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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
25 September 2016 @ 11:38 pm
The first Presidential debate comes up tomorrow night, and I hope it's more straightforward than Matt Lauer's ridiculous stab at interviewing the candidates.

HalfshellHusband found an article on sexism in debating that talks about the problems and double-standards women face in that arena. He forwarded it to our daughter, who participated in Mock Trial events all four years of high school, and many of the issues described in that piece were all-too-familiar. She regularly encountered the fine line between "assertive" and the perception of being strident, nagging, or bitchy that women face. The comments on hair and clothes happened, too—usually from female judges (the ways in which women impose sexism on other women never fails to anger me).

A lot of this comes down to the filter applied to men's behavior and women's behavior, where the same behavior is "strong" or "admirable" in a man and "overbearing" or "obnoxious" in a woman. Give me strength...

On a happier note, here's something I meant to post on Friday before I got distracted by The Akinator. Our son's birthday cake:


Again, this isn't one of my super-fancy cakes, but it was more of a challenge than some because 1) it would not leave the pan (there's a lot of hidden frosting-based spackle work going on under the surface), and 2) making lines with frosting is of the devil. It belatedly occurred to me that I might be able to use sliced fondant frosting for that, but at the time, the only alternative that came to mind was black licorice whips—which contaminate the flavor of the frosting, so once was enough (the train tracks for a Thomas-the-Tank-Engine-themed cake, from years ago). Bleh.

All right, I need to get ready for bed, because I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. Followed a little later by a meeting, and immediately after that, yet another meeting. It's the reality of that Dilbert cartoon that goes, "I'll need hourly status reports as to why you're so far behind." Management. \o?

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
24 September 2016 @ 01:00 am
I drove back home from San Diego last Sunday, which took a mere 7 1/2 hours as opposed to the 10 hours it took to get there. Whew. Not as emotionally hard as last year, but still not easy either. This time, at least, our daughter has friends there (one of whom will be a roommate again this year), and was excited to be going back, so it was pretty nice for her. Not so much the parents. ;)

I've finished a few books since the last update. Today, Noah's Compass (Ann Tyler), which was not anywhere near as good as her A Spool Of Blue Thread (I read that one a couple of weeks ago). While I was up in Oregon, I went to St. Vincent's with my Mom (she likes to prowl the used books there), and recommended Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups, as I thought she'd like it. She was up until 2 am, finishing it that same day, so that was a "yes." Rich characters, not always quite what you might expect, and they can both surprise and frustrate you in ways that feel real and true. "Noah's Compass" was far less substantial.

I also read Joe Hill's The Fireman. I enjoyed it for the most part—neat premise, interesting characters, hard to put down. I was a little puzzled as to the book's title, since the Fireman is not the book's main character (or even the center of its story). Most of all, I was a little jarred that the main female character underwent a personality shift about 3/4 of the way through the story. She started bantering wittily and talking like "one of the guys," which didn't smoothly evolve from who she was before. It was as if the character grew too far too fast—and I didn't buy it. Too bad, as I like Hill overall and this was a good book. Not NOS4ATU good, but few things will be!

In other news, our daughter's car got rear-ended on the freeway shortly before she left. The driver of the car behind her was probably texting, and hadn't noticed that the traffic ahead had slowed. Mercifully, our daughter is fine, but I think her car is going to be totaled as a result, and that is SUCH a pain. You have a perfectly good, working vehicle, and then someone runs into it, and the money you get for it is never enough to truly replace the vehicle you lost. Ugh.

Also featured in the HalfshellHousehold right now: skittering. And gnawing. Some of that is those squirrels on the roof, but I think we have mice or rats in between the floors again. Yuuuuck. Last time, the exterminator was useless and our problem was solved when we put The Whale out at night to earn his keep. Our current kitty, though, is worthless as a mouser. I think all of that is in the realm of "Huh?" for her. So now what?

Say, did anyone check out that frog vine from a few weeks ago? Do eet! And take a crack at The Akinator too, who has correctly guessed some things that truly impressed me. Sometimes, it even rubs in the fact that it has beaten you, with questions like, "Does your character advertise for insurance?" followed by "Does your character have a surprisingly deep, velvety voice?" when you have Dennis Haysbert's Allstate Insurance guy in mind. It got Patrocles in about 11-13 questions, and Ulysses S. Grant even faster. OTOH, I stumped it with Dylan Thomas and a camel. Not at the same time.

Happy weekend, everyone!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
17 September 2016 @ 11:45 pm
I'm in San Diego tonight, having installed our daughter at UCSD for her sophomore year. She's unpacked and settled in, and tomorrow I make the return trip on my own. Not quite as heartbreaking as last year (that was awful), but just as physically draining. We took the 4-Runner this time, because much as I hate to waste the gas, driving that distance alone in the Prius is a formula for disaster. By which I mean, severe leg and back pain. :O

My trip up to Oregon was very nice. I spent time with both sisters in Portland, then saw my mother in Eugene. She's doing well. She has some aches and pains that surprise her at times (her back and one hip sometimes mutiny for a few hours or even the day). But she can still get around, and is able to take care of herself and has friends she enjoys nearby. At age 90, all of that is really good news. :)

I returned home mid-week before Labor Day, and apart from some general relaxing, I also did some massive cleaning out of the art cupboards in the kitchen. Five bags of stuff for Goodwill! Some day, we hope to fit our random appliances and overflow Tupperware in those cupboards. It was hard to let go of some of those things, though-- the pretty/cute/fun paper and pictures saved for collages, the various art sets. It brought back a lot of memories of our daughter's childhood. I had a bunch of nifty parallel stuff saved for our son, too, in case he wanted to join in the activities. His got almost no use, as art is the antithesis of his "thing". I still think his "handedness" confusion might have something to do with that.

I read a lot of books, including A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (I enjoyed that one a lot), and I'm almost finished with Joe Hill's The Fireman. Another Tyler book and Sue Grafton's X are next in line, unless my "Hold" book comes up at the library. I cannot even remember what it was, but I'll be happy to see it when the time comes. ;)

Moviewise, we watched My Name Is Doris, which was a terrific role for Sally Fields and entertaining overall. Some parts were hard to watch. I kept hoping her obsession would find a more appropriate target, and the character's fashion sense was jolting. A new scene would begin, and Doris would appear in some "Ow, my eyes! Oh my god, make it stop! outfit that was well past "fun" and into "deranged."

After the big drive down to San Diego yesterday (ten freakin' hours!), our daughter and I had dinner and then went to see Bridget Jones' Baby. THAT was fun. I mostly did not hate Patrick Dempsey in it, which is saying something. There were cringeworthy moments in it as well, because that's the nature of Bridget Jones' character. But still, well worth it.

Work... ugh. SO hard to make progress, and I'm sure my manager is as frustrated as I am. I hate this project, and its ridiculous number of quagmires and hurdles.

So, how are things with the f-list? Happy that fall is here, or were there summer things you'd hoped to get to and didn't?

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
21 August 2016 @ 11:20 pm
Seriously, NBC, a whole half-hour interview? Who even wants to see that?

Expecting reason from TV Journalism these days is like trying to walk your dog past the remains of a dead squirrel:

You: Leave it!
Media/Dog: *drops down and rolls in the mess* *comes to you for pets*

It's the tail end of a busy weekend here—11 pm, and I'm still winding up chores before work tomorrow. It was our son's birthday (our daughter's was a week ago), so there was a lot of time devoted to cleaning and shopping and cake-decorating. I'll need a back pill tonight—I feel as if I've been standing up all day, which is not far from the truth. And next weekend I'll be in Oregon visiting family, so the push to get things settled beforehand at home and work is pretty intense.

But for now, courtesy of our son, I leave you with the kind of thing I probably shouldn't laugh at, but can't help myself. Our son says this is how his interactions with the cat sometimes feel: Boy, knock that off!

And let me just say, for the record... fully justified. ;)

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
20 August 2016 @ 12:41 am
And after my last post, in which I mentioned my intent to update later in the week... another big gap goes by. I blame the Olympics. ;)

We've been watching lot of them—mainly because we have different tastes in what we considering interesting. The whole family likes watching gymnastics, and most of us like the various platform diving competitions. But HalfshellHusband and our daughter are big on swimming (which mostly bores me), and then everyone BUT our daughter likes the track and field events. The reality is that what usually SEEMS to be on all the time is women's beach volleyball, and none of us likes it. Who knows what we're not seeing. I'm starting to get a niggling suspicion that the steeplechase event may already have happened. :(

We've been enjoying An Idiot Abroad, and started watching The West Wing with our daughter. West Wing is all politics and life behind-the-scenes, so she loves it. We didn't see it when it first aired. Back in the day, we just had the two VCR/DVD machines, so if more than three interesting shows aired in the same time-slot, we had to forego one of them. The first seasons of 24 and Chuck were also victims of that situation. You would think we'd finally be watching House of Cards, as that's also politics, but it's a darker, more cynical take on them. Our daughter wants to be inspired, not demotivated.

Other news: HalfshellHusband is almost 6 weeks post-op now. He's moving more freely, though he still can't drive and bending over his hard. Things hurt if he stands too long or pushes his limits, but it's all trending upward. I'm looking forward to not having to sleep in the guest bedroom, which gets too much light and also abuts the master bathroom. As in, the sinks and bathtub/shower are on the other side of the wall. Being a light sleeper is a curse.

And now, for fans of the weird: a Star Trek Opera, in which The Abduction from the Seraglio is now re-imagined as a Star Trek adventure, complete with KirK, Spock, and Klingons. \o/

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
09 August 2016 @ 12:03 am
Criminy—I was promised Men's Gymnastics for the Olympics broadcasting tonight, and after hours of diving and endless swimming... women's beach volleyball is on? Gah.

Summer's getting away from me, not just because of HalfshellHusband's surgery and recuperation. The kids are all scheduled up with their summer obligations, and then our son starts school next week. Too soon!

The Boy is doing two weeks as a zoo camp counselor, and despite a year of conservative-leaning bro-ness (which has kind of been driving us nuts), he has succumbed to the cuteness of the younger kids. Those first and second graders are pricelessly loopy. :)

Our daughter has been working in public relations at a state government office all summer, and has another month to go. She spends hours answering phone calls from the public, and fortunately has a very calm personality. There are... a lot of people out there who are either off their meds or have never been treated. It's sad. So many of them are distressed about things that aren't really happening. She has also heard from a lot of NRA members about various gun bills, and from people having disability or benefits issues (and her office isn't the right one to call, which makes the callers feel even more frustrated and hopeless). There are some, shall we say, frequent flyers, too. One phone call devolved into this:

Caller: ... this is important.
Daughter: I understand, sir.
Caller: And the government is just *blerk* *frambot*
Daughter: o_O
Caller: *ranty-rant-rant-rant-rant* !!
Daughter: Sir, I'd like to have you talk to someone higher up. Do you mind if I place you on hold for a moment?
Caller: Don't transfer me to Jeremiah, he doesn't help me.
Daughter: I—
Caller: And don't send me to the Threat Assessment Unit, either!

Wow. She's had a few days where she has come home in need of chocolate. And her internship half-day only, too.

Thanks to the ever-fluxing weather here, I had another garage-biking session last week. I decided to try out Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Netflix streaming. I really didn't know anything about the production, so first, I was not expecting it to be so British. Then there are out-of-place touches like the wife's push-up bra, salon-styled hair, and serious makeup, and Lucy Lawless' character has unbelievably red hair (as in, that blueish-red color that isn't natural, and you'd be hard-pressed to achieve without modern hair dyeing techniques). I was surprised to see John Hannah in there, trying to squelch his accent a bit (but bursting out with the occasional slippage in phrases like "Wi' are blassed..."). The "blood" part of the title is a big part of the show. With the unusual colorization and CGI slo-mo action and blood effects, you would not be far off to characterize it as "This is SPARTA... cus."

The lead character pulled me in, though, and the story line is interesting, so I'm sticking with it for now. It was criminal to cut Spartacus' hair—and why? Some of the other gladiators had long hair, and he was so much better-looking with the hair and beard.

Oops—Men's Gymnastics is finally on, though it isn't going well. Still, I want to see what's doing. And whether Daniel Leyva's hyper-enthusiastic father is there to put on a show. ;)

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
03 August 2016 @ 12:18 am
HalfshellHusband is making progress with his recovery. His painkillers weren't doing much, so he quit taking them. He's had a lot of pain, slowly receding now, but dropping the meds really helped him let go of that extra water weight. He has only 3 pounds left from the 14 he gained in those 24-hours at the hospital. He also had terrible itching when the various bandages were taken off (the adhesive seems to really irritate his skin), so the doctor prescribed a high-power antihistamine that sometimes helps boost the effect of painkillers.

24 hours of blissful relief, and then the drug's most common side-effect kicked in, so there was nausea and vomiting for another day and a half. You always hope you'll be the lucky one who doesn't experience the negative results, but it's rarely true. :(

BUT! He ditched the walker over a week ago, and at 3 weeks post-op was given permission to walk unaided in the house and use the cane outdoors. So, the mobility part of the recovery is going really well. He tried going upstairs yesterday, and while his leg muscles hurt, the hip joint didn't. He's only been upstairs a couple of times in the last 8 or 9 months, so that was huge. He can start on an exercise bike anytime, which is motivating. He's really missed biking outdoors.

Other news: I went to a soccer game with our daughter last week, Arsenal vs. the MLS (USA Men's All-Stars). She'd been looking forward to that for months. Arsenal is her second-favorite Football Club (Bayern-Munschen is first), and her fourth favorite team overall (Germany and Wales are between the two FCs). But she recognized a lot of the players, and they were good. Plus, we were mostly in the Arsenal USA fan section, so there was a lot of the European soccer-song experience that you really don't get with U.S. soccer. We were also in the full 90-degree sun the whole time (Oh, Mama!), and a couple of guys behind us got progressively drunker until one of them started railing against "You f**king hobo!", whoever he thought that was. But still... :)

TV-wise, we started watching An Idiot Abroad on Netflix. This is Ricky Gervais sending some travel-adverse friend of his off to foreign places and filming the outcome. The friend is a nice-enough guy, dry sense of humor and sometimes unintentionally funny, and well-meaning overall. As his travels progress, he gets less patient about some of the weird things he's being asked to do (I can't fully blame him), and there is always at least one spot in every episode where I wind up laughing myself sick. He does realize that he's not always appreciative of other cultures (or art/architecture in general, I think), and that often the weirdness is the conflict between his expectations and an entirely different way of doing things. OTOH, eating insects is a concept that a lot of Westerners just can't accept. It all depends on whether you grew up with that as an "okay" thing or something horrifying. In theory, of course—I have a phobia about insects and spiders, so I'm coming from farther afield on that issue than most people. I think I could do reptiles or amphibians if I had to (if they weren't too gooey), but I also don't have any phobias about those. Overall, I think the show's worth checking out. :)

I hope to update later this week with more random things, but I'm still emotionally slogging at the moment, so who knows? However, I'll leave you with this link to a WIRED article I read at the gym, about a Japanese Robot Hotel. Just the thought of being checked in by a dinosaur-bot makes me want to stay there!

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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