The Web
Post Categories
Buy my book!
Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Play radiologist

I can’t find the break in the intermediate phalanx. Can you?




Yup, deja vu

I don’t have cool X-rays like last time – yet – but I did break another finger. I have two small fractures, one in the finger tip and one at the proximal end of the intermediate phalanx (middle finger bone).

There’s no pain anymore. Most of the pain was emotional. I walked into Emergency at 9:55 p.m. and walked out just short of nine hours later. It had been a busy night, mostly with gastro patients who tended to vomit in the waiting room. I and my finger were low priority.

The mild pain I posted about from the waiting room had by midnight grown into real pain. The triage nurse could not give me any ibuprofen without a doctor’s permission and I was waiting to see the doctor, so I had to grin and bear it.

Once I saw the doctor, he was kind enough to get me some ibuprofen. I got the X-ray, the news, and a small splint.


What was worst about my experience was leaving the hospital to find that someone had rubbed Nibbler the wrong way.



Bonus animal:

Somehow, my allergic self has agreed to let this thing live with us permanently.


Does anybody have an in on inexpensive loratadine?

Deja vu

Yup, I took another softball in a fingertip.

This time, the nail didn’t split and blood didn’t spill.

It happened in the first inning of a doubleheader and had I left the game, we would have had to forfeit both games. So I moved to first base and did what I could.

Batting, I had even less power than I normally do and my finger would occasionally hurt like hell. It’s bearable otherwise, like a mild headache.

Nevertheless, I feel I should get it checked out so I’m sitting in Emergency, waiting for an X-ray at least.


Bar-mitzvah speech

Saturday was Child Three’s bar mitzvah. He performed well, after what was frankly a poor rehearsal the week before. Let’s hear it for misguided life lessons!

Our last out-of-town guests leave today and while it is a nice change to spend time with them, my freelance schedule is piling up. I have a deadline of the end of the week to subtitle a 50-minute documentary on spontaneous human combustion (cough, bullshit, cough), copy-edit a 36-page e-zine on NoSQL, copy-edit two shorter tech articles, apply to teach courses next year, and iFigure out why a client’s iCal won’t sync with his iPad or iPhone. Is it just me or has Apple gone downhill since Steve Jobs died? The new iTunes is crap, interface-wise.

So I’m blogging. And not about my pretend baseball team, which is riding Roy Halladay, Jason Motte, Matt Kemp, and Jay Bruce to ninth place.

Enough about me. Let me now discuss my speech, the one I gave at the bar mitzvah. Some people asked to see it, so here it is. It’s not a direct transcription, since I ad lib and some of this is from memory.

I’d like to start by pointing out that Child Three’s bar mitzvah is not the only special occasion today. As Elvi implied earlier, it is Star Wars day. May the Fourth be with you. And purely by coincidence, it’s Free Comic Book Day. If you go to a comic-book store today and ask, they’ll give you a free comic book. We didn’t know that until this week.

I learned on Facebook just a few days ago that today is also International Naked Gardening Day, and the weather’s beautiful, so go for it.

Here we are again, for what’s probably the last time in terms of my offspring.

I’d like to thank everybody for being here, especially those who travelled from all over North America. It is the NHL playoffs, so I’d like to thank them by team. We have people from the home territories of the San Jose Sharks, my sister from the land of the Vancouver Canucks, my brother from the Washington Capitals, and my brother, mother and Grandpa Marty from the AHL’s Houston Aeros, at least for a few more weeks.

There’s a huge contingent of family from the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Congrats on scoring a playoff goal this decade. Start planning your parade.

I don’t want to make this a downer, but there is something I have to acknowledge. I’m almost certain that everybody here who was at our girls’ earlier bat-mitzvah celebrations has, at one point or another this week, thought about someone who was around for those earlier occasions but isn’t with us now.

You know who I mean. He had white hair, was basically friendly but had his grumpy moments, and if we can be honest, he went through a lot of pain near the end of his life.

He even bit me when I was trying to help him. I still have a scar on the palm of my hand.

I speak, of course, of our late dog, Crash.

All the same could be said for my dad, except about the scar. He wasn’t strong enough to bite hard enough to leave a scar.

I wanted to honour my father in some way during this morning’s service without bringing down the mood too much, so what I decided to do was to wear this suit, which belonged to him. These are his pants. This is his coat.


And this is Crash’s coat.

Thank you all for coming.

Child Three, you drive me crazy sometimes, but we got there and passed with flying colours, mostly shades of purple. And if you think what you’ve done up to this point was hard, just wait until you have to sit down and write 200 thank-you notes.

(L to R) Synagogue president, Sister Tracy, Brother Jeff, cantor, cantor's husband, Brother Mitch, Mum (in pink), parnass.

(L to R) Synagogue president, Sister Tracy, Brother Jeff, cantor, cantor’s husband, Brother Mitch, Mum (in pink), parnass.

Another nice thing about Lose It

When you lose your supper multiple times overnight, you can go back and delete the entries that are now all over the bathroom.

I’ve lost four pounds since yesterday afternoon and that is not an exaggeration.

Go look up “norovirus”. I’ve worn a trough in the carpet between my bed and the bathroom.

Oh, hai

It’s been more than two months since I wrote here and, judging by all the fan mail and comments, none of you care.

I haven’t written because nothing exciting has happened. I’ve shared a few small things to Facebook, but I like to keep anything original on the blog. There’s been nothing original.

That’s not entirely true. There’s just been nothing I had much to say about. The big story since I last wrote a blog post is the demise of Crash. It got to the point where he was moaning nearly every waking moment and we decided it was time to put him down.

Here’s audio of his moaning. Children Two and Three are not clapping with glee at his suffering. Their glee is unrelated to the dog completely.

We said goodbye on Nov. 23, which I realized later was the one-year anniversary in the Hebrew calendar of my father’s death, 9 Kislev. Not a good day for shaggy white males, I suppose.

I’ve been extraordinarily exhausted since then, also unrelated to the dog completely. I’ve been sleeping ten to 14 hours a day. That’s not hanging out in bed, but actually asleep. I think I’ve figured it out. I hadn’t been using my CPAP machine, which meant I wasn’t getting any deep and restful sleep. I’ve started using the machine again and I’m getting back to normal.

Why wasn’t I using it? I like to snuggle Elvi in bed and that’s hard to do with 15 PSI of wind blowing on her. The CPAP machine also gave me a nightmare once, which led to a series of weird dreams during which I yelled in my sleep. My exclamations?

  1. Help! Help!
  2. Come here!
  3. Booyah!

Child Two heard me “booyah” and asked if I was OK. Apparently, I replied, “Can’t a dad booyah in his sleep without being questioned?”

So I’m back on the CPAP and I think I’m recovering. That I’m writing this is evidence.

Bonus stickers:

What can I say?


Animals of Maine

It’s been a while.

With the beginning of school, peewee hockey, and lots of other stuff to keep me busy and/or exhausted, I haven’t had time to blog. I might as well do it now while iOS 6 is downloading in iTunes.

As promised, here is a small album of animal photos I took while in Maine nearly a month ago.


The pink phase of the Heterocampa umbrata (white-blotched Heterocampa moth) caterpillar. The blotchy green caterpillars turn pink when ready to pupate.


A monarch chrysalis on day 11 of pupation. My iPhone focused on the background foliage instead.


This crappy photo doesn't do justice to this magnificent Orgyia leucostigma (white-marked tussock moth). See the video clip below.


Skunks are cute and a good way to attract them is to leave food on the ground.


Although rare, the toast-headed Samoyed can be found nosing around campfires.


This female bipedal pack mule shows none of the resentment common to the breed.


A rear view of the same.


Snuggling teens can only be photographed when unaware of the process.

Here’s a much better look at the white-marked tussock moth.

YouTube Preview Image

What belated event will I write about next? Stay tuned!

Bonus iOS 6 aggravation:

When you move apps more than one screen, the iOS dims the screen and refuses to comply. Just move apps one screen at a time.

Nature red in tooth and fin

I’m in bed and not feeling so hot. By bed, I mean between two sleeping bags on top of an air mattress.

Crash and I woke up first this morning, around 9:30. I let him out of the tent so he could pee on our campsite rather than in our tent. I followed him out but didn’t leash him since he nearly always sticks close by and he can no longer run. He instead chose to wander to the next campsite.

He walked over there and he tried to crawl under a picnic table stocked with food. I ordered him to stop, which usually works but didn’t. I bent to gently guide him backward and and he snapped, literally.

His canine punctured the palm of my hand. It bled for 15 minutes and I put Ozonol on it. It was no big deal.

After breakfast, we went to buy some cheap fishing gear and two fishing licences. Child Three and I spent the afternoon fishing from the pier in Searsport where we acquired three mackerel from the waters of Penobscot Bay. We traded them to another angler for three cleaned squid. No cleaning? Definitely worth the trade. The squid had mantles about eight to ten centimeters long and – I just had a taste – are delicious. It’s much better than frozen. I guess $30 mackerel/squid is the fishing tourists equivalent of the private pilot’s $100 hamburger.

I noticed during the afternoon that my hand was hurting up by the knuckles and that worried me a bit. While the family set up for supper, I headed off to Waldo County Hospital. Elvi’s insurance covers travel medical care.

After a bit of difficulty registering my foreign address, I saw a nurse.

“What happened?” she asked.

“My asshole dog bit me.”

“I can’t put that on the form.”

“Sure you can. I’ll spell it for you.”

I explained why he’d bit me and over the course of my visit I must have told five people that the dog had all his shots so we unfortunately didn’t have to cleave open his head (standard procedure for a rabies test).

“Can you describe your injury, please?” the nurse continued.

I lifted up my palm. “Stigmata!” I was feeling punchy, I guess. She laughed.

The exam showed I had a fever and an infection. They debrided the wound (ouch), washed it with iodine, and gave me amoxicillin. I also got a DTP shot because I couldn’t recall the date of my last tetanus shot. Five minutes later, I remembered that I’d gotten one when the softball obliterated my finger last October.

By the time I got back to the campsite, I was feeling chilly, headachy, and nauseated. It may have been psychosomatic but I felt like crap. I’ve been in bed since (it’s 9:00 p.m. now). I have a large bandage on my hand and I’m under doctor’s orders not to lift anything or otherwise exercise my right arm.

Bonus excuse:

I put no links or photos in this post for now because I have better things to do than wrestle with the WordPress app on my phone.

This is nice

Sun, not too hot, no mosquitos.



A short stop home

No, that isn’t a baseball-related title.

Elvi and I have been travelling a lot lately. We drove to Boston on Thursday, Aug. 2 so she could see Amanda Palmer in concert while I played on Child 2’s laptop and fended off blondes on the terrace outside.

As you know by last post, we stopped Saturday night in New Hampshire.

I’ve had a lot of work this summer and I used the subsequent week to catch up before heading to Cornwall for our friends’ annual pieces-of-pig-and-lamb roast last Saturday. I DJed the party after dinner, per usual. Up until that night, I’d been bitten by mosquitos only once or twice all year, which is a rarity for me. Those bastards love my blood.

By Sunday morning, I had 44 more bites. I counted them. They were mostly on my feet and ankles with a few up my shins to behind my knees. You in Texas, in California, in Florida – you might think you know mosquito bites. They swell up a bit, itch for a day or so, then go away. The mosquitos in the northeast aren’t so kind. They bite and it itches like crazy for days. I can still feel these four days later.

These were incredibly itchy. Normally I use Gold Bond ointment to relieve the itching of bites, but it did nothing this time. Nothing did until I read that Orajel and its benzocaine could numb the skin. That worked for about two hours at a pop. Once I ran out, I switched to Ozonol and its lidocaine. That worked for three hours per slather.

I have not slept well. I haven’t slept through the night since Saturday, and that was helped by a nice dose of coconut rum.

I’m hoping to get decent rest tonight because tomorrow we are driving to the Maine coast to camp in some woods. I’ll be sure to bring the Deep Woods Off.

Bonus maternal exclamation after reading the previous blog post:

“Since when are you an atheist?!”

Every click…
...contributes to world domination.