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Emergency! DVD Wallpaper

When this post goes live, I’ll likely be waiting in line at the courthouse. I’m scheduled for jury duty. They do this to me once every number of years. This’ll be the fourth time I’ve been “called” to fulfill my “civic duty.” But if I’m impaneled, it’ll only have been the second time I’ll have served on a jury. And no matter how it goes, I hope I’ll at least get a good story out of it.

In the meantime, my Beloved and I have been overindulging via Netflix on Emergency!, which is an updated version of the 1970′s classic Chicago Fire— Wait. Stop. Reverse that.

I was actually impressed that so many of the new generation have enjoyed this old show.

My brother the real-life paramedic reports that he knows a bunch of people who love this show, even find it motivating.

Emergency! convention cast, 1998, via  Click to continue »

Bits & Pieces 2013-02-07

Links and things that I’ve run across recently.

What Else When the Power Goes Out?


I suspect that there may be an unusual number of new birthdays between Halloween and Thanksgiving this year.

(Too subtle? Remember that the power went out for a half-hour during the Superbowl? Now try counting the number of months from the Superbowl—the beginning of February—until the beginning of November.)

Unfortunately, You Have to Be a Computer Geek to Get This Joke

Told my doctor I was idempotent. He said he could give me something for it but it wouldn’t change anything.

(Tweeted by Ian Malpass)


Here’s a cute story, by Sandra of Add Humor and Faith…mix well, about some astounding coincidences.

Frankly, I don’t think I would have taken this one so well. Had this happened to me, it would have totally wigged me out.  Click to continue »

How I Waste My Time

As you may have noticed, I’m slipping on the posts… again. I continue to struggle with the idea that I really want to post regularly, every day, something, just something every day. And I even got caught up one week, to the point that come Monday, I had posts finished and scheduled for every day that week, and posts planned for the following week. And then life happened, and my friend passed away (which I mentioned in a Thursday post), and I had a series of sleepless nights and migraine-filled days, and I had a friend’s book to publish (the draft of which I’m finally expecting, today), and I really had to get going working on new books of my own (even just ebooks that I can sell for 99¢ a pop), and school started again and I realized that maybe getting up at 6:30 AM (when I’m naturally an evening person) and driving back and forth to Tyngsborough every day isn’t actually better than having the kids at home with me interrupting me every 15 minutes… Sigh.

But I’m going to try it again. Try, try again. Try a new motivation. Try a new tactic. Try something different. Keep trying, either until I get it right or until I die trying. (Or dye trying.)

(On the bright side, I do have a number of posts I’m working on for next week. And I’m excited about them.)

In the meantime, I thought I might share with you the contents of my Netflix Instant Watching Activity log. (Which you might consider part of the reason why I don’t have a real post to share today. And you might be right.) Most of these titles are TV series or mini-series. I love TV, because I can consume massive amounts of content that I enjoy, in bite-sized pieces.

Beginning at the most recent:  Click to continue »

And Which Part of the Bar Mitzvah Is That?

Photo © 2010 Matthew Wilkinson CC BY-ND 2.0
Click here for original image.

This morning, I napped while my daughters attended their bat mitzvah lessons. I’ve been exhausted after watching just about every bar-mitzvah themed TV episode ever produced (though some of them at 4x speed, just because the shows themselves were so stupid). Nonetheless, this exercise has revealed to me one important fact: the bar mitzvah is the only ethnic ceremony in the universe not depicted in Star Trek.

Now, television, over the years, has become much more relaxed about the bnai mitzvah. Culminating in the recent “Karen does her first bar mitzvah” episode of Smash. (Which reminds me, I need to make sure everyone who’s coming to my girls’ bnai mitzvah knows the words to “Hava Nagila.”)  Click to continue »

Bits and Pieces 2012-08-23

Links and things that I’ve run across recently.

It’s All in the Emphasis

My Daughter: No way am I gonna name my son “Jonathan.” Every Jonathan I know is a total asshole, except my dad.

Me: What about Jonathan [so-and-so]? He’s not a total asshole– uh, I mean, he’s not a total asshole…

At Least There Were No Glittery Vampires

We were watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Royale.” This is the episode in which the Enterprise discovers debris from a mid-21st-century NASA spacecraft— Yeah, as if NASA will still be around 40 years from now! Then they scan the planet below and find a bubble of breathable air. Of course, Riker, Worf, and Data beam down to investigate, after which they find themselves cut off from the Enterprise, in a Las-Vegas-style hotel and casino, playing out the plot of an awful novel entitled The Hotel Royale.

My Dad noted, astutely: that’s what hell is, trapped in a bad novel and you can’t get out.

DRM-Free? Tell the World about It!

So-called “digital-rights management,” where 21st-century content meets 20th-century mindset. Not all authors—not even indie authors—agree with that evaluation. But most (if not all) indie authors do avoid DRM.  Click to continue »

Frasier Drinking Game

Frasier evokes strong memories for me. Back in the day, we used to record episodes on VHS. And then I went over to my parents’ and put on Frasier and worked late into the night on their Windows computer—mine ran Linux—practicing designing 3D scenes. My idea was to create a computer game about a haunted school building, but the problem was that I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

Now, I waste time watching Frasier on Netflix, and I drink for all the stupid, idiotic stuff—drink coffee if I want to get wired or wine if I want to get smashed, and this show is rich enough to accomplish either!  Click to continue »

This Is Not a Real Blog Post (Ponderings and Plans)

The Mars “face” featured in the X-Files episode “Space”

My kids just got back from camp, and while they were gone, I enjoyed myself. (See, all last week, you didn’t even realize, because I hid it so well.)

I watched a whole bunch of Netflix! Including episodes of Star Trek and The Dick Van Dyke Show and Get Smart and Roswell.

On the evening after the Curiosity landing, I celebrated with the X-Files episode “Space,” in which an alien possesses a NASA director in order to sabotage US space exploration (thus explaining certain NASA disasters and embarrassments). In my opinion, those early episodes of The X-Files are truly creepy, suspenseful in a way that I wish I could reproduce (and maybe I will learn to someday). I followed that up with Mythbusters “NASA Moon Landing” myths, all of which are silly but entertaining. More fascinating to me as a character author are the reasons why anyone would be that skeptical that man has stepped foot on the moon. I mean, I’m a sorta skeptical sort myself, but the “moon landing is a hoax” position represents an extreme that I see no logical reason to adopt.  Click to continue »

Stranger in a Strange Land

This past week, the Little One and I watched “First Contact,” the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. Not the Star Trek movie by the same name, but the series episode, which originally aired exactly 21 years ago this past Saturday.

Also this past Saturday, we read as part of our Torah Parsha: “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21) A happy coincidence, as they say, because it gave me the opportunity to write today about how we treat strangers, a topic that I often find on my heart.

If you’ve never seen the episode “First Contact,” here’s how it goes: The Enterprise crew is tasked with making first contact with Malcor, a planet whose inhabitants are about to develop warp drive. Commander Riker is injured while reconnoitering, disguised as a Malcorian, and they take him to a hospital in the capitol city. Unfortunately, most Malcorians are very suspicious of outsiders. And as they begin to suspect that Riker is an alien, they begin to see him as a threat, because he may be followed by an invading force.

Aliens in the Torah

Exodus 20 isn’t the only place foreigners are mentioned in the Torah:  Click to continue »

Favorite Holiday TV Episodes

Photo © 2007 altopower CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Click here for the original image.

Every year around this time, everyone begins talking about Christmas movies that we’ve all seen, some dozens of times. But when NetFlix began highlighting not only Christmas movies but also TV episodes, I began putting together my own list of some of my favorite holiday episodes. (Many of them you can see via NetFlix online streaming.)

In no particular order…

  • Cagney & Lacey. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” (s2e9) – I rediscovered this 1980′s police drama when NetFlix got it for instant streaming. The last time I saw it was when I was only a teenager, and I didn’t realize at the time how deep the characters are, and I didn’t remember how character-driven and thought-provoking its stories are. Not your typical cop-show procedural. In this fun, less-dramatic episode, the detectives spend Christmas Eve chasing down a guy who stole a police car dressed as Santa, hearing tales along the way of his kindness. When they finally catch up to him, they manage a shady deal that feels like the right result.  Click to continue »

The “In Plain Sight” Drinking Game

I wrote earlier this week on Be the Story about how I was getting into In Plain Sight. Unfortunately, if you’re unfamiliar with the show, I can neither confirm nor deny that it even exists. We all know, you know, but we don’t actually know. The location at which this game will occur is also top-secret.

And please, if you invite Jinx and Peter, fill their glasses with plain orange juice or tomato juice or apple juice or some other suitably disgusting liquid. At least they’ll be able to get sick with you.

Here are the rules:  Click to continue »

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