduction of the Guardian of Forever, from the episode City on the Edge of Forever. The best thing about this exhibit is that much of it is hands-on, so of course, we had to play:

I had to get just one more 'action' shot:

And as I did that, a gentleman just a tad older than me laughed and said, "Now there's a man who knows his Sci-Fi." We shared a chuckle at that.

Next were displays of props, costumes, and a beautiful model of the original Enterprise.

All of this was groovy, but the real thing I was there to see lay just ahead...the bloody A, B, C, orrrr D...bridge. It is very hard to describe my emotions as I set foot into what was very obviously a museum reproduction, yet felt as familiar as my bedroom back in my parent's house. None of the buttons or switches worked, but that didn't matter. I was on the Enterprise! It may seem silly to you, but Star Trek has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember, and standing on this set, this construct of plywood and plastic, felt so right to me, so at home, so good. It was something I've been waiting my whole life for, yet never expected to be able to do. Here are the pics.

Then, finally, the moment I had dreamed of my whole life. I got to sit in the captain's chair.

The only way this could have been better was if I was in a Starfleet uniform, but being at one of my favorite places on Earth, sitting in the captain's chair of the original USS Enterprise, in the company of one of the grooviest humans on this planet was about as good as it gets for a geek like me.

We lingered about a bit more, then wandered across the way to the Next Generation display.

The last things in the display were some captain's chairs from Enterprise D, B, and a Klingon Bird of Prey. You could sit in the Klingon chair:

After that we went on the Shuttle Launch simulator, a ride I never tire of, then called it a day. Unkk and I recorded a podcast, and then I had to take my leave and return home. I cannot properly express my gratitude at the hospitality, generosity, and just-plain niceness of Daniel and his family. He has allowed me to see, experience, and have so many things that I never dreamed would be possible, and I thank him, Marina, and the Unkkchild for their unparallelled wonderfullness. And, dear readers, I thank you for sticking around. If you want to see more pics from my trip they are on my Facebook page: So I'm going to end this novel now. We are still unpacking, but at least the cats seem to have mostly forgiven us for moving, and life is settling down into a semblance of normalcy. We are almost ready for baby Sharon to arrive, and Mrs. Marius is very ready to no longer be pregnant. One more month. :-) So that's all for now, dear friends. See you again real soon.

Live long, and prosper.