... indistinguishable from magic
effing the ineffable since 1977


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This week just keeps getting better and better

On last week's episode, both kids were sick and Janene was getting sick too. It's only gotten better from there.

On Monday Janene went to the doctor with a red and swollen eye and was diagnosed with conjunctivitis and given eye drops. By Wednesday it was only getting worse, even though we should have been seeing a lot of improvement by that point because of the drops, so her doctor refered her to an opthalmologist. He gave her different eyedrops which do, finally, seem to be working.

In the meantime a screwup with our insurance meant that we had to scramble to find a way to get money to pay full price for these prescriptions, and argue with just about every doctor and pharmacist as to how they ought to accept our copay or at least not refuse to see us.

As her eye got better her cold / sinus infection got worse, and she went to the doctor for that on Thursday (prompting yet another set of arguments about insurance and payment and more full-price prescriptions). The doctor said that her heart was racing and instructed her to check the rate at home, and if it didn't drop below 100 by the evening to go to the E.R.

So we spent Thursday evening until midnight in the E.R. while they pumped her full of fluids and, among other things, did a CAT scan to make sure she didn't have a Pulmonary Embolism (which apparently are rather nasty things). Fortunately she didn't and they concluded that the elevated heart rate was due to a combination of stress, dehydration and fever - by the time we left the hospital it had dropped into the 80s.

It's a good thing the E.R. doesn't actually check your insurance card for validity when they admit you! Hopefully by the time they actually bill it the insurance will be reinstated again. At least, it BETTER be...


My kids have DontLetDaddyWatchHarryPotteritis!


As may have been somewhat apparent from past blog postings, I'm a little bit of a Harry Potter fan. However, I still haven't been to see the latest movie and I'm really really hoping this one stays in theaters longer than Serenity did (Scifi channel screwed that one up for me by showing all the Firefly episodes ending the week after Serenity stopped showing anywhere). The problem? My kids have DontLetDaddyWatchHarryPotteritis :(

Opening weekend L. (#2) was coughing so badly he was choking himself. Thanksgiving weekend A. (#1) spiked a 104 fever and ended up at the E.R. where she was diagnosed with the beginnings of pneumonia and put on a nebulizer which, no kidding, makes her act like a junkie. And this weekend - when I swore come hell or high water I was going to see it - L. is wheezing, was at the doctor today, has been put on the nebulizer too (he's not acting like a junkie, yet, but we'll see) and had a fever when he went to bed.

To cap it all off, my poor, longsuffering wife who has been doing a stellar job of taking care of both of these poor dears against impossible odds is now sick herself.

Don't get me wrong, I'd do anything for my wife and kids, I feel awful watching them suffer and I want more than anything else to take care of them and make them feel better. But there's still that little bit of me that's saying "why oh why did they have to choose these three weekends?"

I'm particularly excited to see this particular movie, more than the preceding three, because this is the best and perhaps only chance for one of the HP movies to be better than the book. Goblet is my least favorite of the series in books[1] (warning: mild adult humor in footnote) because of the big huge gaping plot hole, and one of the advantages of the fact that so much has to be chopped out to make a movie is that it's much easier to gloss over little details like, say, whether there's any plausible reason for the bad guy to act as he does.

Out of fear of spoilers I haven't followed the fan reaction to this movie very closely yet but I get the impression it's pretty positive - more so even than to Azkaban which was light years above the first two travesties. It seems like they've finally got the idea that (a) this isn't a series for little kids (b) it can be more than 90 minutes long, and (c) Ron isn't just the Hogwarts incarnation of Macaulay Culkin's "Home Alone" face.

To be fair, there's a chance that Phoenix could turn out to be a better movie than the book too, because Phoenix the book is a better movie than it is a book! If the directors can recognize that the essence of the story is the looming, menacing, horrible wrongness of everything, and find an appropriately movie-ish way of conveying that (the book does a good job, but it's something that's simply harder to get across in words than in images) it could be a real triumph of a movie. Then again, it could go horribly, disastrously wrong, too. It looks like they may have done a good job on Goblet (I'll let you know when I (eventually) do see it) but Goblet is an easy task compared toPhoenix.

[1] A least favorite Harry Potter book is like a least favorite time of day to have sex: still way better than not getting laid at all!


Thought for the day

Like a kidney stone, this too shall pass...



On Sunday night, Janene and I went to see Ben Folds at the Borgata in Atlantic City. We hadn't realized it, but it turned out that in this concert Ben had equal billing with some guy called Rufus Wainwright. More on him in a moment.

The opening act - a guy called Ben Lee who I'd never heard of before - surprised us by turning out to be absolutely awesome. Apparently his song "Catch my Disease" is going to be on the soundtrack to the new Deuce Bigalow movie - I'm glad he's getting a "break", if you can call it that, but the song deserves to be associated with a much better movie, in my humble opinion. He only did a short set, but I had no hesitation in nipping around to the merchandise stand afterwards and picking up his CD, which I've had on repeat ever since. He was also giving autographs so his album is now the first thing I ever had signed by a celebrity...

Then came Rufus Wainwright. We'd never heard of him before either, but he was touring with Ben Folds, so I figured, how bad could he be? Well, I found out. I don't mean to be offensive because apparently a lot of people really do like his music, but I'm emphatically not one of them (although I don't condone the people who were apparently behaving very rudely towards him and his fans at the concert, I do understand where they're coming from). It sounded like a funeral dirge being sung by a cat from the inside of the blender. The sad part is that he clearly is talented - he has an excellent voice and can obviously play his instruments - but he insists on singing tuneless mournful laments which were really painful to sit through. Ironically, all the parts when he wasn't actually singing were pretty good - his on-stage banter was fun and when he got his sister out to sing, she was good too. When he did a duet with her on someone else's song - "Alleluia", I'm afraid I don't know who originally sung it - he was actually quite good. Unfortunately after that we went back to the feline death march for another twenty minutes.

After that interminable disappointment and what seemed like far too long spent rearranging the stage, Ben F. finally came on. I'm not sure what I can possibly say that would do his performance justice. He exploded with energy from the moment he hit the stage (to a rousing instrumental recording of "Jesus Christ Superstar") to the frenetic encore. The unmistakeable highlight was his hilarious and theatrical melodic take on Dr. Dre's "Bitches ain't Shit" which you have to hear to believe, but to call that the highlight does a disservice to the rest of the show - every song was a highlight. I've never seen anyone play a piano with such speed and energy, and he was clearly having the time of his life, especially when he was interacting with the audience. My only complaint was that due to the double-billing with dear Rufus, the set seemed way too short - it's hard to believe that they both played for the same amount of time. Even so, the performance was more than good enough to make up for having to sit through that.

If I sound like I'm raving too much to be believable - sorry, but it really was THAT good. By light years the best concert I've ever been to - I haven't been to that many, but Janene has and she felt the same way. If you ever get the chance to see him live, take it. Seriously.


HBP 4-day prediction (mirror)

Click through to read the prediction (to avoid spoilers for nutters who haven't read the books).

I've gone back and updated the titles of all the predictions so far so that there's at least some hint as to what the prediction refers to without clicking through. I also made them consistent while I was at it.

Oh, and by the way, today's my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

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