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Sunday, October 30, 2005

More confident

The days since Wednesday have been kind of difficult for me. My headache has not yet completely gone away, but it has been getting better. Aside from a rather rough patch last night I'm feeling much better about the whole thing. My back finally stopped being stiff and annoying from the spinal tap on late Friday night. I've talked to some friends who went through similar headaches and all lived to tell the tales, and everyone I talk to has pretty much agreed that it's probably just a mild illness combined with stress.

I'm still not taking any chances and am going to go get checked out by a specialist but I don't have that creeping "something wrong with me" feeling as much as I did a few days ago (or even last night). Today I've just sat around the house and relaxed. I did some simple things like laundry and washing dishes, and watched Battle Star Galactica (after being re-introduced to them yesterday by the masterful Scott). Tonight I'm looking forward to doing much more of the same: very little. I'm hoping that if I focus on work during the days and relaxing in my evenings this week that things will go by quickly.

Sparky's teams award winning haloween pumpkin

I would have to rather sheepishly admit that the high point of my work week was the office Halloween party where I work. I wasn't expecting it to be fun (office parties are usually quite lame) but getting hands on with a pumpkin and being creative was actually a good thing for me given my week. Above is a (crappy cameraphone) picture of my teams award winning cannibal pumpkin - enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I sit here writing this post with a certain feeling of relief (and a stiff back from the anesthetic for the spinal tap) as it turns out I don't have meningitis and I'm not going to die. Obviously a statement like that leads into the far from lackluster story of my past 72 hours.

It all started on Monday when after work Brien and I went to Nordstrom. I wanted to get a new wallet and ended up selecting a very nice money clip/card holder by Lodis. The new wallet has significantly less storage capacity than my old canvas wallet and helped encourage my trend of slimming down what I carry with me on a day to day basis.

After purchasing the new wallet I left what I didn't need with me at all times in the old one and left it on my kitchen counter. I merrily skipped off to work on Tuesday morning without giving it so much as a second thought. Unfortunately Skype was a very bad boy and got up on the counter top and snagged the old wallet for himself. I can imagine it made a tempting chew toy - it's been in my back pocket for years and must have had that "overly tempting daddy smell". After chewing it up and eating not merely the canvas/rubber wallet but also the left over credit cards and various other details he left a few fragments for me to discover upon returning home from work.

As you might guess the canvas and credit card meal did not do great things for Skype's bowels and he had a rather unfortunate evening. He had a few accidents in the house around 10 in the evening and cleaning those up and tending to him made for a late night. Then at about 2:00 in the morning he had another accident - this one he seemed to want to hide so he wedged himself behind me TV/entertainment center to do it. This unfortunately resulted in knocking the entertainment center over so I was woken by the loud crash to discover a new world of liquid shit splatter than covered the TV, walls, floor, curtains, and my phone in its horrifying stench.

After cleaning up a few more rounds of puppy leavings and tending to a sick and whimpering puppy I ended up getting about 3 hours of sleep. I was so tired that when my alarm went off I went back to sleep and managed to be quite late for the weekly staff meeting on Wednesday mornings.

Now this would have been enough excitement and stress for a week but life decided to throw me another curve ball. My co-worker Karen had offered to take me to her Bikram Yoga class on Wednesday evening. I went with her as I had been itching to give it a try. The side effects of the Yoga started an entirely new saga for me on Wednesday night. Upon returning home I got a headache - I initially attributed it to low blood sugar and dehydration. As the evening wore on my headache got worse and worse. I took some Advil but it was to no avail - the headache just kept progressing, passing from a mere annoyance to the worst headache of my life.

By 10:30 I was in excruciating pain - I could not talk, sleep, or even think. I started to worry and called Brien and asked him to take me to the emergency room. We arrived shortly after at the Swedish Medical Center where I was triaged in the emergency room and the doctor asked me a number of questions about my medical background. The pain subsided a bit on its own at this point and was completely wiped out by some Percocet. The doctor had some worries that it might be more than a mere headache however - given my symptoms he wanted to do a CAT scan and a spinal tap to eliminate the possibility of meningitis or an aneurism.

They held off on the CAT scan and did the spinal tap first. It was a mostly pain free procedure, however the anesthetic left my back stiff and made walking difficult. Thankfully the spinal tap was clear and the test results were normal so I was given a clean bill of health and the diagnosis that I merely had a nasty headache (possibly brought on by the stress of the past week or from some mild food poisoning intensified from the system stress of the Yoga) and Brien and I were able to make our way home at approximately 4:00 in the morning.

This brings us full circle back to the beginning of the story where I sit dazed in front of my powerbook, blogging about my week. Talk about exciting - too exciting if you ask me.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A quick shout out to Escape Pod

I have just discovered a delicious new podcast called Escape Pod. Escape Pod helps bring the best in short stories in the Sci-fi and Fantasy genres to life by reading them in animated ways with some surprisingly good voice talent. I discovered it recently thanks to one of my many hero's: Boing Boing creator Cory Doctorow.

Of particular note so far in my Escape Pod journey is The Dream Factory - a wry futuristic vision of Hollywood soaked in humor, and well seasoned with adult language and situations. The voice talent is provided by Scott Fletcher who gives the story a very rich telling with his delightful inflection. If you only check out one episode of Escape Pod make it The Dream Factory! Click here if you want to read the text for The Dream Factory rather than hear Scott Fletchers rendition.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

e-mail: The worlds greatest form of communication

Over the past few months I have spent some time considering new forms of communication. With our society changing the way it communicates and works as a whole I have been fascinated by the technologies driving and enabling this change. I've been weighing SMS, IM, e-mail, wikis, VOIP, Cellular voice, and plain old telephone service (POTS) and come to the conclusion that e-mail is simply the best form of communication for business and pleasure.

Why I hear you ask - why email over some far quicker and more personal forms of communication like voice or IM technologies? My reason is simple - email is both universal and sessionless. When you send an IM or call someone on the phone for the communication to be a success the other person needs to be available and ready to pay attention to you. In the case of IM they need to have their computer or cell phone logged into the network and be willing to devote some attention to you immediately. In the case of VOIP and cell phones the communications recipient not merely needs to be near the phone, but willing to drop everything and sit down to talk to you on the phone while ignoring their surroundings.

SMS is an interesting compromise between email and an IM. SMS is usually used in a similar manner to IM for quick communications but it provides a stateless user experience similar to email. I would say that SMS is my favorite method of communication if it had a method for overcoming it's two weaknesses: a 160 character limit and no easy way to store or index your old messages for future reference.

E-mail's biggest strengths come in its simplify and widespread use. When you send an email it's easy for the recipient to reply with a quote of your original email for easy reference. E-mail relies on open standards enabling users to access their email on multiple devices and computers easily using IMAP (or the antiquated POP). E-mail allows quite reference of past conversations - I have every email I've sent or received in years and can instantly (via search technologies such as Apples Spotlight) recall messages or pieces of information that I might need. E-mail is also polite: when you send an email you might be delighted to receive an instant reply (which is quite probable with the coming generation of QWERTY phone/PDA combos that are designed around email - not to mention good old fashioned crackberrys), but there is no social obligation for it, the recipient does not feel obligated to reply in an instant. The e-mail might sit unread (a great organizational technique - don't remove something from your inbox or mark it as read until you are done with it) in someone's inbox waiting for action.

Simply put until our society and it's technology comes up with something radical and new e-mail will be the best form of communication for business (and geeky personal users like me). I welcome comments to this brash statement - who has some? Send them to me using my email address: me (at) my photography domain: sparktography.com.

I...

Am a geeky, Seattle based, music fan, iPod listening, podcast devouring, Gear Live posting, Doctorow reading, Sci-Fi loving, 6'1, fitness fan, up to date, sushi eating, Sonicare using, pierced, tattooed, dog loving, pit bull daddy, gay, allergy hating, Mac using, classic game playing, Final Fantasy fan, mortgage paying, slave to the man, slave to the machine, gadget whoring, democrat.

Want to learn a foreign language, give more to charity, have the latest gadget, visit London, visit Germany, write a book, have luxurious retirement, have the time to pursue my dreams, have better teeth, a cabin in the woods, a house with a yard, better hair, a better chest and abs, and a cool shoe collection.

Am not humble enough, good with fractions, late, somewhat clumsy, can't ski, don't have good self control when it comes to gadgets and money, able to deal with all of my problems in a timely fashion.

How's that for a LJ style Meme. Anyone to trackback to it?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Digital mobile lifestyle

Life has been crazy again - for the first time in a week I feel like I have a chance to sit down and write a bit. The week brought a closed deal, and a lot of stress on a few more details that I'm trying to close at work. I've been waiting less and less patiently for some of these deals to start paying out - I have money that needs spending on new mobile telecommunications devices and savings for my house.

This weekend luckily has been fairly relaxing. I've spent much of my time on the couch catching up on reading and watching some idle content on my TV. I'm experimenting around with various e-readers and e-book technology. I'm really liking MobiPocket for the Palm OS. I'm finding the 320x320 screen rather limiting however - I can't wait for the era of an 800x600 mobile phone screen - even if it would be small it would be detailed enough that someone like me with good eyes could really get into a good book with it.

***

We face a new paradigm - the mobile society. Our lives get more and more disconnected, disparate, yet still constantly in touch. Technology enables us to reach out and contact someone at a moments notice - email, SMS, cell phones, instant messaging, web forums, wiki's and the lot. Yet the more connected we get with each other through technology the more disconnected we get as a society.

I have friends - and close one at that - whom I have never actually met. I have entire ad-hoc microsocieties that I connect with and feel a part of yet never physically work with. It's interesting to see how this new paradigm has affected our society. When I think of prior generations - my parents for example- who never had a friend they never met. I mean my dad might have understood the concept of a pen-pal, but would he have understood the concept of modern digital social groups?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A serene firefly

All I have to say is that anyone who has not checked out Joss Whedon's Firefly or the new Serenity movie is insane! I had heard about how good the firefly series was but had pretty much brushed it aside like most television - then I started watching them this weekend and boy am I hooked. On Saturday night I went out with a bunch of friends to see Serenity and we were all delighted with what an amazingly great movie it is.

Today I woke up early because my parents were supposed to be coming through town on their way back to Walla Walla but after talking to them on the phone I discovered that my dad has come down with a chest cold and it was for the best that we cancel out on seeing each other. Instead I called up Ken and we got a light Pho lunch before settling in for the worlds best space western.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sleeping - too much? (or happy birthday Mom!)

Strangely my life has taken an interesting turn - I'm sleeping too much. I used to have significant problems with insomnia and getting to sleep has been a major problem at various points in my life. Now I suddenly find myself sleeping easily, almost too easily. For the last 9 days I've gone to bed early every day. Some days VERY early - before 9:00. I'm not sure what's motivating my sudden always tired demeanor - be it stress, mild depression, or a mild illness.

Aside from being tired quite a bit I've been having a good time. Today my parents stopped by for lunch on their way up to visit my grandparents (dad's side) up in B.C. It was my mom's 51st birthday so I took them both out to the BluWater for some lunch after getting my office to sing a rousing round of "Happy Birthday". As always it was a pleasure to see them and I'm looking forward to seeing them for brunch on Sunday when they pass through Seattle again on their way back home.

Monday, October 03, 2005

LotR again

This weekend was relaxing in a rather drunken sort of the word relaxing. Friday evening I was exhausted from a long week. So exhausted that after a long puppy walk I managed to pass out on the couch at about 7:30 and slept until Saturday morning at 7:00 - a great 11.5 hours of sleep that made me feel much better.

Shortly after my normal morning routine Tres showed up and we started on my annual Lord of the Rings marathon. A few other homosexuals showed up over the course of the day and we drank, watched Tolkiens masterpiece, and in general had a jolly good time. We broke the day to watch Final Fantasy and do Joey's for dinner (which ended up being rather a disappointment if you ask me) and due to the delays and debauchery we didn't finish up the night until around 2:00 in the morning.

Given the late evening Sunday was pretty much a wash. I got some laundry done, and played with Skype, but aside from that did very little. I got sucked into the Return of the King bonus footage and watched all 5 hours of it while geeking on my laptop.

This week is looking ugly. I have stuff going on every single day, and so far have more than 5 interviews to manage. Luckily from those 5 interviews I'm expecting to get at least 3 deals which is more money in my pocket. I'm hoping that within the next 6 months I can continue my financial trends and have made a significant chunk of my goal for a down payment on a house. If I can get enough money together for a massive down payment life will be easy because I won't have to deal with a frighteningly large monthly payment on it.