Tuesday, June 21, 2005

On the knee

Still holding off calling the other doc at this point.

My knee isn't feeling great today, but it's not feeling particularly worse either, and it does seem like it's improved over the last few days. During practice today (yes, I went to practice) I thought I was going to really blow it out once and for all when I did a quick acceleration on one particular point, but it actually seemed to feel much better once I got going and things warmed up. A little TLC for now -- icing after activity and a regular regimen of vitamin-I. I'm going to continue to keep an eye on it, but at this point, I'm going to just play on it and try to be "careful," whatever that means. I'm pretty sure I'm just fooling myself. But hey: stay foolish, do what you love. (Somehow, I don't think that's what he meant by that.)

In other random knee news, it turns out that Mom just recently tore the posterior horn of the lateral meniscus of her left knee. (I may not have mentioned it, but I was pretty much convinced that I had a tear in the posterior horn of the lateral meniscus of my left knee before I saw the doc yesterday.) Maybe I'm just experiencing sympathetic sensation or something. Dunno.

It also turns out that the SOOTTAD has a torn meniscus in her left knee, but it's the medial meniscus, so it's definitely not as much of a freaky coinkydink as with my mom.

Well, ok. Maybe it is.

"Stay hungry. Stay Foolish."

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

(Forwarded to me by my friend Juje)

Summertime treat

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Alpine strawberries -- yum!

(just gotta get to 'em before the critters do.)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Light and Tunnel

I can see an end in sight -- we're in the last week of classes for the first semester, and it's probably just in the nick of time. I'm feeling pretty burnt out. It'll be good to have a break, but we've still got a quiz, two finals and a technique assessment before we're done for the summer.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't also have to learn C++ and crank out some code in the next day or so for work. Ugh. I'm actually pretty psyched about having the opportunity to finally learn and use C++, but I've felt so exhausted the last few weeks (and the last few days in particular), that I wish I could take a day or two off to just catch up on my sleep. Sadly, there isn't time for that.

I may have to resort to the nuclear option: after 13 years off the stuff, I may have to recaffeinate. It could get ugly. Hopefully I'll be able to manage without it.

* * *

A few random bits and pieces:

  • Went to my 15-year college reunion. Always a tough start: I'm wandering around, not really seeing anybody I knew, feeling out of it, and wondering what the hell I'm doing there. I don't like people. I'm socially awkward. I don't chit-chat well. And literally 10 seconds after those thoughts cross my mind, I see 6-7 people that I'm really happy to see.
  • The SOOTTAD met me in Ithaca. She had an awful trip out -- up at the crack of dawn, was supposed to arrive around 4pm but because of stupid airport configurations, bad itinerary from Travelocity and a few wayward thunderstorms, she didn't get in until 10pm. And ended up eating something at LaGuardia that took her out for most of the weekend.
  • She also drove back home with me, and was back for the week so we could attend a wedding together yesterday afternoon/evening. It's always wonderful to have her back home, but we've both been crazy busy with work and other social/family obligations that we didn't get much quality time together. She'll be back in July -- hopefully things will be a little calmer then.
  • My left knee has been bothering me for the last month or so. Finally saw the doctor today. Not the best experience I've had: 3:45pm appointment, arrived at 3:12pm because I was told to arrive 30 minutes early for X-rays, back in the waiting room the next time around 4pm, called in around 4:30pm, saw the doctor at 4:35pm, out at 4:39pm. I guess two hours isn't so bad, but the signal to noise ratio -- oy. The assessment was, well, basically that everything looked fine -- probably a muscle/tendon strain, definitely not a torn meniscus. Which is great, except that it had all the symptoms of one. So, we'll proceed with caution, and maybe after practice tomorrow I'll try to get an appointment with the other doctor who left the organization to start his own practice.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Doesn't seem like such a big deal, does it?

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Sometimes when life is a little rough, you can take a step back and appreciate what you have going for you. You count your blessings. Things may be tough, but you're a lot better off than a lot of people. Sometimes it just takes a little perspective.

Sometimes you can just ride out the bumps. Take things one step at a time. You make adjustments.

And sometimes, when you think: despite the rough spots, everything's going to be ok...

Life will come over and give you a quick kick in the nuts.

And then give you a cookie, just to fuck with you.

* * *

So things seem to be going ok. I'm not overly excited about work, but the latest to-do list is keeping me somewhat engaged. I think I finally found an accountant so I can get all this self-employment/independent contractor stuff taken care of. It's too bad that he's confirmed that I'm going to have to pay 1/3 of my estimated taxes for the year (for what I expect to make on this contract for the full calendar year) by next Wednesday, despite having only been paid for the first 9 days that I've worked -- meaning, I have to pay more in taxes than I've actually been paid. I know that it'll even itself out the next time around, but it still feels wrong. Oh, and there's still something funky going on with my knee, but it only seems to flare up when I'm sprinting hard -- I seem to be able to run at a normal pace without too much trouble. (Too bad it means that whenever we play disc, I seem to tweak it. But practice was great yesterday.) Oh, and there's some nasty critters that are eating the lilies out front, but at least the rest of the garden is looking pretty good.

But, you know -- it feels like summer. Class is almost over. I'm going to see the SOOTTAD in two days. I can make it.

Or at least I thought I could.

Like I said, work has been ok. And the Physiology final this evening wasn't too bad. I would have liked to have gone out with the rest of the class, but I needed to get home and do a practice session and study Anatomy because I'm heading out to my college reunion on Friday, so I won't have any time to study. I figured I'd try and tidy the house up a little before T arrived, since she'd never been to the house before, but I settled on doing the dishes.

And sliced my hand open on a glass that I hadn't noticed was broken.

So much for being good and getting you work done. So much for doing the "right thing." I should have gone out drinking.

Anyway, I've been through this routine before (One day, I may have to write about the cleaver incident) so I was pretty sure I was going to need stitches again. Wash it out with soap and hot water. Direct pressure. Ice.

I call T and tell her we're going to have to cancel today. I call some friends to figure out where the nearest emergency room is since the last one I went to closed its doors a few years ago. Lots of people not answering. I finally get through to RB, (he asks if it's my throwing hand. Uh, yeah. Maybe I can just go long) and it's off to Newton-Wellesley. The bleeding seems to have stopped by the time I get in the car to drive myself to the emergency room (because I don't want to subject any of my friends to the torture of the hours of waiting). It starts bleeding again by the time I get onto 128. Damn, I haven't eaten dinner yet.

F! Not going to be able to practice the arm techniques this week. Final assessment in 2-1/2 weeks. I'm really hoping it'll have healed up enough before then. No disc. Getting even more out of shape. I'm not sad, I'm pissed. Ripshit.

When I get to the hospital, there's no parking in the emergency lot. Not a good sign. I end up parking on the street. I check in, make nice with the staff. Yeah, I've been through this before. Whaddaya think, 4 hours? More like 14, the receptionist jokes. I really hope I'll be out before midnight. I bring my Anatomy notebook so I can study while I wait. I call the SOOTTAD. It starts to rain. Hard. Thunder and lightning.

The cookie? I don't think I wait more than 40 minutes and I'm called in and see the attending physician. 4 stitches; they can come out in 10 days and things should be back to normal, more or less. Keep it dry for 48 hours; keep an eye on it for signs of infection. (The rain will make that a bit challenging, but whatever.)

I'm out by 9:40pm. Wow, an hour. Despite the waiting area being packed, it's probably the shortest I've ever waited for emergency care. Apparently, not being a severe injury (whew, I was feeling guilty about that), I get sent to a lower priority area which turns out to be less busy. Lucky break. I'm still pissed, but at least I'm home before midnight and I can get dinner, right? ...right?

Small consolation. I suppose I should also be happy that lightning didn't hit the house while I was in the shower and electrocute me. (Not that I can find any record on-line of this ever actually happening, despite all the dire warnings.)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

e unum pluribus

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

From one, many. (Well, two.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Planes, trains and automobiles

Back from Chicago. An interesting trip.

Good to spend time with the SOOTTAD. If you're interested, you can read about a few of our misadventures here. (At least the culinary ones -- everything else went pretty well except that we were both completely exhausted after the last few weeks of craziness. There was a lot of sitting around and napping going on.)

So anyway, I may have mentioned that we were going to drive out to Chicago. I had actually planned to just fly out and visit for the weekend, but it turned out that I had more time off from school than expected which coincided nicely with a sudden need for the SOOTTAD to have her car sooner rather than later. So we drove.

All good intentions aside, we ended up getting on the road after 3pm Thursday afternoon and made it as far as Barkeyville, PA before retiring at a Comfort Inn with free wireless internet from the TA TravelCenter across the street, surprisingly soft sheets and mattress and free waffles for breakfast freshly made from a self-serve waffle iron in the morning. We were pleasantly surprised. (Sadly, the waffle didn't agree with me so much and we had to make a longer-than-planned stop at a rest area in Ohio.)

A few notes on the drive:

  • Medium soft serve at DQ off the highway in Pennsylvania: $1.69
    Medium soft serve at DQ off the Indiana Toll Road: $2.49
    (granted, the Indiana wafer cone was actually larger)
  • I expect people to slow down around construction areas (especially when there's a lane drop, the speed limit is posted at 40MPH and there are signs making threats about doubled fines every 50 feet). However. Pennsylvania is the only place that I can remember where the average speed of the traffic was 20MPH BELOW the posted construction area speed limit.
  • We saw cops practically every 10 miles once we hit the Ohio border. I don't think we saw one after reaching Indiana.
  • this is the first time I've ever crossed a time zone in a car.
We got into Chicago around 3pm, local time. Not including the overnight stop, I think we were on the road a total of 17 hours including meal stops and potty breaks, which is pretty close to the google estimate. Not too shabby.

The trip back had it's own share of amusements. Up at 6:30am to grab breakfast and get to the airport via bus and train. Didn't want to risk being late because I feared long delays at security because of my one-way ticket. Surprisingly, no problems. Not sure if it was because they hadn't found anything the last time they went through all on my luggage, piece by piece, after taking a one-way flight on Southwest a mere 5 months ago, or simply because I didn't have any carry-on luggage on this trip. I guess the SOOTTAD will find out when she meets me in Ithaca in a few weeks -- she's flying one-way on another airline.

A brief note of irony before I continue: I may have mentioned that we had a few misadventures in Chicago. We didn't really have a plan of things to see or places to visit. It was fine just hanging out at the apartment and walking around the neighborhood, but whatever. I get on the plane, leaf through this months in-flight magazine and what do I spy with my little eye? An article on cool vintage places to visit in Chicago. An article I would have read if I hadn't changed my original travel plan to fly out. Oh well.

Anyway, uneventful flight... to Providence. More residue from the original itinerary -- my car would have been at the airport because I was originally going to drive down to Providence to fly out to Chicago. (Lower fares with parking cheaper than what it would cost to catch a cab into OR out of Boston.) But that wasn't really a problem because I figured I could just catch the Bonanza bus back to Boston.

Except that they no longer run busses out of the airport. Bah.

Of course, we had figured this out in Chicago, so my actual plan was to catch a RIPTA bus to the Kennedy Plaza (as recommended by the Bonanza rep I got on the phone) and then catch a Bonanzer from there.

So I get into the Providence airport and go to the information booth to figure out where to find the bus, and they end up steering me to a shuttle to the train station. Train? Cool -- trains are cool. Completely forgot about the RIPTA plan. Minor snafu: the info people tell me the shuttle leaves at 1pm and will get me to the train station around 20 minutes before the 1:42pm commuter rail up to Boston. And if I miss that, there's a (more expensive) Amtrak train that leaves at 2:20pm. I go to the shuttle folks and the first thing they do is warn me that it'll take 35 minutes, at best, to get to the train station. 1:35. 1:42 train. Well, I've got a backup so I try my luck.

On the shuttle, I meet a few other people who are going through the same issues that I am. When did the Bonanza bus stop leaving from the airport? What do you mean it doesn't take 15 minutes to get to the train station? I get to talking to the woman next to me and it turns out she's catching the 2:20pm train. Cool. "So what are you doing up in Boston?" I ask. Actually, she's heading back down to New York. Hmm. Interesting. A 2:20 train to New York... I find it hard to believe that there are two trains leaving Providence at *exactly* the same time, going in opposite directions, on the same track. (just checked the schedules, there's no 2:20 train to Boston)

So. We get to the station at 1:41pm. I briefly consider waiting in line and then decide to bust a move to the track. Thankfully, I make it and don't have to find out what else the T. F. Green people didn't know. Quiet ride into South Station, T over to Kenmore to catch a ride back to the house from my friend 'Bar.

Closing note: the shuttle cost me nine bucks to get me from the Providence airport to the Providence train station. It only cost me seven to get from Providence to South Station in Boston on the commuter rail; another buck and a quarter for the T ride. Cheaper to go the 50 miles from Providence to Boston than the 9 miles between the airport and the train station within Providence. Typical.

Total travel time Chicago to Boston, door to door: 9 hours.

Oy, tired.