Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Neverending Doodle – Part II

If the first part was eternal as well, then why did I need to do a part two? In that sentence, “need” is a big word for only four letters, and perhaps brings one to the more relevant question of why did I really need to do a part one? That question gets even more poignant if you could peek in my skylight and see just how time consuming even something simple like filling in an iris for a mere hundred frames.

It’s going to be a fun night

Following tradition (my tradition of getting as many fireworks as I can whenever it’s legal to launch them, not to the celebration of the birthday of a former monarch that is arguably irrelevant to my life), although not quite in quantity, we have lots of fireworks to launch… I have quite a few big finisher-type fireworks, as well as cherry bombs, strobes, dragon eggs, and other little amusements. Anyway, I’m totally looking forward to sunset. You’re welcome to stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.


We got all that stuff at a big party store which was mostly ultra-packed narrow aisles with mountains of mostly discount costumes and masks and the like — a kid’s dream store and even though it took a long time to pick out all the fireworks and pack everything up, she could have stayed much longer poking around. For the oversized hat, “we can use this to play Harry Potter!” (ie. the sorting hat if it’s not obvious), and for the other, there was no explanation but it looked quite spooky.


I hadn’t planned to go to this particular place — my original plan was much sloppier, in which I was just going to pick up a couple packs of fireworks from a convenience store, but Caitlin wanted to head out to IKEA to grab some new fabric for her most recent sewing project. I took a break and sat and read on my Kindle as Caitlin and Nefarious took the long meandering path through the store. I met them at the other end as I caught Nefarious out of the corner of my eye climbing around on a bank of self-checkout units trying to figure out how to log in to the admin functions.


I have to keep an even closer eye on her on her computer these days, because she’s been keenly watching me, trying to figure out how I order things online, and I have the worry that one day soon I am going to get a particularly large and expensive delivery of toys.

I got another new cane this past week, one that was custom made for me. Sorry it’s not a very good picture, but below you can sort-of see three canes. The first one, on the left, I’ve had for years. Jon and Nefarious walked down to the local Shopper’s Drugmart and got it for me after my very first leg surgery. The middle one is my Cold Steel fighting cane with the skull top on it, and the one on the right, which I just got, is a Ross Taylor cane that I had custom made for me (so it’s exactly the right height). It’s made from “the reproductive organ of an American Buffalo”.


Picking Nefarious up from school recently, I overheard one of her friends whispering to her, “it doesn’t look like a wiener…”

In any case, my apologies to the well-hung buffalo from whom I demanded the ultimate sacrifice.

Minor Annoyances

Sometimes little things bother me. This blog post is about some of the minor annoyances I have struggled with in the last few days. I guess “struggled with” is uncessessarily aggrandizing, so let’s replace that with “noticed”, since rather than calling out to the heavens and the spirits of my ancestors in anguish, it’s mostly limited to having a one-sided rant at Caitlin about it.

For example, take this ad for Tracfone (some sort of discount cellular carrier I think — I don’t know anything about them other than they ran an ad — the one below — in Star magazine which I assure you was not mine and I have no idea how I came to be reading it). The thing that bugged me was that in the small-legal-text of the ad (and also on some of their websites) it says “the stylized spiral is [a] registered trademarks of TracFone Wireless, Inc”. Argh! Three concentric circles are not at all the same thing as a spiral, not visually and not conceptually! I could go on and on about the subtleties of mixing them up, but either you’re a person who doesn’t care and I’m boring you, or you’re a person who does care, and you’re already having those thoughts without my seeding, and again, I’m boring you.


Along the same lines, I was looking at an article about the pink katydid, and it said something that struck me as a bit odd — “the pink katydid is so rare that they occur once out of every 500 individuals. You have a better chance of spotting a unicorn in the wild. I get that writers are not usually accomplished statisticians, but come on — I’m sure that the odds of spotting a unicorn in the wild are much lower than one in five hundred. Maybe their humor is going over my head.


Earlier today I was [half] watching [half sleeping through] the 1916 silent version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, excerpted in Dive! Dive! Dive!, a documentary about submarine movies, and in it Captain Nemo is an even more exotic character with a sort of a theosophical society look about him. The thing that caught my eye was the odd piercings that Nemo has. They’re not earrings, but surface piercings on his neck. The capture here is not very good, sorry, but there are plenty of shots of it in the movie and I’m pretty sure it is supposed to be a neck piercing, not just a poorly done prosthetic earring.


The annoyance in this one is that I don’t have a body modification blog to post much more on this to, and worse yet, that with ModBlog these days being virtually un-updated and not particularly interesting when it is, there isn’t even anyone that I can send leads to, which sucks because I’d love to have an interesting body modification blog to read daily and I just don’t see one out there — although there are tons of great tattoo blogs these days, just not something that is similar to the first-generation of ModBlog — and I have (almost exactly) two more years before I could run such a blog.

Other than that, oooooh, Survivor, letting me down again. Just like I said last time, RUSSELL WAS ROBBED! (and I know, for the second time I’m far from the only person who feels this way. Jeff Probst, writing on his ride home after wrapping the season, has some interesting comments on Russell, but for me it’s really heartbreaking watching him lose, because you can tell that he really can’t understand why he doesn’t win, and why people after the game don’t love him. As a big fan of the game, I think he feels really personally hurt to be “rejected” by the players he looks up to, and that it’s emotionally very hard for him. And I have to admit, that as a big fan of the game and a big fan of the way he played, I really feel for him and have a lot of resentment to the vindictive juries that insulted the game with their actions and blocked a superior player from getting the money. Or maybe, like Russell, I just don’t get it… I’m sure he’ll play another season, and like he said, having played back to back he really did essentially play a single time only, so I wonder how that will go after he’s had time to reflect on his strategy.

But other than that, great season.

Police with limited follow-through (luckily!)

Nefarious, Dave, and I watched Karate Kid — the original, not the new version, which I’ve already promised my little Jackie Chan fan that we can see in the theatre — and like with The Spy Next Door, Nefarious spent an hour after the movie frantically running around the studio giving everything in her way — often that was me — vigorous kicks and cardboard-weapon beatings. I don’t know yet what the summer plans are going to be, but she’s been asking to go to karate camp (with both words and actions).


Yesterday I was driving to go bowling and traffic was quite heavy. My lane became temporarily blocked, so after letting the lane to the right of me zip past for a while, I signaled when I had a red-light gap and moved forward a little and nosed in to reserve my spot. Then a glossy black tinted-window SUV gunned it to try and stop me from taking what they thought was their spot. However, being in my own big be-bumpered truck, I’m not afraid of someone hitting me, so I continued to move forward into my spot. After the driver first pretended he would hit me with his truck, he switched to extended angry honking. Whatever. I couldn’t care less, and really, you’re playing chicken with the wrong truck, because I’m armored and you have an shiny paint job!

A minute later he pulled up beside me and matched my speed and hugged my lane and started honking again, and I’m thinking what a psycho this guy is, and as I heard Caitlin saying, “he’s trying to show you his light” but not quite processing it quickly enough, I briefly jostled my truck toward him — even though I stayed in my lane it could have been interpreted as a “I’m going to run you off the road if you don’t leave me alone” gesture — and he started honking wildly and turned on the rest of his police lights in addition to the hand held siren-light that he was alternately trying to place and picking up to wave at me. Uh oh… Oops, did I just threaten to kill a cop or something? Stay calm! Time to pull over…

The cop walked up to my window in plain clothes but holding out his badge, and judging my how much he was shaking, I assumed he was pretty upset. This would turn out to be an understatement, and the first thing he said to me was, “I’m off duty right now,” and the second thing he said to me was, “but that won’t stop me from taking you to jail,” and he was practically screaming already, “and you’re under arrest RIGHT NOW!”

“Ok, if I’m under arrest can I go park my truck so it’s not on the street?”

I did that and got out of the car, and he screamed at me to put my cane, and then my knife as well, back into the truck and yelled at me to walk over to him. He was shaking badly and everything he said was full of rage and high volume and completely unprofessional (which is an issue since he’s asking to be treated as a cop). He started with the typical “please incriminate yourself” attempt, shouting “What were you thinking out there? Well?”

Sorry, I’m been through this too many times — “What was I thinking? Me? What were YOU thinking? You’re the one that tried to block me from changing lanes with your truck, and then followed me, honking and being threatening, and now you’re here screaming at me!”

“You tried to ram me with your truck!”

“I did nothing of the sort, if anything I was spooked because you were acting like a psycho,” I told the police officer calmly as he stood there trembling and sweating and screaming. And it’s true — his behavior up until this point had been aggressive and hostile enough that once they were being followed, some people would be very spooked.

“You and your zombie truck, you think the whole world revolves around you! Zombie? What’s that about anyway? Have you ever had to scrape some kid off the road? Well, I have! I’ve seen death in these streets! Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Sure, I understand what you’re saying,” I tell him, as he continues his rant. Even though he still peppered his comments with the threat of dragging me off to jail, it was pretty sure that I wasn’t even getting a ticket (he never asked for my paperwork once), let alone getting arrested. He did however make sure to tell me what he really wanted to do, giving me the sort of insight into the police mental state that problem cops always seem to want to give you.

In a completely failed attempt to threaten me — and as I towered over him I’m sure that our comparative was a factor in his behavior — he screamed, “Oooh, people like you make me so mad… Buddy, you don’t know how close you are to being on the pavement with me beating the hell out of you! Oh, how badly I want to teach you a lesson!”

As he did this, and I looked down at this trembling little guy threatening me, any last worry I had that there might be repurcussions went away. So I figured let him yell for a minute more and then head on to the bowling alley. The funny thing was when he started screaming about how “people like you think you’re the most important person on the road, and you always have to be first and don’t care about anybody else!”

I pointed out that this all started with him almost hitting me because he was aggressively trying to use the right lane to try to force his way in front of me. The irony was that he was guilty of what he was screaming at me about. It was obvious that his screaming and ranting and threatening were not making a very strong case to me — keep on meowing — and actually, if anything it was making me feel more and more justified that the behavioral problem was on his end. With all his screaming and me being calmer the more he did it, it was clear that I was not worried about being arrested, and even less worried about him beating on me — he eventually wandered, still shaking in rage, back to his car (“oh, buddy, it’s your lucky day because I’m going to let you go, but oooooh, you were so close to being beaten to a pulp and then tossed in jail”) and we both drove off. My only regret is that I know he’s going to take this out on his family. Guys like this, in addition to being precisely the sort of road risk he was accusing me of being, give a bad reputation to the police and the stereotype of the sort of person desperate for the authority to abuse the public. Cops with anger management issues are ticking time bombs.

Self Control

On Monday I had the early mission of driving around to figure out what good flower shops I could find that were open before 9AM to get some birthday flowers, and today I left early because Nefarious wanted to get to school as soon as the doors opened, because the first kids to get there get to play chess before class starts. I’ve been waking up early to the sound of quite abrasive beeping from the device below, which I’ll digress a little to explain.

When doctors ask you to rate your pain, you get to respond with a 0-10 ranking, often along with smiley-face pictures, “0″ being “none” and “10″ being “worst possible pain”. I’ve mentioned before that one of the great cruelties of the pain treatment industry is that the doctors are instructed to try and get their patients to a response of “5″, not zero. What kind of person out there can deal with constant moderate pain? Even dealing with constant mild pain can be debilitating — a la a water drop wearing down the Grand Canyon. Knowing that you are in moderate pain, and that you will be in moderate pain tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that for the rest of your life, can drive you mad. And knowing that the only reason you’re not getting full medication is because the government is worried that you might sell your desperately needed medication on the black market to folks who want to shoot it rather than temporarily lift their head up out of the fire, drives you even madder.

I’m sure it’s frustrating for the doctors as well, because the government audits them aggressively, and doctors can — and do — lose their ability to prescribe narcotics not just for making the mistake of prescribing to a con artist, but if they, say, aim for reducing people to “mild pain” via these simple and relatively side effect-free medications (in comparison to Lyrica and other non-narcotic pain killers). A friend was telling me that their own doctor’s entire clinic lost their ability to prescribe any opiates, so they can’t even prescribe T3′s for an injury! It’s crazy… and like I said, just really really cruel. That puts into context why I’ve had doctors tell me to buy street drugs I suppose, and really, you know something is seriously wrong with the system when doctors are so afraid of government harassment that they surreptitiously send their patients into the hands of drug deals — not that Big Pharma isn’t the biggest drug dealer of all.

Anyway, being underprescribed is difficult, because it means that every day you’re in more pain than you can deal with, so you’re left with the choice of taking some of tomorrow’s pills — a condition that snowballs and leaves you in a couple days of hell as your prescription renews — or being in pain (assuming you don’t take the dubious advice mentioned above). And when you’re in pain, and have been for a long time, you’re not thinking straight and you’re desperate to find a solution, and if you have tomorrow’s pills accessible, you’ll see them with tonight in mind, not tomorrow… I’ve struggled with this a great deal, and a secondary problem to running out before you renew is that doctors see taking your pills too quickly as a sign that you might be getting addicted, not that you’re undermedicated (which I would have thought was obvious).

To try and solve this issue I just picked up a convenient electronic locking pill container. It has 28 containers for pills that you can program however you’d like — I have it set up as two per day, so it’s got two weeks per refill for me, but you can do literally anything. For me, in the morning it serves as a wake-up alarm, beeping before it allows access to the next set of pills — and the beeping means that in addition to controlling access, it acts as a reminder (because I tend to be forgetful about parts of my prescription. The whole thing locks with a key, so these keys need to be left with a friend or, perhaps better yet, with the pharmacist (which is a little embarrassing because you have to admit to them that you need help, but that’s what they’re there for). It’s battery powered, with a small home base that it sits on during the day, perhaps to recharge. I have the basic version so the base does nothing, but you can get versions that are internet connected and send a report (I assume this feature is more for checking that old people have taken their medication). Nice feature set, and compact and portable as well.

Anyway, I got it to help me keep my medication on a regular schedule, because as much as it’s horrible — really horrible — to be undermedicated and know that every night you’re going to be in pain, it’s even worse to spend a few days with nothing at all.