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Leopard White Mage
So, I'm 5 weeks into wearing my custom foot orthotics, and while I wish I could say I'm feeling 100% awesome, unfortunately I'm not. My knees are doing great, but my feet? Not so much. Walking around is pain free, but here's the rub: when I sit down, the pain starts. I'm not sure why that is, but taking off my shoes seems to help.

Also, I tried walking for about 20-25 minutes during lunch the last 2 days, and while my feet felt okay during the day, my symptoms picked up in the evenings. But only when seated at my desk. If I put on my shoes, walk around and do some chores, etc., the pain pretty much goes away. But when I sit down, it comes back. It starts with feeling my pulse in my feet, and slowly escalates to a burning sensation in both feet. I just don't understand it. As I type this, I keep having to move my feet around every couple of minutes, so I don't feel pain in whatever part has contact with the ground.

I see my pawdiatrist again next week, and we'll see what he has to say.

At least other aspects of my health seem to be okay. I weighed myself the other week, and I'm down to 170 pounds. (I'm 5 foot 10 inches in height) I'm doing my knee exercises every night and my core and lower body appears to be in pretty good shape. Mentally, I had an epiphany of sorts the other night, and was a huge relief to figure out. (and it helped my dreams/nightmares)

On Saturday, my mother stopped by, and she brought a present--a throw rug for my dining room:

My new dining room carpet My new dining room carpet

That rug really tied the room together, let me tell you.

On Sunday night, desteredra, dragonof31102, and orionvw stopped by and we had dinner. 3 women in my apartment at the same time? I think that's a record.

Since I'm not feeling better, I don't think I'll be doing that road trip in October. :-/ Well, between that, and the fact that I'll be out of town during 3 weekends that month.

And now, a Star Wars propaganda poster:



More Star Wars propaganda posters can be found here.
17th-Sep-2010 01:07 pm - Friday Five: Travel
Leopard White Mage
From thefridayfive...

1) What is your favorite mode of travel? (Car, train, plane, etc).

For long distances, definitely planes.

2) Where is the northernmost place you've traveled? The southernmost?

Copenhagen, Denmark back in 2005 or so. The southernmost of Los Angeles, for Dorsai Thing in 2007.

3) What is the last place you visited for the first time?

I guess that would be Frankenmuth, Michigan, for Dorsai Thing 35. (Seeing a pattern here?)

4) Of all the places you've traveled, which is your favorite?

I rather like Chicago, probably because I know so many folks in the area. (and Midwest FurFest is out there)

5) Where would you most like to travel to next?

That's a tough one. I didn't actually spend too much time in Copenhagen when I was last in Denmark, so I'd definitely like to check that city out. I'd also like to hit up Sweden and visit Stockholm. Maybe I could see The Vasa, a viking ship on display that is about twice the age of the United States, yeah.
14th-Sep-2010 09:34 pm - Some weird screen shots
Leopard White Mage
I've been seeing the darndest things lately, and I need to share them.

First thing is this ad:



It's less than funny, since Philadelphia recently declared war on cupcakes. Oh, and the post it's from has hippos!

Then I decided to rent a car from AVIS so that I could drive out to Western PA Furry Weekend in October. Simple enough, but wait, what's this? $931.47 to rent a Prius for 3 days?

AVIS wants $931.47 to rent a Prius for 3 days

Apparently so.

And finally, this winner is from a random auction on eBay:







Um, yeah. The seller is one JS Powersports. I uh, don't think I'll be buying anything from them like, ever. Threatening potential customers is usually where I draw the line. (And good luck with those jurisdiction issues)

I had no plans to find any of those stuff, it just came across my screen in the course of normal web browsing. Oh well.
13th-Sep-2010 12:24 am - Dinner this evening
Leopard White Mage
desteredra and myself ended up catching a ride with delphanaeous and orionvw down to Delaware earlier this evening to have dinner at a Red Lobster in honor of Del's birthday.

dragonof31102 mortonfox, and kitt3ns were also there, along with a few other folks who I didn't get contact info for.

I took a few pictures (the whole set is here):

Del and Thea Moon Mochi

Dinner Dinner

It was nice to get out of the apartment for a bit and go to reasonably sized furry social activity since Anthrocon. Helped my overall mood somewhat.
I think it's also the first time I did any sort of social activity in Delaware. :-P
8th-Sep-2010 11:13 pm - Health, WPAFW, and curtains
Leopard White Mage
So, I'm about 3 weeks into wearing my orthotic shoe inserts. I was hoping I would see straight up improvement, but that hasn't been the case. I've had a couple of flareups since then, but they don't seem to be nearly as severe as they were before I got the orthotics. I've also been walking around a bit more, having done a fitness walk at work last week, and have begun to walk around town in the evenings. It won't make up for my "lost summer", but it's a start.

I saw some improvement on the situation that was causing me nightmares a few weeks back. I've been discussing the matter with the person involved, and while I wouldn't say it's "resolved", I think we were able to at least have a meeting of the minds and make some progress on the issue at hand.

Earlier today, I got my hotel room for The Western PA Furry Weekend, and I plan on registering later in the week. I've never actually attended WPAFW before, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy myself there. Transportation is still up in there air. Worst case scenario, I'll just rent a car and drive out there. (I also found out that AVIS wants $931.47 to rent a Prius for 3 days, but that's a separate rant.)

As mentioned in a previous post, I finally got curtains for my apartment the other weekend, with the help of my mother, who has apparently done this before. :-P

Curtains Curtains Heavy Curtains

Since I didn't feel like drilling holes in the wall, I made use of some 3M Command hooks that I attached the wall. I found out that the trick to keep them from falling down is to swap the area heavily with rubbing alcohol, let it dry for an hour, attach the adhesive, let it sit for a full 24 hours, and then finally attach the hooks and put load on them. Otherwise, there is a risk of the hooks falling off, usually in the middle of the night. :-)

The curtains in the bedroom are quite awesome, too. They are the heavier kind that blocks out noise and light, and they do a pretty good job at it. My bedroom pretty much turns into a cave when the curtains are drawn, and I've noticed that daylight doesn't wake me up an hour before my alarm does anymore. Now I wake up when my alarm goes off, which means I'm getting more sleep each night. That's a nice win.

I also grabbed a new lamp and a cheap throw carpet (called "circuits", amusingly enough) to replace the ratty old blue one I had underneath my guest desk:

New carpet New lamp

Otherwise, my personal life has been pretty boring lately. Just going to work during the day and coming home in the evening. Having played through all of Half Life 2, Episode One, and Episode Two, I don't have a regular evening activity anymore.

I've felt better, but I've also felt worse, so I guess there's something to be said for that.
29th-Aug-2010 11:33 pm - Health, life, chat, and curtains
Leopard White Mage
PA Furries chat room

Things have gotten interesting with my feet. Early last week, I figured out a "trigger" that made them hurt: wearing shoes. It seemed that wearing my shoes the entire day apparently put enough pressure on my feet to make them hurt more. So the solution was to remove my shoes while I'm seated at my desk at work. That's not the preferred way to write code, but hopefully this will help my feet start the healing process so I can resume being active again.

In the later part of the week and this past weekend, I noticed that the pain in my feet changed a bit, as did the pain in my knees. This suggests that my orthotic inserts might just be doing their job. I'm 1.5 weeks into my initial 6 week run of them, so we'll see.

Late last week, alsaihn and turtyl_db swung by one evening. We hung out, chatted, and generally got caught up on things.

Somewhere in there desteredra and I got together a few times for food and general hanging out.

Some other actual work I did last week included deploying chat on the Pennsylvania Furries website. It's a web-based chat system that appears in the right sidebar for logged in users (as shown in the screenshot on the right), and seems to be pretty popular with folks on the site. I'm glad I set that up.

And finally, after living in my current apartment for 9 years, I got curtains for my place. Yes, curtains. It's too dark to get good pictures now, but I'll eventually post before/after pictures.
Leopard White Mage
(X-posted to anthrocon)

Fursuit Games Panorama

Want to win a Supersponsorship for Anthrocon 2011?

Design our 2011 website, and you can!

That's right, we're looking for a talented web designer to create our 2011 website, and we are now taking submissions! The winner, chosen by us, will receive a free Supersponsorship membership for Anthrocon 2011!


"What is the theme?"

The theme for Anthrocon 2011 is "The Anthropomorphic Institute of Magic".


"Sounds great, what do you need from me?"

We will need you to email a mockup of the website design to webmaster@anthrocon.org no later than 11:59 PM, September 25th, 2010.

We will also need a copy of the header graphic, the color scheme you'd like us to use for the text on the site (our stylesheet is right here), a default user icon to replace the current one, and a few membership badges for our fourms: [1] [2]. Additional graphics for use on the website are optional, but strongly encouraged. Graphics for the background are optional.

File attachments are welcome. Designs and graphics may also be uploaded to a site such as Drop.io.


"I'm not a wizard with HTML and CSS!"

That's okay. We are. :-) If you can get us the graphics and styles, we can handle the rest.


"I like Javascript, can I write some?"

You sure can! We use the jQuery Javascript library to power our site, and would be happy to install jQuery UI as well.


"I really don't like the layout of the current Anthrocon website. Can I change it up a little?"

You certainly may! This is your chance to get creative. If you have some ideas for different layouts of the website, we'd love to see them!


"May I submit more than one design?"

Sure. Enter as many different designs as you like.


"I'm not sure my entry was received!"

If you don't hear back from us after getting your entry, feel free to check in with us, or send me a Private Message through Anthrocon's website.


"Is there a fee to enter?"

No. Entry is free.


Legal stuff

You must be the owner of the copyright or the artwork must be in the public domain. Anthrocon asks for non-exclusive rights to publish submitted works for which you own the copyright.


"I have additional questions!"

Feel free to reply to this post, or contact me directly.
20th-Aug-2010 01:05 pm - Facebook: 65 million years ago
Leopard White Mage
I thought this was rather brilliant:



It's not unlike one of the talks I saw on 4chan and other online communities lately. Many people want to participate and not just passively consume, but are unable to do so. The rise of blogs, photo sharing communities, and meme generators makes it ridiculously easy for people to take that first step of creating their own content, instead of just consuming it.
18th-Aug-2010 09:38 pm - Got my orthotic shoe inserts today
Leopard White Mage
I picked up my orthotic shoe inserts today. This is what they look like:

My orthotic shoe inserts My orthotic shoe inserts

For those of you who have used Spenco Polysorb insoles, that's exactly what the top of them are. They're quite padded. The underside is a carbon mesh, with a rather high arch.

Wearing them feels interesting. To quote my doctor, "it's like there is a hand pushing up on the bottom of each arch".

Getting my muscles adjusted to these will also be interesting. And I don't mean the muscles in my feet, but rather in my legs! Since these orthotics rotate my feet on the Z-axis, this means that one half of the muscles on my leg will pull more than usual, while the other half will push more than usual. I was told to wear them for an hour the first day, then increase the wearing time by an hour each day. He explained to me that if I fail to do this, the pain will send me to the Emergency Room, because wearing them for a full day before my muscles are ready would be like going to the gym for a full day.

The next step is to see my pawdiatrist again in 6 weeks. He said that there's a 98% chance that I will, and I quote, "feel like kissing him on the lips". Yes, he really said that. In the remaining 2%, some imperfection may show up in the orthotics, which means they get sent back to the manufacturer for adjustment.

The manufacturer also offers a "protection plan". For $75, I can be enrolled for 3 years, which will protect my orthotics against damage or theft (LOLWHUT?). I'll probably go for that, just for the damage angle.

What this will do to my knees remains to be seen, but there's a pretty good chance I'll see some improvement there, since my feet will now be aligned properly. If I see substantial improvement, I intend to do some traveling. Possible destinations include New York City, driving west as far as Chicago, visiting Cheetah Pizza (you guys think I'm joking? Click the link!), or flying to Las Vegas.

More news as I get it.
15th-Aug-2010 11:14 pm - Weekend wrapup
Leopard White Mage
My feet were feeling fine early on in the week, until I had another flareup on Wednesday afternoon. It peaked on Friday night, forcing me to lay down on the sofa and go horizontal for most of the evening. It was not fun. I visited classmate Derek and his girlfriend (whose wedding I am a Groomsman in come October) on Saturday afternoon/evening, and we got to hang out, I showed him The Triplets of Belleville, and he showed me Chronicles of Riddick. It was a relatively average action movie, and not nearly as good as Pitch Black.

As of this (Sunday) evening, the pain in my foot has calmed down a bit. We'll see if I'm feeling any better tomorrow. Since I didn't hear from the pawdiatrist last week, I'll call tomorrow and see if my orthotics have come in yet.

I got some more bad news early last week. It's distressing enough that I've had a few nightmares over it and has had me feeling generally miserable and agitated. Unfortunately, I can't talk about it yet, because it hasn't yet been resolved. I hope to be able to get it sorted out soon.
13th-Aug-2010 01:00 pm - Friday Five!
Leopard White Mage
It's been awhile since I've done this. For those who wish to participate, start watching thefridayfive


1. Do you have insurance?

Yes. Through my employer.


2. What do you think of public option for health care?

I feel it's a very good idea. It's just not right that someone who works, pays taxes, and stays out of trouble should be bankrupted because a random case of Necrotizing Fasciitis came along and sent them to the hospital.


3. Should health insurance be mandatory? If so, should it be subsidized for the poor?

Hmm, I'm not sure about this. I just don't know enough about the concept of mandatory insurance and the pros and cons of such to know if it's a good idea or not. But maybe we should take these steps one at a time, hmm?


4. Do you think the health care industry and pharma make too much money or not enough?

Again, I just don't know enough about the topic. That said, I do not feel that those companies are necessarily good or evil, they're just doing what it takes to give returns to their shareholders, same as any other company. If we want to control or restrict what they do, then that's probably something for the legislative arena.


5. Would you leave the country if it meant that you would have no job but was assured health care?

Depends on my health, I guess! But if there's no job involved, then I would definitely move to Denmark. They have a very socialized system, which means I could collect unemployment and get health care. It's also the happiest country on earth.

And now, a bonus science video from none other than Carl Sagan:




This is the sort of video that I'd like to watch while holding hands with someone close. Does that make me a hopeless romantic, or just a hopeless science geek? :-)


 
8th-Aug-2010 10:28 pm - Last week's wrapup
Leopard White Mage
Lions Head beer in a glas with a Lion's headFirst, I had no idea that my last post would generate so many replies. I glad that folks like the pictures, though. So I decided to include another picture with this post, shown on the right. It was from last night, when davinwarter was visiting. I finally managed to find some Lions Head beer, and drank it from a glass that had a lion's head on it. I'm so clever! :-P

Otherwise, my weekend went pretty well. Davin and I bummed around town, I showed him the "blighted" section of Ardmore, I forced him to play Legends of Wrestling after he had a few drinks (it's horrific!), looking through the windows of the Apple Store, and then we watched Shaolin Soccer.

My feet seem to be doing better. I'm still having these cycles of feeling better for a few days and then feeling worse for a few days, but the worse days aren't all that bad. I seem to be on a definite uphill trend. With a little luck, I'll have my orthotics at the end of next week.

Late Friday night, I beat Half Life 2 for the first time. I was rather underwhelmed by the ending, unfortunately. But folks have already suggested that I pick things up in HL2: Episode One, which is said to be much better.

Next weekend is IndyFurCon. While I decided not to attend to my past/ongoing health reasons, I'm still a little stressed out over the convention. Awhile back the convention decided to use the services of The Dorsai Irregulars to provide convention security. One thing led to another, and I wound up as the "Contract Officer (CO)" for that specific contract, meaning that I got to negotiate things with the convention regarding what our responsibilities would be, what the duty posts would be, etc. It's the first time I've done this, so it was a bit of an experience for me.

I had another dream last night that involved wearing a fursuit at a con again. That was a wee bit strange.

Looking at my schedule and my finances, it looks like I missed enough conventions (FCN, Anime Central, and IFC) to save a substantial number of vacation days and money. When my feet and knees improve again, I think I'm going to go on some kind of trip, but where? Right now, the big thing that I'm thinking of is maybe a road trip for a week or more sometime in October. Either I would drive north and visit folks in the New York/Connecticut area, or perhaps drive west as far as Chicago. At this point I'm still kicking around ideas and considering different options. I think it's something I'd like to do though, since I've never done a serious road trip before. (vacation with my parents as a kid does NOT count)
Leopard White Mage
Here are two of storefronts that I especially liked:





There are 68 more pictures on the Denver Post. The photographs encompass everything from people to places to farms to train yards.

Looking at some of the pictures, it's pretty amazing to see how people lived back then. And all the advertising in the picture with the school children? Yeah, I don't think that'd go over too well today.
Leopard White Mage
I got some of the mental/stress issues that came up in July squared away. The bad news is that I'm single, but the good news is that my relationship status is no longer in a state of flux, which is where it had been for the past few months. I value stability, and having my situation be in said state of uncertainty for some months was starting to take its toll on me. I still have remaining unresolved issues on my plate, but they are about a different situation entirely and there is little I can do about them right now.

On the physical end of things, I got casted for my orthotic inserts last Thursday. Despite there being high tech methods for measuring feet for orthotics, my pawdiatrist explained to me that in this case, the simple methods are the best methods. The orthotics are expected to arrive in another week or two. In the meantime, I adjusted the inserts in my shoes, and started lacing them much looser, and have seen lots of improvement on the pain levels. That makes things much more bearable than before. Things for my physical health will probably continue in this holding pattern until I get my orthotics, at which point they should start to improve. Hopefully that will also take care of my knee issues and I can make a return to the gym.

Over the weekend I bought The Orange Box, and have been playing Half Life 2 in my spare time. For the first time ever, an FPS caused me to suffer from motion sickness. It turned out that the fix was to adjust the view angle from 75 degrees to 90 degrees. That fixed the problems I was having. Also, I'm on Steam as DmuthAtHome.

I also installed the Ubercart Drupal module on my development sever over the weekend and was very very impressed with what they had to offer.

I signed up for an account on InkBunny awhile back, and seeing as I like the interface there, have been visiting that site regularly: http://inkbunny.net/Giza Their feature of having account preferences that can filter out specific tags is a Big Win, because it means I can completely avoid tags which do not interest me, and therefore save time browsing the site. It integrates nicely with their search feature as well. It looks like they're past 10,000 submissions, and the site has scaled pretty well so far.

I also just signed up for Tumblr. Anyone else on there? My account there is: http://dmuth.tumblr.com/ I like what I see of the service so far, in that it's like Twitter but with more "depth" (no silly 140 character limit), and like Facebook but without being quite as "busy" interface-wise. They still need to work on their social integration, though. I can't seem to find any sort of a "friends page" on there.

I've found that I've been drinking a lot less over these last few months. For whatever reasons, my brain no longer associates alcohol consumption with "having a good time". The tolerance that I used to have? Gone. All it takes is 2 beers, and I'm starting to feel happy and buzzed. Meanwhile, my collection of scotch and rum sits lonely and neglected in my liquor cabinet.

Due to better eating habits, and keeping off the weight I lost, I'm down 1-2 shirt sizes. At the beginning of the year I wore Large and Extra Large shirts. Now I'm wearing Medium and Large. I've bought a few smaller shirts to see how the smaller sizes work out, but need to make sure that I'm not going to outgrow them when I eventually get back to the gym after recovering from my current health issues.
29th-Jul-2010 10:40 pm - jQuery in Firebug: How and why?
Leopard White Mage
There are a number of folks out there who use the Firebug extension for FireFox so they can debug webpages. Firebug also includes a Javascript console so you can execute arbitrary Javascript code against the current page.

If you're a fan of the jQuery library, there's a way you can use that in Firebug (first documented here):

var j = document.createElement("script");
j.onload = jsCallback;
j.src = "http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.pack.js";
document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(j);


Note that line I have in bold? That fires a function called "jsCallback()" after jQuery is successfully loaded.

"Why a fancy callback?"

As I learned the hard way, if I were to just put Javascript code following the jQuery code, it might get executed before jQuery is successfully loaded, leading to errors. While I could just re-run the code (as jQuery would already be loaded), I was looking for a better solution to the problem, and this is what I came up with.

"So what can I do this callback?"

I'm glad you asked. One way using jQuery in Firebug comes in quite handy is if you want to dissect another web page. For example, let's say you want to run a Google search, and extract the URLs in the search results. Here's how to do it:

/**
* This is executed after jQuery is successfully loaded.
*/
function jsCallback() {

    var e = jQuery("a.l");

    var output = "";
    e.each(function() {
        output += jQuery(this).attr("href") + "\n";
    });

    alert(output);

}

var j = document.createElement("script");
j.onload = jsCallback;
j.src = "http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.pack.js";
document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(j);



"I could write $.get() calls to load Google's search results!"

Good luck with that. FireFox won't let you do that due to the same-origin policy.

"Well, how about if I get Google's search results in JSONP format?"

Um, good luck with that, too. You won't get very far without an HTTP referrer header, I'm afraid.

"So if I want to do this on an ad-hoc basis, I have to dissect the Google search results page?"

Yep, exactly.


Got any other tricks you find really useful to do with jQuery in Firebug? Let me know in the comments! 
 
25th-Jul-2010 11:05 pm - Weekend wrapup
Leopard White Mage
This past weekend was pretty quiet. Being too injured/sore to drive 5 hours to Confluence, I instead took Amtrak down to davinwarter's place on Friday night, and spent the weekend there.

I did very little of my usual online stuff over the weekend, but instead spent most of it sleeping, socializing with Davin (who I haven't seen outside of a con in years), or having a few drinks. In the process, I've learned that my relative lack of consumption has turned me into a relative lightweight. How lightweight? Well, I spent more on food than booze this past weekend. That's probably a good thing for my liver.

On Saturday night, a bunch of us (Davin, November, ryvex, Dusk Dargent, Syme Lion, and others) went to Dog Fish Alehouse in Maryland for dinner and drinks. Many inappropriate jokes were cracked at the table by myself and others.

I got back home earlier tonight, and discovered that there was a bunch of activity on the PA-Furry website for the 2 days that I was out of town. Figures. :-)

I noticed that with my feet, it's not so much distance walked as it seems to be just wearing shoes is enough to press on my feet and aggravate my symptoms. That's not fun, but the more than I keep my shoes off (such as in the train), the less pain I have to deal with.
22nd-Jul-2010 05:25 pm - Diagnosis on my knee and feet issues
Leopard White Mage
Leopard's pawJust got back from the pawdiatrist's office about my feet, which began hurting quite bad at this year's Anthrocon and have continued to hurt since, laying me up for the last couple of weekends.

The good news: it's not neuropathy.

The bad news: it's my mom's fault.

Okay, maybe I should work my way back from that statement.

My pawdiatrist examined my x-rays and then my feet, and seemed impressed at the brain dumps I put together for him on my knee and feet issues over the past 3 months. He then went on to explain the big picture, starting with my hips. They're a little wider than they should be for someone my size, which means my knees aren't perfectly straight. This accounted for my knee issues (though the excessive cycling surely did not help, either!). From there, he pointed out that my feet also have high arches, which means that an abnormal amount of weight is being placed on the outside of the feet (where it hurts the most) as well as the balls of the feet and the heels. Age didn't help, either. My body was just too old to take the stress that I put on it at every Anthrocon, hence the problems happening this particular year.

So why are my hips abnormal in the first place? It has to do with how I grew in my mother's womb. Since I am a first born child, that means that the muscles in her uterus were tighter and caused my body to be a slightly different position as she carried me. Hence the bones of my hips forming differently.

And how to fix this? Fixing my hips (...how?) is right out, so the next best thing we can do is get orthotics to align my feet properly. That in turn will take some of the stress off of them as well as my knees. From there, it will be some months for my muscles in my knees and feet to fully adjust, since I have to undo about 33 years of mis-alignment first. (there may be more physical therapy involved) I have an appointment to get fitted for them next week, and they'll be delivered 2-3 weeks after that. They normally last a year for people who run marathons, and 3-5 years for the rest of us mortals.

As far as ongoing treatment, the doc said that foot baths and capzasin really won't do much, nor does the Piroxicam. The inserts I currently have don't hurt, but they won't completely help, either. Orthotics are pretty much the only option.

The big downside (aside from the pain) is that insurance plans generally don't cover orthotics, which means $500 out of pocket for me. But... I guess that's what my emergency fund is for. So that brings it down to a mere inconvenience.

Until I get this under control, I don't think I'll be doing much long distance travel, or even short distance travel. ConFluence (this weekend!) is right out, and so is IndyFurCon, I'm afraid, since the first one involves a 5 hour drive and the second involves stomping through a couple of airports. :-/ I'm hopeful I'm feeling better by FurFright and MFF, but we'll see. (I can still make it to DC this weekend, since that involves Amtrak, and mostly hanging out at davinwarter's place, as opposed to walking around a convention.)

I got plans the next couple of weekends, but I think in general if folks want to come visit on weekend (or give me a lift to local social events on weekends), I won't say no. I think the social interaction would be good for me anyway, and I can grace folks with my charming wit and witty intellect. (complete and total lies, BTW)

Oh, and being old sucks. :-P
20th-Jul-2010 09:47 pm - Caption. This. Picture.
Leopard White Mage


For those who don't know what this is, it is Dolph The Fascist Hippopotamus. I have a particularly unhealthy interest in him.
20th-Jul-2010 12:19 am - Monday night update
Leopard White Mage
I did pretty well this past weekend. I was able to walk around town and do some errands on Saturday, then take care of a couple of OpenID deployments.

On Sunday, orionvw, delphanaeous, and desteredra stopped by. There was food, a food coma, and a couple of movies. One of the movies was Over The Hedge, which I had not seen before.

My feet felt pretty awesome over the weekend, then started to hurt again today. That's really strange, and I don't understand it. I didn't walk much more over the weekend than I would have walked during a normal workday. 3 days until I see the pawdiatrist.

Naturally, the knees are feeling just fine.

A short while ago I got to write some code for the RPX module to deal with Googlebot not paying attention to 403 errors. That was fun. Here's the code: http://drupal.org/node/789704#comment-3223344. Other than that, I'm pretty happy with how the RPX module is working out on the sites I've deployed it on.

When I got off the train this evening, there was a big thunderstorm coming down. Kinda like... last Monday. The resemblance was creepy. So I hung out the shelter and took some pictures again.

The storm receding into the distance:

Looking East on the tracks

The only shot of the sun that didn't turn out bland due to my UV filter:

The sun peeks out from behind the clouds

Depending on how I'm feeling in a couple of days, I'm thinking of maybe training down to visit davinwarter this weekend. He needs someone to buy him beer for his birthday. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.
18th-Jul-2010 03:56 pm - Latest update
Leopard White Mage
My mental state have improved a bit since last weekend's "Diet Emo Post". One thing that still bothers me are the dreams I am having that involve a specific individual. I didn't ask for these dreams, and I don't want them. I'd really like to stop having them. Anyway...

Onto some other issues I talked about, one was my concern that part of me feels like an asshole. It was pointed out to me that what it really comes down to is impulse control. And if I had a real impulse control problem in my life, I'd have become intimately familiar with the legal system by now. Obviously that has not happened.

Social contact is something else I need to work on. I guess I need to get out more and interact with other people, be they furry or non-furry. That's easier said than done, though, because of transportation to the suburbs, and some interpersonal issues (see the part about me being a bit of an asshole). Not having a car also makes seeing people difficult, which leads me to...

Should I buy a car? Part of the reason why I sold my car is that it's just not practical to own one since I work in the city and take the train to get to work. The rest of my town is fairly walkable, and I have AVIS and ZipCar in case I need wheels for awhile. But being carless makes it difficult to just get up leave on any given weekend. That said, I'm having difficulty convincing myself to buy a car that I'm not going to use 90% of the time. While it'd cost less to operate the car (gas, maintenance), insurance costs would still be the same.

Earlier in the week, I did a health assessment at work. Here are my stats:

Blood pressure: 114/74
Resting heart rate: 69 BPM
Weight: 174 pounds

That's not too bad, considering my injuries have kept me out of the gym for 4 months and I started the year weighing 197. Right now, I wear XL t-shirts, and they're feeling a bit baggy on me. I'm debating going down a size to buying t-shirts that are size Large, but it would mean replacing quite a bit of my wardrobe. If only I knew some gay men who had fashion sense...

On the technical side of things, I played around with a Drupal module called RPX, which allows you to integrate Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, and just about any other OpenID-based login with a Drupal site. I went ahead and deployed the module on the Save Ardmore Coalition site, as well as the Pennsylvania Furries site.

I also went and set up OpenID delegation using my own website: http://www.dmuth.org/openid. But then I found http://drupal.org/node/214788, so I think I'm going to look into implementing that at some point.

And now, Sarah Palin and The Rape Kits (no, it's not a band):

Leopard White Mage
Bad news: I couldn't fall asleep until 4 AM last night. Good news: I slept like a rock. No unpleasant dreams for the first time in about a week.

In the morning, I was woken up for a change not by my alarm clock, but by a raging thunderstorm going on at about 8 AM. I got ready for work, and left my apartment to be greeted with this:

Rain and cars go *splash*!

See, that's the problem of living on a major street without sufficient drainage or a shoulder. When the rain comes down, the right hand half of the right hand lane turns into a river. And the sidewalk turns into a water park. The best umbrella and rain gear in the world wouldn't protect me against splashes like that.

I also got an appointment with the pawdiatrist... for next Thursday. So in the meantime, I need to rest my paws as best I can.

Aside from that, I did some work on the Pennsylvania Furries website tonight. At the suggestion of kitt3ns, I created an Introductions forum and moved all the existing intro posts into it. I also banged on the user template and forum template and made the "species" field from user profiles clickable. Examples of how this field can be used now:

http://www.pa-furry.org/profile/profile_species/Wolf
http://www.pa-furry.org/profile/profile_species/Raccoon
http://www.pa-furry.org/profile/profile_species/Leopard
13th-Jul-2010 12:08 am - How Monday Went
Leopard White Mage
Today was still pretty rough on my feet, so I saw the doctor. I was literally able to walk over after making the phone call, and was the only patient there. The doctor took one look at my feet and said, "you did everything you could, go see a pawdiatrist". So off I went to get an X-Ray, and called the pawdiatrist's office earlier today. Waiting for them to call me back now.

I got a CD with the images on them, and discovered they were in some new format, known as DCM files. Basically, high resolution bitmaps with patient data encoded in them. I finally found a free command line utility called NConvert that would turn them into PNGs. Then I uploaded them to Flickr:





Later, on the way home, I got caught by a nasty rain storm and stranded at the train station for about 15 minutes while waiting for the sky to clear. I got these pictures:



Those X-Rays are now on my iPod Touch for when I visit the doctor. :-)

Finally, delphanaeous and orionvw stopped by for a bit. The original plan was to do dinner and then watch a movie. It sorta degenerated into us whipping out our laptops and inflicting YouTube videos on each other. Still, we had fun.

I think my mental state is starting to get back to normal, but I'm still having trouble sleeping, and have dreams I don't want when I do. Not sure what I can do about that. It'd be much nicer if I didn't have any dreams at all, really.
11th-Jul-2010 11:25 pm - Sunday night wrapup
Leopard White Mage
I felt a little better today, both mentally and physically. Still spent most of the day on the sofa watching Mythbusters and Deadliest Warrior (Nazis vs Viet Kong!) I talked with a few friends today and earlier in the weekend, and that helped, too.

I got some insights into why I've been feeling the way I do, and what I can do about it. I think I'll expand on those in an LJ post tomorrow since it's late, and I'm hungry and tired.

I'm still not sleeping right, and haven't for several days now. Hope I can sleep a little better tonight since I figured a couple of things out.

Work tomorrow should be interesting. I wonder how much my feet will hurt. Hopefully I can see my doctor earlier in the week rather than later.

Oh, and there's a Beavis and Butthead application for the iPhone now:



http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/beavis-butt-head-iphone-ipod/id369225211
10th-Jul-2010 11:19 pm - Summary of Today
Leopard White Mage
Summary of Today

I'm not feeling quite as bad off as I did yesterday, but today was no walk in the park, either.

The issues in my feet that started at Anthrocon flared up again on Thursday night, and still persisted today. Basically, I felt like both of my feet are on fire. That's a very unpleasant sensation, and walking is right out.

So I spent most of today either doing random stuff on the computer or laying on the sofa watching TV. At least I got to watch Tales From The Hood. I didn't leave the apartment, and I didn't eat much. Just haven't felt hungry. :-/

Since this is the second flareup since Anthrocon, I think I'm going to call the doctor first thing Monday morning. But I'm not very optimistic, since burning sensations are generally due to nerve issues, which means a very long recovery time. :-(

I'd be lying if I said these health issues aren't contributing to the funk I'm in, too. First my knees have issues, and then as I start to feel better, my feet have god-knows-what wrong with them. What did I do to myself? :-P

Thanks to those of you who contacted me privately. I got a couple of useful insights from that.

On an unrelated note, unlike the iPhone 4, the HTC Evo prints money:

9th-Jul-2010 08:09 pm - The Diet Emo Post
Leopard White Mage
Those of you who have read my Tweets or talked to me online have probably caught on that this has been a pretty rough week for me. Work's been fine, but there have been events taking place in my personal life that I don't have much control over, and don't want to elaborate on.  I've discussed the situation directly with the other party (someone whose friendship I value), which helped quite a bit, but it doesn't change the overall situation with me much, nor did I particularly expect it to.

I'm making this post mainly to get some of these feelings off my chest, but I don't want to start drama or meddle in other peoples' affairs either.  I've turned off comments for similar reasons. Getting comments along the lines of, “Everything will be alright” or "I hope you feel better soon" is certainly appreciated, but I do not believe it will help me in the long term or solve whatever underlying issues I may have.

A couple of friends have suggested that I talk to a professional.  I've actually been doing that for well over a year now.  I have a professional diagnosis, and it happens to be that I am perfectly sane.  No mental issues, personality disorders, etc. in my head.  Many of the issues I seem to have are caused by stress, or at least things that stress me out more so than other people.  Helping me identify some of the stressors (and ways to avoid them) has helped lots, but it's not perfect, and neither am I.

Part of my issues arise from the fact that I feel there is a part of me that seems to be quite unhappy, and even a bit of an asshole.  For those who know me online and in real life, sure, I keep that part under wraps most of the time, but it's still there, and it still gnaws at me.  Sometimes I even become worried that part of me will get out of control and cause damage or otherwise behave inappropriately.

This video might help make it clearer about what kind of emotional tightrope I feel I walk on sometimes:




Even if you don't care about me, I think you'll find the video interesting.  The speaker is Philip Zimbardo, who ran the famous Stanford Prison Experiment.

Part of me also feels that I am doing something fundamentally wrong in my life, and it is somehow causing me some of the issues that I have. But what do I need to change or add?  I'm just not sure.  Do I need to switch jobs/industries?  Work less conventions/more conventions?  Start drinking heavily again?  Find someone special?  Travel the world?  Invade Denmark again?  Discover a cure for cancer?  Start playing online multiplayer games?  I just don't know.  It's difficult to analyze my situation since I am in the middle of it, and therefore a biased participant.

To quote someone I dated many years ago, "Life can be confusing sometimes".

So... what's my next move?

[Edit: If you want to follow up with me, sure. My contact info is here, or you can send me a private message.]
 
 
 
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