November 2007 Archives

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November 30, 2007
The Eternal Question

Tanker at Mostly Cajun, in the latest installment of "The Name Game," notes:

No, people, exactly what are you supposed to do when you come to an apostrophe in a name? Stop and hiccup? Stomp your foot for emphasis? Ring a tiny little bell?
Me, I'm going to start carrying one of those D-Day paratrooper "crickets" with me for just such a contingency.

The late great Victor Borge would have instinctively known what to do.

Posted by Russ at 11:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
November 28, 2007
Obstacle Overcome

The dental crisis is over. A tooth was extracted — it couldn't be saved — and I had an appointment today to remove the stitches from my mouth. Today was the fastest and least expensive thing I've had done to me all year. $8.00 for 15 minutes work.

Compare that to the work done ten days ago, which involved about five hours in the chair, and left my wallet rather a great deal lighter and me feeling like I'd been hit in the face by a brick. At least I got codeine out of the deal. It was, unfortunately, necessary for a few days.

Now that the abscess has been removed eradicated destroyed dealt with, we're on track for a brain surgery date of December 13th, two weeks from tomorrow.

At least it's not on a Friday the 13th. Not that I'm superstitious, but I have to wonder if any of the people in the O.R. might be. I expect not, but you never know.

The countdown resumes.

Posted by Russ at 09:12 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
November 22, 2007

There's no sadness like the sadness of waking up on Thanksgiving morning to discover there isn't a turkey- and stuffing-filled stocking hanging near the chimney.

On the plus side, I don't have a sudden surplus of coal, either.

Posted by Russ at 10:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
November 20, 2007
A Very Special Kind of Geek

I used to be an invenerate wargamer and collector of games, but those days are past, so I've lately been preparing a number of old and long-since disused wargames — most published in the 1970s and 1980s, of course — for sale on eBay. Part of the preparation process is a careful examination of each item I'm putting up for sale, and this evening I ran across something truly horrifying.

Anyone familiar with the name Avalon Hill will surely remember the game Kingmaker, which was a fairly lightweight and rather fun recreation of the English Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century. Originally published in '76, it remained a strong product and even made the transition into the PC game era, when many far more complex (and, I would argue, far better) games did not or could not.

Unfortunately for posterity, the box art shows some teens of the era enjoying the game, thus preserving a record of the fashions of the day.

Click for larger... if you dare face the horror.

Now, far be it for me to criticize the styles of the day. Lord knows, I was forced to wear a pale blue leisure suit at least once, and my prom tux shirts had more ruffles than Frito-Lay.

I have sincere doubts that very many board game geeks (or anyone dressed like those pictured) would ever be a political power player — a kingmaker — in real life. Sure, they probably went on to major in Poli-Sci in college (mine was History), but odds are that they spent the majority of their school years avoiding wedgies and building up a storehouse of tales to tell their therapists in the '90s.

Then again, have you ever seen those pictures of Hillary! in the '70s?

Saints preserve us.

Posted by Russ at 10:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
November 16, 2007
Hunter, Prey — the Return

Mycah continues her observation of the local wildlife... and it continues to observe her.

[Click for larger — 1024x768. Too big? Too bad. Get a bigger monitor.]

I've never really thought I would want or need a video camera, but only a video would do justice to the way Mycah was thrashing the stub of her tail.

Mycah, meanwhile, has carried on her quest for some sort of way through the screen door. She laments her inability to reach the knife drawer in the kitchen; she's been trying to get to my power tools in the garage.

How she thinks she can work a circular saw without opposable thumbs is beyond me.

Be sure to visit the Friday Ark.

Later in the weekend: the Carnival of the Cats, this week at Pet's Garden Blog.

Posted by Russ at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
November 14, 2007
D Minus 5... and holding

While talking this morning with the Duke hospital finance people (when you pay out of pocket, it needs to be arranged in advance, apparently) I found, much to my displeasure, that my surgery date had been cancelled because of the dental issue.

It would have been nice if they had told me about it.

The fact that the dentistry problem — an abscess, you may recall — gets resolved tomorrow apparently has no bearing on the matter. They just up and cancelled me.

It would have been nice if they had let me know.

So now I have to reschedule the surgery — no telling how long that's going to take — AND I have to reschedule my outage from work, and so on.

It would have been nice if they had said something about it.


Dammit dammit dammit.

Posted by Russ at 01:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
November 13, 2007
D Minus 6

I think I've mentioned before that one of the things I've been inspired to do lately is to dispose of much of the accumulated cruft taking up space in my attic. Having been on the verge of being diagnosed with a fatal disease tends to put things in perspective.

Much of what I'm disposing of might be considered prime eBay fodder. So, yes, I'm selling things that some people would look at as collectible, some things it pains me a little bit to part with. Books, old hobby materials, and my huge collection of board-style wargames from the heyday of Avalon Hill and SPI.

Too bad. It's outta here. I'm de-complicating my life, and that means it all goes.

What no one ever said, though, was how much of a pain it is to list things on eBay. I mean, everything listed needs some sort of reasonably accurate description, and most of what I'm selling has to be minutely inventoried, to make sure the myriad small bits are present. So all day, I've been counting and counting and counting. Egads.

One really ought not to advertise something as being 100% complete if it really isn't.

Being tagged a fraud would be a very bad thing.

Unless one really is a fraud.

Which I'm not.

Posted by Russ at 09:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
November 12, 2007
D Minus 7

As the days count down to my date with a neurosurgeon, I still have things to get done. Foremost among them is getting this [expletive deleted] tooth fixed. If it's not fixed, I don't get to keep my surgery appointment.

So today I spent another afternoon in a dentist's chair, having small mallets whacking my teeth one by one. "TING! Does that one hurt?" "No." "How about this one? TING!" "No." And so on.

Apparently, the meds I got last week are having an effect, but they aren't a fix. I'm going to have to be re-root-canalled... and if that's not going to do the trick, I'll have to lose the tooth.

To keep my scheduled surgery date, I'd consider letting them pull all my teeth.

Posted by Russ at 06:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
November 11, 2007
D Minus 8

Just over a week to go until I let a masked man drill into my skull, and I'm still carrying on as usual. Or as usual as things have been over the past year, anyway. Another night at work, keeping the Internet running.

The only difference in my routine is that I answer a lot of "good luck, best wishes" messages. There really was no way to keep it quiet that I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks, since a call had to be put out for volunteers to cover my scheduled hours.

I figured pretty much everyone already knew that I've been having difficulties — I haven't worked a day in the office yet this year, for instance — but there are still people who come across as surprised. I've been in the hospital twice already this year, and people have had to be found to cover my hours both times. I think if one of my teammates was in my position, I'd remember it.

Then again, we are all geeks. Non-technical matters can go right past us. It's just the way we are.

Posted by Russ at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
November 10, 2007
D Minus 9

Counting down the days until surgery, knowing it is finally going to happen, is probably going to make the wait seem interminable.

In the interval, I'll be carrying on as usual. Work, sleep, work, sleep....

Come to think of it, the two-week expected recovery time will make a nice little break from the ordinary routine. Not that I expect to be doing anything exciting, of course.

Except, perhaps, for throwing away my crutches.

Posted by Russ at 03:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
November 09, 2007
D Minus 10

It's official. I'll be having surgery to install a shunt on the Monday the 19th. Time to fire up the ol' power drill....

I'm eager to get it done for a lot of reasons. I'd like to be able to walk again, of course. Just standing up unassisted would be a huge improvement. It would be great if I could drive my own truck, too. As soon as I can drive my Mom to the airport, I will drive her there. She has been here for several months and both wants and needs to go home to Santa Barbara. I certainly cannot blame her.

Not that I don't appreciate her help over the past several months. I do. Boy oh boy, do I. I'd have a damnably difficult time of things without someone in the house to help out with the tougher tasks... like, say, cooking... or pushing a vacuum cleaner around, or going out to the mailbox. I just wish I could get these sorts of things done without imposing on my Mom.

At the same time, as a middle-age man, I really don't need my mommy living with me any longer than necessary. It reflects poorly on my adultness.

Is adultness a word? There must be a word out there that means "having the quality of being an adult," but these days I'm not quite as sharp as usual. That is one possible effect of hydrocephalus... or I could just be going senile in the ordinary way.

We'll see if my thinking improves after the surgery. Which I need like I need a hole in my head.

[Insert rimshot here.]

I think I get to own that joke in perpetuity.

Ten days, and counting.

Posted by Russ at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
November 06, 2007
Adding Injury to Injury

As if I didn't already have enough to worry about, I've been hammered by a toothache this week. A trip to the dentist yesterday revealed that it's due to an abscess.

Feel free to joke. You'll not top this one.

Posted by Russ at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
November 02, 2007
Hunter, Prey

Mycah has always been an indoor cat. Her exposure to and experience in the Great Outdoors has been limited to her occasional tenative forays out through an open door. She'll guiltily creep out, and then go no farther than the nearest patch of lawn, where she proceeds to graze.

She loves grass; I think it's because no matter how slow she is, the grass isn't going to get away from her. In lieu of treats these days, she gets a handful of grass from the lawn. A handful of blades on a plate and she's good to go.

Lately, her plate goes near the sliding glass door. From that vantage point, she can watch the birds and squirrels that frequently visit my back deck. Sometimes, there is a close encounter.

[Click for larger.]

Seconds after this photo was snapped, Mycah lunged for the squirrel. Fortunately for all concerned, the screen door stopped her pounce in a rather precipitous manner.

I've seen her take down moths in the house, but I suspect a squirrel is beyond her capability to handle. She simply doesn't have the experience.

Later in the day, though, I saw her scouting around for a knife to cut through the mesh.

Always plotting, she is.

If it's Friday, it's time for the Friday Ark.

Over the weekend, expect to see:

Posted by Russ at 11:37 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)