Married, moved, and getting it together.


20 ArtLung posts from January, 2006

January 4th, 2006

The eight hour drive takes, actually, 12 hours.

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

Listening to “Sonic Reducer” by The Dead Boys and some other punk obscura on a college radio station out of UC Riverside.

Having a “middle-aged-man” moment and really admiring the luggage-rack bag on top of a random SUV. I thought “that looks really strong, and weatherproof, would hold a lot of stuff, and I don’t think I’d have to worry about it flying off or flying apart.

The kids’ main memories of driving from SoCal to Southern Utah last year for our wedding were losing Mom’s wedding ring at 10 at night, in the rain, while we were fighting a tarp on my truck. At least they’ll never forget our wedding.

Me: “Leah, can I have a Grandma Sandwich?” (G’ma, which is to say, my mother-in-law) fixed us turkey sandwiches for the journey. Not bad either.

Corn Nuts are a pretty good snack for driving. The plain ones are the only ones I can tolerate. Leah has the same opinion.

Las Vegas traffic is the worst. It’s just broken. I want to be able to ride the train.

Packing the van was a fun challenge. So much stuff, and it all fit. Amazing.

Arriving in Baker, trying to eat dinner at Coco’s. Being told they were out of steak, chicken, pasta, and pretty much everything else. The hostess was warning us because she “didn’t want you to wait a long time, sit down, and be disappointed.” The poor young woman who told us this had clearly not had a good day. Californians had run her out of everything, and then other Californians got upset about it. I would never want her job.

Finding tapes of mine. Listened to some old tapes from Erin with some great songs on them. The main was “Valley Vista” by Wendy & Lisa. I also listened to Eno and Byrne’s “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.” Really excellent analog dub / electronica.

Talking with Dev about the high school culture of my high school.

Dev telling me he wants to teach me an instrument. Guitar. He has been before, and continues to be, incredulous that someone as musically informed and knowledgeable does not play an instrument.

Going to the bathroom at some random Mobil and the Men’s bathroom was closed. I used the women’s. Ali told me that the lady was really freaked out and worried about that. Dude, when a body has to go and it’s 11pm, I would have no compunction about using any appropriate bathroom – women, family, hermaphrodite. I just gotta pee!

Getting home in the middle of the night and deloading the car. Many hands make light work. Awesome.

Being greeted with our US Airways bags, and everything was there, and everything was unbroken. Score!

So, so tired.

January 4th, 2006

Here’s one of mine:

Retrievr Search

Try it out at http://labs.systemone.at/retrievr/.

January 6th, 2006

As of yesterday, I am officially the stepdad of a 17-year old. And I’m married to the mother of a 17-year old. It’s a little bit daunting, but really, it’s all good.

Happy Birthday Devon!

January 6th, 2006

A long while ago, I had some dental issues that could only be resolved by having my wisdom teeth removed. I had a draft of it forever, here it is, for better or incoherent.

I realized something was wrong in my mouth on a Tuesday. I was having persistent pain. It was not particularly sharp, but it was present in a way I’m not used to.

I have never taken particularly good care of my teeth. I brush, more or less. But I didn’t floss except before a date or if maybe I had eaten some celery and had obvious crud between my teeth. I didn’t take to flossing. Is it a character flaw to not floss? Maybe not, but not considering the long-term of an action was certainly a flaw of mine for a long time. I have to work to consider the future carefully.

The pain was in the lower part of my mouth, right hand side, rear. I thought it was simply some stray food particles lodged under my gums. I brushed, using the Braun electric that had served me well for several months. But this didn’t really help much. I used Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide based mouthwash, and vigorously gargled. I also used my generic brand green mouthwash.

I even went to the extent to purchase a dental irrigator. The WaterPik was I think the first device of this kind. It simulates the action of a toothpick, but with a jet of water. My grandparents had one when I was a kid, and I always liked them – such a neat action.

The irrigator didn’t help either.

The next thing I realized was when I developed a funny taste in my mouth. Like metal. Aluminum maybe. Again I tried to attribute this to “food particles” – perhaps an errant bite of mexican food or Tiger’s Milk Bar that went astray and got stuck.

No such luck. The taste remained even after purging my mouth of every bit of anything that could possibly be in there.

I brushed, and gargled with water, the alcohol-based mouthwash, the Peroxyl, more brushing, some irrigating, and yes, the taste went away.

Then it came back.

To my horror, I realized something very wrong was happening in my mouth. It is simply not normal to have a taste get cleansed from your mouth, then, 15 minutes later, for it to come back. I had something malicious happening in my mouth. Something oozing. Something was making an “exudate” – a word I remembered from my days practicing Respiratory. I had to see a dentist. Fast.

I know enough about disease processes to know that something that is making pus at that kind of rate is not my friend. My mouth was rotting, and needed addressing. The thing I’ve always been cognizant of about teeth problems is that they have a way, untreated, of affecting the rest of the body greatly. I think of the endocarditis and mitral valve problems that people can get. The mouth has lots of exposure to the outside world – and if your gums are bleeding, it’s a potential conduit to the bloodstream for all kinds of microbiological nasties.

I was scared. Very.

I looked up dental abscess online and indeed, it sounded like what I had. An abscess is “A localized collection of pus in part of the body, formed by tissue disintegration and surrounded by an inflamed area.” And this is definitely what I had. In my mouth.

So I did what I always do when there’s a crisis, I reached out online, asking, via email and mailing lists, for local (San Diego) dentists.

In a few hours I’d collected some good data, and I found one from my friend Steve E, and called immediately for an appointment. I was immediately put at ease by his scheduler, who asked how I was feeling, and to describe my symptoms. Her alert level went up a notch as I described what I relayed above. She said it did sound like an abscess.

She scheduled me for an appointment in a week, and I said that was fine. She also said she would try to get me an appointment soon, because she knew that what I had happening was serious business. I am every so thankful to her for that.

When I got home from work that night there was a message on my machine asking if I could come in for an appointment the next day, Friday. I called back immediately, and said a hearty YES!

I was in. The problem was being addressed. I sort of imagined pilots in their ready rooms running out to the bombers and fighters staging a counteroffensive. Troops were rallied. Action was happening. Go Joe!

Yes it would cost money. But it was going to get taken care of. I still had the taste, and the pain, but I felt that good feeling of “progress. ”

One thing: When the Dentist looks at your wisdom tooth, and says “Oh Wow,” how can you not be scared? I was scared but was okay with it, come what may.

My Dentist told me that the kind of decay I had was rare. It happens in two groups typically. Children, and the elderly. I am 33 years old. He said that the aged get it because their oral chemistry gets weaker. Kids get it because they tend to eat continuously throughout the day.

This second scenario, “eating like a kid” ,is precisely how I have lost weight in the past year. I eat what I want when I want.

The irony of the thing is that apparently the diet that lost me 90 pounds in 9 months is the same diet that accelerated my tooth decay. Had I brushed in line with my eating, I probably would have been fine.

Then came the day of Surgery.

I checked in at 7:40am and at 7:45 they took me in. There are photos of this intake procedure in my photos area.

I urinate. Then I go into an “on-deck” room where they lay me down on a stretcher. They put a blood pressure cuff on me. It’s predictably too small for my arm so the Nurse (is she a Nurse? I have no idea) gets a larger one.

Lynn, the nurse is looking for an IV puts nasal mask (nondisposable) on me “laughing gas” she calls it. Nitrous and Oxygen probably. Very calming. They put two ECG (did you know we refer to EKGs as EKG because “EEG” and “ECG” sound too much alike? — at least that’s what I was taught) electrodes on my chest. They put another electrode on my left arm. She sticks me antecubitally for a vein. (bigger always better) but she misses. I feel the stick, and it hurts. But it feels like it’s hurting on the other side of the room — I am lucid, but the sensation is of a disconnect between what happens in the room and my self. She tries the top of my right hand. She hits, but can’t get the sheath in. I’m lucid enough to say “Third time’s a charm” when she jokes apologetically about turning me into a pin cushion. I say it’s fine.

Something in me prevents me from mentioning how many times I’ve stuck people for blood – ABG’s – Respiratory Therapists draw bllod from arteries.

Third time *is* a charm and she hits me on the radial side of my wrist.

I feel a splash of cold on my hand. She tells me it’s just saline. It could be blood for all I care, as long as she doesn’t allow it to drain out of me. That would be… bad.

I overhear two people (Nurses?) (Surgical Techs?) talking about radial notches and the ulna and I say “somebody’s taking A&P.” I mean, if you’re working in a Dentist’s office and you’re talking about the ulna, you must be taking an Anatomy and Physiology class. At least semi-drugged, I came to that conclusion.

So I see the Doc — the Oral Surgeon. He says “Hello, how we doing?” I say okay.

The nurse at this point says “we’re giving you the drugs to make you go to sleep now.” I tell her okay. I have a clamp in my mouth.

I don’t remember falling under the influence of the Versed, but I must have. It might be nice to see the operative record. If only so I can see the chronology. Having been under the influence of powerful narcotics, I’m scarcely a trustworthy witness!

When I wake up, I am back in the holding area. Everything feels like a dream. An overhead lamp suddenly, in the hazy eyes I have, becomes a little silent puppet show. I am lying flat. Two white hospital blankets covering me to my neck. I’m watching and listening.

Watching and listening like always.

I close my eyes.

In and out.

I move a hand up and feel my face.

Upper lip – no feeling. maybe some pressure. But I really can’t feel it much.

Lower lip – nothing. it feels like a nylon stocking filled with a nerf football. I press it but cannot feel it.

Lower jaw – likewise. This is probably good.

Oh, the glory of local anesthesia.

There is cotton gauze in my mouth. Big hunks of it. Covering the stumps of where my four wisdom teeth were.

I make a sound. Not much. A slight gurgle cough. Then a glugging giggle at the silliness. Increduility at how I can’t really make a sound.

I often feel that incredulity. I’m always amazed at simply existing, and how bizarre things are.

Eventually they bring me out. To Leah.

Leah drives me back to her place.

I think I’m awake and alert, but I sleep most of the way.

Things written on clipboard when I could not talk. These were “said” to Leah.

“lip no feeling”

“would like to take pen. & vicodin. fear cannot swallow though”

“can feel the pain coming.”

“like the outskirts of town.”

“good got drugs down.”

“T.Y. (you said to stop writing thank you)”

*The Leah-Takes-Care-Of-Me Post-Op Phase*

I changed the gauze packs every hour – they were gunky, bloody, and awful. It was nice to see the progression of the gauze from totally wet with bright red blood, to merely damp with brown and black.

The instructions said to NOT rinse frequently or vigorously in the first 24 hours. I respected that. I was scared to death of “Dry Socket,” which had afflicted both my sister and father when they had had tooth extractions.

Vicodin: loved it, though it gave me constipation.

Tried to drink juice sometimes, though water was best.

Leah made me pudding. Lots of pudding. It’s a strong memory of having something I could actually eat. Leah was wonderful to me.

And mostly, I slept.

Here’s an email I sent to my sister:

The word:
– chocolate pudding – just right
– mashed up bananas – just right
– little pieces of pear – a bit too much yet
– 7up – the old favorite, GREAT!
I’ve stopped bleeding from the stumps/holes/caves
Vicodin rocks
slept a lot yesterday
my mouth was VERY numb (like, useless) all day yesterday
but now I can talk
and move my mouth, and it all works well
though now my jaw is muscle achey

And that’s the end of the wisdom tooth saga. I laughed, I cried.

January 7th, 2006

From A conversation with Bruce Sterling

If you approach “reality” in a humble spirit of inquiry I think that Truth will unveil herself, whereas if you stomp around emitting gospel and drinking your own public-relations bathwater, you’re gonna come to grief, sooner or later.

January 7th, 2006

Family @ Grandma's in Utah

Taken by Grandma

January 9th, 2006

Family Calendars? describes perfectly some of the problems Leah and I have come up with finding a good solution for shared calendars.

Someone fix this now!

January 11th, 2006

Today is the birthday of the fabulous and wonderful and thoughtful and loving and talented and incidentally-my-wife and many-other-things-too Leah

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEAH ! ! !

January 12th, 2006

Seamless and WYSIWYG. Some neat AJAXiness in it too.

Well, the bold and italic work great, anyway.

January 13th, 2006

Troubling essay: The Impeachment of George W. Bush

Like many others, I have been deeply troubled by Bush’s breathtaking scorn for our international treaty obligations under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions. I have also been disturbed by the torture scandals and the violations of US criminal laws at the highest levels of our government they may entail, something I have written about in these pages [see Holtzman, “Torture and Accountability,” July 18/25, 2005]. These concerns have been compounded by growing evidence that the President deliberately misled the country into the war in Iraq. But it wasn’t until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country’s laws–that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate.

I doubt this is likely, but the argument that Bush’s conduct is not much different from that of Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War is rather compelling. And unhappy and disturbing.

January 13th, 2006

Leah and I ate at One World Cafe1 in Salt Lake City with Alison and her boyfriend last month. It was great! Read about it here: In a World of Its Own:

Salt Lake City’s One World Cafe breaks two of the most fundamental rules of the restaurant business.First, there are no menus. Diners at the restaurant, 41 S. 300 East, eat whatever sparks the culinary imagination of owner and chef Denise Cerreta.

Most days she offers soup, one or two salads, quiche, a main entree and a dessert, all of which were inspired by the fresh, organic produce and meats she buys that day.

Customers can fill their plates with as much, or as little, as they want and — here is the second business breach — pay what they feel their meal is worth. In place of a cash register, Cerreta has a brown basket where patrons place their money.

I love the unconventional approach, that seems to be working great. If you don’t have enough money to pay you can work in the kitchen. I think an hour’s work gets you a meal. What an amazing and revolutionary idea.

  1. 41 S. 300 East; Salt Lake City, Utah 84103 []

January 13th, 2006

As part of my work with WordPress I upgraded a few other blogs without hitches: Websandiego.org and San Diego Blog most notably, but also Leah‘s too.

With each revision I grow more impressed with WordPress as a platform. It’s matured considerably since I started using the original b2 with San Diego Blog back in May 2003 and Leah back in October 2002.

Fun fun fun!

January 15th, 2006

Get over to Rhonchi.com now!

January 25th, 2006

Me @ Blogger Thing

January 26th, 2006

So I was reading Oso’s latest entry: Advice to Oso From The World, well, actually, I saw the headline in my gmail “web snippets” – the low budget RSS reader build into gmail and I presumed I knew what it would be about, thinking it would be one of those web services things where you can query google for “my advice to oso” and get all kinds of wacky results. Well, instead he disappointed that presumption and was all sort of obliquely self-examinationy, something I myself have not done, at least no publicly for a while. I commend Oso for trying to get at that core thing. Trying to get to that core self-understanding and reflection that is REALLY REALLY HARD WORK.

Kudos, Oso.

Anyway.

So I did the google query for “my advice to Joe” and got all kinds of interesting results. Funny, odd. And since Oso is not really a common appellation for people, well, I also did “David” — for you Oso. Since I thought that was what your post was gonna be. So here’s google’s web’s world’s advice to Oso:

  • “my advice to David is to make sure the company‚Äôs brand is properly aligned with its product set and sales strategy. ..”
  • “My advice to David is to take the advice I got ie to ask for opinions of mouthpieces to try rather than mouthpieces to buy. “
  • “My advice to David is that he needs to make more Black friends. “
  • “My advice to David is to minimize his losses.”
  • “My advice to David is, DON’T DO IT! “
  • “My advice to David is that he’s giving The wrong advice,”
  • “my advice To David is predicated on the principle that you suggested: the Institute for Writing Center Revival is actually located In a …”
  • “My advice to David is to KEEP IT UP. …”
  • “my advice to David is keep thefansforum independant, that is The wishes of The Members.”

And here is the advice to me:

  • “My advice to Joe is that he shouldn’t wait for Al Gore to make a decision. …”
  • “My advice to Joe is my advice to everyone: Measure now, and measure often! “
  • “My advice to Joe is to grow up and quit being such a whiny butt.”
  • “My advice to Joe is that if he can’t handle the ads for Tripping the Rift (which are aimed at adults and are probably more suitable after 9 pm, …”
  • “My advice to Joe is to not even talk about the book at all,”
  • “My advice to Joe is, things can change,”
  • “My advice to Joe is to just chill a bit.”
  • “My advice to Joe is to forget it. that lens is not worth The cost and effort.”
  • “My advice to Joe is keep his eye on The Three: IBM, Sun, and 3Com.”
  • “My advice to Joe is, things can change,”
  • “my advice to Joe is simple : to avoid further deceptions, make it clear what is offered for the price. or you will keep having negative REVIEWS and comments”
  • “My advice to joe is to learn about your sons choices as best you can and also to support him.”
  • “my advice to Joe Is to eat Sh*t loads of paella on his way to portugal and he”ll be a hero”
  • “my advice to Joe is – don’t.”
  • “my advice to joe is to get rid of Norton AV (and all other Norton 2002 or later products) As soon As possible.”

January 26th, 2006

Model for 3D in progress

…bearing fruit in the form of a pseudo-lego model. My first 3-D model. Done in Maxon’s Cinema 4D.

January 26th, 2006

Dude, my wife has gallonfuls of it, where it’s revealed that, yes, I’m in her book, but at the end, where things are getting better.

But strictly speaking, I don’t know anyone in the world more dedicated to the truth and living an authentic life than my wife Leah.

She asked if it was cool for her to reveal that aspect of the book (that I’m the “Jac” at the end”) and I feel like, no problem at all. When I see all the truth she’s revealed to the world I’m amazed and astonished.

That much truth is something to shoot for.

January 26th, 2006

Diabetics may soon get to inhale their insulin.

John Prine has a great song called “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore” via rc3.org: it has a great chorus:

But your flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven any more.
They’re already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don’t like killin’
No matter what the reason’s for,
And your flag decal won’t get you
Into Heaven any more.

It looks like that’s from John Prine, originally released in 1971. And railing against stupid wars and flag decals is again, sadly, necessary.

And Donald Fagan has a new album coming out in March called Morph The Cat. Donald is half of Steely Dan. Duh!

San Diego Hardware is moving. via San Diego Blog via new writer over there JeSais.

January 28th, 2006

Google explains itself on China.

Google in China
Filtering our search results clearly compromises our mission. Failing to offer Google search at all to a fifth of the world’s population, however, does so far more severely. Whether our critics agree with our decision or not, due to the severe quality problems faced by users trying to access Google.com from within China, this is precisely the choice we believe we faced. By launching Google.cn and making a major ongoing investment in people and infrastructure within China, we intend to change that.

January 28th, 2006

December 2005 ←Before

After→ February 2006