Get well soon, Ubu

I can’t believe it took me a week to notice – apparently Ubu Roi had a (thankfully mild) stroke last week. He seems to be recovering well but it is still a terrifying thing to contemplate. He’s a lucky man and I am glad he is doing okay, and will pray for his continued and complete recovery.

It’s a good excuse to post Stroke Stick Guy as a public service – the first few hours of a stroke are the most critical. My PhD dissertation was in Diffusion MRI (one of the main tools to detect ischemia) so it’s a topic I’ve thought quite a bit about. My best wishes to Ubu and his family.

politics and the otakusphere

word cloud of the Constitution of the United StatesFour years ago I had a minor snit about the encroachment of politics into our realm, and while we are still relatively early in the next presidential election cycle, I already sense that the problem will recur. I’m guilty of some political musing here myself, but I do make a reasonable effort to avoid overt rah-rah cheering for one side or the other here (unlike my other haunts, where I let my partisan biases hang out). I really do see geekblogging as a refuge for myself, and while I certainly cannot and do not want to tell anyone how to run their blog or what they can or can’t post, I do find myself itching for the damn thing to be over already.

Wishful thinking, I know. It’s only April and we have 6 months left to go. It’s an eternity.

and, we are back

Well, that was unpleasant!

As this site has grown in pagerank, it’s become the victim of ever-more sustained hack and spam attacks. The latest round was bungled, it simply took me offline rather than silently harvest my mojo for nefarious purposes. It’s clear that at some point I am going to have to pony up several hundred dollars a year at or equivalent and pay for monitoring and cleanup as this is just too time-consuming to keep doing myself.

It’s not as easy to keep a blog running on your own host as it used to be. Astro hasn’t posted in two years, for example, and is sorely missed. I’ve got a paypal button on the site like everyone else but that’s not any kind of solution, increasingly being self-hosted is going to become a perk of the privileged who can afford it, whereas the everyday bloke who wants a soapbox will have to gravitate towards a free platform like – which is an easy target for censors.

It’s not like I have anything profound to say, really, but I see this platform as a luxury, and I am keenly aware of just how ephemeral it is. That said, I’ll keep plugging away as long as I can 🙂 So, I’m back – what did I miss?

(ah, Pete has reviewed my review of fractale! And, I think he did a better job on this than I would have. And, given his praise, he will be disappointed in me when I profess my love of Robotech over SDF: Macross.)

comment policies

Question for whoevere it is that still reads the blog on any semi-regular basis: is it too hard to comment here? I’m debating switching to a system like IntenseDebate and my goal is to really make it very easy to leave a comment without making you jump through any hoops, while still preserving me from an onslaught of spam.

I’d like to solicit your opinions – especially if you usually don’t comment but read regularly.

FYI here’s the features that using IntenseDebate would bring. I just want to remove obstacles to discussion, basically.

the geexicon is born

I confess, I did indeed invent the term “otakusphere” and now I am guilty of too-enthusiastically embracing a typo by Neal Stephenson. Witness: “reamde“. I’m sure we can come up with a clever implied meaning full of irony and wit for it.

So why not go meta and invent a term for the accumulated invented terms? a Geek Lexicon would therefore naturally be.. well, you know. I suppose we could also have “otaxicon” but now we are getting into failed Transformers territory. I also considered “gexicon” but I’m having flashbacks of Earthsea for some reason so let’s not go there.

Anyone else have any good candidates? I could also propose “geek service”.

Someone should probably snap the domain up.

back to the here and now

So, is anyone left or am I truly now just shouting into the void? 🙂

Ramadan has ended, and I spent the last ten days quite immersed in its rhythms to the exclusion of all else.

But now, I’m ready to stretch out those cramped unused blogging muscles and start pontificating again! I’ve got a lot of TV to catch up and and look forward to. Fall promises to be exciting with Warehouse 3, SGU, Caprica, Eureka, and of course the return of Dr Who. Plus there’s a few books to read, games to play (well, just the one, really) and even get some anime in there if there still seems to be enough time.

missed this place 🙂

PS – hey Ubu, with regards to this, that’s actually my doing. Nick has the links 🙂 I did invent the term, after all…

also, there’s a search engine, too.

welcome back to Reference Scan – the MRI blog

Does this thing still work?

Well, as far as hiatuses go, this one probably set some kind of record. Real life of course intrudes to varying degrees, but I am hopeful that I can start anew here and we can regain some of the lost ground.

My aim is to make this a genuinely interesting resource for MRI scientists and also a means of enhancing our knowledge and career skills. So, let’s try again!

welcome back 🙂

comment registration

One thing I value about this blog is that I still have loyal readers despite my long hiatuses and delays in posting. I can always count at least one or two comments on a post at minimum, and often from people who have never commented before. This is possible because of the open commenting policy here, but that’s also a weakness in that it allows spammers a toehold. The spam filter has been doing its job but lately more and more are sneaking past the defenses, and I am worried that it will get worse form here.

The question is the usual one facing a blog with a nascent community. Do I limit comments to registered users only, thus slamming the door on the casual readers who will probably never comment again? Or do i leave the door open in the hope that signal stays higher than noise?

I guess I could also install a plugin to auto-close old comment threads to see if that mitigates the problem. And there are math captcha plugins like I used before. But these are just symptomatic solutions.

So, lets see what you all have to say about it. What would you prefer? Whats your advice?

Fledge retires… enter Otakun

I have a little announcement of sorts, which is entirely meta and has no real significance whatsoever other than the purely semantic. I’ve decided to retire my “Fledgling Otaku” nickname and adopt a new pseudonymous persona, “Otaku Kun”. If you’re so inclined, you can abbreviate that as otakun instead of fledge – and my email contact is also updated accordingly to otakun at haibane dot info.

I started this blog almost four years ago almost entirely due to the influence of Steven den Beste, who I consider my anime blogfather and inspiration for embracing anime. It’s Steven who christened me “fledgling otaku” and I’ve been enormously proud of that. However, with 4 years and nearly 900 posts, I think it’s time to stop pretending I’m a newbie and admit that I’m an addict, not just of anime but of all things otaku/geek. The category list at right bears witness to the absurd breadth of my compulsions.

I’ve also resolved to blog more regularly here, because I’ve found that much of what I’ve written has been invaluable as a reference in sharing these works of art and fiction with my friends. I want to try and capture as much of it as I can, and maybe even share it with my kids as they get older. So i will be posting more often, at a minimum.

However, I also want to try and shake things up a little. That means for one thing a fresh look and redesign, which I’ll get around to soon. But also I’d like to build a cadre of peers here to encourage more discussion and participation, because in every case I’ve found that when you folks engage and leave comments, I learn so much more, and am able to derive that much more enjoyment and appreciation from all of this. It’s a value multiplier, and I’d like for it to become the focus. I have some ideas in that regard but I’ll save that for later.

So, at the risk of giving myself multiple personality disorder, this is Fledgling Otaku, signing out. Otakun, the floor is yours!