Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's not a white Christmas here in Chicagoland, because we've had three, count 'em, three days above freezing. It would be, because it rained all yesterday, but that's just fine with me. Given the choice between a white Christmas and comparitively pleasant temperatures, I'll take the pleasant temperatures.

I've actually had all the Christmas celebrations I'm going to have already. My brother was up from Chattanooga last week, and my sister was going on vacation early on Friday, so we had our family gathering on Thursday. Heidi's family celebrates on Christmas Eve. After church today, we'll be heading up and spending some time with my mom, just so she's not alone on Christmas, but it's more a get-together than a Christmas celebration. Among the festivities today will include doing laundry and assembling a lego X-Wing for my nephew.

However, on Friday, Heidi and I got to enjoy the 45-degree temperatures and go downtown and bum around for a while. We saw this fascinating show at the planetarium on the Bethlehem Star, and their theories surrounding what the whole thing probably was (which coincide with my theories). Supposedly, the Magi was a common term for the Zoroastrian Astronomers of the time, and they were big into the astrological importance of things, which explains why foreigners had to come to Jerusalem to talk about the wonders in the sky; the Hebrews were frbidden to practice astrology. Please note that I'm going to delve into astrology here; I DO NOT believe in astrology, but the Zoroastrians did, and they came from Persia to Israel, and Matthew wrote about it. Anyway, Leo was supposed to be an important constellation in the Hebrew context, referring to the Lion of Judah. Regulus is a star in that constellation, a star commonly associated with kingship. Juipter was also associated with kingship, and Venus was associated with birth. A convergence of planets was when two planets came close together, and was considered important. Anyway, Jesus was probably born between 3BC and 2BC, and about a year prior to that, there was a convergence of Jupiter and Venus right near Regulus. Since Venus is a fast-moving planet, it moved away from Jupiter as Juipter slowly passed Regulus, but, because of the Earth's movement, Jupiter appears to double back for a little bit. The Zoroastrians knew this, but where it doubled back was interesting. It passed Regulus, backed up across Regulus again, and then passed back again, so crossing Regulus three times over the course of it's trek across the sky, and by the time it got to the western end (Israel is west of Persia), Venus came back in conjunction with Jupiter, but not just nearby, Venus came so close it sat right on top of Jupiter making one dot. Now, the zoroastrians had some prophecy about a king being born that would save the world around this time, but the prophecy was evidently a little vague about the location of the king, so this was pretty big news to these guys. Matthew never says the star guided them to Jerusalem, whch would make sense, because they headed out to Jerusalem to figure out some details, and the whole shebang moved under the western horizon. At this point, the story estimates actual months that the Magi moved out from various locations, because they had to go to Jerusalem to find out who the king is supposed to be, and Herod had to search the scriptures. If they left Jerusalem in Septebmber of 3BC (I think), the "star" would have "gone ahead of them;" the Regulus/Jupiter/Venus combo rose up in the east about that time, and if you're heading south and looking at a star/planet combo to the east, it looks like it's moving along with you. Kinda clever stuff. Still a theory, but a well-thought-out one.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Slo no mo

Well, I'm not dealing with the tired thing anymore. Let me 'splain. I was a little concerned because my two recent illnesses were not so much get sick, getting well, and getting sick again, but rather a ramping up of illness, followed by a lull, followed by a ramping up again. I had never been really "well," and it was something that was worrying Heidi, and caused us some pretty serious consternation (which was OK, because most of that was miscommunication, and we talked it through, and now things are fan-tastic).

So anyway, I didn't want to keeep being sick, but more importantly, I didn't want strain in an otherwise darn fine relationship. So I decided to get a multivitamin as I was getting all the crap I got from the doctor. That little bottle of Centrum is probably the best investment I could have made for me & Heidi. Whereas I still have to determine how it's going to treat my health, I'm getting better prety quickly. But the big change is that my energy level has changed dramatically. No more am I getting shagged out at 9:00. No more am I sleeping poorly and getting up in the middle of the freakin' night without a thought of going back to sleep. For everyone who doesn't take one, I recommend a multivitamin (particularly if you drink alcohol and/or caffeine in large quantities). For those that do, good on ya!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Sickie Chronicles, pt 2

Ugh. I'm sick. Like really messed up sick. This has been one of the worst colds I've ever had. I spoke to the doctor yesterday, and he hooked me up with some stuff to keep my nose from running like a faucet, but it's just a mess inside me. Coughing, snot-nosed, tired old me. Don't have any clever dreams to report, so I don't think there's much of a fever, but I think there might be some. I haven't been eating hardly at all (just guzzling juices like they'll stop being produced), and haven't been thinking very clearly. There's work to be done, especially because I took most of yesterday off, but I may take most of today off, too. And for that matter, most of the weekend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I don't normally post this geeky. I reference World of Warcraft on occasion, but never quite so intensly. Anyway, one of my characters on there has a side job of being a tailor. Since he's a spellcaster, all he can wear is cloth (as opposed to leather or mail armor), so he's chosen well. Every time he "levels up," he can make himself another piece of clothing and switch it out, making his total armor count better, boosting stats, what have you. Anyway, I hadn't played this guy in a while and I was wondering why. It's not that he's not a fun character to play, but rather, well, look at him, he looks like a dancer from 1983.I have since changed his outfit, so he doesn't look quite so "flamboyant," but that was a low spot in our "relationship."

Monday, December 12, 2005


See it. I only recently started reading the books, and I saw a lot of the books as skimming over details that would have made for an interesting story, and getting a bit bogged down in details that might have made interesting reading for a little girl (the first book was written for a girl about Lucy's age), but sometimes (at least in the first few written) can seem a little dull or even condescending. The movie expanded on a lot of the scenes that were skimmed over, or completely left out of the book, and trimmed some of the conversations that, when read, drag on. It made for an extremely tight, well-made film. Honestly, I've never seen a better shot scene of Germans carpet-bombing London during WWII than the first scene of this movie, and that was only hinted at in the book. The kids were very good actors for their age, the younger ones actually being somewhat more impressive than the older ones.

Some scenes could have been more intense, and I certainly imagined the Stone Table scenes more intense, but this was already pretty heavy duty for the younger audience at which it was targeted.

Really, the only way I wouldn't recommend this movie is if you have read the books and didn't much enjoy them. If you haven't read them, you want to see this movie. If you read them and enjoyed them, even a little bit, you want to see this movie.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's Winter

I just came home from my dentist. Look at what time this post is. I left my dentist at 4:15. Now, my dentist is in Lake Zurich, which is pretty damn far away normally. I would normally have been driving during rush hour. But normally there isn't three inches of snow on the roads. This surreally beautiful image is of the alley behind my apartment with ankle-deep snow. We've had a few reminders of winter already: single-digit temperatures, a couple snowstorms, but this one is the first of the season that may isolate the city for a day. Fortunately, I work from home, so my "commute" (from my bedroom to my living room) won't be hindered. But winter has arrived.

The celebratory events

So the doctor found nothing. Hitting the neurologist next (well, after the dentist, but that's unrelated to the tired thing).

Anyway, Heidi's surprise was this romantic little hole-in-the-wall French place called Red Rooster, which I'd link to if I wasn't so damn lazy. It was arguably the best restaurant I'd ever been to in my life. I had pheasant for the first time in my life. I had a hard time actually speaking for a while, it was so good. I just bounced and hummed and sang to myself as I consumed gamey fowl and a little bite of Heidi's Salmon in Cabernet sauce. Yesterday, I had leftover duck liver pate for lunch. At my computer. While working. How messed up is that?

Anyway, last night was just as cool, but for different reasons. A whole mess of people that I knew from a whole mess of different avenues came round to Cleary's and we all had $3 Guinness or Boddington's and most of us had $4 burgers (and these were monstrously huge burgers). Too many people here to list, and it wouldn't make a great deal of sense to most of my readers anyway (even the people that were there, as a lot of the people don't know each other). One thing that bugs me though, the Pattersons are expecting, so they had to leave early. Schmutzy had to come in on the Eisenhower, so he came a bit late. Those guys would get along really well, because they both are really weird, but they keep missing each other. Meh, one of these days, they'll get to talking, if they have to wait until September 2nd.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Got a feeling 36 is gonna be a good year...

Yes, it's true, 36 years ago today, I made my squalling entrance into this world. It was about quarter to four Eastern time, but at that time today, I'll probably be too distracted to be posting here. Immediate plans: go to the doctor to determine what's up with me being so tired; do something with Heidi today (I'm not sure what, it's a surprise). Tomorrow, everybody is invited down to Cleary's on Clark in Wrigleyville for a few drinks and some cheap but decent food. We might hit a comic store nearby beforehand, might not. Normally, I'd say yes, just because since it's my birthday celebration, I can put some extra geek on, but it's beeen SO damn cold lately, I'm thinking staying as inside as possible is probably my best bet.

Monday, December 05, 2005

All wiped out

So I've been really tired. It's very likely the seizure medication I'm on. I wasn't so bad on the previous stuff, but that made me gain weight, so I never wanted to take it. This stuff makes me thirsty, so I never want to take it, either, but I'm afraid it also makes me much more tired. I'm hoping this isn't the reason, and it ends up being something much easier to deal with. I'm going to have to go to the doctor and figure out why I'm so wiped, because this is beginning to be a stressor in my relationship with Heidi. Not a big one so much; Heidi's too cool for that, but it's a noticible one. But it's not so much that I'm tired, but that I'm also just not able to sleep. So I've been lying in bed, dead tired, but awake. So anyway, I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll be able to think for the rest of the day.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Brush with Pseudo-Celebrity?

So I'm not sure about this, because the guy had a moustache (and it was darn effective for blocking his identity if it was him) and why the hell would he be having dinner in Skokie? But anyway, I think Heidi & I were having dinner one table away from Ted Raimi. He's SO not an A list actor, so Heidi, who's usually my portable actor database, didn't know who the guy is, but I could have sworn that was him. I didn't want to bug him during his dinner, so I didn't, but I thought it might be him anyway.