|Posted by douggoodman on September 20, 2016 at 7:40 PM||comments (0)|
I had to share this very touching video by Zachariah Smith. Has a better Superman film been made since Superman first flew across the screen? That's not to disparage the recent movies. I'm actually a fan of Superman Returns and Man of Steel. But that doesn't mean this isn't better. I think I like it more because it humanizes him. Maybe that's why some of the best parts of Man of Steel were as Clark growing up. He doesn't have to be beating some space monster to make a good movie. In this story, Clark is dealing with the loss of a good friend, who develops cancer but doesn't tell anyone. Clark knows because of his abilities, but he can't say anything.
"You have your secrets, too," his father says.
"But I'm the one who can do anything, right?" Clark shoots back. He has a lot to deal with.
At one point, his friend, Sam, says "Stop letting stuff like this push you around. Be in control."
Without knowing it, Sam is helping Clark become the hero we want him to be. This is one of those great things we like to see in a Superman movie. It's not enough for Superman to get his powers. We want to see the events in his life that inspire him to become that quintessential hero, and that's why this movie is so great. It delivers on that message.
|Posted by douggoodman on May 2, 2016 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by douggoodman on September 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
Two entries on opposite sides of the weekend? What is wrong with me???
This is just a quick post for a science fair idea I had while dropping the kids off at school this morning. We were talking about walking up in the morning when my daughter's friend mentioned that the only alarm that wakes her up is the one on her phone because it is on vibrate and she keeps it by her pillow when she sleeps.
Instantly I thought, what a cool science fair idea. I know many people who have a hard time waking up to their alarms. It seems most people have some kind of customized alarm clock/wake-up system. I prefer non-music or somethign odd, like a Spanish-speaking station. If the clock is set to music, I tend to appreciate it and keep on sleeping. My twin (fraternal) needs about half a dozen alarm clocks set up all around the room in order to wake him up. His body has to get moving if he is going to get up before 10 am.
So in general, many people have a hard time waking up to auditory alarms. Like my daughter's friend, maybe they would wake up easier to a tactile alarm, like a phone set to vibrate. I think this is a great science fair project idea. It takes a known process (how to wake up) and changes it (add the vibration) to see if the process improves. By enlisting a few friends, and having the project run over a few weeks, you can collect lots of good data to support/destroy the hypothesis.
This year for them, science fair is no longer required. The school district went away with that idea. So when I suggested that they had stumbled upon a science fair idea, I was warded away with crosses and cries of "behind me, Satan!"
Since they don't want the idea, I am posting it for you to use. Feel free to cite the website in your research, and if you do, send me a snapshot of it. I'd love to see it, and I'd love to know if the modified alarm clocks worked.
|Posted by douggoodman on July 11, 2012 at 11:30 PM||comments (0)|
Tonight my darling wife and my sweet daughter had a girl's night out at the movies. They went to go see the Katy Perry concert/movie, Part of Me. I said I would happily stay home with my son, watch some cartoons, practice some Spanish, and play Disney Junior games. (Note: I have learned how to rig the "Lucky You" game so as not to always win. Note 2: My son has learned how to rig it so he always wins.)
At 7:25, I read a text from my wife asking "What's Up With You Tonight?" knowing full well I'm just gellin' like Magellan, so I decided it was time to stop playing Soccer Dad and do some chillin' like a villain. My son and I would have the greatest guy's night out. Ever. My texts to follow:
Jul 11, 2012 7:29 PM
I ordered a couple of kegs. Douglas is giving the stripper singles and smoking his first cigarette.
Note: That wee winking emoticon was as much for anyone who reads this as it was for my wife.
Jul 11, 2012 7:55 PM
Now we are shooting boar with machine guns. I think he just knifed a gazelle!
Jul 11, 2012 8:15 PM
Guess who we met at the club? Stan-friggin-Lee!!! He signed D's arm!
D just taught everybody at the club a move he calls "the mater." This is awesome!!!!
Jul 11, 2012 8:50 PM
I could be misinterpreting this guy, but I think we now own a dojo in Nigeria and a Komodo dragon. I've never seen D play Rock, Paper, Scissors so well!
FYI - I've listed you as D's next of kin in the "anyone fights" UFC bout. I'm not worried. He's fighting some guy named "Silva."
Amazing. You just can't pull an iron bar on a 5-year old...
Jul 11, 2012 9:02 PM
Update: I'm not sure this was legal. The cops are raiding this place. Heading home. Iv'e been told if we aren't arrested, we are "banned for life" from The Octagon. Everybody was chanting "El Gauchito." I think they think your son is some sort of Philippine strongman. Oh well. Pretty boring night. How was the movie?
Mrs. Bad Ass' response:
Katy Perry inspired us. We're going to the tattoo parlor. Brina will have pink hair.
Final Note: Here is a photo of a proud "El Gauchito" with his Stan Lee autograph. Excelsior!
|Posted by douggoodman on November 25, 2011 at 9:35 PM||comments (0)|
"Black Friday is like the zombie apocalypse. Either you're one of them, or you're inside hiding, hoping your loved ones haven't been trampled by crazy people." My wife posted this to her Facebook wall with the request that I come back alive and not undead. But really, my Black Friday experience wasn't all that bad.
Okay, so I heard that a woman trying to buy an X-Box pepper-sprayed the people around her like she was a wolf defending a recently killed caribou. And I have heard of people getting mugged for toys/money while out on Black Friday. But I have been Black Fridaying it for the past 4 to 5 years, and I've just had a different experience. It seems that instead of thugs and psychotics, I see mostly ordinary soccer moms and dads out looking for presents. The frantic behavior doesn't seem to kick in until after Black Friday when people realize they have shopping to do and that perfect ImagiNext T-Rex that they really wanted to get their nephew for Christmas is completely sold out in the continental United States and won't be shipping from China for at least another month. Yeah, that was me five years ago. I decided to start shopping Black Fridays or get used to looking for alternative gifts.
The crazy part is the before, actually. That's because on Thursday I sift through a bunch of Christmas lists and compare them to a bunch of flyers and look for the perfect fits. My relatives who have visited us on Thanksgiving can attest to this erratic behavior, and I freely admit it. But I gotta strategize. It's not just about which store to go to, but when will the toy be available? 9pm? 10 pm? midnight? 5am?
Once I have my strategy, it's time for a little nap (usually augmented by turkey and wine). Then I get in the car, grab a few Throwback Pepsi's (no corn syrup, just glorious sugar), and head to Toys R Us.
Call of Duty: Toys R Us
The line at TRU was lo-o-o-ong. It stretched a couple of blocks, and there were probably three to five hundred people in line. I got there a little early, broke out the cellphone, and started keping tabs on the progress of the final Texas/A&M game. A store member came around and let us know that Toys R Us would open on time and people would be let in 50 at a time.
I overheard people worrying about lots of things in line. They worried about how long they would be in line, whether the item would still be on the shelf, and whether or not all this was worth it. Nobody was worried about the alien invaders who took over the local Toys R Us, killed its crew, then sent out unbelievable Black Friday deals that would lure all the townspeople to the store, where they would stand in line and wait to be let in, 50 at a time, and then the aliens would slaughter everyone as they came in looking for game systems and remote-controlled cars. Or maybe that was just my overactive imagination hopped up on sugar and caffeine.
An hour later, I was inside and hunting for a couple of sweet deals. Everybody there was very nice and cordial. The lines weren't horrendously long, I wasn't killed by aliens, and no zombies tried to eat me (if they tried I would have beheaded them with a nearby Nerf sword). The only downside was I couldn't get a cart, so my arms were very jello-y (real word) by the time I got to the cashier. Otherwise, I left TRU having saved $70.
Scariest moment of the night was me walking to the van, Christmas presents in hand, and some guy walking out of the shadows with a big grin on his face. He wanted me to know "we" (I was wearing my Longhorns shirt) had won the game. Last minute field goal. I guess there are some things about this rivalry I will miss, like complete strangers wanting to share a victory in a dark and unlit area. If I had brought pepper spray, there would have been another case of customer "resource guarding" on Black Friday.
Battlefield: Best Buy
Best Buy was different. As soon as I got in line, I could tell the differences. For one, the crowd was younger. They also looked like they had been waiting in line a lot longer. There were lots of people in chairs and huddled together under ponchos, but it hadn't rained in 24 hours, which was weird. They also looked geekier and more fan-boy. It made me wonder if George Lucas was going to be at the store. Or Olivia Wilde.
Like the TRU line people, the BB line people had their worries, too. Most of it was Red Bull exageration I think, because the guy on the phone in front of me was calling a friend and described the line as being one thousand to fifteen hundred people long where we stood. He was probably right if you took away a thousand. Amateurs...
There was another key difference between the Toys R Us crowd and the Best Buy crowd. At Best Buy, there were a lot of chain smokers. At Toys R Us, there was very little cigarette smoke, but somebody was definitely smoking weed. Now that I think of it, maybe that was why everyone was so cordial and nice at Toys R Us! Maybe that was why I was thinking of aliens, too...
At Best Buy, there were a couple of issues. The way Best Buy had their lines set up, I had to enter another line and swim downstream through all the people waiting to purchase something that you needed an orange sheet to purchase. I left my cart in the aisle. By the time I got back, one of my purchases had been pilfered. (Because I don't want to reveal the present to anyone, I will refer to it as "Electric Cow Ears." I couldn't find it back on the rack, so I went to get back in line. But by then the general line pretty much wrapped all around the store. There was nobody from Best Buy manning the lines, and so I went to so many lines, it felt like FEMA after a hurricane. Then a Best Buy person showed up to fix the line problem. Fortunately, that meant that everybody AFTER me had to go to the back of another line (suckers!) and I could merge with the current one. I probably saved hours by not having to go to the back of that line. Of course, there is a rumor that those people are actually still in line, stuck in a kind of purgatory between heaven and hell, err...cashiers and the end of the line.
On the plus side, right before the cashiers was a row of Electric Cow Ears, so I was able to get the gift at the discounted rate after all. On the downside, I probably spent three hours at Best Buy and only saved $30. And there was no George Lucas or Olivia Wilde appearance. I think that disappointed me the most.
World of Black Friday-Craft
So it wasn't all that bad. I haven't done a dollar-by-dollar tally of the savings, but I probably saved a couple of hundred dollars by sunrise. I could have saved more if I had been buying big-ticket items like TVs and iPads instead of Electric Cow Ears.
If you look beyond the illegal drugs, the scary Longhorn fan, and the long lines of Shoggoth (I couldn't resist inserting a little Lovecraft), it was a very unpredictable and boring Friday night. Which is the part that affects people the most. "In a world of instant results" and all that. People hate standing in line for longer than thirty seconds, even if it means you can save money. I have a higher tolerance for it, I guess. Maybe it was all that ultramarathon training I did in my twenties. I got used to the idea of doing the same something for nine to ten hours, and let's be honest, my speed as an ultramarathoner was probably a little faster than standing in line at Best Buy.
Will I do it again? Probably. Will next year be as crazy as this year? Probably not. But there's nothing wrong with standing in line unless aliens are using the local Toys R Us to slaughter townspeople.
|Posted by douggoodman on July 21, 2011 at 6:22 AM||comments (0)|
Because the last Space Shuttle, Atlantis, just landed, I am up early and watching JSC celebrations on my television. There was a beauty to Atlantis rolling to a stop in the black of morning with the spotlights behind it. It made me think of my time working at Mission Control.
Don't get too excited. I am a tech writer, so I never worked console and I never had to engineer a fix in the middle of Flight or play a role in which my performance had ultimate consequence. But there is a reproduction room in Mission Control, and it is staffed 24/7 while the Shuttle is flying. That is where I worked for a couple of weeks in 2000/2001. (I can't remember if it was STS-101 or STS-102). Curse my memory!!
I worked the graveyard shift from 10-6 because I was young and that was the only option available. What I remember most about working at MCC was just how cool it felt, like you were a part of something special, even if it was only in a small way. Up till that point I had worked offsite in a semi-large nondescript office building covered with windows. So working Mission Control was my first time to actually go onsite.
To get to work I would drive down Saturn Lane. It was dark already and there was a rejuvenating breeze in the air. The kind of wind that makes you feel good even when you want to feel bad. The breeze drove away Houston's ever-encroaching humidity, and I will always remember just how nice the weather was then. To get to work you had to pass the giant Saturn V rocket in Rocket Park. That thing is enormous. Because it is now covered up by a building, you don't get a feel for the proportion and size of the rocket, but it is immensely huge. The building barely covers it. Driving past the Saturn V every day (err...night) was a visual reminder of the kind of work that was being done.
But it got cooler. Working in the repro room you were responsible for handling all copy requests, but you also had to deliver a copy of the daily mission update to everybody working in the building. This was done around 5 am usually and was always exciting because you got to enter the Flight Control Room and see all the important people working at the consoles, which had interesting names like CAPCOM and FIDO and THOR. You also dropped off materials at the MERs, which were the rooms full of engineering teams that backed up every person on console. The MERs had long tables full of every kind of food imaginable, so it looked kind of like a celebrity rider list. (Though I would wager the engineers worked harder than some of those entertainers.)
Best part had to be visiting the old Apollo room. You get a real sense of history walking around that room with all the green consoles and the vaccuum tubes. That is where I went on my breaks, just to sit there and enjoy it for what it was.
I only worked Mission Control for a couple of weeks, and after that I went on to work for the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade, the Integrated Problem Reporting and Corrective Action team, and now I am in Shuttle Archives. I have visited or worked in many more buildings and seen many of the very cool and interesting things at JSC, but nothing has compared to the couple of weeks I worked at MCC.
I bought a couple of patches once of flights that I associate myself with. I bought an STS-99 patch because I worked on some of the Shuttle Topography documents. I also have a 102 and 101 patch. One of them I have because I edited a book that flew up in space with my name in it. (I like to make the bad joke that I have never flown in space, but "Doug Goodman" has been to space and orbitted the Earth about a hundred times.) The other is for my brief visit in Mission Control. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have written down on them which is which...
Now Atlantis has landed, and the word I hear is "bittersweet," and that is a good word to use. I am thankful for the memories I have with the Shuttle program, but I am also waiting and wondering when will we go back up, and to where?
|Posted by douggoodman on August 27, 2010 at 5:15 AM||comments (0)|
Had a health setback today. First, though, the background. I have a condition called gout. Basically, it means I don't digest certain foods very well, like wheat, red meat, or beer. Instead, my body creates tiny crystals that find their way to my joints, where they grow. My big toe used to be where the crystals would form. When I have these crystals, it is really painful. The pain doesn't go away quickly either. It usually takes 3 to 5 days to recover.
A few months ago I read about a study where people gave up cokes/sodas. The study found decreased uric acid levels in the blood. (High uric acid levels = crystals = pain.) Specifically, the study suggested reducing high fructose corn syrup from your diet. The only way for me to get off the corn syrup was to break my addiction to caffeine. So four months ago I had my last coke. I will have Sprites and some root beers from time to time, but for the most part, I avoid sodas. I drink lemonade or Gatorade (G2) instead.
Dropping the caffeine was hard. I had migraines for days and bad headaches for about 3 weeks. I told myself this only meant it was a strong addiction, so all the more reason to quit. I haven't had a coke since. That's 4 months without cokes.
Unintentionally, I started weaning myself off of allopurinol, too. Allopurinol is a drug that flushes uric acid from the body. For the first 2 months, I took my daily pill like I always did. For another month, I dropped to a pill every couple days, then to a pill a week, and about 3 weeks ago I took my last pill. I was feeling great. Like my condition was cured. I went to see my doctor to verify that the uric acid levels were down. I gave some blood, had a talk, and my doctor even showed me what my uric acid levels were the other times I visited. For each one of those blood tests, if I remember correctly, I was limping around and having a gout attack. My uric acid levels were 8.2, 9.0, and 8.3. What does this mean? That I had high uric acid levels. Normal range is 2 to 6.
So the setback? I got a call from the doctor's office saying the results were in. I had a 10.1. I am shocked. I have never had uric acid that high. I remember when I registered a 9.0. I had a huge flare up and was limping around. How I am walking around with no pain and with a 10+ uric acid level, I don't know. My wife says this is good news and shows that there was a connection between the uric acid and the cokes. She is right, I know, but I was discouraged to think that I have to "get back on the pill."
I need to watch my diet, though. Admittedly, I have been eating wheat, red meat, and drinking beer like someone who has been denied these foods for 8 years. Eight years. I can't believe it. But maybe if I can return to my gout diet, the uric acid will go down. Maybe.
|Posted by douggoodman on February 3, 2010 at 5:30 AM||comments (0)|
Woohoo! Time to pop the champagne and celebrate! I can't believe it's been a year since I first put this place up. When I first started this website, it could barely qualify to be called a website. I look over the past year and see a lot of the progress it has had, like adding a photo gallery, links section, and reconstruction of the About Me section (not to mention the sidebars!), and I am happy. One year ago I didn't have much in the way of direction or focus, I just knew I wanted to put something out on the web, but now with my writing more focused and the addition of the human remains work, I feel this place has a real purpose.
Since starting this website, my car has been totalled, I have lost my cadaver-dog-in-training, and we have rebuilt a fifth of my house. Oh yeah, and I was nearly laid off. I have also acted as a lead on a Nasa project, though, and I now have a new cadaver-dog-in-training. My children continue to do more things and amaze me, and my wife is still the coolest person on the planet. What a year...
Still, there is more work to be done, like adding new graphics, and then there is the 100th blog post coming up. Not sure what I should do about that, but it seems something should be done. Okay, reflection time is over. Back to work...
|Posted by douggoodman on July 9, 2009 at 8:41 PM||comments (0)|
Farrah, Michael, Billy Mays, Ed McMahon, Steve McNair...
That's a lot of people for a couple of weeks. Makes me want to wash my hands more. God speed them all, but did you notice that none of them died of H1N1? It looks like cancers, heart disease, and violence are still the big killers...
|Posted by douggoodman on February 1, 2009 at 5:09 PM||comments (0)|
Done. Finido. The fence is up. The latch I bought for the gate isn't working right. I think there is a nut that is either missing or wasn't assembled correctly. I will return it later this week. For now, though, I have locked the gate so that the dogs can't get out. They are outside barking at passers-by and whining to come back inside. (That makes it all feel "normal" again.)
There is more work to be done on the house. The siding needs to be replaced/repainted, and then there is the carpet/water damage on the first floor. But having the fence and the roof up is good for the soul. It does something psychologically knowing that people walking up and down the road can't waltz through your backyard.
I'm going to relax and take a few breathers for the rest of the weekend. On to the Super Bowl!