Wednesday, August 30, 2006

And Here Not All That Long Ago I Was Thinking Of Cancelling My Cable.

I, um, appear to have bought a TiVo. I didn't exactly plan to... I was just thinking about the fact that there are actually a number of current and upcoming shows that I kind of want to watch without waiting for them to come out on DVD. And about how hard I find it to actually remember when shows are on and whether I ought to set the VCR, never mind keeping track of reruns and hiatuses and changes in timeslot. And about how much I hate commercials, and not being able to pause or rewind stuff I'm watching, and the way the VCR loses several seconds of dialog every time you pause and unpause it.

And, really, there's one obvious solution to all those complaints, isn't there? So I went online just to price the things, and they didn't seem too terribly expensive, and the next thing I knew, I was ordering one.

Everybody says TiVos are the best things ever and that they'll change how you watch TV and they're the sort of thing that, once you have one, you can't imagine ever doing without it. I just hope they're right, seeing as I've bought a year-long contract...

(Huh. Blogger's spellchecker knows "TiVo" and insists that I use that (rather dumb) capitilization, but it doesn't know "VCR." Blogger's spellchecker is crap. And is possibly in the TiVo company's pocket.)

It Is Not A Beautiful Thing When The Desert Blooms.

I really wish plants would stop trying to have sex inside my nose.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The World Is Mine.

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OK, I'm going to stop updating today, really. I'm mostly just procrastinating on all the things I really ought to be doing.

Whack My Weeds!

OK, since you guys were so incredibly helpful when I was stressing over curtains -- and I did eventually find some acceptable ones, by the way -- I thought I'd once again ask for some household advice, this time involving lawn care. I know there's at least one Loyal Reader out there who's a gardening god, and probably 99% of you know more about the subject than I do. I don't think I've ever even used a lawnmower.

I have two problems/questions:

1) I went from living in a trailer surrounded by dirt and gravel to having an actual yard, but the lawn was pretty much dead last year when I moved in. It didn't seem inclined to grow much grass this year, either, but with the insane amount of rain we've had lately, it's erupted into a frightening jungle of weeds. I need some equipment to hack these evil plants down with. I used to have this tiny electric weed-trimmer, but it was a piece of crap: very low-powered, and it was near-impossible to keep the string from tangling. Anybody have any advice on something I can use on a large-ish area full of tough weeds, but that won't cost me an arm and a leg?

2) There were some rosebushes out front when I moved in. But first the structural engineer told me it was probably better if I didn't have plants right around the outside of the house, then guys who were doing my stucco complained they were in the way, so I hacked the poor things down and removed their trellises. The thing is, they keep trying to grow back. I had no idea roses were so hearty! How in the world do I get rid of these things? Or if they're too hard to remove completely, what do I do for them?

Man, I so want to xeriscape my yard with some gravel and a few cacti and have done with it. But there's no way I have the money for that in the foreseeable future. Sigh.

Television Addendum

I just realized that I forgot Venture Bros., about which I can only say that it's the most brilliant and funny thing on television, and that it's worthwhile viewing for anyone who ever watched stuff like Johnny Quest as a kid and absolute must-see viewing for anyone who still watches stuff like Johnny Quest as an adult.

"That Remote In Your Hand Is A Crack Pipe!" (Or, What I've Been Watching Lately, Pt. 2: Television)

Psych: I like the premise for this -- about a guy with amazing crime-solving powers of observation who tells people he's psychic to get them to take his deductions seriously -- a lot, if only because it appeals to my hardcore-skeptic sensibilities in ways that no TV show[*] has done since Scooby Doo[**]. The execution doesn't quite live up to the promise, I think, mainly because the main character's a bit too consistently goofy for it to seem plausible that anybody ever believes him at all. "Real" psychics manage by being charming and convincing as well as observant, and I think that faux-psychic Shawn would be a much more interesting character if, say, he could switch back and forth between something like that and his (admittedly entertaining) habitual goofball mode. The other characters are a bit two-dimensional, too. The detective who doesn't believe in Shawn's abilities would be more interesting if he were a bit more sympathetic, given that, after all, he's right. And the sidekick (played by Dule Hill, who I quite liked on The West Wing) seems to have a personality that's almost completely defined by contrast to Shawn's, like he's some kind of a photographic negative of the guy. I've watched all of it now, though, thanks to USA handily running it as a marathon, and the episodes do seem to get better as they go along, so I think it's got potential to evolve in good directions. The mystery plots, while not exactly Agatha Christie, are fun, and at least tend to take place in interesting and unusual settings. I may tune in for this one when it comes back in January, as it does seem that I'm starting to reverse my DVD-watching-only habits a bit, but it won't break my heart if I manage to forget.

The 4400: I wasn't quite as drawn into this show this season. I'm not sure if that's mainly due to the fact that this is the first season I've watched as it was aired, rather than on DVD, but I do the week's separation between episodes makes some kind of a difference. It may also have to do with the way they kept writing out characters, then writing in new ones, then writing them out, then writing them back in... Whatever. I can't seem to find it in myself to get particularly excited about this show, but I'm still finding it interesting enough that I will almost certainly be tuning in next season. Erm, there will be a next season, right? I got a little nervous a couple of weeks ago when USA kept advertising that there were "only two episodes of The 4400 left!" but I assume they meant "left in this season." Although it would be absolutely typical for something to get cancelled just when I've started tuning in.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: This is a show that's premiering on NBC in the fall, but Netflix subscribers can get a sneak peak at it on DVD if they so choose. I so chose, partly because I really liked Aaron Sorkin's work on The West Wing and was curious to see what he was doing with his new show, and partly because I like to encourage TV networks make us of new technologies like DVD and the internet, rather than clinging to the same old "it's our job to put stuff on your TVs and your job to shut up and watch the commercials" model. It's interesting that they chose this particular show to explore this new marketing possibility, because the show itself is all about television and its current (rather sorry) state. Even before the opening credits roll, we're treated to a long, scathing, and utterly brilliant diatribe about how television these days is complete crap and we shouldn't be watching it. Yowza! My initial reaction to that was, "Whoa, and they're going to show this? Wow, what a display of guts!" My immediate reaction after that was, "Well, come on, the network is going to have no problem whatsoever with airing a show that tells you television is crap and you shouldn't watch, as long as they think you still are going to watch anyway. I'm sure they're perfectly happy with self-denunciation, as long as it's making them money." Given this cynical attitude, all I can say is, Mr. Sorkin has his work cut out for him. Sure, he was able to make me believe in magic fairy leprechauns honest, competent, idealistic politicians, but an honest, competent, idealistic network executive is another matter entirely. Still, I'll be interested to see if he can pull it off, and his dialog is always a joy to listen to, so I probably will be catching this one when it airs.

Kidnapped: The pilot episode for this was on the same disc with Studio 60, so I gave it a shot. By which I mean, I watched about the first ten minutes. It was very stylishly produced, but the dialog sucked. It is possible that eventually the plot would have been engaging enough to make up for this defect, but I wasn't interested enough to stick around and find out. I'm gonna skip this one. If it turns out to be wildly successful, and people whose tastes I respect tell me that I'm seriously missing out and the rest of the series is nothing like the first ten minutes, I'll catch it on DVD.

[*] Well, fictional show. I mean, I gotta give props to things like Penn & Teller's Bullshit.

[**] Hey, the ghosts always turned out to be Old Man Witherspoon. And Velma was an infinitely better skeptical thinker than Scully.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What I've Been Watching Lately, Part 1: Movies

I think it's time for another exciting "what I've been watching lately" post. Or at least half of one. I'll do movies now, and TV shows sometime later.

So, thumbnail reviews of couple of movies I've seen recently on DVD:

Madagascar: Cute, entertaining, and in places very funny. It may not exactly be the Shakespeare of talking-animal movies, but it's a pleasant way to kill an hour and a half, whatever your age. And I like the fact that it's a talking-animal movie that doesn't ignore the fact that some of these happy, best-buddy animals are, in the natural course of things, going to instinctively regard others as lunch. It probably sounds stupid to say that acknowledging that helps me suspend my disbelief, but, hey, it does.

The Brothers Grimm: This movie has a lot of things going for it: an interesting premise (hey, I love stories that play around with fairy tale motifs), very well-done visuals, some funny, clever dialog... And yet, it really just completely fails to work for me. It's hard to put my finger on exactly why, but I think the problem is that it's simply trying to be too many things at once. It doesn't know whether it's a subtle comedy, a broad over-the-top comedy, a moving drama about brotherly love or a lush, sense-of-wonder-inducing fantasy. As a result, I felt weirdly off-balance through the whole movie, never reacting to any individual moment quite the way it wanted me to. When it wanted me to be moved, my head was still in a comedy space, and when it wanted me to laugh, I was taking it too seriously. I almost wonder if this might have been a lot more successful if it had had much lower production values... There's dialog and story elements here that -- unsurprisingly, given that it comes from Terry Gilliam -- would have worked beautifully in a Monty Python movie, but there's something about the whole visual language of the film that leads you to approach it very, very differently from the way you'd approach a Python flick. Or at least, that's how it was for me. The result was like some kind of massive exercise in psychic dissonance. And not in a cool way.

I'm Just Gonna Go Fetch My Walker And My Hearing Aid Now.

There is nothing like Beloit College's mindset list to make those of us who are no longer college freshmen feel unbelievably old. If you haven't seen this thing before, it's released every year and aims to give us fuddy-duddies a sense of what kind of world the year's incoming college freshmen grew up in. The ones that really get me from the Class of 2010 list: "'Google' has always been a verb." and "Reality shows have always been on television." Ye gods. Well, at least a couple of these items refer to things that were also before my time, which makes me feel a little less superannuated. But just a little.

Monday, August 21, 2006

And Speaking of Stargate...

Apparently SG-1's just been cancelled. Is it horrible of me that my immediate reaction was something like, "Oh, cool, that'll mean I actually will be able to catch up on all of it on DVD"? It is, isn't it? I'm going to the Fannish Hell now and spend eternity with the NBC execs who put Star Trek in the Friday night timeslot.

Would You Pay Money To See This Movie?

This seems like an amusing meme:

Open up your music player and set it to shuffle. For each line/question hit the next/forward button. Say what song is playing for each line. Don't cheat either, just put the song that comes up.

I don't know whether this is meant to be a movie of my life, or what... I assume it is, though it's clearly a highly fictionalized version if it has fight scenes, as I haven't been in a fight since the 9th grade. (Where, for"been in a fight" read: A tough girl grabbed my shirt to push me out of her way or something, I freaked out and flailed at her, and she knocked my glasses off. And all the adults thought it was so great that I had "been in a fight," because they had been despairing of me and my pansy-ass pacifistic ways.)

In any case, I present to you the Soundtrack to My Movie:

Opening Credits: "Sweet Home Alabama" - Lynyrd Skynyrd

Something of an odd choice, seeing as I've never been to Alabama in my life and have no affinity whatsoever for the South.

Waking Up: "Window to the World" - Geddy Lee

Um, that works as well as anything, I guess.

Falling in Love: "Crazy Lovesick Fool" - the Great Luke Ski

Bwah! This is a couple of guys doing an incredibly goofy song in the voices of Brak and Zorak from Space Ghost. It is the most unbelievably dorky thing you could possibly imagine. Which I guess makes it just about perfect.

Fight scene: "Echoes" - The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

Most surreal fight scene ever. Or possibly it's a very slow, very artistically composed undersea battle. That'd be really cool.

Breaking up: "Silent Bob" - The Great Luke Ski

A tribute to the work of Kevin Smith, set to the tune of "Silent Night." Well, at least it makes an appropriately dorky bookend with the "falling in love" song. Although it does apparently indicate that I'm breaking up in a 7-11. On Christmas. While smoking weed.

Looking Back On Your Life: "The Eccentric Doctor Who" - Malcolm Lockyer Orchestra

Again I say: bwah! Clearly the "looking back on my life" scene features a montage of me watching various bits of Doctor Who, with the action on my TV screen synched up with this incredibly cheesy music. Actually, that'd be an entirely accurate retrospective on my life.

Getting back together: "Opus 4. Fantasy (Film Noir)" - Billy Joel

This is from Billy Joel's brief, brief career as a classical pianist. And it is pretty noir-ish, at least at the beginning. I suppose it's appropriate if I'm getting back together beneath a smoky streetlight on a rain-drenched street while wearing a trenchcoat and a fedora... Oh, hang on! I get it! This is one of those movies that's 90% fantasy sequences, isn't it? Well, I suppose it would be. And that'd explain the submarines.

Secret Love: "Yer So Bad" - Tom Petty

At least my secret love seems like a happy and healthy affair. Although I feel compelled to to categorically deny all of the slanderous things this song says about my sister.

Life's okay: "A Floydian Slip" - The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

Because nothing says "life's okay" like imitation Pink Floyd?

Mental breakdown: "The Pony Man" - Gordon Lightfoot

Hee! This is a happy little folksong depicting sweet childhood fantasy, starting with an ordinary pony ride and ending up with pirate ships and other improbable things... Clearly this is a mental breakdown that involves hallucinations.

Partying: "I'm a Believer (Reprise)" - Eddie Murphy, on the Shrek soundtrack

Sure, that works for a party.

Long night alone: "Sanitarium (Welcome Home)" - Apocalyptica

I don't know about a "long night alone," but that'd be kickass fight scene music. And may I just say that I love this whole rock-gone-classical theme my movie seems to have going, along with all the other dorktasticness. If a movie is ever made of my life, I hereby declare that the soundtrack should consist entirely of rock songs done on classical strings.

Final Battle: "Consider Me Gone" - Sting

Hmm... I suspect this is a metaphorical battle. Or else this one should really be switched with the previous one.

Death Scene: "Opus 3. Reverie (Villa D'Este)" - Billy Joel

I guess that works for a death scene. Although it's either going to be schmaltzy or melodramatic. I vote for melodramatic.

Ending Credits: "So Long Again" - Daniel Amos

I guess that's appropriate, if you ignore the blatant religious content.

Man. I want to see this movie now.

Friday, August 18, 2006

In More Cheerful, Much Geekier News...

I don't really watch Stargate SG-1, but I am so taping it tonight.

It's Curtains.

So, the curtains I ordered came today. They are the right size, a good color, a pleasantly simple design, machine washable... and even more entirely transparent than the bamboo shade.

If you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to go and hang myself from a curtain rod now.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Anything Smaller Than A Gas Giant Is A Trivial Space Rock, Anyway.

So, Loyal Reader Magnus dropped a comment on the last post asking me what I thought of this article about the International Astronomical Union's proposed redefinition of the word "planet." I suspect I'm the last person with a blog and an interest in space science to talk about this issue, but I honestly can't seem to get especially worked up about it. It's a question of terminology rather than one of science... Ceres isn't going to change if we start calling it a planet instead of an asteroid, and Charon isn't going to suffer an identity crisis if it's suddenly reclassified as half of a double planet instead of as a moon. And, hey, the proposed definitions seem reasonable to me, in that they're trying to be as non-arbitrary as possible.

I get the impression that a lot of people are sort of bothered by the whole thing, or are viscerally resistant to the idea of reclassifying. And I do understand that. As kids, one of the first things we learn about the universe beyond Earth is that we're part of a solar system with nine planets orbiting the sun. It's learned so early and taught with such confidence that it feels like a fundamental fact, not like an artifact of language. And it seems to form part of our basic sense of identity as a planet, if there is such a thing. The plaques on the Voyager probes show a diagram of one large circle and nine smaller circles, with the probe flying away from the third one to show any randomly encountered aliens where it came from. And it's easy to imagine ourselves in some Star Trek-ish future, chatting with an alien, going, "My solar system? Yeah, we've got nine planets..." It just seems like part of what defines this place. I remember as a kid reading occasional SF novels in which a tenth planet was discovered, and that always seemed like some kind of symbol of expanding human knowledge, of our growth as a species out into the universe. "Look, we found another planet out there! There's more to our solar system than we thought! We're expanding our horizons, and our solar system literally gets bigger as our knowledge grows! Ain't that something? Humans rock!"

Reality, of course, is always much messier. Hey, look, there are rocks out beyond Pluto! But they're dinky, and somehow the thought of letting them into the planetary club triggers less of a "Whoo, we have more planets!" response and more of a "Well, if those guys count, the whole concept of a 'planet' seems diminished somehow." The truth is, we like things tidy. We like for things to fit into neat categories and we like for the categories we grew up with not to change. I think most people would like to be able to name nine objects and feel like, if they know those nine things, they've got a handle on the solar system. It's much less simple and satisfying to view it as a huge swarm of bodies ranging from a dust speck to a gas giant, made of rock or gas or ice or various combinations thereof, orbiting the sun, orbiting other bodies, orbiting one another, here, there and everywhere, with no clear cutoff point where you can say, "This rock is a place, but that one is just a rock."

Like I said, I think scientifically the terminology doesn't really matter all that much, and part of me find the idea that there's controversy over it just kind of silly. But, y'know, if the debate gets ordinary people to start thinking about this stuff, to shake themselves out of the oversimplified "nine planets and some rocks and snowballs" model we all learned in elementary school and to understand the solar system a bit better as the gloriously messy thing it is, that seems like a good thing to me.

So there ya go. My two cents on planetary classification. Sorry you asked, Magnus?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Curtain Follow-Up and Random Links

First of all, let me say thanks for everybody's help and suggestions on my window covering dilemma. Man, I don't think I've ever gotten that large a volume of useful responses on anything before. I don't know whether it's that lots of people feel they have something to contribute on the subject of curtains, or whether it's just that I seemed that utterly pitiful and in need of help, but either way it was appreciated. I think I've responded to everybody on the comments for that post, by the way, in case you left a comment and haven't checked back. I did eventually order some simple tab-top curtains from Home Depot, and am hoping they'll do the trick.

With all of that out of the way, here's your regularly scheduled random linkage:

Godchecker: Your encyclopedic guide to "more gods than you can shake a stick at."

An enlightening but infuriating article describing the RIAA's tactics for suing people and explaining why they're getting away with it.

Star Trek motivational posters: You can probably judge just how big a nerd you are by how hard you laugh at these. Me, I was pretty much rolling on the floor.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

In Which I Reveal That One Of My X-Chromosomes Is Clearly Defective

It's a bizarre and possibly somewhat disturbing thing, but, out of all the things in life that frustrate and fluster me, the one that seems to do so most consistently and profoundly is... window coverings. Yes, curtains.

I mean, god damn it. All I want is something to put over my windows so that my neighbors cannot look in and see me when I'm walking around the house naked. (Come on, tell me I'm not the only one who occasionally experiences an urgent, burning need to check her e-mail while in the middle of getting dressed?)

It appears that this is not what anybody else on Earth wants, however. I am not sure what they want out of window coverings. It appears to have something to do with "decoration" or "looking pretty," but since having garish flowery patterns and all kinds of weird dust-catching pieces of cloth draped around your windows is, to me at least, not at all attractive, perhaps there's something else to it that I'm just not seeing.

I like blinds. Blinds are good. Nice and adjustable, depending on how much sun you want, and they keep out prying eyeballs. Sadly, though, it seems I just can't have blinds on my utility-room windows. The cats like to jump up onto the windowsills, they bend the slats when they do so, the slats break off, and eventually there's a big slatless hole through which sunlight and the neighbors' line of sight can pass unencumbered. I've already replaced them twice, and it's a losing battle. I can't keep the damned cats off.

The thing is, my utility-room windows are 58" wide x 48" tall. As far as I can tell, curtains don't come in that size. Or if they do, they probably have some fancy French name and are intended to drape artfully around a doorway or some crap. I don't know what half these things they sell in the curtain department actually are or do, so it's entirely possible.

What ever happened to window shades? Don't people use those any more? Why can I not find them anywhere? Damn it, this is yet another example of how the world is run by day people and nobody thinks about us shift workers, isn't it? If everybody worked my schedule, the stores would be full of items specifically and carefully designed to block out light. (Also, real estate agents would stop prattling about east-facing bedroom windows as if they were a selling point, but that's a tangent.)

I did find a bamboo shade that was at least the right width. It looked like a pretty good bet: not as easy for the cats to destroy, nice and simple with no "decorative" crap. The store only had one, but I figured I'd try it out, and if I liked it I'd see about ordering one for the other window. And, man, I'm glad I didn't buy two. Because it's a really nice shade, except for one teensy little fact: you can see right through it. I mean, honestly, what is the freaking point?

Suggestions for where the heck to find inexpensive coverings to block photons from passing through my windows will be gratefully accepted, but anybody who tries to get all Martha Stewart on me is gonna get strangled with a pull-cord.

And nothing that involves words like "transverse rod," either, OK? It should not require that much hardware to do something that can be easily achieved with a couple of thumbtacks and a bedsheet. (Hell, I'd consider doing that, but, y'know, I'm trying to be a grownup.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Doctor Is In!

Here's some news I know several of my Loyal Readers are likely to be pleased by: The newest season of Doctor Who is coming to the Sci Fi Channel starting in September. I'll be interested to see what those of you who are more or less new to the show think of it...

It's Easy! Just Change The Gravitational Constant Of The Universe!

You ever have one of those days where it feels like someone's turned up the gravity, and it's just too much of an effort to drag your ass around, or possibly even to hold up your head?

Ugh. I want to go home and sleep until somebody's fixed the planet.

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's That Meme Thing Again

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A white t-shirt with a picture of Brak from Space Ghost. A light blue short-sleeved denim shirt unbuttoned over that. White socks. No shoes.

Current mood: Eh, I seem to be having odd mood swings today. Right this moment, I'm a little edgy in a weird sort of way. Presumably it will pass shortly.

Current music: Nothing in particular. Still listening to random playlists and sundry podcasts, mostly.

Current annoyance: This weird psychological thing I seem to have going on lately, where certain people expressing negative opinions of things I like (or, odder still, positive opinions of things I don't do) makes me feel all personally criticized and inadequate. It's stupid, and it's something that pisses me off when other people do it, so I'd really like it to stop now.

Current thing: Periodically behaving like those people in prescription drug commercials who romp through fields going, "Thanks to Panacea, I have my life back!" Because, yay, my eye no longer hurts (much), and I can concentrate on living my life without a constant voice in the back of my head going, "Ow, myeyemyeyemyeye."

Current desktop picture: This beautiful picture of a moonrise.

Current song in head: Nothing at the moment, but for the last couple of days, off and on, it's been "Should I Call You Jesus?" by Billie Meyers. I'm not entirely clear on the song's theology, but it's damned catchy.

Current book: The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin. It's kind of hard to believe that I hadn't read this book before now, actually. But I am enjoying it.

Current video in player: Another tape with last night's 4400 and Venture Bros. Although the latter might have been a rerun again.

Current DVD in player: It was disk one of season 6 of The West Wing, but I finished that and mailed it back to Netflix. I might start in on disk 2 tonight if I have time before work.

Current refreshment: Mango-passionfruit tea. Mmmm!

Current worry: That one day I'm going to wake up screaming in unbelievable pain because half my cornea's peeled off. I am trying to remind myself that the people who post their medical horror stories on internet fora are generally self-selected for being the most extreme cases, as people with mild problems are unlikely to bother. Google, she is sometimes not our friend.

Current thought: Aargh, I should finish this up quickly, answer the e-mail currently demanding my attention, go watch The West Wing, and get ready for work.

Friday, August 04, 2006

OK, I Lied. One More Eyeball Update.

Liberal and frequent use of eye drops = blessed, blessed relief.

I am currently filled with love for the entire optometric profession.

Note To Organ Donor Program: You'll Probably Want To Leave The Left Cornea.

OK, last eye update for a while, I promise. Because I know I probably wouldn't be reading this stuff if I didn't have to live it.

Anyway, I did get hold of the optometrist first thing this morning. He sent me to a different optometrist, whether because the other guy knows more about this stuff or just because he had an open slot in his schedule today, I don't know. Eye Doctor #2 told me that Eye Doctor #1's diagnosis and initial treatment had been completely correct, and was exactly what he would have done. Not that I doubted the man, but, hey, that sort of independent confirmation is always good to hear. So, yes, I have a shiny happy case of recurrent corneal erosion. In case you missed the ever-so-appetizing description the first time around, this occurs when the outer layer of your cornea doesn't want to stay attached to your eye. It's apparently not all that uncommon after an eye injury. It's not really dangerous as such, but it can be painful as hell, and it can come back repeatedly for years (hence the "recurrent").

Anyway, the main treatment is to keep the eye lubricated, because the slicker your eye is, the less likely your cornea is to decide it wants to stick to your eyelid. (And, geez, you think I'd be used to it by now, but I still feel all nauseated just typing that. Ick.) So I've got to apply eye drops every hour or two at least until the current bout clears up (something the doctor couldn't even give me a time estimate on, as it's just too variable), and ointment every night before bed for, I dunno, forever maybe.

He recommended that I use ointment (and perhaps also drops) that, in addition to the regular lubricant, also contains a medicine that's supposed to dry the area under the cornea to help it stick better. This stuff is over-the-counter, but it's also pretty hard to find. I literally had to ask at every pharmacy in town before I found the ointment, and the one I eventually got it from said they only had a tube because there was one person they regularly special-order it for and they usually order an extra. I'm supposed to call them when I start running out so they can order more. Great. One more thing to keep track of in my life. To add insult to eye injury, this stuff is expensive... Eighteen dollars for a tube the size of my pinky! And to add pain to insult, well, the eye doctor warned me that the medicated drops would sting a little. I forgot that, translated from doctorese, "this might sting a little" equates to "this will hurt like burning for several seconds during which you must resist the urge to claw out your own eye." Eek. I think I'm going to be using those rather sparingly...

I'll tell ya, I'm about ready to kill that damned cat. I took him in, raised him from the day he was born, got up at 3 AM to feed him, nurtured and sacrificed and fretted and worried, and this is the way he repays me. Bastard animal. Then again, the optometrist says a lot of people with this condition got their initial injury at the flailing hands of their sharp-fingernailed offspring, so at least it's not just me going, "I raise you from birth and you maim me for life! There's gratitude for ya!"

Anyway, I have no idea how long it's going to take to get better. Wish me luck. I really need to pull it together, whether the eye improves quickly or not. I've already missed several hours of work over this damned thing, but going home every time it starts to bother me too much really isn't an option, especially if it's going to be a frequent occurrence or take a long time to heal when it happens.

Ugh. Where are the nanorobots who are supposed to be repairing my eye?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Eye Update. Because If I Have To Suffer, You Have To Suffer With Me.

I ended up going home early last night. Which I feel pretty bad about; it seems as if circumstances have been conspiring mightily to eat into our productivity lately. People are sick, people are on vacation... Earlier in the week, the power was out for something like five hours and nobody could do anything. And later in the month we're going to be shut down for a week while they replace the A/C. Eek. But the pain was getting really, well, painful, and the fluorescent lights weren't doing kind things for me, either.

That's a new development as of yesterday, by the way, that light-sensitivity. I had it for a while right after the original accident, but it was gone by the time the patch came off. Welcome back, photophobia, old friend! At least the symptom's got a cool name. "Photophobia" makes me sound vaguely vampiric or something.

Anyway. I came home, got a few hours of sleep, then got up and called the optometrist's office... And got his answering machine, because he's not in on Thursdays. Aargh! Pardon me while I distract myself from the pain in my eye by banging my head.

I briefly considered going to the regular doctor, instead -- the one I usually go to does take walk-ins -- but I think I'm probably better off waiting for the eye doctor. There is not, as I understand it, any permanent damage being done to my eye, just the same temporary damage being done over and over again. So it's just a question of enduring the unpleasantness... Which I am mostly able to do by, say, imagining myself lying on a battlefield suffering the excruciating pain of broken bones and ripped-out intestines, and thinking how happy I'd be going from that condition to just having an ouchy eye. Hey, don't knock it. It works.

The thing that's really worrying me right now is how the heck I'm going to coordinate my need for medical care with my need for sleep. I've had about 5 hours of sleep today, from 5-10 AM. I'm scheduled to work tonight from midnight to 8 AM, the eye doctor's office opens at 9 AM, and I have no idea if they'll even be able to fit me in tomorrow, but if they do it'll be some time during the day and I'm probably not going to have a lot of choice as to when. Even if I leave work early again, I'm not going to have time to get much sleep, and if I work the full shift and stay awake to call the eye doctor at 9:00, I'm probably going to be too incoherent to speak.

I suppose the sensible thing to do would be to call in sick, go to bed at midnight, and be up to call at 9:00. But I feel terribly guilty about the thought of doing that, especially if it turns out I can't get in to have it looked at tomorrow, anyway. Aaargh! Why must life be so full of decisions?

Also, I am worried that the next step in the process, if the ointment's not helping, is going to be a contact lens. From what I've read, they'll sometimes give you a soft contact to act as a "bandage" for the eye. And, oh, man... There are reasons why I'm still wearing glasses, you know. Eye drops and ointments are bad enough, but the thought of touching a lens to my eye makes me want to go all fetal-position.

Gaaah. I'm such a gigantic wussy baby. I hate it.

Waah. I Am A Small, Pitiful Thing.

Why is it that as soon as I get into work, my eye starts hurting six times worse? Isn't just having to be at work bad enough? Maybe it's something about the air in here...


I think I'm gonna call the eye doctor when I get home.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Of Course, I'm Pretty Sure I Would Have Remembered It Anyway.

So, last night -- well, this afternoon, technically -- I dreamed I was part of a group that was unearthing this ancient artifact from a cave. When we pulled it out, it turned out to be a book made of thin slabs of wood, bound together into pages. It looked like there were probably only a dozen of them at most, but it must have been magic or something because when I opened it up, each page was dated, and the dates went from the 1600s or so up to the present day. All of them were otherwise blank, until I turned to the one for today's date... At which point I saw a note reminding me to take the garbage out. Which, sure enough, I do need to do tonight.

I guess it's kind of cool that my subconscious is actually telling me useful things.