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I feel like I’m irrationally angry about this…

February 10, 2017, 4:00 PM

I am currently am experiencing a bout of tendonitis in my left wrist and hand.  For someone that blogs as much as I do, it happens, and so you deal with it.  It started on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, it was bad enough that I decided to go to an urgent care facility to get it looked at.  I went to Patient First in Rockville.  There, after they took all of my vitals, the doctor came in and looked at my hand.  Turned out that it was tendonitis, and the doctor recommended that I take Advil for it, and gave me this wrist brace:

The brace.

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Categories: Health issues

Eight years of growth and change…

January 19, 2017, 11:19 PM

This evening is Barack Obama‘s last in office as President of the United States.  At 12:00 tomorrow, Donald Trump will be sworn in, and then the Obama family will leave for a well-deserved vacation to Palm Springs.  Meanwhile, based on what we’ve already seen from Trump’s camp as president-elect, what I said in my post-election Journal entry rings true: “In the end, the expression, ‘May you live in interesting times,’ seems like a fitting description of what we may have these next four years in a Trump administration.”  Hold on tight, because it’s going to be a crazy ride, and there is no emergency stop mushroom to dump the country and apply all of the brakes.

Meanwhile, I really have to question whether Donald Trump will serve out his full term.  Considering how much of a loose cannon he has been, I have a feeling that he will last only until the Republicans in Congress have had enough of him, i.e. when he starts jeopardizing their chances for reelection.  Then they will, at the very least, find a reason to impeach him, likely for one of his many conflicts of interests that he has refused to rectify before he takes office.  Don’t know if he’ll get removed or not, but I consider an impeachment likely.  That or he will pull a Nixon and resign prior to the whole thing.  We shall see.  All I know is that Trump is making George W. Bush look like a true statesman by comparison, and Bush was an idiot.  But Bush at least started acting presidential once the election was over.  Trump, on the other hand…

But this Journal entry isn’t supposed to be about Donald Trump.  It’s more of a look back over the last eight years, and a reflection on personal growth.  In 1980, then-candidate Ronald Reagan said in a debate, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”  I consider the question to oversimplify a number of factors, plus it overestimates the president’s influence on your individual life (the actions of your state and local officials affect your life far more than those of the president), but I consider the question to be a good way to judge how one’s life has progressed over a defined period of time, regardless of who the president is and what they did during their term.

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Categories: Myself, National politics

Yes, that is a star costume…

December 8, 2016, 9:48 AM

For this month, the splash photo shows child me wearing a star costume.  I normally lean towards running a vintage photo for December, because December photos, owing to the Christmas elephant in the room, are typically harder to do than most because of that extra holiday element.  I own very little Christmas junk, and so a new photo requires a shopping trip and some spending to do.  That or I do the photo right in the store, as I did in 2008.  The December splash photo had nothing to do with Christmas in 2012, 2013, and 2014, owing to some recent non-Christmas photos of me taken in those years, but in 2015, Christmas returned to the splash photo.  However, I inadvertently duplicated my work in 2015, as I had run the same photo in December 2006 – a mistake that I didn’t didn’t discover until I did the prep work for this Journal entry.

For this month, my original plan was to run a photo taken in 1987, showing my sister and me with Santa Claus.  However, in a routine check of the archives to prevent duplicates, I discovered that I had run it eleven years prior.  So that went out the window.  I went hunting in my scans of old photos, and found this:

In costume as Andro Star

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Now, about that boot…

December 23, 2015, 5:12 PM

You may recall that this past September’s splash photo showed me posing with a broken merry-go-round at Pentagon City Mall, i.e. this:

At Pentagon City Mall, sporting a boot cast.

Note the choice of footwear.  I’m wearing a Crocs shoe on one foot… and a massive boot cast on the other.  It was posted without any explanation other than a mention of its presence, but clearly, something was up, because I don’t normally wear a boot around like that.

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Categories: Elyse, Health issues, Work

Spotted a zebra finch today…

November 7, 2015, 11:42 PM

So I was on my layover right before starting my last trip of the night, when a bird flew into the bus shelter, and ran right into the glass sides.  The bird apparently didn’t hit very hard, because it never even appeared to act dazed.  It was like the Chumbawamba song “Tubthumping“, in that it got knocked down and then got up again.  And here it is:

A zebra finch, standing in the bus shelter

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Categories: Myself, Work

I never thought that could happen…

April 5, 2015, 3:20 AM

Among things that I never thought could happen, I never thought that throwing up could cause blood vessels in your eyes to break.  But take a look at this.

This is what my eyes looked like on Friday night:

Right eye, Friday night  Left eye, Friday night

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This year, I want to slim back down to where I was in 2012…

February 19, 2015, 3:28 AM

While I was between jobs, I put on a bit of weight, most likely due to reduced activity due to my being out of work, and out of a routine.  My current job, where I operate a bus, is not exactly conducive to physical activity, considering that I sit strapped to a seat for nine hours a day.  Pushing pedals and turning steering wheels does not count as physical activity, though I was getting nighttime leg cramps from it for a while. I also was a bit lazy when it came to exercise once I finished training and got my own assignment.  I work late afternoon into the wee hours of the morning, and initially would tend to sleep in a bit.  The only exercise I got was just under two miles on Sundays, going to and from a street relief that was just a shade under a mile away from the bus garage.  I also now drive to work in my car, which means that I don’t get any activity related to my own commute.

However, now that the bus has finally become routine and I’m really starting to get the hang of things (and – heaven forbid – having fun at work), I can start getting serious about fitness again.  After all, one of my more recent splash photos shows me looking like this:

The October 2014 splash photo, taken on July 5, 2014

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A little polish and elbow grease is a great way to move on…

December 2, 2013, 10:36 PM

Sometimes you never know what is going to provide a sense of closure to a chapter in one’s life.  In this case, shining up my water bottles provided a sense of closure to a chapter in my life that I have been trying to move on from.  Recall that I left Food & Water Watch in July as I looked to determine what the next chapter in my career would be.  However, it’s hard to move on when I was staring at the branding of my former employer every time that I would take a drink of water.  To put it another way, I love my stainless steel water bottles from Klean Kanteen, but what was screenprinted on the bottles reminded me of something that I would prefer to put behind me.

In other words, this:

My "Take Back the Tap" water bottles

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Secret introvert?

September 7, 2013, 1:21 AM

Growing up, whenever the topic came up about introverted or extroverted personalities, I would hear, without hesitation, “Oh, you’re an extrovert,” like it was a foregone conclusion.  After all, the stereotypical introvert is, as my mother once said in jest, the “Shy, silent type that communicates with [their] eyes.”  After reading a bit more about introverts vs. extroverts, though, I think I can say with some level of confidence that I am actually an introvert.

The article on The Huffington Post titled “23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert” is what made me realize that I was more introverted than I might think.  I always thought I was just weird being the way I was, enjoying adventures by myself, and needing time alone to “recharge” after social interaction, so I’m glad that there are other people out there who function similarly to me.  I first spotted this article on a former coworker’s Facebook page, where they identified a number of the qualities listed on the page that applied to them.  When I read the article, I realized that yes, a lot of these things applied to me as well.

I’m going to be going through a number of these points assuming that you’ve read the article, and so if you haven’t read it yet, you may want to do that now.  You’re not going to be missing anything funny.  I’ll just be sitting here reading this grownups’ newspaper:

Sitting here reading this grownups' newspaper... (with apologies to Krusty the Clown)

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Categories: Myself

Have not run the air conditioner yet this year…

June 27, 2013, 11:58 PM

I don’t know about you, but I have not yet run the air conditioner in the house once this year.  I realized this when I got a memo from the property management last week that said that they were coming through to do the quarterly filter changes on our HVAC units.  I realized that they could probably save a few bucks on my apartment’s filter, because I barely used my HVAC unit at all in the last few months.  The last time the filter was changed was March 27 (first time in six years that I was actually there for it), and I think I may have run the heat a couple of times, but otherwise the thing has been more or less silent all season.  And I will say this: it’s nice to have a June electric bill of $50.13.  That’s my lowest June bill yet, and that’s even against the very mild summer of 2009.

That brings me to the next question: has it been a really mild summer this year, or is it just me?  The last three summers, I had the air conditioning on for much of the summer, and needed it.  This year, nothing.  I’m starting to wonder if it’s just me, though, since I’ve heard people complain about how warm it is outside and the humidity and such, but then when I’ve been outside, I’ve been fine.  Can’t complain.  Seriously, I even wore my hat all the way through to June 21 this year.  This week is the first where I haven’t worn it to and from the office.

This whole thing about my being not hot at all while many others have complained makes me wonder if it’s not related to the massive weight loss in 2011-2012 (I’ve been more or less stable since July 2012, much to my dismay – I want to lose even more).  The last time we had a mild summer, in 2009, I was quite the little porker, tipping the scales somewhere in the upper 300s range.  And then for two out of the last three summers, I was still quite heavy.  Therefore, I wonder if having so much extra body fat for so long has altered my perceptions of what’s hot vs. not.

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Categories: House, Weight loss

Driving in Virginia on Thanksgiving morning…

November 22, 2012, 7:04 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I will be through Sunday.  And so far, so good.  The drive went surprisingly well, and then Thanksgiving dinner was absolutely wonderful.

Considering how well my drive went today, though, I don’t know why anyone would want to go driving on the day before Thanksgiving.  Seriously, this was one of the easiest drives to Stuarts Draft that I’ve had in a long time.  I left the house around 8:45, and it was more or less smooth sailing the entire way.  Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County, from my house to the Beltway, was no problem.

On that note, by the way, does anyone know what’s going on with the Freestate gas station on Georgia Avenue at Layhill Road?  This is how it looked this morning:

The Freestate station on Georgia Avenue

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Two days, two eye exams…

October 11, 2012, 11:58 PM

So this week, I had two eye exams on consecutive days.  And that means getting my eyes dilated twice.  Yay me.  The reason I have two eye exams is because I also see a specialist for a retinal hole, which is stable, but the specialist wants to observe it to make sure it stays that way.  Thus two eye exams – once for the retina doctor, and once for the regular eye doctor.  It wouldn’t be that bad if not for the dilation.  That means that after the eye exam, I’m going home and hiding in the house with the shades closed for a few hours until the drops wear off.  And it would of course be my luck that it would be sunny on the days that I had my eye exams – and this isn’t even Philadelphia (where I’m told that it’s always sunny).  But it was cloudy on Tuesday, but then yesterday and today, it was a beautiful day, which is exactly what I don’t want when my eyes are dilated.

One complaint about the eye exams is that there’s not enough diversity in eye charts.  I’ve done this enough times, especially since I get two eye exams a year, that I’ve got the eye exam chart just about memorized.  The eye chart is done with a projector, and then they use mirrors to get the full 20 feet in the exam room.  This is the projector, seen here at my regular eye doctor’s office:

The eye chart projector

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Categories: Health issues

It pains me to say this…

August 20, 2012, 8:12 PM

Yes, it pains me to say this.  Literally.  It only took 25 years of using a computer to do it, but I have managed to give myself a repetitive stress injury from typing.  I know – I’m as surprised as you are.  And it’s not what you think, either.  I figured that eventually, I would do something to my wrists from all of the stuff that I do on the computer despite the precautions that I take, like using a wrist pad.  Turns out that my use of the wrist pad, which is a habit that I picked up from my job at the phone company more than a decade ago, has done me a lot of good, because I didn’t injure my wrists.

No – I injured my left thumb.  And you know what I did to injure it?  This:

My left hand, with the thumb doing exactly what caused the injury - adding spaces.

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Categories: Health issues

I still don’t consider myself much of an artist, but I guess I can let you decide…

May 24, 2012, 12:07 AM

So I was doing some scanning work for Falcon this evening, and decided to finally scan some drawings that I did in high school. I’m believe that these are from the fall of 1996. And so away we go…

Lord Zedd in his chamber of command

Yes, that is exactly what you think it is. You are looking at Lord Zedd from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, standing in his throne room. It’s true. I was a nerd even back then. And I was pretty detailed. I got the pedestal, I got Zedd, I got the throne, I got the fan behind the throne, and I put a couple of putties in there.

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Categories: Myself, Power Rangers, School

So apparently even my creativity is subject to the laws of supply and demand…

May 22, 2012, 8:19 AM

Apparently so. Last week, I was working on new material for Falcon (by the way, three new photo sets so far to launch with Falcon), and I was running dry on topics for Journal entries. And the one time I did try to write a Journal entry in the past week, I ended up figuratively “ripping it up” midway through it because it wasn’t going the way I wanted.

For those wondering, by the way, the abandoned Journal entry was about those stupid blog disclaimers that you see all over the Internet these days. Specifically, it discussed those “my opinions are my own” lines, because I find it akin to apologizing for one’s opinion. A more realistic sounding blog disclaimer on that thread would read, “I’m sorry if I might offend you because I am capable of forming my own opinion, as said opinion may not necessarily coincide with your own beliefs, and I don’t think you can handle that.” Unfortunately, though, that was about the extent of it. I couldn’t flesh it out any further. Well, crap. And thus into the recycling bin it went.

I was out grocery shopping last night when I figured out why that entry went so badly. Basically, my creativity is limited. I only have so much of it to go around and I have many things to feed with that creativity. I was able to make it work when I was doing the main conversion because that didn’t take any creativity. Just a matter of cleaning up work from previously spent creativity. Thus I could restore content for Falcon and then turn around and do an absolutely fabulous Journal entry. Not so when I do new material. I can’t stop a photo set, and then turn around and do a Journal entry. The Journal entry ends up falling flat.

This, meanwhile, leads to a new way of planning my moves on here. If I don’t space things out and try to force it, mediocre work results. Thus budgeting my creativity, just like money. I only wish I had as much money as I had creativity. Then I wouldn’t need to have a car payment every month.

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Categories: Myself, Schumin Web meta