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Adirondack Chair

Adirondack Chair (Photo credit: frontier.1968)

Blogging is not as easy as it might seem, I think. It can take our precious time and can sometimes play havoc with our emotions. It can lead to the joy of new found online friends and sharing, or sometimes to hurt and pain and misunderstandings. I’ve only been blogging for a couple of years now, but over this time there have been blogs that I enjoyed reading and following that have been deleted. I’m sure there are lots of reasons to stop blogging. Perhaps, more reasons to stop than to start. However, I wanted to create a little list to mark some of those blogs that have touched and inspired me and that are no longer available. All of these are greatly missed and I truly thank the bloggers for sharing them with us for the time that they did.

  • – I think this blogger was one of the first bloggers to like one of my poems. He was a prolific poet and always had amazing pictures to go with his poems. His use of pictures inspired me to go back and add pictures to my blog and I’ve been including pictures with my poems ever since. So, if you have ever wondered why “It’s Just Words” has words and pictures… well, now you know.
  • – was an amazing blogger and poet. She was very free and open with her comments. If I had anticipated that her blog might be deleted, I would have tried to save it all to one of my disks for future enjoyment and reading. It’s sad that the world doesn’t have access to her work right now. I would read her poetry and immediately think to myself, I wish I had written that!
  • – a follow on blog by bellesogni that was very appropriately named, but brief. She also included reblogs of interest in addition to her own original work in this beautiful, but short-lived blog.
  • – was another amazing poet and blogger. I found the often darker and exposed raw emotions in her poetry very intriguing and refreshing. I was often inspired by her work to try and make my own  poetry more edgy, but I just don’t have it in me.  I hope she is arranging to have her work published.
  • – a very young blogger and, I hope, future writer. I believe she was still in high school. I enjoyed her poetry and stories and her comments on my blog.  I hope she is doing well and is perhaps now busy in college.

Any other deleted blogs that some of you want to mention that inspired you and that you now miss?


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funny, Kirk


Checklist (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

I used to have a check list of attributes that I was looking for in my future wife. I never wrote it down, but I thought about it a lot. Which is odd, because I wasn’t dating at the time.  So, it is unclear how I ever really expected to meet the woman of my dreams.

  • a compatible sense of humor. I wanted us to be able to laugh at each others jokes.
  • intelligent. Of course, intelligence and a sense of humor go together, I think.
  • likes science fiction. I wanted us to be able to watch everything from Star Trek to Doctor Who, together
  • likes same music.  I wanted us to be able to enjoy listening to the same music, especially The Beatles and power pop. And I thought it would be nice if she liked my music and poetry.
  • likes computers.  Perhaps even works with computer software, like me.
  • appreciates science and technology
  • wants to have children. I wanted to be a father ever since I first held my little sisters first son. so, looking for a good mother for our children seemed obviously important.
  • someone I could trust. I was looking for a equal life partner that I could share anything and everything with.
  • pretty.  Of course, beauty is not easy to define and attraction is often inexplicable.
  • compassionate, caring, sensitive.  I think it is important to be empathetic to others.
  • independent.
  • forgiving.  Hey we all make mistakes.  It is critical to be able to forgive ourselves and others.
  • non-smoker.

Interestingly, when I finally started dating and met my future wife, I purposely decided to throw out my list. Something about having a list of criteria and checking them off seemed so cold and calculating to me. Which is really odd, because I’m a computer scientist.  I am cold and calculating.  Anyway, as a result, my wife doesn’t particularly care for science fiction, doesn’t like Star Trek or Doctor Who.  She listens to country music.  She is not very computer savvy.  And she doesn’t laugh at my jokes. Instead, she says, “Funny, Kirk”. We did have lots of things in common. Some things that might seem kind of inconsequential to some. We both liked “Winnie the Pooh“, for example. We collected little Pooh objects and decorated our son’s baby room in Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, too. I had a small collection of Pillsbury Dough Boy items in my kitchen from when I was single. We often searched for more dough boy collectables together.

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TV Shows Worth Sneaking Past Bedtime To Watch

I used to sneak into the hallway past my bedtime in order to watch Star Trek.  My parents knew what was going on, because when they would get up during a commercial break I’d pretend that I was just getting out of bed to go to the bathroom at that same moment.  What are the odds of that, Mister Spock?

Yeti TV

Image by Glebkach via Flickr

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Bands that Bang my Bongos

Let’s not be L-seven, come and learn to dance“,  from Wooly Bully by Domingo Samudio.

When I was very young, about 5, and  Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs came on TV singing Wooly Bully, I would get up and jump all over the place. I wasn’t dancing, the motions were probably more akin to epileptic fits than dance.  Just ask my parents.  Still, to this day that song makes me want to get up and jump around, although I never did learn to dance.  So, I guess, that makes me L-seven. I loved the early Beatles, too. I also watched and loved the Monkees on TV, especially Michael Nesmith. Those were the days, my friend.

Rock Band roadie

Image by jaymiek via Flickr

Some of my favorite bands before Audities:

Some additional favorite bands after Audities:

The Beatles are my all time favorite band. However, it wasn’t always that way. From “Please Please Me” right up to “Yesterday”, I loved every single they released. Of course, I was very young at the time, so I didn’t have any of their records. I just listened to them on the radio. I didn’t even have a record player and only had a few 45s that I could play on the family phonograph player. My records were stuff like “Puff the Magic Dragon” (that one still brings tears to my eyes) and “The Headless Horseman song” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft (I still like the guitar on that one) . I remember when “Michelle” came out, I was probably in fourth or fifth grade and I didn’t like it. By then I was more into the Monkees, I think. You could say I was stuck on the first LP of the Red Album, musically. It wasn’t until I went to college and began buying used records that I rediscovered the Beatles and fell in love with all of their albums. Yet, there is something special in the energy of those early hits. Something that I love and kept listening for over the years without really knowing what it was.

My first stereo system.

I remember my first LP, Del Shannon‘s “Total Commitment”, which I won from some local radio call-in contest. I didn’t get my first record player until my big sister went to college and left me hers. It had a single speaker and didn’t sound all that great but I thought it was cool. Around that time, my biggest exposure to music was to listen to the weekly Casey Kasem Top 40 countdown on my little transistor radio. That was a weekly ritual. I suppose all the kids were listening to Casey in the 70s with me. When I was sixteen I stopped into a audio shop and listened to Heart’s Dreamboat Annie album on a stereo record player. The sound blew me away and I worked hard and saved my money to buy my first stereo record player. I remember I bought a big combo stereo record player from Sears that had a radio and an eight track player built-in. That was so incredible to me and I started getting LP albums when I could. One of the first I bought was Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie”, of course.

Tuning fork (Diapason) on resonance box, by Ma...

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In my teen years, my favorite bands were Badfinger and the Raspberries. Songs like “No Matter What”, “Baby Blue”, and “Day After Day” from Badfinger and “Go All The Way”, “Tonight”, and “Ecstasy” from the Raspberries were just what I wanted to hear, like they were perfectly tuned to match some tuning fork deep inside me. “Sub-Rosa Subway” by Klaatu also caught my ear and I began buying all the albums that band released. Klaatu’s science fiction lyrics also caught my attention, since reading science fiction was another of my favorite ways to pass the time.

At Purdue, I enjoyed listening to the college radio. I liked some of the new wave bands, likes the Knack, the Go-Go’s, the Romantics, and Blondie. I remember I went home to visit one weekend and went to my little sister to see if she could help me identify a band that I was crazy about but didn’t know the name of. I had heard part of a side of their album on college radio but missed the name of the band. It was driving me crazy. After coming up with some strange fragments of lyrics and sounds, my little sister said, “that sounds like the cars”. I don’t know how she did it, but she was right. I had heard part of one side of “Candy-O”. After The Cars, it seemed like popular music had really left me behind. There was nothing much I wanted to listen to. As I filled in my collection of albums with missing albums by the bands I liked, I began to think my record collection was complete.

Then in the 90s, I happened to pick up a CD in a cut-out bin of a record store called “come out and play: american power pop I (1975-78)” and I was blown away. What an amazing collection. How come I had never heard of any of these bands? There was an obvious failure of the American recording companies to properly market the kind of music that I loved. My music had fallen off the radio and was now in the cut-out bins. Also, for the first time, I could put a name to the kind of music that stirred me. Power Pop. Suddenly, I was out looking for music again and one of the next big things I found was Big Star. I remember getting the CD with “#1 Record/Radio City” on it. The first time I listened to it it brought shivers to my spine and tears to my eyes. The music, especially the guitars, were so beautiful. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of them before.

I think sometime in the late 90s, I got my first internet access at home. Online, I happened upon a mailing list of like-minded lovers of power pop and other good music, called “Audities”. Joining that mailing list I discovered companies that specialized in power pop, like Not Lame Records (sadly, now out of business), Parasol, etc. This, in turn, led me to many more wonderful discoveries of other great “lost” bands, like The Grays and The Greenberry Woods and more recently, Cotton Mather. I began to divide my favorite music bands into before-Audities and after-Audities because it was like a whole new world of music had been discovered. I spent some time trading CDs with Audities friends in U.S, Canada, Europe and Australia. This got me into bands like Even, Ice Cream Hands, Sloan, the Flashing Lights, the Nines, Silver Sun and the Merrymakers. Nearly every weekend, I would go to various CD stores in the Bay Area and dive through the bins looking for overlooked nuggets like a determined prospector.

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Movies that Move Me

With the recent advances in visual effects, finally some great science fiction and fantasy movies can be made.  The Lord of the Rings is a perfect example of what is possible today.  That’s a great trilogy of movies.  Yet, when I think of my favorite movies many were made before these advances.  Is it because there is too much emphasis on action and effects and not enough on story?  I wonder.

Hollywood Sign

Image by benleto via Flickr

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These Ladies Have Phasers Set on Stun

I recently decided to add some pictures of beautiful scenery and beautiful women to my digital picture frame along with all my family and friends. This made me spend some time thinking. How do I decide who to search for? Some names came to my mind, right away, like Jennifer Connelly. I’ve always thought she was just beyond beautiful. Then, there was Lynda Carter, the real reason I enjoyed watching Wonder Woman as a teenager. First, I went to other peoples lists, but many had actresses that I was unfamiliar with and that didn’t really appeal to me. So, I spent several evenings searching and trying to remember names. Finally, I began to put together some lists. After collecting some pictures, I spent some time studying them (all in the interest of science, of course) and began to put together my “top” list.

My list of the top 15 most beautiful actresses.

  1. Charlize Theron (Aeon Flux)
  2. Grace Kelly (To Catch a Thief)
  3. Jennifer Connelly (The Rocketeer, Hulk, The Day the Earth Stood Still)
  4. Ginger Rogers
  5. Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman TV series)
  6. Deborah Shelton
  7. Erin Gray (Buck Rodgers)
  8. Ali Larter (Final Destination, Resident Evil: Extinction)
  9. Connie Sellecca (The Greatest American Hero)
  10. Natalie Wood (The Great Race)
  11. Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow)
  12. Courteney Cox (Masters of the Universe)
  13. Denise Richards (Starship Troopers, The World is Not Enough)
  14. Tea Leoni (Jurassic Park III, Deep Impact)
  15. Suzanne Pleshette (The Birds, The Power)

Runners up: Maggie Grace (Lost, Malice in Wonderland), Megan Fox (Transformers), Sharon Stone (Total Recall), Tara Reid, Nichole Kidman (Batman Forever, The Peacemaker), Naomi Watts (King Kong), Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy), Lee Remick, Kristin Bell, Kate Beckinsale (Serendipity, Underworld, Van Helsing), Jennifer Morrison, and Catherine Bell (JAG, The Good Witch).


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Honors and Awards

1999 R&D 100 Award Winner
Graduated Cum Laude, Indiana State University, 1984
The National Dean’s List, 1982-1983
Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, 1983
Indiana State University Collegiate Scholar, 1981-1982
Phi Eta Sigma, Freshman Honor Society, 1979
Top Ten Graduation Award Medal, 1978
Hoosier Scholar, the State of Indiana, 1978
Anderson Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Student, 1978
The Danforth “I Dare You” Award for Qualities of Leadership, 1978
B.P.O. Elks Teenager of the Month, June 1977
American Legion Hoosier Boy’s State Delegate, 1977
Junior High Graduation Awards: South Side Award, All A’s for Three Years, Most Outstanding Achievement in Science and Math, Outstanding Achievement in English, French, Health, and Instrumental Music, 1975
Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) History Medal, 1974
2nd Place Regional Science Fair at Ball State 1974
2nd Place Regional Science Fair at Ball State 1973

South Side Awards.

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Comic on the quality of different academic pub...

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P. Bergstrom, A. Bielajew, W. Chandler, L. Cox, T. Daly, D. Garrett, B. Guidry, C. Hartmann Siantar, S. Hornstein, R. House, D. Jong, E. Moses, R. Patterson, J. Rathkopf, A. Cshach von Wittenau, “Monte Carlo Transport Physics Algorithms and Variance Reduction Methods in the PEREGRINE™ Dose Calculation System,” Medical Physics 25 (7) Part 1 (1998) p. A186.

A. Schach von Wittenau, L. Cox, P. Bergstrom, R. House, W. chandler, C. Hartmann Siantar and R. Mohan, “Accelerator-Specific Photon Phase Space Description and Sampling Techniques in the PEREGRINE™ Monte Carlo Dose Calculation System,” Medical Physics 25 (7) Part 1 (1998) p. A142.

C. L. Hartmann Siantar, P. M. Bergstrom, W. P. Chandler, L. J. Cox, P. Daly, D. Garrett, R. K. House, E. I. Moses, R. W. Patterson, and E. Schach von Wittenau, Fast Monte Carlo for Radiotherapy – the PEREGRINE™ Project, Proceedings of the 1998 ANS Radiation Protection and Shielding Division Topical Conference: Technologies for the New Century, April 19-23, 1998, Nashville, TN.

C. Hartmann Siantar, P.M. Bergstrom, W. P. Chandler, L. Chase, L. J. Cox, T. P. Daly, D. Garrett, S. M. Hornstein, R. K. House, E. I. Moses, R. W. Patterson, J. A. Rathkopf, A. E. Schach von Wittenau, “Validation and clinical implementation of the PEREGRINE™ Monte Carlo dose calculation system for photon beam
” Journal of the International Federation for Medical & Biological Engineering 35, Supplement Part2 (1997) p. 1102.

C. L. Hartmann Siantar, P. M. Bergstrom, W. P. Chandler, L. Chase, L. J. Cox, T. P. Daly, D. Garrett, S. M. Hornstein, R. K. House, E. I. Moses, R. W. Patterson, J. A. Rathkopf, A. Schach von Wittenau, “Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s PEREGRINE™ Project“, 1997 XII the International Conference on the use of Computers in Radiation Therapy, D. D. Leavitt and G. Starkschall, ed. Medical Physics Publishing, p. 19-22.

M. J. Shaw, W. H. Williams, K. S. Jancaitis, C. C. Widmayer, R. K. House, “Performance and operational modeling of the National Ignition Facility“, Optical Modeling and Performance Predictions. Edited by Kahan, Mark A. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 5178, pp. 194-203 (2004)

M. J. Shaw, W. H. Williams, R. K. House, C. A. Haynam,”Laser performance operations model (LPOM)“, Optical Engineering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory II: The National Ignition Facility. Edited by Lane, Monya A.; Wuest, Craig R. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 5341, pp. 73-83 (2004)

M. J. Shaw, W. H. Williams, R. K. House, C. A. Haynam, “Laser performance operations model“,Optical Engineering, Volume 43, pp. 2885-2895 (2004)

M. Shaw, W. Williams, R. House, C. Haynam, “Laser performance operations model (LPOM): a tool to automate the setup and diagnosis of the National Ignition Facility“, Optical Modeling and Performance Predictions II. Edited by Kahan, Mark A. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 5867, pp. 393-404 (2005)

R. A. Sacks, A. B. Elliott, G. P. Goderre, C. A. Haynam, M. A. Henesian, R. K. House, K. R. Manes, N. C. Mehta, M. J. Shaw, C. C. Widmayer, W. H. Williams, “Laser energetics and propagation modelling for the NIF“, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp. 032024 (2008)

M. Shaw, R. House, W. Williams, C. Haynam, R. White, C. Orth, R. Sacks, “Laser performance operations model (LPOM): a computational system that automates the setup and performance analysis of the national ignition facility“, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp. 032022 (2008)

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Science Fiction Book Recommendations from my youth

Sleeping Planet by William R. Burkett, Jr.

Earth is attacked by orange skinned alien Llralans. Instead of destroying everybody, they put everybody to sleep and occupy the “sleeping planet”. However, there are a few “unaffecteds” that remain awake and put up a fight for the planet. The early sequence of a hunter in his flying car suddenly finding himself in the midst of an alien invasion really drew me into the story.

Man of Many Minds by E. Everett Evans

George Hanlon has special mental talents that lead to him being offered a position in the Inter-Stellar Corps Secret Service. Space Opera at it best. (available free online at

The Brain Machine by George O. Smith

Young Jimmy Holden’s parents invent a electronic educator machine and are killed for it. But not before they use the machine to store its secrets in Jimmy’s mind and boost him beyond his years. Now he must find a way to survive and grow up while his parent’s killers are trying to steal their work and finish him off.(available free online at

Danger Planet (or Red Sun of Danger) by Brett Sterling (Edmund Hamilton)

Curtis Newton, a heroic adventurer and scientist, is Captain Future. His father, Roger Newton, and mother were killed in their secret laboratory on the moon. Orphaned, young Curtis was raised by the Futuremen: Simon Wright, the brain, Grag, the metal robot, and Otho, a synthetic android. Simon Wright had been a fellow scientist that Roger Newton had saved by placing his brain in a box to keep him alive. Grag and Otho were artificial intelligences created by Roger and Simon Wright. Danger Planet takes these characters to the faraway planet Roo, once ruled one million years ago by evil ultra-beings known as the Evil Ones. My very favorite Captain Future story.

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