Well, That Was Fast

I’d gotten used to the pain. How fucking scary is that? I actually had gotten used to a day to day life waking up feeling just-okay and as the day continued, my neck and head pain getting progressively worse. This isn’t a sob story, it’s just candor; it’s just my life.

Fact is, I only noticed this after I got a few days’ break from the pain. Last Wednesday’s Asian treatments were some kind of breakthrough. Good, right? I went for the rest of that day with far less pain—

Wow. I keep typing “without pain” when I really mean “far less pain”. There’s some kind of nasty proof, huh?


Far less pain than usual last Wednesday, and for the whole rest of the day! Over the last few months, the palliative effects of the treatments (acupressure, acupuncture, cupping, Chinese chiropractic) have decreased in duration. A couple of weeks ago, the effects lasted little longer than the 55-minute trip from Union City back home to San Francisco. I was despondent, but its onset was so gradual that I took no notice other than simple acceptance. Acceptance without prejudice, honestly. Just a fact of life. Why this didn’t trigger any notions of depression or decline is beyond me. Perhaps this kind of self-awareness and observation is another mental aspect suffering from my…suffering.

But surprise! The pain reduction lasted all through last Wednesday. I woke up on Thursday with the usual less-pain-upon-waking, but Lo and behold! The less-pain continued through the day. Friday? Same. Saturday? Same. Sunday? Same!

I woke up today (Monday) expecting—you guessed it—Same. And through the morning I wasn’t disappointed. Only the afternoon hit, and so the world of relative freedom came crashing down. Over. Done. Gone.

You’d be surprised—I certainly was—how quickly you can get used to “normal”. And today, tonight, now, I’m surprised at how much I got used to all that pain. Which I suppose is moot, because the pain is back, full-force, and I’m not quite yet used to it.

How sad is it that all I hope for tomorrow is that my own expectations will be back in line with the pain?

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I Finally Got One

I’d never been a superstitious person. Broken mirrors are inconvenience and black cats are merely pets.

I have to admit, though, that since I moved to San Francisco fourteen years ago, there are things which defy explanation by ordinary means or exist in ordinary timelines.

That said, the word “superstition” has some negative cultural baggage (as do words like “promiscuous” or “Christian”) that in other places successfully blocks investigation. It successfully trivialized such matters for me when I lived elsewhere.

But very quickly after moving to San Francisco, the frequency of these esoteric “coincidences” alone was enough to shatter my basic assumptions of mundane and literal existence. My friend Kevin, who ushered my move to San Francisco 14+ years ago, accused me of belonging to the church of scientism. I balked, of course, but of course he was right, as he was in most things.

moon and sutroIt started out as imagination, applying fanciful notions to happenstance and coincidence, armored with post hoc, ergo propter hoc sensibilities to abide the universe as so much more than just a cause-and-effect cosmos.

A myth of my own creation is the “Flying Dutchman Day” and here’s how it goes: The fog comes in and rises just to the lower edge of the horizontal parts of the Sutro Tower and makes the upper part of the tower look like a ship sailing atop the clouds AND (and this is quite important) I observe it. (if you look to the picture at the right—and click here to go to the flickr page to view it full-size—and then imagine the level of fog up higher and obscuring the upright of the tower and nothing more, you’ll see what I mean).

Let’s face it, the fog comes in quite regularly, at least in the summertime, and the fog reaching this exactly level likely happens several times a day, so it’s in the observing—without plan or other intent—that refashions my entire day into a harbinger of good times ahead.

I don’t know what prompted me to assign predictive power to this event, but it’s an occurrence of the Earth and Sky and the reality of it is quite subjective. Maybe I liked the combination of Pagan and Relativity. Maybe that’s all it took.

Today was the first day in well over a year that I’ve had a Flying Dutchman Day. Last time I wrote about the Flying Dutchman interpretation was also the first time I wrote about it, but it had already been part and parcel of my life for quite some time; the better part of a decade, at least.

There were a few near-misses of the event leading up to today. Coming home from the Castro and flying up Prospect Street on my Vespa the fog was too high, heading down Cortland Avenue on my way to the Glen Park BART station the fog was just a bit too low, though had the light stayed red for 5 seconds longer it would have happened. But no. Not “just so” until today on my way down to Nervous Dog Coffee, my adoptive hang-out since my beloved Cafe Commons shut down forever over a year ago.

And, having felt significantly better for multiple days in a row (excepting a few incidences of headache that were knocked out by vicodin) thanks to my Eastern Medicine treatments in Union City, a Flying Dutchman Day finally presented itself on my calendar.

I can’t remember the last day I smiled when I was alone, on my own, before today. But tomorrow, and for more tomorrows following, I’ll be able to remember one again.

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Well, That Was Fun

Stupid net hackers. Stupid, stupid net hackers. My hosting site got its DNS (domain name services) borked as an indirect result of a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack and has only recently come back up.

Even though I don’t post nearly every day, like I used to, it’s nice to know it’s there to post to. The last couple of days have had me feeling a bit…claustrophic.

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Other Shoes A-Droppin’

The first other-shoe to drop: The other day I was watching TV and was just too sedimented on the sofa to reach for the remote to fast-forward through commercials, so I was subjected to a fair frequency of pill-pushing ads aimed at doing an end-run around the feel-bad ➞ see-your-doctor ➞ doctor-prescribes-meds-or-not health care sequence. Commercials are inevitably of the pattern:

  1. Show beautiful, uncomfortable (but not so uncomfortable as to lose their appeal) people with clean, dry maladies.
  2. Present an esoteric illness that seems to have either had an unsatisfactory or simply no solution up until now.
  3. Pimp the pills, pills which usually have a nomenclature involving X’s and Z’s or are unholy amalgams or bastardizations of real-but-abstract words.
  4. Apply the problem to the solution (backwards yes, but only Nixon can go to China)
  5. Paint smiles on the beautiful-and-now-comfortable people and show them being active in the sunshine or happily slumbering at night.
  6. At the tail end of the ad, put up too much small type for anyone to read and electronically speed up the reading of contradindications so that they can’t be understood. I.e., bury the truth.
  7. The viewer, being properly tenderized and vulnerable, is instructed to go tell their doctor what they want to be prescribed.

Only the ads I saw the other day had one small but enormously significant change. The older ads would write:

Ask your doctor if ____ is right for you.

The change:

Ask your prescriber if ____ is right for you.

Whoa! It may seem like a no-op, as your doctor is typically the only one with a DEA number and therefore the only one who can write you a script, but the drug companies are gunning for so much more: they’ve removed the presence of a doctor in your health care chain and replaced it with a role, removing all authority and turning your doctor from he/she-who-knows-best to an enabler-bureaucrat whose only worth is removing the barrier between you and the drug company’s latest product.

The other other-shoe to drop: Microsoft blinked. In the long and tortured history of Mac vs PC, good vs evil, tyranny of the majority sticking it to a minority, Microsoft has admitted to nothing yet reaped benefits of everything. Sure, Microsoft makes the most popular Mac software (outside of what ships with every Mac). The Microsoft Office Suite is, so far, a necessary thing for removing the barrier between personal-choice in a computer and actually getting to use that computer inside a corporate environment. It’s popular because it falls under the long shadow of the Microsoft monopoly.

Google the history of Microsoft’s attitude towards the Mac and you’ll find a whole raft of non-answer answers. Ask if they admit that the Mac OS is superior to Windows and you’ll hear that the MacBU (Business Unit) at Microsoft is a huge profit center. Ask about the Mac’s marketshare and you’ll hear that the MacBU is a huge profit center. Microsoft has never ever openly compared its computer platform offerings to Apple’s. Until now.

It’s no secret that Microsoft Windows Vista is a bomb by most metrics. Sure they can trot out absolute numbers of sales, but there are hidden dragons in those numbers: most copies are out there because the user had no choice when they bought a new computer, and the absolute numbers are higher than the initial sales for XP, but there are significantly more computers out there, making the percentage significantly lower.

But back to that “until now”. Recently, when asked about the exploding sales of Macintosh computers their response was simply: There are more copies of Vista out there than there are total Macs in use worldwide. Period.

The best thing that ever happened to the USSR was Nixon referring to them directly as a superpower. In the world’s mind’s eye, the Soviet Union was powerful, but not in the same league, not a direct threat to the United States. Until Nixon.

Microsoft, in finally offering up a sound bite putting the Mac OS alongside Windows in direct comparison suddenly made it OK for the millions to explore a viable alternative to Windows and not just “take a huge risk” in walking away from Windows.

Good for Mac folks like me, but it’s just so overwhelmingly sad that corporate interests are so powerful that they’re the ones driving the country’s agenda. When the tax codes were restructured to state, in effect, that “businesses are people in the eyes of the government”, it’s been a downhill slide in to corporate oligarchy indistinguishable from a plutocracy, but much worse: the hive-minds of corporations may be people-entities, but there’s no face to put on the enemy.

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When ‘Lazy’ Was a Choice

So I wasn’t there at The Willows more than five minutes when I was first ‘woof’d at. The attendant growl and grope were not far behind.

Yes, I’m at Lazy Bear Weekend in Guerneville. Up until two or three weeks ago (I gave up on my Timesense I don’t even know how long ago), because I knew that I’d either have the time or have the money to attend, but not both. Then Fred came to the rescue and offered me a place to stay. Yay, Fred. Yay!

I don’t know why I didn’t figure on my health issues interfering with the usual wonderful time with everyone, but there you go.

I missed out on a good portion of yesterday’s festivities because my old rib injury from the accident in 2005 acted up. Felt like a knife was lodged there, interfering with everything from breathing to—well, there’s nothing else without breathing, is there.

I did have an amazing time on Friday, for hours and hours through the nighttime, which I suppose explains yesterday’s nastiness.

Today I am back to my usual “ribs are there but not painfully there” feeling along with my now-old-situation, tension and migraine headaches banging a shuttlecock back and forth in my big round head.

Will I make it out today? Depends on whether the Vicodin works well enough and the tizanidine doesn’t overachieve. In other words, another Day in the Life.

(by the way, typing on an iPhone is much better than expected even for a full entry like this one)

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Identity Theft


I was watching The Colbert Report and Stephen Colbert was talking about our mercenary hometown boy, Barry Bonds. Mr. Colbert was being rather hoofd-ist in making fun of Mr. Bonds. Something about not only Bonds nearing the all-time homerun record set by Hank Aaron, but also that he has the biggest head circumference in all of baseball, except for Mr. Met.

Colbert showed a picture of Mr. Met and I saw myself looking back at me.

I was a Mets fan when I was a kid. No more, Misters.

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