Monthly Archives: October 2003

Bent Up, Pent Up, and Doubled Over

I am tired of my stomach. If I could have it cheaply removed surgically and still survive without a stomach (and survive the surgery) I probably would do it. I laid down for bed last night and within five minutes I was sitting back up and taking care to not lose my dinner. I turned my lamp on, sat up and focused on breathing. After a ginger candy and some time to steady myself, I made the second attempt for sleep. I felt slightly better this morning, but my rough stomach has been with me all day.

I was talking with “BC” about my stomach problems during a break at work, and he mentioned that I quite possibly have acid reflux or something. Said he found that those who have A-R and smoke are significantly increasing their chances for throat cancer because the acid leaves the throat open for carcinogenic tampering. That was a wake-up call to me. We discussed using Prilosec now that it’s over the counter; he suffers the same thing I do, just not as bad. Said he’s planning on getting a box of it to see how it does.

So, earlier tonight, while at the store, I got a box. Fourteen-day treatment goes for $10. All I know is that a few months ago I got a prescription of it from my doctor and I gave it a pass thinking he just wrote the scrip in order to please his pharmaceutical rep. I probably should’ve filled the order; at least that’s how I feel now while I’m sitting with a sour stomach, rough throat, and churning esophagus. (Yuck, I know.) So, I will be taking my first pill in the morning.

Speaking of morning, tomorrow morning I have to get up early (on a Saturday, no less) to pack up my car and head off to Texas Renaissance Festival for the weekend. My presence is required (Hi Maeralin!), so I dutifully will be going, stomach funk or not. This’ll be my first go at TRF since 2000; it’ll be nice to see what’s changed about it, and see a few old friends from that year (Hi Pete!). And most importantly I’ll be seeing my old friend “Maeralin” who I have not seen in the thirteen years since the summer after our high school graduation in 1990. We’ve been talking online for about 4 years now, and it’s good to finally be able to see her.

As much as I hate traveling, once I get on the road, I’ll be more gung-ho about it. It’s just the preparation, the packing, the looking ahead, the expenditure, the energy it takes to do it, and the nerve-wracking anticipation of dealing with the unexpected on the open road.

Time to gather my things and collect myself for this weekend. I’ll be camping out Saturday night, which I’ve not done in 3 years, and wouldn’t you know it the weatherman says it looks like rain.

It looks like rain. :sighs: Wish me luck.

Turn the eyes towards the ground

Things just suck.

I’m hitting a rough part lately. Well, not really rough, just, um, sucky. Dunno. My little world is in the shape of a very well-worn “V”. Home to work, to home, to Mojo’s, to home. :sighs: I’ve been in this situation for months (years?) now, and I’ve complained about it before, but it gets better, then worse, then better, and now I’m here. Things just suck.

Work is becoming a drag as things get slow, then fast, then slow again. Getting bored. I expect it to continue like this for the duration of my employ there, sadly. At a small printshop like that, there’s really no chance for promotion; you’re just marking time, keeping pace, passing time until clockout. The only change is new stories at the bindery table. That’s about it.

And that’s all I can expect until my next job. Don’t think I haven’t considered moving on. I have, but I’m trepidatious about doing so. My preferred job would involve programming and whatnot, but after being burned so badly with my old programming job, I don’t think I want to get back into it. So once again I’m at a nexus of “don’t want to be here, don’t want to be there.”

I guess I’m at a phaysis.

Past two days I found myself drained and tired after work. Last night I followed my own gravity and went to bed a mere hour after work. Laid down for a nap and fully expected a night of sleep. Not failing my own expectations, I slept from 6:30pm all the way until 4:30am. Got up, tooled around online, and laid back down for another hour and a half. Long enough to have a pleasant dream and wake up again at 8am feeling happier but still moody. It’s an odd place to be, an odd way to be.

Having no smokes left, I got up, showered, and went to the store for some cigs and breakfast. Continued on to Mojo’s where I soaked in some AM sunshine in the peaceful quiet of an Austin saturday morning. Went back to my car in the back parking lot to proceed with taking my dash apart in order to pull my broken car stereo. My tape deck stopped working about three months ago, and I finally had enough — I can’t use my CD adaptor on my long drives, and radio drives me insane sometimes, so I had to see if I could fix it.

After pulling my dash and center console apart, I discovered that removing only two screws and pulling a faceplate was all I needed in order to access my stereo’s screws. Heh. Well, at least I was able to clean out the cubic ton of ash and cola-gunk from inside the nooks of my console and from underneath it. Even found some stuff under there from the previous owner: a plastic token from Dairy Queen for a free soft-serve cone, a pen, a few pennies, and a quarter that’s been permanently fused to the body by cola gunk. :giggles: I even discovered where the control box for my airbag was — it’s been underneath my right elbow all along. I know it’ll take many many foot-pounds of force to activate the thing, but I’m still going to be careful around it. Definitely.

Well, car stereo out, I lock up the car and find a table in the side yard to plop down my toolbox and my now-lukewarm steamed chai and proceed to disassemble the unit. After careful examination of the tape drive mechanism I find some small, off-white clumps on the bottom plate. Pondering that, I hand-spin some of the belt pulleys and gears and discover that those off-white clumps are actually teeth from a very important gear that’s missing 1/3 of its teeth. Damn. So, if I want to ever listen to CD’s again in that car, I know what I have to do. I just don’t have $130 for a simple, basic CD-tuner deck. :sighs: So I just put the deck back together and reinstalled it. A tuner is better than nothing.

You know, I get paid monday — lemme see how my finances run for this paycheck. It’d be damned nice to have a new stereo for my expected 5 hours of driving next weekend when I go to [Texas Renaissance Festival]. Wouldn’t it, though? I’d rather not listen to 5 hours of pure Clear Channel Quality in Broadcasting. Definitely.

Speaking of TRF, I considered going this morning. Decided against it. Was glad I did – got to take care of many things today. The radio, some programming, some chatting, got an oil change, went to a stereo shop. After dinner I returned to Mojo’s to find (surprise) no parking, so I shrugged, said, “Fuck it,” and drove on to Zilker Park where I walked around by myself for over an hour. It was fun discovering something new out there – walked all the way down to Barton Springs pool and saw the whole city park facilities down there. Mighty nice. Should spend more time down there. Simply knowing those places exist brings me closer to feeling like a resident of this good city instead of the ghostly passerby I sometimes feel. Just before the sun started to set, I came back home, and now here I am. More at peace, but still blah-se.

Things still suck. I guess I’m just clamming up more because of it. Seems I say more through the keyboard than I do through my mouth, and I have no problem with that. When things start to suck, I just duck my head down, look away, and wander off. I have to. If it means I go it alone, then so be it. I did it when I moved here 3 years ago before I met the whole of my little world’s friends. What’s to say I won’t meet some more by going off by myself to other places, eh? As much as I let myself down, I realize that I’m the only one who’s there for me when I need someone. So, not counting you (my dear reader), I have to say, “To hell with the world.” :sighs:

“Head down
Eyes low
Hope pushed out.”

Nevermind the afterburn

I made a shocking discovery.

Earlier today I discovered the startling end-product of the happenstance meeting of certain physical conditions. The experiment was unwittingly conducted at work. In the effort of sharing knowledge in the scientific setting of open disclosure, I will review with you how you too can repeat this experiment to verify and validate its results.

The instructions are as follows:

  1. unwittingly place the calf of your left leg against the metal power receptacle box on the wooden post to your left
  2. with your right hand, grab the plastic handle of a phillips-head screwdriver
  3. with your left hand, hold the metal shaft of the screwdriver and guide the tool towards the steel screw which you intend to drive into the cutter machine for the goal of remounting the protective plastic cover after a repair
  4. now touch the screw and enjoy the electrocution for three long seconds
  5. jump back, curse, swear, shake left hand and left leg as you embarrassingly explain to confused coworkers what just transpired

I admit that there are certain assumed hazards of working with printshop machinery. I’ve accepted those risks, and in my 11+ years of working around such equipment I’ve broadly avoided incident. But, apparently, this situation was possibly a case of bad wiring in the power box. The cutter runs on 220 volts, the power outlet on the post supplies 110. It’s unknown if I got 220 or 110 volts coursing through my left side, but it didn’t feel good at all. I am fine now, thankfully, but still I tingled for a half hour afterwards. Later in the day I used a voltmeter and tried to prod around to find what the voltage differential was between the two points I had been the unwitting wire between, but could find nothing. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I brought it up to the bossman at the end of the day, and although he was glad I was ok, he expressed some good concern about the potential for electric shock in the tight walkspace between machines. I joked with a coworker earlier in the day that the shock may have set my heart’s circuitry back right again. He laughed.

That was the worst shock I’ve gotten this side of, “Shawn, we don’t need you anymore,” two years ago. Heh.

You kids enjoy your experiments. I’ll expect your lab books on my desk by monday. Good luck.

Gettin’ Ill Wit da Chunky D

Yesterday was fine, I suppose. The entire UT area was crampacked with people; lots of stuff going on. There was the UT game (which I guess they won :shrugs:). Mojo’s had a shindig in the back lot of the shop featuring ramps, bikes, and live bands. Parking was an absolute bitch — days like this are tow truck drivers’ wet dreams. I was lucky enough to get to Mojo’s early enough to find a parking spot before they set up the stage and the bike area.

I found some friends and joined them; we were kind of spitting about the early crowd, and opted to go get breakfast. By the time we came back, my car was firmly blocked-in, and I had little choice but to stay at Mojo’s. It’s not a bad thing, I just couldn’t leave with my car if I wanted, so I stayed and wrote code.

I don’t know if it was the breakfast I had (grilled chicken barbecue burritos), or if it was the crowds, or the “music”, or the weather, or whatever, but after a few hours I got antsy, tired, and poor of constitution. My stomach started bothering me. After a poorly-chosen beer, I started getting a dehydration headache which lasted until the end of the day. I went home, chatted online, and went to bed.

This morning I woke up rested, but no sooner did I move my head to get up the headache reminded me that it was still there. Christ. So I got up, tooled around, took some tylenol, made some gatorade and took a shower. I’ve had nothing but decaffeinated water-based drinks all day, and even after eating something I still have the headache. Think maybe it’s a dehydration/decaffeination headache? Or maybe allergies? Or maybe too much nicotine? I really don’t know.

Until it goes away, I guess I’ll just keep relying on tylenol, hibiscus tea, sunglasses, breezy rooms, and ginger altoids.

With all that being said, I’m starting to feel restless and bored. Getting to a point where the stuff I have available for me to do I just don’t want to do. Y’know? The French call it “Ennui”. God, me saying that sounds so cheesy. Feh. But that’s how I feel. I want to get out to different places more, but it takes energy and wherewithall to do that. And given my current ill feeling, that just ain’t going to happen.