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Michael Kaplan

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Once again, Grey's makes me giggle. [16 Oct 2008|10:38pm]
"Below the Mason-Dixon line. Of my pants?"
-Dr. Erica Hahn to Dr. Calli Torres
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What a good summary. [15 Oct 2008|01:39pm]
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Bill Nye [11 Oct 2008|06:01pm]
That was absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to see Bill Nye speak today over at RIT. He did a phenomenal job. He's a great stage performer, knowledgeable scientist, comedian and from what I can tell all around froody guy.
The first half of his talk was spent talking about the joys of discovery and particularly space exploration. It was all a setup for the second half of his talk. The most poignant moment was towards the end of the first half in which he was speaking about how as a kid he was told that there were more stars in the sky than there were grains of sand on the beach. He had a slide up that was a picture of earth as taken from Neptune, and Earth just was a tiny speck. He pointed out that "I'm just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck. We're all just specks!"
The second half of his talk was about global climate change and what we can do to help prevent it. He talked about how incredibly wasteful our transit system is, as well as how much energy we waste simply by doing nothing. He discussed options to fix/alleviate all of these problems, and pointed out how quickly we've made such revolutions in the past.
At that point he ended his talk and got a rousing standing ovation.
He then did a brief (well less brief than the student gov't had intended) Q&A. Here was where he really shined, quickly firing off answers to questions that really weren't questions, and really were people with agendas trying to throw muck on the idea that climate change (and scientific discovery) are pressing issues.
The best of the lot was the last kid(?) to go. I'll best describe him as Chicken Little. Bill, having already discussed the LHC and how there is no danger from 'micro-black holes', you would've thought that the line of cataclysmic post LHC power up questions would've been put to rest. Oh no, Chicken Little comes up with a list of terms (that I'm 90% certain he just plain didn't understand) convinced, that any one of these could end the world too. The best bit was, he delivered it as a statement, rather than posting even a vague question to Mr. Nye. Bill handled it in the most ingenious way ever. He says to Chicken Little "Have you ever seen the show Jeopardy?". Chicken Little: "Yes." Bill: "Could you try to put that in the form of a question?"

All in all, it was a very profound talk. I'd not seen the hard data on just how much of a problem this issue is, nor how amazingly profitable it can be to take simple steps to remedy the situation. Needless to say, I'm ready to jump on the green bandwagon.
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This just makes me happy.... [11 Oct 2008|01:14pm]

Say Hebbo! from Torvakian on Vimeo.
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Dancing in the moonlight... [02 Oct 2008|01:50am]
I think all guys should know how to dance. Even if all you know is the very rudiments of something, even if you're not even that good, you should know how to dance. How come? Simply put, most women I know are at least interested in dance.

My ability to dance has given me so many opportunities to meet fabulous women, women who I otherwise might be far out of my grasp even to make first contact. Dancing is a great way to show off physical prowess while allowing you to get close to the person you are interested in. I've also found that dancing is a very good litmus paper for measuring how well a relationship would work out. Dancing exposes the raw emotion, the raw core of a person. You can't hide anything while you're dancing.

What brings this all up. I met someone on a dating site tonight that I found to be very, very interesting. Yet also somewhat daunting in how unique she was. Getting that first date is always shaky when you're online. There's a lot of risk, and sometimes interest just simply isn't there. But I suggested we go dance on the beach, and she was very interested. Dancing is one of the few things I can put on the table that makes me stand out from the crowd.

Anyway, I'm very excited to dance with her. Why am I excited, she's 6'1". I never thought I'd have the opportunity to dance with someone taller than me. Now I get my chance, and I'm giddy like a school boy.
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Doom, Dreams, and Destiny [01 Oct 2008|01:41am]
It's been a very odd road these days. After having been very ill for over 2 months, I finally seem to be on the mend. Well sorta. The meds we've got me on now send me on a trip for about 3 hours every evening, and whether it's related or not I've had nightmares 3 out of 5 nights this week. Some of them have been very realistic, others have had just enough grains of truth in them to be absolutely terrifying.

In one of my dreams I dreamt that someone was trying to break into my room. That they had thrown drugs in the room to avoid the police and were coming back to get them. They tried to break in through the partially open window in my room (which was a true fact up until that night. It had a deadbolt on it, but it was still open a few inches.) and when I shut the window they broke down the front door, took the drugs and tried to kill me with a knife. That was when I woke up.

Today I dreamt that my parents involuntarily had me put in a psychiatric facility. Except the stuff tortured the patients, and performed illegal experiments on us, and when I tried to tell my parents and friends they all thought I was nuts.

I'm honestly terrified to go to bed again. I'm afraid of what darkness my mind will torment me with again. I'll crash eventually, I've gotten very little contiguous sleep in the past 2 days.

On a happier note, the meds seem to work. The intense suicidal thoughts have vanished entirely. I feel happy, I feel healthy, and I function. Hopefully I'm on a serious mend and will be able to get back to normal life in short order.
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Taxes [05 Jul 2008|11:09pm]

I feel much better. I finished the back tax forms and discovered I only owe around $240. That's really not all that bad. Granted, if I'd filed it all on time it would've been only about $70.

So today there are a series of lessons.
1). Always remember to file your taxes on time. The only thing more certain is death.
2). Keep your cool under pressure. Freaking out here (thanks for the nasty gram NYS Dept. Taxation and finance) only made this a much more painful process. If I'd been smart enough to just sit down work through it all and figure out the hedge maze that is a tax form, this wouldn't have hurt at all and I could've been done in about 3 hours rather than stressing from it for MONTHS.

On top of all this the unexpected windfall that was my tax refund check has enabled me to pay this debt. Cosmic harmony has been restored.
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[29 Jun 2008|01:03pm]
I just did some math. Assuming my grandfather's eye drops weigh the same as water (poor assumption, but it's not going to have a huge effect on the final outcome) the price per unit weight of his eye drops is 200 TIMES the price of gold.

Gold currently stands at 926.88 per troy ounce.
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[27 Jun 2008|03:23pm]
So this aggrevates me. Granted, I've only got half of myself to blame, but I still am annoyed. My legs have been crawling for the past week and a half. I thought it was all in my head, and that we needed to do something to fix it. Turns out, what we were doing to fix it was the CAUSE, and my NP knew about this possibility all along and just neglected to mention it....


I'm full of rage and frustration and just so sick of being sick. So, in the words of the eternal apron, kiss the cook. I could use a hug or two right about now.
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[20 Jun 2008|06:58pm]
Good luck! I hope all went well.
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[13 Apr 2008|08:25pm]
Today I looked out my window and thought it is far too nice to spend the day at work today. So, after having spent 4 hours at work (yeah, well unfortunately you gotta do what you gotta do) I dodged out and bought a stunt kite and went up to the lake.

Flying kites is FUN! It was like an amazing throwback to being 10 with a whole new exciting twist thrown in. I <3 my new kite.
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[05 Apr 2008|09:05am]
Stupid BSG w/ it's stupid frakking baleful celtic/new-agey music making me cry at the end of like every episode...

Damn, this show is good.

(Oh, and amazing throwback to the old BSG theme(S2.0E8). I wonder how many people caught that one?)
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March in review [24 Mar 2008|03:12am]
For those of you who haven't been tracking me closely for the past two years, I thought I'd do a brief recap. March has been a tremendously hard month for me. I've been in the hospital twice in the month of March, I've missed out on parts of my life, things have been about as rotten as they could be.

This march, has been fortunately fairly tame compared to Marches past, there have been no trips to the hospital, there have been very few "crisis", and there was a minimum of collateral damage. So it looks like I've made it through relatively unscathed. The good news is we've learned not only how to get ahead of this thing, but we've learned better how next time to get ahead of it even better. (We could've avoided some problems if I'd known to react earlier.) They're telling me that I shouldn't think that way, and that it will lead to self fulfilling prophecies, and maybe their right, but I think it is nothing but prudent on my part to plan for that contingency, and it isn't something I can enact at the last second, so vigilance is required.

I do have to bring into question the advice that my nurse practitioner (and doctors for that matter) have been giving me. I'm on more than 8 medications now, for a variety of different ailments, and while I'm functioning, my mind is toast. I have a lot of trouble with my short term memory in particular. You should all see my office, it's a white room because it's wall to wall whiteboards with scribbles on them to help me keep track of what I'm coding, what I'm going to code, and what I have coded.

But to get back on topic, I've been fighting the urge to go off my meds for about 3 months or so now. I want to get off of them so bad, and I want to go back to having what little memory I had. Go back to not waking up like a drunkard every morning, go back to not having to swallow a huge handful of pills every night. (I've started to swallow all my meds simultaneously just to save time.) The doctors keep telling me I need to keep on the meds, I know their right, the last time I didn't I wound up in strong. Yet lord do I not want to listen. I want to pack up and go on the road where people can't bother me and I can't bother people and just go a waltzing matilda, for lack of a better phrase. Maybe find me some Rabbits.

In any case, life has at this point boiled down to battling that beast, going to school twice a week, and working some more on it on the side, and then working full time + a bit. I've had and will have conventions every other weekend until just about may, and I've been enjoying those immensely. I've spent a good deal of time down in Geneseo hanging out with my sister Bridget (and Sarah) who I adore. That's the recap.
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Happy Purim to One and All [20 Mar 2008|03:29pm]
To all those of you who don't know. Today is Purim. Anyone who's familiar with the bible might remember the story of Esther, today we celebrate that story. (Huzzah for dodging mass genocide yay!)

The best part of the whole holiday is this little instruction. We're supposed to get so drunk we can't tell the difference between the words "Mordichai" and "Haman" (the former is pronounced with copious amounts of phlegm). So if I didn't have class, I'd be making St. Patty's day look like a tea tottlin' party. (We're also supposed to make lots of noise and dress up. It's very complicated).
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George Carlin... and adorable... [17 Mar 2008|10:31am]

Once again, courtesy of Pharyngula for the heads up.
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[15 Mar 2008|12:47am]
I wish I had a girlfriend who could glow like Claire Danes...
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[14 Mar 2008|12:01am]
Dear world....
For the love of god, stop describing yourself as either "sarcastic" or "needing someone who is sarcastic". I think I will kill the next person claiming either of those two things. Go find yourself a new word. This one has been over used.
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Sprain? [12 Mar 2008|04:48pm]
I have officially managed to sprain virtually all my ribs! Yay! Today wasn't all that bad until I went to get checked out by the doctor and he felt compelled to poke and prod all of them... now it feels like my chest is in a closing vice (and not on the inside way like asthmatics describe, but in the bone crushing way)

In other notes, my Wiimote hack is going very well, check out the other blog if you want the dirty play by play. For those interested in the summary, I've gotten the basics done and I'm now starting to get some improvements in place.
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Attention: My new tech blog will appear... [11 Mar 2008|12:40am]
right here!

Please do me a huge favor and link to my blog, and take a look. I'm hoping to update it daily as I make slow progress. Pretty soon I'll have explored all the hardware angles and I'll need programmers. So.... pretty please??
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In which parties come full circle... [02 Mar 2008|07:15am]
So I went down to Geneseo last night for a Blind Date party with Arethusa (or however you spell it). Kristen was pimp'n me out and I had no objections. So a little shmoozing and a little booze (which at some point in the night did eventually give into a lot of booze) and on the tunes box comes.... "I can't wait to see you again." The place went NUTS! Half the party got up and started dancing (something no one had been doing up until now) and a good chunk of those started singing it also. On top of that it had to be played 2 or 3 times in quick succession, followed by another time or two the night before. No other song even got played twice.

For those of you not familiar with the song, it's by..... *big dramatic pause*

Hannah Montana
Yes that's right, at a college sorority party, the most awesome music was performed by a girl who is a tweeny bopper.

I won't even pretend to deny that I was one of those who jumped up fastest when it came on. (and yes, round about time 2 I remembered all of the lyrics)
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