21 October, 2009

Kimya Dawson

This woman is just amazing. [youtube video]

19 October, 2009

You don't say!

There is a danger in overpraising a tool like Twitter at the expense of the words it amplifies — in essence, extolling the chisel rather than Michelangelo. But last week’s events show that a variety of Internet projects, including Twitter, are making it harder for the traditional gatekeepers to control of the flow of information.

From the ineffable New York Times. That, folks, is some damn fine reporting. Emphasis mine, as if it were needed.

Briefly, on carrying

Anyone have opinions on holsters? I am thinking of getting a kydex on-hip holster for the 1911 in .45 (we have a 9mm springfield as well – don't laugh, it dreams one day of becoming a .38 super). Kydex seems like the right way to go but there are some very nice leather holsters from Galco I am drawn to as well.

As far as the 1911 vs the Glock 21 – well, I like the Glock a lot more. But it's also my "toy" gun. It's heaver, has a monster spring on it, bigger mags, brass plug, and is just inappropriate for carry. The 1911 (while no small gun, to be sure) will carry 8+1 rounds of Gold Saber, which should be plenty.

Belt in question is your average .511 Tactical triple-ply leather/poly/leather.

Pain du jour

The folks at PT think I've broken a rib I broke earlier this year. Re-broken? Who knows. It's the second-lowest on my left. It could also be a facet joint along my spine from the train ride to NYC. Seems unlikely given the back brace and my use of a wheelchair almost the entire trip.

Still trying to figure out how far to push Spun this year, what I need to do to get dinero in order.

You're a real charmer, dchud.

14 October, 2009

Briefly, on the handicapped

I have a "complicated" spine. Lots of twists and turns and curves and broken things and inflammation, you name it. As such, I often require a wheelchair for events in which I have to be standing for a while or walking for a while (where "a while" is between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on something I haven't figured out yet).

I guess my mother, when I was younger, told me it was impolite to stare at people in wheelchairs or to make fun of people with disabilities in general, whether it's a creatively modified spine or ALS. So I am amazed at the things people will say about me or even to me when I'm in the chair. I've had kids ask their mothers, clearly within audible range of me, "why is that man in a chair?" and the mother (more than once) has said "because he's a [or is] cripple[d]." I'm not sure what the appropriate terminology is, never having really identified with the "disabled community" despite various things (head injuries...) that pretty squarely place me under the auspices of ADA.

Why are people so atrociously rude to people in wheelchairs? I've never done, had I children, I would certainly not allow them to grow up thinking it's okay to make jokes or refer to someone as "a cripple," but why is it that I seem to be in the minority? I'm asking for everyone to help me in and out of the car or to the bathroom or anything; I've got fucked up spine, and wheels are better locomotion for me, at least right now, than my legs. I can use my arms a lot better than my legs right now.

Seriously, folks. If you have kids, don't raise them to be assholes. We have enough assholes already. I'm not "crippled," I don't believe that I will "need" the chair for that long (although they're cheap enough I am actually considering buying one), so one day I'll be just another guy walking around, and nobody's going to say that I'm crippled, even though I've got the same spine today that I'll have in a year.

Can you even say anything to these people? I mean, that seems like it would even make it worse. I have no problem with "timmah!" or "jimmah!" because comedy is satire. When you look at me, and tell me that I'm "crippled," that's not satire. That's an ad hominem, very clearly.

Perhaps I should give them business cards and say, "you know what, I'm actually a fucking rocket scientist if it's alright with you." But this is goading them, and the situation is bad enough without escalation.

People are such shitty parents. It seems that generation after generation, people are born with worse manners, less integrity, less ability to  be consistently honest, or even form sentences properly and pronounce words with something approaching proper diction. Stop breeding, you assholes, when you multiply the number of assholes on the planet by squeezing out fuck-trophies, you make the whole goddamn planet less likable for the rest of us.

Jesus. Just go and get a fucking vasectomy. Do it for your country. Do it for the fucking Redskins. But please, just stop having kids. You're fucking failing. Miserably.

12 October, 2009

Has anyone noticed

That the civilian paramilitary organizations, like DEA, FBI, and CIA, use the almost exact tactics that the terrorist/mujahedeen types do? They want to strike at eight separate ecstasy distribution points, armed with body armor, semi-auto "street-sweeper" shotguns, very, very serious .308 rifles in choppers, door demolition charges, tear gas, and they look exactly the same? When did this become okay? The posse comitatus act prevents our military from behaving this way on American soil. But these civilians are allowed to buy the same weapons and body armor I am, and they go in, armed to the goddamn teeth, to drug busts, INS busts, parole violations, bail jumpers, and so on.

These people make me fucking sick.

11 October, 2009

My wife noticed it first

That she was no longer "up" on the gossip at work or parties and things of that nature. I find myself only discovering now that people I wanted to hear more from were already talking their jaws off on said unholy website. I really, really hate it, but how do I keep in touch with my brothers and cousins and (even my father) if they insist on using it?

What the hell is wrong with email?

10 October, 2009

Harsh realities

I just realized I could turn in the STI on a Mazdaspeed3 and have cash left over, or I could get a 460-hp Camaro with a car payment half what I currently pay. I will lose sleep over this.

08 October, 2009

Let me get this straight.

They hated Bush, Jr. for this same shit Obama is doing, right?

05 October, 2009

The brace, and a catch-22

We took the brace to NYC with us (via train, not plane or automobile), and both because it is hard to pack and I was certain I would be in pain, I wore the brace on the train. It is my feeling that the brace contributed to the pain I had afterwards, which was considerable. The problem, I believe, stems from the fact that in physical therapy and on my own, I have been trying to strengthen the muscles that the brace is designed to prevent from moving.

In terms of my spine not moving, it did what it was supposed to: my spine did not move, at least not my lumbar spine. But all those muscles I'd been so carefully strengthening and limbering up were constrained in this plastic tube, preventing them from doing what I'd been teaching them to do. So, naturally, they're sore as hell. This is of course counter to what the stupid brace is supposed to do to begin with. In fact, as I stretched myself on Sunday (after missing the second day of the fucking Summit, goddammit), I got to a point where I could get out of bed, walk around, and generally felt better.

It seems to me in this case that the brace didn't allow a weaker muscle to function where otherwise it would have hurt; instead, it took a healing, useful muscle, and put it in a position where I couldn't use it, causing me more pain than I otherwise would have had. That makes me angry. I paid for that summit. I missed a venture capital panel, and Spun desperately needs VC.

On a positive note, I did get to have a sort of Sunday brunch with a friend that included a pretty good (since I last had one at Fins in San Diego) shrimp burrito. Of course, by the end of the day, either the NYC water (really hard, for some reason) or the Mexican food turned my stomach into cholera in bullet-time, so it wasn't all butterflies and unicorns.

I did enough damage this weekend that I am doubtful I will be able to do any stretching tonight or even this week for PT. I think what I need right now is anti-inflammatories at the facet joints or a local toradol administration, which the PT people may be able to do (but they're not MD's...). I think it might be time to push forward the date with the orthopede.

Just a complete and utter wreck. Oh, and my impression of NYC? Eh. It's like southeast DC grew some really big appendages and moved north. The cabs are exorbitant and no more competent than those of tijuana.

I'm going to go scrub the filth of the subway and amtrack off my poor beaten corpse.

04 October, 2009

Singularity Summit 09 notes

I'll be publishing excerpts of my notes from the Singularity Summit here in the days to come. Overall, it was fantastic, despite my not being able to attend the last day. The first day, though I attended in a wheelchair, the activity of getting into and out of the chair, managing the (mostly pretty decent) subway, and up the stairs to the fourth-floor loft we're staying at have, taken a serious toll on my muscles. Legs, back, obliques, abdomen. I have some skeletal pain in my pelvis, but in my experience the stretches will fix that (but were super duper painful this morning and last night).

One thing's for sure, PT this week is going to be a bitch.

01 October, 2009

A split has occurred

For details relating to the device I've been building, which has taken a lot of my time these last few months, I've actually started a company, Spun Flight Research, which accordingly has its own facebook, twitter, and weblog pages which are necessarily separate from mine. I work for Spun. I am not Spun, as it were, by myself. This causes a necessary split. Most of the stuff over there will be boring, business-related stuff, and the stuff here will be more of me bitching and moaning. (sorry sambo)

Fate of the hammer

While we are (and by me, I mean my wife) terrorizing Arlington on the gixxer, the Hammer has officially changed hands. We are now a one-bike family, with the war chest to buy on the cheap this winter. She is thinking Ducatis, I am thinking BMW's, but the sad truth of the matter is that both of us would have bought the Gixxer Thou', were it not for the stupendous insurance rates. The BMW and Duc bikes are a lot cheaper to insure because I suppose there are fewer hooligans on them.

Another note given to me by my insurance company is the reason our policy is so much despite our driving records is that (according to Geico) the Subaru STI is the #1 most damage-causing vehicle they insure. He went on, "think about all the honda accords out there, and how few of these STI's are. Yet, they dwarf the amount of damage done to both their cars and other cars compared to even the car next down on the list (#2), which he declined to identify.

So, along with having the very-evil STI, it would seem Geico just isn't real happy about us owning a Japanese litrebike, but they're cool with us buying a 1300cc self-proclaimed "streetfighter" from Ducati or BMW, or even Bimota.

At least now, with the Hammer sold, we do have the war chest to go out and buy pretty much whatever we damn like. I am leaning towards a K1200R. I think Wifey wants an 800 Dark Ducati. She likes the 848 and 1098/1198 (who wouldn't?), but is prepared to admit that it's Too Fucking Expensive. If the R800R comes to the US as a 2010 model, I will be very interested in that bike.

30 September, 2009

Spinning up…

Spun is alive. The business cards showed up today and the links are live. Please note that the SR-71, X-43, U-2, and other aircraft depicted are not Spun products and do their job well enough that unless you're really serious and funded well enough to, we're not going to build one for you.

A lifetime [of spinal injury]

short: eh, it's me flapping my gums about drugs and life in general.

So I have both kyphosis and scoliosis (curvature forward and laterally, respectively) of my lumbar spine. I owe both of these to auto accidents, although carrying some additional weight around my belt line has not helped things (the concussion I sustained in February has resulted, in a way rather opaque to me, in my losing around seventy pounds[!!]). This has, in a peculiar twist of fate, resulted in my becoming an inch shorter than I was in 1993 – when I got my first driver's license. I guess this sort of makes me smaller in several directions.

The mechanical damage is four fractured, in total, of five (six?) lumbar vertebrae. I am not especially hopeful about this condition. Looking forward, I am almost certainly going to have osteoarthritis and back pain for the rest of my life. Today, it's an effort to move around, stand, and even sit (I am getting my first hair cut this year because of the spine shenanigans this year, having been unable to sit in a chair until now).

I don't know what that means, medically. I am in fact a rather active dude when permitted to be. I quite frankly don't see much cessation in my normal activity, stupid or hazardous though it may be. Wife and I are presently in the market for a litre-sized sportbike (having borrowed the excellent and rather striking GSXR 1000 from a friend for two weeks, only to discover that while we can easily afford the bike, the insurance is on the order of $100/mo for both of us, who have "perfect" driving records), and if anything, I see that activity as increasing, rather than flagging at all.

The obvious concern to me is that, as I am just now easing into my thirties, that for the next seventy-or-more years, I will be using, and likely dependent upon, palliative care. The consequences of long-term opioid use vary by individual, and while I seem mostly not susceptible to too much physical addiction, I consider the usage of e.g., fentanyl to be crucial as an enabler for me to get out and do the things, including working, that I like to do. Doctors, of course, are not terribly thrilled about enabling somebody to use opioids long-term, especially if there is zero chance of the patient being rehabilitated. I suspect one or more of my doctors, in the next couple months, will set the tone of the coming decade and indeed the rest of my life. As I said, I am not hopeful. We frequently make exceptions with the very high dosage or potency of analgesics for patients who are terminal, but as I am obviously not terminal, and yet obviously substantially broken, I have no idea whatever how doctors will react to my condition. To be honest, even I don't really know how I feel about it. I don't like thinking about being dependent upon fentanyl patches for the rest of my life, but it hardly seems like a real problem if somebody cuts out all the red tape and suspicious faces that the drug comes with.

In a way, it's rather like accepting the responsibility of riding a motorcycle. I have in fact driven somewhat north of 140mph without a helmet on a slightly damp freeway, but for the most part, I very much behave, and in fact, drive more slowly and cautiously than anyone I know. The same is true of the drug: there is the opportunity, handed to you every day, to kill yourself if you screw around, but for the most part if you keep your eyes and ears open and use responsibly, there's little fuss.

People are astounded when I recall the number of broken bones I've had, dislocations, injuries in general, and how casual about it I am. I see it, perhaps foolishly, the way professional athletes approach injury. MotoGP riders are generally never at "100% health", as we've seen Dovizioso riding and winning with broken ankles. For my part, I am rarely ever uninjured. Whether through stupidity, clumsiness, stubbornness or hubris, I get injured. A lot. This has gotten one physician to ask for a bone density test, to see if perhaps I am just more fragile than the rest of you. That's actually rather perceptive, although I suspect I will again be shown to be "normal with a touch of stupidity." The one thing that leaves us with some question about bone density is the year of the yeast infection, in which I stayed on prednisone for what might have been four to six months. Again, I'm not sure even a declaration that I am far more likely to break a bone than others will actually slow my level of risk-taking behavior. Is that, itself, a disorder? Probably, but it's not one I care to be treated for. I am not the boy in the bubble, or the hemophiliac heir, hoping to propagate my legacy, genes, or anything so noble.

A friend of mine recently referred to me as "starting a, no shit, rocket science company." I am in fact doing that. Spun, my company, is sort of emerging this weekend. I will be looking to talk to people that think big and do things that may be perceived as stupid–getting into space with a turbojet comes to mind. It really is true, that ad astra per aspera business. I may have just stepped up the speed, risk, and pace to levels I hadn't reached in the past; what greater way to live, or die, than on a column of human will, reaching into the sky? It sounds melodramatic, but how could one possibly overstate the drama, passion, or single-mindedness that is clawing your way out of a gravity well? This is the stuff that kept folks like Einstein and Newton awake at night, to say nothing of von Braun.

I think I've previously stated that the status was situation normal, all fucked up. Today is not much different. Things are moving along with or without my input, and to quote another friend of mine, "where are we going? and what is this handbasket?" So, there's a fair amount of – to use the literal rather than vernacular meaning of the word – drama afoot, but this is hardly out of the ordinary. The dude abides.

At any rate, I wanted to update those who pay attention. I had a very bad day at physical therapy, as regards the back. I couldn't complete one of the series of stretches (of four or five), nor three of the exercises (of five), none of which had been a problem for me before. I had more pain today than I've had in a very long time, and to be perfectly honest, I don't think 75 mikes is actually doing the job with the fentanyl. I really don't. It's not "breakthrough pain" if it is static and in one location. My surgeon has talked about possibly going after these spinal "joints" that are, according to him, rather like fingers (broken a number of those so far, too). I think his plan of attack was to locally administer anti-inflammatories. This seems akin to the first treatment I had for the injury, and injection of Toradol, which, happily, worked (which is to say, made a positive impact on pain for a few hours, but not to go as far as saying it was panacea). The people at the hospital are concerned but cheerful in that way that people who work at hospitals are, telling me that everyone has bad days or bad weeks. They didn't seem to react to my stating a preference for "good" and "better" weeks, which is rather a disappointment. I don't recall when I see the surgeon again, but I may step up the pace if I continue to see as much pain as I did today, or the non-effectiveness of the fentanyl (today, "patch day," I feel approximately no effect from the patch).

I have no further trite quotes or allegory to add. The situation, fucked up as it is, is status quo.

29 September, 2009

Hello World

It's always kind of peculiar to try and reverse-engineer what other people are likely to think of you from reading what you've written, be it yesterday or ten years ago.