Category Archives: Fandom

Bombing the Moon

Many thanks to Squish for passing along a link to the news story about NASA’s plan to bomb The Moon. No, they’re not really going to “bomb” it per se, that’s just the spin MSNBC is using. What’s really going to happen is that they’re going to deliberately crash a couple spacecraft into a crater on the moon’s South Pole in order to verify whether the crater contains any water ice.
Boy, are they gonna be surprised when The Moon pops!
Of course, those of us with a sense of history remember what happened the last time there was an explosion on The Moon, ten years ago, on September 13, 1999…

Ender's Game

Last week I re-read Ender’s Game. Excellent book, though I have trouble suspending my disbelief to the extent of buying in to the idea of kids under the age of 10 discussing such deep topics. I’m left assuming that Ender and his peers were the result of a program aimed at producing geniuses, but such is never actually stated. Despite this quibble, the book is all in all a most excellent read. (This would be a great opportunity to include a link to the extra copy I put on PaperBackSwap, but it was gone within 24 hours.)
The idea of Locke and Demosthenes makes some degree of sense within the context of the book, and I can sort of imagine a variation of Peter’s gambit playing out in the scope of today’s blogosphere. (There are after all a few “superstars” out there, but they’re mostly bloggers, not commenters.)
Through a fluke of excellent timing, I finished reading Ender’s Game on Monday and on Friday, XKCD had a strip based on one of Valentine’s and Peter’s discussions. (The squirrel in the strip fared much better than any of the ones in the book however.)

Mr. Right.

I had a doctor’s appointment this past Thursday. Nothing out of the ordinary, just a routine checkup. During the course of things, the doctor asked me when I’d last had a tetanus shot.

I don’t like getting shots. They hurt, and things that hurt become things you avoid. This is why I didn’t play with the cigarette lighter in my parents’ car a second time.

So I briefly considered answering with a vagary about knowing I’d had a tetanus shot, but not being certain of the exact date. And since even if it has been a while, a doctor can’t compel you to take an injection, I also momentarily considered declining.

Tetanus is a infection of the central nervous system caused by bacteria entering through an open wound. The mechanism of infection which people most commonly talk about seems to be “stepping on a rusty nail,” but really, any injury resulting in an open wound will suffice.

Tetanus can lead to lockjaw, a condition which just sounds nasty. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never run across a formal definition of the condition, but I’ve always imagined it to mean that you can’t open your mouth to eat, drink, or speak. And although my friends might appreciate a respite from my wisecracks, being unable to communicate always leaves me frustrated.

Of course I consented to the tetanus shot.

If you were to ask me what the most likely injection site would be for a given treatment, I’d almost certainly get it wrong.

About 16 years ago, I spent six months dating a girl who owned a cat. I’m allergic to cats. Or rather, I’m very allergic to cats. But I liked this girl, so I went to the doctor to see about getting my allergies treated. After a short consultation, the doctor said he would send a nurse in to give me an allergy shot and that would take care of the problem.

A few minutes later, the nurse came in. As I’ve said before, I’m not wild about shots, but I liked that girl. Plus, the nurse was a woman about my age, and not at all unattractive. In for a penny, in for a pound, right? So I rolled up my sleeve.

That’s when she explained that allergy shots don’t go in your arm. They go elsewhere and yes, I would have to lower my pants in the back.
I looked the nurse right in the eye and asked, “Does your mother know you do this?” Turns out her mother was also a nurse.

The girl with the cat broke up with me a month later.

I was a bit apprehensive about the tetanus shot. I was pretty sure the discomfort of the injection would be short-lived, but what I’ve failed to mention until now is that the doctor in question was not just a doctor, she was also a woman.

Luckily, before I could learn whether her mother was also a doctor, much less begin to lower anything, she explained that the tetanus shot would be injected into my upper arm (Whew!) and then asked if I had a preference which one.

I’m right-handed. I write with my right hand, pick up the phone with my right hand (and move it to the left in case I need to write something), and just generally use my right hand for quite a number of tasks. I’ve been known to go through an entire meal holding the fork with my left hand, but I mainly do that just to see who notices. (Did you know that most Americans repeatedly switch the fork between their two hands during a meal? This is an almost uniquely American trait.)

So the decision was to get the injection in the upper part of my left arm. The doctor warned me that it would be sore the next day, but the injection itself was about as painless as it could be.

When I woke on Friday morning, my upper left arm was a little sore. It wasn’t too bad though and really only bothered me when I reached for things. Getting ready to take Wylie out for his morning walk, I quickly realized I should use my right hand to get the leash out of the closet and that would be the end of my discomfort for the day.


Taking a shower before leaving for work, I reflexively reached for the shampoo using my left hand. Getting in the car, I used my left hand to put my lunch bag in the passenger seat. And over the course of the workday, I was frankly astonished by how often I was reaching up to get things out of the desk’s overhead compartment. A compartment which, as you’ve doubtless guessed, was to my left.

Z. and I were planning to go kayaking this morning, or as I call it, “Falling out of boats.” Z. says it’s pretty hard to fall out of a kayak and promised that if I did somehow manage to fall out, she wouldn’t laugh. Not much anyhow. (With all the styrofoam they pack into the bow and stern, it’s also supposed to be pretty hard to sink a canoe. But I’ve done it.)

We ended up canceling those plans because the weather forecast was calling for rain due to Hurricane Bill spinning Northward. If we hadn’t, the authorities would have needed to evacuate the area due to record rains causing even the high grounds to flood. Instead, it’s quite bright out.

It’s just as well though, my left arm is still sore and anytime I use it to reach for anything, I’m promptly reminded about the tetanus shot.
As a consequence of the tetanus shot, now more than ever, I don’t qualify to use “Lefty” as a nickname. So gather up your unattached female friends and let know: I’m Mr. Right.

Recreation through Re-creation.

(Yeah, I changed the title.)
I was at Shore Leave this weekend and ran across this little guy.
An R-2 unit in the in the hotel's lounge area.
OK, it’s not really R2-D2 (not quite the right colors, much less the actual droid – plus, this one is still under construction), but it’s a pretty good re-creation nonetheless.
I was similarly impressed with this re-creation of Indiana Jones. (And quite surprised upon discovering that I’d managed to capture an image of the whip in mid-crack!)
"Indiana Jones" on the hotel lawn, practicing with his whip.
I’m not really sure what to make of this one. I think he’s some sort of space marine from the Halo video game. There was evidently some sort of speaker system built into it, as everywhere he went, there was music playing (presumably environmental music from the game).
Halo-looking soldier in the hotel lobby.


There’s a lot of music on The Funny Music Project’s web site which is dumb, off-color, way-too-geeky for even me or, in many instances, some combination of the three. But every so often, somebody will post a song that you can’t help liking.
I think “Noah” falls into that category. And as one commenter said, now I have something besides “Yoda” to think of the next time I hear “Lola” on the radio.

That Coulda Been Me…

Back in October, there were zombies at Whole Foods. (I maintain that the other shoppers’ failure to notice anything unusual is proof that I wasn’t the only zombie in the store that night.)
Last Friday, the Seattle Police Department arrested a zombie. True, it was a misunderstanding involving a promotion for a horror convention, but it’s worth bearing in mind:

So Much for Keeping a Low Profile

I’m generally pretty low key about my involvement in Science Fiction fandom. When folks ask, I don’t deny being a fan. But on the other hand, it’s not exactly the first thing I bring up in a conversation. (Being a computer geek pays a lot better than it did 20 years ago, but “Star Trek geek” doesn’t seem to be particularly high on the list of attributes most girls are looking for.)
Two weeks ago, thanks to my involvement with the Farpoint and Shore Leave conventions, I was invited to an advance screening of the new Star Trek movie.
On Monday, I was contacted by a reporter from the Baltimore Sun who was doing a story about how the existing fan base (he was quite diligent about using the word “Trekkers”) was reacting to the new film.
The article appeared in today’s Baltimore Sun on page one of the Entertainment section.
So much for keeping a low profile….

Star Trek

I had an opportunity to see the new Star Trek movie on Thursday evening.
Going in, I was concerned, but trying to keep an open mind. The difficulty was that it’s been pretty well publicized that the movie was going to have new actors in the TOS roles. Star Trek: Phase II (formerly Star Trek: New Voyages) has done well with the new actors in familiar roles, so that’s not insurmountable. But there’s a lot of established Trek canon out there (four TV series and 10 movies worth) and anything set in the TOS timeframe has to tread carefully lest the established timeline be contradicted.
Unless you do the unthinkable.
When the movie opens on May 8, some hardcore TOS fans may come away a little disappointed. But new and casual fans may very likely come away with an renewed interest in the franchise.