Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And Now Fibromyalagia

This November posting frenzy would not be complete without an update on my wife.

The medical weirdness started when she was pregnant with a severe rash that covered her entire body but not her face. She described it as intensely itchy. To me, it looked like an episode of Star Trek when one of the "Away Team" contracts an alien virus and morphs into another humanoid species. There was no clear definitive diagnosis on that -- just some sort of vague reference to "pregnancy rash" and that it only happens once. It reoccurred four months later, although not a severe.

The next episode happened in 2006. Both parotid glands swelled. Again the medical community was stumped. One doctor even suggested that it was a stone, forgetting (or ignoring) the fact that both sides of her face were affected. Antibiotics were prescribed and taken with no improvement. Then it was determined to be viral, so treatment involved alleviating the pain. Then when she complained of dry mouth, a doctor suspected Sjögren’s Syndrome and prescribed prednisone. The symptoms went away but came back. The test for Sjögren’s Syndrome was negative.

We're still dealing with the after effects of the next event, the attack of Transverse Myelitis. It started when she woke me up to tell me that she couldn't pee. She was released from hospital four weeks later barely able to walk and with severe pain.

Fed up with allopathic medicine, we consulted with a Naturopathic Doctor who made a diagnosis of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Although he couldn't treat her pain, he suggested a variety of supplements, two of which were NatureThroid, non-synthetic thyroid extract, and Isocort, a non-synthetic adrenal extract. The supplements had a terrific effect on her mood.

Still, we needed pain relief so we stuck with the neurologist at the hospital that she was initially treated in. Concerned about leg weakness, they mentioned spinal stenosis and MS.

Well, I'm getting angry and upset again. Suffice it to say, some more bumbling doctors made some more diagnoses. And the latest of these is fibromyalgia. This diagnosis was based on tenderness of all the pressure points and a negative test result for anything else. (Thank goodness that she never got a false positive for Lyme disease as I did. Otherwise, she'd get a two-week course of antibiotics and a pronouncement of being cured.)

I think her fibromyalgia is due to improperly managed pain. She was given too few quick-acting opioid pills and then left with no coverage at night. Thus she has been suffering from insufficient sleep for several months.

In his 2004 book, "Arthritis: Fight it with The Blood Type Diet Dr. Peter D'Adamo writes about people with type A blood, such as my wife,
One of the effects of high cortisol is a disruption of the sleep cycle, which, in turn, places extra stress on the body. Studies show that many people with arthritic conditions such as fibromyalgia experience a type of sleep disturbance called alpha delta sleep disorder. People with alpha delta sleep disorder experience a disruption in sleep patterns. They don't obtain enough deep sleep -- the phase in which muscles are repaired.

Anyway, even though this is yet another incurable disease that no one understands, maybe it will at least allow my wife to get better pain management.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weigh-In 24 Month Graphical Summary

My Five Year Graphical Summary Can be Found Here:

Here's 24 months of data! I had stopped going to the gym in April 2009 and took up walking instead. I think the late summer rise might've been due to an ice cream fetish and not a lack of exercise.

In January of 2010, I read the GenoType diet and determined that I am an Explorer. I tried that diet for a while with disappointing results. That was before I realized that I was going overboard on the sweeteners that it allows.

My weight rises toward 165lbs going in to November 2010. But I have a self-imposed limit and a desire to stay below 165lb. So my typical hibernation gain was curtailed.

Weighing on my Mind

Anxiety returned suddenly.

The big event occurred on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. It was windy, and a large branch broke off the smallest of our pine trees. As it landed, it broke off a branch from a nearby maple tree, but it did not reach the house, and it just missed the little Star Magnolia that we planted when our daughter was about four years old. So there was little damage, and a neighbor cut up the trunk with his chain saw while I cleared the brush.

It's clear that the tree is in a weakened state and should be taken down. I called the electric company because the tree is only a few feet away from their lines. Their general policy is to remove trees that are damaged or weak if they are near power lines. So I was confident that they would get to work on this, and I was guardedly hopeful that they'd recognize that the other trees pose a similar threat. Unfortunately, the arborist that showed up said that they wouldn't bother with it as there are many trees all over our state that are 10 times worse. If it falls and takes out the power lines, they'll just come and put the lines back up.

This episode caused the acute flare up of anxiety. But it's been building due to other issues, such as:
  • My wife's under-treated chronic pain.
  • The pain doctor's insistence on charging two co-pays for each visit (never mind that he under treats the pain).
  • My daughter's inability to fall asleep at night and her tiredness during the day.
  • My daughter's apparent depression on the day after Thanksgiving after our family friend left for the airport.
  • The dog's tumor.
  • The rise in health insurance premiums and co-pay amounts.
  • Other rising costs and stagnant income.
  • Maintenance work needed on the cars.
The stress itself tires me out. Add to that the need to play Mr. Mom when my wife is out of commission. The result is a need to collapse into bed right after supper and stay in bed until just before the cats decide to test whether human tastes better than Tuna Fish.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday Winter Preparation

I was just about to roll the picnic table and umbrella into the garage when I noticed what an interesting shadow they cast. So I paused to take a shot. I hope you like it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Social Security and Ponzi Scheme -- a Comparison

To the uninitiated, the United States' Social Security plan may seem like one massive Ponzi scheme. But that's a mistake for many reasons.

First, Ponzi schemes are clearly acts of fraud, while Social Security, which is run by the US government (which enacts federal laws and therefore cannot possibly do anything shady) is, by definition, legitimate.

Second, Ponzi schemes generally pay incredibly high rates of return in very short time periods. However, the returns from Social Security are modest, and they take decades to accrue and mature.

Third, in a Ponzi scheme, participants are given the option to pay into the system, and they may withdraw at any time and keep the profit. On the other hand, every working citizen of the USA is required to pay into the Social Security fund. If a citizen were to attempt to withdraw funds before a certain ripe old age, that investor will forfeit any return on his or her initial investment.

So dear readers, I hope you can see that the United States' Social Security plan differs markedly from a Ponzi scheme because it is legitimate, offers lower rate of return over a much longer term and is mandatory.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Economic Recovery is Futile

The reason a full recovery of the economy is futile is because the economy that we're trying to recover was fueled by irrational spending, which was financed by the deceptive lending practices that are now prohibited because they led to the financial meltdown.

I suppose we could simply forget what happened in 2008 and recreate it all over again.

Something to think about during your Black Friday shopping spree.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dream: Isolated Workplace

I'm driving a large truck on the road that my workplace is on. I need to turn around, so I'm backing into the access road to the town dump. I'm aware that there's another truck coming out of the dump, so I'm going very slowly.

I pull out onto the road, heading back toward work. There are a lot of flashing lights up ahead. And I start to see trucks on the right side of the road. They're all facing the road. A few of them are partly in the road, in fact, so I slow way down.

The truck that was behind me while I was backing in to the dump over takes me on the left, even though we're on a single lane road.

I marvel at all the activity. Then I get a zoomed out view of the entire area. I see the ground around my work building has been dug up, including the road. The soil is yellow and sandy -- totally lacking the dark color of rich loam.

I look closely at the road with dismay. How am I going to drive my car all the way to work?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 20101124

My weight is dropping with absolutely no effort on my part. Is it because of the Explorer superfoods, such as the carob powder I'm adding to the oat bran? Or maybe it's the homemade breakfast sausage made from ground lamb and ground turkey? It's strange. Generally I tend to gain weight as I spiral into Winter.

Waist = 37.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dream: First Responder Training

I'm in a parking lot at the mall. There is free training for volunteer emergency rescue being offered soon. The man who will lead the training is there. He is talking into a microphone, apparently to radio listeners. He announces the free training. But when he tells the location, he gives the official street name rather than simply saying that it's at the mall. Nobody really knows what the street is called.

I'm really interested in signing up to learn how first responders should react. It's a great opportunity, especially given that it's free. But I know that I simply do not have the time for this weekly training. Not only am I busy with too many activities, I need to drive my daughter to her activities, too. Nevertheless, I stay there for a while.

Finally, I leave. As I go, I notice a lot of boys dressed in black. They're wearing black knit caps, black sweatshirts and black jeans. I presume that these boys already took some junior training, and now they're showing up for more advanced training.


It's the next morning. I've overslept. It's already time for my daughter's bus to arrive to pick her up. I hope she got herself ready for school! I rush outside and see to my dismay that both she and her friend CK are running in the road alongside the bus. It's not that they missed the bus -- the bus never stopped for them. CK falls, sprawling face first onto the street. Before I rush to her, I decide to act like a first responder and make sure the street is safe. I stand facing the oncoming traffic and hold my hand up with authority to make them stop.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Donated Food for Thought

At this time of year, our company collects donations of non-perishable food items. When I see the bins full of cans of processed meat, bottles of salad dressing and boxes of cereal, crackers and noodles, two competing thoughts come to my mind:
  1. Admiration and pride for the many generous people I work with, especially for the woman who organizes the drive.
  2. Relief for having a fairly high-paying job, one that allows me to buy the high-quality foods I need to keep from slipping into metabolic syndrome, fatigue, arthritis, asthma, depression and dementia. When I see the boxes, I start to imagine a scenario in which I'm in need of food and yet unable to accept it.
I also wonder, if I were to donate a few boxes of gluten-free pasta or rice milk, would the agency that distributes the food know enough to direct my donation to someone on a gluten-free, casein-free diet?

Incidentally, if you can provide a donation, one of my favorite agencies to recommend is United Way, because they can direct your donation just about anywhere in the world, and you can specify what it can be used for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday Gnarled Tree Stump

This gnarled tree stump almost looks like a dinosaur. I came across it during a hike many years ago when we were a much healthier family. We visited the trail again this summer, but wife had a lot of difficulty and even fell twice.

And here's an interestingly-shaped stone that I found nearby.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Evolution of the Stick Deodorant Package

The most cost-effective container for something is a cylinder whose height is twice the diameter of its base. You learn about this in first semester calculus class -- it's a classic "max/min" problem. Ask any engineer or engineering student. You can maximize the volume for a given surface, or minimize the surface of a given volume.

Indeed, for many years, the cans and bottles used to package products were designed to have roughly those dimensions in order to minimize packaging costs.

But at some point, marketing people took over the design of product packaging. They had results from research that showed how sales correlate with how a product looks on the shelf (and where it's placed, but that's another matter). They first changed labels (colors, fonts and images) to make the product more appealing.

Eventually packaging technology improved. Cans and bottles could be made cheaper and in a greater variety of shapes. Marketing folks realized they could make more money by putting less product in a package while keeping its appearance the same. Perhaps they sold it for 30% less than before, whereas they were selling 50% less product. Thus, products such as stick deodorant appear in shallow packages in which the base is a skinny oval instead of a circle. But they're just as tall and wide as before. They trick consumers into thinking that they're getting the same amount as before when in fact they're getting a lot less.

This practice annoys me for a four reasons:
  1. It's a waste of packaging material. The plastics that packages are made from come from oil. I want oil to be used for gasoline and home heating oil -- things I can actually use -- not something disposable that's designed to trick me.
  2. I resent being tricked. I'm not tricked by this, but I resent the attempt, nonetheless.
  3. It's a waste of product. Every time you get near the end of a stick of deodorant, you leave behind some inaccessible portion. This happens more frequently when the package has less inside it.
  4. The energy used to make the excess plastic is wasted.
  5. The damn things are unstable. Once you've used more than half of a stick deodorant, the container becomes perilously top-heavy. Merely opening the medicine cabinet door suddenly can generate enough suction to cause one of these partly-filled things to topple off the shelf and crash onto a pair of eyeglasses near the sink. Who needs that? Not me.

I'm generally opposed to government interference and excessive legislation. But if a government can tax the gasoline I buy so that I can drive to work and be productive, it should also tax the oil that's used for making plastic. They probably do tax it, but apparently it's not enough. The tax should be so painful that packaging companies will need to revert back to sensibly-shaped cans and bottles. I would even welcome a government specification on the dimensions of cans and bottles. Anything not meeting the specification would be illegal if sold in the USA.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Things I Say to the Cat

This is tangentially inspired by Sh*t My Dad Says....
  • Stop torturing it and eat it already!
  • How can you be hungry? You just ate an hour ago!
  • That's a carpet, not an ass-wipe.
  • Yes, I know the dog's feet smell amazing. Now leave him alone.
  • Where's the mouse toy? I can't believe you let it escape under the refrigerator.
  • That's my lap, not a pin cushion.
  • What, I should feed you again just because you threw up?
  • Oh kitty! I have a nice, tasty moth for you to eat!
  • That's a toilet bowl, not a water dish.
  • Isn't it nice how you let me go out in the cold rain to make money so I can buy your cat food and litter and then watch you sleep all day?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SDP: Free Multi-Platform Cataloging Software

I think I need to check out the Java program Data Crow for cataloging data (such as photos). I have several years of digital photos arranged in directories named for the month in which they were taken. But if I'm looking for a picture and can't remember when I took it, I need to look in each directory to find it. A database that supports tags should help a lot.

I wish I had something like this set up when I was looking for the photo of my dog's epulis.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 20101117

I'm back to eating oat bran for breakfast, at least a few days per week. I've run out of breakfast sausage, and I'm too busy to make more, and I don't feel like buying any of those pre-cooked frozen varieties. Even the ones that purport to be "All Natural" contain dextrose or some other undesirable ingredients.

Waist = 38.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp

I like to visit the sites of folks who comment on my posts. One site I visited today featured a badge for Creativity Boot Camp. Anything to do with Creativity turns my head. So naturally I checked it out.

Creativity Boot Camp is two-week course on creativity set in a blog on Blogspot. It was conceived by artist Madeline Bea. The course is still up, and you can go through it, reading one post each day until you graduate.

Check it out!

boot camp

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Dog's Epulis

Our dog had surgery to remove an epulis from his lower jaw back in 2009. But then it grew back. Here's a picture of the growth as it looked a few weeks after surgery.

It got a bit bigger. Then, with all his chewing, the dog loosened it. And one day I just pulled it off, and it never came back. Unfortunately, the growth that he has now is quite different.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday Country House

I took this last year while touring the grounds of the Hillstead Museum....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Computer Games for Children

Occasionally my friends ask me to recommend computer games for children. They know I'm serious about online privacy and security, so they're curious to know what sites I let my daughter play on. Here's what I tell them:

Webkinz. This is a great site in many ways. First, the site requires no personal information. Second, the chat features are extremely restricted by phrase & word filters. Children cannot enter any words that do not meet the criteria, and that includes personal names. You need to buy one stuffed animal once a year in order to obtain a code to gain access. You get a room and an online pet that you can care for as well as many games. You earn Kinzcash by playing games, then you can buy clothes for your pet and furniture for your room. The games are generally free of violence. There is no advertising and no product placement except for the stuffed animals themselves. The stores that sell Webkinz also carry other Webkinz merchandise, such as clothes. My daughter started on this site when she was about seven years old, yet she still signs on to play at age 12.

Bella Sara. A great site for children who are horse lovers. It used to be that to gain access to the site you had to buy trading cards that come with codes you enter into the site. But now you can join for free, but the codes are required to unlock additional features of the site. You need to supply an e-mail address when you sign up. Once you do, you adopt a magical horse that you care for. There is no chat and no third party advertising. Activities are free of violence.

Poptropica. This site can be played entirely free. You do not need to buy a pet to gain access. You can sign up without an e-mail address or any other personal information. However, you can get a premium account that will enable your child to get more stuff for his online character. The site offers several "islands" that have themes. Play involves solving the problem that's associated with the island. Problem solving is sometimes educational in nature. For example, you might have to put paintings that have been mixed up into their proper locations (Impressionist, Cubist, Expressionist, etc.), or engage in trading to earn money for a large enough boat to defeat a pirate. However, solutions to all of the islands are available on Youtube. When you get defeated at certain parts of an island, you are simply returned to an earlier point without losing any inventory. You earn credits every time you solve an island, and you can buy things for your character with the credits. Each island has a chat room in which chat is scripted. There are promotional ads for movies and books that actually take you to other websites.

Miniclip This free site has hundreds of games in many genres to choose from, including games that involve violence in which you shoot at aliens (Obama Alien Defense) or punch and kick opponents (Karate King, Street Fight). The site asks for an e-mail address when you sign up. Advertising takes place in the margins of the browser. Chat is very limited with scripted phrases. You can create an avatar (called a YoMe). There is a player's forum message board, but the link is easy to overlook.

Do you know of any other fun online gaming sites? Let me know!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dog Wisdom

My dog and I communicate even if we don't exchange words.

This morning, he wanted to go outside a second time before I left for work. Sometimes he needs to poop twice in a short period of time. I'd rather spend a little time to indulge him when he asks politely, rather than have him uncomfortable all day or respond to a soiled floor.

Yes, I did write "when he asks politely." That's what he does. He gets up suddenly from his repose and walks up to me and gives me the Humble but Pleading Look, "I'm sorry, it makes me sad, but I need to go outside, please." Sometimes he will bring his plushie squeekie toy.

"Do you want to go Outside, Buddy? Outside? Okay." So we went outside, again.

I know what you're thinking, "That's not a conversation," and "All dogs do that, big deal." But the real conversation didn't start until after we got outside, and I wanted to go back in so I could leave for work.

After pooping, he again rolled around on the grass, rubbing his back and snout into the frost-tainted grass. This cool weather is his favorite time of year. So I wasn't too surprised when he said, "Give me a belly rub."

I nearly walked past him. But then I thought to myself, "Why not?" He's nine years old. We should enjoy each other while he's still healthy. "Besides," I said to myself, "I can get a good look at his tumor." He had a benign tumor removed from a broken tooth last month, a fibrous carcinoma of the tooth. But it needs to be looked at in case it grows back. I can get a good look at it when he's lying on his back.

So after about a minute of belly rubbing and saying "Silly dog," I stopped. "Okay, let's take a look at that tooth." It was definitely back. I could see it clearly from this angle -- a red, chickpea of gum tissue seeping out around the sliver of the upper tooth that remained.

"Oh Buddy, we have to do something about that. The doctor said he would remove the tooth this time. Or we could do radiation. Which one do you want?"

In reply, he said, "I'll show you what I need," and he ran over to the brush pile to fetch a stick. But he all he could find on the ground was a skinny little twig. I walked over. He watched expectantly while I broke off a 16" length of oak branch that was about as thick as a hotdog.

This time I didn't taunt him with it, offering it and then pulling it away just before he grabs it. No, I simply handed it to him. His cure. He took it, walked a short distance and lay down to chew it.

I watched, expecting to see blood ooze onto the splintered wood, but surprisingly there was none. I grew cold as I stood over him watching. Leaves blew around us and fell from trees while he crushed the stick with his jaws. But I let him have his chew. Either it would cure the problem, or at least he'd enjoy himself.

After he chewed a few inches off the end, I roused ourselves, and I hurried inside. He followed reluctantly and came inside about a minute later.

Maybe he knows what he needs to help his mouth. White oak bark can help with inflamed gums. Perhaps he'd do better with a birch branch, whose bark contains Betulin, which is effective against tumors. Or maybe willow would be a good choice. Willow bark contains salicylates, which can act like aspirin. Native Americans used willow bark to relieve toothaches and other pain. I suspect he somehow knows this. He used to always chew sticks. But ever since his tooth broke, I've kept the sticks away from him.

But I think the dog knows best.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gluten-Free High Protein Snack Bars

Snacks bars are great to have on hand in case you get hungry between meals. I like to bring one to work with me every day in case I get overwhelmed with cravings. When I went to Washington D.C. for seven days, I brought about two dozen to eat in the car and to supplement the meals provided by my wife's vegetarian cousin.

Although there are hundreds of brands and flavors, it's actually hard to pick one that has the right balance of texture and flavor, that does not contain wheat and a lot of soy or peanut butter, and that has a low Glycemic Index.

I used to eat Luna Bars and Clif Energy Bars until I realized that my body could not tolerate the soy, the main source of protein in these bars.1 They would actually fuel my sugar cravings and hunger rather than quell them, and they would cause bloating and gas.

Eventually, I came across four brands that I like a lot. They are listed here in no particular order:
Please carefully read the ingredients on these bars. I found them to be agreeable both in taste and in their effect on my body, even though some bars contain soy and/or dairy. I cannot guarantee that you will like them or tolerate them.

1 Clif makes a line of soy-free Low Glycemic bars called Clif C. I haven't tried them yet, but they look promising, even though they're not high in protein. You can find out more here.
2 As an associate of North American Pharmacal, I receive a small cash award for each click-through-purchase of any NAP product.
3 I like to order the Garden of Life, FücoProtein bars online from iHerb. As I wrote before, first time customers can receive $5 off by using this coupon code at checkout time: DOJ209. If you do, I will receive a small cash award as a result of your purchase.
4 These Tanka products were added to the list on 2013-05-20.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaBloPoMo Redux

When I finished National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) and National Blog Writing Month (NaBloWriMo)1 last year, I vowed that I'd never participate again. It was grueling to find the time to post among all the other aspects of life I was dealing with. I would often stay up late and eat chocolate and ice cream to power me through the late night efforts to post.

So naturally I felt no apprehension or anticipation on October 31, although maybe that was because I was too busy eating enough left-over chocolate to make a life-size solid Easter chocolate bunny.

But a funny thing happened when I woke up on November 1. My thoughts were brimming with ideas for three blog posts, and I had a resounding urge to participate in NaBloPoMo. So here I am!

1 The site that hosted National Blog Writing Month is not in service at this time.

Wednesday Weigh-In 20101110

Some anxiety has been robbing me of my appetite, so my weight is down.

I think I'm due to post a two-year graph soon.

Waist = 38.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dream: "They Pay Us"

I'm walking around an indoor carnival or amusement park. I need to go to the bathroom, so I enter an enclosed area that's made for preschoolers. I know there's a bathroom in that area. I find out that the area will close at four o'clock, which is the current time. I keep walking toward the bathroom hoping that it won't really close. But when I get to the bathroom door, I hear the announcer call out that the area is closing. He sounds serious, so I abandon my plan because I don't want to get locked in the area while I'm inside the bathroom.

I'm outside the area, but still in the amusement park building. I'm sitting in a wheelchair and an acquaintance is pushing me around sometimes. Actually, he's being mischievous by pushing me hard down the ramps. He seems to enjoy it, and I'm not perturbed, so I don't bother to ask him to stop. I can find the brakes even though I have to feel for them on this unfamiliar device. We go through the outskirts of the water park section, and there's water on the floor in some areas.

I'm in a minivan next to a river. I'm sitting in the back right passenger seat. A wheelchair-bound boy is next to me on the left. Within the next few days I will be performing some powerful therapy on him to rid him of his handicap. He says, "I feel the walls are getting thin" while he looks out the window at the river. "Yes," I tell him. "One wall is in front of you. That's your future. The other wall is back here," I say, indicating the base of his spine. "The Energy of the Universe will flow through this wall and into you."

A girl and the mom are in front, the mom on the right, in front of me. The girl is on the left, in front of the boy. "Mom, what happens if we lose him?" she asks, referring to her brother. The mom says simply, flatly, "They pay us."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dream: Planning Vacation with the Artist

I'm at the terminal looking at the screens. I see that there are only two tickets left for the trip that my wife and I are planning to take with her artist friend. Yet I don't want to buy them.

I'm in a movie theater with three friends. We're attending a film about the upcoming art exhibit, which will feature the work of my wife's friend. In fact, the plane tickets that I was supposed to buy are for the trip to attend that exhibit. And the friends are planning to go, too. I wonder if they've already bought their plane tickets. Uneasy, I watch the film.

The artist's work involves dead human bodies on platforms. The platforms are covered in dark but colorful overlapping squares, roughly 1 foot by 1 foot. The bodies are wrapped in a cloth that matches. I know this because I've seen her work before in a photo of an earlier exhibit that featured one such body. In the film I'm seeing now, there are three bodies on three platforms. One of the bodies sits up suddenly.

It occurs to me that she has only the one body from her previous exhibit. The two extra bodies are going to come from my friends -- the artist is going to kill two of them to use them in the exhibit!

But my unease over the plane tickets weighs even more heavily on my mind. I forget about my friends' deaths and worry about the tickets.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday Tree Line at the Airport

Autumn is in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere. Our maple trees already are bare. Now the oaks have taken up the chorus of color with their muted tones of rust and burgundy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dream: The Church of Runes

I'm sitting in a church pew during a service. My wife and daughter are sitting a few pews behind me. The time has come for communion. I decide to ask my wife and daughter if they intend to go up to receive communion.

I get up and walk back to where I think they are, but they're not there. I walk further back, but I don't see them. Eventually I find them and say something to them. A little girl responds to tell me that they're not there. There is also a woman with black hair sitting next to the girl.

I walk to the exit, go through the door and walk through the hallway. Then I find a door that leads outside.

I'm on the side walkway of the church. I notice a sign that proclaims it to be The Church of Runes. I look down and notice small foot stones that have runes carved into them. The stones are not located in the walkway, but they are in the plant beds parallel to the walkway. The stones are greyish, bluish green. They are about eight inches in diameter. The surfaces are smooth but gently uneven.

I've taken my shoes and socks off, and I realize that these stones are meant to be read or felt with the feet. So I lift one foot and use it to feel the stones while standing on the walkway.

I go back inside, using a different door. I enter a different part of the church or perhaps another church altogether. The gathering of people is more social in nature. It could also be a support group. A woman with dark hair sits in front of me. It's the same woman I saw while I thought I was talking to my wife. She introduces herself and says that she's interested in a diet to improve her health. I tell her about the Blood Type diet and describe how the lectins in certain foods causes blood to coagulate.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Conversations With Daughter

"Dad, do you think cats would make good drivers?"

"You're asking if they would be good at driving a car? No, I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"It's their brains. They don't have the right kind of brain. They react too much to any little motion. They'd get overwhelmed."

"What if they had a human brain?"

"Whose brain?"



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Task Triplet for Appointments

I always brush my teeth and floss right before going to the dentist.

That's one task.

I always wash my hair before getting my hair cut.

That's a second task.

I wash my car before driving it to the mechanic for service.

And that rounds out the triplet! Three appointments; three tasks.

It's that new car I mentioned earlier, which I bought from the mechanic. I don't want him to think I'm not taking care of it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In 20101103

Halloween is behind me, not without some Halloween candy getting inside me! At times like these, I like to hope that all that sugar helps boost my metabolism. I did refrain on Monday and Tuesday, though. The Chinese melamine problem of two years ago that included tainted chocolate helped dampen my enthusiasm for the stuff.

Waist = 38.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Terms

gubernatorial race: An election in which the individuals that are running for office are both goobers.

goober: A chocolate-covered nut.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Conversations With Wife

Wife, as if just seeing me for the first time in months: "Do you know that you have two square indentations in your forehead?"

Me: "Yes, they're from my CPAP mask. It's where the mask makes contact with my face. I guess it displaces the fat that's on my face. Hey, maybe you could put it on your ass!"

Fortunately, we were in a restaurant at the time, so repercussions did not materialize.