Copyright

All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Oops... I Did It Again

Somehow, I'm still not quite sure how, I managed to cause the valence on which sat one of my surround sound speakers to fall off the wall-- and the speaker went with it and knocked me hard on the head.

I received an inch long gash in my forehead, was bleeding profusely, and became instantly dizzy/woozy and headachy. I knew I was bleeding when I saw the spatter on the carpetting and felt the steady trickle going down my face.

I staggered into the bathroom, slattered blood all over the sink, the basin, and the mirror. Grabbed a wad of toilet paper and held it tight to my head, and it became almost instantly soaked. I threw that away and grabbed another wad and pressed just as hard again. Once I felt like the flood had lessened enough that I could make it to the kitchen, I grabbed a third wad of TP, held it to my head while I went to the kitchen and grabbed some ice, put it in a plastic bag, and wrapped that in some napkins and more TP.

At that point, I became very weak and sick-feeling. I kept the ice and pressure on my head, as I was still bleeding pretty strongly. As this happened right before I was planning to make dinner, I was even woozier from the sudden loss of blood and intense pain on an empty stomach. I needed to talk with someone, so I called my mom and spoke with her for about an hour. She was obviously concerned, but soon relaxed enough to just talk with me and keep my coherent and awake.

It is now about an hour and half after the event. I'm feeling a bit stronger, the bleeding has lessened to the point where I found some gauze and medical tape and am using that. I have cleaned up the blood trail and most of the sink. I have a good-sized lump on my upper forehead and the gash is wide enough that I will likely have a nice scar from this one.

I put the chicken in the oven to bake (no frying or grilling for me-- I think it is better if I let the oven do the work). My headache is getting extremely bad, but you shouldn't take any sort of aspirin with a head wound, so I am avoiding that right now.

So, I'm wondering if hitting my head is going to be a constant issue now-- as current readers know, I smacked my head good about two weeks ago. Hopefully not, as I can't handle too much more of this.

Better go check the chicken.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tired of the Questions

What she said (including disclaimer).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hallelujah

Over the last two-three weeks, I watched a number of shows that featured a slow, plaintive song with a refrain in which the artists repeated the word "Hallelujah" a few times. The song is, of course, named "Hallelujah" and is a Leonard Cohen song originally.

There are a few websites that refer to music from various shows, and this helped narrow things down a bit. One that was useful was:

Blogcritics

These sites and my musically-inclined friends led me to find a whole list of people who sing this song. Some are quite good versions.

kd lang
Allison Crowe
Rufus Wainwright
Daisy Chapman
Jeff Buckley (probably the most popular version)
Angelou
Steve Acho
Brandi Carlile
Elisa

The small snippets of these songs I heard on iTunes indicated that, while good, none of these were the precise version for which I was searching. I went back to the 'net to see if there were any other versions that might have been found. I found this website:

Stylus

Sure enough, the John Cale version-- which was hard to find a good snippet of to listen to-- appears to be the precise version that I liked so much. (The Stylus website also mentions a great TV moment; read the description of #2 for the episode "My Screwup.")

Some TV shows have tried to facilitate their viewers' desires to buy the music they present. However, even these shows do not do a great job of telling you what every song is-- I can't tell you how often I have watched Smallville, enjoyed a song, and it was not one of the ones mentioned at the end of the program.

But other shows, especially the dramas, make little to no effort to help the viewers find good music. It is unfortunate, as they could really get a synergy going between the production companies and the music industries. I am willing to bet the music industry would see bumps in these songs and albums if both they and the TV productions companies would make the effort. Win-win for both groups.

I am off to see if I can find the John Cale version of "Hallelujah" as a single song, since iTunes appears not to have it. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Guiding Light

Okay, this is just goofy! I guess, with their viewership down to all-time lows, they are hoping to grab some of the comic-book readers in American and suck them in? I will admit, soaps and comics use many similar tactics in keeping viewers and stringing out storylines.

From IMDB.com, Oct. 20, 2006:

Superhero To Beam Onto 'Guiding Light'
Guiding Light, America's oldest soap opera -- it began on radio in 1937 and moved to television in 1952 -- will be taking aim at younger viewers next month when it introduces a Marvel Comics-created superhero on Nov. 1. Marvel Comics said that it will cross-promote the storyline with an eight-page insert to appear in several of its comic books in which the Guiding Light characters will interact with Marvel superheroes.

Follow up link:
http://www.superherotimes.com/newsarchive/001724.php

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Italian Delight

I like a good, Italian style sandwich. Three weeks ago today, while visiting the Albertsons by work for lunch, I discovered their deli has a very good Italian sandwich. It has cappicola, cotto salami, genoa salami, provolone cheese, tomato, Italian dressing, and pepperoncinis. All this is on a baguette-style sandwich roll. I order it sans tomatoes.

Well, three weeks ago, I read that on the wall, ordered from the gentleman behind the counter saying, “I would like the Italian Delight sandwich. I want it exactly as it is listed, except no tomatoes.” I thought that was pretty clear direction.

Well, he asked me twice if I wanted mustard and mayo on it (yuck!) and he added onions and included tomatoes. Well, after taking the onions and tomato off, and ensuring he did not slide any mustard or mayo on there, I enjoyed the sandwich. Quite tasty and a great value for the price. However, with no one bothering him and nothing to do but make my sandwich, it took the poor guy well over 20 minutes to make the sandwich.

About a week later, I returned. I positioned myself in line so I would have the woman working the counter help me. When I asked, I said, “I’d like the Italian Delight, just as it is listed, but no tomatoes.” Off she went. I was a little distracted, left the counter to grab something nearby, and when I returned I was surprised to see she had out regular sliced bread and was starting to add avocado to the sandwich. I said, “Excuse me” enough times to catch her notice and then asked, “What sandwich are you making?”

“The Ultimate Club,” she responded.

“But I ordered the Italian Delight,” I countered. I watched as her light bulb turned on, dimly, and she said, “I’m sorry. You’re right.” And she quickly made me an Italian Delight. So, it took well over 20 minutes again, and she put it on a standard soft sandwich roll instead of the baguette. I still enjoyed it, but it is better on the baguette.

Last week, I tried again. I got the guy again. I used the same line, only I ignored the “no tomatoes” comment. Still took him a while to construct the sandwich, but he did it in just under 20 minutes and I got… onions on it. I got back to the office, picked off the onions and tomatoes and enjoyed it.

Today I needed to pick up my medications at the Sav-on inside that Albertsons, so I got that sandwich again. The same guy was there, and he even remembered me. So I ordered the Italian Delight, as listed on the menu, with no tomatoes. To his credit, he only made the sandwich as listed this time, but he managed to include the tomatoes again.

If I did not enjoy the sandwich so much, I would not go back. I do find it amusing that, with the level of direction I have provided, I cannot get them to give me exactly what I order. Oh well, I am used to taking tomatoes off of sandwiches; it is not a big deal to me or I would ask to speak with the manager and offer “suggestions.”

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Memory Foam

I have a crappy bed. No bones about it. On my own and with my mom's help, I have looked for ways to improve the bed using foam, extra pillows, and feather-filled toppers.

Last week I purchased a Personal Expression memory foam topper for my bed. Well, actually two, but that is another story. With 3" of memory foam on the bed, my sleep has been deeper, more restful, and better.

The foam does a nice job of molding around me and easing the pressure on my shoulders and back. I have been moving less during the night.

Matter of fact, my only complaint is that I have not quite figured out the heat issues. The memory foam molds around me more than I am used to. Also, the temperatures are getting cooler at night, which causes me to grab my afghan during the night. Then, since the foam has me wrapped up and I have the extra warmth from the afghan, I am getting too warm. When I get too warm, I have trouble waking up. Yesterday I slept in until after 8:30 am and this morning I stayed asleep until 8 am.

However, I am happy to have this issue. I am known for having poor night's rest and only sleeping around 5-6 hours a night. Since adding the memory foam to my bed I am sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and loving it.

I give a serious thumbs up to the memory foam topper. What a great purchase.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Follow Up - Head

The headaches have eased back and I seem to be generally okay. I still have some small issues that may be related. With as hard as I hit my head, I'm sure that I had some form of concussion, even if I did not lose consciousness.

I also have some issues with my arthritis, which the knock to the head have not helped. My jaw very nearly locked shut yesterday and is still a bit sore today. However, I know that taking some prednisone for a couple of days will ease that away, so I am not overly concerned by that. But it was bad timing with the headaches and a general grogginess brought on by the blow to the head.

Life's Little Challenges

Sometimes, life is a challenge.

My fiancĂ© and I want to be together. However, through the happenstance of how we met, it turned out that we are from different sides of the continent and in different countries. So our ability to be together is stymied by rules and regulations we must overcome first. It is taking longer than we would like, and it is frustrating, but all we can do is continue to press our nose to the grindstone and move forward. We are, at least, reviewing the immigration paperwork and making some tough decisions on when and how we can get me to her. And, of course, this challenge leads to other challenges—moving, marriage, distance from my current friends and family, job. All of which I look forward to meeting and overcoming in the future.

I really enjoy Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplaying. I have a great group of friends with whom I play. We even have a wealth of people who like to GM, which is often unusual for groups. However, I really want to play in a super-hero related game. While my friends are open to playing in a game, it generally means that I have to GM it, as I am the impetus for this sort of genre. Which, while fun, defeats the purpose—I want to have the fun of creating the character, not knowing the plot, and defeating the bad guys. If I am the GM, no matter how much fun I may have in the game, I really cannot have the specific fun for which I am looking. The only solution to this one that I see is to find a group who enjoys this genre and join them. But that leads to other challenges; fitting in with a new group, time, location.

Bike riding is something I have always enjoyed. However, I enjoy it the most when I can ride with someone, to a location or for a purpose, and share the experience. Right now, I do not have anyone with whom I can share that joy. I have asked around in my apartment complex with those I have seen biking, but they are mostly of the racing variety; I’m just looking for a buddy to take a 3-5 mile ride with around the local environs. I am not sure why this one has been on my mind so much lately, except that I have felt the need to get some exercise in and I like biking for both the distance and speed as well as the low-impact nature of it. I am not seeing a ready solution to this one right now, except maybe to go back to biking alone. Now that I have a cell phone, solitary biking does not have quite the same worries as it once did.

PC gaming is a fun activity that I like to lose myself in on occasion. However, PC gaming is at its most fun when you can team up with people you know and from whom you can expect a certain level of play and comradeship. For a while, I managed to get two of my buddies to join me in some online gaming and I had a real blast. Just prior and shortly after their involvement, I did my best to join and play with a group within the game. But, in each case, the friends and the groups had other things come into play and they disbanded, stopped playing, or drifted to other groups. There is a new online game coming within just a few days/weeks (NWN2) which I know one buddy of mine is buying; so I may have an opportunity to get some more gaming with friends in soon. But he’s a busy guy, with a wife and a child as well as a job with a lot of OT, so I am not optimistic that he can play as often as I can. But any time will be better than none.

There are other challenges; health, family, pet, apartment, and job related. Not sure even why I mention the four I do, except maybe that those are four that are on my head a lot these days. The first and last are two that have a fair chance of being overcome in some fashion or another. The middle two are more of a challenge, and I look for ways around them. As to the many other challenges; I guess I will get to them when I get to them.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Good Swift Kick to the Head

I hit my head. Hard.

My apartment sports a crappy over/under clothes washer/dryer set. The dryer, on top, has a door that likes to slowly swing shut if you do not put something to block it. As I was doing laundry yesterday, I dropped a piece of clothing and bent to retrieve it without considering the dryer door, which I had left open.

I stood up at full speed and, banged the back of my head into the metal dryer door with a great deal of force.

Luckily, I had folded articles on the washer top. I hit my head so hard I actually ricocheted down and would have hit the washer, but landed on a pile of folded clothes instead of chipping a tooth or breaking/bloodying my nose on the hard metal surface of the washer.

This morning, when I looked at the washer unit, I noticed it was moved back slightly and no longer facing exactly straight—apparently I hit it hard enough to move the unit, too.

What is interesting is that I did not even break the skin or give myself a goose-egg. However, I hit it hard enough to get that coppery flavor in the back of my throat, an instant, splitting, migraine-strength headache, and a bit of a nauseated feeling.

Unfortunately, I did all this around 5pm and I had a dinner get-together with a buddy of mine. I waited about half an hour to see if the symptoms would clear. When they did not, I had to call my friend and postpone our dinner. I felt bad doing it, but I definitely did not feel safe to drive or well enough to be social.

I monitored my symptoms for the requisite four hours; I never lost consciousness and I did not appear to be having any problems remembering anything. Well, no more than is usual for me now. ;-) The nauseated feeling did not turn into vomiting and I had no signs of any bleeding. No seizures or difficulty speaking/making sense.

It is now nearly 24 hours later and my splitting headache is just starting to ease off into moderate pounding. If I turn my head too quickly, I get a weird “slow fade” sensation as though my senses are not quite keeping up with me. And I still have the coppery taste in the back of my throat a bit, although that is finally lessening too.

This makes a few times now I have hit my head hard enough to worry about concussion. As an early teen, riding my bicycle and doing stunts, I went off a jump and landed flat on my back and head, knocking the wind out of me and giving me a slight numbing sensation. I have been hit in the face/head a couple of times playing sports, by balls and bats, that caused the coppery taste and a wooziness. I am fairly sure that the injury when I conked my head on the support bar on Chris’s bunked bed in the dormitories caused some damage. And then there was the time in England when I stood up way too fast and hit my head on the luggage wrack and light switch, knocking me senseless for a few minutes.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate doing laundry. Incidents like this just support that natural hatred—laundry hates me (and, apparently, is out to kill me, too), so I hate it right back!

I continue to monitor the situation and, if everything is not improving by tomorrow, I will get my head checked for permanent damage. Things are starting to improve, so I do not think this will be necessary.

And I need to contact my buddy and reschedule lunch/dinner. I feel bad leaving him in the lurch on such short notice, but I think it was for the best in the end.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Art Imitates Life

Anyone who has ever played any MMORPG, but especially WoW, needs to watch last night's episode of South Park, "Make Love not Warcraft."

I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

True Evil

Guns are evil.

They must be—every time something horrible involving guns happens, that is what I hear from the media and from people.

Recently, a man who was having psychological issues both from the loss of a child 3 years ago and from a molestation event that happened 20 years ago, took a shotgun and a 9 mm handgun to an Amish school and killed some children and himself.

He wasn’t at fault; the guns were— because guns are evil.

The guns somehow made him write the multiple suicide notes, call his wife during the incident, and choose a place where he could vent his frustrations without much fear of reprisals—a school. Damn, those guns are evil.

Two other gun-related incidents occurred this week as well. In both cases, children got weapons and took them to school and shot people. It is not the parent’s fault for not properly storing or locking the weapon. It is not the parent’s fault for apparently not teaching the children proper respect for the tool, or forgetting to teach the children that a gun is not the proper response to the travails of life. No, it was that evil gun’s fault for sitting there in a drawer and corrupting those in the household.

Columbine was the gun’s fault. The two children who were psychologically unbalanced, feared by their fellow students for their odd and aggressive behavior, and about whom the police did nothing regarding the many complaints and fears that had been forwarded to them about those two boys’ behavior for the year leading up to the event—they aren’t to blame. If those darned guns hadn’t been around to influence their minds and make them turn bad, Columbine would never have happened.

We can go all the way back to the first incident—that McDonald’s shooting in the early 80s where another unbalanced person took a weapon to a favorite eatery and unloaded, killing multiple people during a rampage. How possibly could he be to blame for that? It had to be the gun.

A growing voice can be heard once again asking why our country does not ban this gun or that gun, or even all guns. That growing voice is asking why we don’t do more to protect the children.

And here is the problem with that voice—we don’t need more laws, we just need the laws we currently have enforced. This country has literally hundreds of laws on the books, both federally and locally, about who can and who cannot have guns, where they can be used, training courses that are supposed to be taken prior to buying or using guns, and waiting periods. Some locations have banned specific types of guns or modifying weapons to make them more deadly. And the guns still find a way into those locations. Those changes still get made to the weapons. And people still manage to buy guns without the waiting periods or without taking gun safety courses first.

We need the police to take complaints against anyone about violent and extremely anti-social behavior more seriously; including funding them well enough they have people to work these complaints. For that matter, we need all of the many, many systems we have in place in schools, churches, and communities to be properly funded and staffed so they have a chance in hell of actually working.

We need people to understand that well over 95% of all legal gun owners, makers, and sellers are law-abiding citizens from whom you never hear a peep and about whom very few of these news stories are written.

We have to smarten up and realize that the guy who shot the children in the Amish school left home that day with the intent to get some sort of revenge and the need to commit suicide. The Columbine children wanted the same things; revenge and death. These people will find other ways if guns are not in the picture. Look at any country that bans guns; those country a) still have problems with guns and b) have a much higher incidence of violent crimes via other means (knives, blunt objects, fist fights, etc.), per capita. It shows that people who want to commit violent acts are going to—if you make guns unavailable, they WILL find something else to use or another way to do the violence. There is no society anywhere on earth where violent crime has been removed.

So why not smarten up and hold accountable those that should be: the perpetrators of these crimes. They wanted to commit violent acts and they did. They are to blame; no one else but those people. Blame them. Hold them accountable.

It is not the gun’s fault. It is just a tool. A tool that is incredibly efficient and remarkably good at the task it was designed for, but a tool nonetheless. Without a person to hold it, load it, aim, and fire it, the tool will do nothing more than sit there.

And maybe we can learn something from the Amish against whom this most recent gun violence was perpetrated. One Amish man was quoted as saying, “There is no sense in getting angry.” Another, who lost a family member to the violence and has another in the hospital, said, “I think it was going to happen. God has his hand in it.” These so-called ‘backward’ people understand that people get violent and violence happens. They will mourn their dead and move on.

Maybe the rest of us can, too?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Intelligent People

Sometimes, being an intelligent person actually is an impediment.

It seems like people who are not as intelligent manage, alone and without help, all the time. They just throw caution to the wind and go. Who cares if they did not do something correctly—they will just fix it and continue on. Who cares if they misunderstood the nature of that over there—they will just explain their mistake and move on.

Vacuous people throw caution to the wind and just do something. More often than not, it seems to work out for them. Not being overly self-aware allows them to damn the consequences and move full-steam ahead. They do not seem to agonize over the imperfections and faulty assumptions, nor do they let the setbacks that their lack of information creates stop them. And the universe, or the higher being, appears to smile on their ignorance and move them past the impediment with just a gentle nudge, and maybe a whimsical smile, and on they go.

Intelligent people just cannot do that. They are stifled with the need to “do it right,” to understand the process, which causes a great deal of stress and slows them down. Smart people agonize over the little and the big. They worry about the rights and the wrongs. They worry about other people involved and they wonder about the morals and the ethics of it all.

Smart people have more options available. So many possibilities open up to them that it can be paralyzing to make a choice. A less intelligent person only has to pick from a few doors and they do not seem to care about the consequences of that action. They assume they can always back out and pick the other door. Or they trust that other doors will open after this one. But a smart person has dozens, hundreds, of doors from which to choose. And they recognize that even the slightest wrong choice carries consequences.

Life is a series of choices and consequences, a smart child is taught. Those who shine less brightly are told that Life is just… life. Get to the living of it and don’t look back!

It is rare that you can see smart people just living their life. The apprehensions and awareness keeps them more fearful and contained. Living life for a smart person seems to come only after a break down or a break through of some sort. Their intelligence finally resolves the issues and can see more clearly and without prejudice. They learn that it is rare when the consequences which stymied them before are as ravaging as they once believed. Not all decisions lead to ruin.

Other times we see an intelligent person who understands the true meaning of life, it often turns out to be an older person, the child stricken with a terminal illness, or an adult with a severe infirmity. Age, illness, and infirmity are other reasons to cause an intelligent person to see beyond the possibilities of their own minds, look past the confusion that those possibilities present, and see that life is about living.

None of this is particularly deep, nor is it the least bit original. But sometimes people forget that the only thing that stops a person, smart or otherwise, from living life is that person; the person’s fears and hopes, dashed dreams and introspections, and the consequences for every little action.

Maybe it is time to take a deep breath and go live a little life?