Monthly Archives: June 2012

Brief Posting

I have barely been on the Internet all summer, so I apologize for the lack of posts here!!!

We’re having a wonderful summer so far, although wow, what a beating it is physically — my pain medication has been upped significantly but my pain level has been rising and rising, presumably due to all the activity. And I suppose that in some ways it’s exponential the way it gets worse because when it was mostly my legs that hurt, it was experiential just partial damage to my body, but now that my arms are totally affected as well, it feels much more complete. That and the fact that when I sleep my joints dislocate because they don’t have enough strength to hold together properly any more unless I’m actively using the muscles means that I wake up doubly sore, while also losing feeling in my arms because of the circulation being cut off for so long or the nerves being pinched — how can you be both numb and in pain at the same time? Seems unfair, haha. But nonetheless, a wonderful summer so far with lots of swimming and more. As I may have mentioned we saw Cavalia’s Odysseo, the horse theatre/circus show and it was quite amazing. Nefarious has also been helping me complete an old painting that’s been sitting here unfinished for a year, so that’s what these two quick shots are.

I had a doctor’s appointment today, and my ECG/EKG which I had done recently was normal, so nothing wrong with my heart as expected (it was purely precautionary to make sure my medicine wasn’t creating an issue), but it was a very weird visit because one of the nurses had a nervous breakdown or something and started screaming at all the patients to leave, that they shouldn’t be entering the hospital until the exact moment of their appointment. The guy next to me was like “but my appointment is in three minutes, why can’t I wait in the waiting room for my doctor?” and she screams back “can’t you see there’s no room for you?” — and there are three patients there total and like twenty empty chairs — and tells him he needs to leave the building and come back in three minutes. Meanwhile the other nurse (a trainee no less, as the one freaking out is the senior staff member) is trying to calm her down to no avail and eventually she storms out of the room. So then for the next hour when people would come by to make appointments and so on the trainee would have to apologize, “I’m sorry, my co-worker has disappeared, you are going to have to come back another time!” It was a pretty nutty morning.

But my heart being normal got me wondering about my apnea testing… My breathing was stopping for minutes at a time, and I was wondering how long they would have let me lie there not breathing… I would have thought five minutes or so is when you come in and make sure your patient isn’t about to die, but Caitlin’s theory was that since I was also hooked up to a heart monitor, they would have waited until I went into cardiac arrest to step in. I don’t know, but if I was a nurse there and a patient hadn’t breathed for five minutes I’d be starting to get a little freaked out. But I guess I know I can hold my breathe for over five minutes and be conscious and just fine, so maybe it’s not such a big deal…?

Other than that, I’ve been sharing mountains of mods on my Facebook wall.

Life is Good!

Certainly for the first half decade of her life, it could be said that, to some extent, that Ari had two dads, being raised by primarily by Jon and I. Even though Jon’s major role stopped about five years ago when it shifted to being just me living with her, they still see each other and yesterday spent the afternoon fishing (as you know Jon is of Fishing Fury), as they have done many times. I guess it must have been a lot of fun, because she wanted to go again today — which I must admit was my first time fishing with the exception of sport fishing in Mexico, which I don’t think counts, so perhaps you could say she took me fishing, not the other way around. We picked up some bait and headed down to High Park, and over a very enjoyable hour she caught three little fish (which we tossed back). It was amazing how many fish they’ve stocked the pond with — you could almost scoop them up with a bucket in some areas.

I enjoyed it much, much more than I ever thought I would and I’m sure we will go more times over the summer.

I am very happy to say that despite the scare when she got very ill with a “mystery disease” while living with her mother over the school year, necessitating her early return, she has been in absolutely perfect health here. Not a single problem, and like I said, according to the doctor, as long as we stay active and keep eating healthy, it’ll stay that way. It’s very hard not to be angry and upset about that, and I have to admit that I have a great deal of worry that this problem will reoccur the next time she spends time away from me and goes back to a life of being ignored and sat in front of a television and fed unhealthy food… All I can hope is that a lesson was learned because I do not enjoy gyrating between deep sadness and anger. Don’t enjoy it one bit. I get that it’s not easy caring for a child when you’re not feeling well yourself — obvious I of all people understand that — but when you become a parent, your number one priority has to be your child. And to be honest, it shouldn’t be hard, because you should be driven by Love to simply do that automatically. I admit that I was an absentee (and too often high) parent when my daughter was a screaming baby, and that’s one of my deepest regrets in life, but I’m trying to pour every last bit of life and stamina that I have left into enjoying what I can and being the best I can be. And I don’t think I deserve any kudos for that either!!!

Speaking of health, let me update you on my leg, because today I made new jewelry. You can click this picture to see it bigger and from more angles, assuming you didn’t already see it on my Facebook page, which has practically become a modification blog (seeing as the legal restrictions on my ability to post such content finally evaporated last month).

The jewelry was handmade by me, carved out of a 5/8″ solid rod of aluminum (which should be relatively body safe, at least for my body, and is quite light). I don’t have a metal lathe these days so it was rather time consuming but if it works as well as it seems to so far, I will make two more similar pieces. They have several advantages, for example being better at holding the bar perpendicular to the skin (you can see the middle one is a bit off right now, although they’re easy to adjust), and another being that the wide brim covers up the slightly nasty looking edges. Hopefully they’ll be prettier when fully healed. All-in-all this experiment is still successful, although it is slower healing than I’d hoped. I am curious to see whether the new jewelry will speed that up, because silicone can sometimes be non-ideal for healing because it can’t “breathe” as well as other materials. In some way, a nice hardwood might be best.

Hopping back to High Park, I’m mostly happy — and unsurprised — that the free zoo there got its funding. Nefarious always enjoys feeding the three emus (holy om nom nom do they like dandilions and clover and so on). Last time there she also got to spend a long time petting one of the reindeer, although some busy-body woman actually had the nerve to come over and rather violently grab her arm and yank it out screaming at her that she was going to get hurt — even though the only hurt was actually from this woman’s tight pinching grip! If I didn’t want to avoid another jail visit, I’d have told her off in a much more frightening manner, but this seemed like the sort of person to hysterically call the police. There are always foolish people at the zoo — we also got to listen to a woman explaining to her child that the emus “were chickens, and this is where your eggs come from”… and I am quite certain that she was not joking. What out-of-touch-with-animals world do we live in that people get emus and chickens mixed up??? The zoo also has some baby capyberas right now, just a few weeks old, and they’re gloriously cute!

I do have sort of mixed feelings about the zoo though, because it’s a little sad. The reindeer and buffalo and yak and so on, cooped up in outrageously hot weather often far removed from their native habitat, are clearly unhappy that they can’t find proper shelter or range the way their instincts tell them too. Hell, their prison isn’t even big enough for them to run. That’s not good for their bodies. I looked at their hooves, and because they can’t cover any distance, they are long and painful looking and have not been trimmed. I have real concerns about how the animals are cared for.

When I see the yaks, I am reminded of the story of one of the Dalai Lama’s visits to America. Because the yak is some sort of sacred animal to the Tibettans, they made sure to have a bunch of them waiting for him at the airport to greet him. He was of course very gracious, but inside his heart was breaking because he knew that when you take them out of their native environment, high up in the mountains with rarified air, and place them closer to sea level, their lungs don’t function properly and they only live half as long… Stories like this haunt me when I walk the length of the small High Park Zoo. I only hope that these animals’ sacrifice serves a greater good.

But all-in-all, High Park is such a wonderful resource. So pretty, so big, so much wildlife and forest paths, and nice play areas, and of course lots to climb. We have been going there since Nefarious was just a baby, so over her life we’ve easily spent thousands of hours there.

Anyway, the summer is going great. We’re having a wonderful time, even though my body is taking a hell of a beating, and if I didn’t know better I’d think my pain medication was getting cut by how physically taxed I feel. I really feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, and it’s worse every day. By the end of the summer I’ll just be one happy but pain filled husk, likely to dissolve into a quivering pile of blood and calcium. But plenty of fun summer stuff like running through sprinklers to kill the heat, and soon we leave for Hell Boy Camp in Portland, and we’ve got Drama Camp, and swimming lessons, and so much great stuff coming up. Nefarious has been getting buff at her four-time-a-week trips to the gym with her fitness classes (which earns her a pleasant walk down to the local ice cream parlor). Big stuff and little stuff, and often the little stuff is the most fun — for example, we just washed Caitlin‘s 1973 Mach I Mustang, and boy that beast is a joy to cruise around in (although I have to admit that the newly fixed air conditioning in the zombiemobile is hard to resist).

Oh, and I hadn’t thought that we’d be able to make it, but they extended the showing so we were able to get tickets to Cavalia’s Odysseo, the live horse circus, for tomorrow night, so I’m expecting that to be a highlight of the summer. Nefarious comes from a horse family on her mother’s side, and has been riding all her life and absolutely loves horses, so I am sure it will be a hit. I just don’t want to think about how much it cost, yikes! But I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

And now to quickly pop into Facebook, then read some comics, and get some sleep, because every day is a long day.

Building hats and painting bikes

Today’s project for Nefarious and I was to paint her bike, something we’d actually planned to do last year if I remember right. First we sprayed all the bolts with WD-40, as well as the wheels which were completely covered in rust. Then we disassembled the bike completely, right down to the frame, and used masking take to cover anything we didn’t want to paint. As for the wheels, once the oil had broken down the rust, it was surprisingly easy for us to use the Dremel and a wire brush to get it almost all off. Then we sanded the bike, used the compressor to blow off the dust, and took it outside where we primed it and then she painted the whole thing with a collection of different spray paints.

After she was finished with her inspiration, I gave it a layer of automotive clearcoat, and then we reassembled it and she rode it to her gym class, which has been less and less exhausting every time, so I take that as a good sign that my project to restore any health and fitness that’s been lost over the schoolyear over the summer is going well. Also today we went and visited one of the camps she’s going to later this summer, a drama camp, which looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun.

Also in the Maker world, Caitlin has been creating some really amazing hats. She even made one for me out of the fabric that I made from all my paintings, so now I have a totally over-the-top bright and silly hat to keep the sun out of my eyes this summer! If you want one (be it in this pattern or something else), I think she’s going to have a shop of her own soon enough.

Finally, Nefarious drew a rotoscoped cartoon of me based on one of those pictures and enjoyed the process so much that she asked me to install new drawing software on her laptop, which of course I am more than happy to encourage and do.

Other than that, people seem to be enjoying my mod sharing on Facebook, although Facebook’s censorship (or I should say, automated attempts to only show people the posts that their robots think they’ll like) is driving me a bit batty at times. So I think I’ll quickly go do that, then it’s off to bed. Holy moly is it draining going back to being a full-time dad, even with Caitlin’s help, without school or summer camp to help take a load off. Really drives home how much sicker I am now than a year ago. Nonetheless, I do love it!

The Last Splash, Prometheus, Alien Ring

Shoot, I posted this yesterday but it didn’t show until today. Ooops!

We didn’t end up making it down to Fort York, since tomorrow Caitlin and our friend Michael are running a fish sandwich place called The Last Splash at The Stop, a community centre not too far from here, roughly at Davenport and Lansdowne, and printing for their staff shirts didn’t fit into Michael’s busy week so I did a last minute dash to print them at home with transfer. Caitlin did the hard work of ironing them into place and buying the shirts, but I ran around town getting ink and transfer paper. And of course I did the design. You can click the picture for a closer view — it’s based on “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai (Michael’s concept — I just did the graphic design heavy lifting), with fish jumping onto a cresting fish sandwhich. Turned out nicely I think and the cheap print-at-home iron-ons look quite good and were 50%+ cheaper than having it printed elsewhere.

Anyway, I think there’s a small waterpark / splash area there so in addition to going there for lunch I’ll head up with Nefarious to have some play time. If she’s not too burned out that is, because tomorrow morning she’s got an hour of intense workout at her gym, followed by another hour of jujitsu. She’s training full-on this summer and if she keeps up this pace will likely double her strength over the next few months, so hopefully her mother can find her a similar program down in the States and commit to taking her on a regular basis (here it’s four times a week, but I admit it’s very easy since it’s in our building and she can just walk there), when she figures out where she’s moving this time that is.

Other than that we went and saw Prometheus today (and Nefarious saw Madagascar while we did that) in “UltraAVX 3D”. I know it’s gotten mixed reviews but I thought it was great, really superb sci-fi, and pretty much the whole last hour of the movie was just one giant moving three dimensional HR Giger painting. It was far more “Giger” than any of the other movies in the Aliens series, and was also more of a true sci-fi film (I won’t give it away, but it’s a fascinating twist on directed panspermia). I certainly recommend it and I would think that most people who still bother to read my blog would certainly be among the satisfied viewers.

Speaking of “aliens”, We also finished making the molds for a ring that Nefarious designed and sculpted a few days ago and cast the first one, setting a pair of CZ in it as well. It is of course a multi-eye’d alien, I think influenced by her love of Futurama and the fact that she recently watched a few of them that I’d downloaded. I told her that I’d make a couple of them and put them in my shop, with the profits (minus costs) going to her… so if you like it, it will be available soon and works great as not just a ring but also a keychain or a pendant, and she would be beyond thrilled to be able to earn money from something other than chores and report card grades. Again, you can click to zoom.

This is only the second ring she has designed, the first being an amazing wolf ring done in lost wax. I can’t find a picture of it on my blog to link to because it was a present for her mother and I guess we wanted to keep it a surprise, but it was really a beautiful ring, very organic and lifelike.

Anyway, I will post again when it is available. I had something else I wanted to mention here, but apparently the memory leaked out of my swiss cheese brain and the floor is so dirty here that I don’t really want to go looking for it, but if it shows up I will mention it another time. I’m off now to see what wonders people have posted to my Facebook feed so I can go share it on my growing wall of mod wonders, and then to install ScummVM and some oldschool graphical adventures on Nefarious’s tablet for her to play. If I am to believe her, she’s in electronic media deprivation, since her strict dad has cut her use down to “before breakfast only” from — and I hope there’s a certain amount of “but mom let’s me” kid scam here — four hours a day on weekdays and ten hours on weekends. I have observed a direct correlation between mood and electronic use, and I can pretty much guarantee that if games or TV are used for more than about an hour and a half in any given day that there will be trouble sleeping that night as well as general rudeness and behavior issues. Plus I prefer doing other stuff anyway on a selfish level — even if we’re stuck here in the house, I’d rather be playing chess or something.

Although she did completely trounce me in chess the last time we played — in defense of video games for a moment, she has been playing chess against her Nintendo DS or something, and she’s getting very good. She’s always been a solid chess player, but was weak in the endgame and even if she could get to a dominant position on the board, had trouble fully closing the deal. Now she seems to have that part figured out and very effectively coordinated a checkmate against me rather quickly. I don’t know if I should be a little ashamed of my own intellect, or profoundly proud of hers… Maybe a little of both, but definitely skewing to the latter. If I am to continue bragging, she’s also lightning fast on mental bath, and while she only knows the basics — it’s not as if she can do trigonometry or complex algebra in her head — she’s quite often faster than I am and almost always accurate. Anyway, I could go on and on but I know I’m boring you with the same stuff you hear from every parent in the world. The only difference here is that it’s actually true. Hahaha. But it really is. If you don’t believe me, just wait, she has the potential to do great things… I wonder what she will choose?

Tattoo Time, One New, One Updated

Well, I was NOT expecting the comments on the previous entry to get as nutty as they did! Hopefully they will not escalate into the same silliness when I post about my own body modification adventures, this time with tattooing (although I do need to update about my three big leg pocketings some time soon, I know). Anyway, yesterday was my tattoo appointment with Shane Faulkner, and my daughter tagged along. A long time ago she had tattooed a small dot on my foot, and yesterday, with a lot of help from Shane showing her what to do and steadying her hand as he guided her through it, she tattooed the King of Pineapple Men on me. Not the highest quality tattoo I have, but also not the worst, and definitely one that stands out uniquely among them all.

Now I want to share with you how my “Nazi UFOs, giant robots, and zombies” leg sleeve is going. It contains elements from various comics and movies and modern mythology, including Iron Sky which I saw the other day and while I enjoyed it, I’m afraid it fell far short of my hopes for what it could have been. Visually brilliant, but the writing was weak, and I think that they wanted to make something that was very campy and tongue-in-cheek, but they didn’t communicate that well to the viewer (I’m thinking that’s a “Scandinavian humor not translating well to America” thing in part), so it’s easy to take the film seriously and see all kinds of stupid plot holes that I think are actually meant to be gags. Anyway, on to the tattoo. If you click this you will get a massive high resolution image of the tattoo. Alternately you can click here or click here for two closeup crops.

He’s said this to me before, but in theory there are two sessions left to finish this amazing piece. I’m absolutely thrilled with the work Shane has done for me on all my tattoos (he also did my tribal arms and collar, my color Jim Woodring-inspired sleeve, and my gay S&M BME/HARD chestpiece — all first-rate work — and has also tattooed many of my friends), but this one is by far the most technically challenging and time consuming I think. We remembered yesterday that we are approaching having known each other twenty years now. Getting old.