Bat, Flower, Frog

Growing up my folks had the Time Life Craft set of books.  In many ways it was the Time Life book set for hippies.  It showed paper making, macrame, bottle cutting, bee keeping and silk screening.  This was all neat, but my favorite sections were card tricks, magic and origami.

Maybe I’ll talk about magic later.  I went through a big magic phase as a kid.  Wow, did I love magic.  But the paper folding is the one that has maybe stayed with me longer.

The books showed the normal models – the flapping crane and the hopping frog.  They showed how the diagrams work and the basic folds – mountain, valley, reverse, squash, rabbit, etc.  When other kids doodled in their margins and covered their binders with names and logos in sparkly ink, I made frogs in class.

The frog remains my favorite.  It is instantly recognizable, fairly easy, surprisingly turns from a two dimensional flat shape into a three dimensional one, is itself a little toy and requires almost no artistic talent.    That is perfect for me.  There are other shapes that I can make that are similar.

I prefer the traditional models for my own adventures in origami.  But there is so many other ways the form/art has progressed.  Wet folding allows the paper to hold more expressionistic shapes – rounder curves instead of just flat creases.  Even that isn’t at all cutting edge.  I just watched a documentary tonight.  They had one fold sculptures and thousand fold ones that moved in fractal patterns.  They had models designed mathematically to achieve proportion and approximate a real animal made from paper.    There were dragns with a thousand scales – each one individually folded and dioramas of a little scene of two people standing beside a pile of books folded out of a single square of paper.  It was all tres, tres cool.  (The documentary is on Netflix and is called Between the Folds.)

But it has almost nothing in relation to what I do.  I make models that others have created.  Simple ones with only about 20 steps.  When I fold it is about relaxing and doing something with my fingers and mind to keep them nimble.  It is less about expression.

That seems to be almost niftier than the ability to fold paper itself.  That so many people can approach it with so many different goals in mind.  Groovy.

These aren’t the droids you are looking for…

Move along.

Nothing to say today.  Exhausted by work, but doing well.

Many of my friends are in my thoughts lately because I’ve got a feeling of unhappiness percolating out there in the ether.  Nothing specific.  But if there is any help I can give to anyone I’d be happy to do so.

For those of you who only read the blog on weekdays, remember to vote on Monday.

My kidney stone article from yesterday got linked to from a medical site… Not sure how I feel about that.  My insight was only my own.  I can’t pretend that it might actually be anything near the same that others experience.

Kidney Stones

Have I ever told you about these?  Kidney stones are fun.  I highly recommend them for everyone.

I’ve had kidney stones several times.  The first time was about 8 years ago.  Every couple years since then I’ve generally had them again.

That first time I was out for a buffet lunch with several friends.  The lunch was awesome and I overate.  Soon after I left my belly began to hurt.  The pain grew.  I figured it was food poisoining.  After about 90 minutes the pain went away.  The pain returned again in the late evening.  Once again it went away after an hour or so, but now I knew it wasn’t bad food.

The next time it popped up that weekend, it didn’t go away.  I went to the hospital and called my mother since I didn’t know what the problem was.  The cure was to hydrate via IV and give me some pain killers.  That worked fine.

Here’s what it feels like.  The pain grows fairly slowly.  At first it just feels like a muscle twinge in your lower back.  Then it grows.  Imagine someone punches you in the kidney.  Take away the initial shock and the first agony where you are doubled over.  What you are left with is the dull pain.  That is what is feels like to me.  As it grows it becomes less localized and moves around so the pain covers you entire abdomen on either the left or right.

For me the pain never becomes unbearable, but it does grow to the point that it becomes the only thing you can think about.  Then my body starts to react.  I’ll start to cough and eventually feel to urge to vomit.

As soon as the stone moves so that the ureter is cleared the pain goes away.  This can happen in just moments.  One second you are sitting there groaning and the next you only have a tiny ache left and then five minutes later you feel fine.

The best cure is to drink liquids and push the stone out.  This doesn’t work it is is too big and completely blocks the passage.  Also if I reach the vomitty stage it is impossible to keep even water down.  So off to the hospital – intravenous liquids, an anti-inflammatory and a painkiller has always worked to relieve the pain.

But that might just mean the stone has turned so it isn’t blocking the passage and is just waiting to strike again!  That is when you need surgery.  There are three surgery stages.  The first is lithotripsy.  Lithotripsy is awesome.

They use an ultrasound to locate the stone and then ultrasonic waves to break it up.  The whole process takes about two hours from when you arrive at the hospital.  After your side feels bruised and you might pee a little blood, but it is mostly without pain.  You get there, watch a video about the process, strip to a hospital gown and get an IV started.

The you walk into the next room where the lithotripsy bed is.  Imagine your typical dentists chair, but raised on a pedeastal and fit so it is raised on the sides a little.  When you lie down in it, the is a plastic hammock where you lower back rests in the chair.  They strap you down just a little and then fill the hammock part with water so your lower back and bum get a bit wet.

Then they give you some painkillers through the IV (not a full general anaesthetic) and everything gets a bit fuzzy.  I’ve fallen asleep at this point, but other times I’ve been awake throughout.  The ultrasonic gun goes under the bed and points at you through the hammock and the water.  There is also an X-ray machine that they point at you from the top.  The gun fires with dull thumps.  You can vaguely feel it, but the impacts might be like a gently massage through the pain killers.

After a few minutes of that everything is done.  You get off the table and go back to the waiting room.  They you nap for 30 minutes until the painkillers wears off, get dressed and go home.  They give you a Tylenol Three perscription.

The second option if that doesn’t work is an uteroscopy laser thing.  I don’t recommend this.  It sucks.  Actually the surgery was fine.  They give you a general and you don’t notice a thing.  It is the after effects that suck.  I had a significant amount of pain and the stent they left in actually blocked the passage itself when I became inflamed enough.  That sucks.  Plus immediately after the surgery I had zero bladder control.  (Really, I stood up and liquids leaked down my leg.)  Plus the general made me nauseous.

When they go up that way, they can use a laser to crush the stone, or a crusher tool, they can use a little cage to pull it out, etc.  They often leave a stent in place since the trauma from the surgery (I think) might cause inflammation, so the stent keeps everything open.

The last option is to cut you open and go in and get it.  I’ve never had that thank goodness.

So if you have the opportunity, I’d recommend lithotripsy since it is fun, but overall the whole kidney stone experience if one I don’t recommend.

Weekly Recap

Wow – a lot happened last week.  More than normal, but not earth shattering.

The long weekend was very welcome.  I was feeling the need to have some time off to recharge my batteries.  I felt much better going to work today than the last couple weeks.  It also helped that I got a lot of work done last week and I didn’t have to go to Lethbridge.

Comics were awesome.  It was a double week because I had missed the week before.  I also got my first new D&D supplement in over a year.  All in all very satisfying.

I continued to watch a lot of Netflix.  I finished the Unusuals and started watching the IT Crowd, Mythbusters, River Monsters and Dead like Me.  Can’t really recommend any of them.  More meh than Yay.  But they all have their moments.  Need to find some more hidden gems in the Netflix lineup.

Played lots of games on the weekend.  Innovation and Mansions of Madness on Friday.  I got my butted kicked in both games.  Innovation was frustrating because I just couldn’t make anything work.  Mansions was a ton of fun.  Played Innovation on Saturday with Pauly.  I got my butt kicked, but it was a much more satisfying game.

Did my taxes for 2009 and 2010.  Yay me.  I don’t mind doing taxes. It is tracking receipts and T slips that I suck at.  I remember how organized my parents were as I was growing up.  I wish I could be the same.

Corrigan’s came over on Saturday.  They chatted, played animal charades, let me make fun of Pauly, brought over a donair, offered to come back in May to help do “spring cleaning” and were generally awesome guests.  I like Corrigan’s.  I’d like them even more if Pauly let me win occasionally.  🙂  (That isn’t true.  I’d be upset if he threw a game.)

Watched the King’s Speech with Tim on Wednesday.  I thought it was an excellent, excellent film and I highly recommend it.

Went to the folks place for Easter.  Mom made a blueberry cheesecake which is my favorite desert.  She must really love me.  I finished the crossword.  They would never have gotten it without me.  (By finish I mean change a single letter in a single box.)  Watched the hockey game.  I was cheering for Vancouver because I had chosen them in 6 for the work hockey pool.  Was very disappointed.  But if Buffalo wins tonight I should be leading in the pool.  (Although I might fall backwards again tomorrow if Boston wins that series.)  So go Sabres!

But my favorite activity of the weekend might have been my trip on my scooter to the mall.  I picked up Edo (although the mall Edo is my least favorite Edo in the city.)  I wanted to see how the battery did.  I did fine.  I wanted to see if I could get back in the building without help for the doors.  Not a problem.  But best of all, I spent a substantial amount of time outside for the first time if what may be years.  It was awesome.

The only drawback is that the scooter is top heavy because I have the seat so high.  It feels very tippy when on a sideways incline and I don’t feel secure when going down a steep slope either.  Both are fine as long as I go carefully.  But I bet I could tip it pretty easily in the dips at driveways if I did them at speed.

That is my week.  I hope everyone had a great Easter.  Congrats to those received into the Church during the weekend.  Take care!

Death and goose

I did something I’ve wanted to do for many years today.  I went down to see my lake.

There was a sign beside the lake warning of thin ice.  “Danger stay off the ice.”

But there were birds out on the ice including the distinctive call of a goose.  The bird was walking across the ice in casual defiance of the sign.  That wasn’t the bizarre part.  The man crawling on the ice chasing it was.

The ice was espescially thin by the banks so the fellow was crawling out of the water and onto the ice in the middle of the lake.  At first he was pulling himself from the water, then worming his way, then crawling.  The goose was moving towards the middle of the lake away from him.

I sat on my scooter dumbfounded.  Should I ask the man if he needs help?  That kind of casual disregard for safety was mind boggling.  Should I call 911?  Then I noticed that there were actually two people.  The other was following behind.  Only his head was above the water and he was just starting to pull himself onto the ice.  The fact there there were two morons reassured me immensely.

I drove my scooter around the lake to get close to the bank they had entered from.  Their gear was on the bank.  A small rubber dinghy, a waterproof duffel, etc.  The gear was all clearly labeled Edmonton Fire Service.  I was suddenly glad I hadn’t called 911.      There was an old lady sitting on a bench on the bank watching them move slowly across the ice.  I couldn’t do the same – even if they were trained professionals it seemed like a big risk.  So I moved on.

If the evening news reports that two firefighters died this afternoon in a horrible goose hunting accident, I would have been just meters away headed towards the mall to get lunch.

On an unrelated note, Season 2 Episode 1 of The IT Crowd may be close to the funniest thing I’ve seen in a year.  I took a drink of ice tea while watching and nearly died as it went up my nose, down my lungs and across the room.  Most of the show is only mildly amusing, but there was a scene of one of the IT guys pretending to be disabled and getting loaded onto a DATS type bus that I could not stop giggling at…

Weird…

Do you ever wonder from time to time if you are a little weird?

A few weeks ago, someone left a bottle of half finished lemon drink on the end of my sideboard.  It rests there still.  I watch it from time to time, but it never does anything.  I think about tossing it away; draining the syrupy yellow mess from it and putting it with the other bottles.  I wonder what possible reason I can have for not having done so.

At heart I am lazy and slovenly.  But I also think, “Maybe the owner will want it back?”  That seems to become more unlikely as the weeks progress.  I ask myself, “Is its stance there some sort of passive aggressive plea for people to clean up after themselves?”  But it isn’t.  Mostly I notice the bottle as I’m sitting in my chair and it seems like it is too far away to do anything about.  I’ll just get it the next time I head to the kitchen.  But I always watch my feet when I walk so I never notice it as I head to the kitchen and since I’m not making a special trip for it, the bottle gets forgotten.

As I lay down to sleep at night and review the undone items for the day, sometimes the bottle is on the list. I also wonder why my maids didn’t clean it up when they were here…

None of that is the weird part.

Yesterday, the Corrigan’s came over.  Pauly and I played Innovation and my butt got whooped.  I tried hard to turn Tom against his father, but he just wouldn’t cheer for me.  When Corrigan’s left, I noticed that one of them had left a half empty bottle of Pepsi Max on the other end of the sideboard.

The two bottles are like book ends.  They bracket the piles of books and comics in between.

Before the bottle was jut something that I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning up.  Now there are two of them.  They sit like a statement to my untidiness.  I can’t decide if that makes it more likely for me to clean them up or to now leave both of them sitting there.  Instead of picking them up, instead of making a decision, I’ve decided to blog about them.  I made that decision last night.  So I’ve been thinking about writing about the bottles for half a day.

That seems to me to be a little weird.

I think I’ll probably clean them up before I have any more guests over.  Provided I remember the next time I head to the kitchen to get some water.

Thor vs. Green Lantern

The two heroes will get to match will and brawn at the box office the summer, but what if they actually threw down in the middle of Edmonton?  Who would emerge victorious?

I’m coming down on the side of Thor.  Thor is a god.  A Norse god of thunder.  He wields the elements and is one of the few worthy to raise and wield the magical hammer Mjolnir.  He has a buttload of great foes in his rogues gallery including other gods like Loki and Hela, the invincible Destroyer armor and Midgard serpent.

No offense of Green Lantern.  (I’m talking the Hal Jordan version here).  But the Lantern is just a guy with a ring who never gives up.  Really.  That describes pretty much anybody lucky enough to get a girl to walk down the aisle with him.

Sure with the ring on he can create constructs with his will power and he basically knows no fear.  But have I mentioned that Thor is a god?  Thor smashes the glowing green objects with his hammer, glowers at Jordan and than gently slaps him into unconsciousness.

Now if Jordan calls on the rest of the Green Lantern corps things start to swing the other way.  As depicted in Marvel comics the rest of the Norse pantheon as a little wussy.  Heimdall and Balder are good, the Warriors three are mainly just comics relief and the Enchantress might just switch sides on you.  But the Corps is a kick butt paramillitary policing organization.  They don’t sit around drinking mead all day with the valorous dead.  The Corps are out writing citations on Evil and making it with their willpower.

But as things escalate the Guardians of Oa come out.  They are short blue guys with enormous power and egos to match.  However, they aren’t much of a match against Odin the Allfather.  Add in some support from the Valkyries.  In the end there are high casualties on both sides, but the Norse win out.

Yep.  That is how it all goes down according to me.