Category Archives: geek stuff

5 Years Ago & 2001

Today marks 5 years from the day when I asked Larry to marry me.

Engaged! (the whole story)

It had been a long time coming, and honestly long overdue on our part to finally make that leap, but we did. We leapt.  And 11 months later, we got married.   It was amazing times, and we had our life together, and then cancer came and ended it.  I can mostly ignore the end months nowadays, but those memories don’t truly go away.  It was awful.  It makes me cry when I do think about it.   I’ll never not cry when I think about that.

But the times before that, engaged or not, won’t be forgotten.   I’ve got pictures, blog posts, memories to help me remember those good times.   Nothing was ever perfect and I won’t claim that here, but god damn, it really was just wonderful to have found someone who got me.  I got him.  When we needed space we figured out how to reduce getting on the other’s nerves.  We helped each other live more full lives.   It wrecks me to know I won’t ever see him again.

Larry’s birthday is tomorrow.   A group of friends and family will be getting together on a call to celebrate.  Not everyone will be there, and I completely understand.  I’m not even sure how I feel about it – I want to see people but “celebrating” his birthday doesn’t sound right – he’s dead.  I just want him back and for the last 2 years to be undone.   It’s naive.

I am not in the same emotional state as I was earlier this year.   I don’t know how to really describe it.   I am used to being alone more than I was.  I guess old habits die hard, as yeah, I have been alone before Larry so it comes back to you.   The bed is all mine.  All this room is mine to manage, and not share.  Cooking meals is up to me.   If I get lazy, I can order and Larry isn’t there to mock my laziness.  No one is.  It’s just me.  The scar tissue is building up.   The good memories fill me with melancholy, but don’t hurt as much as they used to.   The bad memories rip me apart as I mentioned above just as much as when they were new.  I guess it’ll be about managing how to deal with that going forward.

I loved him so much.   I will always be so happy we had that time together.   He was the best husband I could have asked for.

I found myself reminiscing about times pre-Larry – basically, Air Force times.  I dove into looking at Azores memories – especially as I realized that my site links to those primitive HTML pages and small-res pictures still.   Those pages were also written when I was under DADT so it felt good to actually write a little bit more with that added context gone.  I’m going to keep diving into these older pictures and keep updating, but here are some recent ones I’ve posted – good times had by all!

Halloween Party at the Salga House

An Initiation to Tropical Point

So young!   I then also was thinking about my San Antonio summer in 2001 right before I left, and the fact that I jumped out of a plane that summer!   What a trip.  I found the official video that I bought through the company as it’s like, who knows if I’m doing this again?   Let’s get the video!

It doesn’t look like there’s a previous time I posted pictures and such from that time, and I guess when I get to it, I’ll do a proper post there and include this video again.   But it was too good to pass up and not show immediately.  Again, the youth of me back then, and I remember how much I hated how I looked then.   People are always so stupid about how they look – just give yourself 20 years and you’ll realize how cute you were!

A random thing that I was entertained by – while I’ve been heavily playing the game Anno 1800 (as it is amazing and addictive), I also work in occasional playtime of The Division 2, which I’ve talked about before.   So, there’s an expansion that puts you back in NYC, the site of TD1, but this time in the southern tip of Manhattan.  Anyway, you can wander around Battery Park and the Castle Clinton area, and I was doing that in the game when all of a sudden it looked and felt very familiar.  It’s not surprising, as the videogame makers did a really good job of recreating the city, but it was particularly jarring.   Then I remembered – oh yeah, Larry and I had walked around this park one day in February 2009.   I didn’t have a post about it but I did take pictures!  And I remembered a particular picture and was like, can I find that angle again in this game?  Yes, yes I can.

So here are the pictures from that day (Feb 15, 2009) so long ago – note I had just moved into the city so I was totally a local by then.

It was a nice day for that kind of a walk, and memorable.  And then I played the game, and you can take in-game photos:

Contrast with this:Crazy, huh?   Well, it’s not insane, but I just remember tripping out realizing I’d taken pictures right there!

I’ve been keeping sane by still doing yoga – in fact, this was Day 96 straight of Yoga w/ Adriene.   I’m currently doing her 30-day Dedicate series, and I gotta say, it’s a lot more intense than the previous programs.  I like it.

TV-wise:

  • Devs:  FANTASTIC.  Very visual, very interesting, and highly compelling sci-fi that while the main premise is highly improbable, everything else around felt right at home in 2020.
  • The Clone Wars:  Wrapped up my accelerated/targeted watch of this series and it was amazing.   The story of Ahsoka is amazing.  Obi Wan proves to be one of the more bad-ass Jedis, and I was here for it.  Made parts of the follow-up series, Rebels, much more emotional.
  • What We Do in the Shadows:  Season 2 is on fire, and it’s honestly one of the best comedies going.  I love that crazy crew but every time Nadja speaks, I just laugh.
  • The Great:  Another fucking amazing show, and while it may appear that it’s some kind of costume drama, oh boy you’d be wrong to overlook it.   Loosely it’s the story of Catherine the Great while she’s still married to her husband, the Emperor Peter (not Peter the Great, who we all agree to hate as he was the subject of my Final Jeopardy question, agreed?  HUZZAH!).   It’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in quite a while, and the performances are all wonderful.  You’ll love it.

Alright, this post had a lot of schizophrenia in it.   That’s me lately.  Up, down, all around.   Stay safe.

Anniversary Blues

This past Thursday was Larry and my fourth wedding anniversary.   I still have so many emotions about it all.   Today, it really got to me a big part of what hurts so much still:   Larry was my best friend, in addition to being my husband.  Today was May 4, which is also the day co-opted by Star Wars to become “May the Fourth be with you”, and I bring that up as there was all sorts of fun, cool news from the Star Wars arena that if Larry had been alive, we’d have been talking all about.   We got each other at that base, nerdy level that only reminds me how much us meeting each other, for me, was like catching lightning in a bottle.  We just fit.  Our relationship was solid, and happy, and comfortable.  Of course, cancer really couldn’t give a shit.  I’ve been seeing news about a lot of other people losing their fights with cancer as well, and honestly, it just breaks my heart.  Cancer has become more aggressive and harder to fight and catch in lots of cases.  Our oncologist told us that most people don’t die from cancer itself – it’s the treatment (chemo is basically targeted poison) that ends up ultimately killing you as your body just doesn’t have the energy to support you anymore.  i don’t know, I just figure I’m probably going to get something even worse and then it’ll come down to what will I want to do?  Fight, or see what happens?   I don’t know.

So on April 30, Nicki graciously set up a Zoom call with friends and family around the country.  It was very nice to see everyone at once, even if it was brief.   A few of Larry’s family were there, as were a lot of friends from out here.  We toasted to Larry.  No big speeches from me as I’m not really able to do it anymore.  I loved him, I love him, but I lost him. It’s hard to get over that.

Nicki got me this wonderful artistic rendering of one of the wedding pictures.   I love it:

Nicki got this made for me / us – I love it

Here’s a link to the Youtube video of the wedding ceremony – it’s linked in the wedding posts, but I watched it again.   I’m glad we at least did get that part captured on video – I have regrets about not hiring a videographer now.   But who would have thought that the clock was ticking as loud as it was?

On the Number Ones article series I have written about before, they got to a song that Larry and I bonded over when getting to know each other through chemistry.com:  “Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates.  The author gives the song credit for what it meant to Hall & Oates but wasn’t a fan, overall.   To me, it signifies one of the very first points during getting to know Larry before even meeting him when I realized we might be on the same wavelength.   Well, I guess I’ve been morose for as much as I can deal with on this site.   Sometimes I want to reach out to someone about things like the above, and then it dawns on me that no one can help.  Only time, and even then, who knows.  All anyone can say is, “it’ll get better” and I don’t have that confidence anymore.  “Larry wouldn’t want you to be like this” is also true, but can’t help it.

Anyway, I have continued with some retail therapy.   I got a fun Kodak negative scanner and had a blast last week scanning negatives from 1990 to 1995.   Talk about feeling like the world has completely changed.  I got some choice pictures from MHS and UCLA AFROTC as well as some Puerto Rico pics scanned in.  It’s so easy to get done and finally I’m building up my digital pictures from before 2000, which seems to be when I finally got a digital camera.

This is the scanner, and you feed in negatives on the right side.

Ah, good times.  I love the yearbook that I was the editor for.  It took the approach that MHS books had been wedded to and finally opened it up to be editorial and interesting.

Another bit of retail therapy was buying some additional Philips Hue smart bulbs for the theater area of the living room.   I saw this random tweet below:

And I was immediately inspired.  I love the use of lights on the side and around/behind the TV.  So I got two bulbs and had every intent of putting them behind the TV too, but then I realized, hmm, I could easily fuck this up without having someone else here to provide help and a viewpoint.  So I ended up instead placing the lights I got below the TV to shine up and back.  It’s a different look than the one above, but one I still very much love.  I think to do what my inspiration did, you have to have a full strip of lights that will go the entire perimeter of the TV, not just two lights.   Anyway, my results below –

Note, the Apple iPhone camera has gotten very good, but still for some reason, I could not get it to take a picture of the lights without it looking like a harsh spotlight on the wall.  Imagine that instead of what look like spotlights, it’s instead a much more subtle lighting effect.   Anyway, I know Larry would have loved it.   As you may see, the lights are fully configurable in terms of color and intensity, so I change it up depending on what I’m gonna watch to match the mood.  After that successful installation and an inaugural run using them while watching “The Devil Wears Prada”, I got drunk as hell on montepulciano wine.  I had myself a little dance party that Saturday night – in hindsight I realize I was celebrating the wedding reception anniversary a few days late, but on a Saturday night just like our wedding.   I played the wedding reception playlist on random shuffle and had myself a fucking blast.   I got all social and texted and interacted with people online, danced a hell of a lot, and managed to probably keep my hangover on Sunday from being as bad as it could have been, although the delayed headache Sunday night wanted a word.  I’d like to think it was a way to celebrate with Larry’s energy somehow.   Who knows.  Anyway, I took this picture of me in glasses which I like:

Larry always liked when I wore my glasses, and with my lack of hair on the top of my head and me having somehow destroyed my ability to grow a beard full on my face, some visual interest is needed.  And frankly, while I don’t need to (thankfully) wear glasses for reading and office use, when watching TV, it’s such a better experience for me wearing them.

I think that’s a wrap for me for now.  I’m sure other stuff is on my mind, but just wanted to check in here.

The Next Conversation – Follow Up

I had written a little while ago about how the podcast Larry was a huge fan of responded to a note I had written them telling them about his death.  A thing they’d noted was they’d read my message on their next podcast…and part of me highly doubted that would actually happen.  Just thought it would be too sad.  Well, color me happily surprised, as they did indeed read my note on the next TNG podcast episode.  They’d been doing some Picard episodes in the time since, so I was kind of not sure but yep, the next TNG episode they did included it!

It’s Episode 113, regarding TNG episode “Masterpiece Society”:

Shortly after the 16:30 minute mark is where you can listen to the part above.  It’s awesome, and of course made me cry, but I know Larry’s thrilled somewhere.

Larry Visited the Picard Set

I had sent one of the pictures that Larry took of himself while at the Picard set when I reached out to the TNC podcast guys, but there were more that he took.  It was a nice day in August when his friend Greg brought up that he could take Larry to go visit the studio in Santa Clarita.   This was before Larry was going to go back to NYC to get the hepatic pump surgery at Sloan Kettering, so it was kind of essential timing for us to do this while Larry was feeling okay.  Actually, Greg ended up picking Larry up from the Burbank UCLA infusion center when Larry had gone back to get his portable pump removed, and they then drove together to Santa Clarita.

Once there, Larry had the chance to go to producer offices, where this TNG chair actually sits, and with their approval, he was able to sit in it and be a Starfleet Captain for a moment.  He also got to then go into the set, seeing the set for the Picard spaceship (which we still haven’t seen in the show thus far, but we’re only 2 episodes in – it is visible in the trailer, so these pictures aren’t spoilers), as well as seeing the set where a fight scene was being filmed that involved Jeri Ryan’s character.  He got to go through the propmaster closet and see all sorts of cool shit and talk to the propmaster about all things Trek.  No Patrick Stewart meeting unfortunately, and that never did come about – at one point, there was a chance Larry could go to Malibu to visit the set and meet him the next week, but production issues curtailed that possibility at that time, and of course upon return Larry was in no shape to really try that again.  But one cool thing was Larry got to meet Akiva Goldsman, one of the executive producers of the show, and a giant Star Trek geek.  Of course, Larry and Akiva went on and on about Star Trek while Greg endured it.  🙂   I’m so glad that was able to happen and I thank Greg so much for making this all happen.    Larry was so happy because of it.

August 16, 2019 pics from the Picard Production Offices:

And here’s a video of Larry as Picard:

Website Note:  Posts from January 20 through now are obviously posted in real time, but posts between January 2019 (anything except the lone Rescue Me post from September) and January 20, 2020 are retroactively being inserted – their datestamps won’t indicate or show that I’m posting them now, but yeah, 2019 will start having more and more posts.   I want to post all the pictures I can of things we did last year, but I didn’t have the mental mindset to post at the time.   I can’t let Larry’s last year go unobserved.  It’ll hurt, but also, it’ll be wonderful to see his fighting spirit as he continued to try to live a life of fun and joy and happiness and love.

Larry Loved: The Next Conversation Podcast

If you knew Larry, you knew he was a giant fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation.   He loved Star Trek in general, including the movies and The Original Series, but TNG was his jam.  You’ll see on our Netflix that he’d pretty much watched every episode multiple times, and those that don’t have a complete red progress bar are those that he deemed “meh”.   TNG was his drug, and man did he love watching it – and I think he loved the cast/characters that were on the show.   Picard, of course, but also Riker, Data, Dr Crusher, Deanna Troy, Worf, Jordie….the whole crew.   I could get into some episodes, but for me, I always would have the “Larry Commentary” to help me understand what was going on or what those passing references actually meant.

So fortunately for Larry, a few years back, one of the guys behind the James Bonding podcast, Matt Mira, joined up with his co-writer friend, Andy Secunda, to go through every episode of TNG, in order.   And then talk about it.  Andy was a newbie to the franchise, so he’d come in with the new view point, while Matt was like Larry, someone who’d seen these episodes plenty.   It’s a very funny podcast series, but warning, these episodes can go on for a loooong time, and sometimes the episode itself isn’t talked about for like an hour.   It is perfect for if you’re working and just listening to something, as it feels like you’re just hanging out with two good friends.

You can subscribe to their podcast, Star Trek: The Next Conversation, via any of the podcast services.   They’re currently up to midway through Season 5.

I am bringing this up today because earlier this week, I sent an email to their podcast letting them know that one of their biggest fans had passed, and how he listened to their podcast through chemotherapy and recovery over the last 18 months.  Happily, they responded yesterday – and right on cue, I started sobbing as it was just such a happy thing to receive but also just another reminder of what I’ve lost.  They posted about Larry on Twitter here:

And they indicated that they’d read my email on the next official TNC podcast episode, which we’ll see if that actually happens as I don’t know how much they want to bum their listeners out, but still, I think Larry would be very thrilled to know two of his favorites have him in mind and are thinking of him.  I know it makes me happy.