Friday, January 29, 2016

Wildcat Sports: Two Good Wins, and Bring On Kansas

Folks, it was a great week to be a cat, with a couple confidence-boosting wins that were just what we need.

...especially with the Kansas Jayhawks up next, and I'd be lying if I said I had a good feeling about it.

But if there's anything I know from being raised a wildcat, it's that you're not really a wildcat if you have a good feeling about a game.

So go find your lucky shirt, and make sure you have your halftime Blanton's ready (and maybe some Elmer's for afterwards... either way, it'd be appropriate.)

Here's what things look like from here, and I'll see you on the other side.

The Recaps:

Really fun game against Mizzou, (especially considering their -ahem- recent infractions) where we saw:

 - Cal said he broke Skal, but hopefully it's not too late to fix him:
At halftime and after the game, Calipari accepted blame for trying to make Skal a big like Karl Towns or Shaquille O’Neal when he clearly is not. 
“I probably screwed Skal up, I’m trying to make him Karl Towns. He’s not Karl Towns. Can’t play like Karl Towns. He probably shoots better than Karl Towns. Karl will love hearing that, but he’s not Karl. Karl had a nasty beast streak in him.”
 - Derek Willis is determined to be the breakout star of the year.

 - Ulis being ulis. El Capitan had 20 points. Again.

Vandy feels like ancient history, but it was a good win, too.

In Summary:

The state of the team after two good wins.

The quick catchup: Bring On Kansas


I don't usually follow the theoretical physics of tournament-seeding prediction, but since it is the last week in January, I thought I'd take a peek... and ugh.

This one has us 16th.

I've been kindof distracted with a pitched battle with an insurance company and a small side-project and haven't been tracking any teams except the cats... might be time to start doing some recon on our potential adversaries.

oh, hello there, Duke, how's it... oh. I see. Well, I've got to say, I feel better already.

Next Up:

Kansas on Saturday, Jan 30th 7:00

Tennessee on Tuesday, Feb 2nd 7:00

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Space: Apollo Films from The Archive

Alternative title: Snowed in with the Space Archives. Totally should have gone with that. Knew it.

In the midst of a fit of cabin fever, midway through these past snowbound days, I remembered The Archive.

A treasure-trove of multimedia bliss, gloriously combining fine art museum, thrift store, and dusty library stacks.

This week's time was spent digging through some of the space stuff. And luckily, I'd recently stumbled on the perfect background music. Another couple snow days and I would have figured out how to put the mashup together for you, but I'm afraid you'll have to do a little work on your own.

Apollo 12 Launch Views:


Suggested Viewing:
Around the 21:30 mark
(but the music is good background to just about all of it)

Suggested Audio:
Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine, Op.11 - Arranged By John Rutter

Apollo 12 Onboard Film:


Suggested Viewing: Start at 4:15

Suggested Audio:
Einaudi: I giorni - Andante

More from the Apollo Multimedia Gallery

Monday, January 25, 2016

Music Monday: Snowed In

It's officially the end of a snowed-in weekend. Not the usual North Carolina sort, where you know that yankees of sterner stuff would probably be venturing out, but legitimately snowed-in, on a steep-ish hill with no four-wheel-drive.

Over The Rhine: Snow Angels

Snowed In With You

More Music Mondays

Friday, January 22, 2016

UK Basketball: A Tale of Two Teams

We've had two games since the last Wildcat Sports, and they just about sum up the season.

We struggle to show up, and beat ourselves.. or we show up to play and win decisively.

In the interest protecting my emotional health, I'm choosing to dwell on the wins against Duke and Louisville. All the rest? Just browsing.

Calipari's not panicked, which is reassuring, but not nearly as reassuring as if he'd said, say.. "confident" or "optimistic"...

What we're still ready to believe about this group (and what's looking less likely).

And more 'State of the Team' stuff.

Last Saturday:

The cats blew a 12 point lead in 6 minutes. And there's not much more worth saying about it.

Except maybe that because they stormed the court, Auburn was hit with a $100,000 fine. So there's that, at least.*

Thursday night: 

Call shook up the lineup

And it was a good night to be a cat.

*Seriously, doesn't it say something about the state of college sports, that the fine for students running onto the court after a game is $100,000.

Grab you day planner and a pencil:

Saturday 23rd vs Vandy @ 4:00

Wednesday 27th vs Mizzou @ 7:00

More Wildcat Sports

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

MinM* Resources: Patients Like Me

My health journey has been pretty bumpy and winding, but as much as it shocked me to learn just how crazy the medical system works sometimes, it has been a wonderful surprise to find how many people are working on solutions, and how varied the solutions are.

One of those is Patients Like Me.

Founded by two brothers (and a friend) looking to help their brother in his journey with ALS, but with a new weapon: Data.

The site is all about data. They collect data points on symptoms, treatments, conditions... tracking how well patients respond to treatments, and how conditions progress over time.

The catch is... all of the data is 'donated'. While most health organizations are closely guarding patients' medical information, Patients Like Me is asking people to open up their health history, and upload it for all to see.

Their Openness Philosophy explains that they hope to leverage this data to help researchers and medical professionals get a faster, better picture of conditions and treatments, and in return, patients also benefit from learning from other patients, and will have the same access to the same data as the researchers of what works and what doesn't.

I have to admit I am a little apprehensive about the openness. I guard my privacy pretty fiercely and am just a bit squeamish about announcing every time I have a migraine, or lose my balance, or....

But the math geek who is struggling through a complicated and difficult medical journey is incredibly excited about it. Think Of The Potential! And just the 'small' thing of being able to see how others are responding to the medicine I'm taking, their experience with side effects, and which medicine is more/less effective...

In addition to manually inputting data-points, you can connect your fitbit with steps taken and sleep quality, and there's an app that (at least on Apple), connects to some of the health info the iphone is tracking.

One example: 
Condition: Migraines
Medication: Sumatriptan
(Once you sign in, there are more pages you can drill-down on, in order to compare treatment options, side effects, symptoms, etc).

A couple catches -- 

You add conditions, and then track symptoms relating to those conditions... but as most of my symptoms fall into a nebulous 'undiagnosed' cloud, I can't figure out if there's a way to get it to let me track how dizzy I am, without an umbrella/cause for dizziness to live under. Do I just select 'MS' and then 'undiagnosed'? I wish there was an U-D category.

There were also a few times that I wound up on a page that wasn't what I was looking for.. eg: I thought I was looking at all symptoms under a condition but then found that I was doing the opposite (looking at all conditions that shared a symptom). I'd write it off as my mistake except that I found another bug when I triple-checked that I clicked on a specific condition and it took me to the wrong page.

And it seems to keep wanting me to classify 'pain' as one big group, when I usually experience very distinct types of pain that hit at different points of an episode/flare (migraine headache, burning pins and needles, crushing back pain, etc...). There may be a way to break it apart but I just haven't found it yet.

So my suggestions are: 
- Clean up/debug the interface
- Allow for some sort of handing for undiagnosed conditions
- Allow the option to split some of the tracking into more specific types.

And one more: there are So Many different apps these days that will track symptoms and health data, they may need to come up with a way to pull in more data from more sources, otherwise users who are already keeping everything in a different place may be difficult to convert.

There really is so much potential for researchers, with access to so much data and such a large and diverse patient pool. But even more than that, it's a great opportunity for patients to better understand their treatments and conditions, compare their experiences, and even help influence the research being conducted and the framework researchers are using.

"Data for good" -- It reminds me of another project where researchers for a condition were asking people to send in whatever genetic test results they had (even from, because it could be done so quickly and cheaply they would be able to start the next round of research much quicker and with a better idea of what they were looking for.

I feel like I've only just scratched the surface, and it's definitely a site I want to dig into, bookmark, and maybe, eventually, embrace the 'brave new world' we're in and start contributing to.

*Misadventures in Medicine
More Med Resources

Monday, January 18, 2016

Music Monday: Looking Up

When we're talking music, "relentlessly optimistic and upbeat" is not usually my jam.

Not because I'm such a pessimist but because folky, moody music genuinely makes me happy.

But this was on the radio today and I couldn't resist turning it up.

Bring it on, 2016.

Bring. It. On.

Safetysuit: Looking Up

More Music Mondays

Friday, January 15, 2016

WildcatSports: A Nerve-Wracking Season and Sanctions for Mizzou

Holy Moly, what a season. Usually by now the team's starting to gel and we're starting to have some fun... this team seems determined to keep us in suspense right up until Tournament time!

We're 13-3, but the inconsistency's what makes it so nerve-wracking.

It's a crazy season everywhere.

What happened against Mississippi State Including lots of basketball stuff along with Cal's new inspirational speech. 10 bucks his new book "You are your own winning ticket" is out by this time next year.

New rules for NBA auditions

Cal's take on the new rules, the players, and other stuff.

The Pre-Auburn Press Conference

Holy Sanctions, Mizzou. The hard spot in my heart that still believes they have no business in a South Eastern conglomerate of collegiate athletics says "hah!".

But I do feel sorry for Tulsa. More specific info about what went down.

Set Your VCR:

Saturday 16th 4:00 @ Auburn

Thursday 21st 7:00 @ Arkansas

It's been forever since the last Wildcat Sports edition. Good to be back on track!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

RealLife: Slow Starts and Restarts

Good grief it's been a slow, sputtering start to the new year. Missed blog posts, missed Twitter posts.. This afternoon I found (clean, empty) Tupperware containers in the fridge instead of cupboard, and while I'll spare you the details, it's clear I still have one foot firmly in 2015, and we're halfway through January.

On top of it all is the brutal shock of Winter. It's difficult to split time between two states but especially in January when one of those states doesn't do seasons. By this point I really should be able to figure out what to wear, at least by comparing to the day before, but jumping into it blind is so confusing.. is 40 degrees 2 coats or 3? I think I'll go with snowboarding socks tomorrow just to be safe.

In other news, after a post-travel sick-day, I'm now in that point of binge-watching British TV that I'm hearing everything I read with an English accent. And I'm afraid it's going to take a show with a whole lot of "yal"s to snap me back into American. (Justified's kindof intense.. maybe some basketball catchup and a couple episodes of Hart of Dixie...)

Note the new TV and magic TV-watching box from Santa, who is remarkably tech-savvy in our family, and has been long dismayed at the number of fully functional televisions in my house (zero). [But please ignore the wires, and the lint brush inexplicably hanging out in the middle of the craft supplies, and assume 'picking up the extra room' is on my urgent todo list (see below).]

But despite my geographic and temporal issues, I am in fact back in North Carolina and trying to sort out life in the new year. Now that I'm here, and looking at real life straight in the face, there's a new list a mile long full of stuff like "organize the extra room", "go through the closet under the stairs", "plan for doctor appointments", "decide if the medicine is working", "figure out what I'm blogging about", "log in to Twitter".....

The problem is sifting through what I want to do, what I need to do, and what I'm able to do. Some of it belongs on the Goal-list, some on the Well-list, and some on the 'get your butt in gear and take care of it today' list.

Today was one of those days when what I wanted to do was attempt some ambitious project like pulling everything out of the upstairs closet (which would have surely ended in disaster...) but what I needed was to accomplish some small task, well and good -- a bag unpacked or a drawer straightened...

I'm realizing how much I need a regular schedule and routine not just to keep things moving or make deadlines but to help me know what is possible and what I can plan for. To know how much I can take on, how to prioritize, and keep me from getting in over my head.

But enough rambling. It's time to check off "blog post for Wednesday" and there's a cat to feed, and errands to run, and basketball to watch...

Snap to it. Get to work. "Steady on, yal".

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Strategery: The Well-List

One of my takeaways from Ann Romney's book was the idea of a well-list. I love the idea of setting a wide range of goals that will help me see progress towards Well, even if it's a different kind of well than before.

Two things I've struggled with through all of this have been: the disappointments of so many things I've missed, and that the energy I do have on good days is used up for health stuff and doctor visits.

I'm hoping that this list will help me track the growing list of things I am able to do and also help me prioritize the time and energy for the 'fun' things that are just as important to my well-being as the stuff filed under 'regular medicine'.

A couple ground-rules:

1. The point is not to suffer through something just to cross it off. There are several items I am certain I could do tomorrow with the right amount of migraine meds and willpower. The point is to be well enough to enjoy these and not at the expense of several days/weeks of recovery.

2. Accomplishing a goal on the list doesn't cross it off! I hope to be able to add multiple check marks to each one, and look forward to celebrating each attempt as the success it is.

So here we go, folks, in completely random order... (btw I accomplished one of these over the Holiday Hiatus, can you guess which one?)

The Well-List, Edition 1: 

- 5k race

- Sprint Triathlon

- Ability to run 1 mile three times a week for a month (weirdly specific, but it would mean I was on my way back to being a runner.)

- Try a new recipe (muchos gracias to my future sister in law who gave me some help with this one for Christmas, without even knowing it was on my list!)

- Attend a small-venue music concert (I think I've only been to two in the past two years, and each time was border-line terrible and I had to sacrifice a couple days for it.)

- Attend a symphony concert

- Attend a big 'rock' concert (can I tell you how much it hurts my heart that I didn't get to see Garth Brooks last year? So Much...)

- Day-trip to a small town

- A weekend city trip to someplace like NY or Boston

- Visit a state I haven't been to before 

- Skiing

- Hiking

- Eat at a new (to me) restaurant

- Learn a Piano piece (which will also hopefully help my right-hand motor coordination issues, and my general coordination issues doing different things with different hands. My right hand is much stronger than a year ago when I had trouble paying catch with the dog, but trying to get back into violin is fraught with emotional baggage. Being terrible at Piano is not nearly as demoralizing.)

- Re-learn a favorite violin piece (or learn a new one from scratch)

- Attend the Little Cedar Grocery bluegrass pickin' as a participant

- Start a part-time job... and a full-time job...

- Visit extended family in places near and far

- Acts of service (The homeless shelter, tutoring, Habitat...)

- Watch a movie in a movie theater (fun fact: I haven't seen a movie in a movie theater since 2012. There's the lights and the noise, and migraines and the dizziness.. and the fact that going to the theater means that I'm not at home on the couch in my PJ's....)

- A trip out of the country (Ireland and Macchu Picchu have been on my life-list for a long long time)

- Visit an Art museum (which is more difficult than you'd think -- It sounds like it would be an easy activity -- quiet, etc.. but when you think about it, it's a *ton* of walking).

- Attend a basketball game (this one is as tricky as a big rock concert.. there's the crowd and the noise, and at pro games, tons of laser lights and exploding score boards.. it's just easier to cheer from my cozy couch with gameday slippers.)

- Complete an online class (Coursera Data Science, or programming, or other online learning.)

It seems like a lot, and it is. And I'm realizing now that a lot of them are big-reach items, I might have to add some smaller goals.. But for the most part these are the things that I feel like I've missed the most for the past few years, and it helps to put them down in writing. If they are out in the world in print, it's easier to let go a little bit, and focus on the near-term, and the one or two things to call NEXT.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Music: Fare Thee Well

Fare Thee Well - Marcus Mumford & Oscar Isaac 

This version is from the soundtrack to Inside Llewen Davis, which is on my 'sort-of want to watch' list for the new year...

Un-ironically, 'Celebrating the Music of Llewen Davis' (a concert inspired by the movie) is on my 'definitely want to watch' list.

Fare Thee Well, 2015.

More Music Mondays

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year

"We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Dad sent me this quote yesterday, and I just love it. It reminds me of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes.

First of all, Happs New Year, Yal!

Second, some upcoming blog changes -- to free up some energy for some non-blogging stuff, I'm going to try tweaking the posting schedule for a bit:

Sunday -- Grace (Faith-related stuff, like Bible verses and hymns.. an occasional post, not an every-week thing)
Monday -- Music (of course)
Wednesday -- Wildcard, but will now also hold the Misadventures in Medicine and Real Life posts
Friday -- Wildcat Basketball (and other Sports)

Third, I'll be unveiling my Well-List next Wednesday, but wanted to share my 2016 goals first.

There are a lot of things I would wish for the new year, and some of those will make the Well-List next week (a list of stuff to celebrate stages of getting closer to Well).

But the goals for today are the ones I am pretty sure are attainable, even if I stay in the same situation health-wise.

I plan to check in each quarter to see which ones I can cross off, which need some work, and which might need to be amended or added to.

Goals for 2016

- Learn Adobe Illustrator well enough to use it without wanting to bang my head against a wall

- Use Illustrator to design a new shirt for a Teespring campaign

- Launch a new Teespring campaign

- Finish the book that will not end

- Read two other nonfiction books

- Read three fiction books

- Learn a 3d Modeling software

- Complete a workable first version of my top-secret 3d printing project

- Print a workable first version of my top-secret 3d printing project

- Learn how to use/program Rasberry Pi or Onion

- Add Rasberry Pi or Onion capability to top-secret 3d printing project

- Start a new job (even if it's part-time, a few days a week)

- Regular Blog Posting (see schedule above)

Wow, that's a lot! If I'm able to do even half of those things, I think it will have been a good year.

That said, there are probably some things that look like they're missing. Some of them, like visiting out of state relatives, require the type of travel I haven't been able to do for awhile, and will appear on the Well-list.

Other stuff (like reading Data Science or posting blog updates) appears on my daily or weekly goal-list. (I really like making lists, can you tell? My life-story should be titled So Many Lists), which change pretty frequently these days because my health and energy have been so unpredictable.

That's the 2016 Goals First Ed.

I'm looking forward to tracking these and seeing what the new year brings!

Best wishes for a happy and safe New Year