Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Bit of Rock and Roll

This is old news for many, but…

Just a bit before 11:00 this morning, I realized that my office was shaking. It was gentle enough that I had to confirm it by looking at papers and stuff hanging on my walls.

Once I’d confirmed others had felt it, I checked with the USGS and determined that there was a 5.8 or 5.9 magnitude quake in Northern Mexico, not too far south-east of Calexico.

So far no damage reported in San Diego county, and fairly minor damage in Imperial County.

In spite of reports of this being felt in the L.A. area, Derrick claims to have felt nothing — but he could have just ignored it if the TV had eaten his attention sufficiently.

…And There Aren’t Any Mentos in it

Since my surgery, I’ve been finding it easier to drink through a straw. (People who’ve known me over the last 25 or so years may have noted my tendency to not use straws, but that has changed). So, just now I grabbed a Diet Coke out of the fridge in the break room (instead of going up one floor for a Diet Pepsi), opened it up and put a straw in it — and kept having foam rise to the top of the straw and pour down the side. I’ve not seen that effect with Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi over the last week.

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that Diet Coke works better than other sodas for the soda+mento reaction.

Not Happy

I just downloaded an upgrade to Daz Studio, which takes me (apparently) from version 1.x to version 3, and gives me lots of new features I want.

However, when I launched it, I was informed that my Open GL driver is out of date. Some inquiries on the web, and I determined that I still have the most up to date graphics driver for my built-in graphics card.

Now, I’m left with no working copy of Daz Studio (I might be able to reinstall the old version, if I can find the install file) unless I do some sort of an upgrade.

I could try upgrading just the graphics card. But, the AGP port on this motherboard has proven to be unstable (I’ve twice discarded AGP graphics cards and gone back to the built in card for this reason). I might be able to use a PCI card, but only if I could find one that was compatible with a four-year-old to six-year-old (or so) mother board, but new enough to be both available and support the current Open GL.

Second choice I could buy or build a new Windoze machine. I’m extremely reluctant to do this because I know the grief that I have from Windows. Basically, I have to lock the machine down and keep everything I think of installing on it, or I risk having it turn into the borderline PoC that my current computer is. Once I loose one update, the chances of restoring the system from a fresh install is low, and if I install and uninstall stuff — as I’m likely to want to do — I risk creating so much registry garbage that my system becomes unstable. This has happened to every windows machine I’ve owned, unless I’ve kept it nearly pristine (i.e. my laptop and work machines). I’d also want to be sure that I could actually go with XP since I’m convinced I don’t want to go near Vista, and unconvinced that Windows 7 would be worth the risk.

Choice 2.5 would be to buy or build a Windows class machine, but try to make it into a so-called “Hackintosh.” But I’m not sure I’m up to having a Mac that I cannot get some level of support and assistance on — especially for things like migration.

Third choice would be to buy a mac mini (or if money were even less of an object a mac pro).

But, I’m trying to not spend even the money for a low-powered windows class system (which might be a bit of an improvement over my current system just because of cores and proc. speed), certainly not what I’ve priced either of the other options at (approximately the same).

For now, I may just try to back down Daz Studio and see if I can at least get back where I was (and still be reluctant to do much digital art due to the obnoxious of my slow computer)

Cartoon Without Picture

I’ve often thought, if I could get the accompanying illustration right (I’m not sure if I have the right characters, costumes and props to do it with DAZ Studio+Bryce), I’d like to create a cartoon.

The cartoon would depict an adult couple sitting in a somewhat futuristic house, looking out the window at kids playing.

The caption would read “What is the mater with kids these days. Here the electricity is on, and they are wasting the day outside instead of in here watching TV and playing video games”


After listening to a CNN report (and waiting 15 or 20 minutes for them to get around to it), it sounds like our travel on Wednesday will be unnecessarily frustrating.

Semi-political ranting/venting follows

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

And more so to those of us who celebrate the coming of Emanuel and the birth of Our Savior.

Odd things that are problems

robot_grrl and I just got back from Christmas Eve Service at Daybreak Church. The service was as I’d expect — a lot of music all traditional songs, but not traditional settings (since the church has no traditional choir nor an organ), and a strong and straightforward, but friendly and easy to digest message.

But what I noticed was how my surgery a week ago has impacted me. It caused me two problems during the worship singing. First, I couldn’t look up at the screens as easily as I normally do, since I still (and may for some time) have trouble lifting my chin above half-way. But, of a bit more surprise since I’ve had no vocal effects since last Friday, was how tiring singing was.

Of course it didn’t help that they sang “O Holy Night” during the candle lighting, and that song already stretches my natural range (I have to sing one or two octaves below just about everyone else to even have a hope of reaching the high notes in the chorus).

Nor did it help that early in the service the combination of signing and other factors gave me a bit of a coughing jag.

But my recovery (at least from the surgery) is well along, and I’m doing pretty good otherwise.

To Yuma and Back!

This morning, robot_grrl and I (Tara did all of the driving, since I’m not allowed to drive until I can turn my neck) took Derrick to Yuma where we met her parents. Derrick will stay with them in Coolidge Arizona until Christmas when they will all return here for a few days.

We got moving about 8:15, and after briefly disagreeing with the GPS over the first part of the route, we headed down its suggestion of taking CA-52 around to CA-125 (at the moment they basically end at each other, although one or both will eventually be extended).

The drive wasn’t too bad for me. We did stop for gas and a stretch in El Centro on the way out. We got to Yuma about 20 minutes after my in-laws, and quickly found them at The Cracker Barrel. After lunch, we cross-loaded Derrick’s stuff and Tara and I headed back. The trip back was straight through until we got gas in Oceanside.

— (Now for the TMI)

I’m doing pretty good. I’m still getting some drainage out the drain, but its a lot less than yesterday, and a lot clearer. I’m also not as sore in some places, but the incision itself is actually more sore (or I’m at least noticing it more).

I did consider letting Tara do the drive herself, but I’m glad I went with her — and not just because I like getting the country ham at Cracker Barrel 🙂

Home from the Hospital

Since Tara ended up posting to her Facebook account, not to mine — and definitely not my LiveJournal account — people may not have gotten the updated yesterday.

Yesterday’s surgery went quite well. From my perspective the only interesting thing was a minor, but briefly worrisome mistake made when trying to get the IV going (for the first time in her career, the nurse managed to get the wrong kind of blood vessel).

The surgery itself was about half again as long as planed (3 hours instead of two), since the nodule on my right side was even bigger than had been thought. For the same reason, I also have a larger incision.

I stayed in the hospital overnight, not that I slept all that well between the discomfort, the strange bed, and the strange noises.

This morning the surgeon’s partner (he doesn’t work on Fridays, so she follows up on his patients from Thursday surgeries) checked everything out and said I could go. Of course it was about another four hours before the nurses got everything together and I actually made it home.

I’m on calcium supplements for the next few weeks, and on thyroid replacement for the rest of my life (which apparently has to be taken BEFORE breakfast, unlike the rest of my daily meds). I’ve still got a drain, which should come out on Monday, and stitches that should come out on Wednesday.

Thank you for the prayers and good thoughts.

Surgery Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning at 7:15, I report to Tri-City Medical Center (which is Tara’s employer, for what its worth) for my thyroid surgery. The surgery is scheduled to start at 8:30, and according to the pre-op nurse last Friday the O.R. is booked for two hours.

I’m going to try to give Tara my phone and instructions so that she can quickly update my status on Facebook (easier to get to from the phone), or possibly twitter if I see evidence that the link is working.

Hopefully she’ll also post something on Live Journal once she gets home.

At this point, I expect to be discharged sometime on Friday.

If you are interested in sending prayers, or other positive thoughts, my way I’d appreciate it.