STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)


Also, don't forget to visit Kaylia's Official Website where you can get information about Kaylia's upcoming events, and learn more about her free lance writing and other publications.

Dollhouse (Season 1 and 2)

Dollhouse




I meant to write about Dollhouse when it first came on, but the pilot left me ambivalent and it wasn’t until about half way through the first season that the show started to really resonate with me.

I admit, I was worried about the concept. Dolls, or people who have had their minds basically erased, are imprinted with the mind/personality/skill set of whatever the paying client wishes. They can be bank robbers or FBI agents, but they are also quite commonly used on “romance engagements.” The parallels to human trafficking and prostitution is obvious.

So, with that in mind we watch as Echo (played by Eliza Dushku) assimilates a new and exciting personality each week to… right what once went wrong? Well, no. more like to have some sort of adventure where ED gets to show off her amazing body, repertoire of fake accents, great singing voice, super cool hand to hand combat skills….



Like many, I wondered how the show could possibly continue. Doesn’t it sound like a bad made for TV SyFy movie?

Ahhh, me of little faith.

Just repeat after me: In Joss we trust.

Series creator Joss Whedon –who probably dosen’t need an introduction coughBuffycoughFireflycough- did indeed have a plan, an over arching “big bad” in the form of Rossum Corporation who not only has set up the Dollhouse but wants to get all Freejack on these people. It is all about body hopping, immortality, and of course world domination.

Woo hoo! A reason to kick ass and blow things up!

And an actual reason to love the characters that make up this ensemble cast. (Honestly, even Topher grew on me.)



As the show (in its limited 27 episodes) progresses, we get a full story arc. We get good guys and bad guys. We get twists and turns. We get the sudden deaths of beloved characters (classic Joss Whedon). We get post apocalyptic snarky and epic battles. We get Felicia Day.



Oh, and perhaps one of the best parts of this show is Olivia Williams who manages to steal every scene she is in and make all the other seasoned actors look like children pretending to act. This is one classy beautiful regal lady y’all



Enough gushing I suppose. Go out and get yourself the first and second season of this show. Brilliantly written, decently acted, with enough sex and guns to keep anyone interested and a story that is not only apropos for today’s tech hungry world but also classically woven from hero adventure stories of our culture. This show, this story, is not to be missed.


You can get Season One (or rather just think of it as the first half of the story) with the very special final episode –only available on the DVD- which actually ties everything together at amazon.com




I couldn’t find when Season 2 will be available for purchase. They really should just sell it as one thing…. But what do I know.

Anyway, the show is over. It had its run. But it was well worth watching.

Saddle, Back, In, Me, What?

So…
I took some time off. Call it “get your head on straight” or just “life was just too busy and I needed time to connect/reconnect with some people” but yeah… time was taken off in December and January.

I read, but not at my normal level.
I crocheted but not at my previous level.
I reviewed books… nope.
I blogged…but hardly.
I wrote… well, no I really didn’t.
I researched… again, not a bit.

I did socialize and folk dance and see friends and family and move in with my boyfriend and begin the planning for a trip to London and work crazy hours and sleeeeeeeeep.

Oh and I took a mini vacation from the gym and gained 8 pounds. Yikes!

Well, it is February now. (or close enough) and I am happily getting back in the swing of things.

I hope to be back to a new book review posted once a week (shooting for Tuesdays) and some sort of “other” review –movie, TV show, album, etc- also on a weekly basis (aim is for Saturday). Again the review blog is www.perhapsreviewed.blogspot.com

As for regular blogging, well that will be an as things come up sort of thing like always. I do have several blog posts half written… about such exciting topics as IHop’s Bait and Switch, When Your Internal Organs Go Bonkers, Geriatric; not a label for just people abnymore, Cure vs Acceptance, and of course a few wacky Kay adventures (more attacking birds, the trouble with kitties and yarn, my near death by bad drivers, fun with google key words / spam, and much much more) so stay tuned.

I tried to do a “currently reading/have just read” list last year and didn’t start it I time. I am working on it again this year and will have it up soon, I hope.

Also, hope to post a few pics/notes about the crochet projects that went horribly wrong before I destroy, errr redo, them.

And then there is the writing….. the research for my fantasy novel which is so super scary I think I need to reorganize my plan of attack, the research for my sex book which just needs to get done, and the finishing of the several short stories that are currently floating in limbo land on my computer.

And last but not least, there is the continuing promotion of
my book Links. I am in the process now of getting people to actually review it (on Amazon or other blogs) to hopefully garner interest. I am also trying to get a few more readings and events scheduled. (If any of you want to help me out with this, let me know. There will probably be payment in cookies.)


So yeah.
Plate full.
Life hectic.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saddle, Back, Me, In, What?

So…
I took some time off. Call it “get your head on straight” or just “life was just too busy and I needed time to connect/reconnect with some people” but yeah… time was taken off in December and January.

I read, but not at my normal level.
I crocheted but not at my previous level.
I reviewed books… nope.
I blogged…but hardly.
I wrote… well, no I really didn’t.
I researched… again, not a bit.

I did socialize and folk dance and see friends and family and move in with my boyfriend and begin the planning for a trip to London and work crazy hours and sleeeeeeeeep.

Oh and I took a mini vacation from the gym and gained 8 pounds. Yikes!

Well, it is February now. (or close enough) and I am happily getting back in the swing of things.

I hope to be back to a new book review posted once a week (shooting for Tuesdays) and some sort of “other” review –movie, TV show, album, etc- also on a weekly basis (aim is for Saturday). Again the review blog is www.perhapsreviewed.blogspot.com

As for regular blogging, well that will be an as things come up sort of thing like always. I do have several blog posts half written… about such exciting topics as IHop’s Bait and Switch, When Your Internal Organs Go Bonkers, Geriatric; not a label for just people abnymore, Cure vs Acceptance, and of course a few wacky Kay adventures (more attacking birds, the trouble with kitties and yarn, my near death by bad drivers, fun with google key words / spam, and much much more) so stay tuned.

I tried to do a “currently reading/have just read” list last year and didn’t start it I time. I am working on it again this year and will have it up soon, I hope.

Also, hope to post a few pics/notes about the crochet projects that went horribly wrong before I destroy, errr redo, them.

And then there is the writing….. the research for my fantasy novel which is so super scary I think I need to reorganize my plan of attack, the research for my sex book which just needs to get done, and the finishing of the several short stories that are currently floating in limbo land on my computer.

And last but not least, there is the continuing promotion of
my book Links. I am in the process now of getting people to actually review it (on Amazon or other blogs) to hopefully garner interest. I am also trying to get a few more readings and events scheduled. (If any of you want to help me out with this, let me know. There will probably be payment in cookies.)


So yeah.
Plate full.
Life hectic.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Murder... it's murder.

As a follow up to this post, I thought I would share the good news.

Scott Roeden has been found guilty of First Degree Murder for Dr. Tiller.

He was also convicted of aggravated assault against other church members and faces life in prison.

Apparently his claim that it was a"justifiable homicide" fell on deaf ears... the jury took less than half an hour to convict him of premeditated murder.

Justice was indeed served.

Fun with Science and Statistics.

One of the things that I like about the Skeptical movement (if we must call it something) is the emphasis on critical thinking. The encouragement of looking past the “conclusions” of things and getting into the “concluded by who… and how… and why….” of things.

Not that is it just skeptics (self proclaimed or otherwise), who do this… but it seems that a lot of people (most?) are either too lazy or apathetic to really look past the headlines.

Not pointing fingers… a lot of us are busy and rely on trusted sources* to get information… what we forget is that headlines are there to get our attention and that asking for more details isn’t a sign of weakness or even a sign of defiance or challenge… it is a sign of wanting to be properly educated. It is something we should encourage.

How many times have you heard someone spout off a bit of info and when pressed watched them backpedal; “Well I didn’t have time to read the article, but that’s what the headline said.”



And sometime reading the article can still lead people to make blanket assertions.

I see this tendency to error on the side of blind acceptance most noticeably in the realm of science and the media. Big complicated studies involving years of research are distilled down into a sound bite that will get attention but doesn’t have to be all that in depth or even all that accurate…. Because that is, after all, what we want; quick and easily digested news that we can assimilate into our lives and regurgitate at the water cooler tomorrow.



There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach… I might disagree with the motives of the media that seems to be going out of its ways at times to appeal to the lowest common denominator. But in many cases giving the people what they want is fine.

Sometimes however, it is worth our time and energy to look a bit deeper.

Case in point;

Headline: Even in blind patients, light worsens migraines





The Unspun Facts:

The painful aversion to light that sends migraine sufferers into darkened rooms when their throbbing headaches start surprisingly also affects some blind people, Boston researchers report in a paper that describes a new light-sensitive pathway in the brain that is separate from visual perception.

Rami Burstein of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center led a team of researchers who studied 20 blind people who were longtime migraine sufferers. Six of them could not see light at all because their eyes or their optic nerves had been damaged or surgically removed. Light did not worsen their headaches. The 14 others could detect light, but degenerative eye diseases had left the light-sensitive rods and cones in their retinas unable to perceive images. For these people, light did intensify the pain of their migraines, leading the authors to conclude that light receptors in the eye apart from those used for vision were related to exacerbating migraines.

To test this idea, the researchers followed nerve signals in rats exposed to light during induced migraines. They found that within a second, light increased activity in parts of the brain that were firing during migraines. The signals traveled along a pathway from the retina to the brain that was separate from the rods and cones, consistent with what light-sensitive blind migraine sufferers experience.




Discussion:

In this example we see a headline that is pretty much on par with what the research seems to suggest. But if we put on our thinking caps we might wonder a few things;
How do they induce a migraine in a rat? Is it possible that the drug induced migraines might react differently to stimuli than naturally occurring ones?



Speaking of rats…. The difference here is in anesthetized mice versus awake humans.
Also, and perhaps the biggest red flag for me, is the issue of sample size. 6 of one group and 14 of another? Really? And they all had the exact same medical conditions? What’s that, no? hmmmm…


Conclusion:

This leads me to the following conclusion: More research is needed. Thankfully they have been given a grant to make that happen. In this case the headline wasn’t off base…. And the issues with the research are pretty understandable and any tendency to over exaggerate the findings isn’t dangerous.



But now let’s look at a different scenario.


Headline: Deficiency of Vitamin D in Black People Kills Them



The Unspun Facts

Black people die from heart disease and strokes at rates higher than white people, a persistent disparity researchers have sought to explain by studying biological and societal differences. A new study points to a potential role for vitamin D. While vitamin D deficiency is common among all races, black people are less able to absorb vitamin D from sunlight because of darker skin.

Researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of California-Davis analyzed the medical records of more than 15,000 adults who participated in a government-run health survey from 1988 through 1994. By the end of 2000, 933 had died of cardiovascular causes.

When the researchers sorted people into four groups based on their vitamin D levels at the start of the study, those who had the lowest levels were 40 percent more likely to have died of cardiovascular causes. Overall, black people were 38 percent more likely to have died than white people. But for black people who had higher vitamin D levels, the risk fell to 14 percent higher than white people. For black people with both higher vitamin D and higher income, the difference disappeared.


Discussion:

The sample size is much better in this example the research seems better done, the results are in some way more interesting and yet the headline was all about the scare, the fear and the death. Of course that last line has me scratching my head…… And shouldn't we talk about the ways to get vitamin D?



Conclusion:
In this example the headline really has nothing to do with the outcome of the research. The research points to the actual following conclusion: Lower levels of vitamin D in African-Americans may partially explain the higher risk of cardiovascular death in black people compared with white people in the United States. However a retrospective study like this one can’t prove cause and effect. Also, the ways vitamin D might affect cardiovascular disease are not well understood.


What’s my point? I promise I have one in here somewhere. My point is that no matter what side of the aisle you sit on or what pew you worship or sleep in, reading the whole article is an important part of being a well informed member of society. Also, bothering to look a bit deeper at the research and asking those very important questions of “who, how, what,… and why’” is not just an exercise in critical thinking but can help save you from looking like an uneducated twit the next time you are in conversation with your fellow human beings.





*A note on trusted sources. One would hope that we all strive to live outside the echo chamber and explore other avenues of news but one must always be wary and strive to understand the bias that might be behind the source. In the examples in this blog for example the sources are The Boston Globe and Pravda news. I’ll let you figure out which one was which… but note that the Pravda article, despite or because of its sensationalistic title, was the first article listed on google for its topic.

Change of Heart

Every now and then I end up in a conversation with someone who not only has radically different views than I hold ,but who clings to them with a zealous determination and can’t seem to understand why I don’t share them. TO be fair, I find their belief in their point almost as mind boggeling. This can be a trivial disagreement about which pizza is better or a more serious one such as whether religion should dictate public policy. Many times we agree to disagree…. And most of the time I don’t push it.

I have a lot of reasons for not pushing it, for simply nodding and changing the subject. Sometimes I am afraid for my job (although not recently), afraid for my relationship with this person, concerned about coming off as pushy, etc. All valid reasons to be sure. But sometimes my reasons to stay quiet include the errant thought that “It won’t matter what I say, his mind is already made up. People like him don’t change their minds.”

I was reminded yesterday how very silly that sort of thinking is.

Background info: I have a family member who has very different religious and political views than I do. Which is fine. We talk regularly and we tend to simply ignore those subjects… or if they get brought up, I usually back down and change the subject. Until two nights ago that is….

We were on the phone talking about earthquakes an the subject of Haiti came up. We began to talk about where we were sending aid. She referenced that she had donated or was going to donate to Pat Robertson.



Because I was aware of the above clip, my response to such a declaration was shock. “But… wait…” I said, aware that I was beginning to tread on very dangerous ground, “You might want to rethink that donation. He said some pretty severe things today.”

Her response was, in essence, was that he wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t true. That it was/is true. That the people in the country, none of them Christian, deserve it…. That when a country turns its back on God, this is what happens.

Dismayed (and trembling a bit, VERY aware of the dangerous ground I was barreling into) I debated her. Gently. It was hard to stay gentle, I wanted to talk in big loud sentences, to force her to see things my way… but I didn’t. Even I know better than that.

What resulted was a very long drawn out and draining conversation that half of Santa Cruz got to listen in to as I took a bus, walked to CVS, bought chips and dip, walked home, etc. We talked about the history of Haiti, about God: about the existence, the temperament, the fairness of God. We talked about death. We talked about the Bible as authority (or not).

Eventually we had to agree to disagree. I knew I was breaking her heart. My honesty in what I believe had never, up until this point, been stated so clearly, so obviously, so inequitably. We agreed that we loved each other. We agreed that harsh hurtful statements such as the ones Mr. Robertson made can sometimes do more harm than good to the Christian cause. Again we agreed that we loved each other and that is what really matters. It was awkward.

We got off the phone… she off to Bible study, me off to a book club meeting.

Again I wondered if I had done the right thing in actually discussing. I was worried that I had hurt our relationship by my honesty.

There was a follow up phone call.

She called me the next day to say that she had given it more thought. That she had realized that she had been judging the people of Haiti. That the country didn’t deserve what had happened to them. That natural disasters are simply natural disasters and not God’s punishment. That there are Christians living in Haiti. That Mr. Robertson was mistaken.

I was blown away, filled with love, filled with hope, and just… overcome. I am not sure, had the roles had been reversed, if I could have had the guts to call up and apologize.

We had a lovely talk… we talked about the issue at hand but then we chatted about a variety of other topics as well. This time when it was time to click off, there was no weirdness, no fear that that would be the last conversation.

I got off the phone and had to share… I love her for so many reasons… she continues to be a positive part of my life. She wasn’t the only one who learned something this week.

Again, many times it might not be worth it to push back, to point out the fallacy, to question, to jeopardize the relationship.

But sometimes it is.

You don’t know unless you try.

Murder in the Name of God, God: "No Comment"



A Wichita district court judge will allow Scott Roeder to use a voluntary manslaughter defense -- a tactic that could allow him to walk free after just four years if he is convicted of killing abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

Roeder has admitted shooting Dr. Tiller in the head as the physician ushered at Sunday morning church service. But Roeder and his lawyers say this heinous act wasn't murder because he was driven by his religious fervor to save unborn children. Under Kansas law, voluntary manslaughter is the "unreasonable but honest belief" that the use of force was justified.

Judge Warren Wilbert insisted he was only following the rule of the law in allowing Roeder to claim he committed voluntary manslaughter instead of premeditated murder. Although the judge won't rule on giving instruction to the jury until after the evidence has been submitted, he has nevertheless opened the door that voluntary manslaughter can possibly be used as a defense.



(The above blurb is from a press release from the National Organization for Women))


My two cents:

Sure, he can claim that it wasn’t premeditated murder… but he took a gun to church, sat down in a pew, and waited until his particular pew was being “ushered” at by Tiller.

Also, no one was in immediate direct danger at the time of the shooting.

And let's not forget that just because you believe that you are justified in doing something, doesn’t mean you are… especially in the eyes of the law. “But officer… I needed to speed for the following reasons….” “The board of directors doesn’t need this money as much as I do, I’ll just take some….” “He made me angry so I spray painted his car…..”

I can see why people are upset by this ruling. It does set a precedent… but my hope, my fervent hope, is that it doesn’t work and then the precedent is set that lame brained attempts to back pedal your way out of a murder charge by claiming that your religion gives you the right to act like God will, in the future, be seen for what they are… big piles of nonsense.

Another thing to note, when your beliefs are strong enough to lead to murder…. We call that terrorism. We call it crazy. We don’t, as an enlightened society, allow for people to kill in the name of their religion. Sure, practice whatever sort of deity worship you want. Take off your clothes and dance in the moonlight or make your followers never ever ever remove those blessed undies and forbid dancing of any sort. Fine. But when religion starts being used to justify things like public policy or murder… that is where the line is.

Foxy Lady: Palin

Palin joins Fox giving new meaning to "Crazy like a fox"

I couldn’t resist.

In a move that shocked no one, Sarah Palin (who really needs no introduction) has joined Fox News (aka Faux News) as a regular commentator.

I’m sure her analysis will be in depth and biased free.

-yawn-

Worth noting is the absurd comment she made calling Fox News “a place that so values air and balanced news.”



Proof that her critical thinking skills are in a dire need of a tune up.

Really.... no one really thinks Fox is biased and fair anymore right?

Also, “"Governor Palin has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the FOX News lineup," said Bill Shine, executive vice president of programming, who apparently didn’t get the memo that she isn’t the Governor of anything anymore.

As a marketing tactic this makes perfect sense for Fox News. Palin is the go-to girl for the right wing religious folks who don’t really want to think. I am sure her followers are ecstatic and will tune into Fox to see her. Of course, most if not all of her supporters were already watching Fox.

And for the rest of us… her being there is yet another reason to avoid the channel like the plague.

The California Compromise

Remember Prop 8?



Remember the anger, the sadness the frustration?

Remember how we vowed to not give up?

I know it has been a while and for many, the focus has shifted to other things.

Here’s a quick and dirty update to how things stand.

There is an impending trial scheduled to begin on Monday. The suit was filed by two same-sex couples, a gay-rights group and the city of San Francisco. It claims Prop. 8 violates the U.S. constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

Of course before the trial can even happen, there is going to be bickering about anything and everything… including whether or not the trial can be televised.

Which begs the question of why you would or would not want the trial televised. What are the benefits of the 24 hour news cable channels having instant access to what’s going on? What are the drawbacks of things being daily filtered down to Jon Stewart and gang for the nightly “mock the insane people” segments?

Would it surprise you to know that the folks who are all for transparency and public awareness and such are the same ones who are lobbying for equality and fairness while their opponents who are more inclined to want us to fall back on archaic social norms regarding an antiquated practice of “straight only” politics are the same people who are complaining about the trial being on a public stage?

Right.

The Pro Prop 8 folks (the anti gay marriage folks) say that having the trial be available to the public would “intimidate their witnesses and violate their right to a fair trial.”

How it would do these things is anyone’s guess because there hasn’t been any real explanation.

Currently the compromise is that the trial won’t be publicized live but will be on shown (delayed and possibly edited) on YouTube.

Is that a fair compromise? Is it a compromise at all? In some ways the fact that it is on YouTube might actually reach more people because there are a lot of us who don’t watch the news on TV but rely on the internet and such, in which case, fine. That being said… I would wager that less of us “liberal” “lefty pro gay people” rely solely on the televised news.

Also, remember that when things are on YouTube, parts can be taken out of context and are open to being manipulated.

So the “compromise”… is it fair? No, not really. Should we fight the ruling? That I leave up to you.

If you are so inclined to let the judge know your feelings (either way)…. Here you go.

The Jaws of Life... no, wait, reverse that.

Dislocating your jaw is a lot like dislocating other body parts…. Shoulders, knees, etc.

It hurts like hell.

That is until it gets popped back into place.

With the jaw, you can either hit yourself in the upper cheekbone (once on each side) or have a close personal friend insert his/her thumbs into your mouth and pull your jaw forward.

Either way, it hurts like hell.

Then you get to be sore for what feels like forever. In the case of your jaw, you don’t open your mouth more than a fraction of an inch, you hardly eat, and you forgo talking and smiling. Also, you are really glad your cough is almost gone and that the amount of phlegm in your throat is less than it was last week.

If you are an admin who has a recovering jaw, like myself, you get really good at pretend sign language, discover that your coworkers are very supportive, and make good use of your portable white board.

Also, you hurt like hell.

How do I know all this? Guess.

I’m doing fine now… still really sore, but healing. And yes, I think I have heard all the “big mouth” jokes already.

How, you might ask did it happen? Well it is one of those perfect storm kind of things….

Take one part jaw slightly unaligned since childhood.
Add in my parents’ (wise) decision to forgo braces and orthodontty in lieu of food and school.*
Stir in some facial trauma (getting hit), a life of biting my nails (weird jaw movement there), and presto….

TMJ Syndrome!

Which manifests with the clicking, the popping, the weird jaw movements and noises and sometimes pain… and can occasionally, when exacerbated by too many yawns, lead to…


… A Dislocated Jaw!

I popped it back in place but I was still in so much pain this morning that I let The Maifan San take me to the doctor’s office. The doctor’s advice: continue to get my nails done so that I won’t bite them, chew slowly, get enough sleep as to stave off unnecessary yawns, never EVER open my mouth as wide as possible, and take over-the-counter pain meds as needed.

Live a full and happy life.

Unless it happens again… in which case “slightly drastic actions” might have to be taken.

Can you have a slightly drastic action? Don’t those words cancel each other out?

-shrug-

So there you have it. More info about my mouth than you probably ever wanted to know.

Happy Wednesday!





*I don’t begrudge them this… in fact until the recent jaw pain debacle, which has made me wonder slightly, I was always proud of my non-cosmetically-altered-crocked-teeth.

New Years Sexy Syphilis

Happy New Year folks!

I hope you all had a great time ringing in the end of the Ought Decade.

Anything you “ought” to have done in the last ten years that you just didn’t get around to? Yeah, me too. But that’s ok.. that’s what these next ten years are for right?

Anyway, I wanted to share what I did on New Years Eve. I watched

SEX MADNESS!!!!






I kid you not.

This 1938 classic (produced by the Navy) tells the all too familiar (now…but I’m sure it was all brand new back then) story of a young country girl who is seduced by the bright lights of the city… ends up in the classic casting couch moment… gets the dreaded Syphilis and then ushers in the end of times.

Well no, but she does manage to return to her finance and infect not only him but their baby. The baby is deformed 9or something) and the husband goes blind and then dies. Our heroine goes crazy and there is a suggestion of suicide by poison at the end.

An uplifting cautionary tale to be sure.



Of course what made this movie funny and not tragic was the classic 1938-ness of it all… the bad editing, the even worse acting, the burlesque that looked more like group aerobics, the lesbian subplot that got dropped 20 minutes in and never got resolved, and of course the very serious cartoon warnings that Women Who Drink Are Floozy Disease Factories who will end up Crippled, Insane, or DEAD!

There were also cartoon genitalia that had sticking resemblance to things normally associated with disco… glowing, strobing, flashing lights…

So there you have it… New Years Eve was spent with old friends and new sipping cocktails and laughing at the hysterical sex propaganda of the late 30s.

Does it get any better than that?