Category Archives: Friends and Family

Rounds for 5/23/2007

Busy week, as always.

I’ve finished a draft of an avian influenza textbook chapter I’ve been working on, and submitted it to my mentor for review. It’s been my primary focus over the last week, with me finally getting it out late last Friday evening. I found it to be a surprisingly difficult experience, and I really should have been able to complete far more swiftly than I did. I mean, avian influenza is easy for me to blather on about. The more challenging thing, I think, is that it is for a public health textbook that has a somewhat bizarre chapter formatting guidelines, and that the focus isn’t really on the science behind avian influenza, but more on potential public health consequences, the outlined criteria for which are somewhat vague. The irony, of course, is that I’ve not had formalized public health training beyond medical school, such as an MPH (which, all things being equal, I’d love to obtain), and I’ve been tasked to write this chapter focused on a potential public health topic for people unergoing such training, with little actual guidance as to what “public health-specific” content needs to be included.
Such is the way of things, I suppose.

So, ’tis done and submitted, and we’ll see what my mentor and the editor have to say about what I chose to include and how I included it.

This past weekend, scant hours after chapter submission, Laura and I trekked up to Ashtabula, OH, to visit her mother and stepfather. We had a vastly relaxing time just hanging out with them, and doing some things I’m not normally accustomed to – walking the beach along Lake Erie while trolling for interesting debris and photographic opportunities, and doing a whirlwind tour of yard sales and flea markets. We also visited the Animal Protective League no-kill shelter there, which is where Laura rescued our youngest cat Oberon from two years ago. The latter was an enjoyable, if heartrending, experience. I’m just happy that we somehow managed to leave without any new animals. Finally, we did catch Shrek the Third as well, in which I was disappointed, but more on that in a bit.

And so, what’s up for this week? Funny you should ask… A little thing called Balticon. More on that, and other sundries, a little later today.

Rounds for 5/13/2007, Mother’s Day Edition

For those whom it is appropriate, I hope your Mother’s Day has been excellent!

It seems that Laura and I were remiss as to blogging about what was going on over the past couple of days before they actually occurred, but such is the way of things. Today marks the end of Public Service Recognition Week, a component of which included exhibits on the national mall in downtown Washington, DC. NASA had a big presence there, and a big part of that involved the James Webb Space Telescope that Laura‘s been working on lo’ these many years. Northrop Grumman brought out the full-scale model on Friday and Saturday, and Laura was one of the volunteers to enhance the model with her radiant beauty, as well as answer questions and educate an eager public about the project. In a brilliantly cool outreach idea, there were also Lego models of the JWST that people could come by and assemble with volunteers, which Laura had the pleasure of working with as well. I feel like they missed an opportunity by not having said Lego sets available for purchase on-site, although they did have flyers available with information on how to obtain them online. Many thanks to everyone who came out and stopped by, including Thomas of the Command Line Podcast, as well as author Rich White.

There were also numerous other NASA related exhibits, as well as those from other areas of public service. The various military branches had a large area of tents, vehicles and equipment on display. Aside from basking in the glorious exhibits of armored death-dealing machines, including the M1A2 Abrams tank and M109A6 Paladin mobile Howitzer, I also had the pleasure of talking with a representative of the Marine Corps Systems Command about current research into new components of front line first aid kits, specifically anticoagulant dressings for major traumatic wounds. Excellent stuff!
Smaller and lesser known public service agencies were represented as well. I was particularly enamored of the Mine Safety and Health Administration booth, which included an informational booklet on mine disasters of the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as several disturbingly illustrated flyers warning children not to explore abandoned mines, ride ATV’s into sand and gravel pits, or go swimming in abandoned quarries. Venomous snakes, steep drops, and submerged razor wire and circular saw blades abound!

Expect plenty of images related to the above to crop up on Laura’s and my Flickr accounts within the next few days.

Last night we spent some time at game night at the Family Game Store at Savage Mill in Savage, Maryland. We were introduced to two games we had not previously played, namely Citadels and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers, which we both enjoyed and look forward to playing again… in part, because Laura trounced me at both. Well, at least at Carcassonne… I also spent some time with at the nearby Ram’s Head Tavern, with some good company in the form of several former coworkers from Sinai, and some good drink in the form of Fordham’s Oyster Stout.

Finally, we saw Spiderman 3 today… I’m going to do a combo post with it and 300, but for now I’ll say that it was good, and a worthy successor to the previous two films.

Now, to sleep, and the FFF of another week!

Joe Murphy

In Loving Memory of Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy, excellent friend and podcaster, died today. He had a good death – it was expected, and so not a shock to him or those around him; it was in the presence of a vast amount of love from family, friends, and even total strangers; and it was comfortable, as he was in Hospice, and receiving amazing care.

I have plenty more to say about Joe, but my time and energy are both quite low. Instead, I point you to the wisdom of others, which will multiply over the coming days:

*the final thread on Wingin’ It

*Laura’s musings on Joe and podcasting, as well as her posts from today here and here

*the Joe Murphy Memorial Fund, established in Joe’s memory to raise awareness of leiomyosarcoma, and money for research into treatment

Joe Murphy at Dragon*Con 2006

[originally uploaded by Sci-Fi Laura]

Joe Murphy, a.k.a. Mason Rocket, a.k.a. Letch Carson, a.k.a. Randy Innuendo,

a.k.a. our dear and wonderful friend,

we love you, and we can’t help but miss you. Through your words and deeds, you’ll never be forgotten, and your wisdom and humor will continue to touch us for the rest of our days.

Joe and Cap

[illustrated by Cheyenne of]

Saint Patrick’s Day

Let me be neither the first, nor the last, to wish you a most excellent Saint Patrick’s Day!

First and foremost, remember who the holiday is named for… and not to get our beloved patron saint of Irleand confused with Saint Patrick of Spain, Saint Patrick of France, Saint Patrick of Prusa, or Blessed Patrick Salmon of England.

That aside, celebrate well, and if you choose to do so with libations, do so safely and responsibly. This includes not drinking bland beer from the huge American macrobreweries (in general) that’s been dyed green (specifically)… that’s not Irish. It’s just wrong.

Instead, partake of something with a bit more flavor, a bit more character, and a lot more Irish: Murphy’s Irish Stout or Irish Red. Smithwick’s Irish Ale. Guinness Stout. Harp Irish Lager. Magners Original Irish Cider. Or for a distinctly American take on the Irish style, try Harpoon Brewery’s Hibernian Ale, or Rogue Ales’ Kells Irish Lager.

Oh, and go leave Ronnie more Comment Love, because that boy’s got some serious Irish pride. And while you’re at it, do the same for Laura – she’s got the red hair and all!

Laura’s Life Adventures

As I’ve muttered about before in this space, Laura and I both recently resolved to actively maintain our websites, because:

1. we’re stupidly busy with work, and take on more projects than we should

2. we’re 20th level procrastinators, who’ve elevated this most glorious of arts to a new level

3. as a result of 1 and 2, don’t take nearly the time we should to stay in contact with everyone we like, love, and/or find amusing

As such, posting regularly on teh Internets is an excellent way for all of us to keep in touch, entertained, and informed. Clearly, you know where my website is.

Now, go to Laura’s. And give her some Comment Love.