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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
05 January 2020 @ 10:49 am


Prison Break Fanfiction
I write primarily non-shipper general fiction, and some Lincoln/Michael slash pieces as well. Yes, I know they’re brothers… and no, I normally wouldn’t be writing brothercest. That said, if it’s not your thing then please stick to the General Fiction section.

                  Prison Break Gen Fiction                      Prison Break Slash Fiction

Supernatural Fanfiction
Supernatural also deals with two brothers, who in this case are bound together in the pursuit of demons and vengeance. An excellent overview of this show and its characters can be found here.
                  Supernatural Gen Fiction                      Supernatural Slash Fiction

Other Fanfiction: Iron Man, Die Hard 4, Chuck, White Collar, Burn Notice, Reaper, and more

Original Fiction and Non-Fiction Stories: Miscellaneous Original Fiction // Real LJ Idol Season 8 // LJ Idol Exhibit A // LJ Idol Exhibit B // LJ Idol Season 9

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
19 July 2016 @ 11:32 am
HalfshellHusband is still on the mend from his hip replacement. No big changes since the surgery—he's still in a lot of pain, he's still using the walker, and he still has about 12 of the 14 pounds of water-weight he gained in that one day at the hospital. But he's moving a little more easily now, and may be able to start using his cane soon. Also, today is the last day he has to give himself a shot of anti-clotting medicine, and then it's on to baby aspirin. I'm kind of wondering if the anti-clotting meds might be part of the water-retention problem, so I'm looking forward to that transition.

The biggest issue, apart from the pain and being housebound, is the limitation of needing to be on a chair or bed high enough that his hip doesn't bend too much. I can't remember how long that phase goes on. Three weeks? Four? Six?

TV-wise, we watched Disc One of True Detective. I've heard that Season 2 isn't good, but Season 1? DAMN... Incredible writing, and great performances by the two leads. We're also watching Netflix' new series, Marcella (also good) with our daughter, and sometimes Chopped and Limitless (the last is a re-watch for the grownups). She has very different tastes in TV than we do, so there isn't much overlap (though I think she would like Luther). She's tried to get us to watch Parks and Rec a few times, which is about as "eh" as I expected. Our family's sense of humor doesn't match the mainstream much—she's the closest of any of us. I would rather be watching Arrested Development or The Simpsons or Futurama or Monty Python, and so would our son... but HSH is good for about one episode at a time (at most) of any of those. He prefers the light, witty humor of mixed-genre shows like Chuck or Burn Notice or Buffy, all of which I love... but I also love the combination of satire/irony/absurdity on those few half-hour shows above.

Our daughter's tastes are son-repellent, and vice-versa (and sometimes parent-repellent, for both kids). Still, I tried out 72 Cutest Animals, which is a half-hour show I thought the kids might like or tolerate. They both got sucked into it when I had it on the other night, but it was more outrage on our daughter's part ("Who is voting on these? Gorillas are not cuter than lemurs, and the octopus isn't cute at all!") and intermittent interest on our son's. For me, it's a chance to look at a variety of (mostly) cute animals, some of which I've never heard of. The ranking order is just a gimmick, and always arguable. There was a segment on the quokka, with its cheerful, ever-present smile. How is that bad?

Bookwise, I finished Altered Carbon, which was really good. Someone called it "sci-fi noir," which is about right. I've since read another mystery in the Ruth Galloway series, Pork (a Kindle freebie—meh), am reading Hyde: An Urban Adventure (also a Kindle freebie, but more promising), and I have a Pascoe and Dalziel mystery waiting in hardback.

Oh—back to TV again, since there's been more garage-biking than I would like. It has either been > 100o or windy in recent weeks, so I just finished S2 of iZombie, and I'm closing in on the end of S6 of The Walking Dead. Given that a Zombie Apocalypse is basically a negative-sum game for the zombie side, that iZombie finale leaves me scratching my head. For TWD, every now and then I have to chuckle at those moments when your suspension of disbelief gets sidelined. HOW are zombies supposed to sneak up on anyone? Apart from the hissing and moaning we hear as soon as the show's characters are aware of the zombies, what about the stench? Seriously, wouldn't a sudden surge of "rot" put you on high alert?

All right, back to work. Which... *sigh*. The project I was pulled onto early is a cluster, and that's one of the reasons I was hoping to delay it as long as possible. Plus, huge learning curve, scattered and outdated documentation, and the development environment is still pretty "iffy." Better than when it was so bad people were just leaving the company in frustration, but still... not good. :(

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
15 July 2016 @ 01:47 pm
Sorry for the radio silence. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to withdraw. Last week was not only "Surprise!EarlyHipSurgery" for HalfshellHusband, but also (after some recent layoffs) a presto change-o priority overhaul at the office. Now, instead of finishing the work I'd been doing to help get out a soon-to-be-released feature, we're all getting hijacked early to the "main" project and I'm now working back under a manager who does not like me. And is also very grim, these days. Ugh.

I came home and ate a lot of chocolate the day that was announced (last Thursday). Now, of course, the new people are flailing because there's no one to train us and the documentation is out of date. My office has apparently never really absorbed the software management adage that Adding more people to a late project makes it LATER. :(

In HSH news, his surgery went well. They released him less than 24 hours after the surgery finished, which I was NOT expecting. Had to rush to get the house ready, namely the chair and bed where he'll spend most of his time. This wouldn't be necessary if his legs weren't so long, but they are, so he needs an ultra-high and firm/stable chair, and the bed needs to be ultra-high.

I was a little worried about him coming home so soon, but the physical therapist thought he was ready and there were no surgical complications. Turns out it's probably just as well: the surgical team did not coordinate with his cardio team, so he had no LASICs in the hospital, no special diet, and they put him on a saline drip. He came home 14 pounds heavier than when he left—in one DAY. Getting that water out is a struggle. If his LASICs dose is too high, his blood pressure drops and he gets really dizzy. When it's not high enough, the water doesn't budge. However, with the pacemaker in now, he can now drink caffeine again and take advantage of its diuretic properties (and it won't lower his blood pressure). Diet Coke to the rescue?

He's getting around pretty well, and while he's in a lot of pain it's still a little less than before the surgery. The real agony of trying to move around is gone, but the background level of pain is higher. OTOH, he knows it will only get better rather than keep getting worse. We both wish the incision had been on the side of his thigh (like before), and not up the back. Sitting and lying on it make it hurt more. :(

I'm doing better now, late in the week. I worked at home through Wednesday, partly because I'm sleeping in the guest room now and that has NOT gone well. The bathroom is right on the other side of the wall, and HSH's walker is very loud if he needs to move around. Plus the porch light and bathroom nightlight make the room too bright, and it's on an east-facing corner. I've turned off lights, I've brought a cloth to put over my eyes in the morning, and I'll refresh my earplugs tonight. All of that has helped over the last few days.

The kids are being very helpful, though it took awhile for our son to grasp that his father can't be home alone just yet and also that the 4Runner needs to be available in case a doctor or hospital run is needed.

So, good thus far? Or, on the way there? The work thing, though... there's no helping that. :(

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
07 July 2016 @ 01:54 pm
Well, Halfshellhusband got moved up in the surgery schedule for his hip replacement! There's an opening tomorrow, and the cardiologist who did the pacemaker said it was okay to have the additional surgery. SO... it's 11 days earlier than the postponed date would have been. Which really matters when the pain is so severe and it's a day-to-day exercise in endurance.

We made an all-out effort last night throughout the house and garage to figure out where we put that hip-surgery "helper" kit from last time, since it'll cost $45 to buy it again. But no. Our son even helped get down the unlabeled boxes HSH put on the upper shelves in the garage (seriously, this is HSH's specialty). I checked them (and LABELED them), but still nothing. Really, I think all we're missing from the kit is the grabber and the ingenious device that helps you get your socks on. We have other home-prep stuff, such as the bricks needed to temporarily elevate the bed, and the super-tall walker, and the elastic shoelaces. There's more preparation involved in general because HSH is 6'4", and long-legged, and he will not be allowed to sit much lower than at a 90-degree angle. He has to be almost fully reclined just to be in the car (the tall 4-Runner) on trips to/from the hospital and the doctor's office.

So, he'll be stuck in the bedroom a lot during recovery. We'll also need to move a bigger TV in there, and probably the cable box from the living room. You have no idea what epic levels of patience and stoicism HSH possesses. :(


My sister visited over the 4th of July weekend—but stayed with my brother, an hour away, which is not what I was hoping. We all got together Friday for dinner, then brunch and conversation on Sunday, and then my brother's 4th of July celebration (his favorite holiday, which I did not realize and which she'd never been here for before). It was really nice, though I'd have loved some 1-on-1 time with her. Our son was off at Yosemite with his uncle (they had a GREAT time), and our daughter was in and out. Most, I spent the weekend cleaning, visiting, bicycling, and watching fireworks. Very nice.

There was a lot of reading of Altered Carbon, too, a sci-fi book by Richard Morgan that I'm liking better than The Steel Remains.

Good Stuff via Links:
  • A heartwarming story about regular Canadians sponsoring Syrian refugees.

  • Chuck Wendig's WTF-ness Review of 'Batman vs. Superman', in which the essay might be more entertaining than the movie.

  • The in-home project that is The Marin County Bad Art Gallery. The "titles" and descriptions are hilarious, and some works—such as A Cheshire Cat of Nightmare Made—are possibly debatable? IDK. It looks hideous, but I'm also getting kind of an Expressionist feeling off of that one.

  • Go forth and waste time!

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    28 June 2016 @ 11:17 pm
    Title: Stone Secrets
    Original Fiction
    Rating: G
    Summary: The granting of wishes is uncertain magic.
    Author's Notes: For the writerverse challenge prompt of "Have You Ever Been to _____?"


    At the part of the river where the water grows silent, there are no ripples, no wavelets, no murmurs. The shadows are deep, the banks damp and mossy, and the air smells like the promise of rain.

    People from the farms and villages nearby go to that place to make wishes.

    Thursday noon is the best time to go, the stories say. We walk in sideways, pockets full of witch-weed and our hair tied in knots. Anyone who slips into that place unnoticed is more likely to have a wish granted.

    Our secrets are sacred, and wishes are the most secret things of all. We whisper them into the veins of wilted leaves, wrapping them around pebbles and setting them on the water. Most will float, impossible as that seems. Only the wishes that slip beneath the surface ever come true.

    We know better than to ask for small things, or to waste our wishes on sweetmeats and baubles. We plead for fevers to break, or that wasting sicknesses be healed. When our wish-stones do not sink, we return and ask again, for No does not mean Never.

    I have been to that place each week since Michaelmas, and still my mother will not wake.

    Soon, I shall go daily, repeating the ritual as often as I must to get it right. I bring my own stones, stones that are larger and heavier each week. None match the weight that lies on my heart.

    This is foolishness, Annika, you will think, for surely I have come too often to be able to creep up on the magic in that place without it knowing?

    That may be, certainly, but I have no other hopes or methods to turn to. I grew desperate many weeks ago, so terribly desperate.

    Now, I have nothing to lose.


    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    28 June 2016 @ 12:37 pm
    HalfshellHusband went for another checkup yesterday, and was liberated from the sling that keep him from raising his left arm too high (and pulling out the pacemaker leads). He got multiple hours of actual sleep last night, for the first time in a week. The sling meant he couldn't sleep on his left side, and his right side has the excruciatingly arthritic hip, and he doesn't really sleep well on his back, so... He's looking much better now, partly because the combination of sling, cane, and major limp made it look as if he'd been in a traffic accident. :O

    It wasn't a great week at work for me, thanks to the worry and preoccupation, but it got better with time. Stuff is getting done!

    On the entertainment front, we've been watching Damages on Netflix (and had to go after alternate sources for S2 of Better Call Saul. Our daughter has tried to hook us on Parks and Recreation (still kind of "meh"), and I've watched a couple of episodes of Brain Dead with her. HSH and I went out for a date last weekend, and saw Keanu. Fun and funny in parts, but I'm really glad we didn't take the kids to that. I need a "strip club" warning for our son, as they pop up where I least expect it.

    Bookwise, I started The Crossing Places while in San Diego to pick up our daughter. I've read three more books in that series (murder mysteries with a British archeologist). I pulled down a bunch of free books for my Kindle, and am almost done with Rushed (I don't recommend it). A Richard Morgan book came up from my hold list, so that's next. Our son has practically stopped reading altogether in favor of his phone, video games, the gym, sports practice, and required reading for school (which has bled over into summer with books I've never even heard of). As a result, I haven't searched for any new physical books at the library in about 7 or 8 weeks, and that's usually where I get my own new reading material too!

    Weatherwise? One of those 100-104 stints is happening here. If I'm not out on the bike by 10am, it's too late. This makes biking at work really hard, as I am Not A Morning Person. Gah, summertime cabin fever! Only in Phoenix or in California's Central Valley. Of Hell. :(

    Got plans for the 4th, if you're in the U.S.? I imagine most Brits are still reeling from the Brexit results. :(

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    21 June 2016 @ 11:35 am
    So, HalfshellHusband now has a pacemaker. When his cardio tests were run yesterday to see whether he needed one, the doctor decided it was inevitable and that he might as well do the surgery that day, since he had time.

    It's in, and everything is looking good. Makes us feel slightly less bad about the hip replacement being postponed for a month due to wanting to run those tests. Having a pacemaker at HSH's age (60) is unnerving, but I guess we're lucky that treatment exists.

    He's mostly feeling pretty good right now. I'm tired and stressed (I ate an entire bag of chocolate chips last night—augh). So, have some humor for all of us:

    Playing dress-up with the Queen of England. Bat-queen to the rescue!

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    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    20 June 2016 @ 12:16 am
    I made the trip to San Diego and back last week to pick up our daughter from college, and it was about what I'd expected. Looooong and tiring.

    I downloaded episodes of Night Vale onto HalfshellHusband's mp3 player for entertainment (I was about 30 episodes behind, somewhere in late 2014. Wow). Things were going okay until about 3 or 3 1/2 hours into the trip, when the back of my right thigh started to cramp. That happened on the solo trip coming back from San Diego last September. Augh—I don't know why that has become such a problem. I was feeling desperate, so I took a mini ice-block from the lunch bag cooler and wedged it underneath my leg. That actually helped. Not sure whether it was the digging into the cramped muscle or some kind of "gating" theory in action, but it did feel better. I swallowed aspirin and No Doz, and was still slapping myself in the face from about Bakersfield onward. It seemed like I made pretty good time, but I got to the outskirts of LA just before 3pm, and it took me two more hours to get to Forest Hill.

    I do not know how people stand living in and around LA, I really don't.

    I hit San Diego's rush hour too, so door-to-door the trip down was about 10 hours. The hotel was kind of iffy (overpriced, considering), and the gym was worthless. No customer-usable A/C, no fans, and the stationary bicycle was broken. I used the elliptical, and made it to 22 minutes before I was too overheated to go on. Whoopee. The office gym has one in front of a fan, so my usual workout is 55 minutes. Suckage.

    It seemed like I was awake all night (except for dreams about Hillary Clinton, who was in a very cheerful tour-guide mood). I packed up the next morning, got lost getting back to the freeway (diagonal streets are a menace, and the hotel was on a hairpin diagonal), and then got lost trying to find our daughter's dorm. Yayyyy! She was pretty solidly packed when I got there, though, and we got the car loaded and her room vacuumed and her goodbyes said in about 90 minutes.

    The return slog... she did a lot of driving, thank goodness, including the mysteriously slow trip back through LA. I drove enough that I eventually crushed that ice-block thingy until it started to leak, which I knew was a risk. We got home around 8pm, so only a nine-hour trip coming back. Glllarghhh. I'm so glad that's over.

    I was kind of a zombie last weekend, and we'd gotten some bad news about HSH's surgery. His cardiologist finally decided to become interested in last October's fainting episode that led to his bike accident, and so she started running tests and more tests (no answers there), and now he has to delay the hip surgery while he gets tested to see if he needs a pacemaker first. Probably not, but I can understand why they're being cautious. HOWEVER... the time to do that was about six months ago. So, at the moment his hip replacement surgery has been postponed for a month, and the expiration on pain tolerance leading up to it ended about a week ago. :( :(

    That's all the real news for now, though you'll be happy to know I've located some spare building blocks from the kids' baby toys, and those will be used on my next long road trip. At least they won't leak...

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    07 June 2016 @ 01:37 pm
    ... noisy and a little frenetic. The boys all cleaned up after their all-night video-game extravaganza pretty well, and no major damage was done. The grownups were worn out, but we survived, and the boys all had fun. Then our son had a volunteer orientation to go to (which we didn't realize was six hours long--wow), followed by going camping the next day with the same friends.

    This was to be a one-night camp-out, which evolved from backpacking about five miles into the Desolation Wilderness (in June. Above the snow line. With a pair of Eagle scouts and mostly inexperienced others), and became car-camping at a nearby lake. ;) Much saner. I did text him about staying on the trails and open spaces, because of rattlesnakes. He said, "But we're at Folsom Lake!"

    Meaning, he has not been paying attention to my ongoing stories of nearly or actually running over snakes on the bike path a couple of times every year. The bike path that connects to that lake, and is the same general habitat. Derrrr...

    Other news: I wasted more than two hours messing with iTunes the weekend before last, in which it would not allow any editing of my iPod playlists or downloading new tunes. After Googling for help on the web, I was able to successfully downgrade to an earlier iTunes release (the 12.xx.xx apparently is feature-free, apart from using it as an online radio). I'll try to get new NightVale episodes on my iPod tonight, for the drive to San Diego, and if that doesn't work I'll be borrowing HalfshellHusband's mp3 player to do that. So much Apple-Hate!

    Oh, speaking of the trip south... later in the same day as that last post, our daughter texted me that I should come on Friday instead. Not because she was feeling any less rude or self-entitled, but because she'd discovered that the campus will be flooded with people coming in for graduation, and so moving out on Saturday would be a terrible idea. Okay, then. *whatevs*

    We watched The Lady In The Van last weekend (because Maggie Smith), and quite liked it. We're also about 8 episodes into Better Call Saul, which we liked much better than expected. Mike Ehrmentraut FTW! "Five-O" was such a terrific episode for him. We also like Kim a great deal, and Jimmy's unusual friendship with her.

    Someday, I imagine that we'll get back into watching Homeland, but those episodes were on the external hard drive that mysteriously decided to become nonfunctional, and I have yet to rescue it. Keep on hoping! It's like denial, but in prettier clothes!

    So, what are you all up to?

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    04 June 2016 @ 07:06 pm
    One of these is already underway—we're hosting one of the all night video-game extravaganzas our son and his friends like to have. Six teenage boys, boatloads of junk food, and mainly... mayhem in the house for some 19-20 hours. AUGHHHH!

    For introverts, like HalfshellHusband and me, this kind of frenzy is basically a version of Hell.

    Dread #2 is next weekend's drive to San Diego to pick up the oldest from college. She has to be out by noon on Saturday, and mentioned a week ago that I might want to leave on Thursday instead of Friday. Then I talked to her this Wednesday: "No! Don't come on Friday! I'll be saying goodbye to all my friends, I don't want you here! I will not see you before Saturday." Then she announced her new plan, which was for me to show up at 6 am (I'm not even AWAKE until about 8 am) and pack up the car so we can leave before that noon cutoff. After driving for 9-11 hours the previous day (depending on how traffic goes). I told her she needed to rethink that. And that I am not her sherpa. ;) She's so considerate of her friends, and then there's this kind of behavior with her own family: I don't want to see you but let me make some major new demands.

    And she wonders why I call her on that kind of self-entitled behavior. :O

    Dread #3 is the weekend afterward. God, what a summer this will be. The good news is that HalfshellHusband is getting a new hip! He's a couple of months overdue now, pain-wise, but he wanted to schedule it for when school got out so the kids would be around to help. The bad news is the two months or so of rehab and all the time he'll be stuck in bed (except for his trips outside to practice walking). We can't really go anywhere as a family this summer, and we couldn't do anything earlier because he was in too much pain. Needless to say, it'll be a long, unpleasant time for him, and I'm feeling stressed out and trapped in anticipation of it all (and in the extra work that is looming) :(

    He's a little worried about the pain management plan afterwards, BUT, if this goes the way the previous hip replacement did... the loss of pain from the arthritis itself will dwarf the residual effect from the surgery. It has been that bad.

    All right, back to the insanity. I'm not sure my ear plugs are going to cut it tonight. :O