Jesus Saves

There’s an old joke about the devil and Jesus seeing who could write the best program within a certain time frame. During it, the power goes out. When it comes back on, they get back to work and, of course, Jesus wins. Reason why? Jesus saves (his work).

If you need that ‘splained, well, I dunno.

Anyway, normally I am a big believer in using “autosave” when I write. I use OpenOffice.org which has this feature. Yesterday, I was writing like mad. Had about, oh, four new pages done. And for some dumbass reason, my laptop rebooted.

Insert silent cursing, silent staring, silent rage. Silent because it was at night and Precious was asleep. Had it been the daytime hours, well, it would have been loud and it would have scared the dogs.

OpenOffice has a lot of different options in regards to saving your work. One of them is “always create a backup copy” and the other is “save autorecovery information every” and there’s a drop down menu with time choices. The backup option is not an automatic save option. What it does, basically, is when you tell it to save, it first puts the old copy somewhere then saves the new copy. So if when you last saved and was on page 42 and this save is on 52, the 42 page version is saved somewhere and the 52 page does the usual save thing. AutoRecovery, meanwhile, sets aside copies of the current document at the time interval you specified. If, for some dumbass reason your computer reboots, when you next open OpenOffice.org, it will give you a menu to auto recover that document (and any others you had open at that time).

This has saved by cute butt cheeks many times. My Dell had a series of fits where it would randomly lock up and I’d have to unplug it and take out the battery. Back then, I had the timer set to 5 minutes. I was also writing a lot back then and in 5 minutes, that could be several hundred words lost. But the autorecovery is annoying because when it is doing that, the program momentarily pauses. You can’t enter text. It royally messes up any writing flow you had going. So once the Dell got over its fit, I moved it to 10 minutes. Then when my writing started to be so sporadic, I changed it to 20.

I suppose it is a good thing that I just moved it back to 10.

And speaking of saving, I also realized I’d not done any backups in a long time. I used to be quite religious about it, even making backup copies of my WIP folder in several places. That is on my agenda for today. That and take over the world.

Oh, and I can’t believe I never announced this! On October 28, 2009, OpenOffice.org 3 was downloaded for the 100,000,000th time (that’s one hundred million) since it was released just over a year ago.

Loud Commercials

Hallelujah!

Effort to Shush Loud TV Commercials

WASHINGTON — Every year, television networks receive thousands of complaints from viewers bothered by commercials that seem to be getting louder and louder. They’re tired of fumbling for the remote control and having the quiet moments in their romantic films spoiled by ads that sound louder than the loudest blockbuster movie explosions.

All of this may soon change. A technical organization that sets standards for digital TV broadcasters moved forward on Sept. 16 with new recommendations that may finally dial down the volume of these obnoxious ads.

(…)

The new audio recommendations, soon to be sent out to broadcasters for approval, provide a way to measure the loudness of television content based on current scientific understandings of how human hearing works. Shows and commercials would be tagged with information about their loudness that TVs and audio receivers could use to counteract the audio tricks that make commercials jump out at us.

(source)

I hate loud commercials. I don’t visit businesses that have such loud advertisements. There’s a carpet/rug place near us that has this lady, bless her heart, literally shouting the entire time. I hope they get the commercial done in just a few shoots or she would surely lose her voice. Then there’s this auto insurance business (the kind that insures anyone, no matter how many points or DUI/DWI’s). No shouting, but their singing is cranked up. I jump every time.

Shouting at me won’t get me to come to your business. Trust me. Shouting won’t get my attention. What it gets is the overuse of the remote’s mute button. But since we now record almost all the shows we like, when we watch them later, I fast forward through the commercials anyway. So there, rug lady.

Physical Therapy

Since my PTist reads this blog, I must be careful what I say. (hi Marion!)

After much thinking, pondering, and consideration, I have this to say:

OUCH! OW! CRAP! OW OW OW! GOLLYGEEWILLIKERS!

There. I feel ever so slightly better now.

Actually, PT has been going rather well. I can do a lot more now than when I first hobbled in. Some things are going great, others not so well. And with me, there will soon be a line where we have to consider if the problem we are working on is because of the break or because of the EDS.

I get on a stationary bicycle and ride for 5 minutes forward then for 1 minute backward. That hurts my hips more than my knees but the gentle movement is good. We had a good laugh because we had to really lower the seat before my toes could touch the pedals. The previous user must’ve been very tall!

I use an elastic strap (the green, for those who know this stuff) by making a loop from behind my knee to a stationary object. I then straighten the knee, pulling on the strap. The hard part isn’t always the pull, but the release which must be controlled.

I lay on my back with my legs up on my wedge pillow. I then lift the lower leg off the pillow then lay it back down. Sounds easy, right? Ha.

There’s others but at the moment, I can’t think of them. I have a list somewhere….

I’m supposed to do these things at least once a day, some of them several times a day. Most days, I do. Others, not so much.

I’ve had a heck of a time with swelling so Thursday we started doing some woo-woo lymphatic system stuff that is akin to strain-counterstrain. The problem with doing this with me is often the position necessary compromises a joint or two. Another PTist (who I trust completely) nearly dislocated my hip. What I felt and what she felt as it started coming out made both of us ill. Marion is very aware of the potential but I trust her completely too so I let her do it.

Hump Dump Umpdate

An update to this update is found at the end.

Knee: The overall pain has dropped dramatically, unless it rains then it’s a heap o’ goodness. The swelling has finally gotten to where it looks more round like a basketball and less lumpy like a football. I still can’t straighten the knee out, though. And I can balance with the toes but cannot take a step.

Hip: My hip is giving me a lot of grief. We’re trying to figure out what the problems are so we can eliminate them as much as we can. I think most of it is the entire weight of the leg is on a so-so hip socket. The tendon on the front (groin?) is very tender, hates to be moved, and isn’t happy no matter what position I try to sleep in. I can now only sleep on my back with a pillow under and to the side of that leg to position the hip and to support the un-bending knee.

Other Knee: the brace I got is great! I can wear it all day and not get the usual grossness underneath. This proves it is the latex/neoprene and it is an allergy, not heat related. The knee is very tender to the touch but it is easier to stand and hop on it now. I have a groove on the side that includes the knee cap. I’m going to have the bone doc check it out when I see him one the 23rd.

Writing: Eh, not much. Lots of ideas, though. I got Moon’s Deeds of Paksenarrion and am re-reading it. I love that book and it inspires me to write. The style is so simple, so real. There’s big info dumps because of the war strategy and stuff but overall, it is fantastic. I am re-gaining a visual image of where Sarah and crew are and that allows me to “be there” further and therefore write much more better-er.

Cats: The Tues. before I fell and broke my leg (that still sounds so weird), Lorna called me to say there were three kittens at the post office. I joined her there and we caught them. We brought them home and set them up in Mike’s Big Boy crate. They drove the dogs nuts. We had to cover the crate with a sheet at night. We knew there were going to be problems. Mike has a huge prey drive and chasing cats is fun. I could keep that under control if Sass didn’t egg him on. So when I fell and we realized how much it was screwed up, we also realized there was no way Lorna could take care of three kittens AND me AND the house AND the dogs AND our own 2 cats. So we called Mary at Asheville Pet Supply. She often finds kittens in boxes left on the store’s doorstep and has a huge cat crate set up. We called her and asked if she could take them for us and help us find homes. She did! AND then called the next day to say they’d all found homes already! All 3 went to the same home which was great. This lady decided a while back she wanted kittens but would only take any that Mary got, knowing they’d need homes. She happened to come in that morning and there they were. We’ve heard since then that they are doing great.

Dogs: Joella is now on full-time pain meds for her arthritis. She still has trouble getting up off the floor but is happier and more active. We played with the dosage for a few weeks and think we found the right amount. Mike is a handful and a half. What a teenager he is! No more snakes although there was the dead possum and the mouse. And bamboo. Lots of bamboo. And sticks. And lost toys. Lorna had to wander through the dog lot to find all the cat bowls he took outside. She has to pick them up each morning or they wander back out. Now that I’m not so stoned, I hope to re-re-restart his training again.

Friends: About a week before I fell, a close friend of ours was thrown from her horse. She broke her spine but had no spinal cord damage. She was in neuro-ICU for several days then in a room for quite some time. She’s home now and slowly recovering. It will be a long haul for her. Patti is the woman who takes care of the dogs when we both leave, like for trips up Nawth. Another friend, Elena, is doing “as good as can be expected”. Her husband is dying of cancer. Hospice has been working with them for a month or so now. The hard part for her is his mental capacity. Between the cancer and the drugs, he’s far from himself.

**I have found out that Lew died Sunday, at home where he wanted to be.

So there you have it. A big honkin’ set of updates. Did I miss anything?

Crick

I have a crick in my neck. And, quite surprisingly, I don’t have a matching headache.

Usually I get a massive headache anytime I “overuse” my neck from doing silly things like turning my head while I go down the aisle in the grocery store. Or keeping my head bent for more than two pages while reading a book. Or turning my head more than a few times while driving. Silly me for abusing myself that way.

I can turn my chin to the right all the way and can turn it to the left about 1/3 of the way. I can bend my neck until my right ear almost touches my shoulder but can barely go left of center in the other direction. I can bend my chin down most of the way but only a little way backwards. When I try to walk, my head is tilted to the right and looking down. To hold my head upright while walking is horribly painful, even by my tainted standards. So the few times yesterday and today that I have to walk through the house, I put on my neck brace (I have a new one that is awesome!). It helps some but mostly helps me keep my head level. I can sit with my head and neck supported and manage to keep it fairly level without the brace.

Because when I keep my head in that position, you guessed it, I got a headache! Luckily it was a very minor one that I caught way early. I’m also taking high doses of muscle relaxers so that helps, too.

Today I read the Oath of Gold, book 3 in the Deeds of Paksinarrion series by Elizabeth Moon. Good read. The books are a big influence on my writing of Simple Sarah although in re-reading it (for the fourth or fifth time) I can see how much the two differ as well as how they are so similar. I re-read it to try and find where and how Moon “shows” instead of “telling”. Her infodumps are subtle but there. I like how she describes things using all the senses and not just visual. She likes smell the most.

Lorna will be home tomorrow and can keep me entertained. I may send her to the library after some more books. Any suggestions?

Oh, the Irony!

Okay, a little back story. Lorna and I moved here in ’92. The idea behind it was for me to follow a dream of being a potter. Lorna had been laid off from her job of 14 yrs or so and I disliked my job (read: burnout). We looked into various colleges and programs (which is another story, too long for right now) and eventually settled on the Haywood Community College and their Production Craft Program. And I loved it. I excelled in it. As good a writer as I am, I was an even better potter. While I was studying pottery, learning not just the craft but the business behind it, we learned of other programs and schools. One was the John C. Campbell Folk School. They had a yearly wood fired pottery class that I wanted to take. Unlike HCC that offered year round classes and a degree, John C. Campbell offered classes that ranged from either a weekend to all the way up to a three week course. I never got the chance to go take it, though. Real life stepped in and after a series of events, I found myself on disability, unable to be much of anything and certainly not the physically demanding art of pottery.

Fast forward to tonight. I had heard of a newish WNC writers literary online thingybob so I looked it up. I’m not sure how far off the ground it is though. Anyway, as I wandered the rather unorganized website, I came across a link to a place offering writing classes. Guess where? John C. Campbell Folks School. One or two of them I am kinda interested in. But could I actually go there? Could I actually take a class there? I’ve never looked to see if HCC offered anything. Don’t think I could go there either. Losing pottery was like losing a large chunk of me. I’ve never forgiven my body for letting me down, for falling apart and making me limp away from that.

The answer is no. I can’t. The classes may be the best thing since literary sliced bread but I can’t do it. I won’t even put myself in that position. The good news is that the classes don’t appear to be the best thing since literary sliced bread. Another community college (A-B Tech), one much closer than HCC and certainly closer than John C. Campbell, offers some good classes. Maybe I’ll go there.

Boo-Boo

I got a boo-boo, an owie, a #$%&@.

We live in an old house and have not been able to do much with it since we bought it back in ’92. In the long list of things to fix, the third thing on the list is the front door. The door frame is so freakin’ warped. Nothing is straight in this house except the critters. Prior to us buying this money pit, someone tried to “fix” the door frame by putting up metal-backed strips of fuzzy insulation to try and stop the draft around the edges. Most of that we’ve removed or hammered down. But it seems there’s a piece that’s worked it’s way back up. I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow while letting Mike out on the long lead (16′ leash) to greet Lorna, I got tangled up in the leash and two other dogs. My arm was pressed against and scraped along the door frame.

We have a code phrase for when a boo-boo is bad enough that an extra hand is needed or whatever. We say “meet me in the bathroom”. This usually means blood is flowing. It gets the other person to slip into the right frame of mind. The bathroom is near the cabinet where we keep our bandages and other wound supplies.

As you can guess from the photo above, it wasn’t pretty. I looked down and at first just saw white skin from the scrape and figured all was sore but fine. Then I saw blood starting to pour. I said “meet me in the bathroom”. I went there and started running cold water over it to rinse it while Lorna got the dogs in. She joined me quickly and cleaned it up. We saw it wasn’t a deep cut, just an angry one. We also discussed when did I last have a tetanus shot. It’s an awkward place to bandage so we’re just letting it air out.

By the time we fed the dogs and went out to take care of some things, the arm was on fire. It’s how my body deals with injuries. It was during dinner that the initial irritation calmed down and we could see the other scratches. I’ll survive, but boy howdee, did I do a good job or what?! The flash from the camera removed the smaller scratches and the redness doesn’t show up at all. So much for the gore, dangit.

This scar will join so many others on that arm. The two tornado shaped ones from Kev’s chickens when we were kids. The long one on the top of the wrist from a burn/cut gotten from a Flexi-lead cord (that one hurt like the beejeebers!). Then there’s the one from the Jeep door cut while on vacation. The bite scars from Jake chewing my hand (I still have problems with the ring finger). It’s also the arm with the Bible Bump (ganglion cyst), the chronically out-of-joint thumb, the ulna nerve damage, and various other weirdness. All of this is from the elbow down! I’m such a freakin’ mess, ain’t I?