Like a sledgehammer to the gut

Recap of yesterday:

40 minutes into my hour commute, halfway across the Monitor-Merrimac bridge, when my usual mild morning nausea turned powerful, and changed over to intense pain. I don’t know how to describe it to anyone who’s not felt it, but one would gladly give up PIN codes and passwords just to make it stop. I got the car to work, and the pain briefly subsided, but as I walked into my office, back it came. I was floored – literally. I fell to the ground in the fetal position, moaning.

My co-workers found me, and called the ambulance. My work managed to reach Starr, and she met me in the Emergency Room. I felt quite certain I’d experienced a flareup of 2006’s diverticulitis. The doctor found it likely, but decided to do a CAT scan to be sure. I spent an hour drinking a nasty ‘lemonade’ drink, and then they put me in the big donut.

Well, no diverticulitis. The CAT scan says I have gallstones, and the doctor says they’ll need to remove my gall bladder. I’m really less than thrilled with this, if for no other reason that I’ve just spent a couple of years trying to improve my diet, and now that I’ve got it where I like it, I may have to make further changes. More importantly, I’m not thrilled with this ongoing loss of body parts fate is demanding from me.

Well, I can’t go back to work until I’ve seen the surgeon. At this rate, I don’t even know when they’ll want to do the surgery. I’m on Vicodin, antibiotics, and nausea medication, and sitting in bed playing with my Wii. But I’ve been reminded over the past 24 hours that I remain a lucky man – I may be losing an organ, but I’ve got insurance that’ll pay for it, and the support of many wonderful people to back me up. Starr’s been a treasure, there for me every time I needed comfort or assistance. I’m thankful.

Now, I just have to figure out how to retrieve my car from work.

Subspace radio is down

This Monday, we finally got the DirecTV service replaced with Cox cable. Only problem: the HDTV is upstairs in the bedroom, which was in NO condition for visitors. (You may theorize why.) So, we had the guy install the HD box on an old standard TV downstairs where was located one of the two coax connections the DirecTV used, explaining that this was a temp television for a week or two and that we’d be getting an HD soon. Then I figured I’d move the box upstairs to the other coax connection, since he was nice enough to make sure they both remained intact.

I went to do that tonight, and discovered that he’d hooked up the wrong cable. There are six coax lines running into the house; the downstairs line was working, but he’d hooked up the wrong one of the other five. No worries, I can figure that out. I ruled out one immediately: it was so corroded that the center wire broke off the moment I examined it. I ruled out another because I’d already verified that one wasn’t working; so I tried each of the other three in turn, hooking it up, rebooting the box, and waiting for start up. I did this three times. Nothing worked.

Finally, in a desperate attempt to work out which wire worked, I hooked the output of a VCR to the upstairs cable and dragged a (not especially portable) television outside hooking it to each one in turn. None of the three worked, which startled me seriously – one of them had been working not two days ago. With mounting horrified suspicion, I picked up the corroded cable, stripped it with my Swiss Army Knife, and replaced the coax connector. (Oh, did I mention that dark had fallen by this time, and I did this with just the reflected light from a streetlamp a few dozen yards away?) You know what happened: the TV lit right up with the old Mystery Science Theater tape I had running upstairs.

So, to wrap up the story: a few minutes later, cable box was beginning. We get signal. Main screen turn on. I called the cable box a bug-jumping cork-sucker, and may possibly have danced around the room a tiny bit; but in a battle between me and technology, I’m not backing down until I’ve tried everything. And tonight it paid off. (Wonder what my Shadowrun 2nd Ed. target number was on that one?)

Any chance to get aboard the Enterprise

Since my friend Celia has never seen Wrath of Khan, and we were looking to relax after a couple hours of Super Mario Galaxy and Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine, I retrieved the DVD and we loaded it up.

Odd, showing this movie to someone who had almost no context at all for it. We explained that Kirk was an intergalactic hero once who’d been pushed into a desk job, and this was his old ship and officers. I had to reconfirm that yes, those are Montalban’s real pecs, and explain why no fan was surprised that Kirk had a son he’d never met. Shatner’s rug was sadly obvious on the very large TV, too.

But still, the movie’s just as strong as it was twenty-seven years ago. Starr cried again during the funeral (a quite appropriate response), but this time did so for Scotty’s nephew as well. She explained that the “word is given” dialogue was quite realistic, and she’d seen it many times at her work: people who are dying, and know it, frequently ask for permission to do so. They need to know that it’s okay for them to pass away.

My bias is confirmed: TWoK remains a stronger film than The Voyage Home or First Contact, though it’s in fine company with those two. The reboot movie, though I enjoyed it very much and will see it again, doesn’t come close.

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Happy Returns for the Rat

Happy belated birthday to rattrap!

Of all my friends, you’re in the few that have had the most influence on who I am and where I am today. I’m very glad that I know you, and I only wish we got to catch up in person more often.

If you didn’t get to this weekend, go treat yourself to Ponyo. You fanned the flames of my newborn anime fandom back in the day, and it just seems appropriate.

Helmsman in the Psychic Wars

I have an unfortunate history with apathy, and laziness. When I get frustrated with a situation, I have a habit of mentally abandoning it, which is a problem if the issue could have been corrected with a little more persistence. Like a junkie looking for another hit, I’ll start looking for stimulation anywhere else to kick my brain back into gear, but that never does anything much for the issue that kicked me into apathy in the first place.

For the first time in my memory, I’ve reached a point in my mental evolution where I can recognize the state early, and kick myself back into focus using a little determination. This is paying off in spades, as I’m getting more work done and facing more of my challenges head-on. My self-image is improving as well, which is having positive repercussions throughout my life. I’m noting this as yet another skill I wish I’d been able to put to use ten or twenty years ago.

It’s not foolproof, though, and requires constant attention, which may be the cause of the one downside; my energy levels seem to be a little lower, especially at the end of a day. We had friends over Friday night, and I was down for the count by 10:30. (I hear I made a cute figure conked out on the couch while they continued to converse.) I’m pretty careful about what I eat these days, and am on pretty much the healthiest diet my palate can stand, so it may be time to look into vitamins again.

(Actually, I backslid a bit this weekend with Cokes and a small box of chocolate-chip muffins. But I’m sitting here this morning with a bottle of water like a good boy.)

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Burning sensations

Strange dream last night. I was at a USS Yeager meeting circa 1994, and in charge of getting everyone together for a group photo; however, every time I hit the timer button on the camera and stepped over to the group, people started chatting and wandering away before the shutter fired. I would have to badger them back into position, and try again. Iron Chef Morimoto, who’d graciously agreed to pose with us, was getting fairly impatient with the whole thing.

Can’t say that I think there’s any deep meaning in that dream: since I was gamemastering last night, I already was in ‘herding cats’ headspace, and I’ve recently been taking more pictures. I think I’m more excited about pictures these days, since the Web’s been giving me more places to show them off. I don’t know what Morimoto was doing there, though.

Then I woke up with heavy coughing caused by a combination of pool chemicals and last night’s GM oratory. Got back to sleep, eventually, but my throat still burns a bit this morning. I’ll be so relieved when I can put the super-bleach away, I’ve been dosing that pool with this and that for weeks now trying to get it usable for what remains of the summer. Next year, I’m starting in March.

We’re finally on the new Shadowrun adventure, but we got rolling a little late, so the evening was spent in negotiating the job and traveling to the site. Our heroes are investigating the disappearance of a Draco Foundation science team that was researching Crater Lake; the GSSC had been providing security, and needs some deniable assets to cover their butts. I’ve got an action sequence ready to start the next session, and some curious plot points prepared.

Tonight: moving stuff into the attic. And more pool work.

Writer’s Block: I May Be Crazy

… but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for!

I have been able to imagine here much of what other people have seen, but to me it’s the grinning face of a fox. (Admittedly, one with oddly bifurcated ears.)

The smile is a Trickster’s smile, the smile of Loki, or Coyote, or Q. That smile promises only a relief from boredom – it does not promise either way whether you’ll enjoy that relief.

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