I’m not sure I merit this honor, but I’ve been listed as one of the Chicago Muslim Superstars on this blog. Given the numbers of superstars of all kinds, with long service in Chicago, I am actually sure I don’t merit this, but am touched and honored nevertheless.
( Day 0/0.5: BOS-NRT, and trains north - More text than pictures in this one. )
Next up: Akita by day, Aomori by night.
Via AndyBiotech on Twitter, here’s an interesting report from the New England Journal of Medicine. It describes a patient diagnosed with follicular lymphoma who also was positive for hepatitis C. They went through a course of Gilead’s sofosbuvir with ribavirin, and that (as it usually does) cleared the Hep C infection. What’s interesting is that at the end of the treatment the lymphoma was in complete remission as well.
The patient received a 24-week course of sofosbuvir (at a dose of 400 mg once daily) and ribavirin (1200 mg once daily) from March through September 2014. Within 4 weeks, the level of HCV RNA was undetectable. Twelve weeks after treatment ended, the HCV RNA level remained undetectable, with a normal alanine aminotransferase level and FibroScan results consistent with a high rate of sustained virologic response.
In December 2014, findings on computed tomography (CT) of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis were consistent with a very good partial response of the follicular lymphoma. Positron-emission tomography and CT in June 2015 showed normal-sized mesenteric nodes with no 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose–avid disease (Figure 1B and 1D). Immunohistochemical and flow-cytometric tests showed that the bone marrow was lymphoma-free. As of September 2016, the patient remained well, with no clinical evidence of disease recurrence.
This is probably not a coincidence, as the paper points out, because B-cell lymphoma has been associated with hepatitis C infection, and a few cases like this are actually in the literature with earlier therapies (such as interferon). But it still comes as a welcome surprise – I can certainly imagine some ways that a viral infection might lead to lymphoma, but after that happens, I’m surprised that curing the viral infection has any effect on the cancer. There’s clearly a tighter relationship between the two than my mental picture allows for, and I’ll bet that I’m not alone.
Wrecky minion Aryn took this photo last Sunday, October 23rd:
So this bakery is selling Christmas cakes two major holidays before Christmas. Which would be awesome for pranking that friend who passed out after drinking too much, but otherwise... da heck?
And if you think Christmas Creep is bad, wait'll you see Easter Creep:
A pink Easter Egg cake... made October 19th.
Because it's never too early to stock up on "decorated" egg cakes in October, you guys.
It actually gets worse when bakeries try to be seasonally appropriate:
Orange icing + crappy turtle pancake = "Fall!"
White pointy-headed "ghosts" + anything = FAIL!
Seriously, let's talk about all the ways this is a bad idea.
Oh yes, please, put it on white cupcakes. THAT HELPS SO MUCH.
This was also spotted last week.
Although at least the clown is recognizable. What about this thing?
It was out last week, so... Dapper Halloween Alien? Count Unibrow? Evil Mystic Muppet?
Oooh, "Evil Mystic Muppet" would be an awesome band name.
Thanks to Aryn W., Elizabeth C., Robbie C., Anony M., Julie R., Alexa M., & Jenny E for reminding us it's just two more months 'til Christmas.
I'm back from my long and pleasant exile from the internet, work, responsibilities and all other earthly attachments.
Well, not really. I did have 2 weeks off work though, for the holidays, and though this is the first year when I haven't traveled anywhere during that time I did try, as one of my friends put it, to "breathe. Just breathe."
I'm still kind of utterly puzzled about how I managed to survive the previous 3 months. People keep telling me I'm so accomplished and amazing for managing to write a thesis draft while working full time, but like, I actually did those things while also being "homeless" and living in a friend's guest room while having 90% of my earthly possessions packed up in boxes, while ALSO being disabled with two herniated disks in my back and going to physical therapy for that.
For 3 months I sacrificed every little thing that brought me joy to fit all of that shit in there, to stay functional, and it's just been... I'm amazed I survived as well as I did. It took about 6 days of being on vacation - complete, utter vacation, with no plans, no obligations, staying with my parents where I basically didn't have to do any chores or cook my own meals, just read fic and watch shows and lounge around in bed, until I felt human again. Until I felt like myself.
And let me tell you what the definition of feeling like myself is, apparently: it's finding joy in little things, utterly mundane, inconsequential things, instead of constantly feeling like the objective of any given day is to not let myself burst into tears.
I've moved into a new apartment, and it's still stressful and new. I'm not used to my new roommate and his schedule/habits, I'm not used to the noise outside my window, I'm not used to my room, and I'm not used to the schedule of getting to and from work from this new place. I'm not used to any of it, and it's uncomfortable, and requires adjustment and experimentation and stressful dealing.
But at the same time - I find joy in the idea of going to the store and buying foods I like to make breakfast with on weekdays. I find joy in the idea of buying little things online that I've really needed, like charging cables for my phone. I find joy in the idea of baking on weekends, and shopping for warmer clothes. Seeing the weird, beautiful tree outside my building makes me smile, as does warm weather and the sea.
It's like I've been... cleansed of some of the intense, to-the-core anxiety about the world, and I can think a little more clearly. I can deal with things instead of feeling crushed constantly. I'm back to being, more or less, myself.
I did use my vacation to do a ton of useful things. I did the yearly check up for my car, went shopping for 80% of what I needed at my new apartment, CLEANED my car which had become kind of like my home base in the last few months and was full of stuff that needed to be thrown out or moved. I also met with a friend visiting from Toronto, saw 2 movies in the theater (a big deal for me), went to the beach at least 5 times (and got an ear infection for my trouble :/) and wrote 10,000 words of original fiction.
There's still so many errands I didn't have time for or that weren't possible to get done because of the holidays: I need to do a blood test, go to the government offices that are open like 3 hours a day to change my address officially, go to city hall and get a parking permit for my new address, go to the post office and send a parcel I was supposed to send weeks ago... and that's just the big stuff that can be done during work hours and I need to wrangle my work day to fit in somehow.
Anyway, these are all the real life updates. The truth is I rarely go for this long without making real posts here, and coming back is a little disorienting. On the one hand I want to update about my RL, on the other RL is boring and I just want to talk about fun, ridiculous things.
OK, let's do a list of things that are currently making me happy.
* In November cesy will be visiting, and she and I will spend a few days up north in a city that's about 5,000 years old. I am SO EXCITED about this \\\o/// Taking the train! Staying at a hotel! Meeting friends from up north on the way back! DAYS OFF WORK DOING FUN STUFF. I was worried about procuring vacation days for this, but so far so good? My former boss told me taking more than two days off would be a problem, but he's... not in charge of me anymore, and the person who technically is didn't bat an eyelid when I said I'm gonna be gone most of the week, so.
YAY FRIENDS AND TRIPS :D
* Pitch! I resisted this show for a long time because I ABHOR baseball as a sport, but even though I spent basically the entire first 2 episodes yelling about how it wasn't really a sport I was simultaneously enjoying the show SO MUCH. SO SO MUCH. It's a very Status Quo show, but it manages to bring in a nice dose of liberal values, and honestly even if it got everything else wrong, I'd still watch it for Ginny. GINNY. I don't give a fuck about the sport you've dedicated your life to, but I need you on my screen forever.
* The original fiction series The Slave Breakers, which I've been rereading. Despite the atrocious title, this series is just... endless trauma recovery (without the actual trauma on screen), praise kink, comfort, support, cuddling, kindness, caretaking, etc etc. If you're able to read any kind of slave fic at all (if you were able to read Captive Prince, for example) I recommend checking it out. It's about people who are poly and kinky and emotionally honest and just... the true kink of this verse is kindness. Just... endless kindness. It's so relaxing to sink into, like a bubble bath.
* If you speak Russian: this ridiculous thing (about how to turn someone gay with a spell), and this ridiculous Erik/Charles meme.
* In RL ridiculousness - I've recently been added to a whatsapp group for ex-spies. Yes, you heard that right. ( My life has definitely leveled up in surrealness. )
Deadpool is notoriously edgy, in good ways and bad depending on his mood and the medium he's portrayed in. His whole schtik is doing bad things to bad people -- he openly admits that's not really ok, but that it also does good by getting bad people out of the way.
There's two problem with "edgy". ( Read more... )
Have a look at this article from Bloomberg Businessweek, which is mostly about the abuse of a visa program (EB-5) meant to encourage investment in out-of-the-way or economically depressed areas of the US. That’s not necessarily a bad idea, but it seems to have been an invitation to a lot of abuse over the years, which is going to be a strong possibility any time you start handing out green cards. There are apparently a lot of brokers who round up prospective investors and match them with projects – some good, some, well, not so good.
In this case, the pitch was for a biotech research center in Newport, Vermont. It’s OK if you’ve never heard of the place – it’s a town of about 4500 right up by the Canadian border. It is not exactly the location you’d envision as a biotech research prospect, I have to say, but that isn’t necessarily something that the various foreign investors might have picked up on. The article mentions a businessman from Venezuela who was (understandably) ready to leave that country, and saw this EB-5 program as the best opportunity for residency in the US. The two developers of the Newport biotech facility, though, had some problems:
They’d invested their money without knowing that the Securities and Exchange Commission had been investigating Stenger and Quiros for almost two years, and that the state of Vermont had been doing so for nine months. In April 2016 federal government lawyers seized the resort and halted work on the biotech project, calling it “rampant with fraud.” The SEC and Vermont also announced that they were opening civil court proceedings. The tangled financing they’d uncovered left more than half of the 731 foreigners who had placed their money with Stenger and Quiros vulnerable to deportation, and threw $83 million that had been invested in the biotech project into limbo. (Stenger has settled the federal case, without admitting or denying culpability, and is cooperating with the SEC. Quiros has denied the government’s allegations.)
As the article shows, the whole thing seems to have been an elaborate Ponzi-style endeavor, where further projects had to keep getting launched in order to pay off the previous ones. The biotech center came after a resort about twenty miles away was elaborately developed, with (it seems) many millions of dollars being elaborately drained out of the whole effort along the way. Check out this pitch:
In September 2012, Stenger announced a $600 million plan to create 10,000 jobs by transforming Newport into a biotechnology hub. He was going to do so, he said, by partnering with AnC Bio, a South Korean company that wanted to produce revolutionary technology in rural Vermont. He’d already raised $50 million from EB-5 investors for the project, which would be anchored by a renovated 90,000-square-foot facility just outside Newport, in the hills overlooking Lake Memphremagog. A plant there had once produced high-end skiwear, before being abandoned in 2005. Soon, Stenger said, it would manufacture artificial organs and offer stem-cell therapy, with 50 sterile rooms for research. He would build a hotel and conference center by the lake and a four-story commercial and residential complex downtown. However far-fetched the plan may have sounded, some 500 people attended the press conference, and Vermont’s top elected officials stood beside Stenger as he spoke.
- I thought about my fic once or twice
- I wrote
- I did some planning and/or research
- I edited
- I've sent my fic off to my beta
- I posted today!
- I'm taking a break
- I did something else that I'll talk about in a comment
"Since the New Avengers were formed from the heroes we love but the Marvel Universe forgets in favor of the Caps, Thors and Iron Men, these villains are the strange, the forgotten, the out-and-out weird, come together to prove just how dangerous they can be. Hopefully this will be a new beginning for at least a couple of these bizarre maniacs. There's evil gold in them thar hills, and I plan to make it shine." -- Al Ewing
( Read more... )