Sunday, 11 September 2016

Recovery, Retro Trek and Remembering

The word of the week is conundrum.

Sept 5 – Thunder, Thunder...

The recovery continues.

I haven't been using much of the RealHeal ointment this week, as I've discovered that the active ingredient( hemp oil )makes me nauseus. That's a shame, as it really seemed to work the last couple weeks, but the last three times I put it on, my stomach has not been happy for hours afterwards, so it's a no-go now. I've got a different ointment I'm using on recommendation from a lot of online research for people with plantar fasciitis injuries, so I should still be able to continue my healing this week.

Getting out of the apartment occasionally also helps, though I can't hobble too fast or too far. Cabin fever has been on my mind and thankfully my girlfriend has seen fit to take me out for the occasional dinner or brief outing lately.

I *love* this art style of the Thundercats!

One of the outings this week was to a local pawn shop, known for its sizable selection of inexpensive Blu-Rays and DVDs. Not that I need any more, but there's always the possibility of finding something I've been looking for on the cheap - and today I succeeded! I managed to pick up the complete first season of Thundercats for a mere $12, less than I've ever seen on eBay and no shipping charges on top, either!

I watched a few episodes and grinned like a kid again... it felt great.

Sept 6 – Ask and ye shall receive

Well, how's that for timing?

No sooner did I mention my desire last week for a How To Cosplay At Home book, and one appeared - on Kickstarter, at least.

They know what they're doing over there in Spain...

The page's English translation of the page looks a bit rough, but the actual content looks like it might be worthwhile.

As well, it's funny how often you find what you need when you stop looking for it. It seems to be the opposite end of the spectrum from searching for something, but in this case it was simply a "Hey, that'd be great..." thought I had. Then, lo and behold, exactly what I was looking for appears on Kickstarter. I also find it coincidental that they chose to use the exact same music in their video that I liked and used for my re-recording of a video from a few years ago...

There's quite a few cosplay books due to come out soon according to Amazon as well, but none of them have reviews yet, so in my opinion I don't know if they are worth the money for the content yet.

Kinda like this cosplay Kickstarter, so I'll see how it goes: there's 19 days left in their fundraising.

Sept 7 – Minimums

Well, it's a start.

Minimum wage in BC is increasing this week from $10.45 to $10.85 an hour, though it's nowhere near what it should be to keep pace with inflation.

As someone who has recently been paid minimum wage, I can say that even working full-time won't pay the bills, especially in a city like Victoria where it costs quite a bit more than an average for rent or mortgages. The recommended living wage for this city is almost $19 an hour, and that's just to ensure that the basics such as rent, food and utilities are covered.

AB has dedicated itself to $15 in the next few years - nice!

Taking the minimum wage up to $15 an hour will be a good start, as recommended by antipoverty groups. A statistic that made my eyes pop and that I can really relate to was that of the over 90,000 people in BC who are earning minimum wage, almost half of them are over age 25.

That's no wage with which to be working towards a decent retirement.

Sept 8 –  I'm a Mystery?

I saw a specialist today, and confused him.

It was a referral appointment to see if there was any causal relationship between my recent tendon issues and rheumatic / hereditary factors, which could have a role in explaining why simple activities( at least for other people )cause me major issues on occasion out of the blue.

Unfortunately, nothing conclusive came out of the meeting, so getting a second opinion seems to be the only option to continue this line of investigation.

On the bright side, nothing in my blood work shows that I have any abnormal factors to worry about in terms of joints; according to the specialist today, I have an excellent range of motion and show no signs of joint deterioration - hooray! In addition, the specialist was rather taken aback with all the medical-related things that happened to me in the last three years and was impressed that I was still mainly functional, apart from the recent tendon difficulties.

So it's back to square one.

I'll just focus on recovering for the next month, taking no chances. When I walk any distance for the next month, I'll be using a cane( partly for balance at this point )and ensuring that I go no further than the 15 minutes to work and back again. Slowly but surely all get back on track, as I can already feel the lower levels of energy from my lack of aerobic exercise this last month.

Once I'm back to being able to walk unassisted, I'll take it from there - slowly.

Sept 9 – ST: THOS Animated


It seems I'm not quite as far along in my recovery after the last three weeks as I thought. Even walking short distances yesterday with a cane( from home to the bus stop, to the doctor’s office, and 10 minutes downtown to another bus ) has caused my hamstrings as well as Achilles tendons to flare up, and I'm paying for that today. Damn.

At least being home, I'm able to put ice packs on the backs of my legs while reclining on the couch for 30-45 minutes at a time throughout the day, which has helped to reduce the inflammation and soreness considerably. Unbelievable.

So, while I was literally cooling my heels, I caught up on Star Trek: The Animated Series today. It was one of the few times I've binge-watched anything on Netflix, as I'm normally too busy... but today, my energy level was as low as my pain level was high.

It was a good binge, though!

I actually own the series on DVD, but have never got around to watching either of the two seasons to date. Netflix makes it easy: just queue up the next episode and let 'er rip! I was quite pleased with the quality of the video as well, in that there was almost no speckle or dirt whatsoever in any of the episodes, which was quite a surprise for animation that was made in the early 70s - well done!

As well, I noted that the series was made by Filmation, who would go on to create the massive number of episodes for the He-Man TV cartoon series in the early 80s. It was amusing that so many of the camera angles, animations and musical sequences were identical to He-Man, so much so that I smiled to see all the similarities.

By days’ end, I made it all the way through the first season, and was impressed. While not every episode was as good as I'd hoped for, enough were of such quality that I look forward to seeing the rest of the series. Some of the episodes were excellently written, exploring aspects of the original Star Trek universe that for various budgetary or political reasons the original show couldn't. It was a brilliant idea to use animation as a vehicle for those stories to be told.

It was also a great way to take my mind off things today.

Sept 10 – Cheap Crossfire

Hooray for local sales sites!

As you likely already know, I am an expert bargain hunter, at least from my couch. I prowl the local sale sites( VarageSale, UsedVictoria, Kijiji, Craigslist )hunting for used bargains on a weekly basis in order to stretch my monthly budget further for things that we need... as well some of the things I'd like to get but are far too expensive to buy new.

Case in point: upgrading my computer.

The last few weeks of putting my system back together as shown me that it's really getting long in the tooth, having been most recently upgraded in 2012 - an eternity in computer years. While I'm by no means a cutting-edge gamer, as I've mentioned recently my frustration with MWO is mainly due to the fact that the computer can't keep up with the game's action and so I tend to die a lot more than I should.

I do tend to plan ahead, and one of the features of the motherboard I bought back in 2012 was that it supports having two video cards, so that I could add one at a future date. Most people who go that route tend to buy less-than-cutting-edge cards in order to save a substantial amount of money, because putting two identical cards together gives quite a bit of performance for not-a-lot of dollars. Considering that I got my current video card on super-sale in 2013 for $130, soI think I did well. But finding that same card again for a bargain price has proven rather difficult - until today!

Four years later, the puzzle piece is found!

Tonight I spotted a used video card for sale on for a mere $30( !!!! )and it was equivalent to my current card. I immediately sent an e-mail to the seller and he confirmed that it was working, so I arranged to pick it up( thanks to my lady! ) - score! After I tidied it up a bit( it was quite dusty )it looked brand-new and I'm excited to be able to get it working later this week, as all that was missing was the cable to connect the two cards together in my system. As the chart above shows, the two cards together should be comparable in performance to an Nvidia 760 card, cheap! The MSI card is still listed for over $100 on various sites - plus shipping and taxes. But having bought used AND locally, neither which I had to pay! BONUS: it's from the same maker as my motherboard!

Bargain hunters, eat your hearts out.

Sept 11 – Laserdisc 2112

I spent a good deal of today tidying up loose ends.

It's my last day before I go back to work tomorrow, and while my left foot's not fully healed, it only feels tight underneath rather than shrieking-sore with every careful step. I've been using my back massager on the underside of my leg( gently and only a few times a day )which has helped to loosen things up without pain, as a few runner's health sites have recommended.

I've managed to accomplish a fair number of things these last few weeks, though regrettably I didn't get nearly as much writing done as I'd hoped due to my constant yo-yoing from standing to sitting that sapped my lowered energy steadily. Neither did I get a lot of reading done to dig into my backlog of nearly 50 books that are sitting unread on my shelves, not to mention the various movies and TV series that are on my lists. It's rather difficult to watch a show or read a book while watching where you're going in a small apartment, moving around on your feet carefully with a cane.

All the same, I got enough done to feel like I haven't been wasting my time, though I certainly don't feel like I've been productive - understandable, I think.

During my down time, I did mean to watch a few laserdiscs, but I've not managed to get around to that either. What I did manage is to run across this extraordinarily amusing clip from a show I've never heard of called Regular Show - and I probably would still be unaware of its existence if it hadn't been for this particular episode, which perfectly sums up how laserdiscs fit into the world today in a hilariously over-the-top manner:

As well, today is the 15th anniversary of 9/11... that shouldn't go unremarked, nor shall it, at least not in my mind. Having been to New York a few times, once before and once after the tragedy, I'm always aware of how quickly our world can change. 

Hopefully, after 9/11, we can see to changing it for the better.

That's about all I've got for this week, as I'm going to try to get some early shuteye tonight in preparation for my first day back at work tomorrow - wish me luck!