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February 28, 2006

virulent virii

Right after I talked about viruses, I just found this tremendous Discover Magazine article about what modern science knows about viruses.

From the article:

Viruses come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of sturdiness, and with all manner of strategies for getting at the cellular machinery they lack. Some batter-ram their way through the outer cell membrane. Some meld their membranes with a cell's and then suddenly revolve, like those faux bookcases in the movies, into the sacred chamber. Still others gain entry by disguising themselves as the sort of free-floating molecules that our cells routinely gobble up.

February 23, 2006

influenza!

You know what the best thing about influenza is? It sounds like a poem title, like a hot latin dance that is too cool to even have made it to the states, like a tough drink made mostly with gin, a dash of diced habenero peppers and pomagranite seeds, and a dash of bitters.

You know what the worst thing about influenza is? The days on end of writhing join pain that comes on each late afternoon allowing for only about an hour of troubled sleep until it lets up at 7 a.m. finally allowing for an unbroken few hours.

Right in the middle is being completely worthless to leave the house, or attend to any important business like getting up to go get toilet paper. Also in the middle is merciful landlords who bring movies, toilet paper and juice, and friends who come over and make chicken soup.

But no one's around at 3 a.m. when it's raging at it's apex and not all of the heaters and comforters in the world can stop that one trickle of cold air from sucking all available heat out of the body.

It's day four and I'm pretty sick of it. It sucks for it to be the middle of the afternoon and be too tired to sit up and read a book. It just goes to all my kinks and broken parts and says, "Fuck you, higher form of life." I mean, christ, scientists can't even decide if viruses are alive or not...just self-replicating little biological machines that wreak their havok until the autoimmune system figures it out.

Plus, not having had any coffee in three days adds a hammering, persistant caffeine-withdrawal headache into the mix, leaving me, at best able to sit up and watch movies and at worst unable to get up and pee without a pretty serious internal pep talk.

It's not as bad tonight. It's gonna get better soon. I can tell.

(For all those wondering what happened to "I'm OK":
a) I think I caught it in one of its downcycles and
b) I chose to go sit in my cold office for several hours and then go out for a nice walk on Lake City Way. That very evening I was bed-bound again.)

February 21, 2006

i'm ok!

To anyone out there wondering how I am...

I'm ok!

February 18, 2006

the four ends

The end of building is ruin.
The end of meeting is parting.
The end of accumulation is dispersal.
The end of birth is death.

February 16, 2006

the only picture of my grandma

grandma.jpg
I never met this lady, but she's my grandmother on my Mom's side.

My mom was adopted by two loving people who I grew up calling my grandma and grandpa. While they were alive, my mom and I sometimes had discussions about trying to find her blood family. She was really concerned about hurting her adopted mom's feelings, and I totally understood. Grandma Goldberg had raised her up and she felt a lot of obligation to her. Plus, my mom was a firm believer in "nurture" being more important than "nature".

When both of her adoped parents died, I again asked her to go find some family while there were some left. Finally, she took my advice and did. She met some family that welcomed her with open arms. She met her half-sister and now they are close friends. But unfortunately, I found out that my grandpa was (mostly) non-determinable, and my grandma was already gone. All I have is this one picture of her smiling face, which I finally scanned and can send back to my relatives.

She looks so much like my mom, and I hear she was a bit of a wild one, which doesn't surprise me in the least. In general I'm not too interested in geneology, but I sure would love to have had a conversation with this lady.

my dad's side

On my Dad's side I did get to see both grandparents alive. Both of them were Russian Jews from the Ukraine, making me fully half Russian. My grandmother, Gloria, known to us as "Bubby Glore" was evidently quite the ballroom dancer, but by the time I got to know her she was a bit of a shriveled up old lady. For a short time I lived with her and my Dad in her Chicago apartment, and that didn't really do wonders for our relationship, unfortunately. She died without me being able to sincerely apologize for calling her a bitch. I think I'm probably due some karmic smackdown for that one.

My grandfather, a man who ran a diner in downtown Chicago for many years, wasn't speaking to my Dad by the time I met him, shortly before his death. He went by the name "Papa High". We were brought to meet him at about age 12 and he got agitated and said, "Get them out of here." I was pretty pissed off at him for not at least saying hi, but I do know how my Dad can wear on someone's second to last nerve, and then get right to work on their last one, so I don't blame him too bad.

But...that makes only one blood grandparent I ever had a conversation with. Luckily I had several extended grandparents. Maybe I'll do some grandparent stories. Maybe I can get my mom to send me some photos.

 

February 11, 2006

i'm just posting because no one else is

It's a sunny day and I'm sitting in my house all day. I don't even want to step outside. Who needs outside? Who needs the sun?

I'm cleaning house and trying to rub two sticks together in my mind and just hit that vital point of inspiration that makes one want to head back into the thick of it after two frustrating weeks.

What does anyone do for inspiration besides cleaning their house? Heavy metal?

February 2, 2006

rowan tries her hand at photography

RowanShootsBen003Small.jpg

robokitties

I'd like to make two small announcements.

One, my new (businessy) blog, Robokitties - The Roboticat Communications Weblog, is now live and running. I always wanted a tech blog. There's lots of things I notice and read about on the web, but never wanted to make the tinyblog stray too far from interesting, cute-ish things (I'll bet you never knew that was the theme).

Also, another business blog, Biznik, recently featured me in an interview about web development. If you've only ever heard me talk about writing and girls and buddhism or whatever, it might be interesting to hear me talk geek.

I have two friends who recently moved to New York. I knew them for several months before they met my business partner, who told them what I did for a living. They looked at me in shock. "Daniel?!" they said, "We know him as a nice guy who cooks soup late at night!"

But, anyone who's known me for any length of time knows I geek hard.