Sunday, April 10, 2011

In which things go from a little bit biological to a little bit shit

So I went to the hospital on Friday to find out more about the stuff coming out of my leg. This started with another set of x-rays (this is the standard procedure. x-rays pretty much on the appointment time, and then waiting another 30 mins to an hour to actually see a doctor). I got moved to the more private waiting room around 10:00 and met the doctor a little after that. I explained the situation to the doctor and he checked a few things and got a copy of some of the test results I'd had done earlier (I was kind of surprised how easy it is to just get someone's test results - their name, date of birth, and a plausible sounding story). He was a bit concerned and suggested that they may want to take out the screw that's underneath the spot in question just to be safe.
However, before committing to this course of action, he decided to confirm it with the head of the department, which entailed a bit of waiting as he was finishing up dealing with someone who had been in an accident. While waiting I got into conversation with another guy waiting there and we compared scars and war stories.

The head doctor finally arrived, and presumably after a bit of discussion with first doctor, he came in, had a quick look, and decided they should take all the metal out. I imagine some of this is being extra cautious, some is deciding that if they're going to put me under the knife it's better to do it all at once rather than do a bit now and another bit later on, and some is other doctor stuff I don't know about.

So I've been booked in for surgery next Thursday. The 14th of April. Which is my birthday. My 30th birthday. Yay me. Bestest birthday ever. Well, I have asked if I can keep the metal as a souvenier/trophy/grim reminder which you could count as a present (if one takes a sufficently naive/optimistic view of things) (Idea, rig up the bits of metal so that they are in the position they were in my leg. I shall have to discuss this with one of my arist friends (yes, I have artist friends (not many))).

This has knocked me about a bit. It will knock me about more as well. I'm going to be back on crutches for a while as the bone is going to be a fair bit weaker for a while. This is because there is going to be a dozen or so holes in the bone where the screws are now, and the screws seem to go every which way through the leg.

This is going to mess with a few plans. I'm hoping I can still go to Bordercon in June (a gaming convention), but I've given up the idea of spending a few days after that in Melbourne. I'm in the process of deferring my current unit in my finance course, as the final exam is a mere 5 days after the surgery, and even if I am able to make it in to the exam, I'll be too doped up to do a decent job (and given my assignment I'll need to do a decent job (well, actually just pass, but I'm used to having a bit of a margin to play with)). I'm also a bit annoyed at the timing as there are a few good movies coming out over the next few weeks (Paul with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen comes out on Thursday, and Thor comes out the week after).

Work's been pretty good again, but I just hope that I don't have to miss as much time as last time. That doesn't seem likely as the doctors said I should be discharged the day after surgery, but given the delays before and after the first surgery, I'm taking that as an estimate at this stage.

I'm also kind of curious what they will do about the holes in the leg. Will they fill it with something that will go away as the bone regrows, or will they leave it with the gaps and let blood or whatever's on the inside of the leg seep in and the bone marrow seep out? Or maybe I'm better off not knowing.

Anyway, I can't think of much more to say (I've got a long list of stuff to do (stocking up on snacks, laundry, cleaning up my room, a ton of paperwork for various people, and others I haven't though of yet), so here's to quiet days at work which means I can get away with blogging while I should be/am working (huzzah) (maybe I should ask to finish early (but the money is good and will be short for the near future, so maybe not)).

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

In which we get a little bit biological

Warning: For those who don't like dealing with certain realities of the human body, you may want to skip this one.

So, regular readers (if I have any left after the general lack of posting over the last year or two) should know I broke a leg last year. And while it's generally improving, it's still not 100%. One minor issue that persisted but didn't seem a major issue was a little bit of scar tissue on the front of the leg that stayed red and inflamed while the other scars settled down quickly.

About a month ago, this inflamed scar got a bit more inflamed, and a few days later (last warning squeamish types) stuff started oozing out of it. Now I'm no doctor, but this is not a good sign. So, I went to a doctor, and he said it was probably an infection, took a swab of the ooze, gave me some antibiotics and sent me on my way.

At first the antibiotics seemed to be having an effect, and the amount of stuff coming out reduced, but it didn't stop entirely. So as the antibiotics were about to run out, I went back to the doctor. Here it gets interesting. Apparently the swap of the ooze he took showed no sign of any infection. So, to try and find out what was causing this he ordered some more tests.

So off I went and got an x-ray and some blood tests. These also came back negative, so the mystery deepened. Also, occasionally some blood had started coming out with the other stuff. Next on the test cycle was an ultrasound of the leg, to try and find where the fluid is coming from. The ultrasound guy says he thinks it's an infection, and recommended an MRI (not sure if I can get a MRI with the metal in my leg). Also, the GPs decided to pass the buck a bit and have referred me back to the hospital, where I have an appointment on Friday. Also, for good measure, I got a tetanus shot, just to be safe (probably just as well as I haven't had one in over a decade (almost two in fact)).

So, on Friday I'm off to the hospital, and hopefully they'll be able to work out what's going on there.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How How I Met Your Mother Should End

I didn't get on the How I Met Your Mother bandwagon when it first started, despite the presence of Alyson Hannigan and Neil Patrick Stewart in the cast. It was only while I was in hospital that my sister loaned me season 1 and 2 (although disc 1 of season 2 was missing) that I started watching. After I got out of hospital I quickly got caught up on the rest of what was available.

A while ago a thought came to me which would be a really good way to end the show. So for posterity, here it is.

It starts out narrated by a woman, and will be in two parts. The first part would be a swift and succinct summary of known events in the series, such as the yellow umbrella and being in the economics class Ted accidentally taught on his first day as a professor, the dates with the roommate, etc. This would all lead up to the day. The second part would be the story of a regular day, leading up to the meeting of Ted and the woman, the say "Hi", and then the narrator states "And that's how I met your father." Cut to the two kids, relieved to have finally found out what their father has taken 6 season and running to recount. I'm not sure how they should meet, it could be a blind date, or a chance meeting at the bar downstairs, or maybe at a function for the opening of the building Ted designed. The exact details can be left to the writers, but the key is the contrast between Ted's very long story and Mrs Ted's direct and to the point retelling.

The only weakness in this is the fact that it sidelines the main cast for what should be their grand finale, although this could be remedied by having coincidental interactions between Mrs Ted and the cast, e.g., she could be in an exercise class with Robin, she takes her nephew to Laser tag and bumps into Barney, etc.

And now, for orange flavoured dark chocolate.

End Post
Writing time: 20 minutes
Time since last post: can't be bothered checking
Current media: Community 1x01 (for about the nth time)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Almost Live from EsonLinji's Place

First a technical note this blog post has been recorded on my iPad with some dictation software rather me typing it out. Hooray for technology, even if it doesn't recognise all the words I'm saying.

I'm still getting used to the system and I still have to remember that I have to pronounce my punctuation rather than expecting it get it from where I pause while speaking.

It does work a bit better though, when I speak slowly and clearly. Surprising, really.

So, what shall be the topic of this recorded blog. To test it out, I thought I would just give a few reviews of our some bits and pieces I've seen or read recently.

First, the Green Hornet Seth Rogen's latest movie. A moderate action flick, but nothing really to write home about, or dictate about. The basic premise is somewhat similar to Batman. He's a rich playboy, his father gets killed by gangsters, he fights crime. However, the Green Hornet is a douche bag. That's the best way to put it. He's very is inconsiderate, he's egotistical, he can't fight, and everything he manages to achieve, is through to his sidekick, Kato. Kato, however is the man. A mechanical genius, he makes great coffee, he gets that girl, and is the real hero of the story. The villian of the piece is rather lame, and is definitely no Joker. In fact, he's kind of a wannabe. Finally, the green one that is a 3-D film. A live action 3-D film. As I said before, live action should be 2-D. If you Wanna do 3-D, do computer animation.

Next, is a comic book. Promethea, by Alan Moore, of Watchmen and V for Vendetta fame. Like all of Alan Moore's work, Promethea has a lot of depth to it. Rather than being a somewhat philosophical action sort of story, Promethea is a slightly actiony philosophical story. It is an exploration of mysticism, and the Kabbalah in particular, and a look at the meaning of life rather than a story of heroes and villains, although there are monsters and battles for those who are so inclined. While it is technically impressive, I didn't enjoy it as much as Moore's other stories. But then, I guess that's more my lack of preference for the artsy fartsy what is the meaning of life kind of fair.

Anyway, this is taking a bit longer than expected, and a few more takes than I thought it would as well, so I'm gonna wrap up here and now try and work out how to get actually onto the blog.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

2011: A Prelude

This was intended to be a more direct followup of 2010: A Retrospective, but well, I'm slack about things and now it's February. Yay procrastination! Anyway the following are my general aspirations for 2011. I've chosen the term aspiration as it let's me be more vague and seem less binding than resolutions.

So here goes.

A Better Job
Call centres are not forever. Or if they are, kill me now (I just mistyped kill as call there. That seems telling). So I want to move on. Into something that could be considered a career. Something with a salary, better pay and prospects for moving if not up, at least onward. This will also help with the next aspiration

Better wealth
Back when I was getting money from Centrelink I somehow managed to get by on under $500 a fortnight. Now I seem to go through more than that a week. Sure I pay more rent, but not that much. Also, since my accident on the bike my credit card has been carrying a balance. I've just got it back to a zero balance, but will nearly max it out again in a few days asI will have some significant expenses over the next few months. The point though is that I need to do better at saving money. Aspiration 1 a better job will help with that, although there will still be some budgetary expansion if I get more money. Better spending control will also be required. For the last month and a bit I've been tracking my expenditures, and food and rent are the two big ones. There were a few others but they were once off things like Christmas presents. The big goal is to start investing by the end of the year.

Better health
Major improvements in the amount of exercise I get will be somewhat restricted by my leg. Running is still not an option. I have been using the exercise bike a bit, but I need to do it more frequently and for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. I also need to be a bit more diligent in doing the exercises my physio has given me. Better diet is also required. My takeaway eating is mostly subway and kebab shops which I feel are healthier than KFC or McDonalds, although I do succumb to temptation now and then. Less snacks will be important, and will also helps save money (as per aspiration 2)

Better socialization
My social life is going all right (by previous standards very well), with a few regular activities that get me out of the house. I've cut back on things since the accident, but am slowly getting back into the swing of things. That said, a lot of the groups I'm part tend to skew in one direction when it comes to the demographics. I would like to find some activity or group that I could get involved with that had a more representative mix. Unfortunately, most of the things I can see myself enjoying tend to attract the same sort of demographic as the groups I'm part of now. Suggestions are welcome.

Better productivity
I waste a lot of time. One of my common thoughts when I notice the passage of time is that I never seem to have done enough to fill up that time. Yes, work and sleep take up a big chunk of time, but I still feel like I should have more to show for the rest of it. I also have a bunch of stuff I intend to do but don't get around to. I've a bunch of ideas for projects that never get started, a bunch of things I'd like to read, watch or listen to.

So those are the things I'd like to aspire to this year. One twelfth of the way in and I can't say I've made all that much progress yet.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010: A Retrospective

So, it's now 2011. I guess that means it's time to look back on 2010 and see what I think about it.

So what happened in 2010?

I got a job. At a call centre. An inbound call centre so at least I still have a soul. The jobs not all that challenging, and so is likewise not all that greatly compensated for, but on the whole it's paid the bills. I did apply for a seconded role, but didn't get it, but it is the first time I've gone for something that could be considered a promotion, so that is something. Also recently my supervisor has asked me if I'd consider joining the escalations team, which deal with some more involved stuff and is kind of a promotion in a different direction. I've said I'm interested and things may start moving forward in the new year.

I got my motorcycle license after having a learner's permit for more than 10 years, and have been riding my bike for most of the year. Generally this has been pretty good. It's cut down the amount of time I spend commuting (although this brings a commensurate decrease in my reading time while on buses). It's allowed me to stay later at Critical Mass, which is good, and in general made getting places more convenient (so long as I don't have to bring much with me.

The one big downside to the whole motorbike thing came in late June, when I had an accident while changing lane and broke my leg. While not causing any significant damage to my bike or the car involved, I spent just over a month in hospital and then another month at home sitting around. During the first few days in hospital I was never more jealous of someone being able to get up and walk. Well I can do that again now, although running, jumping hopping (on the leg that was broken) are still a while away. I'm still going to physio (my next appointment is Tuesday), and at my last visit to the doctors a few weeks ago, the doctor took a quick look at the x-ray, said it looks good and that in 9-12 months they will look at cutting me open again to take out the metal, and to come back for a check up in 6 months.

Work was pretty OK with the whole breaking the leg thing. I got a little bit of sick leave during the time, and the rest was unpaid leave, which means I still have a bunch of leave accrued for future use. They were also pretty accommodating to me around the office while I was still on crutches, letting me take longer lunches so I had time to get somewhere to buy lunch and get back with time to eat. A big thank you also to all those who came and visited me while I was there. An even bigger thank you to all the nurses, doctors, physios, fellow patients (during my stay about 20 different people occupied the other three beds in my room) and others (especially the lady who handled the meals who was giving me Tim Tams and chocolate milk for the last week or so) who looked after me while I was there.

I went on three dates. A friend set me up with one of his coworkers and we met and had coffee. This was followed by a trip to the art gallery that extended to another coffee, a walk around South Bank, dinner and a few drinks, and the third time we had dinner and saw a movie (Toy Story 3, absolutely amazing, by the way), and after that she reached the conclusion that I was a nice guy and we could still be friends, and that was that. With a bit of hindsight I can see the signs from the third date that indicated this outcome, but at the time was a bit too optimistic/hopeful to realize it.

Financially I didn't meet the goals I was aiming for early in the year, but losing two months worth of income does tend to hit the wallet. Fortunately Medicare covered almost all of my hospital bills (I had to pay to watch tv, and got a bill for the medicine I was given when I was finally discharged), so now am an even bigger proponent of public health care. My uncle was also very understanding when it came to the rent, so much gratitude is owed there.

A big expense this year was my studies. I have started a Masters in Applied Finance, which I am hoping will assist me in getting into something that resembles a career. Long term I'm thinking something on The regulatory side of things, which I think means I'm going to have to study more law along the way (I've found it helps if you think of the law as the rules to a really complex game. Since I already play a lot of really complex games, this helps me to deal with all the cross references and such).

A bit after going back to work after the broken leg I decided to splurge and get myself an iPad. This has been a pretty good investment, and is getting a lot of use. It has reduced how much I use my laptop, which is now mainly relegated to being a media storage and playing device, and one that can be controlled from the iPad at that. The iPad also prompted me to finally get onto twitter(@esonlinji if you must know).

Those were the bigger elements of 2010 for me. Next up, plans for 2011.

Recent Reads

Two recent (pre Christmas) acquisitions that I have read present a nice complement to each other.

The first is The Second Book of General Ignorance, put out by the team behind QI. A celebration of curiosity it looks into questions that people think have blindly obvious answers (such as How many legionaries did a Centurion command? A: 80 or so). Thanks to this book I have a new found respect for French military accomplishments, can no longer say it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, can't make short jokes about Napoleon, and still can't understand how the British live in such small spaces. The only downside to having read the book is that some of the information in it comes from the current season H of QI, and it means I know straight away some of the answers. Such is the burden of knowing things.

The second book is The Areas of my Expertise by John Hodgman, better known as the PC from the Mac vs PC ads and for his appearances on The Daily Show. The Areas of my Expertise also presents itself as a source of useful information, but rather than the question and answer format used in The Second Book of General Ignorance, it follows a more traditional almanack style, mixing list, tables and anecdotes to provide information on matters including the Hobo War, Werewolf transformation tables including the effectiveness of various traditional defense during the month, US presidents who had hooks instead of hands, advise for aspiring writers, combat techniques and more. It is also almost entirely fictional (John Hodgman is a real person who was formerly a literary agent, so that bit is true). On a practical note, the list of 700 Hobo names should make a great source of passwords that are unusual but easy to remember.

So there you go. One book that titles itself ignorant and provides truth, and the other that proclaims truth and provides fiction, but both well worth reading.