Day 20 of 84

I had to do a little unintended running today (it was only across a Walmart, but still*) and am pleased to report no wrenching pain, muscle spasms or other immediate maladies occurred.

I have also improved noticeably on the other fronts. My body is clearly on the mend, hooray!

I also feel like I am beginning to come down with a cold. Boo.


* it was not due to criminal activity, merely grabbing a dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate mega almond bar for Jeff

A random thought about Peter Buck’s hair

Maybe it’s just me but in the live video of R.E.M’s “Oh my Heart” (a fine song from a fine album, by the way) Peter Buck looks a bit like a woman. It’s the hair, I think. It reminds me of the old Monty Python gang when they would dress as (rather frightening-looking) women for some of their sketches.

To his credit, Mr. Buck is not frightening looking at all. Except for the hair. It is mildly frightening — much like my own.

Also, Micheal Stipe appears to be the only member of the band still looking lean. Maybe that explains why he started taking nude photos of himself. Brr.

I like the way you type(face)

The other day I was looking at this-here blog of mine and thinking about sprucing it up a bit. I have several other images I could use for the header, though I must admit I’m still smitten with the clean, crisp look of Buntzen Lake I have up there now. I could adopt a new theme but I blanch at the thought of all the manual tweaking I’d have to do in order to get it look just the way I wanted.

I also gave thought to tweaking the existing theme, perhaps going with a different body font. Right now I use Verdana, which is entirely readable if a bit bland. I experimented with Arial, Georgia and Garamond but none of them quite looked right. I began searching the vast reaches of the Internet and found a site called I Love Typography. I instantly went gaga over the body font used there and used my Interweb sleuthing skills to determine which font it was, as the site did not appear to share this particular detail. My efforts were without success so I sent an e-mail to the author of the (quite lovely) site and to my delight, he replied the same day with a single word response: Scala.

I now had knowledge but was faced with two new problems as a result:

  1. How the heck did he get a font I clearly do not have to render properly on his site? What sort of JavaScript or CSS trickery was involved? I would have to find out.
  2. Scala is a paid font. If I wanted to buy it I’d be looking at about $239 U.S. for the six fonts featured in the FF Scala Web collection. Now, I’m not saying they are not worth it. I’m saying I wish I had $239 to blow on fonts, because I’d probably have enough to buy some nice fudge, too. Mmm, fudge. Lacking both fudge and funds, my alternative is to look for a reasonable facsimile of Scala as a free font. That means combing through roughly one trillion hideous fonts scattered across an equally large number of font websites.

Ergo, Verdana stays. For now.

Day 17 of 84

Haiku means ‘when you have nothing else to say’.

It is November
The days are short and rainy
Jog with umbrellas

Not that I would ever jog with an umbrella. And not that I can jog for another 67 days, officially. But I have jogged in some rather inclement weather and since we will be right in the middle of winter when I next run I anticipate soggy or perhaps even snowy conditions — and I look forward to it!

Day 16 of 84

Ankle: no change of note
Leg: improved
Manly issue: improving
Butt: still attached

Overall, things are getting better. I dug out my cycling jacket, pants and gloves in preparation for actual physical activity this weekend. Woo!

Also: taking antibiotics on an empty stomach — not recommended. Really really not recommended.

The It’s Not Broke Let’s Fix It Dept.

Whenever you have a stable product that works well someone always starts to tinker with it. Sometimes the tinkering works and small improvements are made. Other times the tinkering is less successful.

Here is an example of the latter.

When Firefox updates to a new version the changes I first notice are the visual ones. Aesthetics are important to me so I will craft everything on the screen to look pleasing to my eye as much as each piece of software allows.

Firefox has a navigation toolbar that shows home and refresh buttons plus left/right arrows. There is a checkbox option to display the icons on the toolbar in regular size or as small icons. I go with small because they are still legible and it gives the browser a somewhat tidier look. In version 7 of Firefox both sets of icons look the same, save for the slight size difference. The just-released version 8 changes this.

On the one hand the spiffy-looking default icons:

And the new horrible-looking small icons:

These are ugly as all get-out and look like someone’s first attempt at making icons in MS Paint.

I’m hoping this is a bug. If not I shall shake my fist in impotent rage.

NaNoWriMo 2011 update number deux -or- Not going with the Titanic metaphor (this time)

A funny thing happened on the way to the word processor.

My clever plan to use this weekend to pad out my word count on my NaNoWriMo novel, which I shall henceforth call my NaNovel because the insufferable cuteness of the term beats out having to type NaNoWriMo novel all the damn time, lay in ruins, to writing what the Hindenburg was to safe dirigible travel.

Today, while recovering from the various things that caused me to not write over the past 48 hour period, I picked up a copy of Scrivener,  “a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.” The blurb on the Scrivener site goes on to say “While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.” Awkward, yes. That is a good way to describe the situation I now find myself in.

I impressed myself by actually working methodically through the entire set of Scrivener tutorials (I tend to start skimming/skipping ahead with these things) but am uncertain this will help me with my current NaNovel. It will almost certainly prove helpful for The Mean Mind, the great unwritten novel that has existed in outline form and in my noggin for the better part of 20 years due to its epic scale and large cast of characters.

I shall write more on Scrivener as I start to make use of it.

For this month’s contest, however, I have to consider a few facts. I have a little over 5,000 words written for The Dream of the Buckford Church, the expansion of the short story I chose to pursue on Day 2. Today is Day 7 and that puts me about 6670 words behind. Yikes. To make that up over the next week I’d have to up my daily word count from 1667 to around 2620. That’s actually fairly feasible if I’m fully invested in what I’m writing.

Unfortunately I’m not convinced that I’m any more enthused about expanding Buckford Church than I was on adapting my short story idea for The Capitol Dome into a novel. With 23 days left I feel I must make a decision and act on it tomorrow. If I don’t it’s probably best to cut my losses early and go back to editing The Ferry. Oh the drama.

Day 14 of 84

Has it already been two glorious weeks? Yes, yes it has!

Today the unexplained pain in my left leg has eased and I have improved on other fronts as well. This probably means one of my butt cheeks will mysteriously come off tomorrow but I’ll just roll with it.

I am certain at this point that running after another four weeks off is not going to happen, but I think two months is a definite possibility.

Hospital visit: The Unintended Sequel

11:00 a.m. In a scene reminiscent of Groundhog Day I find myself back in emergency exactly 24 hours after my last visit.

I had neglected to mention the mild annoyance of a general achiness in my left leg. This achiness worsened last night to where it interfered with my sleep, so I’m back. Whee.

The first guy ahead of me has come because he got a call from his sister that his mother had died. As he said to the receptionist as she arranged for someone to take him up to her, “This sucks.”

11:06 a.m. Busier than yesterday. I am expecting to be here a good while.

11:16 a.m. A kid in full hockey gear (minus skates) sits next to me, holding an ice pack over his right wrist. He is wearing pale blue crocs. He is quiet. I like him.

11:31 a.m. Still waiting in triage. This is definitely going to be a long visit.

11:35 a.m. Initial check-in complete, temperature and blood pressure taken.

11:38 a.m. A daughter and mother arrive, the daughter in tears. She has broken a finger. I get a glimpse of it as we pass. It looks pretty bruised and ugly.

11:40 a.m. More questions, I get my chart and am sent to the Minor Treatment Waiting Room. This place looks familiar!

I notice two clocks, one above the other. They disagree on the time. The incorrect one, an analog, still believes it’s daylight savings time. It also has a second hand that only ticks forward every five seconds. It’s a bit unsettling to watch.

Phone battery stands at 92%.

12:10 p.m. Moved into the exam room, woo. Same intern, wondering why I am back.

12:20 p.m. I am put into a gown for the initial leg prodding. Tentative diagnosis is ‘I dunno!’ I am advised to take Advil as I wait for the doctor to show up.

12:25 p.m. The doctor shows up, I repeat a few stretchy moves and he tells me the same thing as the intern — take Tylenol or Advil and come back if it seems worse or no better by mid-week. Oh, and stay mobile instead of sitting in a rocking chair all day like I normally do.

12:28 p.m. I am done and out of there. The exam room has two other people in it, getting a bit crowded. Today’s theme seems to be leg injuries. I spent a good deal of time sitting near a guy with crutches reading a copy of Runner’s World. I felt sad for both of us.

Now, seriously, I DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK.

Live blog: Hospital emergency room visit

Two days ago I finished off 10 days of Cipro. This fun-sounding antibiotic was prescribed to deal with what was diagnosed as a bacterial prostate infection. After separate 7 and 10 day doses rather than feeling all fresh and zesty I found it hurt to pee. Having one of the world’s smallest bladders, this has proven inconvenient, to say the least.

And so it is that I begin my weekend sitting in the emergency of Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

11:00 a.m. I check in. Almost immediately I am called over, tagged and given an initial probing–blood pressure and temperature.

11:05 a.m. I am sent back to triage. Only a few moments pass before I am moved along to the area beyond triage. The people in this area do not look happy. There is someone in a bed with the curtain not quite pulled far enough to completely obscure him or her. The shadowy movements bring to mind a Stephen King story.

11:15 a.m I am told to follow the green arrows on the floor and wait in relative seclusion for the doctor. Nearby and unseen a child is crying out as if in agony.

At 11:25 the child is still crying but I can hear someone trying to calm him and talking about how they need to make sure they stop the bleeding. The kid seems unconvinced. Wailing continues.

11:28 a.m. Someone moves me further along to the Minor Treatment Waiting Room. There are more green arrows leading here. I think this is where I was supposed to be. Oops.

The man takes my chart and the wailing kid is farther away which serves to give his cries a more dream (or rather nightmare) like quality.

It is 11:31 a.m. There are five other people here, four of whom appear to be couples. The real waiting mow begins.

11:33 a.m. That kid is really starting to get on my nerves.

11:37 a.m. A young couple arrives with a girl of about three. They listen to the screams and the mother says, “She’s going to sound like that.” That’s the spirit!

11:40 a.m. I am moved to the room I initially went to by mistake and about five minutes later a young doctor attends to me to begin the ‘men of a certain age’ diagnosis in earnest.

After numerous questions and some hands-on probing I am asked to pee in a cup–again. I comply with attendant discomfort. She then decides a rectal exam is in order and for probably the only time ever a woman gets intimate with my butt. The thought of this being an indignity doesn’t occur to me due to being that certain age.

12:05 p.m. I await the initial results of the pee analysis. I notice now that the kid is no longer wailing. Smothered with a pillow, perhaps. The waiting room is now standing room only.

I have drained 5% of my phone’s battery typing this.

12:07 p.m. A man gets called in. He gets up very slowly. He fell off a ladder. I wonder if a person can walk with a broken back.

12:15 p.m. My thoughts turn to food. Mmm, food. I have no food.

I wonder why I am waiting for the urinalysis when the doctor said it would take several days to get a detailed sample of the culture. I will be very hungry in several days.

12:24 p.m. A little kid is taken in and starts crying. Pace yourself, I say. At least wait until the gloves come out.

Meanwhile, the other kid here decides to have a mini-tantrum. I say mini because I know she is capable of so much more.

They just wheeled a woman by in a bed that filled the entire aisle. Three people guiding it and there’s a machine on it that beeps like a heart beat.

12:30 p.m. My phone is down to 91%. I blame Bejeweled 2.

12:50 p.m. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m actually still supposed to be here.

A guy who sheared off his fingertip sits down next to me. No gushing blood. Yet.

1:00 pm to 1:45 pm. I am finally introduced to the actual doctor (the woman is a resident). He asks a lot of intimidatingly personal questions and I answer plainly. The initial pee sample comes back clean save for a very tiny trace elevation in blood glucose — consistent with other results. No infection to be found. He suggests a few possibilities, like a yeast infection (possible in men, says he) or maybe irritation in my manhood as a result of the antibiotics. But he doesn’t think these are the causes. He thinks it’s an STI even though I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for the past year. I am given pills to take for a week and another pee sample is taken which will be tested for STIs. I’ll know if I get a call in the next five days or so. no call means everything is fine there. He tells me to practice safe sex and for me and my partner to get tested for the biggies like HIV and such within the week. This is sensible advice and I’ll definitely follow up, even at the risk of getting Very Bad News because knowing is better than not knowing.

I’m going with the irritation theory, though. It’s the least disturbing.

As I make my way out of the exam room I notice another guy on the other bed. He is on his side and curled up in a bit of a fetal position. That doesn’t look good. At least he’s not screaming.

The person in the rolling bed with the beeping machine is trundled by again with even more people in attendance. I’m wondering if they’re just getting scooped up as the giant bed is wheeled down the halls.

All told my visit lasted a little under three hours but actual waiting times were not bad. The staff was friendly and efficient so as far as icky hospital visits go it went about as well as can be expected. My phone battery stands at 83%.

I do not want to go back.