Department of Big Surprises
Son K is enjoying his job as a research assistant for a medical diagnostics company, and I love to hear his stories about his tasks. Recently he was preparing lab specimens used to cultivate proteins. Specifically, he was working with e. coil bacteria. Dare you guess how descriptive K was when trying to convey to MH and I what the lab samples smelled like?
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And now, a related breaking (sorry) news story, which I shall classify under
Department of Tempting Fate
From The Looks Of Things © , I am probably the youngest student in my Tai Chi-Qigong class. And from the sounds of things, I am also the only student who has not (yet) inadvertently let one slip – if you know what I mean and I think you do – during one of the class’s twisting routines.
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By Grabthar’s Hammer…
…this is one actor I am really going to miss.
Alan Rickman played an amazing range of characters over the years. Praised for his performances across the board in the theatre and television, he was most widely known for his movie roles. He was perfectly cast to play the complexly nuanced, ostensible-villain-turned-heart-rending-hero, Severus Snape,  and probably most widely known for turning what could have been just another wise-cracking action film (Die Hard) into Something Truly Memorable, with his performance as arguably the greatest bad guy of all time, German terrorist Hans Gruber.
My favorites of Rickman’s many movie roles included the reticent, infatuated, honorable Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility) and Alexander Dane, the hilariously frustrated classically trained actor fallen on hard times who finds himself stuck repeating a catchphrase from his role in a sci-fi Television franchise he despises (Galaxy Quest). And I managed to forgive Rickman for so convincingly playing the conflicted husband who broke wife Emma’ Thompson’s heart in Love, Actually. For a real cinematic treat, revel in his “gloriously nasty” portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham, by which Rickman steals Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves right out from under Kevin Costner’s spasmodic British accent.
When I read the news of Rickman’s passing I noted he was the same age as David Bowie. The world lost two truly Great Brits, esteemed and beloved in their respective fields. Thanks and RIP – you guys rock (ed).
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Yet Another Reason To Hate/Quit Writing Go On Living
I belong to several professional writers associations. The Authors Guild is the largest, oldest and most influential of the lot, and the one I most admire. As per its mission to “…advocate for authors on issues of copyright, fair contracts…protect authors’ copyrights…establish fair royalty rates for both e-books and print books…” the AG has its work cut out for it, especially in these days of the digital and electronic piracy and royalty grabs changes in publishing.
The AG are the good guys; they fight the right fights. There are so many fronts, so many battles, for authors these days, I truly wish I could – as per the suggestion on the AG’s membership renewal form – add a donation in addition to my dues to further their work.
Except for one pesky detail: I have no spare writing income with which to do so.
The AG has a tiered membership dues structure, based on author members’ annual income from book and magazine writing. There are four levels: I ($0 – 24,999; II ($25 – $49,999); III ($ 50,000 – 100,000): IV ($ over $100,000), with dues rates increasing with each level.
I am (surprise!) at the lowest level. My writing income-loss sheet  has remained the same as last year, and the AG’s Level I dues have jumped 38%, from $90 to $125.
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Department of Apparently It’s a Thing ® Now
…to leave up your Christmas or solstice tree year round, and decorate it according  to whatever season’s or month’s commemorations strike your fancy. For example, you might hang paper flags from the branches during July (to celebrate Independence Day); Bunny and Easter egg ornaments in March (Spring); candy corn and mini pumpkins in October (Halloween); Quaaludes and still photos from The Bill Cosby Show in April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month)….
Well. I’ve left our tree up, but I’m not sure you can call it decorated (I did leave two of my favorite ornaments on it). I just like having it around. I don’t know why, but I derive much sinple contentment from looking at the little blinking lights.
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May your enjoy whatever constitutes your own blinking lights of contentment,
and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 I don’t need to reference the Harry Potter series of books and films, do I? I do not require readers to be fans of either; I do assume a certain amount of cultural literacy.
 In this case, famous and/or infamous peoples’ deaths.
 I’ve not done the figuring for 2015, but already know it will rival last year in pathetic-osity.
 Simply not enough footnotes in the New Year.