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|Monday, February 28th, 2011|
I've got Hallux Rigidus, which is a fancy word for arthritis, in both big toes, slowly growing more annoying over the years.
One should be able to stand on ones tiptoes, bending the toe back a bout ninety degrees (that's pi/2 radians, in case you forgot what degrees are). My left toe bends about 45 degrees and my right toe about 15 degrees. This makes some things painful and other things impossible. Many types of dancing require me to wear heavy enough shoes so that I can go on full point, since demi-point is not an option.
Hallux Rigidus is caused by the growth of bone spurs on the bones on either side of the joint. Thus when the toe bends the spurs bump into each other.
The solution is a Cheilectomy, which basically chops the spurs off, sawing my toe bone in a nice beveled angle so it can bend again. Recovery involves keeping my foot elevated, and not using it, for 10 days or so. I'll be allowed to use my right heel for small amounts of walking, so I won't have crutches.
I'm getting the right toe done tomorrow. If it goes well I'll probably have the other side done at some point.
|Monday, February 2nd, 2009|
|Saturday, January 24th, 2009|
The best TV show* ever : The Big Bang Theory
. If you're one of those people who gets TV channels, watch it. Either way, you should getseason one
The best power tool ever : The Dewalt DC618 cordless nail gun. Seems now to be only available as theDC618K
The best self-referential prose ever : http://consc.net/misc/moser.html
* No Jim Henson productions were involved in this competition
|Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008|
|A new line of work
Not too many of you know what I actually do for a living.
I write tools with which other people in the company do what we call "command line data mining".
This is simply a process of chewing through terabytes of data to produce useful information; anything from "what images are most popular" to "if you enjoy this site, you might also enjoy these other sites".
As you might guess, command line data mining has a fairly long ramp-up time, as you learn the various tools and techniques. There has long been talk of creating a large document explaining all the ins and outs, both to get new people up to speed quickly, and as a reference for those who mostly know the ropes.
After a long and lackadaisical search for someone to write this thing, no one was ever found that had both the talent and the availability. Eventually my desire to have this document exceeded my desire not to be the one to write it.
So now I'm a writer, I guess. At least I don't have the tech writer's usual problem of getting access to the developers, since I'm usually available whenever I need to talk to me.
I've certainly enjoyed learning a new set of tools. I'm writing it in docbook, which is an XML schema. You mark up your text just so, and then other tools hammer on it to create a web site or a PDF document or whatever.
As I try to document things, I see where there are holes or inconsistencies in the tools, so I document what the tool ought to be, and then jump over and change the tool to match.
It's hard to stay on task, as I'd rather be doing pretty much anything else, but life's hard all over, I suppose. I'm trying to enlist people at work to feign interest, to keep me motivated day to day.
Stay tuned for the further adventures of Tech Writer Man
|Monday, June 30th, 2008|
|Friday, May 16th, 2008|
|Everyone else is doing it...
"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."
|Thursday, April 24th, 2008|
|Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008|
|Staples in my Head
My wife has been suggesting for some time now that I look into hair transplant technology, because she doesn't like the way my bald spot looks. Eventually, she called 561-HAIR and made an appointment, and about 5 weeks ago we went in. Slimy Sales Guy gave us the rundown, and when I balked at the price, he gave me a small discount in exchange for letting him use pictures of me in his marketing literature.
Examining my head, he asserted that I needed 4500 hairs moved, and told be to start taking propecia (a pill for baldness) and to re-start the Rogaine, which I had stopped around new year's.
My actual operation was this past Monday. In that five week period, presumably from the sudden onslaught of baldness drugs, I lost quite a bit of hair. By the time I got in the Chair Of Doom at around 11 AM, I had let them upgrade me to something like 11,000 hairs. Their estimate of 9 hours in the chair was just about right.
They put me in a reasonable lounge chair, in front of a tiny television, and given one each Vicodin and Valium. After some initial doodling on the back of my head, out came the needles. I'm going to call the stuff Novocain, because it's that sort of thing, and I don't remember what it really was. Like a sewing machine along the back of me head, I got little shots of Novocain, maybe 100 shots across a 6 inch strip. A little later there was a ring of shots around the edge of my scalp, but not quite so densely packed.
The "real doctor" made one of his two-minute appearances to remove a strip of my scalp from the back of my head. When I asked about the noises back there a little later, the informed me that they were stapling me back together.
The top of my head wasn't getting numb enough, so the doctor came in and gave me two enormous shots, one in each eyebrow just above the nose.
The folks doing the real work were three latino women, who did all their in the same small room where I was. At first, all three were at their microscopes, separating my hair into individual seedlings. After a bit, one came over to me to begin the process of stabbing me in the head a few thousand times. I was completely numb, but it made a very disconcerting sound. After about an hour of this (maybe two hours in the chair so far -- no clock or watch was handy), I was given a quick break to stretch my legs and go potty before they started planting their seedlings.
Up until this moment, I was able to read my book (I'm on book 3 of Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series). Once the planting started, there were too many hands in my face, and I was left with only the television.
For hour after hour, two of the ladies (one on each side) were stuffing individual hairs into the top of my head, while the third continued to separate more from the original strip. Every so often I would mention that I could feel it, and the would shoot me with more Novocaine.
There's not much to tell about the next 5 hours, except that I got to see a lot of broadcast television, which I never get at home. The ladies preferred A&E, but were willing to switch me to a sitcom now and then.
Around 5:30, I was getting too fidgety, and they made me get up and walk around again. I came back from the bathroom feeling OK, and then something bad happened to my insides. Dizzy and sweating, I staggered back over to the chair, while those around me whirled about in frenetic activity. It was determined that it was a combination of the Novocain and no food. They forced me to drink a can of coke, and eat a few cheese crackers, and they sent Slimy Sales Guy out to Mcdonald's for a cheese burger and a shake. After the coke and crackers had a few minutes to work, I was feeling well enough to let them continue the procedure. When the other food arrived, and was eaten, I was back to feeling as well as could be expected given the knives and needles and being trapped in a chair. At that point, the worst pain was in my neck, which tends to get rather painful even under the best of circumstances. They V&V had long since worn off, but they didn't want to give me any more, because I was driving myself home, and too much would still be in my system 2 hours later.
Two more hours of stabbing without much interesting happening, and then a little cleanup and they sent me home. I had a bandage wrapped around my head (maybe 1.5 inches wide) mostly to keep pressure on the stapled area. I managed to get home before Amelia was asleep, so I could give everyone kisses and show them I was OK.
Among my post-op instructions, is that I have to sleep at a 45 degree angle, to keep my scalp above my heart. What with one thing and another I felt like crap, but having been sitting all day, sleep was rather elusive. I took my antibiotics, 2 vicodin, 2 Tylenol PM and a melatonin, and hoped for the best. Ruth Anne read to me for a while, and I have and excellent lecture series from Great Courses (the History of Language) which I listened to after she conked out. Sleeping in a recliner isn't great, but it's better than an airline seat, I suppose. By Tuesday morning I was feeling pretty normal.
Also, nothing can touch the top my head for 4 days, and then I have to be super-duper gentle for 6 more. If I feel the need for a shampoo, I am allowed to pour water out of a cup onto my head.
When I mentions to the ladies that I was there at my wife's insistence, they told me that this was unusual. Usually it's the guy that wants it, and his wife doesn't want him to do it, because it is obviously a prelude to leaving her.
In theory, all of the new hair will fall out over the next month (so I'll look exactly like I did before they started), then start growing back a couple months later, and I'll be all hairy and young looking about seven months from now.
I'm not going to mention the price, but it was staggeringly enormous.
|Wednesday, March 19th, 2008|
|Calling all Arthur C. Clarke fans
A year or two ago, I read an enormous tome, which was the complete short fiction of Arthur C. Clarke.
I'm pretty sure I haven't read any of his long fiction. Even 2001 -- I only saw the movie.
So which ones should I read first?
|Friday, February 15th, 2008|
My 6 year old daughter can now beat me in checkers.
I don't know if that's supposed to make me feel good about her, or bad about myself.
|Wednesday, February 13th, 2008|
My wife had a very good friend in college named Meg Ninos, who was struck by an appalling tragedy. Rather than spoil everyone's day, I'll let you google "Meg Ninos" if you want your day spoiled.
The event took place one week ago today. This past Sunday, we got a call from another college friend, a close friend of Meg and Ruth Anne from Mount Holyoke College, which is when we found out. Coincidentally, there was a Mount Holyoke Alumni meeting that evening, so much lamenting and discussion could take place. Ruth Anne set up a web page, http://web.mac.com/avjewe/Meg
, so that people would have a place to post their thoughts and memories. Ruth Anne has been frantically busy talking and organizing, as is her usual response to such things.
Meg lived in Boston, and I saw her in person about once a year, and Ruth Anne usually twice. They stayed pretty close, with frequent phone calls and the like. Meg's daughter Maggie was almost exactly one year older than Amelia.
Yesterday, I hope, marked the end of the day by day unfolding of the plot, so we can get on with the five stages of grief.
Even now, its very unreal. These things don't happen in real life, at least not to people you know.
|Monday, January 7th, 2008|
|Everyone else is doing it...
|You Are 36% Evil|
A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.
|Wednesday, October 10th, 2007|
|Before and After
Amelia decided that she'd had enough of long hair, and was ready to donate to Locks of Love.
Her first ever haircut, at age six.
|Wednesday, September 19th, 2007|
|Don't you hate people...
...who make a livejournal entry that's just links? Well, sorry, but these are both really great, and quite different from each other.Book AutopsiesLOLTHULHU
Also, I have a Student ID card now - it feels really weird.
|Monday, September 17th, 2007|
Amelia wears glasses now. The pediatrician had been suggesting this for a while, and it was on our "to do" list, but wasn't really a priority. Then one day, she had a super long nap in the afternoon, and so was up quite late at night. We were outside looking at stars, and Amelia tried on her mother's glasses. She immediately exclaimed "wow, there are so many more stars now!". That woke us up. We called for an appointment the next morning, and her new glasses arrived by the end of the week. She's so much better at the alphabet game now, since she can actually see the letters outside of the car.
Amelia and I went to Petland this past Saturday, which is a pet store with little booths that you can go in and play with the puppy of your choice. When you're done, you can get another puppy, and then another. I think we played with 6 puppies and a kitten that morning. I also got to hold a ferret, and let it lick my ear. It had been way too long since I'd been licked by a ferret. The only thing we actually bought was a snail, to keep the goldfish company.
I'm officially a Bearcat now. I'm taking two credits of "Furniture and Cabinet Making" on Wednesday nights at UC. The first class is this week, so wish me luck.
I've got a conference coming up soon; flying into Portland OR, and driving two hours to Astoria.
Also, I took another quiz.
Your Score: Ravenous Brain
Your brains craves 62 % Exploration, 80 % Affiliation, 96 % Recreation and 100 % Sensation
Congratulations for attaining such a rare score!( details behind the cutCollapse )
|Monday, September 3rd, 2007|
|Friday, July 27th, 2007|
Well, a combination of shoddy sanding and shoddy satin application combined to make the floor look like crap this morning. The purple color seems nice, but not quite as purple as I would have liked.
I spent a while sanding the darker places and adding more stain to the lighter places, and managed to raise it from "crap" to "OK, I guess". With one coat of polyurethane (water based, of course) it looks even more acceptable.
|Thursday, July 26th, 2007|
|Performance and Power Tools
I rented a drum sander and edger, to sand the floor in my office. Three hours later the floor looked like new (assuming it had been rather wavy when new). Few things are more satisfying than having the right tool for the job.
I also purchased some purple stain (Wild Berry
to be precise) so in an hour or so I'll have a purple wood floor in my office. It'll either look fabulous or terrible, and I have no idea which.
This evening we went to the library for their adult talent show (that's adult like grown-ups, not adult like porn). Ruth Anne and I did Castle Walk (too much mustard) and half and half, and were the highlight of the show (in part because we were the only ones in costume).
Recently I've stumbled upon Questionable Content
, a very good web comic. Not deep, but with characters you start to care about.
|Saturday, July 21st, 2007|
First, go watch this : http://random.cellfish.com/multimedia/110451
I spent four hours this afternoon cutting down honeysuckle trees, and large boughs off of another tree. I think that equates to about 20 minutes of chain saw action, and 3:40 of carrying heavy hunks of tree around to house to the opposite corner, into a huge pile (roughly bull elephant sized) (if the elephant melted slightly).
Lucky for me, the fellow across the street has a landscaping business. I just give him the nod and in a few days the pile goes away.
Four hours of heavy lifting has left me rather exhausted. I have just enough strength to hang out with Ruth Anne all night, while we each read our own copy of Harry Potter 7. I read the last page first, so know that the butler did it.
Amelia had a sleep over last night, and that same friend is sleeping over hear tonight. They didn't get a lot of sleep last night. The bad news is they're both a little cranky. The good news is they're likely to go to sleep somewhat earlier tonight.
|Friday, July 6th, 2007|
Kinda spooky - uncannily accurate on more points than I usually expect from such quizzes.
Your Score: Prometheus
33% Extroversion, 66% Intuition, 27% Emotiveness, 47% Perceptiveness
You are most like Prometheus, and you probably knew that before you even took this test. You probably aren't deliberately altruistic, but you still tend to do things that benefit everyone, even at great expense to your health and personal relationships. You aren't ruled by your emotions, but you still have a strong sense of justice. You make good decisions, but they can sometimes backfire (and this isn't due to a flaw in your reasoning, but due to faulty premises instead).
You are very reasonable, you understand systems, you can quickly pinpoint flaws and you know how to correct them. You pride understanding and knowledge above everything else, and your greatest fear is to appear to be incompetent. You tend to be contemptuous of authority, but you don't accept leadership roles yourself until everyone else has demonstrated their own incompetence.
You've built a very specific skill set. You know exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are, and you pride yourself on this kind of self-knowledge. You distrust tradition, which you see as arbitrary, and you rely instead on your own judgments. You also pride yourself on your pragmatism. You're also a very private person.
Most of all, people think you're arrogant, but screw them! They're the ones who benefit from your ideas and discoveries, and if they took the time to understand why it is that you say and think the things you do, they'd realize that you only appear arrogant because you are exactingly precise when it comes to your area of specification, and most of all because, when you don't know something, you don't have an opinion about it (unlike most of the loudmouths that you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis).
Relationships are your kryptonite. It isn't that you don't want them -- in fact, you would very much like a very close relationship with someone who understands you. They're just the one thing in the world that you're naturally bad at.
Famous people like you: Niels Bohr, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Werner Heisenberg, Issac Newton, John Maynard Keynes, Erwin Schrodinger
Stay Clear of: Apollo, Icarus, Hermes, Aphrodite
Seek out: Atlas, The Oracle, Daedalus