Sunday, 14 August 2016

Serendipity, Spasms, Sirens and Soreness

The word of the week is OUCH.

Aug 8 – Sprung Hamstrings?

It's amazing that I can somehow hurt myself without even trying…

Yesterday evening, I did my usual 30 min. exercises on my stationary bicycle, not pushing myself hard whatsoever: just an easy ride with a slow buildup and slow down, exactly as I have for months now.

What was different is that I did it at 7:30pm, instead of right after work and didn't do more than sit around for the rest of the evening working on my blog.

Big mistake, apparently.

I awoke at 3 AM this morning with twin lines of fire running down the back of my legs: my hamstrings felt like I'd pull the money have to machine. It was bad enough that I was nauseous a few times and had trouble getting back sleep for more than an hour afterwards. I had trouble walking in the morning and though I managed to stay mobile, it was difficult to sit for good part of my day with any comfort and I had to move around often in order to allay the pain to manageable levels.

Adding insult to injury, when I got home tonight, my desktop computer displayed this message:

Well, f$*k.

It’s been a few years since I’ve last been down the failed-computer-drive road, and while I’ve prepared for such with redundant backups of my data offline and in the cloud, it still means that I’ve got to rebuild my drive to exactly how I had it configured. Meaning a few weeks of installing, tweaking and head-scratching.

Not to mention replacing the dive( a new SSD too, only 9 months old! )which fortunately is still under warranty.

I’ll probably end up investing in a total-image backup software solution this time around, meaning nightly backups of the entire boot drive so I can just reload a copy of the previous day’s drive and go on about my business as if nothing happened. That won’t be as easy if I decide to get a bigger drive; even the current 240gb one means a sizable backup.

Aug 9 – Tent City Gone, Homeless Remain

Yesterday was the deadline for the homeless camp downtown to move out.

Most of its residents had complied with the court order by late yesterday, though there were a few holdouts waiting for room placement elsewhere in the city. Surprisingly, it was quite an orderly resolution to the problem that began late last year, when homeless campers in Victoria discovered that the land next to the city courthouse was owned by the province and so did not fall under the city's jurisdiction: nobody could tell them to leave at 7 AM like they had to in city parks or other city-controlled areas.

Things just went downhill from there; soon dozens of homeless had set up camp on the courthouse lawn, and remain there until yesterday.

It's ongoing issue, homelessness in the city, and there's no one single answer to it. The low vacancy rate and high rental costs mean that many people, even those with jobs, cannot find affordable housing, though $60 million in funding has been allocated for such to begin in a month's time by local government. The easy living in Victoria in terms of weather means that many homeless end up here and never leave, simply existing in the cracks that society leaves for them without really wanting to look too closely.

The fact that Tent City stood in plain sight for everyone to see for almost a year means that at least the issue was out in the open, and because of that, housing was made available for many of its former residents. However, the issue remains that the costs have to be borne by someone and there are many angry taxpayers in the city asking why it has to be them.

On a side note, I went tonight for acupuncture to help deal with my hamstring issue. The soreness is still pretty bad, to where I have to watch my every move lest I ‘twang’ my legs with any movement to cause even more pain.

Happily, the acupuncture tonight succeeded in reducing the soreness to a dull ache. It also resulted in my right leg feeling like the muscles had been pinned together near the knee… as turned out to be the case when I got home to discover the therapist had missed removing a needle – OUCH! Fortunately, the tip was only bent after the short trip home by car and hadn’t broken off INSIDE my leg; I was lucky.

At this point, it’s not so bad that I can’t sleep, but I have to watch it: no way I want to stretch too far without thinking and have things go all widdershins…

Aug 10 – Stomach Spasms

Gah… can’t I even enjoy a simple meal this week without pain?

My lady and I sat outside on a patio at Garrick’s Head Pub after work tonight, enjoying the glorious weather and the good food. I had a chicken burger and 1.5 beers… which I ended up regretting later that night.

As I was going to bed, I still felt… full, oddly so. Laying back down, I had sudden sharp pains in my diaphragm area, as though I’d pulled a muscle – OUCH! I noticed that my stomach felt tight, but not bloated… what the heck was going on?

Since I didn’t feel otherwise inconvenienced, nor nauseous or feverish, I decided to let whatever was going on work itself out, with some help. I propped myself up on the pillows at a 45-degree angle and went to sleep.

Sidenote: the next morning was rather painful for me, with oatmeal barely staying down. From what I could figure, the meal yesterday at Garrick’s had been too large and I'd complicated things by ‘expanding’ due to the more-than-usual volume of liquid I had with it, effectively ‘plugging up’ my intestines – hence the OUCH spasms. Since I don’t have a gall bladder any more, any large meals take much longer to digest, and apparently I crossed that threshold with that burger and beers.

Next time, it’s water with the meal, and beer after.

Or, just beer and snacks.

Or just water…

Aug 11 – Silence, Sirens!

I don't know how urban dwellers can stand the noise.

My apartment where I live right now is about 20 feet from a main north-south road and there is constant traffic during the daylight hours. Apart from the bevy of motorcycles roaring up and down, there are always heavy delivery trucks, transit buses and pickups with lead footed drivers wanting to show off their pricey V8 or V12 engines to every passerby.

Yet I think the most telling noise pollution are the constant sirens.

Every day, at least a dozen emergency vehicles flash by my apartment, sirens wailing. Their proximity is such that I usually have to plug my ears its windows are open, but at least I can hear them coming with enough warning to do so.

If I'm experiencing the stored of siren-noise in a semi-suburban area of the smaller city, I can't imagine what kind of noise people in larger cities must have to deal with.

Unfortunately, it looks like the Whisper noise-canceller system( designed for entire apartments )isn't going to happen, with less than 2% of its 785,000 NZD goal realized and only a week to go:

It's a shame, because I think a device of this type is sorely needed in urban areas, if only to reduce the noise that people experience living so close to one another. I know that I gladly purchase this device if it was less than $500, as the Kickstarter looks to have cost, even with shipping. Yet someone else will have to come up with this and tried in the future, as the Whisper looks to be sounding quite dead at this point.

Aug 12 – Sitrep

In the afternoon, I had my massage appointment I’d been waiting all week for.

It took me about 20 minutes to get there, walking slowly downtown, with the idea of stretching my legs without overdoing it. All the same, I could feel that the sole of my left foot was too tight for comfort still, after days of simple rest and relaxation.

The massage therapist was able to do a fair bit of heavy work on both my legs, though without a definite cause, I couldn't really tell her anything other than the symptoms of the payments feeling. All the same, with that information she worked over my legs pretty thoroughly, to the point where I wondered if she'd managed to mess up some of my other muscles in my legs. It was pretty intense, but at no point did I feel like my hamstrings themselves were made any worse.

Walking home, I was pleased to find I had a greater range of motion than I had walking to my appointment, though again the soreness from the treatment was distracting. I took a bath with some Epsom salts added, in order to help add hydration through the skin to the stretched hamstrings. By the time I went to bed tonight, my legs didn't feel like they were burning on the back any more and I slept fairly well.

Aug 13 – Stay In Saturday

It was quite a busy day for me today.

Despite the gorgeous weather, I ended up staying in for most of the morning and afternoon today, as I have a lot on my plate in addition to regular household doings. One of the things that took the most time was completing the critiques of the two chapters I'm doing for this coming week’s Critique Night. I sort of fell down last month, having had too much on my mind to realize that I reviewed the same chapters as I have the previous month - quite embarrassing and something that took me by surprise, though looking back I obviously had too much on my mind to notice at the time.

Another thing on my plate was updating my website for my novels, which I did in only a few minutes: it's easy enough to tell people what I'm up to a month if there's only one subject. Seeing as I only get about a half-dozen visitors every month to that site, it's not as though I'm provided much fodder for form discussion, though I hope that's the case in spades when I finally finish the trilogy of books in the near future.

As well, I did some research for an article I'm writing for the quarterly Divisional Newsletter for my workplace, about the history of the Ministry, which has been interesting as its current incarnation only came about in late 1997 - barely 20 years ago. I'm pleased to be part of the Editorial Board for the newsletter, and feel that the work I'm doing now will result in something that will continue long after I moved on to other things or other jobs.

In the evening, my girlfriend was gracious enough to sit through three episodes of Star Blazers with me, to my delight. We are already at the point where my re-watch from many years ago stopped and my memories are somewhat vague, so it's almost as though I'm watching the series from a fresh point of view, which is delightful as well.

Much later this evening, we made a short sortie down to the ocean on Dallas Road, in the hopes of catching glimpses some of the Perseid meteor shower which peaked tonight. In normal years, stargazers in less urban areas might be treated to anywhere from 30 to 80 meteors per minute, but this year's shower was more than double that. Even though passing cars and light pollution meant our night eyes were quite strained, we did manage to catch a glimpse of three different white streaks in the sky as meteors burned up, which was thrilling to us both.

Even more amusing where the Pokémon Go players wandering by in the dark, completely oblivious to the short-lived wonder of the heavens taking place above them.

Aug 14 – Serendipity

Why not end the week with a bang?

More like a ‘poof!’ as money disappeared from my wallet this morning.

I always run programs on my computer to tell me of anything going wrong, and today one of them told me that my backup SSD drive( the one running my computer while I wait for the replacement to arrive by mail in a few weeks )was also failing:

Perfect timing – or not, as I don't have another redundant backup to stick in the case this one fails, which would mean that I have only my laptop to work with and that isn't really meant for the daily use that my big computer is, hooked up to my big screen TV.

So, I had to suck it up today and order a new SSD drive, one that would be exactly what I needed and will also arrive in a few days’ time. By a stroke of luck, an SSD on sale I'd been watching on eBay last week came back into stock just this morning and after gritting my teeth, I bought the SSD, to the tune of a cool $250.00 - plus taxes and shipping. OUCH.

I consoled myself with the fact that since it's a 1 terabyte drive( 1000 gigabytes ) it's four times the size of the drive it's replacing and extremely highly-rated. The bottom line was that I paid about $.25 per gigabyte, which is half what usual going rate is for solid-state drives… so I shouldn't run out of capacity anytime soon.

Though I will still be making a redundant backup of the drive as soon as I get it configured under Win10 the way I like it - no sense in tempting fate with my data any further than I have already this month.


My hamstring still hurt, as I've been alternating sitting down and walking around all day long as I've been home today, working on my blog among other things. I'm hoping that this is in a relapse but just a reflection of things healing, but the fact remains that I still have to discover exactly what's wrong with my everyday physical posture that could be causing such tightness in my hamstrings. More than likely has to do with my office job of the last several years, as I've never had this sort of issue standing up and being on my feet for long periods while working. One more thing to add to my list of Things To Do Now….