Saturday, January 30, 2010

Incomprehensible Internet Items

This is Blogmeat ... all about "stuff" I found on the Internet that makes no sense at all.

First, ten minutes of what may be either the most erudite or most bizarre review of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace:
(H/T to The Smallest Minority)

Next; if you're a pot smoker, be sure you know where it came from and how it got here.

Also: "Bruce Davis, a member of Charles Manson's murderous cult who participated in two killings, was recommended for parole on Thursday after nearly four decades in prison."

The decision by a two-member Board of Prison Terms panel came after the 26th parole hearing for Davis, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

It was just the first step in a parole process that also requires approval by the governor and other parole board members. The process could take five more months.

The 67-year-old Davis has been in prison since 1972 after being convicted in the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea.

Attorney Michael Beckman, who represented Davis at the hearing, said Davis acknowledged for the first time that he shared responsibility for what happened, even though he killed no one himself.

"He said, "I was as responsible as everyone there,"' Beckman said.
If parole is granted, Davis is subject to re-incarceration until the next time he actually kills "no one himself".

In Florida, the body of Abraham Shakespeare ... a British subject who won $30million in the Florida Lottery ... was found under recently poured concrete slabs at the home of a friend of a friend. (See also here)

I know there's a perfect punch-line here, but I just don't have the nerve to indulge myself.

On YouTube, "Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) speaking on the House floor: Now we've moved into the realm of gangster government."

That's enough for now. Maybe later I can find something to write about that Actually Makes Sense.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Work is a four-letter word

When you don't get to work, you miss it.

Then when you get to work, you don't appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sand Art

I received the accompanying text and link from my sister, Annie. It seems a bit obscure to me, and I didn't find it quite as emotionally compelling as she (Annie) or the audience did. But it was a nicely done evolutionary application of an unusual medium in the graphic arts.

Putting aside the hyperbole, I offer the text and the link for your consideration. (I've also embedded the video at the end of the article). Video takes 8-1/2 minutes to run.

Don't miss this amazing Video Clip. First read it properly.
This video shows the winner of "Ukraine's Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a different one, is mesmeric to watch.

The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about $130,000.00

She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.
It is replaced by a woman's face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman's face appears.
She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.
This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.
In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.
The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.

Kseniya Simonova says: "I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me. The art, especially when the war is used as the subject matter, even brings some audience members to tears. And there's surely no bigger compliment."

Please take time out to see this amazing piece of art.
Click on the link below:

[H/T to: Annie, my sister]
UPDATE: 30-JAN-2010
The Smallest Minority has a link to a FAQ here.

Jerry and The Tooth Fairy

Last week in my "Life is But A Dream" article I went into excruciating detail about how I came to have a broken tooth, what my options were, and how long I waited to achieve final resolution to my physical problem.

In a nutshell: on December 6 the crown fell off of a tooth which had had a Root Canal several years ago, and when I finally got into my Dentist he decided that there was not enough tooth left to put a new crown of (it was broken off at the gumline).

He recommended that I go to an Oral Surgeon to have the roots removed, as there was insufficient tooth showing for an ordinary dentist to pull them using standard techniques.

In the meantime, since I had been remiss in my normal twice-yearly maintenance trips to the dentist, he found some gum problems and several cavities which needed to be filled before Oral Surgery.

He, the dentist, said that he wanted my mouth to be "as hygienic and sterile as possible" before sending me to the surgeon.

My suspicion was that right at the end of the calendar year, he wanted me to use up as much of my dental-plan as possible during the 2009 billing year, and put the actual surgery on the 2010 billing year.

Which they did.

I finally got an appointment with an oral surgeon in Albany ... 15 miles away from my home town of Corvallis ... for a consultation. When I went to meet the surgeon he told me that his plan was basically to just 'pull the tooth' because he thought there was enough enamel between the two roots for him to grasp. He also warned me that in case of complications, he may have to make an incision in the enamel to get to the roots. (The tooth was a Cuspid, the last of the two-root teeth before the Bicuspid. I think.)

The point I wanted to emphasize to the Surgeon was two-part:
  1. I was extremely apprehensive about the operation because I had a very bad experience the last time a dentist pulled a tooth; he had tgo break it into pieces by twisting it with pliers, before he could pull the individual roots;
  2. When I feel sudden excruciating pain in my mouth, my instinctive response was not to cry out or cringe, but instead I bite down on the hand that hurt me. And I bite really hard!
We discussed full anesthesia, Nitrous Oxide, and a strong Local Anesthetic as approaches for the operation. After some discussion, we decided on the local after application of 'anti-anxiety' medication (Halcion).

The problem was, I would have to take the drug an hour before the scheduled operation, and I had to have someone to drive me home and care for me for the following 24 hours.

It was only the night before the operation that Sandie convinced me that she didn't need to take pain killers in the night or early morning, and she would be able to safely drive us to Albany, wait during my operation, and then get us back home safely.

Which is how it worked out.

In the actual event, I took the Halcion at 9:20 in Corvallis, and by the time we got to the Doctor's office at 10am I was pretty groggy. I don't remember much about the actual operation ... just a few random thoughts and snippets. For example, I remember the surgeon grunting with effort while he was trying to pull the tooth, and I was wondring whether this might not be a bad sign. But then I decided I didn't much care.

I do recall that I had to be escourted out of the office, supported at the desk whilc the receptionists recited the cautions and gave Sandie some paperwork. It think I had to sign some of it.

I slept almost ALL of the way back to Corvallis, slept on the couch while pretending to read a book, and slept 12 hours that night.

When I woke up the next day, I took, a couple of doses of pain killers and ate a lot of soft foods. Other than that, and not feeling like doing anything physical such as going for a walk, my day was completely free of stress and pain.

By Sunday, I was ready to go back to work. That is, I was ready until I tried to get to sleep on Sunday Night/Monday Morning.

But then, that's another story.

Romancing the Stone

While I was busily recovering from my adventurous Friday with the Oral Surgeon, I was taking some fairly powerful pain killers. I needed them at first, but after 24 hours I was actually getting along quite well without them.

In fact, I was feeling so good that by Saturday night I was confident that just one pain killer at 11pm would last me through the night.

But I couldn't get to sleep. It seemed to be one of those nights when just a minor ache ... you know, like a little back ache or leg ache ... was enough to keep you from relaxing.

So about 2am I got up to go to the bath room (false alarm) and take one Ibuprofen. Then I went back to bed and actually slept for an hour or so. I had this ugly nightmare about a traveling circus/safari, a mean elephant and his mahout with a really bad attitude. When I woke up about a quarter of three, it was wish some feeling of relief that I escaped from the subliminal angst ... only to discover that I had more problems.

The beating I had dreamed I was taking from the mahout turned out to be a very bad ache in my side, and an even more painful lower-back pain on the same (right) side.

I tried to fix it by taking a pain pill, but even though I took it with food I was overwhelmed by nausea and I discovered the Joy of Emesis. Nope, I'm not going to escape this one.

Sandie woke up and asked if she could help. I couldn't think of anything she could do. I tried lying flat with a heating pad, but the pain was still too much to bear.

Finally about 6:30 I decided there was something physically wrong, it was not merely some weird side-effect of the medication, so Sandie took me to the emergency room at the hospital.

While the nurse was preparing me for the Doctor's examination (especially, which she was inserting a needle in my arm so I could accept multiple injections of anti-nausea and anti-pain drugs) she asked a running litany of questions about my medical history. Finally she asked "Have you have been diagnosed with Kidney Stones?"

"No", I replied. And I heard her say under her breath: "Well, you have one now."

Two hours, two doctors, another nurse and a CT-scan technician later they had reached a consensus. Yes, I have a 4mm Kidney stone trying to work its way south. Apparently it had escaped the kidney and was now forcing its way painfully down the urethra.

No telling how long it will take for it to force its way out of my body, but I'm not looking forward to it.

For now, I am taking 7 different medicines several times a day, including both anti-nausea and anti-pain medications, Penicillin, and some stuff that's suppose to relax the "inner organs".

The good news is that the anti-pain drugs are working VERY well. The bad news is that I'm pretty well out of it, because I'm unable to concentrate. If not for the spell-checker, for example, this text would be unintelligible. (And know, I wouldn't know how to spell "unintelligible" without help.)

Anyway, I thought it was of interest that I no sooner get past one medical event than I find myself in the middle of another one. I'm convinced that one has actually precipitated the next. Perhaps a conspiracy within the Medical Community?

Remember: just because I'm paranoid, that doesn't mean they are not out to get me.