When I go in for my dental cleaning, I like to avoid the ambient light rock, so I bring my own music. Usually I wear the same noise-reducing earphones I use while flying, but today I wore a more open in-ear model which I bought for running. I listened blithely with the hygienist leaning over my shoulder never really considering the relative lack of isolation of my new earphones.

Until the iPod shuffled up Eminem's "Under the Influence."

Yeah, I'm not sure what my hygienist thought of that.
Since I first got contact lenses I've dreaded this day, having witnessed [livejournal.com profile] rahael's painful experiences with the affliction. Last night, after going for an evening walk, I noticed that the astigmatism in my right eye was more prominent than usual. A couple of hours later, the vision in that eye developed a milky cast; when I went to the bathroom to remove my contact, I was confronted with a blazingly red bloodshot eye. Goop was starting to collect under the lower eyelid, itself already sensitive to the touch. I washed it out and went to bed, sure that I'd wake up with my eyelashes encrusted together. I'm almost certain that this is a hay fever reaction, as the crud and the sensitivity have disappeared since I took a Claritin, but in consulting Dr. Google, the hypochondriac's friend, I was surprised to learn that there's an actual epidemic. I'll have to see the optometrist tomorrow; though the goop and pain have subsided the redness remains. The one positive, though, is that being against a blood red background really brings out the green in my eye. It's almost Christmassy!

I've been thinking recently about ways to accentuate the colors of my eyes -- the irises, though, rather than the whites. My eye has, at certain times, a gold ring around the pupil, and I'm convinced that this is a product of exposure to the sun. Now harnessing the power of light for cosmetic reasons is a technology as old as lemon juice, and it's been artificially applied to methods for taking the brown out of your teeth and putting it into your skin. But I don't think anyone's capitalized yet on the photoreactivity of irises. I propose the creation of a portable, antiseptic, home bleaching system for the iris. This would consist of a small but powerful blue-white light bulb -- I'd guess that about 150 watts would do it -- with a comfortable shroud for isolating each eye, perhaps clamping back those pesky eyelids, and a convenient rechargeable battery pack. I haven't yet moved into the prototype phase, but I have expectations that it could significantly lighten and brighten the user's irises, and should be effective enough to produce whitening of the cornea as well. I discussed this idea with my optometrist, but she wasn't enthusiastic. And I thought eye care professionals were supposed to be crafty investors.


Feb. 24th, 2005 05:52 pm
A gratuitous icon post, for this:

Some might remember that I exclaimed "Icon!" when we reached this moment (just after Flash has accidentally fired several Thanagarian missiles into the east wing of Wayne Manor) in our viewing of "Starcrossed" at the last ATPo Gathering. And here we are, only eight months later!

This icon was an unintended consequence of my recent dalliance with BitTorrent. Before, making my own screencaps was a laborious process involving a camcorder, a memory stick, and technical assistance from Rube Goldberg. Now, it's just a matter of PrntScrning the right frames in VirtualDub.

I could go on about the technical process, but what most interests me is that I managed to misquote Batman. What he actually says in the episode is "That's not helping!" I have managed to make a statement more antisocial than that made by a semi-psychotic, overly violent loner.

And, indeed, looking at my icons . . .  )
After much searching, I finally found something to do in London that isn't at all fun. [livejournal.com profile] rahael and I were eating breakfast this morning -- cereal with blueberries and bananas -- when I felt something in my mouth that might have been an unripened blueberry, were blueberries just a tad more metallic. I fished around and pulled out a small silver-pewter object -- I had lost a filling. Joy. So now I have an appointment with a dentist on the Kensington High Street tomorrow, and until then I'll be eating with a ginger touch. And since we're having Thai tonight, what I eat will have a touch of ginger.

[livejournal.com profile] rahael has updated about our journey through the Cotswolds, but she's left her readers where I left her, in the Spa Station at Bath. After seeing her off, my father and I drove out of town, where we quickly came upon a sign for a "Canal Visitors' Centre." On a whim we checked it out: there was no sign of the "Visitors' Centre" I had feared, with its dioramas of 19th Century canal construction and earnest display cases featuring artifacts of the lives of the digging classes; instead there was a little cafe and, lo!, a canoe rental. So we paddled between the narrowboats for a bit. The canals of high-rent Amsterdam had prepared me for the adaptations people would make to the narrowboats to make them liveable (though I saw only one with a satellite dish), but nothing prepared me for our right turn onto the aqueduct.

Apparently, the engineer decided that he could build a nine-mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal without a single lock, an impressive feat, but only if he took the canal from one side of the valley to the other. Twice. So he built aqueducts. (There was apparently a bit of local politics in the building -- the architect was convinced that only brick would be sturdy enough a material for the aqueducts, but the local industry was based on limestone, so the architect was overruled.)

There we were, canoeing over not only a river, but a road and the railway. The canal on the other side of the valley was peaceful, nearly empty of the narrowboats that had crowded the canal before, and well-populated with ducks. At one point, I looked to my left and realized that I was seeing the tops of trees. In my (admittedly very limited) experience, when I've been paddling and could see ground below me, I'm generally trying to figure out how to run the whitewater at the bottom, but the water in the canal was perfectly flat.

After returning the canoe to the rental shop, we drove to Stonehenge. We had been warned that it would be overrun with tourists, but at six-thirty in the evening it's nearly empty, almost idyllic. The National Trust won't let visitors anywhere near the monument, though, and it closes well before I could attempt to line up the sunset with anything, so no archaeoastronomy for me.

The next day we visited Bournemouth (which is much the Jersey Shore were the boardwalk tarmacked) and Winchester (where I did not dance on Jane Austen's grave). Then it was on to London where I was reunited with [livejournal.com profile] rahael. And now I sit in Leytonstone, trying to munch cakes with only the right side of my mouth.


Apr. 6th, 2004 01:54 am
Yet another gratuitous icon post arising from my experiments with the digital camcorder's ability to transfer still video from tape to memory stick as a JPEG. The annoying thing is that this transfer involves hitting a button marked "photo" exactly as the frame I want rolls onscreen. There's a lot of trial and error, and I got a little trigger happy, meaning that if anyone wants about forty-nine extraneous screenshots of giant Green Morays, I'm the man to ask.

The first shot is from my most recent trip to Bonaire. It is the only one shot with the digital camcorder; it is also the only frame I felt I had to lighten. The other two pictures come from last year's trip. When I encountered the moray in the second frame, he was trailing about three feet of fishing line from his mouth. A situation like that is exactly why I always carry a pair of dive scissors, and I left him so that he was burdened with only nine inches -- nine inches being about as close as I was comfortable extending my hand towards his mouth. The third moray was being cleaned by three different shrimp. Two Coral Banded Shrimp were working on his head and body while the Scarlet-Striped Cleaning Shrimp in the picture took care of his teeth and gills. I spent about ten minutes videotaping the process.

For those who have wondered at my interests, the Linnean name for the Green Moray is Gymnothorax funebris. Gymnothorax translates, more or less, to "bare-chested," a term which in LiveJournal icon circles more often applies to James Marsters.
I lost a filling today. Wahhh!!! So tomorrow, I have to not only say goodbye to [livejournal.com profile] rahael, but say hello to the dentist.

From the first political preference quiz disguised as a first-person shooter:

This is very inaccurate: I am not a typical Democrat, I'm the very atypical Libertarian who votes Democrat a lot. I love the idea of Starbucks, but their coffee is ditchwater compared to Caribou's. I consider The New York Times my Zend Avesta. And I only think less of some people from the South because we're directly related. Family reunions were often emotional hellholes.

And, yeah, I'm most likely voting for Kerry.
Today's number is 5:41.

Any day a cat does not die is a good day. I thought I was going to lose the little one today: around 10:30 last night, he became lethargic and wouldn't eat. By three, he was completely uninterested in moving. It was far too late to take him to the vet, so I put him in a warm, comfortable spot and tried to get some sleep. When I got up, I couldn't find him: he had somehow climbed down two flights of steps and curled up in the litter box in the basement. He was by now completely limp and breathing only shallowly. I called the vet, and they told me to bring him in at 11.
I had a previously scheduled dental appointment for 11 (my dentist is just down the road from my vet) so I planned to drop him off and check back after my cleaning.

I don't think I adequately conveyed the seriousness of the situation when I got there, but once the receptionist saw him, she rushed back to get the doctor. From what I understand, he had a blocked bladder; when they catheterized him, they drew pure blood. His temperature had dropped to 98 degrees (cats are supposed to run hotter than humans). Now, though, they tell me he is recovering nicely. He's on fluids and a heating pad, and is apparently alert and responsive. They'll release him either tomorrow evening or Friday.

I was sure when I got back to the vet's after my appointment that I would have been picking up an empty carrier; but I should not have doubted that this cat is charmed. I found him in my back yard when he was no more than four weeks old, covered in flies and yellow, pollen-like eggs. He had a wound in his neck where eggs laid by a different parasitic fly had hatched. He could fit into the palm of my hand and was practically nothing but head. But he survived that, and grew up healthy. This is the first health problem he's had since then.

I'll have to go back to the dentist in a week for some drill and fill, but today was a good day.
I had my teeth cleaned yesterday. I had my new hygienist, Debbie, who is either some sort of genius in her ability to clean my teeth without ever reminding me that there are sharp metal objects in my mouth, or totally incompetent. I've looked in the mirror, so I guess I'll go with the first. However, during the cleaning, I kept asking her to go back and scrape some more. Somehow, I don't feel like it's a complete dental check-up until someone's jabbed into one of my nerves. I feel dissatisfied unless I've been through some amount of pain before we get to the floss; I feel somehow guilty. I mean, I know the shape my teeth are in -- I know I deserve some sort of punishment. I don't think I'm particularly masochistic, but get me in a dentist's chair and I start feeling a need for contrition.

Anyway, tonight being Tuesday, it is my sacred duty as a LiveJournalist to offer my thoughts on Buffy:

Thoughts on 'End of Days' )

I won't be updating my journal for the next few days, but don't worry about me: I'll be happy. Very happy, if you know what I mean and I (considering that this LJ has a readership of at most eight and possibly as few as one) think you do.



April 2009

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