Thursday, January 25, 2007


Kevin has invented a new meta-meme. And tagged me. Sigh.

1. Memes have been called "crack for bloggers" - why do you agree with this statement?

Because I always agree with whatever Kevin says. And because, like crack, memes aren't nearly as popular as they used to be.

Incidentally, "meme" was Beaker's only line on The Muppet Show.

2. Which is more gay - writing a meme or answering a meme?

Jim Henson would beat you up, if he weren't seriously dead.

3. In what way is this the best meme you have ever answered?

It is clearly the best in the sense that responding to it requires no serious thinking whatsoever. Yay!

4. Scooter said he never made out in a movie theater, while Mean Mr. Mustard is a fan of Sam Shepard. Which one of them is the biggest loser?

Scooter. Duh!

5. I've only been tagged once to do a meme. Does this mean I'm very lucky, have no friends, or both?

I'd say you're very lucky, but that's only because I know your wife.

6. If you were stuck on a deserted island, which three memes would you want to have with you?

This meme is silly.

7. Why is question number 7 always the best question in a meme?

That's a popular misconception. The position of the best question varies depending on the overall length of the meme. In the case of an 11-question meme, the best question is usually number 13 or 14.

8. If you could answer a meme about any topic, which topic would it be?

Homosexual giraffes.

9. Which would you rather answer - a meme about homosexual giraffes or one about dryer lint?

Okay, now that is a scary coincidence.

10. Does your answer to question number 9 mean that you are A) a homophobe, or B) a lintphobe?

You're clearly not reading my answers.

11. How happy are you that this meme is done now?

I won't tag anyone else, because, yeah, silly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blood Money

In a comment on this post about apheresis donations, my good friend Kevin asks, "Do you get money for this or not? That's the only thing I need to know about it."

Not at the Red Cross or other non-profit blood centers. But if you insist, then yes; there are for-profit "plasma centers" where you can get paid to donate plasma. (Technically, I don't think they can legally pay you for your plasma, so they skirt the law by paying you for your time.)

But by law, "paid plasma" can't be used to transfuse patients; it can only be used in manufacturing of drugs -- and even, apparently, cosmetics! (And that makes sense; if you need a transfusion, or an infusion of platelets or white blood cells, which would you rather have pumped into you: blood products from someone who donates out the goodness of their heart, or blood products from somebody who does it for money?) So the "plasma centers" are typically operated by for-profit pharmaceutical companies like ZLB Behring, which make lots of money converting the $20 plasma they buy from you into drugs -- whereas the blood and platelets and whatnot that you donate at the Red Cross actually helps people immediately and directly. (It has to help immediately; a platelet donation has a very short shelf-life, something like 5 days. So getting donors in frequently is a must.)

What? Oh, I'm sorry, Kevin. You were hoping for snark? Well, then. No, I don't get money for it. I get sex.


I've been watching the Saint Paul library's online catalog daily to see when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows showed up, so that I could place a hold on it ASAP. It showed up last week, but the website reported that "There is no publication date for this work in progress," and refused to let me place a hold. Fine. So I kept checking daily. And Friday, it still said "There is no publication date for this work in progress," but there were also five holds, and I still couldn't place one.

Kristi's theory was that it was library staff getting a jump on the public. I didn't like the theory much, but what the heck. I continued watching, and today it got up to 15 holds, and I got annoyed. So I called. Turns out there's something wrong with their online catalog, and those holds were all placed either in the library or on the phone. So I'm number 16 in the system. Since they're guaranteed to get more than 16 copies, I should get it fairly quickly. And then I'll read it to Emma.

I love libraries. I really do.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Well, not really.

Today I did my first apheresis donation. This may seem odd, since Kristi worked for the better part of two years as a Red Cross apheresis nurse, but the fact is that I never felt I had the time to do it; a two-hour commitment is hard when you and your wife are working incongruent shifts and there's a kid to deal with.

But Kristi has now moved to an 8:30-4:30, five-day-a-week position as an apheresis recruiter, and yeah -- she recruited me.

The difference between donating platelets and donating whole blood is amazing. Apheresis donors get the comfortable, cushy beds. They get blankets and televisions and personal DVD players and a library of movies from which to choose. They get lots of personal attention. And you know what? They deserve every bit.

You're on that cushy bed for about two hours. You have a needle in each arm the entire time; you can't so much as scratch your nose by yourself, so the staff is more than happy to do that for you. (No, Scooter, I didn't ask them to scratch me anywhere else.) Small bladder? This might not be your thing. The anti-coagulant they pump into you binds with calcium in your blood, which can lead to physical reactions -- not severe, but odd. Plus, for whatever reason, the saline and anti-coagulant enter your body at room temp, not body temp, so you get cold quickly; blankets, heating pads and hot water bottles for your hands are standard equipment.

So this afternoon I watched a couple of Farscape episodes, got lots of TLC, and maybe helped save someone's life. Platelet donations end up, oddly enough, going to people who need platelets -- which often means cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Man, if there was ever an easy way to do something to make you feel good about yourself, this is it.

And the beauty of it is, I don't have to wait eight weeks to go back, as I would after a whole blood donation. In fact, I could go back in three days to donate again -- though I think every two weeks will be enough.

Monday, January 08, 2007

That Was Cold

Thanks, Kevin.

Your results:
You are Mr. Freeze

Mr. Freeze
Dr. Doom
The Joker
Lex Luthor
Poison Ivy
Dark Phoenix
Green Goblin
You are cold and you think everyone else should be also, literally.

Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Movie Meme

I've been tagged by Scooter.

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
The first one that comes to mind is Princess Bride, but I don't want to repeat what Scooter said, so I'm going to have to go elsewhere. My dad used to enjoy watching movies over and over, and I probably sat through Silverado ten times with him, so that's gonna be it.

2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.
2001: A Space Odyssey. When I was younger I'd catch it at art houses whenever I could. I saw the original Star Wars at least twice in the theater and once at a drive-in.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Hugh Grant (yeah, he's always Hugh Grant, but Cary Grant was always Cary Grant and it worked out pretty well for him). Kevin Kline.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Cruise. Travolta. Madonna. There's your dream cast right there.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. Laugh while you can, monkey-boy.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
All of 'em? None. But I'd do pretty well with Guys and Dolls and Little Mermaid. Do Beatles movies count?

7. Name a movie that have been known to sing along with.
A Hard Day's Night.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
Paradise Now. You might absolutely hate me for it, but you should see it.

9. Name a movie that you own.
Emma owns most of the movies in our household. I own Almost Famous, though. And both Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Sam Shepard is mostly known as a playwright, but I've always liked him on screen.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Star Wars, for one. With Shelley Jeffers.

12. Ever made out in a movie?
See above.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to it.
An Inconvenient Truth. And Syriana. And Brokeback Mountain. There's a long list, actually.

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
Can't remember ever doing it.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
Can't think of one.

16. Popcorn?

Nope. But if Emma has some, I'll steal quite a bit of it.

17. How often do go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
Very rarely.

18. What's the last movie you saw in the theater?
Emma and I saw Over the Hedge at the Grandview Theatre on the day of the Grand Meander in St. Paul. Kristi and I were going to see The Prestige on my birthday, but we got a late start and settled for a leisurely dinner instead.

19. What's your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Like Scooter, I like sci-fi, but I enjoy lots of different kinds of movies.

20. What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
Might have been Mary Poppins.

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
I can't really think of one; if something is that bad, I think I must just block it from memory.

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Eraserhead. (Though I doubt I'd enjoy it much if I saw it today.)

23. What is the scariest movie you've seen?
The original Alien scared the bejeezus out of me in the theater; that's the first thing that comes to mind.

24. What is the funniest movie you've seen?

I have a huge soft spot for What's Up, Doc? and Blazing Saddles.

Let's see -- I'm going to tag Sean, Ali and Ben, just to see if any of 'em are paying attention.