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Ouch! My Rib!

Posted 2012.12.20 9.29 in Pointless Blather

This is a wierd one.

Last night around 21:00 as I was on the computer, I noticed a sharp pain in my right side. Not all the way to the side, sort of halfway round from the very centre to the right side. At about the same altitude as the belly-button.

It was barely noticable when I sat still but if I started moving around, it was a very painful stabbing sensation. It also hurt if I took a deep breath, laughed or coughed.

Sort of felt a lot like a cracked or broken rib.

Wierd though since I was just using the computer and not beating myself about the torso with it, or juggling it whilst unicycling or anything like that.

In other words, WTF?

And it didn’t go away, either. When I went to bed, it was excruciating. I like to sleep on my side – on the right side there was tremendous pain as I was basically lying on it. On the left side, there was almost as much pain, I suppose from gravity pulling on it directly sideways or something.

I’m not well-versed in medical stuff and the only thing I can think of that’s on the right-hand side of the abdomen is the appendix. I’ve still gone mine, so I looked up symptoms of appendicitis. I don’t appear to have that though, my symptoms don’t match.

So I don’t know what to do about it. I finally fell asleep some time after 4am. When I got up at 7, the pain was still there. Now I’m at work and it’s still there.

I suppose I’ll leave it a day or so and see if it starts getting better on its own.

P.s. less than 21 hours to go in the end-o-the-world countdown!

Mystery Flowers

Posted 2011.05.25 21.13 in Family/Friends, Photography

So the other day, I showed my mom that panoramic stitch-up I took in the backyard, and I mentioned these three pink mystery-flowers. I don’t recall planting them, and I don’t recall her planting them, and I don’t recall ever seeing them before.

I don’t know what they are. The nearest thing I could think of, and I knew I was wrong, was that they were shaped sort of like a carnation. They’re obviously not carnations but my knowledge of plants is limited.

My mom thinks they are some funky variation on the tulip theme. She’s basing that on the stem and leaves, and that they are up and blooming at this time of the year. She’s also making the logical leap that as neither she nor I did the planting, they were likely planted by squirrels.

Not that we have guerrilla greenthumb squirrels maurading the area (although it would be incredibly cool if we did) but rather, the squirrels are good at redistributing freshly planted bulbs. Somewhere in the neighborhood, someone is wondering what ever happened to the pretty pink flower bulbs they planted last autumn.

They just don’t look like tulips to me. Ok the stem and leaves are tulip-like, but the flower seems totally different. All the tulips I know have flowers shaped like a wine glass, with a small number of large petals. These things on the other hand have a medium number of medium-sized petals, and appear less-organized than tulip petals.

Though as I said, I don’t really know much about plants.

The Fun of being Adopted

Posted 2010.03.21 9.48 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

Now and then, I’ve encountered people or situations where it seems like there is some mild taboo or shame about adoption. Or where being adopted is somehow considered to be unfortunate, or otherwise not so great.

I don’t have any such problems with it myself; it was never a secret in my family. I don’t remember being told I was adopted, it’s something I’ve always known. My folks never kept it secret so there was never any ‘shock’ or ‘surprise’ about it.

Some people might feel like it’s unfortunate to ‘have no history’ or not know ‘where you came from’, but I see that as an advantage, rather than a problem.

You see, where all the non-adopted people might know their family background and might be able to trace their family tree, the thing is, typically what they find is that their roots are normal, boring, and un-remarkable. Adoptees, on the other hand, have no such limiting ‘facts‘ and ‘evidence‘, and are therefore able to come up with whatever exciting and unique background that they want.

I, for example, am the secret love child of a european monarch and the descendant of an ancient Celtic demigod. At birth, a mysterious hidden society stole me away from the hospital, smuggled me into Canada, and used forged paperwork to turn me over to the CAS. They allowed the CAS to adopt me out to a normal family, but assigned a watcher to keep track of me over the years. I was to have been inducted into the society at age 21, but my watcher was unexpectedly killed in a tragic blimp accident, and the mysterious society lost track of me.

To this day, they continue to scour the earth trying to track me down. Meanwhile, the fabulous and mystical powers that are my birthright remain largely untapped…

Rogue Film

Posted 2009.11.06 21.27 in Hobbies, Photography

I finally decided I’d better start filing away all my negatives, after all the photography I’ve been doing in the past few months. I don’t even know how many rolls of film I’ve processed here, but the negs had been piling up.

I have some of those archival 3-ring insert sleeve things, so I got to it, filing away my negs by date and roll. So far, so good.

When I was finished though, I found myself with a rogue bit of film…

Rogue Film

Five frames of Ilford FP4+, obviously taken recently (that is, in the past few months) but I have no recollection of ever using FP4+ film. I have HP5+, but that’s the only Ilford I’ve used. I went through my notes, but I can’t find any reference to FP4+ nor can I find any more frames from this roll.

It’s a mystery…

WTF Do Corydoras Eat?

Posted 2009.08.05 9.04 in Aquaria, Photography

I have these two cute Peppered Corys (Corydoras paleatus) in my 23 gallon aquarium. Originally I got just the one, but I quickly saw how lonely he was getting. He would try and play with the zebra danios, but they would simply ignore him. So I added a second, and they have been best friends ever since. The original is slightly smaller and his name is Doctor Pepper, the second is a bit larger and is named Sergeant Pepper. Anyhow, I’ve been trying to figure out what to feed them, what they actually eat.

Doctor Pepper

According to Wikipedia, “Corys are mostly bottom feeders, so they should be offered sinking pellets as well as supplements of live and frozen foods.” Having read this, I’ve bought special sinking catfish food pellets for them, and I supplement with freeze-dried whole foods (blood worms, brine shrimp.) Yet I’ve never seen them eat these things. The pellets are utterly ignored, until the snails find them. The freeze-dried foods never seem to reach the bottom, everyone else goes nuts for them.

So my two corys spend all their time scrunging around for food, and they don’t seem to be starving, but I can’t tell what exactly they’re eating. Sometimes they scrunge the glass walls, but according to several sources, corydoras don’t eat algae! The only thing I have definately seen them eat, is Sergeant Pepper once ate a tiny squished planorbid snail. The aquarium is infested with some species of planorbidae and consequently they frequently meet with ‘accidents’ that result in them becoming fishfood. I already knew the zebra danios ate them and now I know that the corys eat them too.

But other than this one tiny snail, what the heck are my corys eating?

Sergeant Pepper

It’s a mystery.

Damn The Bias, Full Serge Ahead!

Posted 2008.09.29 0.00 in Hobbies

Greetings once again, friend readers. When last I spoke of my quest to learn the arcane ways of the seamstress, I had reached the point of learning several new and unusual words — along with several new and unusual meanings, for words I thought I knew. I was armed with knowledge, equipment, and supplies. I had faced the Bobbin and the Patterns, and had been beaten back. I was awaiting the astral alignment, the sun and stars to reach their proper places, such that the Gods might favor me with success.

Such a time did come to pass, and once again I went into the breach (of the Machine), thumbs and fingers dancing about the bobbin, thread and needles. These are dark arts indeed, my friends. There are many hazards for those not fortunate enough to spend many a-year apprenticing with a true Seamstress.

There is much more knowledge out there, but I am wary to delve too deeply into it lest I become lost in it. Formerly I jested about the dark arts of Bobbin management, but it is no jest! I share with you a brief exerpt from that most unholy tome, The Bobbinomicon:

By candle light clutch Bobbin tight
With a needle new of virtue true
Prick thy thumb till blood doth run
The blood to drip ‘pon burning wick
Endure the pain, and chant the names
Azaroth!
Antamoth!
Balzaroth!

I dare not divulge more. The Bobbin Mastery incantation is three pages of such dark rhymes.

Still, I resolved to press onwards. Steeling myself, I drew forth the patterns. Unfolding, and unfolding, and unfolding again, the wisps of smoke-thin tissue grew and grew till it seemed the whole of my study was to be engulfed. And yet unfolding was but the start. Now, armed with the scissors designated “for pattern only” I began to cut, cut along the lines. Some of the tissue, thank the Gods, was fit to be discarded. Yet most of the tan-coloured stuff must be kept. Some to be returned to the envelope from whence it came (ha! They must be mad) while the rest, that which I had cut free, must now be mated to fabric, for The Tracing…

The Tracing… when you thought the Pattern was unwieldy… try and mate it to an equal amount of fabric. It is… not as difficult as single-handedly moving an unconsious bear through a household. Which is to say, difficult, but not entirely impossible.

By the by, knowing that my knowledge was preliminary and my experience nonexistant, I selected a seemingly simple project to be my first. I decided to make for myself a new hat. Desiring something stylish, I opted to manufacture a design that has graced the royal head of the former monarch, Henry the Somethingth. Known alternatively as a Tudor hat or simply medieval hat, it can be seen gracing the Kingly brow in this woodcut:
Henry ??th wearing hat

Yes, nothing looks so stylish and regal as a small flying saucer with a short skirt under it. And, if the Gods permit it, such a cap shall soon be adorning my very own skull.

At first glance, such a hat indeed seems simple. For what is it, but a top, a middle, and a bottom? Three sections, all round, the lower two having a hole through which to fit one’s head. Ah, but looks, they are deceiving. Three sections, yes. Three pieces of fabric? No. No no no no.

Have I mentioned the word Interfacing yet? How about Liner. You see, this simple hatform consists of ten separate pieces of material. There are but four pieces visible to the eye. Two more can be spied if the hat is removed. But a further four pieces are completely encased. This Interfacing… it is like fabric but with magical properties. It stiffens, supports, adds form. And this simple Tudor hat, contains a lot of it.

With pattern traced, I was freed of the tissue. I folded and folded, but it will never again fit so smoothly into its paper home. To this day the envelope remains bulging, with tufts of tan-coloured tissue poking out.

Now the time was nigh, to stow the Pattern scissors and unsheath the For Fabric Only blades. Cutting fabric, proved to be much like cutting patterns – only slightly more difficult due to the weight and lifelessness of the stuff. And still, I pressed onwards.

With fabric — and interfacing — finally cut, pieces organized about me, it was time to stoke the fires and bring The Machine to life… but I see now that this entry has grown long. Fear not! I shall return again soon to continue this tale, and you may know the final outcome, of my first true battle with The Machine!

I’ve a Notion to go get Basted next time my Nap needs Interfacing

Posted 2008.08.18 0.00 in Hobbies

The serial hobbiest strikes again! In a string of connections too convoluted to convey, my interest in swords and sword making has turned into an interest in sewing, and a desire to learn how to sew…


What a tangled warp they weft, these Seamstresses, with their secret words and hidden meanings.

After learning their language, one must also learn their tools and machinery… equipped with a machine that is nearly my contemporary in age, I endeavored to divine its mysteries… the ins and outs, ups and downs… what a small victory it was, to be able to thread the needle. A simple thing, really, compared to the Dark Arts of bobbin management. There surely is an ancient scroll somewhere, dealing with the fine magical power “Ability to Summon Bobbins, and Bend them to do Thy Will”. Still, I struggle on. Through luck and persistance — and some help from the Oracle of Google — I learn to tame the bobbin. It is not fully broken, but it will at least grudgingly oblige me, for a time.

And then the Patterns… the Patterns. More codes, more secrets. Simple illustrations and line art on the exterior, belie the true complicated horrors which dwell within. That such a small, innocent paper packette could contain such vast acres of tissue… mile after mile of the stuff. No doubt, folded originally by the seventh son of a seventh son under the light of the full moon — how else could the minute enclosure house it all so neatly? And all of it faintly inscribed with arcane symbols and markings, foreign to the common eye. It is these fantastic, delicate sheets which contain the runes, that Seamstresses convert into wearable attire and useful linens.

I knew at once that I was in over my head, and beyond my knowledge. Runes and arcane symbols, I have experienced many times in the past. But nothing of this kind. These were the markings of a magic about which I knew nothing. Fortunately, there are tomes out there, which undertake to offer translations, to assist the common mind in perceiving the secret rites of the Seamstress. And through great cunning and adventure, I was able to acquire one such volume: “Sewing for Dummies” found at my local bookstore. Armed with this new resource, I began to learn Right from Wrong, and discern the new and exotic meanings of many words that I once thought I knew.

Soon, I felt a growing confidence. I looked at the Patterns I had acquired. The folds of faric, the thread, the Machine. Overwhelmed, my confidence drained away. Apart from some trials and tests, the joining of scrap fabric, my Machine was idle. The Patterns evoked fear and concern. So much tissue.. and my resource of knowledge… Yes it helped me to deign the meanings of such secrets as “Selvage” but at the same time, it filled me with cautions and caveats. Were I to proceed, I should need still more resources and equipment. No longer would a single pair of scissors suffice; that which was adequate for cutting paper, cardboard, foil-lined-plastic, and tar-based roofing tape, would not stand the test of Fabric. And the pins…. there must be pins, there has to be pins.

I have long dreaded the introduction of pins, into my domicile. As a child, I had a particular talent for locating pins that had become lost, that had wandered, gone astray. Pins were strangely attracted to my feet, and frequently would demonstrate their fondness by burying themselves to half their length, in the bottom of my sole. Yet now, here in my home, there will be pins.

With that, I will draw this tale to a temporary conclusion. Suffice to say, armed and equiped with the knowledge, the Machine, the Patterns and Fabric, the Notions and other sundries… all that remained was for the Moon and Stars to align. And when the astrological signs are right:
I Shall Sew!