Friday, December 28, 2007

The GenoType Diet

Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo's latest book, The GenoType Diet is in bookstores now.

Learn more....

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Guest Entry: Maggie's Christmas Present

This story was recently posted by my friend, Maggie on a little weight loss support forum where we are both members.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And best wishes for the new year. I got a most unusual gift for Christmas this year. I posted about it at HDAC but thought you might be interested in what is going on in science today............

Jason admired the bracelet watch that Tony had given me for Christmas and said, “I have a gift for you, too. It’s not as pretty as Dad’s.” He brought a sack to my desk and took out a box from it. The box was marked PlayStation 3.

I was confused and thought, “PlayStation 3? Isn’t that the unit that kids play games on?” Jason opened the box and took out a disc of a Spiderman game. Somehow I just couldn’t see myself sitting around in my pajamas playing a Spiderman game. I didn’t know what to say. Maggie without words? Never! But it was true. I didn’t know what to say. How about, “Can you get your money back? Is it returnable?”

Jason was clearly enjoying my confusion but finally took pity on me and began to explain. “The PlayStation 3 is a super fast computer. It is much faster than my computer and mine is the fastest PC around.”

Still not understanding, I thought, “Okay, so I can play Spiderman super fast?”

Jason said that this computer will probably never be used to play a game. It is for folding at home.

Folding at home is a distributed computer project designed by Stanford University. The project’s goal is to understand protein folding and mis-folding and how they relate to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Mad Cow Disease, some cancers and the biggie for all of us, Huntington’s Disease.

Basically, how it works is that a small part of a folding problem is sent through the Internet to computers around the world. The program will run in the background using unused CPU power or run as a screen saver. When the owner of the computer is away and not using it, the software written at Stanford uses the computer to fold and discontinues the folding when the owner returns to use his computer again. When the problem unit is completed it is returned to Stanford and reassembled into the collected data. Over a million computers are participating in the folding project and over 27,000 of those are PlayStations. Sony sells the PlayStation with the software for folding already installed. And we have already learned more than was thought possible. Fifty-four scientific papers have been published using the information gained. It gives me even more hope that a cure for Huntington’s is near.

Collectively, the computers make up the fastest computer in the world. And it is working for us!

Jason set up my PlayStation 3 in our conference room at work and we watched the graphics on our screen. A protein molecule tumbles over and over with a world map in the background showing the approximate location of the computers that are being used in the project. We registered my computer and soon had our first unit of work. The results of individual computers is shown at a website and I was delighted to see this morning that I had completed 1 unit of CPU work. When we tire of the graphics or need the screen for other purposes, the PlayStation 3 will be installed in the server room to run 24/7 without a holiday, even Christmas.

I know my little PlayStation 3 is only one in the million working to solve the mystery of folding and mis-folding and how they relate to HD, but I get a deep satisfaction that it is there, contributing to the solution.

Thank you for the gift, Jason.


Maggie's husband Tony has Huntington's Disease.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!

Christmas Carols for the Psychologically Challenged















Special thanks to bchand and Sedonia Sunset who contributed to this entry.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Christmas Present

I am getting a brand new sewing machine for Christmas. It won't be "under the tree" so to speak on 12/25, but I did put a deposit on it about a week ago. I'm quite excited about it. The machine I am getting is the elna 7300 Pro Quilting Queen. Even though I'm not a quilter, this is the machine I'm getting.

I've never owned a new machine before, so this will be new experience for me. Every sewing machine I've ever owned has either been given to me used, or purchased used. When I had taken my Pfaff 1473 in for regular maintenance two weeks ago, I was asking him about getting a used back up machine or purchasing a second Pfaff for parts. He sat me down and told me that for the type of sewing I was doing, I really needed to get a new, more powerful machine. Besides, if/when the electronic board goes out on my Pfaff, that's it. I can't get a new one.

I didn't want to hear that of course, because who can just open up their wallet and put down two grand on a new machine? Not me. But what he did offer me was to make payments and when I was two weeks away from making the last payment to let him know and he would order the machine. And, if I put a down payment on it before 12/31, he would knock 15% off the price.

Back in 1994 I bought my first used Pfaff from him, an 1171 the same way. On a payment plan. It was quite old when I did buy it and it lasted me ten years. About three years ago I bought the 1473 and I really love it. I'm a "love the Pfaff brand" sewer, but this machine has some wonderful features that any hard core sewer would love to have. Most important to me is the fact that it has a more powerful motor in it than my Pfaff, which will help me tremendously in sewing the heavy upholstery fabrics as well as the glued/bonded fabrics.

Once I finally have my machine, I'll take a photo of it on my sewing table and put it up on the blog.

This entry will be cross posted on the sewing blog.

Friday, December 7, 2007

December 7th, Pre-trial hearing, Phil Spector

Update 3!
I'm here on the 9th floor with Dr. Adams. There is no one that I can see from the Spector trial, although Judge Fidler's clerk, Wendy just arrived. Hopefully the courtroom will be opened soon. Dr. Adams is still watching that dual jury trial in 107. The two juries are in deliberations, yet there is another case with the same judge that is starting jury selection for another trial. One of the juries is using courtroom 104's jury room for their deliberations. Dr. Adams just ran off since his courtroom opened just as I wrote this.

I'm having trouble keeping connected to the net in the hallway. When I tell Dr. Adams that before he took off, he tells me that all the CourtTV personnel, anyone on a laptop in the back row during trial number one had the same problem.

The hallway is somewhat empty. They're are people on benches, but it is no where full. I think one of the court reporters just went into 106. It's a face I've not seen before.

I just got kicked from the net again, but it could be because I was looking at the phone, and just jiggled the wire a bit. It's a waiting game now, to be let into 106.

Although I promised myself I would try to learn to use the built in keypad for my macBook, I procrastinated. So, I'm cheating. I've got my Logitech wireless mouse on the bench beside me, and I'm using that.

There is a mix of people in the hallway. Court employees, attorneys, and those waiting for trials that must still be in deliberations.

And y'all will just have to bear with me and my terrible spelling. I probably won't have time to spell check everything before I post it.

There was this one attorney in the hallway, but it appears that he's waiting for 108 to get started. I've seen his face before, but I don't know his name.

There's is quite a bit of chatter from the people in the hallway. Some are reading books while others are catching a last minute bit of breakfast. The hallway is getting busier, but no familiar faces other than Wendy, the clerk, who already arrived.

A reporter, a woman I've seen before has shown up.

A juror on another trial comes by and thinks I'm working. "That's a good idea." I explain that I'm a blogger, writing about the Spector trial. He wants to know how I'm connected, and I tell him my husband figured everything out, using our cell phone to "tether" to the net. The juror, Larry, and I talk about the Spector trial for a bit. But it looks like he might have to go into a courtroom soon.

I'm inside the courtroom!

The female reporter is arranging with the bailiff to set up sound for the hearing. She's from radio. I just got the courage to ask her which station she's from. It's KNX.

There are a total of five people in the gallery. (That includes me.) Wendy is talking to some one who is at her desk. The bailiff is at her station.

Another trial watcher enters, a young man in jeans, tennis shoes and carrying a red notebook. I've never seen him before, and he sits on the plastic chairs against the back wall near the door. I'm hoping my battery holds out for the next hour. I can see that from now on, even in the hallway, I'm gong to have to hook up the Mac to an outlet. During Spector I, power was provided for those on laptops. Now there is an outlet, or what looks like an outlet from here, all the way in the far left corner, right where the still photographer would set up, and behind where the CTV video control operators would sit at their little console station. I'm going to go check it out.

Darn! The problem with tethering the phone is, any movement with the phone wire can cause it to disconnect, but yes, if I have to, I could move down there and use the outlet.

Ah, the guy with the notebook appears to be an undercover detective. He's talking to other people in the courtroom, and it's clear from the conversation. It's most likely they are here to get documents signed by Judge Fidler, but I won't know until I actually see the Judge.

The bailiff leaves to get a defendant. Wendy just asked her to go get someone. Maybe the black man at Wendy's bench is the individuals attorney. Yep. I just heard him say, "I wanted to get on that case."

There's Judge Fidler.

He's signing documents for three gentlemen who have been waiting. Two of the gentlemen leave. The one who appears to be an attorney is still here.

The defendant comes in. His attorney is a woman, and the man who stayed behind must be the prosecutor.

The woman reporter from radio, leaves and tells me that the hearing is at ten am. Now it's coming back to me. I do remember meeting her at Spector 1, but for the life of my fading brain, I can not remember her first name, and I'm too embarrassed/shy to ask. But she addressed me by my first name, so she remembers my first name like a good reporter would.

Court is in session for another case. Defense attorney is asking to put the matter over for Feb. 1st. They are still hammering out charges. Everything is agreed to, and the defendant in his blue jail uniform, is taken back.

Alan Parachini, head of the court's public relations office comes in, and the KNX reporter tries to arrange with him to get the audio sound set up. Alan looks good. His hair is a bit shorter. I'm not sure if she got that approved or not, but I think so. They chat a bit, but I'm not really following the conversation.

The courtroom is very quiet. Probably no one will show until about 20 minutes from now, if they are on time. Alan left, the reporter is here with someone (another staffer?), and they talk. It's just the three of us in the gallery. I ask the reporter if they will have sound, and she tells me that Channel 5 will be filming, so they will take sound off of them. Understand, Ch. 5 will not be live. They will have to wait to take the film back to a truck or studio before they can put it on the net.

The court reporter is all set up (She handled the 30 second hearing earlier.) and Wendy and her chat a bit.

The Spector's and two bodyguards just walked in. Steven, Mikulan from the LA Weekly, who just arrived and sat down beside me, said they had to use the public metal detectors today. The place they used to go to was locked. (The private service elevators.)

Rachelle and Spector are sitting in the front row, Rachelle has her arm around Spector. She's wearing what looks like from here, a suede tan colored suit. Here hair is pulled back into a ponytail, and she has these little childlike tiny flower clips in her hair.

Damn. What happened to my last entry?

Doron Weinberg shows up. Rachelle gets up and gives him a hug and a big smile, Spector smiles, and they exit the courtroom. Alan Parachini is in the back row, texting on his blackberry, and Ciaran McEvoy from City News sets up. Steven suggests I plug into the wired box in the back corner, but I tell him I better ask first.

The Spector's and bodyguards reenter the courtroom. Doron goes up to speak to Wendy. The Spector's are back in the front row, sitting next to the wall. One of Alan's staff enters, a cute young woman I remember from Spector 1. I wish I could remember all their names. Doron hands Alan Parachini his business card, and leaves the courtroom. This all looks good towards a deal being inked. Let's hope so!

Another reporter entered earlier and is sitting in row 2 behind the KNX reporter. They are all chatting it up, and then the KNX reporter asks me if I remember "Circus of the Stars." And, it's vague, but I barely remember a show like that.

The family, their counsel, Alan Jackson, Pat Dixon, and Ric Ocampo (sp? do I have that name right?) all arrive. The attorney's greet Mr. Weinberg, and Rick is chatting with him still standing in the aisle.

I catch Mr. Jackson's eye, and he waves to me. Linda Deutsch arrived with the big group, and another reporter just arrived with Sandi Gibbons. Sandi and Linda Deutsch chat a bit, and Alan Jackson is talking to Ciaran and Steven.

KTLA (Channel 5) has NOT shown up, so KNX is trying to quickly set up their microphone. I notice Rachelle is wearing some gold hoop earrings that look like they might be about 1.5 inches across.

Rod Lindblom, one of the family attorney's looks back, catches my eye, smiles and waves.

There is a bit of chatter. The reporters are trying to set up a microphone at the judge's desk. Mr. Weinberg paces. Jackson and Mr. Taylor are chatting.

The bailiff announces: "Cell phones off please!" The attorney's stand. Spector is at the table.

The Judge takes the bench.

Weinberg says he is prepared to be accepted at his attorney.

He is the soul counsel for the defense at this time. Chris Plourd is in San Diego and is unavailable since he in another trial after the one he currently in now.

35,000 pages, including trial transcript. Weinberg is giving a list of things he has to go over.

In order for me to get to the level of knowledge about the trial and the .... he needs about five months. And then, more time after that. Plourd isn't free until September anyway.

The Judge asks to hear from the people. Jackson and Dixon confer.

Dixon says they want something as soon as possible. I would ask at this time not to set (a date of) September, and come back in February, to see where we are.

Weinberg responds, referring to Plourd's schedule. "He is in trial right now." Mentions the trial/defendant. He won't be done with that, until March 12. And then, another trial after that. Brown and the one he is in now will keep him tied up until the earliest, August/September.

Judge Fidler speaks. "I think I have a resolution that will solve it for everybody. Set it as the beginning in July, up to mid August."

Just depends on Mr. Plourds trials.

Weinberg asks not to do that. Plourd won't be ready until at least July, most likely August.

Now Weinberg mentions a family vacation that he always takes in August, 2 weeks, and goes on about his boys being at an age where, this is the last time they he will probably be able to vacation with them.

Judge Fidler responds, "We will come back in May, and see what your needs are."

Alan speaks. He has a request. They may be looking at other experts. "I don't want to wait until May to know about other experts." Waiting until May is okay as far as checking where we are.

Doron is still stalling about that.

Judge says, "discovery compliance date." Doron says a date in March. Alan looks at calender. Alan leans over the gallery wall and asks John Taylor about March and he says okay.

Judge just needs the "zero of 60" date for legal purposes. Thursday March 22nd, is the next trial date time. 9:00 am. That's just a check in date.

And that's it.
The judge leaves the bench.

Then Doron asks the judge back, and asks about the Spector's gag order from first trial.

Doron asks if they can be relieved at the gag order.

Fidler responds. Any potential witness, anyone acting on their behalf, at this time he is going to keep the gag order in place.

Judge says, everyone else can, but he doesn't believe the participants should. Keep that order in effect.

How does the Judge want to schedule motions? The Judge replies, to get with the DA, work something out, and then schedule it with the clerk.

And that's it for sure. Everyone slowly mills out of the courtroom, chatting with those they know and exchanging pleasantries, talking about other cases. Etc.

The Spectors finally leave the courtroom with their attorneys.

Hopefully, I'll have more later.

The bailiffs say they are going to take the Spector's down using the service elevator.

Updated! 12:15 pm
It appears I have my dates totally off. I missed it totally when they said Friday, March 7th, for the next pretrial hearing, and it's Thursday, May 22nd, for the next "zero-sixty" countdown. The time I believe for the first hearing would be 10:00 am and in May, it would be 9:00 am.

Outside the courtroom, I met two very nice ladies, Sherri and Robin, trial watchers just like me, who saw my Market Tote and asked me, "Are you Sprocket?" Yep, that's me! We talked about the first trial a bit, and they both said that they are going to attend the second trial. Robin and Sherri said that originally, they were going to fly up to San Francisco for the Barry Bonds hearing, but they couldn't get a flight. Another thing one of them asked (I'm sorry I can't remember which one) was, "Does he always look like that?" And I ask, "You mean like, Medicated? Yep. That's how he always is." I'm looking forward to seeing both of them at the next pretrial hearing. It will be nice to have some other trial watchers to discuss the case with and hopefully have lunch with.

On my drive home, I finally remembered the KNX reporter's name. Claudia! I hope I don't forget it again.

Update: 1:35 pm
I know that Alan Jackson leaned into John Taylor and appeared to be asking him about a check in date for the next pretrial hearing sometime in March. And I thought at first, I heard March 7th, then the date "Thursday, the 22nd was passed around, after Wendy said "the 23rd, they were dark."

Linda Deutsch of the AP has a report up, but it doesn't mention a date in March. It just mentions the May 22nd date. I've sent out a few emails, asking friends in the courtroom for clarification on the next pretrial hearing date.

Update: 2:05 pm
Thank you so much Sandi Gibbons! There are two dates. March 7th and May 22nd. Both hearings are at 9:00 am. The first date is being called a "discovery compliance hearing," but will probably be more of a status hearing, to see how far the defense is, in going through all the material from trial #1. The May 22nd date is a trial date, but it is not a "firm" trial date. It will also function as a status hearing, to see how much longer the defense will need to get ready, and what is happening with Plourd's two cases, one in Imperial County and one in San Diego County. Those two cases will be the ones to watch, to see how far they get and if they have any set backs.

Online Communities

From what I've been gathering, once CourtTv becomes "TruTV," the CourtTV message boards will be a thing of the past. It doesn't appear that the massive Ted Turner conglomerate will continue to provide message boards related to trial coverage. I recommend if there are people you want to stay connected with from that community, better exchange an email addresses now. Already, there are people trying to stay connected by via small message boards that are popping up here and there. Whether they are still around a year from now remains to be seen.

There are a few established message boards that I recommend people look into. Not all are the exact same format (or forum board software) but they have been established for some time, and they have excellent moderation and dedication by several long time members.

CrimeShots is a true crime message board that has been around since March, 2004. The software is the same one used by CourtTV, however, there are quite a few more bells and whistles because the owner has utilized all the latest options vBulletin has to offer. I like this little message board. It's a well moderated community and I consider the owner a good net friend There are many long time members there who are dedicated to keeping the site updated with the latest breaking crime news. Every time I check in there are new stories to catch up on.

Crime and Justice is another well moderated true crime board that has been around a long, long time. It first started out as a small community on the EZboard group of communities. A few years ago, the EZboard servers were hacked and hundreds of message boards of all types on EZboard lost quite a bit of their history and research. That's when the founders of C&J decided to pool resources, purchase their own message board software, and move off the EZboard servers. The board software they use is Invision. This is another great, tight knit community of people who are dedicated to helping solve crime and finding missing persons. Many times on this board, I've dropped in on a new missing person story, and have found family members of the missing loved one joining in on the discussions. I consider the owner and several members there good net friends, too.

So, if you are looking for a new place to follow the latest crime story, these are two places I recommend you check out.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Limerick Contest Winner

I want to thank everyone who participated in the limerick contest, and apologize for the late posting of the winner. There were a lot of limericks that I loved, but they needed to follow the AABBA format to win.

Here are some honorable mentions, and then the winner.

Submitted by Beetle Cam
A music producer named Phil
Kept numerous guns for a thrill.
Then one fateful day
He fired away.
Though deadly, he’s out on bail still.

Now AJ and Pat at the trial
Disproved his continued denial
And showed his full guilt
(Their case was well-built)
Yet charges they had to re-file.

‘Cause one stubborn juror held out
And claimed there was reasonable doubt
That Phil did that deed,
And thus should be freed
To dance while he’s out and about.

So now we all wait for trial two
For Phil to receive what is due.
He’s left with Rachelle
(Man, THAT must be hell!)
So he might just want prison, too!

Submitted by Michelle Blaine & Hubby
There once was a psycho named Phil
who most people thought couldn't kill
He drank far too much booze
at the home of the blues
but it was the jury who was hung over and ill

Submitted by Christine Z.
There once was a guy named Phil Spector
Met Lana but didn't respect her
He fooled with a gun and it shot
Claimed it was suicide - not!
Now Spector's a famous deceptor.

And the winning entry goes to: Ritanita!She came to the stande for a lie,
She says her name is Punkin Pie.
She stumbles and thrashes,
Her "best" friend she trashes.
And now she's caught up in a lie.