giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Cheetah pawsI've been meaning to write an LJ post for awhile about my overall health, but I've had so many things change along that front that I figured I'd let them settle down first.

First, the issue with my knees. About a year ago, I began feeling pain just below the kneecaps on both knees. I started wearing knee braces to rest the knees, and would try removing them after a few days of being pain free. But this only made the pain come back, and even worse: I would feel sharp stabbing pains in the sides of my knees. That scared me lots, because I had no idea what was wrong with my knees, and I was afraid to do anything that might aggravate them further. So I continued to wear the knee braces just in case I had something degenerative going on.

It took a few trips to the knee doctor, some MRIs, x-rays, and 2 months of physical therapy to finally get to the bottom of things. If you've ever heard a healthcare specialist say, "everything is connected", this is a classic case of that. The pain I felt under my kneecaps turned out to be patellar tendinits. Apparently the space between the bottom of my kneecap and the top of my tibia was a few millimeters too short for someone my size, which meant the tendon was shorter. This in turn predisposed me to things like that. Combine that with hitting the bicycle hard at the gym (more on that shortly), and I set myself up for issues with that tendon. And the stabbing pains in the sides of my knees? Seems I had not been working the supporting muscles on the sides of the knees, and the knee braces caused them to atrophy a little from underuse. So when I tried going off of the knee braces, I gave myself overuse injuries and a little scar tissue. Oops.

On the subject of the supporting muscles in the knees, the physical therapy I had at Zarett Rehab rocked really hard. The people there were very knowledgeable and taught me exercises such as Russian Single-leg Deadlifts to work all of the muscles in the knee, not just the patellar tendons. They also discovered some weakness in the muscles in my hips and lower back, and gave me exercises to do for those muscles as well. This should keep the muscles in my knees and feet from getting overtaxed. After several weeks of physical therapy, they then helped me wean myself off of the braces by way of having me walk longer and longer periods every day without them. At this point, I've been off the knee braces for two weeks, and have been taking walks in the evenings. It's really nice to be able to walk across town again. :-)

I said something earlier about the gym, and have come to the conclusion that gym machines are fairly evil. The problem with them, as I learned first hand, is that many machines only target a single muscle. Let's say you're using a leg extension machine. This will work the quads... and little else. This means that the supporting muscles don't get worked out, and can lead to problems down the road, especially if the quad were to get injured, causing you to limp, and causing more strain to be put on those other muscles. Muscles can start having issues one after another that quickly.

I've quit my membership at the gym, and am going to look into taking up yoga at some point. In the meantime, I'll keep doing my calisthenics 3 times a week, and walk seven days a week. I still have some discomfort in the knees and the tibialis anterior, but since it's a 100% soft tissue injury (e.g., the joints are fine), that will heal with time.

Leopard's pawThe second major issue is my feet. I began feeling this awful burning pain in them at Anthrocon last year. It limited my enjoyment of the con and was quite scary. So after the con I saw my doctor, then my pawdiatrist. Originally, it was pointed out that my feet had high arches, which meant that more load was borne by the ball of the foot and the outside of the feet. The first step to try and treat this was prescription orthotic inserts. But, the pain continued. So I was sent off to physical therapy. Unfortunately, I had an HMO at $OLDJOB, and could not choose which facility I was sent to. So while the people at the rehab facility I went to were really nice, I didn't get the best care I could. (My pawdiatrist used the word "McDonald's to describe them)

Fast forward a few months to December, when I changed jobs, and got a much better health plan. I was then sent off to Zarett for my injuries (yes, physical therapists can treat multiple injuries during the same visit, as I learned) and while it helped with the knees, it did less for the feet. Oddly enough, I discovered just a couple of weeks ago that removing my shoes while seated at my desk makes the pain and discomfort go away. Walking is fine, too. It's only standing and being seated with shoes on that cause me issues.

At this point, I've had X-rays, seen a pawdiatrist, physical therapist, neurologist, and had an ultrasound done. Yet, nobody can really tell me what's going on. The closest the physical therapist could say is that it was very likely a chronic injury spent by walking around with high arches for 30-plus years, but even he wasn't sure what the specific injury was. As he said, "Chronic injuries are frustrating for both the patients and us".

Overall, the pain in the feet is less than what it was last summer, and with things like fractures, arthritis and neuropathy all ruled out, that means I shouldn't have any serious issues going forward with my life.

TL;DR I got old, so I punched old age in the dick.
 
 
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I've been kinda quiet here for the last month or so, and that's because, after my workplace got a visit from the FBI(!!) a few months back, I decided that was a sign it was time to move on. I had been there for 5 years (an eternity for a software engineer) and really felt like I was outgrowing the position. I wanted to move up in my career and into a position with more responsibility. So I spent a few weeks in November quietly doing job interviews, eventually found an employer that was a good fit, received an offer, and started work for them 2 weeks ago.

The new position has me working as the senior most engineer with a startup in Center City Philadelphia. In addition to actual programming, I also play the part of the sysadmin and get to be a one-man NOC. It's a big step up in responsibility, and with the corresponding pay raise I got at the new job, it's like a promotion of sorts. The company is still small, and only a month old, so I also have the chance to build something really cool as the company grows. It's the kind of challenge that attracted me to computer programming in the first place.

Yes, they're a Drupal shop, why do you ask? :-) Seriously, Drupal is a big piece of software, and I've learned even more about it in the last 2 weeks. This in turn means I do more neat things with the Drupal sites that I run. Everybody wins!

In health-related news, I finally got over to the Rothman Institute (which is like the Anthrocon of sports medicine) and got a diagnosis on my knee issues. And the diagnosis is: patellar tendinopathy, also known as chronic tendinitis. Here's my MRI:



It turns out that this wasn't brought on by exercise, but rather because the length of my patellar tendons are a few millimeters shorter than is normal. This predisposes me to issues with that tendon, and normally affects people when they get to be around my age. The rest of the knees are "perfectly healthy" according to my knee doctor, and this particular injury is treated with physical therapy. This would be different from the physical therapy I had in the spring, in terms of what muscles are exercised.

I asked the doctor if chondromalacia had anything to do with this. He explained to me that my problems were never chondromalacia. The previous issues I had were just warning signs of this. So I see more physical therapy in my future, and hopefully I can get the knees back to normal.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Today I was finally able to see a knee specialist. I headed over to The Rothman Institute to see a Sports Medicine physician about my knee. Before seeing him, they actually took X-rays of my knees on site that he was able to instantly pull up on his computer when he examined me.

The good news is that he could manipulate my knees in all sorts of ways and there was no pain. That rules out lots of joint issues right there. While examining my X-rays, he actually used the software to draw measurements on the screen, superimposed over my knees. He was able to point out that the ratio of certain measurements in my knee shows the patellar tendon coming up a little short, which could be cause of this condition.

The next step is to get an MRI on my right knee (already have one on the left) and see him with both MRIs so we can get a better idea of what is going on in the soft tissue, and decide how to treat it.

He said that tendinitis in the patellar tendon is a possibility, but tendinitis usually goes away after some rest, ice, and NSAIDs. This may be the more severe tendinopathy, which would require more intensive treatment. At this point, it's unclear if surgery would be required.

I get my MRI tomorrow afternoon.

The best part about working in Center City? The knee specialist and the hospital where I'll be getting the MRI are 2 blocks from my office.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
So I saw my pawdiatrist again today for a followup.

First, the good news: I'm feeling much better than I was 4 weeks ago, thanks to the diagnosis and physical therapy. I'd classify the pain as about a 3/10, whereas it was about a 6/10 4 weeks ago. And if I do have a flareup in the cuboid muscles, applying the heating pad for about 20 minutes is sufficient. (Protip: secure the heating pad with a belt for maximum effectiveness.)

Now, the not so good news: I'm still having some pain, along the side of the feet and in the balls of both feet. It's a very light tingling, that turns into more of a burning sensation if I'm on my feet for some time (like say, at a convention). I can also feel my pulse in those areas of my feet. My pawdiatrist found this very interesting, since those are no blood vessels in those parts of the feet. He flat out said that he has no idea what is going on there.

At this point, since the pain is minor, and I'm "functional", we're going to play "wait and see" for 3 months and see what happens. If I'm still having pain, then we might look into things like acupuncture.

When I asked him about what happens if I ever switch jobs/insurance, he remarked that I can still be a patient of his, even if I don't have health coverage, he'll just charge me the co-pay. When I looked at him like he was crazy, he uttered this quote:

"I'm not here to get rich, I'm here to help you get better".

-- Dr. T, my pawdiatrist


Holy. Crap.

Anyway! At this point, I'm well enough to attend Midwest FurFest (ordered plane tickets today) and to go see a knee specialist about my knee issues, which I'll try to make an appointment for tomorrow.

A con report for FurFright is in the works, with plenty of pictures. Watch for it soon!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
For the first time in about 6 months of knee/foot problems, I finally got a diagnosis, at least on my feet.

I saw my pawdiatrist (Dr. T) today, 6 weeks after getting my orthotics. I told him that I was still in pain, with several flareups having happened since I started wearing the orthotics, which otherwise have felt just fine.

He did another examination and told that I have something called "Cuboid Band Syndrome" [2], or muscle spasms in the outer part of my feet. It can be caused by overuse, and in my case: by walking around without arch support for 33 years. This is the pain that started at Anthrocon and continues through today. The orthotics didn't make it any worse (and in fact are still medically necessary for me), but I had enough issues going on with those muscles that they did not heal even with the orthotics.

The treatment for this consists to two things. First, a muscle relaxer (Cyclobenzaprine) to relieve the symptoms. Second, physical therapy to strengthen the muscle. I was fortunate to get the same physical therapy place as before, and even get assigned to the same specialist. Since she gave me knee exercises to do earlier in the year (exercises that I still do every night), adding in some foot exercises shouldn't be much of a problem either.

The Cyclobenzaprine could be interesting, though. My pawdiatrist said that it will "knock you out", and not to even think of driving a car or drinking booze after taking my dose. So this means I will probably not be consuming any alcohol while at WPAFW this coming weekend, but hopefully in less pain too.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
So, I'm 5 weeks into wearing my custom foot orthotics, and while I wish I could say I'm feeling 100% awesome, unfortunately I'm not. My knees are doing great, but my feet? Not so much. Walking around is pain free, but here's the rub: when I sit down, the pain starts. I'm not sure why that is, but taking off my shoes seems to help.

Also, I tried walking for about 20-25 minutes during lunch the last 2 days, and while my feet felt okay during the day, my symptoms picked up in the evenings. But only when seated at my desk. If I put on my shoes, walk around and do some chores, etc., the pain pretty much goes away. But when I sit down, it comes back. It starts with feeling my pulse in my feet, and slowly escalates to a burning sensation in both feet. I just don't understand it. As I type this, I keep having to move my feet around every couple of minutes, so I don't feel pain in whatever part has contact with the ground.

I see my pawdiatrist again next week, and we'll see what he has to say.

At least other aspects of my health seem to be okay. I weighed myself the other week, and I'm down to 170 pounds. (I'm 5 foot 10 inches in height) I'm doing my knee exercises every night and my core and lower body appears to be in pretty good shape. Mentally, I had an epiphany of sorts the other night, and was a huge relief to figure out. (and it helped my dreams/nightmares)

On Saturday, my mother stopped by, and she brought a present--a throw rug for my dining room:

My new dining room carpet My new dining room carpet

That rug really tied the room together, let me tell you.

On Sunday night, [livejournal.com profile] desteredra, [livejournal.com profile] dragonof31102, and [livejournal.com profile] orionvw stopped by and we had dinner. 3 women in my apartment at the same time? I think that's a record.

Since I'm not feeling better, I don't think I'll be doing that road trip in October. :-/ Well, between that, and the fact that I'll be out of town during 3 weekends that month.

And now, a Star Wars propaganda poster:



More Star Wars propaganda posters can be found here.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
So, I'm about 3 weeks into wearing my orthotic shoe inserts. I was hoping I would see straight up improvement, but that hasn't been the case. I've had a couple of flareups since then, but they don't seem to be nearly as severe as they were before I got the orthotics. I've also been walking around a bit more, having done a fitness walk at work last week, and have begun to walk around town in the evenings. It won't make up for my "lost summer", but it's a start.

I saw some improvement on the situation that was causing me nightmares a few weeks back. I've been discussing the matter with the person involved, and while I wouldn't say it's "resolved", I think we were able to at least have a meeting of the minds and make some progress on the issue at hand.

Earlier today, I got my hotel room for The Western PA Furry Weekend, and I plan on registering later in the week. I've never actually attended WPAFW before, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy myself there. Transportation is still up in there air. Worst case scenario, I'll just rent a car and drive out there. (I also found out that AVIS wants $931.47 to rent a Prius for 3 days, but that's a separate rant.)

As mentioned in a previous post, I finally got curtains for my apartment the other weekend, with the help of my mother, who has apparently done this before. :-P

Curtains Curtains Heavy Curtains

Since I didn't feel like drilling holes in the wall, I made use of some 3M Command hooks that I attached the wall. I found out that the trick to keep them from falling down is to swap the area heavily with rubbing alcohol, let it dry for an hour, attach the adhesive, let it sit for a full 24 hours, and then finally attach the hooks and put load on them. Otherwise, there is a risk of the hooks falling off, usually in the middle of the night. :-)

The curtains in the bedroom are quite awesome, too. They are the heavier kind that blocks out noise and light, and they do a pretty good job at it. My bedroom pretty much turns into a cave when the curtains are drawn, and I've noticed that daylight doesn't wake me up an hour before my alarm does anymore. Now I wake up when my alarm goes off, which means I'm getting more sleep each night. That's a nice win.

I also grabbed a new lamp and a cheap throw carpet (called "circuits", amusingly enough) to replace the ratty old blue one I had underneath my guest desk:

New carpet New lamp

Otherwise, my personal life has been pretty boring lately. Just going to work during the day and coming home in the evening. Having played through all of Half Life 2, Episode One, and Episode Two, I don't have a regular evening activity anymore.

I've felt better, but I've also felt worse, so I guess there's something to be said for that.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
PA Furries chat room

Things have gotten interesting with my feet. Early last week, I figured out a "trigger" that made them hurt: wearing shoes. It seemed that wearing my shoes the entire day apparently put enough pressure on my feet to make them hurt more. So the solution was to remove my shoes while I'm seated at my desk at work. That's not the preferred way to write code, but hopefully this will help my feet start the healing process so I can resume being active again.

In the later part of the week and this past weekend, I noticed that the pain in my feet changed a bit, as did the pain in my knees. This suggests that my orthotic inserts might just be doing their job. I'm 1.5 weeks into my initial 6 week run of them, so we'll see.

Late last week, [livejournal.com profile] alsaihn and [livejournal.com profile] turtyl_db swung by one evening. We hung out, chatted, and generally got caught up on things.

Somewhere in there [livejournal.com profile] desteredra and I got together a few times for food and general hanging out.

Some other actual work I did last week included deploying chat on the Pennsylvania Furries website. It's a web-based chat system that appears in the right sidebar for logged in users (as shown in the screenshot on the right), and seems to be pretty popular with folks on the site. I'm glad I set that up.

And finally, after living in my current apartment for 9 years, I got curtains for my place. Yes, curtains. It's too dark to get good pictures now, but I'll eventually post before/after pictures.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I picked up my orthotic shoe inserts today. This is what they look like:

My orthotic shoe inserts My orthotic shoe inserts

For those of you who have used Spenco Polysorb insoles, that's exactly what the top of them are. They're quite padded. The underside is a carbon mesh, with a rather high arch.

Wearing them feels interesting. To quote my doctor, "it's like there is a hand pushing up on the bottom of each arch".

Getting my muscles adjusted to these will also be interesting. And I don't mean the muscles in my feet, but rather in my legs! Since these orthotics rotate my feet on the Z-axis, this means that one half of the muscles on my leg will pull more than usual, while the other half will push more than usual. I was told to wear them for an hour the first day, then increase the wearing time by an hour each day. He explained to me that if I fail to do this, the pain will send me to the Emergency Room, because wearing them for a full day before my muscles are ready would be like going to the gym for a full day.

The next step is to see my pawdiatrist again in 6 weeks. He said that there's a 98% chance that I will, and I quote, "feel like kissing him on the lips". Yes, he really said that. In the remaining 2%, some imperfection may show up in the orthotics, which means they get sent back to the manufacturer for adjustment.

The manufacturer also offers a "protection plan". For $75, I can be enrolled for 3 years, which will protect my orthotics against damage or theft (LOLWHUT?). I'll probably go for that, just for the damage angle.

What this will do to my knees remains to be seen, but there's a pretty good chance I'll see some improvement there, since my feet will now be aligned properly. If I see substantial improvement, I intend to do some traveling. Possible destinations include New York City, driving west as far as Chicago, visiting Cheetah Pizza (you guys think I'm joking? Click the link!), or flying to Las Vegas.

More news as I get it.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
My feet were feeling fine early on in the week, until I had another flareup on Wednesday afternoon. It peaked on Friday night, forcing me to lay down on the sofa and go horizontal for most of the evening. It was not fun. I visited classmate Derek and his girlfriend (whose wedding I am a Groomsman in come October) on Saturday afternoon/evening, and we got to hang out, I showed him The Triplets of Belleville, and he showed me Chronicles of Riddick. It was a relatively average action movie, and not nearly as good as Pitch Black.

As of this (Sunday) evening, the pain in my foot has calmed down a bit. We'll see if I'm feeling any better tomorrow. Since I didn't hear from the pawdiatrist last week, I'll call tomorrow and see if my orthotics have come in yet.

I got some more bad news early last week. It's distressing enough that I've had a few nightmares over it and has had me feeling generally miserable and agitated. Unfortunately, I can't talk about it yet, because it hasn't yet been resolved. I hope to be able to get it sorted out soon.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Lions Head beer in a glas with a Lion's headFirst, I had no idea that my last post would generate so many replies. I glad that folks like the pictures, though. So I decided to include another picture with this post, shown on the right. It was from last night, when [livejournal.com profile] davinwarter was visiting. I finally managed to find some Lions Head beer, and drank it from a glass that had a lion's head on it. I'm so clever! :-P

Otherwise, my weekend went pretty well. Davin and I bummed around town, I showed him the "blighted" section of Ardmore, I forced him to play Legends of Wrestling after he had a few drinks (it's horrific!), looking through the windows of the Apple Store, and then we watched Shaolin Soccer.

My feet seem to be doing better. I'm still having these cycles of feeling better for a few days and then feeling worse for a few days, but the worse days aren't all that bad. I seem to be on a definite uphill trend. With a little luck, I'll have my orthotics at the end of next week.

Late Friday night, I beat Half Life 2 for the first time. I was rather underwhelmed by the ending, unfortunately. But folks have already suggested that I pick things up in HL2: Episode One, which is said to be much better.

Next weekend is IndyFurCon. While I decided not to attend to my past/ongoing health reasons, I'm still a little stressed out over the convention. Awhile back the convention decided to use the services of The Dorsai Irregulars to provide convention security. One thing led to another, and I wound up as the "Contract Officer (CO)" for that specific contract, meaning that I got to negotiate things with the convention regarding what our responsibilities would be, what the duty posts would be, etc. It's the first time I've done this, so it was a bit of an experience for me.

I had another dream last night that involved wearing a fursuit at a con again. That was a wee bit strange.

Looking at my schedule and my finances, it looks like I missed enough conventions (FCN, Anime Central, and IFC) to save a substantial number of vacation days and money. When my feet and knees improve again, I think I'm going to go on some kind of trip, but where? Right now, the big thing that I'm thinking of is maybe a road trip for a week or more sometime in October. Either I would drive north and visit folks in the New York/Connecticut area, or perhaps drive west as far as Chicago. At this point I'm still kicking around ideas and considering different options. I think it's something I'd like to do though, since I've never done a serious road trip before. (vacation with my parents as a kid does NOT count)
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I got some of the mental/stress issues that came up in July squared away. The bad news is that I'm single, but the good news is that my relationship status is no longer in a state of flux, which is where it had been for the past few months. I value stability, and having my situation be in said state of uncertainty for some months was starting to take its toll on me. I still have remaining unresolved issues on my plate, but they are about a different situation entirely and there is little I can do about them right now.

On the physical end of things, I got casted for my orthotic inserts last Thursday. Despite there being high tech methods for measuring feet for orthotics, my pawdiatrist explained to me that in this case, the simple methods are the best methods. The orthotics are expected to arrive in another week or two. In the meantime, I adjusted the inserts in my shoes, and started lacing them much looser, and have seen lots of improvement on the pain levels. That makes things much more bearable than before. Things for my physical health will probably continue in this holding pattern until I get my orthotics, at which point they should start to improve. Hopefully that will also take care of my knee issues and I can make a return to the gym.

Over the weekend I bought The Orange Box, and have been playing Half Life 2 in my spare time. For the first time ever, an FPS caused me to suffer from motion sickness. It turned out that the fix was to adjust the view angle from 75 degrees to 90 degrees. That fixed the problems I was having. Also, I'm on Steam as DmuthAtHome.

I also installed the Ubercart Drupal module on my development sever over the weekend and was very very impressed with what they had to offer.

I signed up for an account on InkBunny awhile back, and seeing as I like the interface there, have been visiting that site regularly: http://inkbunny.net/Giza Their feature of having account preferences that can filter out specific tags is a Big Win, because it means I can completely avoid tags which do not interest me, and therefore save time browsing the site. It integrates nicely with their search feature as well. It looks like they're past 10,000 submissions, and the site has scaled pretty well so far.

I also just signed up for Tumblr. Anyone else on there? My account there is: http://dmuth.tumblr.com/ I like what I see of the service so far, in that it's like Twitter but with more "depth" (no silly 140 character limit), and like Facebook but without being quite as "busy" interface-wise. They still need to work on their social integration, though. I can't seem to find any sort of a "friends page" on there.

I've found that I've been drinking a lot less over these last few months. For whatever reasons, my brain no longer associates alcohol consumption with "having a good time". The tolerance that I used to have? Gone. All it takes is 2 beers, and I'm starting to feel happy and buzzed. Meanwhile, my collection of scotch and rum sits lonely and neglected in my liquor cabinet.

Due to better eating habits, and keeping off the weight I lost, I'm down 1-2 shirt sizes. At the beginning of the year I wore Large and Extra Large shirts. Now I'm wearing Medium and Large. I've bought a few smaller shirts to see how the smaller sizes work out, but need to make sure that I'm not going to outgrow them when I eventually get back to the gym after recovering from my current health issues.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Leopard's pawJust got back from the pawdiatrist's office about my feet, which began hurting quite bad at this year's Anthrocon and have continued to hurt since, laying me up for the last couple of weekends.

The good news: it's not neuropathy.

The bad news: it's my mom's fault.

Okay, maybe I should work my way back from that statement.

My pawdiatrist examined my x-rays and then my feet, and seemed impressed at the brain dumps I put together for him on my knee and feet issues over the past 3 months. He then went on to explain the big picture, starting with my hips. They're a little wider than they should be for someone my size, which means my knees aren't perfectly straight. This accounted for my knee issues (though the excessive cycling surely did not help, either!). From there, he pointed out that my feet also have high arches, which means that an abnormal amount of weight is being placed on the outside of the feet (where it hurts the most) as well as the balls of the feet and the heels. Age didn't help, either. My body was just too old to take the stress that I put on it at every Anthrocon, hence the problems happening this particular year.

So why are my hips abnormal in the first place? It has to do with how I grew in my mother's womb. Since I am a first born child, that means that the muscles in her uterus were tighter and caused my body to be a slightly different position as she carried me. Hence the bones of my hips forming differently.

And how to fix this? Fixing my hips (...how?) is right out, so the next best thing we can do is get orthotics to align my feet properly. That in turn will take some of the stress off of them as well as my knees. From there, it will be some months for my muscles in my knees and feet to fully adjust, since I have to undo about 33 years of mis-alignment first. (there may be more physical therapy involved) I have an appointment to get fitted for them next week, and they'll be delivered 2-3 weeks after that. They normally last a year for people who run marathons, and 3-5 years for the rest of us mortals.

As far as ongoing treatment, the doc said that foot baths and capzasin really won't do much, nor does the Piroxicam. The inserts I currently have don't hurt, but they won't completely help, either. Orthotics are pretty much the only option.

The big downside (aside from the pain) is that insurance plans generally don't cover orthotics, which means $500 out of pocket for me. But... I guess that's what my emergency fund is for. So that brings it down to a mere inconvenience.

Until I get this under control, I don't think I'll be doing much long distance travel, or even short distance travel. ConFluence (this weekend!) is right out, and so is IndyFurCon, I'm afraid, since the first one involves a 5 hour drive and the second involves stomping through a couple of airports. :-/ I'm hopeful I'm feeling better by FurFright and MFF, but we'll see. (I can still make it to DC this weekend, since that involves Amtrak, and mostly hanging out at [livejournal.com profile] davinwarter's place, as opposed to walking around a convention.)

I got plans the next couple of weekends, but I think in general if folks want to come visit on weekend (or give me a lift to local social events on weekends), I won't say no. I think the social interaction would be good for me anyway, and I can grace folks with my charming wit and witty intellect. (complete and total lies, BTW)

Oh, and being old sucks. :-P
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
My mental state have improved a bit since last weekend's "Diet Emo Post". One thing that still bothers me are the dreams I am having that involve a specific individual. I didn't ask for these dreams, and I don't want them. I'd really like to stop having them. Anyway...

Onto some other issues I talked about, one was my concern that part of me feels like an asshole. It was pointed out to me that what it really comes down to is impulse control. And if I had a real impulse control problem in my life, I'd have become intimately familiar with the legal system by now. Obviously that has not happened.

Social contact is something else I need to work on. I guess I need to get out more and interact with other people, be they furry or non-furry. That's easier said than done, though, because of transportation to the suburbs, and some interpersonal issues (see the part about me being a bit of an asshole). Not having a car also makes seeing people difficult, which leads me to...

Should I buy a car? Part of the reason why I sold my car is that it's just not practical to own one since I work in the city and take the train to get to work. The rest of my town is fairly walkable, and I have AVIS and ZipCar in case I need wheels for awhile. But being carless makes it difficult to just get up leave on any given weekend. That said, I'm having difficulty convincing myself to buy a car that I'm not going to use 90% of the time. While it'd cost less to operate the car (gas, maintenance), insurance costs would still be the same.

Earlier in the week, I did a health assessment at work. Here are my stats:

Blood pressure: 114/74
Resting heart rate: 69 BPM
Weight: 174 pounds

That's not too bad, considering my injuries have kept me out of the gym for 4 months and I started the year weighing 197. Right now, I wear XL t-shirts, and they're feeling a bit baggy on me. I'm debating going down a size to buying t-shirts that are size Large, but it would mean replacing quite a bit of my wardrobe. If only I knew some gay men who had fashion sense...

On the technical side of things, I played around with a Drupal module called RPX, which allows you to integrate Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, and just about any other OpenID-based login with a Drupal site. I went ahead and deployed the module on the Save Ardmore Coalition site, as well as the Pennsylvania Furries site.

I also went and set up OpenID delegation using my own website: http://www.dmuth.org/openid. But then I found http://drupal.org/node/214788, so I think I'm going to look into implementing that at some point.

And now, Sarah Palin and The Rape Kits (no, it's not a band):

giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
First off, I'm still recovering from Anthrocon. Some folks may have noticed that I was limping around the con a bit. While my knees held up nicely during the con, my feet did not. This was due partly to the fact that I was stomping around on a hard concrete floor in the convention center for several days on end, and partly due to my prior history of foot problems, including a Morton's Neuroma. (those of you who read this LJ back in about 2002 will remember that quite well)

Currently, my left foot has a mild burning sensation throughout, and I'm keeping off of it as much as possible. Now that I'm (much) older and (a little) wiser, hopefully I can not make some mistakes I made during my last flareup (such as walking on a cane, which was dumb), and continuing to do the leg exercises that my physical therapist gave me should help, too. If the pain persists into next week, I'll see my doctor.

As for my Anthrocon experience, I hosted [livejournal.com profile] staghorne before and after the con, ran Con Ops, dealt with a couple of technology-related emergencies on Thursday (didn't notice anything amiss? I did my job well, then!), and took about 400 pictures in all. When I upload all of the pictures, I'll post links and a more formal con report.

As for the future of this LJ, I want to keep writing here, and I need to start posting more. So I have a couple of questions for folks who read this LJ regularly:

#1 How often should I post?

I could do updates practically every day, if I wanted to. But there would be less "content" and more "fluff", silly videos, etc. I guess it's a question of how much folks like to see me post.

#2 Where should I post?

I post most stuff to LJ by default. But I also have a presence on a number of other websites, including dmuth.org, Pennsylvania Furries, Save Ardmore Coalition, Twitter, Facebook, and some others.

There are some blog posts that I feel appropriate to share on more than one site. But I'm still not sure what the best practice is for doing that. I don't want to spam the same post over and over, but some things (like my eventual AC con report) really do fit onto more than one site. (even the folks on the SAC site are interested in my furry activities) So this is very much a case of there being no single "right" answer, and also requires some input from others.

Your thoughts, pro and con are welcome.
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
I haven't written much here besides Anthrocon stuff lately, and that is due to most of the non-$DAYJOB stuff I've been doing was in fact Anthrocon stuff. I got code complete with my registration system code late on Friday evening. And seeing things like this always brings a smile to my face:



The more observant folks will notice a change in naming conventions for my classes. That came at a point when I realized, both on a hobbyist and professional level, that more and more code was being written in CamelCase/StudlyCaps, and I had a much easier time writing and reading code like that. Maybe one day I'll redo the classes that are not capitalized, but it's more important to have a product that's finished and operational than it is to constantly be tinkering with it. :-)

Back at FCN, I got a conbadge drawn by Rukis:



I'd say that's the most "realistic" character art I've had drawn to date. I certainly like it!

I got a not-so-pleasant surprise the other day from PhillyCarShare. Seems they decided to shut down all of their pods in the Main Line. No warning, no notice, and oh--they're still taking my money every month. Fraud concerns aside, that suddenly left me with no reliable method of transportation to Dr. K, my Primary Care Provider. Oops. That left me scrambling to find another Physician. I finally got to see Dr. W today who is A) Openly Gay, and B) Poked fun at the medical student in the room. I can live with that!

As for PhillyCarShare, I went ahead and registered PhillyCarShareSucks.com. I haven't done anything with the domain yet, but I think I may put some content on there sooner or later.

Also, Dr. W told me to start taking "Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM". Did I just turn 90 all of a sudden?

The real reason I went to see Dr. W, though, was because of a minor but persistent pain in my right foot, behind the big toe. It feels like a muscle cramp, but ice isn't helping it much. I was sent for an x-ray today, to rule out a stress fracture in my foot. We'll see if that ends up being the case or not. At least the pain isn't debilitating. It'd be nice to get lots of mileage at Anthrocon, however.

And in case folks haven't seen it yet, here is Anthrocon's latest promotional video:

giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Got back from Furry Connection North last night. It was rather fun. More on that in a future post, plus pictures and a couple of new character sketches.

Went to the doctor today about my headaches. Sure enough, they're sinus related. He explained to me that it appeared to be an ordinary sinus infection that was made worse by my allergies. The prescription was 3 *grams* of Amoxicillin per day. Check out the size of the pills:



I have to take 6 of them every day!

I was given some nasal spray too which, unlike the pills, was NOT a gallon jug. It was more like a tiny bottle.

Now I get to work a full 8 hour day in the office, which means I'll be home around 11 tonight. Fun!

Darwin

Apr. 1st, 2008 05:04 pm
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
This is what happens when a bite from a Brown Recluse spider goes untreated.

For 6 days.



See this guy? Don't be this guy!
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
This is all sorts of cool:
NEW YORK (AP) -- You can skip the mouth-to-mouth breathing and just press on the chest to save a life.

In a major change, the American Heart Association said Monday that hands-only CPR -- rapid, deep presses on the victim's chest until help arrives -- works just as well as standard CPR for sudden cardiac arrest in adults.

Experts hope bystanders will now be more willing to jump in and help if they see someone suddenly collapse. Hands-only CPR is simpler and easier to remember and removes a big barrier for people skittish about the mouth-to-mouth breathing.

"You only have to do two things. Call 911 and push hard and fast on the middle of the person's chest," said Dr. Michael Sayre, an emergency medicine professor at Ohio State University who headed the committee that made the recommendation.

Hands-only CPR calls for uninterrupted chest presses -- 100 a minute -- until paramedics take over or an automated external defibrillator is available to restore a normal heart rhythm.


The rest of the article is over here.

The article goes on to state that not having to give mouth to mouth makes it easier for an untrained person to do CPR ("press on the chest"), but that it increases the victim's chance of survival by 2 to 3 times. Apparently there is enough oxygen in the person's lungs and blood that it is not completely necessary to do rescue breathing.

Unfortunately, my training is the "2 rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions" kind. Only by following that in a cardiac event can I be protected under the Good Samaritan laws. So I guess this means I get to go get re-certified under the new guidelines now... :-P
giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
This is why, from Joe Consumer:
Take this example: On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina, with branches all over the United States, offers Double Stacked Club Quesadillas: a combination of a club sandwich and quesadilla, “stacked with fajita chicken, cheese, crumbled bacon, fresh avocado… sour cream… and ranch dressing.” This entree has a total of 1,860 calories, 3,440 milligrams of sodium, and 52 grams of saturated fat! Their Ranchiladas, “fajita steak topped with ranchero sauce and Jack cheese” which come with two cheese enchiladas, Mexican rice, and beans with cheese contain 1,870 calories, 3,810 milligrams of sodium, and 46 grams of saturated fat. If you add a large soda, you’re past the recommended daily allowance of calories for the day in just one meal! Without a dessert or an appetizer!

Uno Chicago Grill outdoes them, however, with an appetizer that tops 2000 calories! Pizza Skins, a combination of pizza crust, mozzarella cheese, mashed potatoes, bacon, cheese, and sour cream, has 2,050 calories! This appetizer - meant to get you ready for your main meal - also includes 3,140 milligrams of sodium and 48 grams of saturated fat. And this comes before the meal!?
Adult males should consume about 2,500 calories per day and adult females should consume 2,000 calories per day. So yeah, it's about as scary as it sounds. I ate out a lot as a kid (both fast food and restaurant food), and it showed. Anyone who knew me in high school could tell what kind of shape I was in at the time. (Round is a shape, isn't it?)

I think I'm actually glad I work in the city now... I walk past several fruit stands on my way to work every day and can pick up enough fresh fruit for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. And there's like 3 Subways in walking distance too. It is all sorts of cool.

Also, the blog post I citied does give some tips for eating healthy when eating out, and refers folks to http://www.healthydiningfinder.com.

Finally, that article probably also explains this strip from Wulffmorgenthaler:

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giza: Giza White Mage (Default)
Douglas Muth

April 2012

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