Tuesday, June 29, 2010

EsonLinji and the Chiropractor

Three weeks ago I endured a rather severe tension headache which kept me off work for two days. Although it was a lot better on the second day, I still went to the doctor on the second day, mainly to get a medical certificate for the second day (while work allows me two of my ten sick days without a medical certificate, I want to save those for something vaguer). However the doctor I saw on the second day told me I should visit a chiropractor for some further assistance.

Now I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about this suggestion. In the Simon Singh vs the Chiropractors of Britain, I was on the side of Simon Singh. I have advised family members not to visit chiropractors on the basis of the unverified claims that chiropractors make. When I admitted to my sister I was going to see the chiropractor she burst out laughing.

A few factors got me over my distrust. The first was the fact that it was a regular doctor who had recommended it, so the chiropractor was riding on his credibility. Second was that the letter of recommendation was addressed to someone with the title doctor. I assumed that this indicated that the person had some non chiropractic medical qualifications and had simply branched out into chiropracty. Finally, about the only area chiropractors treatments may be of use is for spinal conditions, which is what the GP suggested was the problem.

So about a week later I turned up at the chiropractor. Actually I first turned up across the road at the medical centre which was a lot more obvious and professional looking. Only after not finding the chiropractor on the building directory I looked around and saw the chiropractors office. It was a slightly worn down old house with a sign out front. I walked in and introduced myself. while signing in, I asked if the person I was seeing was an actual doctor and was informed that they were in fact a doctor of chiropractic. This was less than reassuring. The all natural massage oil didn't feel very clinical either.

After waiting for a little while, I was ushered into the main room. On the wall were two posters. One was of a nice landscape with some platitude about chiropracty and overall health. The other more worrying one was of a bunch of sesame st style puppets with a kid getting some sort of treatment by a puppet chiropractor. This I did not like.

The chiropractor was a bit late, and after a quick read of the letter from the GP, had a look at my back. After a few different twists of my neck to see where the problem may be. After this was what was essentially a back massage. The only thing different was that she also had a mini jackhammer doohickey she used to apply pressure to different places.

My back felt a bit better afterwards, but in much the same way it feels better after any massage. My skepticism about the whole endeavour remains, and I won't be going to the follow up session the chiropractor suggested. In fact she suggested regular sessions, which at 50 bucks per 15 minutes is a lot more expensive than a massage.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


On Last Thursday's Colbert Report the guest was Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon. The interview was about his art based on his experience as an astronaut. Mostly it was all ok, but one thing that came out during the interview just shocked me.

Alan wanted to include something of the moon in his painting, and had asked NASA for some moon dust to mix in with his paints, but they said no. So what he ended up doing was cutting up the American flag patch from his uniform which was clogged with dust from the moon. My reaction was immediate and physical.

The idea of mixing up moon dust with the paint is pretty cool, but cutting up the patch like that is just wrong. It's something precious and rare and meaningful and important. It would be like using bricks from the Colosseum to build a snack stand nearby.

All I can say is NASA, you can stop this. Give the man some god damn moon dust now.

Bookfest Acquisitions

Yesterday was the start of this years bookfest, and like any cheap bibliophile, I went along to see what I could find. I came out with a rather mixed bunch of different things that caught my interest as I scanned the many tables filled with books. In no particular order (well, the order I pull them out of the bag) they are

The Bachelor Home Companion by P.J. ORourke ($2.50). I mainly picked this up because P.J. O'Rourke is a common guest Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, an NPR Radio show I listen to as a podcast.

The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven ($2.50). Niven is a big name that I haven't read anything by, so I thought I should change that.

Rising Son by S.D. Perry ($3.50). A Deep Space Nine novel set after the series focusing on Jake Sisko. Deep Space Nine has a good share of the good Star Trek novels, although I may be biased as I think Deep Space Nine was the best of the Star Trek series.

Battlestar Galactica 11: The Nightmare Machine Glen A Larson and Robert Thurston ($2.50). A novel that follows on from the old Battlestar Galactica, this will probably suffer from being no 11 in a series I haven't read and not living up to the new series.

The Fortress of the Pearl by Michael Moorcock ($3.00). Moorcock is another big name in fantasy that I've not read anything of. My recognition of the name was enhanced by a piece in Neil Gaiman's "Smoke and Mirrors" called "One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock". I've just noticed that it is the 7th in a series, so I may have to visit the library soon if it turns out to be good.

A Dagg At My Table by John Clarke ($3.50). A collection of stuff written by John Clarke, whom I know best for The Games, but he's been doing a lot for a long time. Since I've yet to come across anything by him I haven't liked, it was an easy pick.

That's all from the priced section. The rest are from the unpriced section, where at the checkout they have some rectangles of various sizes drawn up, and the price of the book is determined by which rectangle it fits in.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. I'm pretty sure Nethack quotes this in the entry for Unicorns, and I think nearly anything quoted by Nethack is worth a look (I say anything because it does quote the bible).

Laying Down the Law 4th Ed. Morris, Cook, Creyke, Geddes, Holloway. This was purchases as something to look at in line with the finance course I'm doing as regulation is a part of what gets studied.

So Sue Me by John O'Grady. An Australian humourist from a few decades back whose work is always enjoyable.

Gone Gougin' By Nino Culotta. Actually by John O'Grady this book is the third sequel to "Their a Weird Mob".

Australian Corporations Legislation 2004. Another finance course inspired purchase. Admittedly it's a little out of date. The contents include such hits as Corporations Act 2001, Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001
Corporations (Fees) Act 2001, Corporations Regulations (2001), an extract from the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, and more. The physically biggest item by a good margin.

An Introduction to Australian Foreign Policy by J.A. Camilleri. Well out of date having been published in 1973, was purchased out of desire to know more of Australian politics.

The Penguin Dictionary of Quotations. Although missing all of the pop culture stuff I've filled my head with (I can identify an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from nearly any 30 second scene), it should be an interesting reference piece.

How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. The title says it all I think.

Even Gods Err Book One by F.A. Gourley. I believe the Author and Von Daniken would have gotten along well. I bought this mainly as a debunking exercise and to protect the more vulnerable from it.

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carneggie. A book everybody has heard of, picked up under the nagging thought at the back of the head that I do need to improve my social interaction skills. The true test will be to see if I actually read it or not.

And there ends the list. I'll also mention another recent acquisition picked up at the weekend markets in the Valley, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. So far it's interesting, but not as informative on zen or motorcycle maintenance as I'd expected, although I've still got a way to go.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Please and Keys

Near the place I live there's a church with a sign out front on which they put up various sayings about life that range from cute and pointless to subtle attempts to convert. As you might expect I tend to disagree with the things they put up, or agree for what they might consider the wrong reasons.

The latest bit of wisdom to go up on the sign is "You can open more doors with 'Please' than with keys." I presume that this is meant to imply something positive about humanity and how being nice is good and all that. This is not however the lesson I draw.

For me, this is really just a statement of the obvious. Consider the facts for a moment. There are a bajillion doors out there (maybe not a bajillion, but lots), and a fair whack of those have locks. Now at the moment I possess four different keys. Between them they open half the doors in my house, a post office box, the glove box of my bike (it also turns the bike on), and 4 doors at work. So the percentage of doors that my keys open is, oh roughly, 0. And while I haven't tried it, I'm sure if I went knocking on doors asking people to please open the door I'd manage to get more doors to open. I might not be able to go in, but I'm sure the doors would open. So, yes, of course you can open more doors with 'please' than with keys.

This also suggests another thing. Human security is much less reliable than the mechanical security provided by locks. If a door is locked and there's no one there, my ability to get in is pretty slim. Add a person and it's easier to get in. The person is the weak point there. So perhaps the message is actually to be more aware of your security procedures. That's a message I could get behind, but they really should be more to the point.